Wedding planning and expenses

By You and Money

Weddings can be very expensive when you add up the costs of the ceremony, flowers, clothes, reception, honeymoon and all the extras. So it really pays to plan, to work to a budget (whether you’re paying from your savings or considering a loan) and to fully understand all the legal requirements.

Planning for the big day

Here are a few hints to help you plan.

  • Use a savings budget planner for your wedding to work out how much each item will cost and how you plan to save for it. Ask yourself a few questions (and be realistic in your answers).
    • Do we want a big wedding or a small, no-frills ceremony?
    • Where would we like to hold the wedding and the reception?
    • Will we be using our own cars for the wedding party or hiring them?
    • How many guests will we invite?
    • Will we have a photographer?
    • How many attendants will we have, if any?
    • Do we want a three-course sit down dinner or a cocktail style function?
    • What kind of flowers would we like?
    • Do we want a DJ?
  • Use your networks – do you know a photographer or make up artist? Asking someone you know to help out could save you hundreds of dollars.
  • Think carefully about your guest list and cut back if you can.
  • Make your own wedding arrangements – don’t use an expensive wedding planner.
  • Consider a cocktail function instead of a formal sit down dinner.
  • Make you own bonbonniere – it’s a lot cheaper and more personal.
  • Start saving as soon as possible. Think about opening a high interest savings account where you can earn bonus interest if you make a deposit and no withdrawals in a month.

General wedding planning sites that you might find of interest:

Financing your wedding

If you need finance for your wedding, you have some options.

  • A personal loan means you repay the amount you borrow over an agreed term. This loan term can vary but it’s usually between 12 months and five years. You’ll also pay interest on the amount you borrow plus any fees and charges. You can choose between fixed and variable interest rate loans:
    • a fixed rate loan is where the interest rate is locked in for the term of the loan
    • a variable rate loan is where the interest rate can go up or down over the term of the loan.
  • A credit card can help with wedding expenses under $5000 (it might be difficult to get a personal loan under this amount). While the interest rate is generally higher than a personal loan, there are low rate credit cards available in the market and some have introductory offers. It’s worth shopping around to see which credit provider has a credit card that will suit your needs.

Legal requirements

There are specific legal requirements that need to be fulfilled when you decide to get married in Australia.

  • You need to complete a Notice of Intended Marriage form and lodge it with the celebrant, minister or registrar who will perform your marriage. You must lodge the form at least one calendar month plus one day, and no more than 18 months, before your wedding date.
  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • If you are born in Australia, you’ll need to show an original copy of your birth certificate.
  • If previously married, you’ll need to show a copy of your divorce document.
  • On the day of your marriage you must have two witnesses over the age of 18.

If you plan to marry overseas, be aware that laws relating to marriage between people from different countries can be complex. It’s worth looking at this carefully.

Some helpful sites relating to getting married in Australia and overseas:

 Changing your name

After you get married you may decide to change your name. This process is now known as a legal name change (it used to be changing your name by deed poll).

You must lodge an application with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Once you have your Name Change Certificate or amended birth certificate, you should contact all the organisations that you deal with as soon as you can.

Name change kits are available online at:

Share your wedding experiences

If you’re recently married, then you’ll probably have some handy hints for those who are at the planning stages – we’d love to hear from you.

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