At the bottom of this blog post is a fully comprehensive wedding checklist, that includes everything we’re supplying for our day. This is our first blog post in a series on the entire process of planning a wedding. You can read the other blog posts in our planning a wedding series here.
So you’re engaged – now to plan a wedding, or elopement or something else entirely
Planning a wedding is kind of like having a second job. It’s both challenging and rewarding, and sometimes it’s a rollercoaster of emotions as you deal with people’s different expectations and opinions on what you should or shouldn’t do. We want to start out by acknowledging that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate your decision to spend the rest of your lives together. In fact, you can get married without even having a wedding at all! Just visit the registry office and fill out some forms if that’s your thing. We each value different things in life and it’s all about what your priorities are.
We want to make it clear that our opinions about our wedding are a reflection of what we value and what’s important to us. We’ve celebrated weddings in all kinds of different ways while photographing and filming – multi-day Indian celebrations and 400 guest Macedonian parties, to intimate destination weddings with 40 people. We’ve loved them all. We’re not going to dictate how you should celebrate your wedding. We’re going to share what we learn along the way, hoping that it will give you ideas and maybe help out with the process.
The average cost of a wedding in Australia
Different sources of information tell us that the average cost of a wedding in Australia is between $36,000 and $65,000 – reports vary widely. You could also spend the same amount of money on a brand new car or a round the world trip. The most important thing to both of us and what we value most in life, are our relationships with our family and friends. For that reason having a wedding and spending quality time with those people is our top priority. We want to spend our money and time on sharing experiences with them.
We’re not going to delve into the budget topic in our blog posts because it’s kind of pointless. You can create a beautiful event for 20 close family and friends with an afternoon picnic in the park, a Saturday night BBQ at your home, an elopement, a cocktail style party, or a Christmas style lunch buffet. Or you can have an elaborate 3 day event for 300 guests in a historic building in the middle of Sydney. Either way, we’d recommend focussing on hiring businesses who can work with you to do an awesome job, rather than getting the best deal you can and compromising on things that are really important to you. It’s not about how much you spend, it’s about getting someone who can do the best job for you.
Start out by asking yourselves what is most important to you, what are your priorities and values? Maybe even write a list. We shaped our whole wedding around wanting to maximise the time we could spend with our family and friends. This dictated our date of Saturday on New Years Eve, so that our guests had an extended holiday period around the wedding day. We’ll admit it’s a bit greedy asking our guests to take their summer holiday with us, so we wanted accommodation at the venue to make it easier for them.
Local or Destination wedding
Your choice of venue impacts on all the other vendors you choose to work with on your wedding day. Staying local is best (and sometimes necessary) for suppliers like caterers, as we found they couldn’t travel further than around 1.5 hours. However, most wedding vendors including photographers and cinematographers do travel. The logistics of having a destination wedding means that you’ll be travelling to the venue frequently throughout the year, meeting with your caterer, celebrant, florist, hair and make up artist etc. Make sure you factor extra $$$ in your budget for vendors who aren’t local, and will need to cover transport and accommodation.
Alternative wedding venues
Your choice of venue also dictates what you need to supply – don’t be fooled into thinking that having a wedding in a non-traditional space means less $$$. It often means more, as you’ll need to supply everything that would usually be included with the hire of a wedding venue. No matter where you hold your wedding we always recommend having an undercover area in case of wet weather. There are lots of options – katas or tipis, and marquees that come in all shapes and sizes with clear walls or white walls or no walls at all! We chose to hire two tipis from Kata Lane for our wedding. We can also highly recommend South Coast Party Hire for marquees as they were super helpful when we were researching for reception spaces.
You need to be realistic with cost of hiring a structure that seats 100+ people with table and chairs, flooring, lighting, delivery and man/woman power to spend two whole days setting up and packing down. We found that $12,000 was the average cost for a structure that doesn’t look like something that you could pick up from Vinnies for 100 bucks. See what we were saying now about how a non-traditional wedding space can often mean more dollars? Our message though is that it all comes down to your priorities. If yours (like ours) is celebrating over multiple days with our guests and doing it exactly how we want, then an alternative wedding venue could be the go. The advantage of choosing a traditional wedding venue is that most things are provided for you, and you don’t need to worry about hiring a dedicated reception structure or caterers.
Alternative wedding venues in Canberra include:
Non-traditional wedding venues can be difficult to find, so we recommend searching on the amazing resource that is WedShed. They sum up their mission pretty well on their website: “WedShed is an online platform that brings together a collection of unique Australian venues to hire for weddings. We use the word ‘venue’ loosely – our spaces range from woolsheds and warehouses to wineries and airplane hangars. What’s consistent is that all our venue-partners allow couples to create personal celebrations that reflect what they’re all about. Less bridezilla, more bridechilla.”
You either spend money, or you spend time. What will you literally spend your time on? Will you spend it enjoying your celebration with your loved ones? Or will you spend it re-filling ice buckets because you didn’t hire a bartender, or packing up chairs and tables at the end of the night because you skimped out on hiring the venue for more than 1 day. We’re all for pitching in and helping out to pull together an event, but you need to draw the line somewhere on what you can reasonably expect your family and friends to do. Sometimes the time spent doing those things can cost more than the money you would need to hire a professional to do them for you.
Our wedding checklist
Here is a fully comprehensive list of things we’re supplying for our camp out wedding. Keep in mind that because we chose an alternative venue we have to bring in a lot of things that most wedding venues would provide for you.
Supplies for the property:
Lighters or matches
Paper and pen
Cable ties assorted sizes
Small sledge hammer
Music list for dj + backup playlist on ipod and iphone
Rings and ring box
Signing table + 2 chairs
Camping designated areas
Directions to farm
Wedding hashtag #antheaandlyndon
Directions to toilets
Fairy lights and festoon lights
Multiple long power leads and powerboards
Vases for tables
Blankets and pillows
Cake table and gift table
Tablecloth for DJs desk
Place names (including spares)
Thank you gifts
Multiple printed copies of run sheet with contact info for all vendors and MC
Back up sound system and microphone
Speeches (already written)
Spotify playlist for after midnight downloaded to device + backup on other device
Large umbrellas for shade
Crayons, textas, pencils
Colouring in books
Capture the flag
Volleyball net and ball
New Years day breakfast
Coffee and tea
Hired bowls and spoons for dessert
Canned soft drinks
120 wine glasses
100 paper cups for breakfast
100 paper plates for breakfast
Napkins for breakfast
Cloth napkins for dinner
Print out of table/seating arrangement with dietary requirements (and bring back up on usb)
Groomsmen’s suits, belts and ties
Vendors to choose for your wedding day
Event planner / Stylist
Stationery (invites, place cards, favour tags etc)
Marquee / teepee
Lighting / sound hire
Entertainment (band or DJ)