10 Wedding budget hacks to cut down your wedding cost – Our Comprehensive Guide

Images by Binh Trinh pre-wedding photographer from Picture Perfect Photography.

New Zealand wedding photographer capturing this fun rural wedding image

While weddings are a beautiful and exciting milestone in a couple’s life, .not everyone knows how things are going on behind the scenes. Dreamy as it may seem but reality check, the wedding planning can be a lot stressful, considering all the things that need to be done. You have to organize things and organize people as well.

Weddings are truly expensive that even a wedding bouquet can chop a reasonable amount off the entire wedding budget. It is well known that the typical average New Zealand wedding can cost $30,000 and beyond. But, the choice is yours to make if you are to follow traditional wedding preparations and planning or do things your way. So for the meantime, let us introduce you to hacks that you can do to minimize your New Zealand wedding cost. These may involve compromising the traditional prep but this will result in an equally beautiful wedding day, nonetheless.

Here is your ultimate guide for a budget-friendly yet well-organized weddings:

  1. Decide on an Intimate Wedding

    Before doing anything else, consider first the number of guests you are going to invite to your special day. Size matter in weddings: The smaller the crowd, the bigger you are going to save, the more intimate your wedding will be. Celebrating weddings intimately have been getting popular these days because of the benefits a small wedding is overwhelmingly great.

    To some, a big wedding is important because they belong to a big family or they are part of a large social circle. Yet, the reward of spending your wedding day with the people closest to your heart can never be replaced. It’s better to have a small and intimate wedding and spend it with guests important to you than to have a big and grand wedding with people who you do not spend most of your time with. However, this decision is really up to you but reality speaks that from this decision, everything will have a domino effect in terms of a budget-friendly and stress-free wedding.

  2. Choose an accessible wedding venue

    There are countless choices for venues that you will be presented to but the main qualification for a good venue is its accessibility, then follow the aesthetics. Wedding venues that are accessible not just to you and your guests but to your wedding vendors too. With this, you will save almost everyone in your guest list the trouble of travelling and looking for a place to stay. Know that wedding venue prices double on the weekends so opt for a weekday wedding as much as possible! The Wedding Vow created a great list of wedding venues that you can choose from, from a garden wedding, beach wedding venue, or even quirky and fun wedding venues, the possibilities are endless right here!

    It is also for the best to pick a wedding venue that offers in-house catering to save you time and sweat. Just don’t ever forget to ask them about corkage. Sometimes, when you pick a venue with in-house catering, they will provide you with a list of items that are free of corkage, for example, cakes and alcohol since these items are very subjective and couples what these to be personal.

  3. Bring your booze – you know you want to

    To most, an event isn’t even a celebration without alcohol. The Kiwi drinking culture is a huge part of it. Your selection of alcoholic drinks to keep your guests pumping must be remarkable and varied. It can be confusing though, that with the wide selection of drinks you can choose and serve, you end up serving the unexpected. Majority of the people love beers so that’s one to tick off the selection. Have a tequila-drinking crowd? Or a bunch of friends who are whiskey monsters? Or the calm wine drinkers? So better to narrow it down to maybe 5 drinks, while thinking about what you want and what your crowd wants.

    There are couples who also opt for an open bar where a wider selection of alcohol is served by professional bartenders. While this is a great option, this will be an additional expense though, because you will pay for the bartender’s professional fee and the transit bar rental. The goal is a budget-friendly wedding. However, with the Kiwi drinking culture, there is alcohol is vital!
    Here’s a wedding alcohol calculator that can help you decide which boozes to serve.

  4. Do you own wedding make-up

    If you are one of those brides who are talented enough to pull off their dream wedding day look, it’s more than okay to do your make-up. This hack helps you save time from test looks since you can already picture our how you want to look on your wedding day. Check this inspiration post from Cosmopolitan for bridal make-up inspirations that ranges from the classic look, natural look, bold, and subtle.

  5. Invest in a simple wedding dress

    Keep away from the possibility of tripping on the hem of your dress, or compromising the grace of your bridal walk with too bulky wedding dresses. Some brides chop too much budget off the entire wedding budget for their wedding gowns. Though it is acceptable since weddings happen once in a lifetime, and this is the time for the bride to show off herself, there are loads of reasons to refrain from this mentality and opt for ready to wear gowns and suits.
    While princess cut dresses are beautiful to look at, simple cut wedding dresses are more timely and sophisticated. There are a lot of websites online that offer rentals for ready to wear dresses and gowns for you and your bridesmaids. All the Dresses, for instance, has dresses for as low as $65, or Marilyn is one of the websites that offer consultations for brides who would rather go with pre-loved wedding dresses. Anyway, brand new or pre-loved, both serve the purpose of sending off brides beautifully.

    Then if you happen to decide to provide dresses and suits for your chosen entourage, it’s better to do rentals or purchase ready-to-wear dresses and suits. NZ wedding photography of a beautiful pregnant bride at Milk Station

  6. Create a Wedding Guest List

    After deciding between a small and intimate wedding and a big grandiose one, it’s now time to choose who you are going to invite. Your guest list should comprise of people who are important to both of you. Your moms and dads may want to invite their friends but be firm enough to let them know that you are only inviting a few people that you consider important in your growth as individuals and as a couple. Although, since they are mom and dad, you can somehow spare them a few seats for their friends because after all, they are proud that their children are already getting married. Just do not be pressured about how people feel about you for not inviting them because in the first place, this is your event and you have all the say in this.

    If you cannot decide who to invite, here’s a reasonable guide to help you resolve this undying wedding dilemma nobody ever wants to go through. A layflat wedding image by a New Zealand photographer Binh Trinh

  7. Refrain from too Crowded Wedding Entourage

    20 pairs of principal sponsors who are not sure if they can make it or not, 10 pairs of bridesmaids and groomsmen who are not that involved in helping you prepare your wedding. It’s just too much! It is time to narrow down these roles to those who are truly involved in your wedding preparation, and for those who can truly guide you in your new journey as a married couple. Make sure of that because a few years down the drain, admittedly, you will need some serious and mature advises for your new life together. That is a fact for married life.

    There are certain roles the best man, groomsmen, maid of honour, and bridesmaids people tend to forget — helping the couple lighten the burden and stress of the entire wedding preparation. Choose those who you can undoubtedly rely on!Make your Wedding Invite
    Your wedding invite is one way of the primary ways to inform your guests about the full wedding details – the addresses, outfit details, colour palette, and other specifics you may add. There are a lot of websites such as Vistaprint that allows you to print your pre-formatted wedding invites and deliver them to you pre-cut. With this idea, you can save not just money but time as well. If you don’t have any idea how to format wedding invites, you can hire graphic designers to do the job for you and just have it printed and sorted.

  8. Be a Minimalist with the Decors

    Many couples tend to lean on minimalist wedding decors because not just it saves them a lot from their wedding budget, but simple designs are more peaceful to look at. Too many flowers are too confusing, too many balloons are too fancy. But simple flowers or even pure greens can make a whole lot of difference, financially and aesthetically.
    To achieve this, make sure to pick a wedding venue that is already beautiful as it is, say gardens, beach, brick chapels, and a lot more. To give you a hint, there are a lot of AirBnb rentals. You’ll be surprised how there are countless private properties you can choose from. Just type in your location and the date you want to check for vacancy and you are up for a wedding!

    Remember that there is beauty in simplicity, less is more – however, you want to say it, minimalist wedding decors has become one of the top choices couple pick for their wedding.

  9. Set Aside a Contingency Budget

    We are saving the best and most important tip for last and that is to set aside a contingency budget while sticking to your planned wedding budget. You never really know what things and events may happen during the preparation and the wedding. It is always best to go to a battle prepared but bear in mind to only use it when there’s no other choice but to use it.

  10. DIY Wedding – our kiwi way

    Every little item will add to your wedding cost. So naturally, the more you can do by yourself, the more you can safe. Some tasks are just down right difficult, while some are super easy. Making a arch for your wedding ceremony requires some pretty good DIY and building skills, but making rustic wooden signs are pretty straight forward. However, don’t overload yourself with tasks that are difficult or just impossible for you to complete. This will just add more stress to the wedding planning process and it is just not worth it. 


And as promised, we listed 4 different bonus tips that you might be missing out while being too focused on the major things you ought to have for your wedding. Undeniably, wedding preparations can be too overwhelming to the point that you get lost along the way. Considering these bonus may even help you save a chunk of your entire wedding budget:

  1. Create your Wedding Playlist

    Save yourself from spending on disc jockeys by creating your own playlist. Spotify, for example, is a great platform for you to personalize the music that you want to be on while waiting for the guests, as your entourage walks down the aisle and your post-ceremony playlist. It is best to create these playlists separately so that the sound control team will just have to click play without any trouble of choosing what music to play next.

    For the ceremony, choose songs that can make your guests slow dance to the rhythm. And for the reception playlist, pick those songs which will make them dance to the beat.

    Cradiori here has created a variety of sample wedding playlist that will guide you in what music to add. They even created a sentimental background music playlist for when the ceremony is ongoing, which makes it more emotional!

  2. Order a Faux WeddingCake

    This is one of our all-time favourite wedding hacks. To be honest, cakes usually don’t get to be served at wedding parties since there are desserts served apart from the cake. Purchasing 3-tier cakes will just give you the trouble of where to put the cake after the party. It is a wise thing to request your patisserie chef to bake just for the top tier of your cake and have a styro decorated with icing for the lower tiers. With this, you will still be able to do the cake slicing ceremony without letting your guests know that the other layers are just fake cakes. Sneaky, but practical!

    There are limitless possibilities for a faux wedding cake style. Try showing these simple wedding cakes as compiled by MyWedding that speaks elegance while being subtle.

  3. Hire Self-Starting Wedding Photographer

    There are a lot of expensive but well-worth New Zealand wedding photographers popping up in the wedding market but hiring self-starting camera crew is one of the wisest decision you could do as a couple. These talented people are just starting to build their name and will make sure to
    give you quality output for them to include in their portfolio. These crew will also remember you as the couple who trusted their talents when they were just starting their careers and will treat your day more than special.

    To find a pool of self-starting camera crew, try liking social media pages of local photographers in your area since these people gather as a group to gain connections.

  4. Indicate Number of Seats Reserved

    This is one of the most important wedding hacks a lot of couples tend to forget and skip. Telling the recipient of your wedding invite how many seats you saved for them is one way of controlling the number of guests. Apart from indicating how many seats you reserved for them, it is also advised to have them respond to confirm how many seats they are occupying. With this, you will be able to narrow down your guests and free up reserved seats for other guests.

    What you can do instead is break down the different areas that you need to spend money on. For example, receptions get 50%, the ceremony is 15%, dresses and tuxedos get 10%, decors is 10%, photography is 10%, and miscellaneous is 5%. That the miscellaneous should only be used when needed. The breakdown depends upon you, really because there are different approaches to save and allocate your budget.

There you go with the 14 things that you can do to save a whole lot on your wedding preparations. Though there are still a lot of things that you can do to save without compromising the quality of your special day, the list above falls in the essentials.

While all of these tips are slowly sinking to your hearts and minds, do not ever compare other people’s wedding to yours because every person is unique to style and preference. Stay true to yourself to know what you want for your wedding, do not let other people dictate what they want for you because this is your day, after all. But always remember to ask for help! Don’t take every workload to yourself and have your wedding entourage help you with the whole process. Trust us that it is just a matter of how you are going to approach it.

And even before you start planning, knowing that you are reading this, we’d like to congratulate you ahead to have a happily married life! Cheers!

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