How Should You Split Your Wedding Budget?

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You may already have a budget — but how should you spend your money? We ask top Sydney wedding planners to break down wedding budgets and pass on their tips.

However much you have to spend, a budget is essential. It helps you keep track of what goes where, who has been paid and who hasn’t. It is not only about saving money, it’s about making sure your money is being spent on the right things.

Kylie Louise Stone from Kylie Louise Events says it is the first step in the wedding planning process. “Before they start doing anything, couples need to sit down and work out exactly how much they have available to them. A lot of people get wrapped up in what’s beautiful but they need to work out their budget and break it down into percentages of what goes where. Then they know how much they have to work with. Work out where you are not willing to compromise. For example, if you want a great photographer you might want to allocate more money there than on invitations.”

Jennifer Kennedy from Bells N Whistles has shared three sample wedding budgets with Complete Wedding. Each of these budgets is based on a real couple and includes the savings wrangled by a wedding planner — thousands of dollars in each instance! “You will notice that with opulent weddings, the couples spend more on the styling, bridal gown and accessories. For standard weddings, the venue hire and catering is the largest fee,” says Jennifer. Each of these examples is for a medium-size wedding of around 100 people and does not include wedding or engagement rings. 

Budget bride and groom: Ruby and John

Ruby and John describe themselves as down-to-earth. For their wedding, they had a budget of $25,000 with a $5000 contingency. The couple wanted a venue with no curfew and plenty of space for their ceremony, dinner and ‘after party’. They chose a venue in the Southern Highlands.

Celebrant $600
Ceremony styling $680
Venue hire $5500
Catering and cake $7119
Beverages (bought separately) $1803
Reception styling — marquee, napkins, tablecloths,furniture hire, lighting $2498
Music (speaker hire) $160
Photography $2500
Flowers — bridal party and table decorations $500
Stationery $615
Bridal gown (designed by friend) $1500
Hair and makeup $300
Groom’s suit (hire) $265
Wedding party outfi ts (they paid for their own) $0
Coach hire $210
Wedding planner $4950
Total $29,200

Mid-range marriage: Audrey and Will

This couple came from interstate to have a Sydney wedding. They love Sydney Harbour and wanted to delight friends and family who were fl ying in from all over the country and the world with something a little different. Beautiful Audrey listed her gown, hair and makeup as priorities and Will was more interested in the cars and food. They hired well-known venues for their wedding — a church in the city and a popular venue with harbour views. Their budget started out at $35,000 but with all the little additions, it crept up to $45,000 and eventually grew to $50,000.


These floating candles by NC Weddings
and Events make for interesting and
cost-effective centrepieces

Ceremony fees — church venue and styling $ 2095
Reception venue hire (cost per head $155) $16,800
Cake — mini cakes and custom-made cake stand $1042
Music — string quartet at ceremony and small cover band at reception $5335
Venue decoration and styling $2964
Photography $5750
Video $2500
Transport (used friends’ vehicles) $0
Flowers — bridal party, ceremony and reception $4000
Favours — chocolate place cards $350
Stationery $800
Bridal gown and accessories $3500
Bridesmaids’ dresses and accessories (they paid for their own) $0
Hair and makeup $1530
Groom and groomsmen’s suits $1500
Wedding planner $5500
Total $53,666

Simple style
“Some people think that silk flowers are cheaper, but they are not. Go fresh because you can always get a budget bouquet like elegant plain roses. If you want to save money, consider doing bomboniere yourself — simple paper boxes with chocolates, for example,” says Amira Zaia from Events by Amira.


Luxury lovers: Grace and Matt

What budget? This couple wanted a wedding in two of Sydney’s iconic venues — a cathedral and a large, opulent reception — within walking distance to each other. With 100 guests, using top Sydney suppliers and some ‘upsize’ options, they easily went past the $100,000 mark.


Kylie Louise Events managed Victoria and Gregory’s wedding in January, 2013, keeping them on track with their medium-sized budget.

Ceremony — church hire and styling $5500 
Reception — venue hire and catering $23,500
Cake $1300
Music — 12-piece cover band $6450
Venue decoration and styling $18,750
Photography — on the day and pre-wedding photo shoot $12,400
Video — with same day edit $9900
Transport — Rolls Royce $3300
Flowers $14,575
Favours — crystal picture frames that doubled as place cards $1600
Stationery $800
Bride’s outfit and accessories, including both wedding and reception gowns $13,450
Bridesmaids’ dresses and accessories $2600
Hair and makeup $1970
Groom and groomsmen’s suits $3000
Wedding planner $11,000
Total $130,095

Family matters
“If you are lucky enough to have either or both sets of parents contributing to the cost, the budget discussion could be more complicated. Sure, it may mean there is more cash to splash, but there are now also more interested parties who feel entitled to have their say in where their money is spent. You may envisage designer shoes and a destination wedding, they may be thinking they can invite their bridge club and their neighbours’ children. It’s important to talk and to listen,” says Nicoletta Chronopoulos from NC Weddings & Events.


Ask the experts
“A wedding planner not only saves you time and stress, but they can pass on discounts from suppliers they use directly to their clients,” says Kylie Louise Stone from Kylie Louise Events.

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