If you’ve just got engaged and you’re thinking about what your wedding will cost, it can be really helpful to read a real wedding budget breakdown. I’ve previously written a complete guide to your wedding budget, where you can also see more typical wedding budget breakdowns, but this post is predominantly to share my actual wedding budget. I hope this will help you to see how different an actual wedding budget often looks from what is considered an ‘average’ wedding budget.
While the “average” cost of a wedding in New Zealand and Australia is commonly cited as $35,000, this figure can be misleading. How each couple will spend their budget is also a very personal choice – for example you’ll see from ours where we prioritised.
This is my very personal wedding budget breakdown. If you’ve been following She Said Yes a while, you’ll know our wedding well. If not, you could have a look at our wedding photos, and I’ll briefly summarise.
Perspective: An Overview of Our Wedding
On 20 February 2016 we were married in Coromandel, New Zealand at a private home which we hired for the weekend, with a guest list of 75. Renting the property for the weekend was very expensive (see below) but it included accommodation for many of our closest family and friends who had travelled a long way to be with us.
Because the wedding venue was a private home, we had to hire absolutely everything necessary to create our dream day – which really added to the cost (i.e. what you save on BYO beverages, you more than make up for in hiring wine glasses). We chose not to hire a marquee, as we loved the venue in its natural state, and managed to tightly squeeze the 75 guests into the main dining room instead.
I spent a lot on my dress, around $10,000 NZD, but it was worth it in the end, and by adjusting our spending elsewhere, we were able to afford it.
The Wedding Budget Breakdown
You can click to zoom in, have a look around, and see where my wedding budget got totally blown out.
N.B. I have excluded the costs of gifts to each other, and our honeymoon, from the totals.
Wedding Budget: Splurge or Save?
As you’ll see, hireage of the wedding venue itself was $10,000 in New Zealand Dollars (around $9,400 Australia, $7,000 USD), which made up a huge portion of our total wedding budget. We didn’t hire a marquee, so we saved a few thousand there, but a lot of money went to the hire of all the other little things we needed to build our venue from scratch.
We set a few priorities in our budget, as I suggest you do, and spent a lot on the dress, the photographers, and having lots of food and drink catering (canapes in the afternoon, a large shared-style feasting dinner, dessert tables, wedding cake and pizzas late in the night). However, there were also areas we chose to forego entirely, and saved a lot on those things, such as a videographer and transport. We were able to do full BYO beverages at our venue, and because I decided to use a special ring I already had as my wedding ring, only had to purchase Blair’s, so there were many areas where we didn’t spend anything.
We don’t regret our Wedding Budget, but you don’t need to spend that much
Some people will say that is a horrendous amount of money to spend on one day, but it was actually five days, including accommodation for our family who travelled around the world to be with us. We have zero regrets, but I also would never suggest that you spend $50,000 on your wedding, I’m just sharing this so that you can see how a lot of very small things can add up to one very large sum.
For some, the wedding of their dreams will also be at a huge cost, but there are also so many ways of planning a wedding to meet whatever budget you are working with, and I hope you won’t feel any pressure to spend a certain amount.
The photos of our wedding budget featured are from the little white book, or you may wish to use an wedding spreadsheet like the one I sell both on its own ($17), or as part of the little white wedding planning pack ($45) or the bundle with the little white book ($100 total).
If you don’t need any further help with your wedding budget, head to the wedding planning index.