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.
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.
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!