Save on Your Wedding Hair Makeup Jewellery and Shoes

(Part of The Smart Bride's 201 Smart Tips for Saving on Your Wedding)

Hair, Makeup & Jewellery

Do either your hair, make-up or both yourself.

Get a friend or family member to do hair, make-up or both for you.

If you decide to do your own makeup, go into a cosmetics shop or to a cosmetics counter at a department store and ask if they will show you good techniques and what makeup you should use. Most women get excited at the talk of a wedding and would be delighted to help you.

Cosmetics companies that have counters at department stores often do professional make up and the cost of the session is redeemable against the purchase of the products. They can do your wedding makeup for you and you, the only disadvantage is having to go into the store to get your make up done.

These same cosmetics counter staff at large department stores often freelance and will do your hair and makeup for you at your home for a good price. Ask them if they do, and even if they don’t they’re in the industry and will probably be able to give you a contact of someone who will.

If you have an engagement party gift register put your preferred hair or make-up provider down so their services can be bought for you as a wedding or engagement gift.

Have a pamper party as a bridal shower and instead of bringing gifts ask all of your attendees to contribute to the cost of your wedding hair & make-up.

Approach a Nurtimetics, Avon, Mary Kay (etc) consultant and see if they will do your make up for you. Many will come to your home and do your make up for you for free if you are already a customer.

Scope out beauty schools and see if they have any students with talent (the instructors will be able to tell you this) who would do you wedding make up for you. They may even do it at cost price.

Decorate your hair with accessories such as tiny flowers, jeweled hairpins etc. They can be bought inexpensively from variety stores (ie the Reject Shop) and accessory stores (such as Diva, Accessorize etc.) There is no need to pay through the roof for a tiara unless it’s on your wishlist, and you won’t need an elaborate hairstyle.

If you’re paying to have your hair done professionally and are having a trial of your hairstyle before the day (highly recommended!) choose a date where you can show it off. For example, are you going to someone else’s wedding? A birthday? A work event? Out on a special date with your fiance? Get your hair trial done on this day. I got my trial done on the day of my fiance’s work ball, that way I got to test it out at a function to make sure it lasted, and as I was going to pay for this anyway, it meant my trial was essentially free.

Anne’s Story

Anne made an appointment at the Body Shop for a make over. She explained it was for her wedding and the sales consultant helped her pick appropriate colours and a style of make up that would work well on the day. She then showed Anne how she was applying it and things Anne should do on the day. The make overs at the Body Shop are free, and Anne purchased the products that were used on her. While this did result in an outlay of funds, she got to keep the cosmetics for touch ups on the day later use.

Wedding Rings

Don’t automatically buy your wedding band from the same place you got your engagement ring, even if it was part of a set. Sets often have an extra margin added to the price as most retailers can bet on both being bought if they are sold as set.

Shop around! When my fiance and I went looking for wedding bands we found over $200 difference in price for exactly the same white gold wedding bands. While spending a bit more and going to a reputable store for your engagement ring might be the best idea, especially if you want good quality stones, the cheaper chain jewellery store might fit the bill for your wedding band. As long as you get the profile you want, the thickness you want and the number of carats that you want, what is the difference between a chain store and a more prestigeous store? The profit that they put in their pocket is about all…

Don’t buy a band that is too thin to try and save money. If it wears down too much and needs repairing it will cost you in the long run.

As a general rule, the higher the carats the softer the gold. And, the higher the carats the most expensive the gold. For the guys, who are more likely to knock their ring around, stick with 9 carats. It will be cheaper and will stay in better condition for longer. For the girls though, you should stick to the same carats as your engagement ring (or your rings will rub and corrode each other and lead to costly repairs). Think about this when buying your engagement ring (if you haven’t already) and stick with 9 carats here as well.

You don’t need to buy your wedding band until around 6 weeks before your wedding (allowing enough time to get them ordered in and fitted properly if necessary) so don’t rush. Wait as long as you reasonably can and wait for any sales that might pop up.

Diamonds are popping up in female wedding bands now, a clever move by jewellers to make more from wedding band sales. This is a trend, and trends come and go. If you like this look make sure it doesn’t detract from your engagement ring (which should always be the feature) and think about how it would look if you eventually got an eternity ring (which is essentially exactly like the wedding bands with diamonds in it that they jeweller is trying to sell you).


Buy some plain shoes and embelish them yourself (get embelishments from variety stores or accessory stores and a hot glue gun from a craft shop will do the trick).

If you have a long gown your shoes will barely be seen at all, so a cheaper shoe probably won’t even be noticed.

Cheaper shoes will not be as comfortable as the more expensive ones, so spend some time wearing them in and think about getting some gel pads and special blister band-aids (available from supermarkets) to prevent sore and blistered feet at the end of the day.

Buy some plain white or ivory leather shoes from a normal shoe store. Picking up shoes in a sale can save a lot, but make sure you can return them if the colour doesn’t match your gown.

Do you have to go the same colour as your wedding dress? A strappy gold or silver number can be worn again after your wedding.

I got my shoes in April. They were a cute summer strappy number from a bridal shop and they were on sale because winter stock was arriving and they were out of season. But … my wedding wasn’t until November – perfect! They were 50% off and only cost me $35.

Question: What do a lot of brides do with their wedding shoes after letting them sit about in a cupboard or box for a year after their wedding?

Answer: Put them in the opp shop bin.

I know, you’re going to cringe at the thought of buying shoes (let alone wedding shoes!) from an opp shop or second hand shop. But, if you’re lucky you may find a perfect pair of wedding shoes that have only been worn for a few hours.


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)
The Photos
The Transport
Invitations, The Bridal Shower, Hen’s Night & Buck’s Night
The Gifts & The Honeymoon
How to Change Name After Getting Married (Australia)