(Part of The Smart Bride’s 201 Smart Tips for Saving on Your Wedding)
The number one tip for saving on the cost of your ceremony, especially if you would like a church ceremony: If you are a member of the congregation there will most often be no charge for getting married in the church, or for the marriage celebrant. So, if you start attending the church that you want to get married in and make yourself known to the leadership / minister / priest / registered celebrant of that church before asking to be married there, you may score yourself a freebie.
There are other benefits to attending the church before getting married and this can include doing a marriage preparation course (also often free if you are already attending the church). This will not only help you prepare for marriage (and yes, there is something in the course for everyone, whether you think you are ready or not) but it will also create some special “couple time” in an otherwise stressful and busy time of your life.
Not all marriage celebrants are equal and charges can vary considerably. Check to see what hidden extras may crop up before choosing your celebrant. Things to ask your celebrant about include extra charges for pre-wedding meetings out of standard business hours, travel charges (if your wedding isn’t within a certain km range of their base), and some even have administration charges (for filling out your paperwork). Also see what your celebrant might be able to throw in for free – for example, do they have their own microphone? (you don’t need to hire one then). Do they have any partnerships with local wedding providers where you can get a discount? Do they provide information packs and what are in the information packs? (These celebrant information packs can often have extremely valuable information that can save you time and money).
Ensure your marriage celebrant is able to marry you in your chosen location. Making this mistake can lead to the loss of deposits on venues and last minute changes to your plans, which again, are costly. In particular, a lot of public places (such as parks) have restrictions on when wedding ceremonies can take place there, what areas you can use, and some councils are so strict that they don’t allow weddings in public parks at all.
If the venue has data projector facilities (most churches do these days) how about getting creative and doing a powerpoint presentation (FREE!) rather than printing out costly orders of service that will most likely get thrown out at the end of the day.
Claire had a powerpoint presentation with music of their choice and photos of them throughout their courtship playing while guests were arriving and being seated. It introduced topics of conversation for guests that didn’t know each other and gave the guests (and groom!) something to focus on while waiting for the bride to arrive. Everyone raved about it afterwards, and it was completely free! She didn’t bother printing out orders of service, she just used the powerpoint idea again and saved about $100 on stationary and printing.
We have some great marriage celebrants that partner with us and offer their couples extra special attention and service. You can look through our marriage celebrant directory here.
If your venue does not have audio equipment available, negotiate with your band (or other group if you are using live music) to provide their own. They will often do this for free, or a small charge if you offer to cover transport costs of their equipment (ie petrol).
Start networking for a band or DJ. Let your friends know that you are having a wedding and looking for entertainment, to find out who is around.
If you are not familiar with the performer’s work, then if possible attend one of their public gigs to check out the style and quality of their work. Even if you have had favourable reports from friends or family, their music may not be to your personal taste or style. You should preferably do this before you book them and pay the deposit.
If you can go to the band direct, the band might give you a discount because they have saved on management fees.
If you are getting married a church that you regularly attend then often members of the church worship team will be willing to perform at the ceremony (and even the reception) for free!
Generally speaking, the more members that are involved in the entertainment group, the more they will charge for their services. A forty-piece orchestra will almost always be more expensive than a string quartet.
A DJ will almost always be cheaper than a group that does “live” performance.
Remember that you probably will need to pay for a meal for the DJ or entertainment at the reception. You will need to check with the reception venue or caterer of the cost associated with providing a meal for the entertainment. This is another reason why a large group will generally be more expensive overall than a smaller group of performers.
The Wedding Dress
The Bridesmaid Dresses, The Groom & Groomsmen’s Attire
Hair, Makeup & Jewellery, Shoes
The Ceremony & Music
The Reception Venue, Catering & Drinks
The Flowers, Cake & Bonbonniere (Favors)
Invitations, The Bridal Shower, Hen’s Night & Buck’s Night
The Gifts & The Honeymoon