I had pledged silently to myself before that I wouldn’t overwrite my blog with wedding posts. Yet it’s hard not to when I am filled with so many ideas & excitement for arguably one of the most important days of my life. So if you are sick of wedding talk, please skip this long post.

Almost every girl out there must have at some stage of their childhood fantasized about their wedding day. Mine was triggered at a very young age when I first read those Disney princess books. At the time, I pictured that my wedding dress will be a similar massive glittery ball gown- like Cinderella’s . The expectations & lists of things I want grew significantly during my teenage years -especially when you add girlfriends in the mix with similar dreams. We were constantly trying to emulate celebrity weddings or ideas from movies & even played this out with dolls, make-up & pretend dresses.

Cinderella-Kids-Disney-Story-with-a-Moral-Lesson1Today my tastes have changed & budget played a determining role to my wedding plans. I no longer fantasized about having a grand wedding, but appreciated a more personal & intimate one.  I concluded that there are 3 essential things you DEFINITELY need in a wedding before others especially if you are on a budget.

  1. The most obvious- Reception/ Ceremony venue

cf78cee3dd2c240eeab5ed8575a38c51Set THE date. This will make everything else so much easier to plan. Then do some research into venues & visit the place. Check out magazines or bride forums like Easy Weddings for recommendations. If you love it, book it. The date can determine the cost as well – for example, is it on weekend (higher cost) or a week night (budget friendly) Is it during the day for lunch (budget friendly) or dinner (higher cost) Is it during Autumn/Winter (budget friendly) or Spring/Summer (higher cost) Booking in advance is also especially crucial if your wedding is during peak season & on a weekend – typically mid Nov – March if you live in VIC Australia.

Most reception venues in Melbourne on average cost about $120 per head for a 3-4 course menu, plus your standard 3 table drinks – beer, white & red wines and soft drinks. The cost would also typically include a standard table centerpiece in the mix (usually a simple candelabra) Some venues charge a little extra for chair covers & sashes though, but you can ALWAYS bargain this down. If you are having your reception at a restaurant, they might not include any table centerpieces for you, so be prepared to spend more dosh to outsource table centerpieces/flowers if you find this necessary. To make it easier for guests & bridal party alike, some venues already have designated areas where you can also hold your wedding ceremony before reception (if you don’t know, the ceremony is when you get legally married & sign the docs etc) Again, you may be charged by using their courtyard, or garden or foyer- but always negotiate this. Compromise. Otherwise you can pay a small fee to have it at a separate location like a public garden or the Marriage registry.

  1. Make it Legal- Book a Celebrant/Priest

e523c90f295510d1e3c41dd5db08abecYou definitely need a celebrant or a religious leader as they will be the one legally marrying you.  They provide you with the legal paperwork needed to be ‘officially married’ & say the right things needed to be said in a ceremony.

I’m not quite clear how much a priest/church charges (if someone can kindly clarify) as I am using a celebrant for my wedding. Celebrant prices range from $300 to about $900+ (won’t be surprised if there are higher) & they are hired for an average of 30mins of the Ceremony. ABIA winners & nominees are usually about $600+ which should typically include rehearsals. Meet a couple, determine the difference & find the connection- but remember, you get what you paid for! If you want someone who is very engaging to your guests, who can dress well to go in theme with your attire, charismatic, speak in a comforting tone (very important to me personally) then be prepared to pay the bigger bucks. I have been to a wedding where the Celebrant talked like a Horse race commentator & pretty much rushed the ceremony. The celebrant is also the one your guests will remember & be in the videos if you are having a videographer! Alternatively, you can get married at the Victorian Marriage Registry at the Treasury Building too.

  1. Photographer/Videographer

6370c9d6757d4ecf10c2707434ea8521Not all of us can have beautiful weddings overseas, or at grand hotel ballrooms, or have rich parents who own an acre backyard. So even if your venue is lacklustre, a good Photographer can make  your wedding  look magical in the photos which one day you will perhaps show off to new friends & your kids. Photography is one of the biggest, most expensive, and competitive- but extremely essential element for weddings, so be sure to invest good money into them amongst others first. There are tons of freelance photographers & agencies alike providing this service so fear not that you won’t find ‘the one’, but it is like finding a needle in a haystack. Ensure they show you what they have personally done for other couples previously. Bridal Magazines like Bride-to-Be & Real Weddings really helped this aspect for me. I looked at other peoples wedding shots & if I liked the style of their photography, I look up their photographer then search them online to see if they have a website & liaise away!

So why do you need a photographer? (A good one at that) You plan so much for your wedding & for it to go in a flash in the one day without documentation is such a waste. Photos are for great memories & to keep as a reminder of the little details that you may have missed on the momentous day. Good photographers have the ability to make your wedding look beautiful -even if you don’t have that crazy flower chandelier, or that great pergola backdrop, or those over the top table centerpieces etc. So even if your wedding is a low budget one, as long as they capture the right ‘moments’ ie. your bridal party having fun (if you are having one) or those little DIY items you may have made, your wedding is bound to LOOK beautiful in photos, and in time when the memory fades of the day, the photos won’t. Once again, meet a couple both freelance & agencies alike. I personally love freelance photographers compared to agencies as I feel they work harder to gain street credit & personalise their services. With agencies, it felt like I was just going to get assigned a random photographer who happens to be free on that day- they might not be the one who took those beautiful shots shown in the albums in the studio! You can have more ‘connection’ with freelancers & I believe this is essential to capturing you both well on one of the most momentous days of your lives.

Hope this helps! I would love to know what you feel is essential in a wedding.

*Photos are from Pinterest

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