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How to Plan a Proposal and Wedding on a Budget: 4 Ways to Save

It’s no secret that getting engaged and then married can be tremendously costly. In 2019, Australians spent an average of $5,297.50 on an engagement ring and then shelled out $53,168 for the wedding. Spending skyrockets further for those who opt for custom touches such as bespoke suits and dresses for the groomsmen and bridesmaids or having a professionally organised event.

If those figures are enough to make your pocketbook flinch, don't worry. We understand completely, and we’re here to tell you that you can still have a meaningful proposal event and wedding without draining your bank account. Play your cards right and you may even have money left over to put towards a honeymoon or any plans you have as a couple. Read on for 4 easy ways to save on proposal and wedding expenses:

Instead of gifts, ask for help instead

Asking your guests to lend you their time and talents in lieu of an engagement or wedding gift not only helps you (and them!) save money on what usually is a pricey shindig. It also brings your community of loved ones together and provides an additional layer of significance to the occasion. Areas where your guests can help out include putting together decorations for the proposal event, taking photos or video, emceeing or entertaining during the wedding program, and many more.Just be sure to thank them after all is said and done! If your budget allows for it, sending a small token of appreciation along with a heartfelt note of gratitude will go a long way.

Go for an alternative engagement ring

The idea that diamonds should be your first and only choice when it comes to engagement rings is outdated. Many millennial couples are choosing to go alternative with their engagement rings, opting for other cardinal gems such as amethyst, emerald, sapphire, and ruby and unique band materials such as wood, tungsten carbide, or jade to create one-of-a-kind pieces that best express their unique love story and personal style. The best part? Alternative engagement rings are just as beautiful as any diamond ring and will last just as long, but usually cost a fraction of the price.

Sapphire engagement rings are a popular contemporary option favoured by the royals – just ask Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge herself, who received a sapphire engagement ring that once belonged to His Royal Highness Prince William’s mother Princess Diana. Sapphires come in a variety of colours – or colourless, if you prefer, which have been historically used in place of diamonds. Not sure where to buy sapphire rings in New Zealand? A quick online search should turn up a number of reputable jewellers that can bring your dream engagement ring to life.

Scope out local locations

Everyone wants a destination wedding, but choosing to hold yours somewhere picturesque but far-flung is bound to add more than a few zeroes to the total you’ll need to pay just to have it. The truth is, you don’t have to pop the question or say your vows at a stunning foreign location just to make the occasion memorable. It’s better for your bank account to stay close to home and patronise haunts that you and your partner both love and are familiar with. Your engagement proposal event can be held at your favourite park or restaurant, or the place where you had your first date. Become a tourist in your own city and take a few weekends out to scout likely places to hold your wedding at. Popular ideas include museums, botanical gardens, and well-loved landmarks.

Streamline the guest list

While it’s tempting to invite every single person that you know as a couple to celebrate your special day with you, know that each addition to the guest list creates corresponding additional costs. It’s good to start with a huge list of people just to be sure that you don’t forget anyone important, but begin whittling it down and finalise it before sending out your invitations.

Don’t be cowed into inviting people you don’t know well out of a sense of obligation. Keep the numbers manageable and make sure that your guest list only includes people you absolutely want to be there. This will create a small, intimate affair that will be much more unforgettable for you and your partner.

With a bit of forethought and some savvy, you can have the wedding of your dreams without blowing a hole through your finances—and maybe even have enough left over for an amazing honeymoon or a new home! Be smart with your choices and remember that it’s not about the cost of the event, but the memories you create.

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