My beautiful budget wedding! Part 4: Reception!

1. Venue
Our reception was held at University House at ANU.  This was chosen firstly because we both attended ANU and it holds special memories for us.  Secondly, because it's a really pretty hall and the people really know how to do weddings.  And thirdly, because the rates were reasonable.
The best thing was that they knew weddings.  The venue already had a rough running order for the evening, knew how to do place settings, had special wedding decorations, special food, and were really good at helping us with all our questions.  That was super important for the venue.  Because they knew what they were doing, we were able to relax and enjoy the evening without worrying about little things.
They allowed us to take some photos in the library, which was cute.  See the books all have little labels!
The beautiful hall.  White tablecloths and purple serviettes, all exactly as we wanted.

Another great thing about this venue was that they gave us a bridal suite for free!  So when we got tired of the party we could just head upstairs! 

2. The Cake
My mum made our cake!  It was a delicious rich fruit cake.  She decorated it like a pro.  She worked really hard on it!  She even made those icing roses!

3. Bonbonniere
Some more of the stationery.  You can see the little lyrebird on the place card, which my friend designed for us.  I bought sugared almonds and little bags for everyone and typed out a note for each bag.  It's a traditional gift, which is nice, but it's not over the top like some of the more modern bonbonnieres.  People give out all sorts of things now that would cost a fortune.  These things probably cost me about $140 altogether, with the gauze bags and the almonds both costing around $70 each.

4. The Alcohol
A word on alcohol.  It is traditional and fun to have some champagne and drinks for these kind of important events.  Our reception venue had two options for alcohol: a package deal of $120 per person which included all drinks and food; or a consumption deal, which was the meal cost, $80pp, and then all drinks consumed.  We had to decide which one to get based on how much alcohol we thought would be consumed.  Would each person consume more than $40 worth of alcohol?  Booze is kind of expensive!  They used nice champagne and wine which was quite a lot per bottle!  But in the end we chose to pay on consumption, and we ended up paying quite a bit less than the package deal.  So that's something to think about and ask your reception venue about.

5. The Band

We ended up hiring a local jazz trio who we knew from the School of Music.  They were super rad!  They played all the jazz standards we requested, lots of others, a bridal waltz on Just The Way You Look Tonight, and our entry music was just fantastic.  We fed them a meal and they were awesome.  They played for 4.5 hours (6 - 10:30) and we paid $1000.  That's a really good deal, just so you know.  You wouldn't expect that normally, except we got mates rates.

In the end our reception cost around $6000, and the band cost $1000.
Total: $7000. 
Our parents split the bill and we didn't pay this part.

So how much in total?  If you've been following along, you'll notice...

Accessories: $360
Reception: $7000
Outfit: $580
Church and such: $700

Grand Total: $8640

What I paid: $1540, but that was without the reception, band, or shoes.

The total cost for our wedding was about a quarter of the cost of an "average" Australian wedding.  And I don't think we skimped on anything at all.  Nothing felt cheap, nothing felt bad, it was a perfect day with my perfect mate.  In the end, it was all about getting married to my partner in life, but that's the kind of wisdom that only comes after the event.  It's fun to throw a big party though!

So did you find this interesting?  What else would you like to know about planning weddings?


  1. Ours is looking like it's going to come in at less than $3000 in total :P

  2. 1) Do everything at the Botanic Gardens
    2) Afternoon tea rather than dinner 'reception' and make all the food
    3) $100 dress off Etsy
    4) Fewer than 40 guests

    1. Oh wow! The kangaroos will be extra guests :-)

  3. Hey, congratulations on getting married! We just had our 1st anniversary, time goes so fast!

    1. First anniversary!? You mean I've been waiting to see your wedding dress for A YEAR? I loved your wedding invitations, so cute and crafty!!


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