Life Relationships The new wedding trend that’s costing a fortune
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The new wedding trend that’s costing a fortune

wedding fireworks
Big wedding, big bills - but it's not nice expecting guests to underwrite your big day. Getty
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Gone are the days of the simple dinner and wedding march. Wedding experts say couples are personalising their special day now more than ever.

As December arrives, many newlyweds (and their now impoverished parents and parents-in-law) will be facing frightening levels of wedding debt – perhaps because of the trend to customise.

Spring is the season of choice for brides and grooms due to the array of flowers, such as the peony and ranunculus, available for bouquets and the warm and sunny weather.

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Joanie Lim, wedding planner and stylist of One Wedding Wish, said custom weddings with personal touches were growing in popularity, as opposed to traditional (and often cheaper) ceremonies.

“It’s not uncommon for couples to spend on a spectacular fireworks display, photo booth, dessert or whisky bar and big floral centrepieces,” Ms Lim told The New Daily.

wedding photo booth
Photo booths and other personal wedding touches are growing in popularity. Photo: Getty

Gone are the days of the sit-down dinner and wedding march. Personalised extras such as fancy stationery, extravagant lighting, fireworks and boutique furniture added to the high cost, Ms Lim said.

This is a development the author has noticed in her own experience when many of her family and friends have tied the knot in recent years.

These personal extras are now almost compulsory for modern brides and often increase a wedding’s already exorbitant cost. Corporate regulator ASIC estimated the average Australian wedding to cost $36,000.

Feeling the pressure

Today, wedding planners are frequently employed to help the bride and groom create the experience they want, instead of settling for a standard wedding.

With social media abounding, more brides are feeling the pressure to compete with their peers and have a unique celebration, even if it involves a lot more cash.

“Brides today are armed with Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook … Celebrity weddings are splashed across the media. Closer to home, you don’t have to attend a wedding to see every detail about it,” Ms Lim said.

“There is an element of pressure within your own social circle and the way we consume information so readily available to us, that plays a part in the changes you see in weddings.”

And with weddings there is a cost, often in the tens of thousands of dollars.

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wedding bride
You can still have fun without the financial woes. Photo: Getty

Despite this, the wedding planner said modern ceremonies did not always need to be more expensive than in previous years.

“Just as weddings today no longer follow the traditional playbook, wedding budgets too are spread across the entire spectrum,” Ms Lim said.

“Weddings can take place in your backyard if you have one large enough, or at an award-winning reception venue. Each has its own price tag.”

Karen Lindée and her husband Sheridan wed in January 2015 in Far North Queensland, a time and place notorious for wet weather and high humidity.

She said holding their wedding in ‘off peak’ season allowed them to save money and hire a photographer on short notice.

The wedding, which catered for 100 guests, cost the couple just $10,000 ($26,000 cheaper than the average).

“We kept the price of our wedding down by two main ways – by calling on our friends and family to help out wherever possible and by making all of the decorations,” Mrs Lindée said.

“The flowers for the bouquets were all handmade roses from book pages, brown, orange and white paper and attached to stems made from old electrical wiring that I stripped back to the copper.”

The buffet dinner cost $20 a head and the couple asked certain friends and family members to bring a favourite dish along for dessert and entrees.

Mrs Lindée said recruiting loved ones not only helped save money, but also added a personal touch to the day.

“The big areas to save on are flowers, venue hire, food and probably attire … Our wedding day was definitely like a fairytale despite being on a budget. Perhaps even because it was on a budget.”

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