Weddings have always been a ceremony of warmth, belongingness and togetherness. But how will you enjoy the happiest day of your life if you’re stressed about everything running smoothly and the debts you’ll likely be paying off for months to come?

Back in the day, when parents were traditionally the ones footing the bill for a wedding, it was the trend that they’d be involved in every aspect of planning. Even over the last generation, couples have become more independent and this has become reflected in their weddings.

Just as they plan their lives together, today’s couples plan their weddings together. Just as you’re planning how to buy your first house together, or how to manage and plan your finances together, you find yourself planning your wedding – and your honeymoon – together.

However, doing so can be tricky and stressful. This is only realised after you’re well into the planning process for this major life event. Gradually you start stressing when expenses start adding up and you both have many different tasks to tend to. How do you handle this?

You can always enlist the support and help of a celebrant, who can connect you to both advice and other wedding suppliers. Celebrants can be extremely helpful given their expertise and experience in the wedding industry. And, generally, they’re good listeners.

Alternatively, bring trusted nearest and dearest into the picture. Your wedding means much more to them than it does to a wedding planner, supplier or vendor, so why not call on them to help execute your dream budget-friendly wedding? Here are five ways to get the whole family involved in your wedding to make the day extra special.

1. Sage advice from dad to rein in the guest list.

You had a limit of guests that was tied to a budget but somehow that has blown out. It’s obvious for you to want everyone who matters to you to be present on your wedding day. But you need to remember that more guests represent not just additional costs but will also lead to making your ceremony less intimate. You won’t be able to pay attention to all your guests if there are too many of them to interact with.

In times like these, getting help from a wise elder (such as dad, mum or a big bro) who sees your guests as just guests without any obligations attached, can be a super helpful way to rein in an out of control guest list.

2. Ask family members to help at your wedding instead of giving gifts.

This is a clever way to cut down wedding costs. Approach any family member you can think of with a specific talent or vocation to contribute to your wedding. A family member who loves photography, for example, can help you take candid pictures on the day instead of gifting you a toaster.

If there’s someone in your family or friendship group that loves cooking or baking see if they’d be open to help out. Encourage them to bake your wedding cake in place of a traditional wedding present.

Enlist the support of an artsy cousin to make DIY invites and place cards to make every guest’s invitation and place setting feel all the more personal and unique.

3. Check if you can use a family member’s backyard or farm as your venue.

Every couple wants to scout the perfect location for their wedding, to make it special and memorable. You can always cut down on those exxy wedding venue charges by holding yours in a location that belongs to a family member. Your aunt’s barn or a friend’s beautiful leafy backyard could be the perfect venue. Chances are high that the location was a much-loved part of your childhood and you have fond memories attached to it. It’s a complete win-win for your budget and your happiness.

4. Cut-price flowers, music & food.

Flowers, sound systems and catering can make up a big chunk of expenditure for a wedding. Close to the event ask around if someone in your family or friendship group knows of anyone with rose bushes or a flourishing wildflower garden. They’ll likely be proud to put their blooms to good use for your big day. Your grandmother can help you cut and shape the bouquet and make the table centrepieces in advance.

Look out for family-owned businesses near your venue for catering. They are usually sensitive to budget constraints and will go the extra mile to make your wedding easier. Or ask family members to cook various culinary nibbles for your cocktail hour or after party instead of giving gifts.

See if you can borrow a quality sound system from within the family to dance the night away to your favourite Spotify playlist for zero dollars.

5. Plan a honeymoon or staycation that’s cheap but memorable.

Honeymoons are meant to come as a break after the hectic and emotional whirlwind that is planning, running and being in a wedding. Honeymoons don’t necessarily have to be far-flung or costly to be memorable.

Check if someone within your family would like to host you in their beach house for a staycation or go for a short stay in a city apartment they have on Airbnb at low or no cost. Consider borrowing a family member’s caravan, RV, Kombi van or camping gear to hit the road for a honeymoon with an outdoorsy adventurous twist.

See if family members would like to contribute to the cost of your honeymoon as their gift – for example, shouting you a night’s accommodation or arranging a romantic picnic hamper for your first day away. Even a handful of nights away will prove a good break from the pressure leading up to the wedding and these options will be kind to your hip pocket too.

Weddings can be fun, memorable and budget-friendly, all at the same time. All you need is a lot of planning with people you love and can count on.

Author

Bronte Price is Australia’s First Certified Gay Wedding Celebrant. He stands strongly for marriage equality and takes immense pleasure in marrying any couple in love. He has also co-founded The Equality Network to help wedding suppliers create a better wedding experience for LGBTI couples. He is a regular volunteer newsreader at Joy 94.9, and a member of GLOBE (Gay and Lesbian Organization for Business and Enterprise). Beyond this, you will find him either in his organic backyard vegetable garden or taking walks with his fiancée Clint and their four-legged fur baby – Bingo.

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