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W Is For Weddings – Behind “The Wedding” Word

by | Bride, Finance



Anna and James by Zoom Photography

In 2009 the Australian magazine, Choice, ‘sought quotes from 60 reception venues, cakes makers, hire car businesses, entertainments, florists and photographers in Sydney and Melbourne.’ Two ‘shadow shoppers’ were assigned to the task. ‘One shopper asked for prices for her wedding and another for her 40th birthday. Both events had the same number of guests and identical requirements in terms of cars, cakes, flowers, photographers, entertainment and venue.’ (Quotes from the Choice website article ‘Here Comes The Bride: And Up Goes The Price’) The television program that aired this ‘research’ even suggested that brides not tell the vendors that they wanted their services for a wedding!

So to get the other side of the story and add some balance from those in the wedding industry, we decided to interview a selection of vendors to give you the REAL story!

We asked some questions:

1) Do you charge more for a wedding, and if so, why?

Two hire car companies responded by saying they work on a set hourly fee, which one said he discounted as weddings are usually for a number of hours. They offer specialised services at no extra cost such as decorations and refreshments.

Paper goods vendors (invitations etc) stressed that there is a world of difference between a party invitation and a wedding invitation. A lot of brides now want a wedding invitation ‘package’ to send to guests, often with costly embellishments. This consists of a minimum of 4 pieces but can be up to 10 pieces to design and print. Most work on an hourly rate which includes consultation, design, research and presentation of the portfolio of the suite. Given the emotional component of a wedding this can take many hours. A birthday invitation on the other hand is often one page or a simple card so takes a lot less time in consultation and design.

One vendor said that her prices were the same for other events and weddings and her prices were on her site ‘and clear to all’.

A floral designer commented that ‘brides have a specific vision’ and often want non standard items which are not ‘commercially available’. She went on to say that generally ‘corporate clients are satisfied with my inventory of containers and props and do not require additional time and labour spent to acquire the quantities needed to match the bride’s vision’.

Another floral designer says that she does charge more for wedding flowers because for a wedding she sources and uses only blooms that are sold by growers as ‘premium’ quality stock, whereas a shop bouquet is made from ‘standard’ stock. Also wedding flowers can take hours to prepare and create, so there is a labour charge involved.

One event designer custom quotes for each event and cost ‘is based on the amount of hours invested’. Another vendor pointed out that ‘expectations of weddings are always very high and the details that go into them are numerous and they typically require more extensive planning than another event’.

Interestingly one vendor made the point that she ‘strictly limits the number of events we do each weekend, so once I commit to a wedding or party, I am also losing the potential income of other clients that may be getting married on that weekend’. Don’t forget that their time includes sourcing, planning and set up time in the vendor’s studio and on site, as well as clean up time when the event ends, in some instances.

Check back this afternoon to see what else vendors had to say about the issue!

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Wedding Budgets and Bothers

by | Bride, Finance



Issy’s wedding bouquet captured by Angela Higgins Photography

One of the first things people ask me when they get engaged is “What do we do now?”. The first thing I always say is “Enjoy it!”. I think so often we rush too fast past these precious moments, without sitting there and just relishing in the fact that they’ve happened, celebrating without too much thought of the next event.

The money for the wedding and all that it entails can be a tough reality hit for many engagees. With what can seem like endless costs associated with a wedding, you can start to understand the people who have really, really long engagements!

How do you decide where and on what to spend those precious dollars (and how many dollars to spend)? My first suggestion is to give yourself some time to sit down with your fiancé and talk about what is most important to you both.

There is no need to hurry this process – it may take hours or even weeks of discussion. Your discussion should encompass all aspects of the wedding down to the smallest detail so that you don’t get hit with surprises.

You can make lists as detailed as possible – for example:
– church – large arrangements
– aisle
– boutonnieres
– bridesmaids’ bouquets
– bride’s bouquet
– flowers for parents, grandparents
– tables etc etc

Or simply figure out “Yeah, we want our guests to have amazing food and wine but really, we’re not fussed about the cars” or “Oh we love cake! Actually all we do is eat cake, but really, I don’t mind what flowers we have, as long as they’re pretty!”

Then decide which of the things on your lists you can do without, amend, or do on a budget. Ask yourselves what aspects of your wedding you just cannot live without. What would you regret not having done, when you look back at your wedding on your fifth wedding anniversary. Those are the non-negotiable things that you will need to find the money for, and will give you the greatest pleasure when they are done beautifully, just as you’d hoped.

There are ways vendors are able to flexible as well- a dress designer may use a cheaper lace rather than the pricier French lace, you may forgo dessert at your reception venue for your wedding cake, your photographer may offer a package without an album. It’s always worth asking vendors if there is flexibility in meeting your budget.

If you need to put a savings plan in place, you can choose to cut back your spending in little ways. Have more cosy meals at home, just the two of you, have two drinks at the wine bar instead of five, find free entertainment, and before you know it you will have saved the amount you need. Who knows, this saving bug could catch on and continue throughout your life together!

How did your prioritise for your own wedding? Where did you splurge and where did you save?

Beautiful DIY Projects

by | Bride, DIY


One of the biggest myths around weddings is that DIY is cheaper- isn’t. It can be more stressful, take up oodles of time and resources. But it can also be incredibly fun, a chance to personalise something and a chance to get really creative. If you just want something fun, there are stacks of down-loadable freebies created by amazingly talented designers available around the blog world.

This week is lacking pretty pictures, because when talking dollars, they don’t tend to come out. So here’s a little light relief, a little beauty and hopefully a little inspiration of some of my favourite recent DIY projects around the web.

paper flower garden

Recycled Paper Flowers from Maya Made


Printable Wedding Fans from Color Me Inspired


DIY Lighted Paper Pennant Garland from Once Wed


DIY Fortune Cookies from Benign Objects


Vintage Hankies Save The Dates from The Wedding Chicks


DIY Moss Letter from Ruffled


DIY ‘La Dolce Vita’ Party Candy Cup with Carry Handle from Eat, Drink, Chic


Hot Cocoa Vials From The Inspired Bride


DIY Cupcake Liner Garland from 100 Layer Cake

What are your favourites? Do you have any to share?

Antonia Kidman on Being Money Confident

by | Bride, Finance



An Australian journalist and TV presenter, Antonia Kidman is never far from the spotlight. She’s presented two TV series, The Little Things & The Bigger Things on issues surrounding raising children and is currently appearing on Foxtel’s Lifestyle You channel.

As the ambassador for Febusave, a mum, an engagee and someone who has recently taken charge of her finances Antonia Kidman is joining us today on Polka Dot Bride to share her thoughts on money!

Why did you become involved with ANZ’s Be Money Confident Program and subsequently Febusave?

A couple of years ago I experienced change in my life and realised that I needed to have more of a plan in place when it came to my long-term finances. It was an area that I wasn’t too confident about. The language and terminology of finance can be daunting and sometimes it’s easy just to put it to one side and deal with it later, which of course is never. I decided I needed to tackle it head-on and so I began to educate myself and learn as much as I could. I also made a commitment to take complete responsibility of my money. It is a wonderful feeling, very empowering!

What have you learnt about money and finances since you joined?

So much, where to begin? The most important lesson is to take the first step. No matter how small just writing down some goals, seeking help on how to achieve them and then implementing that advice can be wonderfully reinforcing. Once you know you can do it then it grows from there.

Are you a budgeter or do you just cut down on your spending?

I’m a total budgeter. I always have been. I guess I’ve inherited that from my parents. I’m very capable of sticking to a budget. I’ve always been able to manage my day-to-day budgets my lack of knowledge relates more to the long-term stuff like investments and putting strategies in place to ensure my future financial security.

Do you feel more confident in dealing with your everyday finances?

I’ve always been pretty good at that. I can cut down when necessary and put money aside too. It is great to ‘set and forget’ by having your savings automatically transferred into another account so you don’t get tempted to spend it – and then get a pleasant surprise when you see how much it has grown over time!

Do you have your own financial advisor or are you relying on your fiancés?

I have my own financial advisor.

Do you have an estate plan in place to look after your children if you become incapacitated or pass away?

Yes, I do. I have all that stuff up-to-date which gives me great peace of mind. It is so important.

As someone who has been married before and is planning her second marriage, what is the greatest lesson you have learnt about money and marriage?

I think no matter what situation you are in married, dating, single or widowed it’s important to be part of the decision making process.

Is it important to maintain this during a marriage/relationship? Why?

I think it’s important for both people in a partnership to share responsibility for most things and money is one of those things.

How do we maintain it – some practical tips?

I’m no expert but I guess it’s like anything communication is critical.

How have your perceptions of money and weddings changed?

Weddings are very personal so it’s important to set a goal that reflects both party’s desires. Above all they are occasions that should be full of love, happiness and hope.

Did you set a budget for your wedding?

Like planning for anything setting a budget is a good idea, and keeping track of all expenses as they occur.


How did you prioritise what was important to you (with wedding spending)?

Categorizing items or tasks helps determine what is important and it’s also a good way to manage your time.

Where have you splurged?

Some of the best weddings I’ve been to have been very simple affairs. What have made them so unique are the people, the love, the speeches, the dancing!

Where have you saved?

It’s important to remember…”don’t sweat the small stuff”.

How do you think we can empower ourselves with wedding spending?

Set a goal and a budget and work out the most effective way to marry the two.

What discussions do you think are important to have about finances with your fiancé? What discussions have you had?

Talking about finances can be difficult it’s not an area many people feel comfortable discussing. It’s about trust, honesty and sharing responsibility.

Thank you for joining us today on Polka Dot Bride Antonia!

So the question to you dear readers is – have you talked about finances with your fiance? Was it something you needed to do or did it just happen? Have you talked about future planning? Is money uncomfortable for you too?

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