Back in January, I challenged myself into organising a wedding under $15K, about half of the national average spend.
Over the next 10 months, Cheap Geek and I tried to keep to budget. Sometimes we were good. I bought my white wedding dress for $69 at the Forest Hill Salvos. Cheap Geek took advantage of the half-yearly sales and bought a discounted suit. We made our own wedding favours/bonbonniere. Sometimes we were very bad. On a last minute impulse, I ditched my DIY blinged up heels for some $269 Alannah Hill peep-toes. I also went nuts on eBay and Etsy and sourced a whole bunch of doily buntings after my wedding planner professed her love for the things.
There were unaccounted for expenses that also messed with us. For instance, during our wedding rehearsal, the venue coordinator told us that we would have to pay an extra $15 per head (potentially $1500) for anyone who decided to play lawn bowls on the night. Cheap Geek was furious. Already super-stressed and possibly food-deprived, he couldn’t believe how a vendor could spring that amount on us before the wedding.*
But there were windfalls too. Friendors volunteered their services. Cheap Geek’s mum officiated as celebrant, my nephew entertained guests with a Bossa Nova band, and family friend Vanessa from LeVian took time out of her schedule to put together some beautiful table arrangements, boutonniere and a native floral bouquet. Friends and family gifted us items like a custom-designed tea ceremony dress and hat from Vietnam and homemade gluten-free brownies for gluten-intolerant guests. Or they lent us stuff like Vietnamese traditional outfits and a coffee machine. We also located an events-management student who was happy to plan our wedding for us, free of charge.
So when we plugged in the final figures, we were pleasantly surprised:
The wedding was just under budget, which is an incredible effort, considering that up to 60% of couples go over (via ABC news), sometimes to the BridetoBe survey’s tune of $28,426 (via CommBank’s My Wealth Blog)!
*Note: he explained his frustrations to them and they dropped it down to $5 per person. Always ask for a breakdown of costs from your vendor IN WRITING. A contract would be even more awesome and is the best defence against this kind of thing.