Your wedding budget guide

19 January 2022 by Emily Ochi – Pop Celebrations & Events

Did you just get engaged over the holiday break? Feel like a proposal might be coming up? Getting engaged is such an exciting time for both you and your partner, but once the news has broken and the champagne runs out (omg) you start thinking “what is a realistic budget for a wedding?”.


According to’s annual report, the average budget for a wedding in 2021 was $25,000 with couples then spending on average 26% OVER their initial budget. Big yikes.
The average overall cost of a wedding in NSW in 2021 ended up being around $35,000. No idea where to start on budgeting and saving for your wedding day? Keep reading! 

This article will help to de-mystify the numbers so you know approximately how much money is going to each part of the big event. We’re talking actual numbers here. No beating around the bush. We’ll also answer some of your burning questions like “how much should I budget for my wedding photographer?” and “what is the most expensive part of a wedding?” 

BUDGET TIP:  Our number one wedding budget tip for couples in the Newcastle/Hunter Valley Region who are getting married in 2022 is to create your budget BEFORE you begin your planning…and spending! 

Here are some important points for you to consider so you can figure the budget for your wedding: 


  • The first step in setting a realistic budget for your wedding is to consider what you currently have in your savings. What can you comfortably afford to save between now and the wedding date?

  • Earlier we mentioned couples spent on average about 26% more than what they intended. Try taking your absolute drop-dead maximum spend and reduce it by about 25% to help you avoid overstretching yourselves financially.

  • Reducing your budget by a quarter sounds like a big ask (and it is), but it helps to aim big when saving cash. What was that saying? Shoot for the moon, but if you land amongst the stars you’ve still made it?

  • Do your research and get at least 2-3 quotes from each supplier or vendor. This sounds daunting I know, and to cut down on back and forth emails, tell you suppliers as much information as you can in your first email and request a quote up front. You’ll be surprised sometimes you might be able to save a few hundred dollars just by doing this.


  • Figure out if there are any family members helping contribute towards the wedding. Ask this as early as possible (and be frank and clear in what you’re asking!) in the planning process to avoid awkward conversations later down the line.

  • Be clear about timelines on when you need the funds transferred to your bank account.

  • Perhaps some family members won’t assist by putting in cash itself, but they want to pay your supplier directly for example your grandparents are happy to pay for your flowers or your mum really has her heart set on buying you your dress.


  • Decide your must-haves and your “meh’s”. Download and save our tickable checklist HERE (link opens a new tab) so you can not only be super organised, but also tick off the things that you’re happy to go without. Who needs a stretch hummer anyway?

  • The type of food and drinks that will be served. There are many options when it comes to catering. YOU have the freedom to decide if you’re going to do a full on sit down dinner with three courses, a two course lunch or even a cocktail style reception with hors d’oeuvres only is also a classy way to go.

  • The venue. Couples typically spend the largest chunk of their wedding budget on the venue. Most venues offer package deals to include seating and catering etc if you’re having your ceremony and reception at the same place. I know it’s cheeky but always ALWAYS ask if they can do a better price per head. Another option to consider is getting married or having your reception at home! Cutting out the biggest expense from your budget like this means you get to splurge a little more on the things that are special to you.


  • The guest count! The cost of a wedding is closely tied to your guest count. A 20 guest micro-wedding is going to be a lot easier on the hip pocket compared to inviting 150 guests. Consider all of your guests will not only be having food and drinks, but you will also need to think about the cost associated with sending out all of the invitations, hiring of tables and chairs, cake slices, wedding favours etc.

BUDGET TIP: Food for thought. Be strategic about who you invite. There’s always the option to invite no one! Elopements are becoming increasingly popular.

  • Your wedding party. If you have a wedding party consisting of you and your partners 6 besties…each, that’s going to be a lot of cash spent on bridesmaids dresses, bouquets, buttonholes, shoes etc. If its hard to choose between who will and wont make team bride, go ahead and have them all but just explain they’ll need to purchase their own dress and shoes. You will definitely need to give them some leeway on the style, cut and colour of the dress then.

Now onto the good stuff. The real figures. Below we’ve put together a guide on what couples in Newcastle/ the Hunter Valley are spending on specific things in their wedding with a guest count of around 80. 

DISCLAIMER: What you end up spending on each part of your wedding is entirely up to you (how long is a piece of string again?), however, this is what couples spend on average in NSW based on industry data. 


1. How much should I spend on wedding hire? Furniture and decorations?

Around $2,500.
Here at Pop Celebrations & Events we offer wedding ceremony hire packages starting at $875 for Micro-weddings!

 2. How much should I spend on my wedding rings (for both partners)

$0 up to $25,000+ with a mid-range being around $5,000.

3. How much should I spend on my wedding dress? Not including alterations.

Up to $3,000+. Brides on average spend around $2,500.
Know the style and cut that suits you before you go shopping to save heaps of time. All that time zipping up and lacing up adds up. Time is money so they say!

4. How much should I spend on my photographer

$1,000 – $4,500+ but around $3,500 on average.
Remember, you get what you pay for! We really recommend to splash a bit of cash on this one. Opting to just receive a digital gallery is a good money saver too. Just remember to download it in time.

5. How much should I spend on my wedding guests?

Around $85-$165+ a head including drinks, catering and bonbonniere.
Having a dry wedding will bring your costs down and to be honest 90% of non-edible type bonbonniere is thrown away/forgotten on the night of the wedding. Hint: Nobody wants a keychain with a photo of you and your dearly beloved.

6. How much should I spend on my wedding celebrant?

Around $1,000+ for your ceremony and reception.
They do a lot more than read legalities from a clip board! Some celebrants also offer their services as MC for your reception so you might be able to nab a good deal.

7. How much should I budget for wedding flowers?

Around $2,200 but on average $3,000+ 
Florals to ask for a quote for: aisle decorations, signing table arrangement, easel or sign arrangements, arch arrangement, your bouquet, bridesmaids bouquets, buttonholes, corsages, flower crowns, a throwing bouquet, reception table florals, throwing petals

8. How much should I spend on a wedding DJ?

Around $1,500+.
Money saving tip: Its also perfectly acceptable to put together your own playlist and just hit play at your reception. Nobody is going to notice.

9. How much should I spend on a wedding cake?

Around $500+.
You can hire a professional baker/pastry chef to make the wedding cake of your dreams…or! Some couples are heading to their favourite local bakery and ordering a tiered cake they like the taste of right off the menu…bye bye wedding tax!

10. How much should I spend on a hair and makeup artist?

Around $900+. Goes up with each additional person.
There is literally nothing better than having a professional beautify you on the morning of your wedding! The most popular makeup look with brides is the nude/natural look. A classic!

So there you have it! Our wedding budget guide choc full of money saving tips and also a time saving checklist! What more could a busy bride or groom to be ask for? What do you think of our real number estimates for each supplier? Did you end up going over or are you way under budget?

Leave a comment below and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates. Happy budeting!