The average Australian couple spend between $36,200 – $48,296 on their wedding (IBIS World 2012, Bride To be Magazine 2012). Considering that is more than half the average Australian wage it is not surprising that many couples are turning to DIY weddings and trying to cut costs.

Your wedding day is the one day where you want the best, where you want to deal with professionals. Many couples look to cut costs by having their family help out on the day, this approach has two drawbacks. Your family are not professionals, your cousin’s band may have played a few gigs at the local pub but do they have appropriate music for a wedding? You cannot expect a professional standard from family who are ‘helping out’.

Secondly, your family want to enjoy your special day too. You don’t want your mum stuck in the kitchen washing dishes while you dance the night away.

Create a Wedding Budget

In order to stretch the wedding dollars, couples should create a wedding budget. This takes planning, research and negotiating. There are a number of great free budgeting tools online which can help couples to outline exactly where their precious wedding budget is going and where they might be able to cut back. MLC and The True Bride websites both have wedding budget calculators.

The Venue

According to The Knot couples will spend 48-50% of their budget on the venue and catering. When choosing a venue couples should consider the benefits of both all-inclusive venues which provide staff, catering, and drinks and venues which allow couples to bring in their own caterer, drink supplier, etc.. Venue costs without catering can be as little as $500 and allow couples flexibility of menus and beverage suppliers. Also be sure to check with the venue if they have an “Approved Supplier” list. Some venues will add a 20% charge if couples source non-approved suppliers.
Also, be aware of hidden costs with both venue types. Many venues do not include linen, cake cutting, corkage and clean up in their quotes and some venues will try to add these costs to the agreed upon price.

The Wedding Photographer

Some couples will try to save money on a photographer by providing guests with disposable cameras or asking guests to provide copies of their photographs. This is a choice that can go horribly wrong. Your wedding day is a one-time event. Couples will never have a chance to capture the special moment again.

A wedding photographer is a professional with the experience to capture this special moment in the best way. Couples should look for a photographer whose style they like. Be sure to check if the quoted price includes photographing before the wedding, the ceremony, AND the full reception. Many photographers will quote for a certain amount of hours. Be sure to allocate enough hours to cover all parts of the day as additional hours will be charged at a premium rate, usually starting at $250 per hour.

The Bride’s Wedding Dress

Many brides feel they should be able to spend any amount on their dress for their special day. This is a personal choice but the dress is an area where it is easy to save money. By purchasing a dress online and having it altered at a tailor you can save hundreds. If online shopping is not your style be sure to enquire about alteration costs in store. It is best to do this before trying on any dresses, many shops will discount alterations to encourage you.

Author Bio: Jessica Josh has spent the past 5 years writing and blogging online. She has worked with a number of different companies in the wedding photography niche such as J. Crew Photography