Without the luxury of regular incomes, Melbourne writers Patrick Pittman and Josephine Rowe are good at making the most of a modest budget. $7000, the maximum they could afford to spend on their nuptials, is puritanically modest, considering the average Australian wedding totals at $36,200 (IBISWorld, via The Age).
Apart from a $500 booze-related blip, they stayed within budget, thanks to family and friends. Being on the committee that managed the Newstead Racecourse Reserve, Josephine’s sister was able to secure the venue for free. A photographer friend provided his services without charge. Car hire was more of a car borrow.
Despite calling in so many favours, Patrick and Josephine thought that they could have got away with more. Most friends were happy to help in any way they could; they wanted to make a unique contribution towards the couple’s special day, whether it be handmade bunting, a favourite teapot or hay bales. In fact, one of the couple’s favourite memories from the day was witnessing guests concertedly move said hay bales under shelter when the rain came.
When the couple couldn’t source through their network, they were clear about their financial restrictions and what they wanted, allowing businesses to tailor a suitable package. The guy at the local cellar organised a deal that got the most booze for their buck, whilst the caterers put together individual picnic hampers that not only reflected the couple’s tastes but also cut down on food waste.
Patrick and Josephine also quickly learnt to be selectively oblique, after an incident with one florist who raised the price of a bouquet from $20-30 to over a $100 when the ‘W’ word was mentioned.
Such careful budgeting paid off, and the couple got married in style with postcard invites, potted strawberries as bonbonnieres, and a vintage frock from NYC–proof that thrifty doesn’t equate to miserly. More importantly, as a consequence of enlisting help from so many folks, Patrick and Josephine’s wedding day was one of communal celebration, where every guest was a part of the bridal party.