In the past a young couple did not expect to have "everything" before they were married.
Australian society is different today. Couples in de-facto relationships have greater rights and protection than in the past.
More and more couples are delaying marriage until they have completed lengthy periods of higher education or training, established their careers, worked together to set up a comfortable home together and often they have started a family.
Therefore, for many couples, the decision to marry is more of a celebration that the couple has "made it"
That is, a celebration that their relationship has grown to a point where they are ready to take the next step and formalise their commitment to each other with a legal ceremony.
The downside is that there is still pressure to have a big celebration with all the bells and whistles ... and expense ... even though many do not want to add to their own or their family's debt.
One way to cut costs while still having a big celebration is a new twist on the old tradition - sharing the planning and costs across family and friends - instead of guests buying a traditional "gift'.
One of our CCN members knows a couple who held a wedding for over 200 guests for less than $3,000. To do this they:
- created their own invitations in Word and sending these by email
- asked guests to bring a "plate" and their own drinks instead of a traditional gift
- booked a suitable sized community hall for the reception in reasonably central location
- asked friends to assist with decorating the tables and the hall
- paid for a couple of people to look after the kitchen and food
- asked some musician friends to provide the music
- had one set of the parents donate the cake
- had the other set of parents pay for the celebrant
- received a gift from a guest for an hour of professional photography
- held the marriage ceremony in the community hall before the reception so there was no need for hire cars
Some other ways to reduce costs:
- Having a wedding breakfast, morning or afternoon tea.
- Having a wedding picnic - although that can be risky if the weather turns poor.
- Reduce the need for an MC and sound system by combining the speeches into the ceremony, especially as most celebrants have PA systems.
The important thing is not to cut costs on the things that are the most important to you.
See other articles such as 'Goals for your wedding', 'Planning your wedding' and 'Budgeting your wedding' in this Marriage and Wedding Ceremonies section.