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5 tips on how to keep the cost of your wedding down.

So you don’t have to take out a mortgage.

They say you can’t put a price on love, but with the average Australian wedding now costing couples anywhere from $36,200 to a staggering $54,000, it seems like love really does come with a hefty price tag.

The cold, hard post-wedding fact is that 35% of couples blow their budget and 60% take out a loan just to say “I do”.

So, where exactly does the money go? The largest expenditures are necessities, such as the venue, food, alcohol and entertainment, but there are also finer details to take into consideration. Decorations, invitations and dance lessons may seem insignificant but can prove to be money-suckers in disguise.

In order to help manage your wedding budget, we’ve uncovered the biggest wedding expenditures and rustled up some helpful hints to ensure you’re not forced to spend your honeymoon in a dodgy highway motel room rather than lying on a beach in the Maldives.

Every bride wants her special day to be perfect. But the perfect wedding doesn't have to blow your budget.

Reception venue.

Australian couples spent an average of $18, 683 on venue hire, food and alcohol alone, making it the biggest cost of a wedding. Let’s face it, you want your reception to be the party of the year, so making sure you’re happy with the venue is crucial. However, there are a few sneaky ways to keep costs down without scrimping on style.

Consider holding the event on a Sunday instead of a Friday or Saturday night. Afternoon events will also be cheaper and, after all, nothing says sophisticated vintage bride quite like a champagne luncheon or high tea.

It also pays to be more selective when creating the guest list. While inviting your hairdressers husband’s cousin might seem like a good idea at the time, it’s a sure fire way to see the price of your wedding sky rocket. If you can, keep it intimate with only family and close friends. Not only will you keep costs down, but you’ll be able to spend more time with people you really care about on your special day.

Wedding clothing and accessories.

The average wedding wardrobe comes in at $4,271, with the wedding dress costing an average of $2,180, though it can reach prices of up to $15,000 (yikes). While we’d all love to say our vows in stunning Vivienne Westwood couture a-la Carrie Bradshaw, this perhaps isn’t a plausible reality for most of us.

Choosing the perfect dress is sometimes one of a bride’s most important (and stressful) decisions, but there are ways to keep down the costs without resorting to wearing a pillowcase. Online websites such as Etsy are now offering a huge number of bespoke and handcrafted designs to ensure all eyes will most certainly be on you.

Keep and eye out for wedding sales and always search online - the perfect dress might be a click away.

With regards to the bridesmaids, consider asking them to wear their own accessories in a matching colour rather than buying multiple sets of shoes, hair clips and clutches. And while spending a day at the spa getting primped and preened sounds like fun, why not have a pamper night at home: pull out a bottle of champagne and do some DIY manicures, pedicures and face masks.

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Entertainment.

The thought of being serenaded by a 10-piece orchestra as you walk down the aisle might seem like a good idea at the time, but it might not after receiving the bill. The average spent on wedding entertainment is $2,896, with a live band alone costing between $1,500 and $2,000.

When keeping costs down, a DJ is the way to go, with an average price ranging from $600 to $900. Instead of hiring entertainment for the ceremony, ask a musically talented family member or friend (we’ve all got one or two) to play something live, or else compile a CD and ask them to coordinate the stereo system. And while you’re at it, why not ask a family member to MC the event for you? Your hilarious uncle will entertain your guests more than a hired host and will provide a more intimate touch to the event.

Flowers, decorations, bonbonniere and invitations.

These might seem like innocent little additions, but when you consider the average Australian couple spends $2,896, it becomes apparent they can equal a massive budget blowout (and let's be truthful, they usually end up in the bin).

The best way to work around this is to plug in your hot glue gun and get crafty - invitations, name cards and menus can all be made easily by you, your husband-to-be and some arty friends that can easily be bribed with a few slices of pizza.

Simple table decorations and DIY invites are the perfect way to avoid hidden costs.

Choose flowers that are in season– they will be cheaper and of better quality, meaning they’ll last through the night (perhaps unlike your tipsy great aunt). It can also be a good idea to create your own floral displays for table decorations. Simply collect mismatching glass vases in which to place the bouquets, et voila - instant wedding chic.

Rather than gifting your guests with useless, out-of-date bonboniere, such as wine stoppers or picture frames, consider giving them a slice of wedding cake in a box tied with ribbon to say thank you for attending. Guaranteed, after a three-course meal it isn’t likely they’ll be able to fit that cake in anyway.

With a little bit of thought and preparation anyone can save money when it comes to a wedding. And when you’re finally sunning yourself on a sandy beach with your loved one beside you, the hours of hot glue-gunning will definitely seem worth it.

You’re welcome.

Do you have any other tips to add to the list? How did you try to save on your wedding?

Most brides go for a traditional veil but if you're not that sold on the 'big reveal', there are plenty of stunning options out there that are a little bit more unique. CLICK THROUGH the gallery to see them all...

Want more? Try these:

The wedding secrets they never want their spouse to find out.

Not a fan of wedding veils? These are just as bridal beautiful.

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