One of the biggest challenges to throwing the wedding of your dreams is usually somewhat related to money. Chances are, your wedding plans will be in some way constrained by your wedding budget (or the lackthereof!).
What’s the average cost of a wedding in New Zealand?
It’s tricky knowing how much you might expect to spend on your wedding. People don’t share what they spent (if they even added it up in the first place!) and it’s a little rude to ask. But I did anyway! In the interests of research and giving ya’ll a realistic idea of what people may spend, I surveyed the Southern Brides and found people had an average wedding spend of $25,000.
There was a huge range of responses to the wedding budget survey, from a couple who said “as little as possible” to a few big figures in excess of $55,000. The comments on this survey were quite telling too. I was quite surprised at the number of people who didn’t have a budget at all, and were just throwing a ballpark figure out there.
The $25k figure is slightly less than the national average of $30,000 (and that figure is from a couple of years ago). Which is probably due to weddings being a bit cheaper in many parts of the South Island (especially venue hire and catering from what I’ve seen).
But while $25,000 might be lower than average… it’s still a lot of money! Where exactly are people spending all this cash? A marriage licence only accounts for $150ish, no matter the budget. So how are couples portioning their wedding budget up?
Where do you get your wedding budget from?
To set your budget, the very first thing you need to know is how much you’ve got to spend.
This means you’ll need to have a talk with both sets of parents and see if they are willing to contribute – and they need to tell you how much they’re going to shell out! I hear about parents promising to help out, but pussyfooting around the figures – listen, Mum & Dad, this bride has a budget to put together, mmkk?!!
Once you have a rough idea of what you might have to spend, then you can start fleshing out a wedding budget, to see if the amount you have, the guest list you want, and the vision you’re planning is realistic. You might find the wedding you want won’t work with the budget you have – so as a couple, decide if you change the scope of the wedding (scaling back the celebrations or guest list), or the budget (by finding more money).
Typical Wedding Budget Breakdown
The thing is, you only get married once (usually) so you don’t know how much things cost. So, how much should you spend on what? Well, I’ll get to that in a second, but first you should consider how you’re going to record your wedding budget, going forward.
If you’re not sure how much to portion out to each part of the wedding – or you are concerned you’ve missed something off the list – then check out the Wedding Budget Template and Planner. This Google Sheet template allows you to type your proposed budget in, then it automatically portions out the costs between the different aspects of your wedding day.
As well as a starting point for the big conversations with your fiance and (hopefully) parents, having a concrete plan in place is VITAL if you are to have any chance of sticking to your wedding budget (big or small).
Once you start paying deposits and buying things for your wedding, the Wedding Budget Template + Planner keeps track of your spending and tallies what your total cost is looking like. It’s a good idea to do this from an early point, as the closer people get to the wedding, the more random costs seem to pop up. This way, you can make some tough decisions on whether you can afford some of those more “nice to have” items on your wish list.
Where does your wedding budget go?
A rough guide to where your wedding spend will go typically looks like this:
- The most expensive part of your wedding is generally the wedding reception, with between 35 – 40% of your total wedding budget going into this. Remember this includes the food and the alcohol, which vary heaps depending on the guest list.
- The next is clothing – the bride’s dress, bridesmaids, groom and groomsmen all can take up to 20% of the total wedding spend to be decked out. If your bridal party looks after their own clothing this can bring the cost down a little, but typically couples tend to cover this cost.
- Next, the commemorative side of things – photography and videography – rack up about 15% of the bill.
- Items such as stationery, flowers and transport make up 10 – 15% of the budget.
- Your wedding ceremony can account for 7-10% of the total bill (which isn’t very much considering this is the essential bit of the day!)
- Finally, beauty appointments, gifts and misc costs can add up to 7%
If you want to see some real life wedding budgets, check out my full wedding budget here and see how much I spent on my wedding.
Do you have a wedding budget?
I’m curious – do you (or did you) have a wedding budget to stick to? It’s easy to get carried away without a budget keeping a track of where the money’s gone. It’s also a great way to practice decision making and compromise with your partner! I’d love to hear your experience and advice if you have any.