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Wedding planning 101

How to have your dream day and stay on budget.

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No matter if you saw it coming from a mile away or were completely swept off your feet, the day you say yes to marrying the love of your life is one you’ll never forget. And once the engagement champagne toasts and well wishes from loved ones start to dwindle, now comes the big task of planning your wedding.

You’ll soon find that your nights are spent scrolling through wedding blogs and that your camera roll is full of photos for inspiration. Before you jump online to soak up the latest wedding trends for inspiration, you and your partner will need to talk budget.

Although a lot less exciting than dress shopping, an itemised budget will give you a realistic look at how much you’ll need to spend on your wedding. With rising living expenses, it can be harder than ever to save for everything upfront and it’s now pretty common for couples to look beyond their savings to fund their dream wedding.

If this is an option you’re considering, there are a few things you need to be aware of to keep the spending in check and the spending from snowballing.

Post-pay services can be a great way to spread out the cost of paying for things like decorations, dresses or flowers. You buy now and pay later and repay the purchase over set installment dates. However, the tricky thing about post-pay services which we reported on in our Mozo Afterpay Report, is that if you are using them for multiple expenses it can be hard staying on top of all the different payment due dates. If you and your partner are considering using this option for some of your big day expenses, set up a direct debit to help you stay on top of the repayments and avoid paying missed payment fees.

Wedding loans are another popular choice because they allow you to work to a fixed budget and come with an easy to follow set repayment schedule. Personal loans are generally used to cover the big ticket wedding costs like the reception venue, catering and car hire which need to be paid in lump sum amounts.

When you are shopping around on personal loans, make sure you’re comparing repayment features as well as looking for a low interest rate. Having the option to make extra repayments during the loan term can reduce the amount of interest you’ll pay and help you to get out of debt faster. Loan fees are another thing to watch out for. The less fees you pay, the more money you can put back into paying back the loan, so find a loan with low (or none) ongoing fees.

Even if you are not going to be using credit to take care of big expense, getting creative is key to keeping wedding expenses in check. Because while you may think you need that must-have couture dress, chances are, there’s a cheaper alternative right around the corner. So from the dress to the guest list, here are a few ways to save on your big day:

Go minimal on your bridal party

You’ve probably heard the saying ‘quality, not quantity’ and your bridal party is no exception. While it can be tough to narrow down your bridal party - especially if you’re having to pick and choose between friends and family - it could save you a small fortune.

Even though you may ask your bridal party to pay for their own dress or tux, hair and makeup is usually covered by the bride. You could wind up paying $200 per person and if you’ve got multiple bridesmaids that can quickly become a budget blowout. Smaller bridal parties also give a more intimate feel to a wedding and can be easier to manage.

Say yes to the second-hand dress

Remember that must-have designer dress with the eye-watering price tag? Why not try your luck at sites that allow brides to purchase second-hand wedding gowns. They usually have a variety of styles, from sweetheart neckline to a mermaid fit bottom. Plus with discounts of up to 50% off regular new dress prices, you’ll be able to score a designer dress without the flashy price tag!

Be picky with your venue

When it comes to your wedding venue, there are a few tricks to trimming the bill. For example, everyone (including vendors) knows the most popular day of the week to get married is Saturday. So if you think your guests won’t mind, it might lower your venue costs to get married on a Friday or Sunday. Getting married during off-peak seasons, like autumn or winter, can also make a difference to the price without impacting the overall ambiance and meaning of the day.

Some venues might also allow you to bring your own alcohol instead of asking to have an open bar.

Make your day adults-only

Although a touchy subject, having an adults-only wedding can not only keep your wedding day tantrum-free, but it can also knock a few dollars off the reception by cutting down on place settings and meals. The key to having a child free wedding is to do it mindfully with appropriate wording and communication.

You’ll need to let your guests know well in advance so that they can organise a babysitter for the night - a good time to do this might be when you send out your save the date cards. It’s also important to keep things positive by calling your wedding an adults-only affair, as words like ‘child-free’ or ‘kid-free’ might come across negatively.

With these tactics behind you, your wedding doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg and can still be as magical as you’ve always imagined.

Ceyda Erem is a personal finance writer at financial comparison site mozo.com.au

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. This information has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, before acting on this information, you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these matters and the product terms and conditions. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication. Terms, conditions, fees, charges and credit criteria apply. We do not recommend any third party products or services and we are not liable in relation to them. Any links to third party websites are for your information only and we do not endorse their content.

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