It's Time to Get Real About Wedding Costs: A Helpful Budgeting Guide To Your Destination Wedding

The True Cost Of Love

If you’re an engaged Australian and you’re not living under a rock, then you’ve likely seen some outrageous wedding cost figures doing the rounds of social media in the last month.

While there’s no debate that the average cost figures in the survey are high, we want to break it down a little by going through what could actually be included in the cost of a wedding, and what your options are. First, in case you haven’t read the survey results we’ve laid out the basics below. Catch your breath and hold on for the ride.

The Many Dimensions Of Your Big Day

The cost of love, getting married, destination weddings, Australian brides, Bali weddings, Modern Weddings, Wedding Survey, Cheaper Weddings

The survey, which is now closed, is similar to other viral sensations in that it’s unclear exactly which items are included in the final well-circulated and slightly shocking numbers. So, in a humble attempt to improve your experience of marriage, we thought we’d put the exclamation marks aside for a moment, and take a look at the actual cost elements of two popular styles of wedding that Australian couples tend to favour.

The first being the Australian estate or winery wedding, the second being the Bali Villa wedding. We’ll discuss the costs of a wedding in both of these location types and let you come to your own conclusions about what you should spend celebrating your love.

First off, let’s run through the general items you’ll need to consider when you get married regardless of location. We’ve done our own research on this one and put together some average percentages. Of course these will be different for each couple. In fact we recommend allocating costs according to your taste and style rather than a formula. This is more of a general guide.

  • Reception

This is likely to be the biggest single cost of your wedding with an average of 30% of your budget being allocated - whatever the total amount you have put aside. This figure should include the cost of food and drinks, the space hire and cake! Plus you’ll need to consider your table settings, your staff costs, and the venue dressing costs.

  • Ceremony

With the cost of ceremonial fees reasonable in both Bali and Australia, you can safely estimate spending only 10% of your budget on the ceremony. This makes an allowance for the celebrant fees, venue hire, seating and decoration as well as the aisle music. But if you want something special like a string quartet, plan to budget a little extra.

  • Clothing

Depending on the size of your bridal party - and your taste - this could take up as much as 15% of your budget. Remember, you’ll need to consider the dress and suits for the Groomsmen and Bridesmaids. As well as any little accessories like cufflinks for the lads.

  • Makeup and hair

2% depending on how big your bridal party is. This would cover hair and makeup for a group of three but be aware that bridal makeup artists will often ask for a chargeable test run to make sure you’re happy with your look.

  • Flowers

Think approximately 5% of your budget for the bridal party and venue dressing. It may sound like a lot, but flowers really make the moment special. If you’ve chosen something out of season expect to pay a little more.

  • Entertainment and Music

Set aside approximately 5% of your budget for this, that’s unless you’ve set your heart on flying in a band from the UK. The options are endless from playlists to dance groups so stay open minded!

  • Photography and Videography

Expect to use 10% of your total costs for this. It’s an area that many couples regret skimping on, especially if you have a beautiful venue in mind. In fact, more and more couples are hiring videographers to capture and edit a film of their big day.

  • Wedding Rings

With the engagement ring already purchased, simple wedding jewellery is likely to be only 5% of your costs - but this doesn’t include necklaces or earrings for the bridal party.

  • Stationery

2% might sound like a lot when you compare it to the above items but invitations, place cards and signage can give your day a very special touch and provide something for your guests to pin to their fridges in anticipation.

  • Transportation

Considering that this cost may be for you and your guests, we recommend it’s best to put aside 2%. Maybe it’s a vintage car of a gondolier, or just a taxi service to take your drinking guests home.

  • Gifts

We recommend setting aside 2% as most brides and grooms will want to give their friends something special to acknowledge the support they’ve offered. Small Bridesmaid and Groomsmen gifts go a long, long way in showing your gratitude.

  • Extras

A wedding is a moving feast and as you organise your ‘coming together’ there may be extra items you realise you can’t do without. For this reason we’ve put aside 12% for miscellaneous costs such as the last minute hire of a pavilion if the weather turns, a group of unexpected guests decides to come, or a change in wine availability alters the menu at the last moment.

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Australian Estates vs. Bali Villas

If you’re a couple considering one of these amazing wedding types as a possible venue option, then you’re already on your way to achieving the wedding of your dreams. Both Australian estates and Bali villas offer incredible levels of freedom, privacy, service, accommodation and vendor flexibility that many hotels, churches and function centres simply aren’t willing to offer you. For couples that want to do something different but still affordable, these are the two obvious choices.

Australian Estates have the added benefit of being closer to home with guests not having to jump on a plane to attend your wedding, but the vendor service costs in Australia are likely to be higher. It’s also important to watch out for hidden costs at these venues. For example, is the person you’re corresponding with a wedding planner? Or do they use an in-house wedding planner? And, does the reception cost include the seat hire, the table settings and the wine and canapés - or will those items be added extras that could blow our your miscellaneous budget?

On the other hand, Bali Villas are famous for luxury and their tropical locale provides an unbeatable experience for both the couple and their guests. But again, it’s important to watch out for hidden costs. Make sure you ask any venue that you’re considering whether the beach they claim is private – is actually going to be free of bikini clad tourists. And, whether the costs of the power, the flowers and the pre ceremony drinks are included in that ‘all inclusive quote’ that’s sitting in your inbox.

Another cost consideration to keep in mind is the length of the villa rental. You may have it for three days, but does this include the pack down and set up time, or the cost of a marquee for shelter if the weather turns? Remember to ask questions and never feel silly, it’s better to know ahead what you’re in for so nothing ruins your big day.

The cost of love, getting married, destination weddings, Australian brides, Bali weddings, Modern Weddings, Wedding Survey, Cheaper Weddings

Cookie Cutter vs. Tailor-made Weddings

You can likely already predict that the sky high costs of the weddings included in the survey we spoke of earlier are likely to have come from adding ‘extra items’ to pre-established venue packages. Or sadly, they could be the result of couples that have been taken advantage of by cunning operators. The wedding industry is unregulated in Bali and there are many companies who’ll take any chance they can to charge extra costs.

This highlights a problem many couples will find themselves facing. While nobody wants a packaged ‘in the box’ style of wedding, the escalating costs of asking for those extra things can become outrageous! Packaged weddings are a dime a dozen in both Bali and Australia, and many people are happy with what they get, but other couples retire to their room at the end of the night secretly wishing they had taken the time to choose some something more creative and unique.

The key it seems, to cutting costs (while also getting the wedding you want) is to do your research. Find a company - in Australia or in Bali - that really does offer an inclusive service. Ask early about the extra bits and pieces that are important to you. Make an effort to find out if the person you’re speaking with has the experience you’ll be relying on as you approach your big day. Ask them to be flexible. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind if you’re worried about something and talk to other couples that have married in the venues you’re considering.

When it comes down to it, there’s no way to assign value to love. In fact, the bond between you both is likely to be stronger than money, but the practicalities are still worth taking a look at. After all, this is just the first day of the rest of your life. You have an entire future together to consider as you make your wedding cost decisions now.

So don’t believe the hype! Yes the extreme cost survey information is helpful but if you’re interested in discovering the true cost of venues in both Bali and Australia click here. One of our Botanica Wedding planners will get in touch with a quote that’s likely to put the smile back on your face and the breath back in your lungs.