Budget for your Wedding

Wedding Invitations & Other Stationery Gifts
Who Pays?
Getting Prices
Financial Responsibilities
Who to Invite?
Wording of Invitations
Other Stationery Requirements
Sending Invitations
RSVP Cards
Order of Service Books
Table Place Cards
Location Maps
Gift Register for the Bride and Groom
Opening of Wedding Gifts
Thank You Notes
Gifts for the Bridal Party
Gifts for the Parents
Gifts for Each Other
Wedding Flowers
Choosing Your Florist
List of flowers you will need

More Articles

White Doves at Weddings - Bringing Back an Age Old Tradition
10 Tips for Perfect Wedding Make-Up
Men- How to buy diamond jewelry for your loved ones

Submit an article to AusBride

Budget for your Wedding

Before you can start planning for your wedding, you must have a budget to work to. This is very important, as you need to know what funds will be available to you before you put down any deposits or sign contracts for any services for the wedding.

Who Pays?
Traditionally, the bride’s family bear most of the wedding costs but in these modern times, this is not always the case.
With most couples working and living together, they contribute to the costs along with the groom’s family in order to ease the burden for the bride’s family.
You probably already have an idea as to whether or not your parents will be able to finance the wedding, either partially or with some help from yourselves. The bride, groom and both sets of parents should discuss this issue well ahead of the wedding so that a budget can be made and all parties are in agreement. At this time, you should get an indication from the parents in regards to how many friends and family they would like to invite. You may find that this list may need to be trimmed or a compromise made so that a number satisfactory to all is agreed on. Also discuss any family traditions that they may want you to carry out – this may or may not fit in with what you originally had planned.

Getting Prices
The Internet, Yellow Pages and recommendations from friends are the best ways to find out what venues or services are available to you and at what cost. The easiest way is to ring around first to find out if what you want is available through that particular outlet, rather than going around to several different shops with no result. When speaking to the suppliers, be specific about what you are looking for and ask them to give you a price (GST inclusive, so there are no hidden surprises) that would be valid at the time of your wedding. If you are planning well in advance for your wedding, you may find that the prices have risen by the time you are getting married.

When you are going to see the goods, whether it be the flowers or the dresses, take note of the appearance of the business. Are they organised or is the shop organised chaos? Are they neat and tidy? Rate the customer service level as well – cheapest is not always the best in terms of services and little extras.

Once you have chosen your supplier, find out, in writing if possible, when any deposits or progress payments need to be made and when final payment is required.

Normally, the financial responsibilities are as follows:

Bride and Her Family
Invitations & announcements – printing, postage and associated costs
Flowers for the ceremony and reception venues
Flowers for the bride’s attendants
Corsages for mothers and grandmothers
Wedding dress, veil, lingerie and all accessories
Ceremony and reception music fees
Photographer and Videographer
Wedding day transportation for all the bridal party
Reception – food, beverages, decorations and all associated costs
Hair and make up costs for the bride and her attendants

Groom and His Family
Bride’s bouquet
Any suit hire costs for the groom
Any marriage licence fees
Accommodation costs for out of town attendants
Wedding rehearsal dinner (optional)

Personal wedding attire (excluding flowers)

Bride and Groom
Engagement and wedding rings
Wedding night accommodation
Gifts for attendants

Most couples and their families will share the costs – use this list as a guide when discussing the wedding budget.

Wedding Invitations & Other Stationery

Who to Invite?

In order to establish how many guests you can invite to your wedding, you will need to have a budget in place. A budget will determine how many guests you can afford to invite and make it easier to put a limit on the number of guests.

The guest list need not be a major issue as long as all parties involved, the bride, groom, and both parents, are able to discuss it as soon as practicable. If all parties are contributing to the financing of the wedding then the best way is to establish how many guests you can have in total and divide it three ways. If one party has more guests than the others, it may create tension between families. You may have to look at inviting only the immediate families and not the extended families in order to be able to invite everyone else. If only one party is financing the wedding, then there should be a decision made as to how the guest list is divided.

You will also need to decide if you will be inviting children. While they may look cute entertaining the guests, they are also prone to having temper tantrums at the most inopportune times. They can also get bored and restless quickly if there is not enough to entertain them for a full day and night. If there are only a couple of children you would like
have in attendance, consider having them in the bridal party. While most of your guests would not be offended if you did not invite their young children, it would be inappropriate to invite some children and not others.

If you have single friends you are inviting but are unable to add ‘and guest’ to their invitation, try to seat them all together at the reception so they do not feel uncomfortable with a table full of couples. While most guests realise they may not always be able to take a friend, they will appreciate being with other people in the same situation.

Even though it might be a good opportunity for business networking for your parents or yourselves, it could greatly increase your guest numbers. Best to leave this type of guest till last and if you have any room, then invite them.

If you have potential guests interstate or overseas, be prepared for them to accept your invitation. Don’t assume they won’t attend as they live too far away as it may rebound on you inflating your guest list further. It would be best to invite interstate guests well ahead of time and ask them to give you an indication as soon as possible as to whether or
not they will be able to attend.

Wording of Invitations
The bride’s parents traditionally send the wedding invitation when they host the wedding. If the financing of the wedding is being shared by all parties, you may want to word the invitation to show all parties as the host. The various wording combinations are endless and depend upon how formal or informal you would like them to be.

For examples of different wording, contact a printer of wedding invitations who will show you a catalogue of different styles and designs. If you have any wedding invitations at home, look through these for ideas with regard to wording, design, fonts and colours. Most bridal magazines can give pictures or examples of wording.

While a printed invitation is most popular, you can create invitations yourself with the right tools – computer software, elegant paper and a very good laser printer. You might find that the cost difference between printed and home made invitations is minimal and therefore it may be easier to get them printed. Before ordering your invitations, consider what other stationery needs you will have and look at ordering everything at the one time.

Other Stationery Requirements

Generally, you will need wedding invitations and envelopes, RSVP cards and envelopes (optional), place cards for the reception and if desired, order of service booklets for the ceremony. It is a good idea to order some extra invitations
and envelopes in case of mistakes. Always make sure you have a few spare for keepsakes. Thank you notes can be printed but they are more personal if hand written by the bride and groom.

If you plan to have other stationery printed, they should all be uniform in colour, font, paper and design. This will allow the same theme to be followed throughout. A lot of brides like to colour coordinate their stationery in line with the colours of the bridal party or the flowers they will have. While the effects of this can be wonderful, this can often be time consuming and hard to accomplish.

Make sure you proof read all copies before authorising the printer to go ahead. Once you have signed the proof copy, you are liable for any mistakes. Read through everything carefully, and pay particular attention to the spelling of all names.

Sending Invitations

Invitations should be sent no later than six weeks prior to your wedding. If you are getting married over the holiday season, i.e. January or February, it may be wise to send them eight weeks before. The RSVP date should be two to three weeks prior to the wedding. Don’t forget you will need to know final numbers for the reception venue at least two weeks prior to the day.

RSVP Cards

Sending pre-printed RSVP cards and envelopes with the invitation is optional but will be convenient for your guests. This means they only have to fill in their name and the number of guests attending. The envelope should be already addressed to either the host or you. If you choose not to enclose RSVP cards, be prepared to follow up late responses.

Order of Service Books

‘Order of service’ books are a nice touch for the ceremony as they provide a memento for your guests. Generally, they list all the members of the bridal party, the parents of the bride and groom, the celebrant or minister, readers and any musicians or singers at the beginning then a running order of how the ceremony will unfold. You can include any poems or readings in full as well as a copy of your vows. A message from the bride and groom on the last page will make it more personal. As they are usually not very large, they can be bound with coloured ribbon in keeping with the wedding colour scheme. Ask your printer to show you examples or speak to the celebrant – they may have some from previous weddings.

Table Place Cards

Place cards are essential for your reception, as guests need to be allocated a seat at a designated table. This makes it easier for your guests to find their seats and will ensure that everyone is seated in accordance with your plans. It would be a good idea to have relevant groups together on one table (relatives, school friends, work associates, singles, etc) as guests will feel more comfortable sitting with people in which they have something in common. You will not be able to accommodate everyone in terms of their table location to the bridal table but try to keep close family and friends closest to the bridal table then work outward.

An alphabetical listing of every guest with their table number next to their name can be displayed in the reception foyer and guests can then go straight to their table without having to look at every place card.

Location Maps

Venue location maps for out of town guests will be very helpful, especially if guests are unfamiliar with the location of the venue. A simple photocopy of the street directory with the venue highlighted and showing the most direct route is easy to enclose with their invitation.


With so many couples living together or living away from home before they are married, it is often difficult to know what they will need to start their new life together. For this reason, a gift register at a major department or specialty store will ensure that the bride and groom receive gifts that they would prefer and avoid any duplications.

Gift Register for the Bride and Groom

Most department stores and larger specialty shops have a bridal register service available, with no charge to the bride and groom. To register, speak to a consultant at the store and they will take you around the store and ask you to select what products you would like to receive as gifts. It is a good idea to select small and large gifts as you will probably have a group of guests that will all contribute to get one large gift and other guests who prefer to give an individual gift. The store will give you pre-printed cards to send with your invitations to let guests know where you are registered. Your guests can then either visit or phone the store and select their own gift – this is particularly handy for out of town guests. Once a gift has been purchased, it will be taken off the register so there will be no duplications.
Guests can either take the gift to the parents home prior to the wedding, to the reception, or alternately the store will deliver gifts to you on a nominated date (usually after the honeymoon). The store will also provide a list of what gifts were given by which guests. This is very convenient when doing your thank you notes.

Even though you have advised your guests of your gift registry, some guests will prefer to get your gift the traditional way – that is, selecting the gift themselves. If you end up with some duplicated gifts, don’t despair! Some extra glasses, cutlery, towels, etc can always come in handy. If you receive gifts that are not from your bridal registry, be sure to make sure that you write the gift on the back of the accompanying card.

Click here for a list of gift registries

Opening of Wedding Gifts

If you receive any gifts prior to your wedding, open them straight away and record the gift on the card. If you have time, you can write and send the thank you note.
It is a good idea to leave the opening of any gifts that are taken to the reception until the next day. Usually, they are taken from the reception by your parents or members of the bridal party so if time permits, open them before you leave for your honeymoon so they can be recorded correctly in readiness for the thank you notes upon your return.

Thank You Notes

While the thought of writing quite a lot of thank you notes for all your gifts may seem daunting and time consuming, it must be done. Most gift givers will be quite generous in what they spend on a wedding gift so it is only good manners to acknowledge receipt of the gift.

Notes that have been hand written by the bride or groom, or both, will be far more personal than a printed card that says “Thank you for your gift, from the bride and groom”. A hand written card tells the gift giver that you actually know what they gave you and that you appreciate it. In the event that you are able to return or exchange a gift that is not suitable, you should never tell your guests as they may be highly offended.

Thank you notes should be done as soon as practical after the honeymoon but no later than two months after the wedding.

Gifts for the Bridal Party

It is customary to give each member of the bridal party a small gift in appreciation of their help and participation in the wedding and so they have a special memory of the day. The bride usually gives gifts to her attendants and the groom gives gifts to his groomsmen.

Traditional gifts for the bridesmaids are bracelets, small jewellery boxes, beauty travel cases or the like and for the groomsmen a pewter mug, money clip or pen. To make it more personal, you can have the gift engraved with the wedding date and the name of the bride and groom.

Gifts for the Parents

Most parents of the bride and groom play an important role in their wedding day, whether it be financing the wedding or just helping from start to finish with all of the details. Traditionally, a small gift of appreciation is given to both parents by the bride and groom.

Gifts for Each Other

It is traditional for the bride and groom to exchange gifts with each other for their wedding. Most couples feel it unnecessary as the wedding rings they give each other are sufficient but if you would like to follow this tradition, choose something very personal that can be treasured for a lifetime like jewellery or a framed poem that you have written for the occasion.

Wedding Flowers

Most brides already have a favourite type and/or colour of flower that they would like to have for their wedding day.
Depending on the season that your wedding falls within, some flowers are not available all year round. For this reason, you will need to have other choices ready. If you are unsure about what flowers will be in season, your local florist will be able to help. The flowers you finally settle on can have a huge impact on the theme and mood of your wedding, so take some extra time to shop around to make sure you get exactly what you want.

Choosing Your Florist
As with all other services, the easiest way to choose your florist is to ask friends or family for a recommendation. Failing that, the Yellow Pages or the Internet will provide you with florists that may specialise in weddings or some florists in your area. Flowers, and their prices, can vary from florist to florist so for peace of mind, speak to as many florists as you can (minimum three or four). Before authorising any flowers to be ordered or arranged, get written quotes on what the total cost will be.

The following is a list of flowers that you will need:

Bride and her Attendants
Bride’s bouquet
Bride’s throw away bouquet (optional)
Bridesmaids' bouquets
Flower girl – bouquet or basket of rose petals
Flowers for hair pieces – bride and attendants (optional)
Groom and his Attendants
Groom’s boutonniere
Groomsmen and ring bearer boutonnieres
Family and Others
Corsage for mothers and grandmothers
Boutonniere for fathers and grandfathers
Corsage or boutonniere for special helpers i.e. ushers at church (optional).
Venue Flowers
Ceremony – arrangements for the altar and pews. You may be able to use flowers from any earlier ceremonies. Check with your minister.
Reception – table centre pieces, cake table and the bridal table.







AusBride Home
- Contact - Advertise