Amy Hamilton-Chadwick 8 Mar 2024
A Bride and Groom at a wedding surrounded by their wedding party

Whether it’s a huge festival of celebration or a private elopement, everyone wants their wedding day to be special and memorable. But how can you plan a magical event with a down-to-earth budget?

It helps to know which aspects of your wedding are worth splashing out on, and where you can cut your spending without diminishing your enjoyment of the big day. 

REDnews spoke to Teuila Benioni Bourke, creative director at Wedding She Wrote, for her tips on how to get the best bang for your buck.

Five wedding items to splash out on


Although photography is standard, many couples decide to save money by skipping videography. But when your wedding day goes by in a flash, it can be hard to take it all in. A video can be a memento for generations to come.

“I hear a lot of brides who have already been married, often say they wish they had prioritised and had a budget for videography,” says Benioni Bourke.

“We don’t think videography is a luxury, we think it is essential to capture the moment in its entirety.”

A newly married couple being videoed


No matter how good your Spotify playlist is, it’s going to feel flat compared to a good DJ. They create a better atmosphere and they can help smooth out the programme throughout the event. And it'll stop your cousin who thinks he's DJ Khaled from inflicting his taste on everyone

“It’s like having another team member on your side,” Benioni Bourke says.

Wedding DJ


After the wedding day is long gone, you’ll still be looking at that engagement ring, so don’t scrimp on what could be a future family heirloom.

Invest in pieces of jewellery that will stand the test of time, Benioni Bourke says.

A couple interlock little fingers, showing their wedding rings


Couples often decide to delay their honeymoon for reasons of cost or circumstance, but that’s a real shame, says Benioni Bourke.

“Extend the feeling of celebration! Take the opportunity to bask in the reality of having been married and plan the next chapter of your life together, instead of rushing back to everyday life.”

A couple on deckchairs at the beach looking out to the ocean

A professional wedding planner

It can take up to 500 hours of planning to organise a big wedding – can you fit that around your full-time job and other commitments?  

A professional planner can help you stick to your budget, and they’ll use their network to get you great prices and products.

“We help our clients get to the finish line smoothly, quickly, and without many, if any, problems.”


5 wedding items where you can save

The guest list

Sometimes couples come to Benioni Bouke planning for a wedding with 300 to 500 guests, and she knows from experience that unless they have a huge budget, the couple is going to be under a lot of stress.

Plus, it becomes a chore on the day trying to talk to everyone.

Instead, try to keep it to under 100 guests, she says, “or just have an elopement wedding with just a handful of guests – that way you get everything you want and sometimes more.”

Table settings for a large wedding

Bridal party

How many bridesmaids do you need? Paying for dresses, hair, and makeup really adds up, so be selective.

“Two to three is perfect, or if the couple already has children, they can just have their children as the bridal party. Or go left field without any at all.”

A wedding party with the bride and groom and four groomsmen and four bridesmaids

Table settings

What you see on Pinterest looks great – until the guests sit down and the food arrives.

“Too much glassware, too much florals. It’s just not practical when bags and elbows and food go on the table. Less is more.”

An elaborate wedding table setting

Printed items

Invitations, seating plans, menus, signage: they’re surprisingly expensive and they get thrown away the day after the wedding. Know someone who's handy with a marker pen and a piece of A2?

A box of scroll wedding invitations


Save by repurposing floral arrangements from the ceremony to the reception, foraging for fresh flowers, and sticking to what’s in season. Otherwise you could spend a fortune; even modest weddings often have floral budgets of $3,000-plus.

“I think single-use items florals and printed materials are a good place to save money,” says Benioni Bourke.

“It’s better to spend more of your budget on things that last, like rings, photography and videography.”

Table settings at a wedding with large bouquets of flowers as centrepieces