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Planning a wedding

Take some of the stress out of your dream day – tools and tips to help you plan and save.

September 2021 – 4 minute read

Key takeaways from this article:

  • How to plan a wedding
  • The wedding planning checklist
  • How to have a dream wedding on a budget
  • When to start planning a wedding
  • How to save for your wedding
  • Our guide to wedding finance

Engaged couple sitting on a couch planning their wedding together

For many people, your wedding day will be the biggest party you’ll ever have. This takes planning.

How to plan a wedding

What sort of wedding do you want? Where do you want it? What will you serve? How will you entertain your guests? What will everyone wear? It can sometimes take over a year to organise these things and arrange the finance to pay for it. We can help with strategies to take some of the stress out of the planning.

The wedding planning checklist

According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) MoneySmart site, an Australian wedding costs $36,200 on average (IBISWorld, 'IBISWorld Industry Report X002 Weddings in Australia', April 2012).

Below, using figures from MoneySmart, we’ve reproduced the average costs for some of the big-ticket wedding items. With these costs in mind you can start putting your own table together by going out and getting quotes for the various items you need.

ITEM Australian Wedding Average
Food, alcohol & venue $18,683
Wedding clothes & accessories $4,271
Photography $3,983
Entertainment $2,896
Flowers & decorations $2,896
Ceremony $941
Other (transport, hair, make-up, accommodation, stationary) $2,534
Total $36,200

There are some wonderful apps you can use for keeping your wedding to do list in order: and the, for example.

At first, your dream wedding may not seem affordable. However, by looking at where you’re spending, and where you’re willing to think about doing something in a different less costly way, you can make savings and work towards your budget.

Sitting down together to talk about what your non-negotiables are is an important step. Having established the three or four things on which each of you will not compromise, you can begin getting a real budget together.

This is also a great time to think about managing your long and short term savings goals with a purpose built savings account. You might also think about setting up an online joint account to be able to cover expenses together.

How to have a dream wedding on a budget

You need a system to keep track of everything and most importantly, how much each element costs. There’s nothing uncool about having a budget. It will help maintain your sanity, your relationship and your friendships.

Once you begin to get an idea about what your to-do list looks like and the costs, you can begin to plan where you spend your money and how much.

A major factor influencing the cost of a wedding is the guest list. The more people, the greater the cost. Varying the catering and perhaps limiting the bar to wine, beer and soft drinks will also help manage costs.

In fact, planning a wedding on a budget can be endlessly inventive as you work out what you can pay for and how you can vary the options to suit you and meet your budget.

When to start planning a wedding

If you are booking an in-demand venue, you will want to book at least 12 months in advance. Aim to send your wedding invitations around 4-5 months before the big day, to ensure your nearest and dearest can attend.

How to set up a honeymoon registry

Beyond traditional retail registries, there are now plenty of online websites that provide digital honeymoon registries. You can search online for a site that suits you and include instructions on how to gift with your wedding invites.

How to save for your wedding

Setting up a designated savings account can help you reach your wedding goal. You might choose from a savings account that rewards you with bonus interest, or an online savings account with a great introductory interest rate, or an everyday bank account packed full of features that you can open together online.

If you know you’re going to receive an injection of cash from somewhere - maybe your parents are helping out - or your wedding savings have reached a certain amount, you might think about Term Deposits. Term deposits give you the certainty of knowing exactly what the return on your savings will be. A term deposit comes with certain conditions which can help reduce the temptation of dipping into your savings.

Once you put your money into a term deposit, you'll have to give 31 days' notice if you need access to it. So have a think about whether or not you can really lock away your savings.

Our guide to wedding finance

Planning a wedding can come with all sorts of surprises. Your budget will help you cope with many of them. However, what happens when unexpected payments crop up or you find the perfect must have and you need to pay now to secure it?

You might have small purchases to make, such as extra stationery or a gift to say thank you to someone who has helped. Our credit cards offer you the freedom and convenience of making everyday transactions you can pay later. It’s important to remember, there can be limited interest free days on the card and if you pay past this point, you’ll pay interest.

You may need to cover several costs at different stages over the course of your planning, you could use our credit cards or personal loan options.  

In all cases where you’re using credit or taking out a personal loan, it’s important to research the loan or credit card option you decide to take with us. Our calculators can also help you estimate how much you can borrow, as well as work out your repayments and how to meet them.

You may find these useful

Saving for a honeymoon

Plan for your top honeymoon destination and see how a honeymoon fund can help you get there.

Married life

How do married couples split their finances? Tips and tools for setting up your finances together.

Engagement costs

Romantically planned or spontaneous, we can help you save and pay for your big moment.

Things you should know

This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice. Credit Criteria and terms and conditions apply.

© Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714