It’s not that romantic, but one of the first items on the wedding plan needs to be setting a budget and deciding who is going to pay. An average New Zealand wedding costs between $25,000-$35,000. However, small budget weddings can be as personal and special as large budget weddings.

For some people it’s the small things that count and the personal touches that make their day memorable. There are pitfalls to avoid when organising everything yourself to ensure it does cost less.
If you are having a wedding at home the venue is free, but depending on the number of guests you are inviting there could be costs to hire equipment for the food and drinks (tables, platters, plates, glassware, crockery, urn, lighting etc). If you are self-catering, work out the cost per person when you are planning your menu. It will take some time to gather costs for your menu, but then you will truly know if you are paying less than if you hired caterers. Also if you are doing the food yourself, it will pay to have an amazing team of helpers and to choose a simple menu. Otherwise, on your wedding day, you’ll have to get up with the sparrows to start prepping food. Just think about the logistics before you embark on self-catering – it can be amazing, delicious and cost less, but try to avoid rushing from the kitchen to the hair dresser via the dairy for extra supplies.

To reduce costs think about:
• Venue/s – free or reasonable venues such as the beach, parks, bush reserves, a beautiful backyard garden
• Photographer – quality digital memories can be taken on a range of devices. Ask a trusted family member or friend who takes photos often (and remember take loads of selfies through the day to capture your own journey)
• Entertainment – a friend playing a guitar at the reception could add intimacy or consider setting up your own music via a bluetooth speaker and device (ensure everything is well charged or use a
portable memory bank)
• Catering – think about easy self-catering options: ham on the bone, salad and buns, hangi, buffet
• Drinks – asking people to BYO (bring your own) to a self-catered wedding or paying for their own dinner at a venue (balance this with asking for no presents)
• Wedding outfits – to a casual beach wedding men could wear dress shorts and a shirt – an inexpensive but trendy look. The bridal dress can be borrowed, hired or made to any budget
• Guest List – keep the guest list to close friends and immediate relatives
• Wish list – write down what you want and then decide where you can scale back
• Wedding books – design your own wedding book online and get the book printed (there are New Zealand sites) all you need is the time and access to good quality photos on line
• Shop around, do your research and get the best deal
• Keep a tally of costs along the way to avoid surprises