Turning Special moments into special memories

What’s your budget?

Now this is a question we all get asked by wedding services from day one. It is a difficult one to answer especially if you have just gotten engaged! In New Zealand the average cost of a wedding is $35,000, that’s not to say that’s what you’ll spend but a lot do!

You’re newly engaged, You’ve been on Pinterest for the last 3 days and you have envisioned a wedding Beyonce would be jealous of! I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s just not going to happen and you’ll figure this out throughout your process. You’ll be disappointed and sad you can’t have the wedding of your dreams. But, what if I taught you five great ways of setting up and sticking to a budget that is affordable for you both? Although this is going to be the best day of your life, you don’t want to spend the rest of your life paying it off.


So we have to set the foundations so that the budget stays on track.
First of all, savings. That’s your own savings plus your groom’s. Calculate what money you have to hand and are happy to use on the wedding. Now most of us are surprised when we get engaged and therefore don’t have a savings account for it. That’s okay; you can do this without savings. Just if you do have a savings fund that you’re happy to use, it may make it easier for you.


Now with my own experience , I would say do that with your Pinterest. Imagine your dream wedding, then halve if and halve it again. Now, you’re being realistic. At the start of my planning journey, I was sure I would have a destination wedding, ice sculptures, drones, carriages, 2 sets of photographers, a DJ, and a band. Once we started totaling this up after many hours of research and tons of emails, we realized we could never afford it all and had to scale back. So I would implore you to look at this realistically. Do you want to spend more on your wedding than your house deposit? Would you like to spend more on your wedding than your honeymoon? Would you like to spend more on your wedding than your kids? Because this is what it really boils down to: you will not get this money back . Whilst this may be the biggest day of your life, it could cost you your financial happiness.


So , on a lighter note, remember the basics. Cut the rubbish and go back to the simplest forms of a wedding. Total these up first, what are your non negotiables? What elements do you two REALLY want at your wedding? Remember who this day is about. Forget Aunt Clara or cousin Beatrice. They don’t really matter in your wedding , so neither does their opinion. So point two would be: pretend the day only involves you two. What would you have if it were just the two of you? I can guarantee on your big day, that’s all that matters to you. You and your partner. So create a list of the non negotiables and research a basic cost for their services. Here’s a rough guide from; mykiwiwedding.co.nz

Registry Office – approximately $1,990

  • Venue and Officiant – $240 (updated 11 August 2019)
  • Attire – $250 (for you and the groom, should you decide to buy one)
  • Flowers – $100 (bridal bouquet and a boutonniere)
  • Photographer – $800
  • Food – $600 (restaurant)A Backyard Wedding – approximately $2,500+
  • Venue – Free
  • Marriage License – $150
  • Attire – Casual attire
  • Flowers & Decors – DIY $150 to $250
  • Food – $400 for 50 guests
  • Chairs and Tables – $300
  • Music/DJ – Free (from iPod and speaker)

An Outdoor Venue – approximately $10,000+ for 70 guests

  • Venue & Rental – $2,200 (includes chairs and tables)
  • Marriage License – $150
  • Food & Alcohol – $5,000
  • Attire – $500
  • Photographer – $1,200
  • Décor – $500 (including DIY flowers)
  • DJ – $800

A Casual Wedding – approximately $15,000+

  • Venue & Rentals – $2,300 (including tables, chairs, linens and basic lighting)
  • Marriage License – $150
  • Catering – $6,500 (full buffet plus alcohol)
  • Attire – $1,000
  • Photographer – $3,000
  • Flowers & Decors – $600
  • DJ – $2,000

A Typical Wedding – approximately $30,000+

  • Venue & Rentals – $2,300 (including tables, chairs, linens and basic lighting)
  • Catering – $10,000 (full buffet plus alcohol)
  • Attire – $3,000
  • Photographer – $3,000
  • Flowers & Decors – $600
  • DJ – $2,000
  • Accommodation – $3000
  • Marriage License – $150

Now, of course these are all really basic quotes and can differ based on guest amount and supplier, but I want you to look at these and really think about what you can afford. You need to bare in mind that whatever overall cost quote you go for, there will be unforeseeable costs on top of that. So allow a bit of leeway.

So for example, we go for the $15,000 package add on around $2000 for unforeseeables = $17,000. If you have no savings, you need to raise $17,000. Realistically how soon can you do that ? If you earn the average $35,000 per year , then that’s half of your pay packet! Ok , a quarter of each of your household pay packets. So $8,500 each for a wedding in a year’s time = $708 per month or $177 per week , each.

If that seems achievable for you then great! Pick a date for in a year’s time. If you’re worried you can’t do it but REALLY want to get married in a year , then reduce the budget. Which means reduce the package (reduction in guests? reduction in services?) OR you can push the date back. We chose a 2 year plan so we could afford the wedding we wanted without struggling or putting ourselves into debt. But be aware of hidden costs. Luckily we had a savings account we weren’t using on the wedding as this year, both cars broke down, needed WOFs , our car died so we bought a new one and the other needed new tires. LIFE HAPPENS so account for it is all i’m saying.


Now , I know you are not going to know the costs of all the services you need but use this as a basic guide. Pick from the above what package you think is achievable with which package suits you best. Now this is going to be your target and we can customize this together so we have a clear and concise budget to work with. So grab a coffee or a wine, and your partner , sit with a good playlist , a nice candle , a notebook and a pen and do the math. Really talk about what you both want, your non-negotiables and your basics.

Purchase our wedding planner with free budget tracker !

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