How to save money on your wedding day

20 Dec 09 / Posted by: Jessica

The words “I do” must be some of the most expensive ever spoken in New Zealand. The average Kiwi couple splurges $30,000 for the privilege of pledging their love with a party in a fancy venue – and that’s not including the honeymoon.

But before you mortgage the house to pay for your special day, there are some simple steps you can take to keep the costs down.

Start early

Whirlwind marriages may look romantic in the movies but a little planning will be much kinder to your bank balance in the real world. The earlier you start, the more negotiating power you’ll have with everything from venue hire to catering.

Think laterally

Weddings tend to attract a hefty mark-up so try to think laterally and even stay hush, hush on your impending nuptials when asking for quotes from suppliers if you can. For example, instead of going to a wedding cake specialist, ask your local deli about creating a stack of delicious cupcakes covered in pink and white icing.

And why fork out a fortune for a traditional white wedding gown when you could wear a gorgeous designer dress for a fraction of the cost – and best of all, get to wear it again!

Tie the knot on a weekday

Fridays are becoming an increasingly popular day to get married. Most people won’t mind taking a day off work to attend your happy event – and chances are you’ll get the same exclusive venue at a fraction of the price. Plus, the statistics show that it’s less likely to rain on a weekday.

Avoid Valentine’s Day

Leave it to celebrities and Lotto-winners to fight over the high-priced weddings on February 14.

BYO

Look for venues that will let you BYO and then stock up on supermarket and liquor outlet specials through the year.

Design your own stationery

Home printers and beautiful papers can be your friend – just stay away from the clip art. Even a hand-written invite tied in a scroll with a simple ribbon can be beautiful.

To identify tables at the after-match, write each guest’s name on a smooth garden pebble with a silver or gold pen – or inscribe a meaningful quotation on a card for them.

Limit your guest list

If the pressure’s on to invite all your partner’s second cousins and their clan, consider asking them to be present at the ceremony itself – just not the sit-down dinner afterwards. Alternatively, welcome them to the shindig once the plates have been cleared away.

Swap a bridal register for something you really need

There are only so many platters and decanters a couple can use. If you’ve been living together and already have most things, ask your guests to contribute towards the cost of your honeymoon or a piece of furniture you’ve been coveting. You can set up an account with the store concerned so people can just gift an amount of their choosing anonymously.

Don’t scrimp on the stuff that will be with you forever – like photography

After saving so hard for this special moment, you want to ensure the memories are worth reliving, so choose a reputable photographer. Scrimping will just be a false economy if you hate the double-chin and shiny nose that bad lighting and poor angles have brought out in all your photos.

And finally

One of the smartest pre-wedding investments of all? A “pre-nup” or Property Sharing Agreement as it’s called in New Zealand. Sorry to put a downer on festivities but with the current Kiwi divorce rate running at approx 10,000 every year, it’s just good sense to make sure your assets are protected if the “I dos” ever turn to “I don’t”.

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