How to throw a wedding with $2000

THE reason my now husband and I decided to get married so quickly was a noble one. His grandmother was 92 years old and wasn't likely to make it to our set date a year later.

So, in a whirlwind six weeks which would even make Cinderella's fairy godmother spin, we planned our nuptials and tied the knot in November. And, because it was not in the budget, we did it all for about $2100.

I don't expect every bride-to-be to be so budget conscious, but for those looking to save a little along the way, here's how we did it...


The Venue: Lismore City Hall - $500

Admittedly, we could have saved more money here by hiring a less expensive venue, but as this is where my husband and I first met, it was important to us. We hired out the Fountain Room downstairs and the kitchen, which meant we had access to toilets downstairs and most of the foyer. Unfortunately, there was another event booked after we had booked for the wedding, so we lost out on privacy, so be mindful of this if you are booking a public venue. My husband, with some help from a friend, decorated the entire room with lanterns and lights and a few bits and pieces, which all up added to about $360.

The Celebrant: Dale Hamlyn, Tie the Knot - $550

Look, you can shop around, but I found there is little difference in price between celebrants, due to the cost of paperwork. If you belong to a church, and have a minister you can rely on, or even a family friend, you could save money here too. Also, booking earlier can save you money, as we paid a little extra to have Dale as she happened to be available on short notice. We did investigate just getting married at the courthouse, but it would have only saved us about $50 and we would have to do all the paperwork ourselves, and also miss out on getting married where we wanted.

The Rings: Hers $300, His $32

Now for this I did a lot of research to try to find the best price. I shopped around and got quotes from everyone in town once I decided on the style I wanted. And even then, once I had found the best price, I went back around and haggled them down to a better price, which I found at Michael Hill Jewellers. They also threw in a lifetime warranty so I can get it resized as often as I want at no extra cost. My husband's was more difficult to find as he wasn't a fan of any of the jewellery on offer at the jewellers. We found his ring for a steal on eBay, and even got two because they were so cheap. Exactly the same as what was in the store, but cheaper as it came from America from a store that sold display jewellery without a box for a fraction of the cost. I love that we have an exact copy in case he loses it, or we can even give it to his son when he is older.

The Dress: JJ's House - $120

I found and ordered my dress online and paid a little extra than the asking price to have it made to my measurements. When it arrived, however, it was too big. I still could have worn it, but I wouldn't have been happy. Luckily for me, a good friend offered to have it altered for me as a gift, and after a couple of fittings, it was perfect. So be careful if you are buying online, you may save a heap, but you might still have to pay more to get it to fit. My husband found a long-sleeved shirt which suited the occasion at a local men's store, and just teamed it with black suit pants he already owned. We decided not to pay for or hire a suit as we thought it would be too hot, and it was a good thing we didn't splash out on a suit as we were married on the hottest recorded November day for Lismore in history. We also saved a bundle on not having a bridal party, and no one seemed to mind.

The Catering: all up about $350

We wanted to save as much money as possible, and as we had already hired the kitchen at the hall, we just went on a big shopping trip and to the local butchers and bought what we liked. Then both mothers-in-law also bought food and helped cater the wedding, and it was BYO so we didn't have to pay for everyone to get drunk.

The Photographer: $300

I am lucky enough to have a handful of photographers on my list of friends, so even though he would have done it for nothing, I thought it was worth giving him some money for his time and effort.

Tonia and her husband Daniel on their wedding day.
Tonia and her husband Daniel on their wedding day. Photo Contributed

Well it might not be everyone's idea of their dream wedding, but for my husband and I it was enough, and we were surrounded by family and friends to celebrate our special day. And it didn't break the bank, or leave us with a debt to pay off for the next few years. Win-win if you ask me and now we can get on with living happily ever after.

And for those wondering, we are both so glad we did rush our wedding, because our dear grandmother passed away in February and the photographs at our wedding are some of the last, and happiest photos we have of her, surrounded by her family.

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