I’m getting married in two weeks. Which is to say, I’m a stressed-out Bridezilla with serious cash-flow problems.

Jessica didn't want to spoil the surprise of her own dress, so we made her put on this one instead. Thanks to DJs… Picture: Nic Gibson

A dear friend tried to warn me I couldn’t escape without paying around $40,000 for a wedding. I refused to believe her. “I’m an economist,” I insisted. “I’m not going to spend the equivalent of a 10 per cent deposit on a first home on just one day!”

Well, mea culpa. Our big day is shaping up to set us back about $37,500. Yes, it’s ridiculous. But no, I’m not alone.

According to Bride to Be magazine’s 2010 “Cost of Love” survey, the average wedding in Australia is now setting couples back $29,966 for the big day, plus $7,194 for engagement rings and wedding bands, $7,105 for the honeymoon and $4031 in pre-wedding parties, for a grand total of $48,296 per “I do”.

The biggest cost for most is the reception food and booze, coming in at $10,701. For the average Australian wedding with 96 guests, that’s $111 to wine and dine each person.

The second biggest cost of the day is photography and videography, with couples paying $4234 to capture the memories that last a lifetime.

The third biggest cost is $4043 to deck out the bridal party.

That’s more than the $3,030 the Bride and Groom will collectively spend on their own attire. The actual ceremony, including celebrant, sets couples back $1340. Flowers remain a significant cost at $919, followed by transport $907, music $861, bonbonniere $747 and hair and makeup $764.

I had hoped having an economics degree would assist in the wedding budgeting department.

In fact, economics teaches you to ignore sunk costs money already committed and think “at the margin”. Is that extra flower/necklace/hair trial worth what you are going to pay for it? Unfortunately, when it comes to THE BIG DAY, the propensity to keep spending is pretty high.

Truth is, when it comes to weddings, couples will spend as much as we can. As incomes have risen, so to have the cost of weddings. Over the decade the cost of a wedding has risen at three times the pace of general price inflation.

Couples are waiting longer to get married, meaning we have jobs, disposable income and greater savings to blow on that one special day.

Demand for weddings is also relatively “inelastic”  meaning our demand for them is not much affected by rising prices.

On the supply side, the wedding supplies market is a competitive one, consisting of many small suppliers. It is becoming more competitive with online shipping and cheap imports.

But brides still incur a substantial “wedding penalty”. The cost of wine, flowers and food have a way of doubling upon mention of a wedding.

I have, however, discovered some money-saving strategies.

First of all, we skipped the engagement party to focus funds on the main event.

I bought my dress off the rack although I still paid $895 plus $140 to have it tailored.

We’re doing our own flowers. Mum and I will go to the flower markets the day before the wedding to do all the centrepieces, bouquets and boutonniere.

We’re skipping the cake, because, really, who needs diabetes?

We made our own invitations, costing just $320 for stationary and postage.

A talented friend is doing our photography at mates’ rates.

My four bridesmaids will wear mismatched dresses that suit their body shape. One will recycle a dress of her own. Another will wear a $1200 dress we nabbed at the sales for $100. Another will sport a $25 second-hand bridesmaids dress from an op-shop!

The groomsmen and groom will wear their own suits.

I bought my petticoat online from a wholesaler in China for $25 versus the $200 you’d pay in store.

I ordered our bonbonniere metal bookmarks embossed with our initials without mentioning they were for a wedding.

A friend’s father will drive me to the ceremony in his sky-blue 1960s Ford Mustang.

But don’t worry; I am quite capable of making ridiculous decisions. A string quartet specially chosen for their ability to play Lionel Richie love songs - will set us back $1100. And somehow in my bridal haze I managed to approve $120 for four large scatter cushions for the venue.

But all is not lost.

The economist in me has a money saving tip that may yet save the day.

Instead of gifts, we have asked guests to bring cold, hard cash.

Not everyone is keen. It’s rude, after all, to ask for gifts, let alone cash.

But economics tells us cash is the best gift you can give. It is the most efficient way to ensure couples can buy what they need.

And really, what most couples need is a way to offset the spiralling cost of weddings. Any cash gifts will reduce the net cost of the big day.

And there may be a silver lining to this wedding cash splash. Economics teaches that people respond to incentives, particularly monetary ones. Expensive weddings increase the financial threshold for getting married, forcing couples to consider more carefully their choice of spouse. Divorce rates are falling.

It’s just too expensive to do this more than once.

Average number of guests at an Australian wedding.

Average reception cost for food and booze.

Average spent on bridal party clothes and accessories

Average spent to clothe the bride and groom

Average spend on photography and videography

Average that couples spend on flowers
Average spent on transport

Average spent on the cake.

Average that couples will spend on their honeymoon

Jessica Irvine is News Limited’s National Economics Editor

Email: jessica.irvine@news.com.au Twitter: @Jess Irvine

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEST.

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    • ronny jonny says:

      08:14am | 19/11/12

      That is obscene. For many people that is a years wages. Spend what you like, it’s your money but don’t whinge about it. A wedding can be achieved for very little cash indeed but if your upbringing/lifestyle/expectations force you to blow such a ridiculous amount of money on your wedding go for it but don’t make out that it’s normal.

    • John says:

      08:32am | 19/11/12

      Just about sums it all up.

    • Borderer says:

      08:52am | 19/11/12

      She forgot to add in the cost of rings….. hello diamonds…..

      My wedding, including the honeymoon and rings, under 20k, mum actually decorates wedding cakes for extra cash and an aunt is a florist but other than that, full price.
      Tips are first to shop around, prices vary enormously.
      Having the rings made rather than buy retail, difference runs in the thousands.
      Make your own invitations pulls back a few pineapples, places supply you all the materials, it’s still not cheap, just cheaper.
      Have a bar tab rather than unlimited drinks per person, do not have wine on the tables, or even table service in some cases, unlimited drinks can make your reception very messy and even ruin your night. Making people actually get off the backsides to get a drink reduces the quantity consumed without anyone complaining about a lack. Oh and beer, wine and softdrinks on the tab only.

    • Mahhrat says:

      08:53am | 19/11/12

      Well said, Ronny.

      I’m getting married in March, and we’ll be away for about $5000, depending on what I spend on a suit I’ve always wanted and am using the wedding to finally procure.

      Our “reception” is at a cocktail bar with 100 mates, catered and completely informal. 

      Venue costs are nothing, because the owner is more than happy to have 100 people celebrating in his bar - even on a Saturday!  Family & Friends are asked not to buy presents or have that ultra-distasteful “well” but to instead just buy their own drinks.

      We should be able to arrange great hot and cold cocktail food selection for about $30 a head.  Given it’ll be local Tasmanian produce, it’ll be super bloody tasty.

      The wedding itself will be an intensely private affair and a celebration of our love taken in the great outdoors. 

      IMHO a wedding is “PERFECT” because of the people in it, not because of one’s conspicuous consumption.  A reception is about thanking friends and family for being awesome, not showing them how far beyond our means we can live.

    • ronny jonny says:

      09:07am | 19/11/12

      @Mahrat, that sounds like it is going to be a cracker of a wedding reception, any chance of an invite? If you get a bit creative with your choice of venue and aren’t afraid to wheel and deal a bit you can get great results for a fair price. Just because someone says a bunch of flowers costs $200 doesn’t mean you can’t find a more realistic price.
      Good luck and congratulations.

    • Tubesteak says:

      11:04am | 19/11/12

      Agree with this.

      Any woman that wouldn’t get married at the local court with a witness in her best frock (that she can wear anywhere else) with maybe a backyard BYO BBQ after that is not wife material.

      I don’t see much point in marriage as it is now utterly meaningless. But there is no way I would marry a woman that needed some great big ceremony no doubt labelled as “her day”....

    • Meh says:

      12:53pm | 19/11/12

      Why care what her weddings costs? Not your money. You can trim or fatten as per your own tastes, but if you cater a party for 80 to 100 people you are going to have a large drain on the cash.

      I never really thought the honeymoon as part of the wedding costs, it is just a big holiday. You will probably have about a half dozen Big Holidays in your life where you are prepared to spend up a bit and enjoy some great things (like a 50th in Paris or a Round Oz road trip to celebrate retirement).

      I hate cash / wishing wells for wedding gifts, way too tacky. 4 (noteably short) paragraphs on it was a real turn off for the article.

    • morrgo says:

      08:19am | 19/11/12

      Presumably, people only spend that ridiculous amount on their FIRST wedding.

    • John says:

      08:21am | 19/11/12

      What a waste of money. There’s simply no rational argument for spending all of that coin on one day. It’s not an expression of love. It’s an expression of conformism and the limitless ability of scam artists to fool the gullible into handing over their money for nothing of value in return.

    • Haxton Waag says:

      08:34am | 19/11/12


      I think it has a lot to do with status, too.

    • John says:

      08:51am | 19/11/12

      @ Haxton Waag

      Not a lot of status in telling the world “look at me waste all this money”.  Even worse, some of the most expensive weddings are also some of the most tacky, tasteless affairs imaginable. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a nice, tasteful wedding. And you can spend a huge amount and have a wedding that is anything but tasteful.

    • Haxton Waag says:

      09:06am | 19/11/12


      Good points.

    • Markus says:

      09:23am | 19/11/12

      @John, it is status among their circle of friends/relatives/hangers-on.

      One person’s tacky and tasteless is another’s grand extravagant ‘expression of love’.

    • Elphaba says:

      08:23am | 19/11/12

      Hope your day is fantastic Jess, good luck. smile

      I was bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding.  It was great fun.  It did set me back over $500 for the privilege, but I got an $800 tax return, so I came out a little in front.

      The big wedding is not something I would do, not necessarily because of the money, but because I’d probably give myself a stroke from the stress of planning it.  If someone did all the legwork and coughed up the coin, that’d be fine.  Instead, since that’s unlikely, if I ever take the plunge, I’ll be doing it on the cheap in my parent’s backyard.

    • AdamC says:

      08:48am | 19/11/12

      Elphaba, your comment has made me feel bad for not including some best wishes for the bride/author. I wish you the best for the day, too, Jessica!

      (As, I am sure, do your other readers here.)

      Anyway, on your point about big weddings, I agree. The best way to cut the budget for a wedding is to cut the numbers attending. That, or you could just have a little ceremony outdoors and have all your friends over for nice BBQ with nibbles and champagne.

      That is basically what my folks did in the late 1970s, when the feminist doctrine of the time condemned ‘white weddings’ (which seem to be what we in the 21st century refer to merely as ‘weddings’) were regarded as horribly sexist and counter-revolutionary.

    • Elphaba says:

      09:04am | 19/11/12

      @AdamC, I nearly fainted walking up the aisle at my friend’s wedding.  I was terrified I was going to trip in my strappy shoes and be lying face-first on the ground in God’s house with my knickers showing.

      It’s not for me.  If I wasn’t planning for it, and wasn’t paying for it, I’d let whoever wanted to take over just do it, and I’d show up.  But I’m not doing that for myself.  Hopefully, whoever I marry will feel the same way about a small, no-frills ceremony, donations to charity in lieu of gifts, and a loooooog holiday. smile

    • Mouse says:

      02:32pm | 19/11/12

      Hey Elph, I am so glad you survived being a bridesmaid!  lol   I was wondering how it went and it is great that you had a lovely day.  I will say though, the pic of you falling over and showing your knickers did make me chuckle. I am glad that didn’t happen btw!  lol
      I agree, a simple but meaningful ceremony, BBQ out the back, music and laughter, throw friends in the pool, then the honeymoon.  What’s not to like about that?  :o)

    • Elphaba says:

      02:43pm | 19/11/12

      @Mouse, thanks.  It was a lovely day.  And, contrary to all that is proper, we bridemaids looked hot!  smile

      My shoes didn’t quite fir properly and the straps kept falling down. Had I been wearing something different, I would have been ok.  All I could hear in my head as I went up the aisle was “Don’t trip, don’t trip…” wink

    • acotrel says:

      08:24am | 19/11/12

      Don’t be stressed out about money on your wedding day.  Start as you intend to continue, and just lie back and think of England.

    • marley says:

      08:40am | 19/11/12

      If the guy isn’t good enough to at least make you think of Italy, cancel the wedding.

    • Bear says:

      11:16am | 19/11/12

      Never got why people say to think of royalty, bad weather and soggy fish and chips and mushy peas.

    • TrueOz says:

      08:24am | 19/11/12

      “Divorce rates are falling. It’s just too expensive to do this more than once.”

      ...and if you think wedding is expensive - wait for he divorce. You’ll spend as much as you spent on the wedding just in legal fees.!

      Sorry to sound cynical. Hope it’s a great day and a happy marriage. grin

    • Achmed says:

      08:25am | 19/11/12

      I’m not going to give my daughter and husband $40,000 for a wedding.  House deposit?  Yes.

      Guests won’t need to buy them presents,  gone are the days when people all chipped in the buy fridges, washing machines etc.  The guests will be sent a set menu, choice of 3 entree, 3 main, 3 dessert, they will then pay for the meal they choose.  Cold hard cash will cover the booze.

      The idea of a honeymoon is antiquated and outlived its purpose. Its now just become about one-up-manship.  My honeymoon was bigger/better/more expensive than yours.

      Backyard barbie with your firends and family…...none of this 3rd cousin twice removed invited just so the Aunt you see every 2 years will not be offended….

    • Michael says:

      08:46am | 19/11/12

      That’s great…what about what your Daughter and your Son in law? do they get a say? smile

    • AdamC says:

      08:27am | 19/11/12

      I used to be a bit cynical about weddings. But, having fallen in love myself, I can see why couples invest so much in them. (Sadly for my boyfriend and I, a wedding is out of the question in the short term unless Julia has some sort of epiphany.)

      My boyfriend’s younger sister has just become engaged to a nice young fellow. We went with them to check out a proposed venue. They seem pretty level-headed about it. However, as your article notes, the main expense is simply catering a function for 100+ people. (A budget of 100-120 a head hardly seems extravagant for three courses and drinks.) A lot of this guff about wedding costs is therefore a little over-hyped.

      Also, including engagement parties and honeymoons in the total cost of a wedding seems to be a misuse of statistics.

    • John says:

      08:43am | 19/11/12

      Why is it necessary to feed and water 100+ people? Who really has that many friends and relatives that they want to invite to their wedding? The reason so many people get invited is because of the logic “if we invite cousin A, we’ll have to invite cousin B”. Before you know it, there’s $30K down the drain on the catering alone. All of that money so as not to offend people you never see, don’t care about and who probably don’t want to go to the wedding in the first place, and only accept the invitation so as not to offend you.

      Big weddings are lose-lose deals.

    • Markus says:

      09:08am | 19/11/12

      Don’t see how the government not legally recognising your marriage prevents you from having a wedding.

      If it’s supposed to be an expression of love, who gives a crap what the government thinks. Nobody likes them anyway.

    • Von says:

      11:03am | 19/11/12

      “Also, including engagement parties and honeymoons in the total cost of a wedding seems to be a misuse of statistics. ” - Totally agree with this point. The wedding is the “wedding”, why include all the other stuff? To me the wedding budget has the wedding budget, the honeymoon budget has the honeymoon budget, the engagement party has the engagement party budget and the engagement ring is the soon-to-be groom’s responsibility wink
      Whenever anyone quotes their so called “cheap” wedding on blogs and replies, they never include all this stuff!

    • Matthew says:

      11:15am | 19/11/12

      Markus, he should have the same rights as everyone else before him to be miserable for the rest of his life.

      Upon saying that, why is it only Julia’s fault?  She doesn’t make the law by herself and she’s also not the first prime minister of Australia so you could argue that it’s all politicians of this country since it’s birth.

      Also, since they represent the people then it’s the fault of the voters for voting them in.

      Most importantly, this whole article proves why weddings are something you don’t really want.  Homosexual couples should see they have one big legal loophole that stops them spending $40k+.

    • Lill says:

      01:22pm | 19/11/12

      I have 25 close family members alone, parents, siblings, aunts and uncles. That’s not including one single cousin even though I love them all very much. My family is large and very close. That plus 15 from my partners side means 40 already, without a single friend or cousin attending from either side. It’s very easy to get 100 people at a wedding. My little sister is about to attempt it. God knows how she’s going to afford it,

    • Haxton Waag says:

      08:31am | 19/11/12

      Our wedding cost less than $100. We both dressed in jeans. We went to the local council office in Switzerland, paid the fee, then the town clerk got two witnesses from the office staff and read the necessary text. I did not understand much of it, just agreed whenever he looked at me. There was something about taking care of the children. The town clerk’s head kind of wagged a bit while he was reading. He was a gentle bloke. We presented them with a bottle of wine, thanked them, then went for a bush walk. In the evening we ate a meal at home, based on potatoes and melted cheese (Raclette). Then we went to bed and made love. An unforgettable day.

    • Hopium says:

      08:31am | 19/11/12

      That’s a heck of a budget.
      3 years ago, hubby and I were married on a budget of $7K. I had about 120 people too.
      Here’s a few tips for weddingers:
      1. Friends as photographers. You’d be amazed how many people love photography. Free! I had 4 friends asking to do it…
      2. Ebay. Awww yeah. Just don’t go for white. Silver is a great option.
      3. Seriously, do your own makeup. Unless you suck at makeup.
      4. Say “formal” at the hairdressers and stick to a simple style.
      5. Women have their own dresses. Mine wore black. I made a wrap for them.
      6. Crockery is a crock. I bulk ordered compostable plates, cutlery & cups. They were awesome.
      7. Slushees. ‘nuff said. Oh, and finger foods. We had so much food for about 30 pp. I also had a table with gorgeous silver settings (from my family’s collections) filled with LOLLIES! So. Much. Fun.
      8. Laptop as DJ. Combine slushees and pure vintage magic and we were dancing all night.
      9. Council hall until midnight or so. Warringah Council has beautiful halls and settings. Cheap too! Although you have to clean. But we even had fun doing that.
      10. Wedding dressed in Aus are way overpriced. I looked at one for 2K that was basically polyester. Instead I found a lady in the US who made one for me of silk & silk organdy. Very different but gorgeous.
      11. http://www.offbeatbride.com

      Depends on your priorities. Mine was to buy a home. Hubby was more than happy with that! My friends, plus my mum’s still ask us where we got everything…

      So I don’t buy this “spiralling cost” thing. It is YOUR choice to spend the money. Not my responsibility to pay for it.

      By the way, we didn’t ask for prezzies. Or money.

    • Mahhrat says:

      08:58am | 19/11/12

      I love the lolly idea.  Did you just get selections of nice stuff, or packet things or what?  I can imagine that getting very expensive very fast if you’re not careful!

    • Hopium says:

      09:45am | 19/11/12

      I got awesome stuff! Bought it all online. Even had a bouquet of lollipops. It was all serve yourself - had some baggies off to the side. Hell for diabetics. You just need to shop around.

      I just had to be very careful with the budget. Who needs a dessert when there are scrumptious cupcakes and lollies galore!

      I think there are photos up on the web somewhere…

    • Pattem says:

      04:19pm | 19/11/12

      @ Hopium, totally agree with point 1.  Most people should have at least one friend who is good with a camera.

      A tip I would suggest is: BORROW what you can.  My wife borrowed her gown.  We borrowed bali flags from a bunting friend.  Borrowed a pianist friend for the ceremony.  Borrowed a wedding planner (we reciprocated for her wedding).  Borrowed photographer friends.  Borrowed a Pastor friend (gifted fee).  Borrowed a chapel and school grounds - my old school (gifted fee).

      Another tip: exploit what skills are around you.  My wife used to be a florist, so she and her family did the flowers.  Same for make-up and hair.

      People (certainly in our social circle), were more than happy to avail themselves of their time and skills, and they were all on the ceremony and reception invite lists.

      We also went alcohol free (other than toasting champagne), which made our day UN-forgettable (ie., no hangover memory loss).

      Honeymoon (no chance), we spent the week after the wedding hosting and acting as tour guide to my wife’s Hong Kong family.  Best time ever!

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      08:32am | 19/11/12

      Rubbish, flights to Las Vegas for two are only $3000, Hotel and Honeymoon about another $3000. Being married by an Elvis impersonator an extra $100

    • Haxton Waag says:

      08:33am | 19/11/12

      P.S.: Neither of us like rings, so we didn’t bother.

    • mrd1980 says:

      08:35am | 19/11/12

      This article displays the quintessential “Sydney” mentality: my story, no matter how mundane, no matter how completely uninteresting it is to anyone not directly involved, no matter how badly it reflects upon my judgement, no matter how selfish and shallow it makes me appear, *deserves* to be told.

    • shinydonkey says:

      10:59am | 19/11/12

      no less than that barbed-wire sperm thing on the SBS ad

    • Economist says:

      08:41am | 19/11/12

      Firstly Congratulations. Secondly, if that’s your dress you better hope hubby to be doesn’t read your articles. Thirdly, $37500? them bitches be crazzzy! Fourthly clearly we need the obligatory statement, kids today ......... !

      Like Hopium I could give you tips, but you’re already going through with it. Suffice as to say do it interstate or overseas to limit guest numbers.

    • gobsmack says:

      08:43am | 19/11/12

      Is this article just an excuse to tell everyone you’re getting married in 2 weeks?

      A “tips on how to save money on your wedding” article would probably be better placed in New Idea.

    • Fabzonomist says:

      01:05pm | 19/11/12

      As a budding young economist, I was excited to see The Punch bring in an Economics Editor to discuss current issues in a ‘Punch’ sort of way. Unfortunately following 2-3 decent articles her articles have devolved to merely giving namesake to the analytical field I am passionate about. As you suggest gobsmack this piece has nothing to do with economics, and should be put in a trashy mag. Throwing economic terminology does not turn this into an economic article, merely confuse those who don’t understand them, and insults those who do. This piece could have been about the economics of marriage, and what they mean in the 21st century and the institutions of yesteryear.

      Sulky sally comment aside, best of luck on your wedding day.

    • Ladyjane says:

      08:51am | 19/11/12

      I hope your marriage is a long and happy one.

      Re the cost of weddings, people pay that much because they choose to. How many of those have ‘buyers remorse’ when they file for divorce five years later while still paying off the wedding? I understand wanting to have a great day, but does a ‘great day’ really necessitate a destination wedding at a resort or $1000 for flowers?  I remember going to an acquaintance’s house to look at her beautifully bound and presented very expensive wedding albums from that also super-expensive nothing-but-the-best wedding. The marriage lasted six years. Priority should be on building the relationship, not having imported orchids as table centrepieces.

    • Luca Brasi says:

      08:56am | 19/11/12

      Congratulations to the happy couple. May their first child be a masculine child.

    • daniel says:

      09:01am | 19/11/12

      Why not look at the costs of a wedding over the course of your marriage. For example, if you’re married for 40 years and your wedding cost $45,000, the cost of your marriage per year is $1,125. Similarly, if you’re married for 10 years and your wedding cost $45,000, the cost of your marriage per year is $4,500. At least this covers up the furore over the initial costs ... and gives you an opportunity ‘at the end’ from a economic point of view to assess whether the wedding was worth the money.

    • morrgo says:

      09:15am | 19/11/12

      daniel is clearly not an economist.  Simply averaging an initial sum over a long time period, and taking no account of the opportunity cost of the ‘investment’  are the work of a dilettante.  Besides, what is the median duration of marriages?

    • daniel says:

      09:37am | 19/11/12


      I thought the “at least this covers up the furore over the initial costs ... and gives you an opportunity ‘at the end’ from a economic point of view to assess whether the wedding was worth the money” would’ve given the comment away. Tongue-in-cheek?

    • Haxton Waag says:

      09:05am | 19/11/12

      Just had a thought. If an economist can’t help herself reduce the cost of her own marriage, maybe that explains why economists can’t help the world manage its money either. None of them prevented the Great Depression, the GFC, or any of the other fiscal problems of the last century. What are they for, anyway?

    • St. Michael says:

      11:10am | 19/11/12

      “None of them prevented the Great Depression, the GFC, or any of the other fiscal problems of the last century.”

      So let me get this straight: when a storm hits your house and tears it to pieces, you blame the hot-looking weather forecaster on Seven or Nine for it? Literally a hundred economists wrote an open letter to Hoover begging him to veto the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.  It didn’t stop the idiot signing it.  And plenty of economists were predicting the GFC, too.  Didn’t stop the regulators or the ratings agencies ignoring it, either.

    • Haxton Waag says:

      12:16pm | 19/11/12

      @St. Michael

      Thank you. I am now better instructed on the role of economists. I do not suppose it would help to have more in government, regulatory roles, or ratings agencies, though. These entities have presumably nothing to gain and much to lose by predicting disaster. Unless there is another explanation for their lack of action.

    • youdy beaudy says:

      09:09am | 19/11/12

      Well Jessica. What a beautiful photo of you in your wedding gown. Your future husband is a lucky man and i’m sure you will make a nice couple together.

      Weddings are sure expensive these days and i see that your article talks about budget cuts which is a good idea.

      I suppose it is good to have a very large expensive wedding if one has the money to spare but otherwise maybe a celebrant in a lovely park would be cost effective and a smorgasboard luncheon afterwards. Any money saved could be put towards a house deposit or some other good thing. But, if a couple employ a professional wedding place to do the job then the costs go up radically. I suppose there is a lot of preparation for them with staff costs etc and that’s why it is so expensive.

      Anyway, you will work out the most economical way i am sure. Best wishes to you both on your special day. And it is a special one, one you will remember and refer to later and tell the kids that come along. Good luck with that.!

    • Kev says:

      09:13am | 19/11/12

      Being of Asian decent I laughed at the part when you said “Average Australian wedding of 96 guests”. I’ve never been to an Asian wedding that had less than 200 guests and the biggest from memory was approaching 1000 guests.

    • Ben C says:

      10:46am | 19/11/12

      200 guests at an Asian wedding is considered “small and intimate”.

    • Kev says:

      11:04am | 19/11/12

      Ben C - Haha and 96 guests is considered a weekend get together. That said I have had relatives who spent a small fortune on their wedding only to regret it in hindsight. The 30k or 40k that was spent could easily have gone to a house deposit.

    • Anthony Sharwood says:

      09:14am | 19/11/12

      We did our wedding 10 years ago for about $6k. 2k on booze, 1.5k on food and 1.5k on clothes. Reception in Mum’s garden and ceremony in our local church. Was a summer wedding, so we honeymooned in a special city where we ate in a different restaurant each night and swam at a different beach each day. Flat water or surf, depending on the mood. Hint: it wasn’t Melbourne

    • Steve says:

      09:23am | 19/11/12

      Skipping the cake is a good idea- it has no purpose.
      Why do you need 4 friends to stand next to you during the ceremony?
      Why are you giving bonbonierie? Wasted money- Noone cares and 90% of ppl won’t notice if it’s not there.
      We spent $17.5k in 2004 including engagement ring and my Patek Phillipe watch (why should women get a $$ engagement trinket but not men?), for 70 ppl at a Hunter winery and a week’s honeymoon in Thailand. No bridesmaids, cake, cars, chair covers, and all the other $ crap that no one notices anyway.
      We dd drop $3k on a 12-piece swing band though that made the reception a huge party.
      7 years later people STILL tell us how much fun it was. All the other cookie-cutter weddings and their cakes and bonbonierie have blurred together into boring sameness. Shows that you don’t have to spend $$$ to still have a lovely classy fun wedding.
      I’m surprised Jess- economists should be more calculating than to do things jut because that’s the way other people do them.

    • Banker says:

      10:58am | 19/11/12

      Unfortunately any Patek that can be bought for less than $45k I would consider comparable to a swatch.

    • Rossco says:

      09:28am | 19/11/12

      40 G’s on a wedding? You have to be kidding me. My bro did a cheapie at a public park, reception at the local golf club. it was a relaxed casual affair that was actually about ten times better than the pretentious expensive wedding my cousin had done the earlier month. A friend at work had an engagement party that turned into a surprise wedding, which I thought was a good cost saving and fun idea!

    • Daz says:

      09:46am | 19/11/12

      $40,000 just shows you where the priorities of this current generation lie. All show no go probably sums them up. Someone needs to give them a good lesson in responsibility and wealth creation. Well I guess while you’re renting you’ll have pretty images of your expensive wedding to dream about.

    • Daz says:

      10:00am | 19/11/12

      Then they spend $100,000 to get divorced. What a joke!

    • George says:

      10:28am | 19/11/12

      Tell that to the women. I don’t think the guys are into it. I’m certainly not. Imagine if you spent $40k on apple shares 10 years ago, makes me want to cry.

      I really doubt that most people have 100-200 “friends” that really care about them.

    • sami says:

      04:06pm | 19/11/12

      You old people sure are judgemental jerks!

      That was sarcasm, by the way. I know that not all of our more senior population judge the ‘kids of today’ as being all the same, just as not all of us young ‘uns want to drop $40k on a wedding. I’m in my 20s and I find that a ridiculous waste. Oh and I’m a woman! I just blew your minds didn’t I?

      As you were.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      09:55am | 19/11/12

      “The second biggest cost of the day is photography and videography, with couples paying $4234 to capture the memories that last a lifetime.”

      “Professional” photographers are little more then thieves in my book. They over charge then steal your memories unless you buy them through them at rip off prices. I can’t understand how they can legally hold onto the rights to the photo’s you commission them to take of your day.

      Cars are another one. When one of my mates was getting married we were looking for cars for the bridal party. So we did a test. He rang up and asked for a quote for cars for the wedding day then I rang and ask for cars for a general event. The price for the wedding car, for the very same car, was 3 times the price for a general event. It amazes me the level of thievery in the wedding business.

    • Bethany says:

      11:30am | 19/11/12

      Regarding the photographer’ rights to the images, this is usually open to negotiation. Most photographers are happy to provide you with a DVD of the high-res images for a small extra charge, which you can use for non-commercial purposes. Alternatively, you can negotiate other options, such as a creative commons licence. If the photographer won’t come to the party, find one who will. The offbeat bride site, which was cited above, has a good article on this very subject.

    • Al says:

      11:51am | 19/11/12

      Expat Ozzie - you may need to have a look into the copyright laws.
      When you engage a professional photographer you are engaging their services to take the photos and edit them.
      If you want to but the copyright for the photos then you can, but it will cost you. Otherwise the copyright for the photos belongs to the photographer. This means if you want additional prints you have to buy them from the photographer or risk being in breach of copyright and if they choose they can sell them to anyone else they choose.
      So you either purchase the copyright or you don’t actualy own the original image and they can do what they like with it. It isn’t a rip off, it is protecting their product and income stream. The same as if you hire somone to video, unless you purchase the copyright then any copy you make would be breaching the copyright of the filmer.
      If you don’t want these issues, don’t hire a professional, but don’t expect the same quality.
      BTW - do you have ANY idea of how long it takes for the editing of photos for a wedding, even basic packages can take a full week or more of solid work, editing, touch ups etc etc. I think they deserve to be paid for that don’t you?

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      12:23pm | 19/11/12

      @Bethany: Yes some are open to negotiation however I’ve come across a few that are quite frankly rude about the entire issue. As far as I’m concerned if they are commissioned to do a shoot then those that pay them to do such own the photo’s, period. Do Ford still own your car even though you payed them your hard earned to buy the product from them.

      As far as finding photographers that don’t keep the rights to your photo’s I have a very good one that does just that. He has gained quite a few extra clients though my recommendations over the years.

      @Al: Yes I’ve heard that argument many times over the years but it just doesn’t wash with me. In my opinion when you engage the photographer you shouldn’t have to give up the copyright of the images to them at all. You are commissioning them to to take the photographs and provide a product, i.e the finished photo’s. You should be not granting them right to hold you to ransom for the items you own.

      “If you want to but the copyright for the photos then you can, but it will cost you.”

      Yes often an exorbitant amount.

      “It isn’t a rip off, it is protecting their product and income stream.”

      It is a rip off. People should be allowed to choose who prints their photo’s. From my perspective some of the clauses I’ve seen in photographers contract amount to little more then black mail. I feel the same on many other fronts where business are trying to force consumers into a “walled garden” so they can milk the consumer for all their worth, Apple comes to mind along with a few car companies.

      Al, I just don’t agree with you on this. Just because the copyright law is written in such a way that greedy photographs take advantage doesn’t make it right.

      “I think they deserve to be paid for that don’t you? “

      I think they should be payed for it, yes. I just don’t think they have the right to withhold items people have commissioned them for in good faith.

    • Al says:

      01:17pm | 19/11/12

      Expat Ozzie - you realy don’t seem to get it.
      You are not hiring them to provide you with the negatives/image.
      You are hiring them for the service of taking the photos, the printing and editing of said photos etc.
      Your argument could just as easily be used to say:
      I purchased this DVD of this movie, as such I own the movie and should be able to make copies and sell them on to whoever I want.
      Not legal and not fair to the people who do the work right?

      As for “I just don’t think they have the right to withhold items people have commissioned them for in good faith.” the photographer isn’t, if the customer is willing to pay for them they will happily give you prints of every photo they have taken, which is what they have been commisioned for, not the provision of the original images.
      You may not like it, but that is the law. If you want it changed then seek and petition to do so, don’t just label people as greedy for doing exactly what they are entitled to do under the law.

    • Ben C says:

      02:19pm | 19/11/12

      @ Al

      Does the photographer own the copyright though? If we take the movie analogy, the production company, who owns the rights to the rights to the movie, hires a studio to do the recording. If we replace the production company with “bride and groom”, and studio with “photographer”, would that not fit?

      That’s the way I see it, has there been a court case or specific ruling stating this or otherwise?

    • Al says:

      03:56pm | 19/11/12

      Ben C -  re: “The production company, who owns the rights to the rights to the movie, hires a studio to do the recording.”
      Correct, but you will find that every contract that a production company sets out with the studio will actualy stipulate that they are the owners of the copyright and that the studio/cameraman etc forfit any claim to said copyright.
      Their have been cases regarding photographers, but usualy just when someone is using their property for commercial gain, the vast majority don’t realy care too much about someone copying when they aren’t making money from it, it also comes down to being aware of the breach of copyright.
      It is also the reason many photographers don’t put too many of their images up on the web without security that is difficult to remove or behind a paywall as once it is published by them and freely available they can’t later claim breach of copyright if someone uses it.
      If your asking for specific cases, I don’t have specific ones, I do know of at least one as a relative of mine was involved (and won the copyright infringement).
      People getting wedding photos could seek the same type of contract, but most photographers would then charge a higher price or simply refuse the job.

    • Anjuli says:

      10:07am | 19/11/12

      My daughters wedding was held on a friends property it had an alfresco kitchen , which a home caterer came served a range of roasts and cold meals with salads or hot veggies for about 60 guests which were delicious. the wine and beer had been collected over the previous year when they came on special . The bride wore a simple bridal gown bought in a sale the groom wore his kilt ensemble which he already had,they were married in Kings Park led to the ceremony by a piper. total cost around $5000.That was 12 years ago things were cheaper though people then were spending $30,000 even then,a total waste of money.
      The school gradation ball is going the same way ,girls spending $1000’s on dresses by one report in the paper, rolling up in limousines that, I know about ,what happened to just having the celebration for the end of high school years in the dressed up school gym. Keeping up with the Jones is very expensive indeed,I just can’t see the point of it all maybe being brought up to make every penny count makes all the difference I would not be able to justify the cost. I was married in my local church with just family present had cake and a meal at home because we had used all our money for a $100 deposit on our first home a one bedroom cottage that was 60 years ago.Priorities are certainly different now.

    • lingo says:

      10:27am | 19/11/12

      Here’s me thinking our economy was off to hell in a handbasket…

    • EC says:

      10:35am | 19/11/12

      It’s a pity to see people commenting on here that it is such a waste to spend this much money on a wedding. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you spend $1 or $1,000,000 as long as you enjoy the day and are happy spending that sort of money.

      Jessica, all the best to you and your fiancé for your big day - hope it is a memorable one.

    • KimL says:

      10:39am | 19/11/12

      Congratulations I hope your day is happy and if you can afford to pay that amount..good on you. Some of the best most memorable weddings I have been to have been back yard weddings. Low in cost, high in fun.. but as long as your happy with your day doesn’t matter if its high or low cost

    • ibast says:

      10:40am | 19/11/12

      At the risk of being hung, drawn and quartered, it seems to me that any purchase where a woman is the primary decision maker tends to be expensive.  Weddings, bathrooms and kitchens are all expensive.

      It’s just something in our upbringing that women struggle with differentiating a Need form a Want.

      I’m getting married in January and it’s probably going to work out at closer to $8k.  We don’t have a wedding party, we are keeping it to 50-60 guests and we are paying less than $60/head and we are keeping the photography to a minimum.  I’m actually looking forward to the more intimate affair and I don’t want the whole day choreographed by a photographer.

      We were quoted $120+alcohol per head at one place for the reception, but that’s just ridiculous.  I paid $135 a head a few weeks ago for a full degustation menu at one of Australia’s premier restaurants.  Why would you pay almost that much for “Chicken or Beef?”

      These people need to be told to sod off more regularly and then the prices will come down.  Women Need to realise they don’t need to pay that much.

      Now I know it’s not just women.  Some men are like that too, but lets all tell them to sod off.  Any more than $10k is a ridiculous financial imposition on a newly married couple.

    • KH says:

      01:00pm | 19/11/12

      As usual, someone trying to stereotype ‘all women’ into one gimormous person that doesn’t exist.  I know many couples where if it was left to the male partner to control money, they wouldn’t own anything of any value - and those guys freely admit they are rubbish with money.  I like how you tried to redeem yourself at the end by claiming maybe a couple of men ‘are like that too’, but it doesn’t excuse the insulting generalisation towards women.

    • ibast says:

      01:51pm | 19/11/12

      Glad I pushed your buttons KH, but I’ll stick to my generalisation that purchases, where women tend to be the primary decider, are more likely to be unreasonably expensive.

    • Gregg says:

      10:52am | 19/11/12

      Congratulations Jessica and hope you have a great day.
      It seems you have been doing some trimming where you can but did they not teach you the 80/20 rule of economics and that 80/20 can apply to just about anything in life if you think about it - get to 80 and you have another 20 runs to score to get to that ton in cricket etc.

      But look, the theory is that in any event it’s likely only about 20% in number that accounts for 80% of the cost and so it’s that 20% you need to focus on.
      For starters:
      ” It’s just too expensive to do this more than once.
      Average number of guests at an Australian wedding.
      Average reception cost for food and booze. “

      I know some places charge like wounded bulls and it depends on what you want but a local restaurant even has a Xmas day lunch for only $50/h.

      Maybe a beach wedding or even getting hold of that horse from Michael Clarke would have been the go, followed by a BBQ etc.

      My wife not long back went to a catered wedding and the caterers were so disorganised they had people getting served last getting SFA and that can be not so untypical of large group catering.

      But have fun and you can always use the 80/20 approach if and when there is a second time.

    • Craig says:

      10:52am | 19/11/12

      Anyone who spends that much on a wedding either has a very large list of guests, lots of free cash, or is a poor negotiator.

      We spent about $15k on our wedding late last year - about 40% on the venue & catering, 30% on the photographer and the rest on the cake, clothes, dressings, vehicles, etc. (rings were separate as we had them handmade - about $4k)

      Our wedding was for 80 people. We bought clothes online (handmade to measure wedding dress for $670 and bridesmaid dressed for about $100 each, my suit about $800 and groomsmen bought their own as they kept them), as well as unique gifts for guests (under $10 per head) we selected a (park) venue that doesn’t charge a wedding premium & was walking distance from the (outdoor non-religious) ceremony and ran a consumption bar (far cheaper than having lots of left-over booze).

      To entertain the kids (and some adults) we set out a treasure hunt in the park - which kept them engaged for over an hour.

      DJ was a friend. Cake was through a really cheap and really good cake-maker.

      The only thing we spent too much on was the photographer, who turned out a less than excellent set of snaps & managed to offend several guests - and the wedding party - through his approach and style.

      However we have lots of great snaps from friends and have built our own wedding album alongside the ‘official’ one.

      Weddings don’t need to be expensive, and you don’t need to compromise. You simply have to be a smart shopper.

    • Dolt says:

      10:54am | 19/11/12

      The word wedding comes up and the prices triple. That’s why it’s expensive.

    • BruceS says:

      10:59am | 19/11/12

      Firstly Jessica, there have been many hearts broken today, and secondly, this is why they did not want to give women the vote in the first place. Please be gentle, I think I was joking.

    • Alex says:

      11:06am | 19/11/12

      I got married 10 years ago for less than $300. But then, my wife wasnt a demanding princess either. A few family membees, a celebrant, and a bbq.

      Spending an obscene amount of cash wont make it a wonderful wediing. Inviting 100 people you dont know or havnt spoken more then three qords to in the last three years will not make it a wonderful wedding.

      Love is free. Everything else is garish pretense and an excuse to show off to people youll never speak too again.

    • Andy says:

      11:24am | 19/11/12

      This isn’t what weddings actually cost. It’s what you choose to pay. Big difference.

    • TheRealDave says:

      11:28am | 19/11/12

      I’m guessing you aren’t on Newstart like the people in the other Punch article today?

    • MsElenath says:

      11:28am | 19/11/12

      Grats to you Jess! Though I can’t imagine needing to spend that much.

      I had 80 people attending and only that much because my parents insisted on inviting every cousin and since they were paying I didn’t fight it.

      We hired a lot of things, ebayed others. My dress was actually bought on ebay, made in China as per my measurements, sent to me (along with bridesmaid dress) for less than $400 aud for both dresses.

      And they only needed slight adjustments and received many, many compliments.

      The food was simple, but tasteful and plentiful. We spent a fair bit on cake, photographers and an MC (who was fabulous) but it was fairly simple. Wedding by the beach and reception inside the surf hall that was meters away that we decorated with white, silver, purple and lots of lillies.

      That ran up to 12k

      My parents chose to pay for it as I myself would simply have gone to a courthouse but it was a lovely event for the cost, it just involved doing things ourselves a fair bit of the time.

    • Bear says:

      11:31am | 19/11/12

      If you’re marrying a bit of a hottie I dare say you need the big day. If you’re both old fat and or ugly then yea go nuts with a backyard BBQ. Just saying…. Experience shows this to be the case.

    • Alex says:

      02:07pm | 19/11/12

      I’m sorry your experience with getting married wasn’t so great. But hey, if you love your partner, them being fat, ugly, or old shouldn’t really be an issue. It’s good to see you aren’t a shallow jerk.

    • Bear says:

      02:23pm | 19/11/12

      All I’m saying is if you’re marrying a princess you have to have a princess wedding. It’s universal law, you have no choice!

    • Steve says:

      03:18pm | 19/11/12

      Bear, you need to get out more. I’ve been to several weddings of absolutely stunning women which were very modest and relaxed affairs.
      It seems to me the more over the top ridiculous weddings are more likely to be demanded by less than stellar looking fatties, as it’s their one day to “be a princess”.

    • CC says:

      11:33am | 19/11/12

      Got married 3 weeks ago - caterers, alcohol, marqee & equipment hire, celebrant and photographer all for just under 5 grand.  40 people function.
      First Clas Functions - awesome caterers great price.  Timeline Films - awesome photos/video awesome price! Perrys hire Sunshine coast - Awesome gear, great price! Dan Murphy & Cellarmasters for the booze.  You can’t do it much cheaper than we did, but it was a hell of a lot of work to source it all and if you were time poor you could easily drop 5 grand more so you didn’t have to plan it all yourself or spend so much time chasing different sources.

    • Cath says:

      11:33am | 19/11/12

      If you’ve got it to spend, great!  In 1992 my parents gave us $3000.  From that we got a Church wedding and all sundries like cake, table decorations, programmes, music, flowers, photography and video, bonbonnieres etc, reception for 60, and honeymoon, with change left over. We unashamedly called on our own talents and arty and musical friends and relatives who were all happy to help, but paid for most stuff.  It was a fabulous day we still remember with delight.  I don’t know what $3000 is worth in today’s money, but $40,000 sounds a little excessive.  However, we did spend the next 18 years living on one teacher’s salary while we paid off a house and brought up five kids, so maybe we are just very frugal!

    • PW says:

      11:40am | 19/11/12

      My wedding in the Philippines in June this year cost no more than $2000 all up, including all the clothing and a very nice reception. Getting my son there to be best man cost nearly as much again.

      The wedding industry in Australia, like manufacturing, is pricing itself out of existence, except it is generally not viable to go overseas. People will, though. There are those who can afford to splurge $40k but the average puntrer out there isn’t in this league.

      Congratulations and all the best for your big day Jessica.

    • Bear says:

      11:49am | 19/11/12

      It’s more fun in the Phillipines after all! Especially if the girl in the ad is there!

    • freethrow says:

      02:35pm | 19/11/12

      @Bear - ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha i almost cried!

    • Brett says:

      11:44am | 19/11/12

      Jess and her man can get married on the beach at sunset and pay nothing more than the cost of the celebrant…husband and wife have to make it work long-term, not the 96 people on the guest list…ups and down…rich and poor…the spectacle of the big day is optional not mandatory

    • Esteban says:

      11:48am | 19/11/12

      In terms of economics the blowout in the cost of the wedding can be compared to the difference between a Government department/monopoly versus a business operating in a competitive enviroment.

      The Government department/monopoly has a wish list of expenditure which they tote up and work out how much they need to charge their customers.

      The private company operating in a competitive enviroment starts at the other end.They start out with working out how much the market will bear for their product/service and how much they will sell then base the cost structure on what is available.

      Back at the wedding Jessica you took the monopoly path and added up eveything you wanted. Sure you shaved where you could but the total cost of the project became your default budget.

      The competitive business model would have you starting at the other end. In other words your starting point would have been a budget then you work out how to hold a wedding and stay within that budget.

      I hope you have a fun day on your wedding and wishing you a loving and successful marriage.

    • Economist says:

      12:30pm | 19/11/12

      Great post, gave me a laugh, but there is a few thing missing. Firstly your problem starts with your parents and the in-laws. These competing parties have expectations and demand the right to participate particularly if they are parting with their hard earned cash, they’re like a tax payer as well as a factor in deciding what goes on.

      So you start of with a budget estimate based on knowledge from other sources and research, but then these parties and other interest groups distort the aim of your wedding by wanting to invite Uncle Friedman and Aunty Rand. That your cousin Lenin had doves, so you have to have butterflies. So despite your best intentions to stay on budget it’s blown by these private interests. You’re cross subsidising the utility of the private company.

      So Esteban, shouldn’t you be looking at it from the POV of utility rather than money? Your budget constraint simply keeps shifting out to the desirable indifference curve, debt is good, no?

      As for private companies doing it your way I’d argue there are plenty of Entertainment 720’s out there, for P&R fans.

    • Esteban says:

      02:16pm | 19/11/12

      You see Uncle Friedman I see the unions.

      You see Aunty Rand I see Government interference and unexpected legislation.

      I don’t know what an entertainment 720 is but it sounds like a 457 visa to me!

      By the way you floored me last week with your response to my post. You gave me the impression that you have no respect (understanding?)for the motivation that profit plays in our capitalist system.

    • Economist says:

      02:44pm | 19/11/12

      I’d argue I have understanding of it, perhaps not as much as yourself, but I respect that there are competing priorities and the market doesn’t always no best wink

      Perhaps you should study less Austrian economics and look more at behavioural economics.

    • Sambobs says:

      11:54am | 19/11/12

      Don’t worry Jess, it’s not all doom and gloom. You’ll only spend a tenth of that on your second wedding

    • Disgruntled Goat says:

      12:03pm | 19/11/12

      Next year I will be getting Married and from what we have costed at the moment our wedding/ reception will cost at least 30k less than what is quoted in this article and that is with 70-80 people eating and drinking at the reception!

      Bar the celebrant the actual ceremony itself will cost nothing as we are going to a local park land which the council will charge us NOTHING! for us to use and will even mow and clea the area for us. flowers the missus has lined up a parent from her work who is starting up her their own florist so we save at least a few hundred there.

      The reception venue is really good cost wise but also covers the decoration and music. my suit I will only spend a couple of hundred if that and what I have been looking out thus far has been really good, the missus got given money and her dress is at 1k yes but from what I have been told is really pretty.

      the engagement ring was $200 bucks off when I bought it.

      Cars will be provided by family

      there is so much you can do to bring the costs down, unless you are either an idiot have pointlessly expensive tastes of have too much money!

    • Sal says:

      12:05pm | 19/11/12

      My daughter got married and it only cost her approximately $500.  She had the rememberance room at her local RSL for free, She bought her wedding dress from the local op shop, had the bridesmaids buy their own.  The grooms party used what they had in their cupboards but bought matching ties at $9.00 each.  On the invite she requested that guests pay $25 for the meal and shouted just enough champers to toast with, otherwise guests were expected to buy their drinks from the bar.  I thought it was very sensible and would like to see more people being that sensible.

    • ramases says:

      12:49pm | 19/11/12

      Mention a wedding and a woman’s brain turns to mush. There is no reason on this earth to pay that amount of money on just one day but the peer pressure to have the biggest and best makes this obligatory and this is what those in the industry feed on.
        My daughter was getting married and wanted to spend $3500 on a dress and I went onto the internet and found the exact same dress from the supplier, made to order and delivered to the door in two weeks for less than $400. It was identical to the one she had wanted except for the sewn in name tag of the Bridal Shoppe.  After that she decided to have a good look at how her money was going to be spent and all in all it cost less that $5000 including exclusive rights to all photos and a reception for 60. Once the hype wand crap was cleared away it was obvious that the Wedding industry is making a killing out of the gullible but women still insist on having these elaborate weddings that no one will remember after the first two months except the credit card companies and the lenders who will be rubbing their collective hands together at another sucker being conned out of tens of thousands.
        To most people $37,000 would be almost a deposit on a home but to blow it all on a wedding that has a one in three chance of lasting before its paid for just shows that there is one born every minute and calls into question the IQ of those involved.

    • sami says:

      04:58pm | 19/11/12

      Pretty sexist attitude. I’m a woman and my brain doesn’t ‘turn to mush’ at the mention of a wedding. I know plenty of other women the same.

    • Anthony says:

      12:53pm | 19/11/12

      Why would anyone want to get married anyway. Everyone knows its the first step in the divorce process.

    • Kramer says:

      01:25pm | 19/11/12

      They’re prisons, man made prisons. You’re doing time! It’s like you have to ask permission to use the bathroom. Is it alright if I use the bathroom now..!?

    • Steve says:

      01:09pm | 19/11/12

      What a load of crap!!!
      My wife and i got married a couple of years ago, we tried to do everything as nicely but cheaply as we could.
      Luckily photography didnt cause us too much due to a friend starting a business.
      However we still managed an amazing ceremony and reception (Alot of guests have said it was the most enjoyable wedding they have been too) for 75 people for around $13,500 for everything.

    • Ally says:

      01:09pm | 19/11/12

      It’s clear that there are a lot of businesses that hear the magic word “wedding” and immediately jack their prices up. Hairdressers, makeup artists, florists and car hire companies are big offenders.

      One thing that does annoy me, as a person that makes the odd wedding cake on the side, is people that bitch about the price of wedding cakes. I have no doubt that some cake makers jack their prices right up, but a lot of people don’t have any idea about the amount of time and the cost of ingredients that goes into a wedding cake.

      I once had someone wanting a three tier cake with handmade oriental lillies cascading down the side (each one taking at least half an hour to shape and hand paint) and expecting to pay only $250. Either be prepared to pay for the work that goes in to it, or adjust your expectations to suit your budget.

    • Robert says:

      02:39pm | 19/11/12

      That’s a bit rich Ally. You accuse hairdressers, makeup artists, florists and car hire companies of overcharging and then immediately try to justify your own price for a cake. What makes you any different?

    • Ally says:

      03:33pm | 19/11/12

      Robert - I am referring to the fact that a hairdresser will charge you something like $100 for a cut/style for an event, but as soon as they hear wedding, it suddenly becomes $200 for the same cut/style.

      Very different to my issue regarding people complaining about the price of a cake. Ingredients and materials for a fully iced fruit/mud cake can be at least $150 and then you have to take into consideration the hours and hours of work for baking, hand making sugar flowers etc. Yet people expect all of that for $250.

    • Michael says:

      01:39pm | 19/11/12

      I’m getting married in 7 weeks. I am fortunate enough to have been the hospitality industry for many years and have managed to get almost everything at cost price. Even then the cost for my wife and I to bring all our friends together and have them eat my food and drink my booze is ridiculous. It’s about a fifth of what I earn each year.

      The suits, the brides dress, and the bridesmaids dresses were all paid for by the individual wearing them, saved a packet on that. And if your mate asks you to be in his wedding, the least you can do is front the money for the suit.

      The most outrageous cost was what the car rental places wanted. $300/hour, minimum hire time of 4 hours. Per car. So we were going to need 5 cars. That’s $6000 before I even get to the reception.

      The photographer is a mate.

      The food is being done by my mates who only charged cost price, and it’s about a tenth of what it would cost a paying customer.

      And we made all the beer and cider at home. I only have to buy the wine, and even then I’m getting that for cheap.

      Shop around people, ask yourself, when you buy that $5500 dress, will it make you happy or do you just think it will?

      Remember that on the day it’s about the 2 people getting married, not what anyone else thinks.
      If they don’t like how you do it, stuff em.

    • Ash says:

      02:19pm | 19/11/12

      I’m getting marred in June and we are spending around $20k on our wedding (with about half of that paid by my parents). I’m ditching expensive real flowers and have opted for a fake bouqet from the UK and she’s chucking in buttonhole things for the men. We’re ditching the vehicle as well, will just use our own cars. Fiance already has a nice suit. The reception is the most expensive component but it will feed and water everyone for 4 hours. It’s still a lot of money but I’m looking forward to it and we’re determined to save for every dollar, no loans or credit cards!

      Hope you have a lovely day, Jessica.

    • Antoinette says:

      02:53pm | 19/11/12

      Have a beautiful day Jessica, more saliently - have a healthy marriage. 

      Hubby and I spent less than 1k on our marriage, the day wasn’t overly important to us.  His second marriage and my first, we were nevertheless in sync in thinking that the money be better served paying off our mortgage and my husband paying child support for his son who at the time was living with his mother.  In addition to paying for our new life together as committed adults for better or for worse.  We had an enjoyable wedding day but the aftermath was more at the forefront of our minds.  I am a considerable deal younger than hubby and of a different culture although from the same continent.  It’s been a challenge but we were both raised by traditional and cohesive parents so we are making it work and we both still love each other dearly.

    • ? says:

      02:57pm | 19/11/12

      if a person wants to spend heaps on a wedding, its their business. my niece spent just under 100K.  all paid in full. no loans etc.. she also did well with ‘cash’ gifts from guests, that amounted to around the 37K mark (we’re of european background).. people that bag it out, do so because they can’t afford it, are jealous or wouldnt have the guts to do it.. period.  as for the divorce B$, even if it cost you paid 2K for the whole thing, its no safe guard that it wont fail either. at least, you got a fine day out of it rather than cheap ar$e day.

    • Fabian Furtleburger says:

      03:12pm | 19/11/12

      You people think you have it tough, imagine what my wedding will cost, as a gay man. Everything will have to be FABULOUS! and FABULOUS! doesn’t come cheap, honey

    • sami says:

      03:51pm | 19/11/12

      Wow. This kinda article reinforces the myth that all women want a big white wedding. Thankfully not so. I would rather buy a couple of cars or chuck extra dosh on the mortgage if I had a spare $40k lying around but each to their own I suppose.

      If the boy decided he wanted to marry me I would be perfectly happy to have no rings, no wedding, no honeymoon. It’s about a marriage, after all, not a wedding day. I’d be more than happy with a bbq in the backyard with family and friends, jazz up the place with some fairy lights and chuck some music on the laptop wink or just go to the registry office then get some pizza and be done with it. Couple hundred dollars. Sorted!

      Gives me the irrits that weddings are all ‘bridey’ and the men pretty much only organise stuff like cars and suits, and maybe music. I know it’s not the case for everyone but really, most of the time it’s about the frou-frou and sparkles. It’s another reason why that tv show shits me.. the one where the groom organises the wedding while the bride freaks out. As if it bloody matters, you get a free wedding! Let the bloke have some fun.

      Not sure where I’m going with all this. Just ranting in general about the ‘bridal’ industry and the fact that so many women buy into it. That much cost + that much stress = wtf.

    • Pattem says:

      03:57pm | 19/11/12

      For wedding shopping let me recommend Golden Plaza Wedding Mall in Mong Kok, Hong Kong (my wife’s stomping ground).  We more than recouped the expense of air tickets in savings at the Mall.  Back in 2006 our total wedding costs, minus dowry, was $8000, which includes the air tickets.  Because we got a lot of bang for our buck by shopping in HK, we still got the wedding we wanted - tone, ambience, etc..

    • Mike says:

      05:03pm | 19/11/12

      pppffffttt, everyone getting so worked up about 37k. My wife, her planner and stylist had blasted throught that number before they even finished planning the 10 course degustation menu. I think I spent 200k on my wedding, woop-dee-doo-dah for me, im sure Tom Cruise etc spent more than that on the airfare to get to their weddings…  It’s all relative, let her tell her story, if that’s what she is happy with and she can afford it, then why the hell not. Go for it Jessica, enjoy your day. Try to stand back from the crowd at a couple of different points of the day and watch all of your guests having so much fun.

    • Pattem says:

      06:03pm | 19/11/12

      @Mike, with weddings my rule of thumb would be spend what you can afford.  We have seen wedding costs ranging from $100 - $200 000.  I would say that is proof enough a wedding can be done on any budget.

      And Mike, Absolutely agree with you last point, stand back from the crowd and watch guests enjoying themselves.  While it’s YOUR special day, it’s the people that bring the day to life…not the extravagance.

      @Jessica, enjoy the day!  Just take that big, happy photo smile to the wedding smile

    • Beiha says:

      05:40pm | 19/11/12

      My husband and I decided to simplify - 20 guests only (immediate family and a couple of close friends each). Civil celebrant, no bridal party, no fancy cars, basic photography and no video. I handmade all the invitations and bought my shoes on sale. We had a gorgeous outdoors ceremony at a park which only had a cheap hiring fee. We spent a bit more on our clothes (2000 for my dress and 1600 for the suit) and treated our guests to a beautiful banquet at an excellent Indian restaurant, with top shelf wines which is something we enjoy. It was a beautiful, intimate day.  It’s good not to be in debt just to keep up with the Joneses!


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