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Avoiding Wedding Planning Arguments: Prenups, Family, Finances and Fiance’s Lack of Interest

Wedding Planning Arguments are more common than you think, and a major source of stress when it comes to organising your Big Day. Whether it’s family, finances (or family finances), prenuptial agreements, or your fiance’s complete lack of interest, if your engagement and wedding planning begins to feel like a minefield of topics to avoid, go through this list and work out how to deal with each situation.

Avoiding Wedding Planning Arguments

  • When you’re planning the wedding of your dreams and your fiancé ‘hates’ wedding planning or shows no interest in helping you, it’s easy to feel disillusioned with the whole thing. Begin a conversation by talking about why you both want to get married, and also why you want to have a wedding. Sit down together and each make a list of wedding priorities – keep them safe in your little white book – you’ll return to them often.
  • Agree on how much involvement (including financial involvement) your families will have. Family relations are one of the leading causes of engagement unrest, whether they have long guest lists to ‘contribute’, are chipping in for the wedding budget (or chipping in unevenly). If you decide to have your families pay towards the Big Day, you may also expect some demands along the way, so get on the same page now.
  • If you disagree on where to spend the big bucks (dream dress or Hawaii honeymoon), it can be really hard to get in the zone together. If one of you wants to ‘splurge’ on something the other doesn’t agree with, ask yourself how you’ll feel looking back on the wedding and not having that item; whether you can make cut-backs elsewhere to compensate for the splurge, but if you’re still having trouble, take a moment to consider whether it really is that important (I probably wouldn’t have spent so much on my dress had I taken a few weeks to think it through and do a bit more shopping). If you still feel the same after taking a breather, explain to your future spouse why it’s so meaningful to you.
  • It can be even harder if you have completely different choices for the same part of your wedding, such as where to get married. This can be particularly difficult if you have families or grew up in different States. In terms of logistics, it is probably going to be easier to plan a wedding close to where you live, or if you can’t agree on that, consider a destination wedding which everyone will have to travel to. Where you have completely different views, it’s all about communication. I suggest reading The Five Love Languages you Need to Know – chances are you communicate differently and could benefit from seeing how the other expresses themselves, especially when it comes to love.
  • You’re arguing about cultural/traditional or religious influences in your wedding. if you each come from different backgrounds, particular where one partner is secular and the other has strong family beliefs or religious values, it can be difficult to find common ground. Start by explaining what traditions or customs your culture has, and what each of them mean. This may bring you closer, and even if your partner doesn’t have the same beliefs, you may find they are more likely to want to include those customs because of the meaning behind them.  
  • Your fiancé wants to invite an ex-partner to your wedding. If the ex-girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse still has a great involvement in your lives together, i.e. you have the same friend groups, or they share a child together, consider whether it’s worth cutting them out of this celebration. Remember, your partner has chosen you, not them – to spend the rest of their life with. However, if the ex-partner has caused any drama or disruption to your relationship, I would advise against their attendance, as it is likely to cause you unnecessary stress in the lead up to the Big Day.
  • Your future spouse wants you to sign a prenuptial agreement and you can’t understand why. Being the child of divorced parents, as well as my legal background (I was a lawyer prior to creating the little white book), I see this as a common-sense approach to future planning. However, any discussion about separation and division of assets is not going to be a romantic one, and may feel at odds with planning your ‘Happily Ever After’. If you are starting your lives together with unequal contributions, it may be sensible and reasonable to discuss and agree on what would happen if for whatever reason the marriage did not work out. Your partner’s practical and thoughtful side may be one of the reasons you fell in love with him/her, so try not to see this as them questioning your trust, commitment and faith in each other or the future of the marriage.
  • If you’re having trouble getting your fiancé involved at all, remind them of the priorities they identified at the beginning and see if there’s a way of involving them in those particular elements. Maybe they’ll want to take charge of the catering or beverages if they’re a foodie, or if they love music, have them organise the entertainment.

“Planning the wedding is a trial run for your future marriage,” says Tina Tessina, psychotherapist and author of True Partners: A Workbook for Building a Lasting Intimate Relationship. It can actually be very useful to have these serious financial and planning discussions so that you can work out how best you can negotiate, compromise and hopefully agree. It’s far better to ‘hash it out’ than for either of you to feel like there are issues bubbling away beneath the surface. 

As issues arise, rather than getting into an argument immediately, I suggest writing it down in your wedding journal and coming back to it when you can have a focussed and thoughtful discussion. It may even help you to take a few days to think about it, instead of coming to blows immediately.

Trust me, these won’t be the last disagreements you have in your long and happy lives together, wedding planning is just the start. Of course, once the wedding has been, communication is still the most important aspect of a relationship, and having regular discussions about your future is so valuable. The wedding anniversary journal I still do is ideal to keep working at your relationship and communication, prompting you to have many of these conversations you may otherwise avoid.

The legalities of Marrying in Australia: How to Apply for a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM)

It’s all very exciting planning your wedding, but without following the legalities of marrying in Australia, you’ll end up with a brilliant party but no spouse! Australia’s legal marriage requirements are fairly simple, there is no requirement to obtain a marriage licence to get married. Instead, couples must lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) with a registered celebrant at least one month before the wedding.

If you’re currently still planning your wedding and need a little help, we have the best wedding planner book to do just that, or if you’re already about to walk up the aisle, have a look at our wedding anniversary journals and Celebrate books.

The Legalities of Marrying in Australia (Including Elopements)

In summary, to legally marry in Australia, you must meet certain requirements regarding age, relationship, notice of intended marriage, identification, marriage celebrant, witnesses, and ceremony. Same-sex is also legal in Australia and our vendors, venues and celebrants welcome gay couples to marry here.

Australia, marriage is governed by the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) and the Marriage Regulations 2017 (Cth). The legal requirements for marrying in Australia are as follows:

  1. Age: Both parties must be at least 18 years old. If one party is 16 or 17 years old, you may be able to marry with the consent of a parent or guardian, but you must apply to the Magistrate’s Court for permission.
  2. Consent: Both parties must freely and willingly consent to the marriage.
  3. Relationship: You cannot marry a close family member, such as a parent, grandparent, child, or sibling. You also must not be in a legal civil union or other marriage, including overseas marriages (talk to a family lawyer if you are unsure)
  4. Notice of Intended Marriage: You must lodge a Notice of Intended Marriage (NOIM) with a registered celebrant at least one month before the wedding. The NOIM is valid for up to 18 months.
  5. Identification: You must provide proof of your identity, such as a passport or birth certificate.
  6. Divorce: If you have been previously married, you must provide evidence of the dissolution of that marriage, such as a divorce certificate.
  7. Ceremony: The marriage must be performed by a registered celebrant and in the presence of two witnesses who are over 18 years old.

Once these legal requirements are met, the celebrant will provide a Marriage Certificate which is a legal record of the marriage. It is important to note that same-sex marriage is legal in Australia and the requirements are the same for all couples.

Same Sex Marriage Legalised in Australia

Same-sex marriage was legalized in Australia on December 9, 2017, when the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 was passed by the Australian Parliament. The Act amended the Marriage Act 1961 to redefine marriage as “the union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life”.

This change allowed same-sex couples to marry and enjoy the same legal recognition and protections as opposite-sex couples in Australia. The legislation came into effect on December 9, 2017, and since then, thousands of same-sex couples have been able to marry in Australia, with exactly the same legalities.

How to Apply for a Notice of Intended Marriage in Australia

It is extremely important that you apply for your NOIM with plenty of time. Unless special permission is given by a prescribed authority, a marriage may not be solemnised within one calendar month after the date of lodgement of the Notice. 

To apply for a NOIM, you will need to:

  1. Book a registered celebrant: You can find a celebrant on the Australian Government’s Marriage Celebrants website or by contacting your state or territory’s registry of births, deaths, and marriages.
  2. Gather your documents: You will need to provide proof of your identity, such as a passport or birth certificate, and evidence of the dissolution of any previous marriages, such as a divorce certificate.
  3. Complete the NOIM: The NOIM is a form that includes personal details about both parties, such as full name, date of birth, and occupation.
  4. Lodge the NOIM: The NOIM must be lodged with the celebrant at least one month before the wedding. If you are unable to lodge the NOIM in person, you can post it to the celebrant, but you must provide certified copies of your identity documents.
  5. Wait for confirmation: Once the NOIM has been lodged, the celebrant will confirm the details and provide a Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage. This declaration confirms that both parties are free to marry and is usually provided one week before the wedding.

It’s important to note that the NOIM is valid for up to 18 months, so it’s possible to lodge the form well in advance of the wedding. However, the wedding must take place within this 18-month period, otherwise, a new NOIM will need to be lodged.

The NOIM does not vary State to State and can be found here, or at the Australian High Commission, the Australian Consulate-General, their Australian marriage celebrant, or the Australian Births, Deaths and Marriages office in the State or Territory where they intend to get married. 

For New Zealanders wishing to marry in Australia, the Notice of Intended Marriage should be completed and witnessed by any New Zealand notary public (listed in the New Zealand Yellow Pages), or an Australian Diplomatic or Consular Officer at the Australian High Commission in Wellington or the Australian Consulate-General in Auckland. Both parties to the intended marriage must be present at the appointment and the Notice cannot be witnessed by mail. View the current fee

Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage

Once the NOIM has been lodged, the celebrant will confirm the details and provide a Declaration of No Legal Impediment to Marriage. This declaration confirms that both parties are free to marry and is usually provided one week before the wedding. There is no “Marriage Licence” in Australia.

How to legally Register your Marriage in Australia

In Australia, registering a marriage is the responsibility of the celebrant who officiated the wedding. The celebrant must submit the necessary paperwork to the relevant state or territory’s registry of births, deaths, and marriages within 14 days of the wedding.

Once the celebrant has registered the marriage, the newly married couple can obtain a marriage certificate. To do this, you will need to contact the relevant state or territory’s registry of births, deaths, and marriages and provide them with the following information:

  1. Full names of both parties at the time of the wedding
  2. Date and place of the wedding
  3. The celebrant’s name and registration number

Depending on the state or territory, you may be able to obtain a standard marriage certificate or a commemorative certificate. Standard certificates are legal documents that are accepted by government agencies and banks, while commemorative certificates are often used as keepsakes or to commemorate special occasions.

It’s important to note that the timeframe for receiving a marriage certificate can vary depending on the state or territory, but it usually takes a few weeks to process.

Civil Union in Australia

In Australia, civil unions are not recognized as a legal relationship. Instead, couples can enter into a domestic partnership or register their relationship, depending on the state or territory in which they reside.

The process for entering into a domestic partnership or registering a relationship varies depending on the state or territory, but generally involves the following steps:

  1. Check eligibility: Eligibility requirements vary by state or territory but may include age, not being married or in another registered relationship, and not being closely related.
  2. Complete the application: You will need to complete an application form and provide proof of identity, such as a passport or driver’s license.
  3. Submit the application: You will need to submit the application form and pay any applicable fees to the relevant state or territory authority. Some states or territories may require you to provide additional documentation, such as evidence of your relationship.
  4. Wait for processing: Once your application has been submitted, it will be reviewed by the relevant authority. Processing times can vary, but it typically takes several weeks to several months.
  5. Receive confirmation: If your application is approved, you will receive confirmation of your domestic partnership or registered relationship. You may be issued with a certificate or registration card, depending on the state or territory.

It’s important to note that the legal recognition and rights afforded to domestic partnerships or registered relationships vary by state or territory. It’s recommended that you consult with a legal professional to understand your rights and obligations in your specific circumstances.

Changing your name after your wedding in Australia

In Australia, changing your name after your wedding is a personal choice, and not a legal requirement. If you choose to change your name, you can do so by following these steps:

  1. Obtain a copy of your marriage certificate: You can obtain a copy of your marriage certificate from the relevant state or territory’s registry of births, deaths, and marriages.
  2. Update your identification documents: Once you have your marriage certificate, you can update your identification documents, such as your driver’s license, passport, and bank accounts, to reflect your new name.
  3. Update your official records: You may need to update your official records, such as your tax file number, Medicare, and electoral enrolment, to reflect your new name.
  4. Notify others of your name change: You will need to notify others, such as your employer, school, and insurance company, of your name change.

It’s important to note that there may be fees associated with updating some identification documents, and the process for updating your official records may vary depending on the organization. It’s recommended that you check with each organization to understand their specific requirements for changing your name.

Be careful when booking your honeymoon and any future international travel, because though your legal name will be both your maiden, and married name, you can only travel on the name recorded in your passport.

How to Organise a Marquee Wedding in Australia

We are so spoiled for choice when it comes to planning a wedding and searching for Wedding Venues in Australia.

Choosing to plan a ‘Marquee Wedding’ generally means you’re starting from a blank canvas, hiring a marquee and doing the rest yourself. It’s an ideal way of turning a family farm, a stunning spot off-the-beaten-track or a beachfront private property or into your perfect venue. 

It’s not hard to find somewhere incredible and unique to exchange vows and celebrate when marquee hire can create your dream wedding venue just about anywhere in Australia, but there’s a lot to think about.

See also How to Choose between an All-inclusive or DIY/Dry Hire Wedding Venue

How to Organise a Marquee Wedding in Australia

If you’re planning a wedding in Australia and renting a space and hiring a marquee, there are several important steps to take to ensure that your special day goes smoothly. Stay on track with wedding planning with the structured and well organised wedding planner, little white book. Here’s a basic outline of the planning process, which I will elaborate on further below:

  1. Choose a location
  2. Decide on a marquee style
  3. Book your suppliers
  4. Create a layout for seating arrangements
  5. Plan for power and lighting
  6. Consider decor and styling
  7. Prepare for inclement weather

Choose a Wedding Location

Organising a marquee wedding in Australia means you have the luxury of choosing almost any location, and is a popular choice due to our lovely summer climates. When renting a space for your wedding, you’ll want to choose a location that fits your vision for the big day. Look for venues that have the amenities you need, such as bathrooms and parking, and that are convenient for your guests to travel to.

Private residences such as historic homes, farms, beaches or parks abound and can make a perfect wedding day location, and even more unique spaces like a rooftop building or forest can be great marquee spots.

Marquee Weddings at Private Residences in Australia

Having your wedding at a private residence in Australia can be more economical than hiring a venue, but it’s also easy to overspend when you’re responsible for organising everything yourself.

A marquee allows you to create an entire new space away from the main house so your home isn’t over-run with your family and friends. Remember you’ll need a relatively flat space if your guests are going to dine at tables under the tent. If you’re having a dancefloor within a marquee, you will may have to hire this too.

Marquee Weddings in Parks & Public Places

Most regional councils allow wedding receptions in many parks or public places (with regulations to abide by). You’re likely to need to apply to the local council for an ‘Event Permit’ to hold your wedding in a public space.

Depending on the size and type of event you are holding, you may need to apply for other permits, such as a ‘Temporary Building Structure’ permit for a marquee over 100 square metres, and you may need to think about liquor licensing, sound levels, toilet accessibility, car-parking, power access and more. A 100-square metre marquee will hold around 60 to 90 guests at a cocktail-style event. For a seated reception for 120 guests, you would require between 200 and 240 square metres of ‘tent space’.

Farms & Private Open Sites

A large space with a view of the ocean provides a beautiful view and great photographic opportunities for your wedding.

For a completely DIY venue you will need to organise everything from the ground up: toilets, heating, generators, transportation, a food prep area, car-parking, lighting, furniture, and the list goes on. Ideally, look for a site where the property owners have hosted wedding before and are willing to help you pull everything together, or work with a wedding planner.

Decide on a Marquee

Once you’ve chosen a wedding venue, visit it with marquee companies. There are many different types of marquees available for weddings, from traditional canvas tents to modern clear-span structures. Consider the size and style of your wedding when choosing a marquee, as well as the weather conditions you might encounter.

A site inspection of the venue is included with your marquee company’s service. This is a vital step as they must see where you plan to have the marquee in order to give a realistic quotation.

Let them know your estimated number of guests, ask what size marquee is needed, and obviously check you have the room for the required size. They will advise on access, layout, and any potential hazards like underground pipes and roots.

Choosing your Wedding Marquee

  • For your marquee, do you want white canvas walls do you want windows (clear walls) and or do you want it completely open? Do you want silk lining in your marquee?
  • What type of flooring would you prefer? The ideal solution is a level hard floor this provides a solid surface for guests to walk on, or plastic grid flooring or perhaps no flooring for that rustic look?
  • Do you prefer round tables or long trestle tables? This may effect the shape of marquee you choose.

The best thing to do when planning a marquee wedding is write a comprehensive list of tasks and requirements in order to tick off as time goes by, as well as a detailed floor plan and run sheet.

Book your other vendors and suppliers

When hiring a marquee, you’ll likely need to book other suppliers as well, such as caterers, florists, and entertainment. Work with your marquee company to get recommendations and referrals for reliable suppliers in your area.

For a marquee wedding, I suggest you only choose the most experienced and capable wedding vendors. Wedding caterers in particular need to be able to work in marquee and/or outdoor conditions. If you have chosen a location such as a park, paddock, hill-top or similar, do remember your caterers will need to bring all heating and cooking equipment to site – this is no mean feat when you are talking numerous ovens and gas bottles.

Consider also that they will need a reliable power source, possibly a generator, and cover for their catering area. Check with your caterers what size catering marquee they need to service your wedding proficiently. Ensure your caterers have access to fresh water; this can be simply an extendable hose into the catering tent or access to the kitchen in the venue.

If possible, meet with at least a couple of caterers, rather than just viewing a website and choosing based on price. Great food is a very important part of a great celebration, and you want to be able to trust everyone is going to enjoy it, including yourself. See also how to choose your wedding catering.

Create a layout  – Marquee Floor Plan and Run Sheet

Once you’ve chosen your location and marquee, it’s time to create a layout for your wedding. Consider where you’ll place tables, chairs, and other decor items, as well as the flow of the space for your guests.

Set this up well in advance and use it to work with you vendors. Drawing a simple sketch of the tables, dance-floor, power, etc will be a priceless use of time. Consider what type of layout are you after in general, where you envisage the catering tent going, as well as the portable toilets, marquee entrance, and where you’ll want the dance floor & stage.

On your run sheet, list exactly what times you want everything on your big day to take place and who is responsible for each. There’s a run sheet template in your little white book.

Plan for power and lighting

Marquees typically require power and lighting, so you’ll need to plan for this as well. Work with your marquee company to determine the best options for your needs, such as generator hire or electrical hookups.

Power or a Generator – Be very aware of power, how much the band/DJ, toilets and caterer needs. Does the venue supply enough power and, more importantly, do you want to risk the power tripping? Don’t rely on a near-by house or venue to supply your power source for your caterers, lighting and sound. Hiring a generator will eliminate any potential fuse-blows (imagine the lights and sound going out mid first-dance!).

You’ll also need plenty of lighting for an evening wedding. Depending on where your location is, you are looking at around $300 for a basic generator, plus transportation.

Consider Decor and Styling

With a marquee wedding, you’ll have a blank canvas to work with in terms of decor and styling. Think about your theme and color scheme, and work with your suppliers to create a cohesive look throughout the space. The beauty of marquees is you have so much height to play with.

Hanging lanterns, flowers or hanging crystals chandeliers and floral arrangements give a more intimate feeling. When done well, this will help reduce the ceiling height and create dramatic entrances into different areas of the marquee.

Prepare for inclement weather

One of the advantages of a marquee wedding is that you’ll have a sheltered space for your guests, but you’ll still need to plan for inclement weather. Consider adding heating or air conditioning to your marquee, as well as umbrellas or a contingency plan in case of rain.

Think about a contingency plan whether you hire an additional marquee or hold the reception in the marquee on the dance floor if uncovered. If space and budget are flexible then you can have a special lounge area in the marquee.

Finalise logistics with attention to detail

As your wedding day approaches, make sure to finalize logistics with all of your suppliers. Confirm delivery and pickup times, review any special instructions or requirements, and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Acoustics – Sound is very important too. Guests want to hear your speeches, so invest in a simple hired sound system with either lapel or standard microphones.

Love thy neighbour – Ensure the neighbours are aware of the wedding and anticipated noise and don’t take advantage of the flexibility a marquee wedding allows you – respect your surroundings (or invite them!)

Parking & vehicle access – Do you have sufficient parking? Ensure there is good signage so people know where to park. Whenever hiring suppliers that will arrive in larger vehicles, think about the access available to them. If access is narrow and deliveries have to be scheduled in, make sure suppliers know the relevant time slot they can deliver and explain any difficulties with the access available.

Planner – You may want to think seriously about having a wedding planner or day of coordinator to assist: they can decorate the venue, take delivery of goods plus manage the day itself so if any challenges occur they are dealt with in a professional manner leaving you to relax and party.

Toilets – With a large number of guests attending the wedding you will need to organise some mobile toilets.

Furniture Of course, if you’re planning a marquee wedding in an open space, you’ll need to hire absolutely all decoration and furniture you need – there’s not likely to be small tables nearby for a cake table if you forget one. Check with each vendor what they require too.

With careful planning and attention to detail, renting a space and hiring a marquee can be a wonderful option for your wedding venue in Australia. Work closely with your suppliers and be prepared for any unexpected challenges, and you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful and memorable celebration.

How to find your Dream Australian Wedding Venue

When trying to find Australian wedding venues suitable for your wedding budget, guest list and the style of celebration you have in mind, where do you begin? Below, you will find a few resources that you can use to locate unique wedding venues that work for your theme and budget. 

Before you begin looking for your wedding venue, ensure you’ve made a good start to your wedding budget. Knowing your budget limits and capacities will greatly narrow your search for a wedding venue, saving you tons of time. Deciding if you want a larger-capacity wedding venue, or would rather have a smaller, more intimate one is the first step in narrowing down your choice of wedding venue. Finding a venue is going to be one of the biggest milestones of your wedding planning, determining your dates and location, and impacting many other decisions about planning your wedding.

While we also have articles on how to choose a wedding venue, or all the questions to ask of a wedding venue before you book, this will help you to come up with a list of options first.

Consider your Preferred Wedding Venue Style

By identifying your wedding style before you begin looking at Australian wedding venues, you will really narrow your search down and make it easier. You will want to start by thinking about the place where you would like to be married in the first place–your home state, a remote beach, a large city with a convenient airport for all of your guests–and then begin to hone in on the options for a wedding reception venue in that place.

Wedding venues in Australia can range from rustic farm locations (which may require a lot of work to decorate) to luxurious vineyard estates which need little to no adornment – prices will vary accordingly, but so will the time and effort required of you – are you willing to spend the time making the space your own.

Australia is known for its stunning natural scenery, so think about whether you want to have an indoor or outdoor wedding. The country’s diverse landscapes offer a range of options, from beachfront venues to vineyards and mountain lodges. Keep in mind that the location you choose will also affect the accessibility for your guests.

In addition to finding out whether a indoor wedding venue is available on the dates you are looking for, you will want to consider whether it is in an easy-access spot for your guests. If you are planning on short notice, or if your date range is more flexible, your venues availability will be a crucial factor when setting a wedding date.

How to find potential wedding venues in Australia

Utilise your Best local Wedding Vendors’ Websites and Social Media

To find a beautiful wedding venue in Australia that’s right for you, there’s a few ways to start, and my favourite is to browse the best local wedding vendors’ websites and go from there. This gives you the ability to not only find a beautiful location, but also helps you to work out what style of photography, and perhaps even style of wedding you like. Browse google, facebook, instagram, magazines and other wedding blogs for Australian wedding vendors such as photographers, wedding planners, florists, etc, and have a look at their portfolio. Look at photos and videos of the venue, and check if it has the style and ambiance that you’re looking for.

Wedding photographers especially will feature their most beautiful weddings on their site, and you’re likely to come across wedding venues you’ve never seen before too. Not only that, but you’ll discover the best local photography spots and hideaways nearby those wedding venues – which can be huge drawcards too, and help you choose a wedding venue. The best vendors that can help you find more venues include photographers, event rentals companies, wedding planners, and catering companies.

Social Media Stalking…

P.S. Get stalker-ish: Scroll through photos to see if there are any pictures showing a wedding hashtag that you can creep on via instagram (couples often put it onto a sign that ends up in the wedding photos). This way, you’ll get a more personal look at the venue through the eyes of a guest, as well as seeing the professional photos.

This is also a great way to see an honest view of the wedding venue, or another vendor’s work. When researching your wedding venue or any other vendor, have a look at photos tagged on instagram both at the venue (location tagging) and also tagging the profile.

For a DIY/BYO Wedding Venue

If you’re willing to do a bit more organising yourself, creating your wedding venue from scratch can be hugely rewarding, and it also gives you a huge availability of venues you potentially hadn’t thought of.

Depending on the size of your wedding, you may be able to hire a family home or farm, from where to DIY your wedding.

There are several Wedding Vendor Directory websites in Australia that can help you find DIY wedding venues. Some popular options include:

  1. Wedshed: This website is dedicated to showcasing unique and rustic wedding venues across Australia. They have a range of venues that are suitable for DIY weddings, including farms, barns, and gardens.
  2. Easy Weddings: Easy Weddings is a comprehensive wedding planning website that includes a vendor directory. They have a large selection of DIY wedding venues across Australia, including everything from beachside locations to vineyards.
  3. Polka Dot Bride: This website has a directory of wedding venues across Australia, including many that are suitable for DIY weddings. They also have a range of helpful wedding planning resources and inspiration.
  4. The Venue Report: The Venue Report is a global directory of unique wedding venues, including many in Australia. They have a curated selection of venues that are perfect for DIY weddings, including private estates, country houses, and farm stays.
  5. Venue Finder: This website has a large directory of wedding venues across Australia, including many that are suitable for DIY weddings. They also have a range of helpful wedding planning tools and resources.

Even if you can’t rent an entire house for the wedding, you may be able to find a piece of land to put a marquee on, or access all kinds of creative spaces without spending a fortune (and while giving back to the local community).

Read more at How to choose between an all inclusive or Dry Hire/BYO Wedding Venue.

For a Cheap Australian Wedding Venue

If you’re on a small budget, the DIY/BYO wedding venue option above may suit, but you also might want to consider local Council websites to find public and council-owned spaces. If you’re getting married in Australia, you have the luxury of being able to get married literally anywhere (other countries don’t have this privilege). Many beaches do not require a special permit for small informal weddings, though of course you should organise a back-up venue too. Just be aware that you do have to specify the location on your marriage licence.

Consider a Destination Wedding

Lots of Australian couples are opting to have destination weddings, which can (surprisingly) be easier, such as planning a New Zealand Wedding. Most couples having destination weddings have a smaller guest list, and thus can save lots of money on the budget, and often have a wedding planner in the destination to take care of the majority of planning too.

It may surprise you that an all-inclusive destination wedding can actually be a cheaper option too, depending on where you go of course – Rarotonga has some great options.

Just remember, the more remote the wedding venue you choose, in Samoa for example, the smaller the pool of local wedding vendors (celebrants, bands, florists, etc.) to choose from. Check on tourism websites for any major events that might mean there’s a shortage of beds for visitors, and check the WHO and CDC for warnings against risks, especially if you expect pregnant family and friends to attend.

Ask Married Friends for their Favourite Wedding Vendors (and ask them for help)

While you may not want to marry at the same wedding venue as a close friend, especially if your weddings are only a season apart, you may be able to ask their favourite wedding vendors for recommendations, or find out which other venues they considered.

Australian wedding planners, stylists and florists for example will work closely with many wedding venues, and may even work on styled shoots at brand new wedding venues, and can help you discover something special. It was really important to us to have a unique wedding venue at which we hadn’t attended a wedding, or seen many weddings at, and we were able to find one through our wedding photographers.

Be Flexible and Open-Minded when Finding a Wedding Venue

While you shouldn’t settle for something you don’t absolutely love, if you can be flexible and open minded when finding, and visiting your potential wedding venues, you may just surprise yourself with something really unique. There are so many things which can be done to transform most spaces from bare to breathtaking, if you’re willing to look with an open mind.

Once you have found a few potentials, choose your wedding venue carefully, do your homework and ask all the right questions, and don’t rush into making a booking before you’re certain of all the little details. Ultimately, choosing a wedding venue is a personal decision that should reflect your unique style and preferences. We are so lucky to have thousands of Australian wedding venues to suit all kinds of different celebrations, so take the time to explore your options and find a venue that feels like the perfect fit for you and your partner.

Best Bridesmaid Dresses in Australia for your 2023 / 2024 Wedding

If choosing a dress for yourself wasn’t tricky enough, now you have to choose bridesmaids dresses that are universally flattering, in shades and styles that all your gal pals love, to complement your attire and any wedding colours, and possibly without even having them nearby to try on. Wow… whoever thought bridesmaids dresses were a good idea?

Of course, the modern wedding party doesn’t just include bridesmaids and groomsmen either, you may be dressing bridesmen, groomsgirls, flower-people, possibly helping with Mother(s) of the Bride outfits too. Where do you begin?

Choosing Bridesmaid’s Dresses in Australia – Where to Start

  1. Uniformity, Mismatched or Choose-Your-Own Bridesmaids Dresses?
  2. Colour Palette: Pastels, Neutrals, Monochrome or Patterned?
  3. Are you buying the dresses for the girls to keep? If so, what’s your budget?

The first decision in choosing attire for your bridesmaids, and wedding party in general, is to consider whether you wish to have ‘uniformity’, or if you’d like to have a mis-matched bridesmaids dresses, or even letting them choose their own dress.

Do you have a particular vision for matching dresses, or will it be easier to dress quite different shapes of women by choosing a colour palette, general style or other? Pinterest may just be your friend here, search mismatched bridesmaids dresses to find beautiful, modern inspiration. This Nouba featured wedding of Steph & Callum showcases stunning mismatched bridesmaids who wore mismatched Hansen and Gretel dresses in lilac and yellow hues, tailored to fit each of their personal styles. “I wanted them to all feel comfortable and have their own style but still work together,” explains Steph.

Modern mismatched bridesmaids Nouba blog how to dress bridesmaids NZ
Steph & Callum – Northern Beaches Backyard Wedding

The last thing you want is your bridesmaids feeling uncomfortable in front of a large group of people, so whatever you opt for, consider how your friends will feel in whatever you (or they) choose. Bridesmaid outfit etiquette is much more relaxed than it used to be, modern brides are looking outside the box when it comes to finding dresses for their bridal parties, seeking non-traditional brands for elegant, unexpected looks that can be worn long after the bouquet toss. For the 2023/24 wedding season, even separates and pants are coming into the mix, and styles and colours are often varied.

Next comes affordability, especially if you are purchasing the bridesmaids dresses, and gifting them to your friends to keep. Though traditionally, bridesmaids would purchase their own dresses, our etiquette guide suggests that unless they get to choose their own, the couple should probably cover the cost. If you are buying the dresses, consider your budget – although it’s possible to spend thousands on your wedding party attire, it is not necessary to do so – Australia has beautiful options for unique, high quality dresses at affordable prices… “The best thing is, you can shorten it and wear it again!” (27 dresses)

So, without further ado… (and a warning, not all of these will come in under-budget, but a girl can dream)!

Australia’s Best Bridesmaid’s Dresses for 2023 / 2024 Weddings

Bec + Bridge Bridesmaids

In 2020, Bec + Bridge launched their first range of slip dresses that make for perfect bridesmaids dresses for sunny Australian weddings. With asymmetrical, cowl neck, long sleeved and spaghetti strap slips dresses available in an array of colours. Since then, their collection has only grown, with stunning silk-look dresses in styles to suit most body types.

Below: A collection of Bridesmaids Dresses by Shona Joy, Bec & Bridge and Rat & Boa for Charmaine and Brad’s Hunter Valley Wedding.

ses Shona Joy, Bec & Bridge, Rat & Boa Bridesmaids Dresses Australia

Rachel Gilbert Bridesmaids

Between dressing Nicole Kidman, the Kardashians and Chrissy Teigen (for her recent visit to The White House), Australian designer Rachel Gilbert has also turned her hand to a collection of luxurious bridesmaids dresses. These are not your average bridesmaids dresses (nor are they low-budget( – see below the Evana Dress in Coconut worn by the Bride & Xanthy in Nude!

Rachel Gilbert Bridesmaids Dresses Australia

Shona Joy Bridesmaids

With multiple colours across every beautiful style, there’s a perfect dress for each and every bridesmaid and style of wedding. Buying bridesmaid dresses by Shona Joy for your 2023/24 wedding means you’ll not only have perfectly on-trend dresses for the Big Day, but also something that translates into a stunning party dress for any occasion. Get inspired below by Caitlin and Mark shot by Jessica Mary Photography – see their stunning 2022 Adelaide Wedding.

shona joy bridesmaid dresses wedding australia

Zimmermann Bridesmaids

If your Wedding Budget can stretch for Zimmermann Dresses for your Bridesmaids, your wedding party are in for a divine experience. Though they don’t have a ‘Bridesmaid’s Collection’ as such, their Celebration Edit has dresses perfect for your Big Day. Take your lead from Bride Georgia (wearing vintage Oscar De La Renta below), a senior design director at Zimmermann, who dressed her 8 ‘maids in each of their favourite Zimmermann silhouettes, customised in pinks and nudes for their French Chateau styled wedding.

Bridesmaids Only

Once you’ve decided whether to have uniformity or a little variety, consider colours, or a colour palette. Black bridesmaids dresses are certainly having a moment, and are easy to match if you are opting for different styles.

Bridesmaids Only have a collection of 88 black bridesmaid’s dress styles, at time of writing. Black bridesmaid’s dresses are perfect for the Bride looking for a dress that both elevates and resonates seamlessly with her modern everyday-luxe aesthetic. Of course, it’s also an eco-friendly wedding choice, and there’s no need to worry about whether the bridesmaids will wear it again! Pictured below, Zahara Bridesmaid Dress by Brisbane Designer Tania Olsen.

Your colour choice can create both cohesion and interest, while still offering your bridesmaids the best colour and shape to suit their individual style and skin-tone.  

Zahara Bridesmaid Dress by Tania Olsen – Black

Tania Olsen Designs

Pictured above, Tania Olsen Designs is an award winning Australia designer of bridal wear, evening dresses, bridesmaid dresses and couture. Ticking all the boxes, with a design philosophy centred around creating elegant, timeless, classic designs that stand the test of time. Featuring full length sleeves, pleated waistband and leg split the above style is available in sizes AU 4-40.

Use Tania’s ‘Boutique Finder‘ for a stockist near you.

Grace Loves Lace

Ethically made, with beautiful styles to suit all figures, Grace Loves Lace Bridesmaid dresses are sure to be treasured long after the wedding. A collection of luxurious lace, eco satin dresses and pieces in stunning hues.


Infinity Bridesmaids

Best known for their signature infinity bridesmaids dress, Infinity Bridesmaids have really made their mark dressing Australian bridesmaids since 2005. The design team have curated a unique, classic and fashion forward selection of beautiful bridesmaid dresses that are made to order for the brides special day, with the clear desire for the collections to be re-worn and not hidden away in the back of a closet after the event. Shop by fabric, order samples and see how many ways the dresses can be tied.

Leave Her Wilder

A New Zealand based company worth of mention, Leave Her Wilder specialises in mismatched dresses which complement, but aren’t matchy-matchy, “because no two girls are the same”. Of her chocolate-hued bridesmaids, Samantha said “The girls told me how happy they were to have bridesmaid dresses that felt so nice to wear and they were really comfortable throughout the day and night. They all said it would be a dress they would wear again which was really great to hear as I wanted to give the girls a beautiful dress that they would want to wear again.”

LHW has beautiful boho, relaxed silhouettes, that will be certain to be worn again. Their fabric is 100% natural, hand dyed and available in either a matte or sheen finish, and they’ll even make matching pocket squares for the groomsmen.

Bridesmaids wear the Coco jumpsuit and Ricky gown for Samantha & Cameron’s Wedding

Forever New Bridesmaids

Forever New’s latest collection of bridesmaid dresses designed with a fresh range of spring colours and flattering silhouettes, perfect for summer. Complement the bride with one of the wide array of styles and colours – elegant wrap front dresses, romantic lace bodice gowns and modern one-shoulder styles. Forever New was founded in Melbourne, and its presence nationwide in Australia makes shopping for bridesmaids dresses pretty simple.

If you’re looking for bridesmaids dresses, you may also be interested in bridesmaids gifts – discover Something Blue‘s range of bridesmaid gift boxes, bridal robes and more.

Your Ultimate Guide to Wedding Planning in Australia in 2023 (In Just 5 Steps)

Maybe you’ve just got engaged and you’re wondering how on earth to start wedding planning, or perhaps you were engaged pre-pandemic, and it’s finally time to plan the Big Day of your dreams. Whether you’re still blinding friends with a brand new sparkling rock, or you’re looking down and wondering when you last cleaned your engagement ring, I’m so excited that you are ready to plan your wedding.

Wedding planning has changed over the past few years, and although the pandemic caused devastating disruption to thousands of couples wedding plans, I do believe there is a silver lining too. Times have changed, we have had more opportunity to think about what is important to us, and probably attended fewer weddings over the past few years than we would have otherwise. The benefit to that is that rather than be influenced by the choices of friends’ nuptials, when you start wedding planning this year, you can really focus on what is right for the two of you.

Over the course of the past few years, I’ve made changes too, with a focus on simplicity and inclusivity. No longer does our wedding planner suit only ‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’ but rather uses inclusive language such as ‘Wedding Party’ and ‘Attire’ – and of course the biggest change is that we are no longer called “She Said Yes” – because a) there’s not always a ‘She’ involved, and b) even if there is, how outdated is the expectation that it’s always a woman saying ‘Yes’ in the first place.

In 2023, it’s your wedding, your rules.

Wedding Planning First Steps

1. Find Your ‘Why’ – Prioritise and Plan the Wedding for the two of You!

Although the first step to planning a wedding are considering your wedding budget and guest list, the most important thing to think about really is your “why”? What is important to you about getting married, about spending (usually) around a year of your life emotionally and financially investing in this one big celebration of your relationship, and about doing so in front of all your family and friends. In fact, that’s one of the key questions to ask yourself right off the bat, do you really want all your family and friends present, or are you finding yourselves swayed already by the wishes and suggestions of others?

The key to wedding planning in a stress-free, enjoyable way is to never have to second-guess yourself about the choices you make – you have to really, really want whatever you are committing to – whether that’s a big budget, a big guest list, or a teeny, tiny elopement with just 10 people you feel closest to.

As of this moment, set aside any expectations from others (even if they are offering to contribute to the cost) and think about what you both really want from your Big Day. From there, talk about your non-negotiables, your must-haves, your wedding priorities. See How to Priorities your Wedding and Plan with Purpose for more guidance.

Our wedding planner book is a simple one, it doesn’t instruct you on exactly what we think a wedding should look like, but instead guides you as you plan the one that is right for you – starting with questions curated from our couple’s journal our love story, things like ‘what are your favourite memories together’ and ‘what do you love and value most about each other’. You can download a sample of the little white book here, for more of an idea – but however you find inspiration, it’s important to get on the same page about what you both want. Wedding Planning in 2023 is not about ticking every possible box for wedding rituals, traditions and decor (or inviting every cousin unseen since 2019).

2. Balance Your Expectations around Wedding Budget and Guest List

You can’t do a thing without at least an approximate wedding budget, nor does a budget really mean anything until you have an idea of your guest list. Put simply, your wedding budget will be divided between the number of guests you have. Although there will be big ticket items such as photography, wedding attire (dress/suit/jewellery/shoes) for each of you and your wedding party, and a venue hireage fee, the bulk of your wedding budget (at least 30-40% will usually go on catering for food and beverages).

So, before you look at wedding venues, consider how far your approximate wedding budget will stretch, if catering was around $150-180 per person (a fairly average cost for catering a wedding in 2023 in Australia or New Zealand) – and with that in mind, work out how many guests you can afford (on the basis of 30-40% of your total wedding budget going to catering).

Though the ‘average cost of a wedding‘ is commonly cited as $35,000, most couples actually plan the weddings of their dreams for less than that, while more expensive (6-7 figure weddings) increase the ‘average’. To take an easy number, for a $30,000 wedding, with 35% on catering and a $150 per person budget, you could have 70 guests.

So, at this stage, rather than try to finalise a wedding guest list, discuss with your partner how best to balance your budget, and your expectations around inviting friends and family. If you are choosing to accept financial contributions from others, of course they will want their ‘say’ but in my experience, and in conversations with wedding planners, it’s extremely important to be clear on every expectation from (most often) parents who wish to pay for part of the wedding.

In my opinion, you should begin by envisioning the wedding you both want, according to how much you can afford, and approach parents or other contributors with your wishes (perhaps being ready to negotiate a little) rather than taking the money immediately and planning the wedding that they want. Return to your ‘why’ – are you really getting married just so that your parents can plan the party of their choosing, with the guests they wish to impress?

See more at Wedding Budget Guide, Planner and Samples, and How to Start Your Guest List

3. Consider Wedding Venues, Find a Suitable Date and Make your First Booking

There is so much more to wedding venues than the more obvious ones – vineyards, garden venues and hotels. Think about whether you may wish to bring your own alcohol, which may involve a ‘Dry Hire’ venue (see How to Organise a Marquee Wedding for more advice on this), and open yourselves up to wedding venues that are a little out of the ordinary, especially if you need to be clever about your budget. Public gardens, beach weddings, gallery or museum, lakeside restaurants, golf club, rooftop function venues, boathouse, family homes, woodlands, rustic barns, inner-city urban spaces, distillery, community hall, the zoo, and of course destination weddings – see Alternative Wedding Venues and Destination Wedding Guide.

Considerations for your venue of choice might include

  • nearby accommodation for out of town guests
  • do you need any special access, such as wheelchair accessibility?
  • do you want an all-inclusive package (and possibly a venue manager to co-ordinate the day for you)
  • would you prefer a ‘blank canvas’ that you can fully decorate in your own way? Do you want to put your own stamp on something (possibly with a lot of cost/work for yourselves) or find somewhere perfectly suitable ‘as-is’
  • will you be having children present – is the venue safe and suitable for them?

Don’t write off a potential wedding venue just because it doesn’t have amazing photos online. For our wedding in 2016, we hired an incredible private home (you can see our actual wedding budget breakdown here) and the photos on the website simply did not do it justice at all. See if you can find images of the wedding venue on photographers’ websites or on wedding blogs like ours.

Once you have a shortlist of wedding venues, I suggest using the questions in our wedding planning pack to narrow down your options, and also to fully understand what is included in your venue hireage. From simple things like ‘What is your cancellation policy from both sides?’ to ‘Is the glassware included with the fee’ and ‘will we have exclusive use of the venue for the entire hireage time’ to things you may not think of, such as ‘will you have enough staff to serve drinks all evening’, ‘is there a safe place to store our personal items’ and more.

Of course, once you have found a suitable wedding venue (it may not be the ‘perfect’ wedding venue, but one that will work for you), you will have to find an available date to suit your schedule – consider availability of accommodation nearby (especially if near to public holidays), all possible weather, and any possible work commitments.

Once you have got through these three ‘first steps’, celebrate your achievements – you have made a brilliant start to wedding planning, and hopefully the rest will ‘fall into place’ a little more easily.

4. Choose your Wedding Photographer

You don’t need to rush into finding all of your wedding suppliers, but if photography is of importance to you, then you may wish to lock them in first. Of course, a photographer can only shoot one wedding per day, so (especially if you’re getting married on a weekend during the key summer ‘wedding season’ months, start making enquiries ASAP.

Choosing your wedding photographer isn’t just about the style or aesthetic they take (which is of course important) but also how you feel with them. Of all the people at your wedding, you may spend the most time with your wedding photographers, they will be responsible for directing you, making you feel comfortable enough to relax, be yourselves, be intimate and be open to trying new things. It’s not often we have personal photo shoots, and your photographer will probably have some ideas of shots to get, but you need to be able to trust their advice and at ease following their advice.

Browse photographers’ websites, get a feel for their photography style and ask for recommendations from friends. 2023 is already seeing a trend of very natural, almost ‘documentary’ photography, with less of the ‘filtered’ look that we had seen over the last few years. Talk to any short-listed wedding photographers about their packages, how many hours of coverage there will be, whether there are any ‘extra’ costs after the wedding, how long they will take to supply the photos, who will cover them if they get sick on the day of the wedding, etc.

As a ballpark figure, budget for approximately 10% of your wedding cost to go to your photographer.

5. Secure your remaining Wedding Vendors (but don’t rush)

Before you book any other Wedding Vendors, return to your ‘why’ and think about what’s really important to you. Your remaining wedding budget can now be divided across a multitude of wedding vendors’ services, and physical items for your wedding, but which will mean the most to you?

You can spend tens of thousands on wedding flowers, or you can spend a few hundred dollars on wholesale flowers and do it yourself; you can spend almost an unlimited amount on a wedding dress to rival any royal wedding, or you can pick up something stunning and chic off-the-rack (or buy second hand). Once you have booked your wedding date and venue, and photographer booked, think about the top 3 things each of you want for your Big Day, and of those 3, which would be each of your ‘big ticket’ item, if there is one.

To be able to afford these top 3 things, you may need to be smart elsewhere about allocating your wedding budget. There are lots of ways to save money on your wedding, with thoughtful use of decor, flowers, stationery and more, so head to our wedding planning step by step guides, choose just one thing to tackle at a time, and try not to dive headfirst into every trend that catches your eye!

The Ultimate Stress-Free Timeline for Wedding Planning in Australia

Wedding planning and stress don’t belong together, but so frequently couples find themselves so overwhelmed with checklists and to-do’s that they’re too anxious to enjoy their wedding planning experience. We know there’s a better way, and it starts with an organised timeline, a couple of simple tools, and a few big deep breaths.

In reading a lot of NZ and Australian wedding magazines and blogs, I soon realised that a lot of the content I was consuming was actually advertising – encouraging me to have a large guest list, have all the ‘bells and whistles’ and ultimately spend a lot of money on my wedding.

Though we had a flexible budget, and I had the confidence to set aside any wedding elements that didn’t really suit us personally, I wanted to share wedding planning advice without any element of sponsorship, advertising or influence from the wedding industry.

One of my most-loved articles was a simple wedding planning timeline, designed for wedding planning in Australia, according to how far in advance most vendors and venues need to be booked. These timelines are of course included in our wedding planner book, along with all the wedding planning advice you need, and nothing you don’t.

P.S. Before you start wedding planning, please take a moment to celebrate and enjoy the excitement of being engaged.

Your First Steps to Wedding Planning 

Depending on where in Australia you’re getting married, what day of the week, and which season, your first steps can begin as soon as you get engaged, or much much later if you’re planning a long engagement.

If you’re trying to secure one of Sydney or Melbourne’s most popular wedding venues on a Saturday in February, chances are you’ll need to book much further out than if you’re planning a DIY wedding at a family home. Either way, you begin with a wedding budget, a guest list and a few thoughtful conversations with your fiancé.

This wedding planning timeline is also unique, in that not only will it not tell you that you absolutely need to organise a troupe of {Brazilian dancers/wall to wall flowers/donkeys carrying Champagne/insert wedding vendor here} to celebrate, but it’s a timeline to take at your own pace. You may start this with 12 months or 12 days to go, it is your wedding so it is up to you!

  • Start a wedding budget: discuss with your future spouse how much you both feel want to put towards your Big Day. If your families wish to contribute, do you feel comfortable doing so? Do you need to save for some time to plan your ‘dream’ day, are you happy spending less but doing more of the organising/DIY yourself, or do you just want a simple, small ceremony with some drinks to follow? I suggest considering what your wedding priorities are too.
  • Draft your guest list: this will really tie into your budget and choice of wedding venue, though you don’t need to finalise anything early. As you start researching and planning, you may completely change your mind about how many guests to have or even what type of wedding you want, so don’t be in too much of a hurry.
  • Find a couple of rough dates: If you have your heart set on a summer wedding, for instance, are you going to plan in time for the upcoming summer, or are you happy to wait another year? Work out with your fiance a couple of rough (but flexible) suitable dates, so that when you talk to venues, you know when you’re thinking about.
  • Begin visiting wedding venues (online or in person): Once you have a roughly suitable date and an idea of your guest list and budget, you can begin enquiring with wedding venues in your chosen location. See Top Australian Wedding Venues for inspiration and ideas, and see How to Find a Wedding Venue. Choosing your wedding venue (and paying a deposit) will probably be the biggest decision you have to make in the entire wedding planning process, and may determine your theme and style and even your guest list. 
  • Before you actually book your wedding venue, take a moment to breathe and revisit your wedding priorities. Does this venue tick all the boxes and fit comfortably with your budget – are you absolutely certain it’s ‘The One’? Consider using the Wedding Planning Pack which provides a list of all the questions you need to discuss with your venue before booking (available in a bundle with the little white book wedding planner).

Once you’ve Booked Your Wedding Venue

As with booking your wedding venue, the rest of your wedding planning timeline will vary greatly according to where you are, when you’re planning and how elaborate a wedding you’re planning, but once you’ve booked your wedding venue, you won’t want to wait too long to secure a few important vendors.

  • Choosing your wedding celebrant: The only truly ‘necessary’ vendor at your wedding is your celebrant – the person you choose to conduct your wedding ceremony and officially marry you. If you have chosen a religious venue, this decision may be easy, but for others, you can browse Australian Marriage Celebrants Inc or Same-Sex Celebrant listings.
  • Wedding vendors to book beyond the celebrant are completely at your discretion. The majority of couples marrying in Australia have have a Wedding Photographer, Caterer and some kind of entertainment, though the options are pretty endless! Depending on your choice of venue, you may already have all furniture/lighting, catering and staff, whereas if it’s a DIY/dry-hire venue you’ll have to organise everything yourself. See Marquee Wedding Planning.
  • The most important vendors to book first are those who can only do one wedding per day, i.e. those that spend the day with you: Photographer/Videographers, Caterers, Hair and Make-up Artists and Entertainers. For vendors who you’re going to spend a lot of time with, or have very personal interactions, you may also wish to meet with them prior to booking. Consider Wedding Catering Options.
  • Think about your styling options – theme colours, decor, florals, etc – you may wish to turn to Pinterest for options, or browse wedding inspo on instagram.

Of course, the wedding planner book has a lot more detail on your wedding planning checklists, so think of this as a simple and stress-free way to begin.

A little later… (after you’ve patted your expert wedding-planning self on the back)

You’ve already achieved so much, honestly. Booking your wedding venue and choosing your most vital wedding vendors is no mean feat, so feel free to sleep for a week or a month, celebrate again, and relax a little while. If you’re using the little white book, you’ll have inserted your wedding date into the calendar and begun using the diary part, which will step you through each day, week and month to your wedding (i.e. it’s impossible to miss a thing). If not, your next wedding planning timeline begins here:

  • If you haven’t already, decide whether or not to have a Bridal Party. Some couples choose a Best Man and Maid of Honour (or Best Woman and Man of Honour) while others will have 3-10 a side). If you’re having a small wedding, you may wish to have a smaller (or no) bridal party. See How to Choose Your Bridal Party and don’t underestimate their impact on the budget. Consider What should your Bridal Party pay for?
  • Start thinking about what you’d like to wear. If you purchase a wedding dress off-the-rack, you may still need to make time allowance for alterations, and if the dress is made-to-order, or custom, you may need to allow up to 6 months or more.
  • Decide whether to have an Engagement Party
  • The all-important (or not at all important) details. Depending on who you are and what’s important to you, you may wish to organise any or all of the following: Decor and Styling/Florist, Fancy Lighting or a Neon Sign, Bridal Party Attire and Bouquets, Wedding Cake or Dessert Station, Wedding Invitation Designer or Calligrapher, Caravan Bar, Selfie Station, Dance Lessons, Wedding Alpacas yes, really (essential, obvs), DJ, Band, Hireage, Acccommodation, Food Trucks, Wedding Favours, Transport, etc etc – OR… you may decide you don’t need any of those things. 
  • For each of the wedding elements you select, I suggest you get in touch with each of them and work them into your wedding budget one at a time, in order of their importance to you. As you work your way through, you may even decide that you don’t need to have all of them.
  • Even if you’re booking wedding vendors a week out, you can usually find someone, so how far in advance you need to get in touch with vendors depends on your preferences, how fussy you’re feeling and the level of demand depending on day and season. While you don’t need to be in a hurry, it may certainly help your stress levels if you get onto each vendor sooner than later (and then you can enjoy your wedding countdown.

Once the Wedding Vendors are Booked

  • Before sending your wedding invitations, consider your choice of wedding gift. Would you like a contribution towards an experience, a traditional wedding registry, or something else entirely?
  • Revisit your wedding guest and budget, consider if everything works with your venue and plans. 
  • Even if you’re choosing to DIY or use an online option like Paperless Post rather than sending save the dates,do your guests a favour and give them as much notice as you can about your upcoming nuptials, to allow them time to make plans, especially if they’re visiting from out of State or beyond Australia. You may also wish to organise signage for the Big Day, if guests are likely to need direction about where to go, where to sit, and what their on-the-day timeline is.
  • If you have a bridal party, consider delegating some smaller jobs to them – will one of them assist you with choosing suitable attire for them, are there any little DIY projects they might contribute to, or some tasks in the lead up to the wedding? You may wish to have a Hens Party/Bridal Shower or Bachelor, which the Maid of Honour or Best Man usually organises with the Bridal Parties.
  • Start thinking about your speeches and vows. Hard to write, and even harder to write in a rush – so take notes throughout your engagement (the little white book is perfect for this and will prompt you to do so – just one reason it’s been voted the best wedding planner book); ask those friends and family you’d like to speak to prepare too, and work on your vows with your future spouse.
  • Cake tasting, yum! If you’re choosing to have a wedding cake, don’t delay to enjoy the most delicious job of all, cake tasting. Take your fiance, or order wedding cake sampler boxes, and dig in. Even if you’re not sure whether you wish to have a wedding cake, this might be a task worth enjoying.
  • Ensure your future spouse is also looking into his/her attire. Grooms in particular often leave this til the last minute, which is not ideal if they want a nicely fitted suit.
  • Consider your honeymoon, including passports and visas where necessary.
  • Once your guest list is set, confirm your catering, including food, drinks, desserts and platters.
  • Think about your entertainment – if you’ve booked a musician, will you be providing ‘Play/Do Not Play lists’, or if not, do you need to organise Music yourself?

The Final Wedding Countdown

  • Buy wedding rings
  • Schedule hair and makeup trials
  • Choose your underwear and shoes and take to your final dress fitting
  • Make your day-before and on-the-day plan
  • Organise the order of service including any readings or speeches
  • Check in with your vendors to ensure they’re all on the same page (and share the on-the-day plan
  • Chase any RSVPs, finalise your seating plan and provide to stationer/designer
  • Revisit your vows
  • Have any spa/hair/beauty treatments a few days in advance
  • Clean your engagement ring
  • Have an early night

Choose the Best Wedding Planner Book in Australia to suit Your Planning Style

Many of you come across this article by searching “Best Wedding Planner Book Australia”, but in my humble opinion, there’s more to choosing a wedding planner than simply what somebody else puts on the top of a google list. Planning a wedding is innately personal – it involves really complex decision making such as how best to allocate your wedding budget, as well as diplomatic skills like managing your guest list, while also trying to organise the ‘Big Day’ that feels right for you as a couple.

I don’t think there is just one perfect wedding planner book to suit all couples, regardless of their wedding. My sister is currently engaged, and for a long time she was planning an elopement with just a couple of friends, and all she used was a budget template. Unfortunately, due to Covid, her wedding was postponed twice, and now she’s planning a larger wedding and using a wedding planner book, as well as an online tool. She prefers having a physical planner book with her to take to vendor meetings and discuss/make notes with her fiance, while likes the ability to directly contact guests using the online tool.

This really got me thinking about the best way to help people choose a wedding planner book that’s going to suit them and their planning style. Remember, a wedding planner book can only help you if you are actually using it, so find the best one to suit you.

What kind of Wedding Planner Book or Planning Tools will be the best choice for you?

Before you choose your wedding planner book, consider the following:

  • How long do you have until the Big Day? How organised are you feeling already?
  • Do you enjoy writing, and want to have a keepsake of your wedding planning journey? If not, would you consider electronic or PDF templates/planning tools?
  • Do you have any specific needs, such as gender-neutral language.
  • Are you having a ‘traditional’ wedding, a small or ‘pop up’ wedding, an elopement, destination wedding, or other ceremony?
  • Have you hired a wedding planner, and will they be doing a lot of the organising and keeping track of vendors on your behalf?
  • How much are you comfortable spending, either as a one-off payment for a wedding planner book, or ongoing as part of an app or software?

Depending on what stands out to you from the above list, this is my curated guide to choosing the best wedding planner book to plan your wedding in Australia.

Australia’s 3 Best Wedding Planner Books (and 5 Alternative Planning Tools)

1. A Gender Neutral Wedding Planner Book and Keepsake Including a Countdown Diary to guide you through the months to your Big Day

The little white book may be the best wedding planner book for you, if you want to write down all the special moments, and create a lasting keepsake of your wedding planning journey. Its design is unique, in that it is the first wedding planner book designed to incorporate a 12 month diary which you can use as a daily planner, journal, or a bit of both. The best thing is, you can download a sample of the little white book, so you know exactly why it’s the best wedding planner book without spending a cent.

little white book best wedding planner book australia nz
wedding planner book – little white book

The little white book is also gender neutral, and comes highly recommended – included in almost every ‘Best Wedding Planner Book’ list since it launched in 2016, including Cosmopolitan, Glamour UK (#1), Bridal Musings (#1), Wedding Forward, Ink & Volt, CNN, Karen Willis Holmes and more.

Cosmo says: This planner/diary hybrid combines your wedding plans with your everyday routine. Containing a 12 month countdown to *the* day, it pretty much accounts for every moment of your life up until the big day. And, the perks of shopping at small businesses, it arrives in the post with a celebration card. Love!

Ink & Volt says: One of the best-selling wedding planning journals on the market, the Little White Wedding Organiser is the antidote to those who don’t want a big, bulky planning binder or an A4 sized spiral-bound journal. This minimalist chic hardbound white journal contains a 12-month diary structure for note-taking and daily usage (so you can live your life and plan your wedding), necessary wedding checklists, and more.

However, like I say, there is no perfect wedding planner book to suit everybody – the little white book is actually less ‘instructional’ than others, it has checklists integrated throughout, and every page you could possibly need for wedding vendors, guest list and the all-important wedding budget but it doesn’t give you every possible instruction on exactly how to make each of those decisions, because that will vary so much from couple to couple.

Details: 200 pages, A5 (210 x 143) gender neutral, hardcover white leatherette (vegan), $69 – or as part of the Ultimate Wedding Planning Bundle of wedding planner + anniversary journal + wedding planner templates) for $130 (full value $183)

So, if the style or design of the little white book aren’t for you, here are some other best wedding planner books in Australia

2. Ivory Tribe – Bride Business

wedding planner book Australia Ivory Tribe planner bride business copy

Designed and printed in Melbourne, ‘Bride Business‘ has a chic, ‘cool bride’ aesthetic and vibe. With a monochromatic design, this wedding planner book has a modern feel to a more traditional wedding planner design – divided into sections for each of your wedding vendors to organise. The budget sections are also broken down across multiple pages, which would give you a lot of space to think about each, and then you would add them up to be part of your total budget.

It’s simple, chic and looks cool too, “Slipping easily into handbags, this 132 page sleek and sexy planner will escort a bride to all her important appointments and is designed to be shown off!”

Details: 132 pages, white hardcover paperbound book, 21 cm x 17 cm, $69

3. Write To Me ‘Together’ Wedding Planner

Melbourne designed, Australian business Write To Me’s gender neutral wedding planner book ‘love‘ is a simple design, with sections divided into: Budget Planner, Wedding Checklist, Supplier Notes, Guest List, Ceremony, Table Settings, Wedding Day Schedule, Photography, Gift and Thank You’s. “With tables, spreadsheets, lists and lots of room to stick in inspiration on the way. It will become a trusted wedding planner bible whether you are celebrating low key or going all out.

Details: 144 pages, A5 size, hardcover linen, $43

4. You want a Simple Wedding Planner Journal

You may not need all the bells, whistles and details of a comprehensive wedding planner book, if you’re planning on eloping, you’re having a very small wedding, or a very short engagement. If that’s the case, consider choose a wedding planner book without too much structure, to make some special notes in along the journey to your Big Day.

This little ‘Wedding Notes‘ is an affordable personalised wedding notebook that you could make your own, filling with notes, photos and mementos.

If you aren’t using a guided planner, you may still find it’s worth purchasing a wedding budget template like the one in our wedding planning pack (ours includes 32 printable pages of questions and information to consider with each of your vendor bookings as well as the budget and guest list template).

5. You may Prefer Planning Software rather than a Wedding Planner Book

If you think you may need a lot of assistance with wedding planning, but you’re not sure if you want to write it all down, or have a keepsake after your wedding, rather than a wedding planner book you may wish to consider an app or other wedding planning software (not everybody loves to write!). Something Blue offers incredible professional wedding planning software for a monthly subscription or one-off payment – the reviews are exceptionally good, and though it’s a big investment for some, it’s a lot more affordable than hiring a wedding planner, and is well worth the money according to everybody who has used it!

If you’re looking for free software, project-management tools like Trello are also extremely useable and functional for wedding planning, you’ve just got to populate them yourself, or purchase “Ultimate Wedding Checklist”—a template for Trello that you can purchase for US $96 from a wedding planner.

6. Best Wedding Planner Apps!

For those who prefer to do it all on a mobile device, a wedding planning app may be just the thing. Honestly, because I am such a lover of writing, I can’t say which I’d use, but here’s a couple I’ve been recommended. WeddingHappy is an easy-to-use wedding app for managing wedding planning tasks, payments and vendors, and they say “we’ve helped more than 1 million couples plan their weddings from their phones” – Download WeddingHappy app on iOS or Android

Bridebook calls itself “the world’s number one wedding planner.” They advertise that you can find inspiration and wedding planning tools all in one place, but at the moment the vendors appear limited to the UK (while the rest of the app works all around the world). It’s completely free, so worth a look too! Download Bridebook app on iOS or Android

6. Bride on a Budget and still want a planner… this have all the basics!

Not everyone wants to spend $60+ on a wedding planner book, and we’re okay with that! The Kmart Wedding Planner Book is just $8 and includes 60 pages of organisational help divided into 6 sections. There’s nothing wrong with a bargain when it comes to wedding planning. It’s currently available on Kmart Australia, I couldn’t find it instore to review, but even if you ‘get what you pay for’ it may be a step in the right direction!

I hope this article on choosing the wedding planner to suit you has helped, and not confused you. While I am slightly biased towards the little white book being the best, I still don’t think it will be the best wedding planner book for absolutely everybody. As somebody with ADHD who is not particularly well organised and needs to put pen to paper to get things organised, it was exactly what I needed to plan my wedding.

Planning a Wedding in Australia: Cost, Checklists and Step by Step Guides

Are you dreaming of a wedding in Australia? Let me help you navigate every part of the planning process from the engagement party right through to the post-wedding tasks without putting too much strain on your pocket. 

Before you Start Planning Your Australian Wedding

1 Take a moment just for yourselves and enjoy being engaged. Spend time talking about what’s important to you – why you want to get married, what your dream day looks like, and who you want to celebrate it with.

2 Announce your engagement and possibly plan an engagement party to celebrate with your friends and families.

3 Think about the kind of money you feel comfortable spending. It’s no secret that weddings can be expensive, and that managing your wedding budget is a big task. Make sure you are on the same page about how much to spend, and what your priorities are.

4 Let people help you. Talk to friends who have married recently, and subscribe to our emails, and we will help you with the best wedding advice without spamming your inbox (that’s a promise!)

Build your Wedding Planning Tool Kit

We suspect that you may have a a Pinterest list, or Instagram saved folder as long as your arm, and probably quite a bundle of wedding magazines too… Still, to order all of your ideas into a cohesive, well-organised, and easy-to-follow plan, you’re probably going to need a few wedding planning tools.

Most brides-to-be choose to create or buy a wedding binder or wedding planner book, but for those who prefer everything electronic, there’s the little white planning pack – an electronic resource comprising worksheets and questionnaires to guide you through everything you need to think about and ask, as well as checklists, worksheets, and the budget and guest list templates.

Work out your Budget, Guest List and Wedding Date

After discussing with your fiancé what ideas they have about the big day, the first step to planning your wedding is to work out your wedding budget. You may wish to talk to each of your parents about whether they would like to contribute, but be certain to understand if they wish to have any say over your plans too..

Once you’ve worked out the basics with your fiancé in terms of what’s most important to both of you for your special day and how much you can allocate towards your wedding budget, you may have to sit down for some tricky conversations and decisions around your guest list. You can also choose your wedding party now – they may even help with some of your wedding planning tasks.

You may find it helpful to consider a few articles on what a wedding in Australia costs – be aware that the “average” cost of a wedding can be misleading, and instead look at sample wedding budgets.

Work out when you want to get married – do you want a winter wedding, or will you be competing with many other couples for some of the most popular days. If so, and especially if you must have a particular date, you will probably need to book a venue very soon (some venues book up to 2 years in advance). However, 75% of couples still cite Saturday as their first choice, so even if you are flexible with dates, begin finding a wedding venue as soon as you can.

Choose the best Australian Wedding Vendors and Venues

I genuinely believe that those wedding plannings in Australia are amongst the luckiest in the world, with such excellent and relatively affordable access to every picturesque venue, from the beach to lakeside and mountain-top, and everywhere in between. So I suggest you get onto booking your wedding venue at least 12 months before your D-day. Have a look at 20 alternative and unique wedding venues.

Grab your wedding planner book and visit some wedding venues – take note about everything you love, find real wedding photos and see what sort of options you have for decor, photos and more.

Begin by drafting a list of what your ideal wedding venue should have in terms of appearance, services, on-site catering, wedding-planner inclusion, or a sound, all-inclusive package deal. Once you have a good idea of how many guests you plan to invite, this will help you to determine the costs of going forward with a particular venue. Next, you must visit a few venues to get a feel for each, and you can compare the packages and costs and how much work would be involved to turn the space into your dream wedding venue.

See How to Find Wedding Venues

Book your Wedding Photographer

The most important wedding vendors to secure are your wedding photographer and videographer. Many of the best Australian photographers and videographers would be in high demand and will book out at the same time as wedding venues are booked. So make this a priority booking. To find a wedding photographer, you may wish to browse Instagram – lookup for hashtags relevant to your area, i.e. Australian wedding photographer, Melbourne wedding photographer etc.

Shortlist a few wedding photographers whose style you like and who are available on your wedding day. Then, make sure you meet them before your wedding date! You will be spending much of your special day with them, so it’s imperative that you feel comfortable – personalities will make a huge difference. Wedding videography is also gaining popularity, especially for couples who can’t have all their loved ones attend the wedding, as videography is a great way to share the feeling of the day. Start researching nearby areas for your photos, especially sunset pictures. Make sure to find a few places for photography if the weather isn’t great too – you can use this tool to see the likelihood of rain on your wedding day.

Once you’ve Booked your Wedding Venue and Wedding Photographer

Booking your wedding venue and photographer will be a great feeling; they’re probably the most complex decisions to make. The good news now is that you can probably take it easy for a while, especially if your wedding reception venue is a full-service one. If it’s a DIY/Dry hire venue, you may soon wish to get onto wedding hireage and styling, but otherwise, the remainder of your wedding planning tasks can be picked up with around 9-11 months to go.

One of the best ways to start searching for your wedding vendors in Australia is to look at a couple of the leading Australian Wedding Vendor directories:

Keep your wedding budget in mind as you continue; you may like to read How to Allocate Your Wedding Budget.

Your next steps are outlined in the 12-month wedding planning checklist, which you may want to bookmark for later. If your wedding venue has an events manager or you have hired a wedding planner, some of these will be taken care of, but otherwise, it’ll soon be time to organise the rest of your wedding vendors. At any point, you can start talking to other wedding vendors and professionals such as wedding florists, stationery designers etc. Still, you don’t need to be in a rush to book all immediately. See the wedding planning pack for questions to ask.

Wedding Planning Legalities in Australia

A wedding in Australia can be officiated by a Religious celebrant, a civil celebrant, staff in some local courts, or a marriage officer working in the BDM (Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages). Unlike the New Zealand legal marriage process, there is no such thing as a marriage license in Australia, so that means that you do not need to apply for or receive or lodge a marriage license in Australia before the wedding. Instead, celebrants must lodge the paperwork within 14 days. Your marriage celebrant will give you a Commonwealth Marriage Ceremony certificate on your wedding day, after which you will need to apply for a standard marriage certificate.

Next, browse some real weddings for inspiration!

take a look inside our best-selling wedding planner ​

explore the little white book​

download a sample of the little white book wedding planner to see examples of how to use the pages, and how it can help you plan your wedding.