Author Archives: n1t4



You are engaged and still riding on a bubble of excitement, dreaming of planning the best day of your life with your new fiancé. Then people come out of the woodwork just to burst that bubble and tell you how expensive weddings are. You may hear that as soon as you mention the word Wedding the cost will double. Relax, it is not true.

First things first, you need to be clear about exactly what you want, who is paying for what, what your budget will be and then start making lists and planning.
Tips to set your budget

Ask yourself these key questions before deciding on your budget:

What can you (and your families) can afford to pay?
What priority do you want to give your wedding compared to your mortgage or other financial commitments?
What sort of wedding do you want? A large formal wedding is going to cost more than a smaller casual wedding.
What style of wedding does each family have in mind? Are the families willing to financially help to achieve the wedding they envisage? Often two families will have different ideas on the sort of wedding they want for you, based on their own traditions and experiences. If one family is dreaming of a five star hotel ballroom and the other expects a casual beach wedding, then you need to have a discussion early and then decide what you and your fiancé want.
What parts of the wedding are most important to you? If the photo album you are left with is the most important element of the day then you need to allocate a large percent of the budget to that. The best way to get this sorted is for you and your fiancé to separately write down your top three priorities and your bottom three priorities. These lists very rarely match up, but a good bottle of wine and a healthy conversation should help you come up with a joint list. Think of it as good marriage training in the art of compromise.

A wedding budget to suit us

A wedding budget to suit us

Alicia, our guest bride blogger, is back on the Modern Wedding blog for installment 3. Her big decisions over the last few weeks have been about the wedding budget! Something we can all relate to.

In my last post I was ‘bloganising’ over the hard decision of selecting our guest list. We felt as though we were caught in a tug of war; wanting to invite everyone versus sticking to a wedding budget.

Prior to becoming engaged our focus was to save a deposit to purchase our own little piece of Aussie real estate. We were getting pretty close. However, with our wedding on the horizon, it has become apparent very quickly that much of our savings will need to go toward the wedding.
Married couple walking

Not wanting to give up on my Pinterest inspired ‘dream home’ just yet, I decided to set myself a challenge of a ‘wedding on a budget’ so I could try to have it all. This was ok in theory because as a long-term poor student I had always pictured myself having a simple barefoot wedding. However, the problem is that that poor student is long gone and I, somewhere along the way, have developed a weakness for fine things!

Added to this, fiancé and I LOVE to entertain, and so in our wedding planning we have pictured lots of friends, a festive bridal party, a big fun car, stunning photos, a venue with a view, fabulous entertainment, a gastronomic dinner, wedding-night luxury and, here comes the pièce de résistance, a honeymoon in Europe!

So you see the problem! Other people I have spoken to about this have recommended many ways to manage a tight wedding budget, however, many of these advice givers have also admitted to spending up big on other things for their wedding!

What I have found is that the budget decisions all come down to identifying what is most important to us. This week, fiancé and I realised that friends and family are the biggest thing for us. We have lived in multiple cities and have met, bonded, relied on and kept in touch with lots of people.

We were sad and torn by the idea of having to select only a few of these friends (and how do you choose?) and we also wanted our own parents to be able to share their proud day of seeing their son/daughter marrying their soul mate.

We decided that the memory of having all our favourite people with us on our wedding day is more important than the $5,000 or $10,000 we’d save toward our future home. It may seem frivolous and it may not be the same justified decision for other people. No one is right or wrong. Some, like my sister included, may make a vastly different decision (like getting married in a registry). Others may not have to worry about it.
Bridal party at a wedding

So last week we said ‘To hell with it, let’s invite everyone!” And you know what, it felt GREAT. We sent out a bunch of save-the-date messages and were hit with a flurry of excited replies… questions about accommodation and hens parties flooded in, and everyone was really excited. And for those who don’t give a toss, well they won’t come anyway.

In the end, like all apparent dilemmas in life, our guest list and wedding budget challenge has helped us to frame what is most important to us: family, friends and experience over possessions. It feels so good to do what’s right for us.

So here’s a snippet of our budget and some ‘wedding on a budget’ ideas:

Things we’re DIY-ing: Invitations, bonbonnieres and reception décor. We’ve also decided to go with a garden venue that needs no further embellishment.

Things we’re keeping simple: The cake, reception package, my dress, shoes (no ‘Choos’ for me!) and jewellery.

Things we’re laying on thick: Guest list, bridal party, photographer, reception venue, live music, wedding night luxury and, ahem…the right lingerie to round out the day. 😉
Band playing at a wedding

Natalie Howe Photography

What about you? How are you setting out your wedding budget and are you going to go extravagant on some things and compromise on others? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Modern Wedding has an online wedding budget planner which might help you too. All the best with your budgeting!

Alicia x

About Alicia: Alicia is a water scientist by day and a blogger/jogger/home cooker by night. She is madly in love with her fiancé Shane, Pinterest and her fitness program. Check out her Pinterest board and lifestyle blog.

Alicia is guest blogging for the Modern Wedding blog leading up to her wedding day. She resides in Manly, Sydney, and is a Victorian country girl at heart. Swing by Modern Wedding Facebook or Twitter and ask Alicia a question.

Tips For Finding Your Dream Wedding Dress On A Budget

Tips For Finding Your Dream Wedding Dress On A Budget


No matter where your wedding falls on the scale of grandeur, we all want to wear something a little special on the big day. The problem is that your big day will often come with a big cost. Even a simple wedding will need to be budgeted for and budget savvy brides can struggle to justify spending big on a dress that will only be worn once.

The multitude of inspiration and choice only makes the decision harder! It’s not uncommon for women to develop the taste for couture gowns only to discover that these dresses are out of their price range. Madeline, the owner and designer of the bridal boutique Bridal Envy (and a recent bride), found herself in this very situation. While looking for her wedding dress she often found that the prices would mean giving up her dream honeymoon. To help brides overcome this dilemma, Madeline offers different services at Bridal Envy, such as carefully picked second-hand designer wedding dresses, the option to sell your wedding dress and a selection of gowns at an affordable price. She also gives us her top-tips for finding your dream wedding dress on a budget!

1. Know your budget and find designers and retailers with gowns that fall within it!

I believe that if you have set a budget for your dress it is important to try and stick close to it. Your budget should determine the types of dresses and boutiques you are booking into from the start. I think brides have to be realistic in their expectations of what their budget will allow them to buy. You may not be able to buy a hand-beaded couture gown if your budget is less than $11,000. Shopping beyond your budget can only result in heartbreak!

At Bridal Envy we believe that it is important for brides to have a budget for their wedding day, as the expenses can suddenly become overwhelming and costs can be overlooked. We carry a collection of new gowns by Turkish designer Tarik Ediz and we have also created our own collection of gowns to allow brides to personalise their style whilst not blowing the bank.

2. Buy second hand.

The other option is to buy a pre-owned dress. Wedding dresses are going to be one of the most beautiful pieces of clothing you own. They are intricately structured and well-made but, they will only to be worn once. Purchasing a pre-owned dress opens up the doors to high-end designer brands for a fraction of the price. This is to be said for accessories as well.

We are scrupulous about our dresses and hand-pick dresses that are in pristine condition. All dresses must be dry-cleaned and future brides are made aware of any defects (if any) before purchase. The beauty of a pre-owned dress is that most women are not a stock size and sometimes prior alterations are perfect to the future bride! If alterations are needed, dress makers tend to leave extra fabric in the seams of an altered dress in case of size changes, so they can normally be taken out to the original stock size if needed. Browse our collection here.

3. It’s worth paying for important dress elements.

There are something things worth paying for! Don’t skimp on the style you love. It’s a reflection of who you are, so don’t buy a dress that “isn’t you” just because it falls into your price bracket. Also pay close attention to the structure if the gown. You want to feel comfortable and confident on your day and an ill-fitting bodice or straps will just get in the way! Which means that you should also invest in an expert dress maker to fit your dress to you. There is nothing worse than a bride tripping over her hem that is too long or revealing too much with a hem that was cut too short! A dress tailored to you will always look the best!

4. Try on a variety of styles but don’t be afraid to make the decision early.

Try a variety of styles to love and lose. Once you try a style that doesn’t suit you, don’t keep trying the same style over and over. Narrow it down to the shape and looks that you love. It’s also important to not stress about trying on every dress in the world just in case! If you feel like the second dress you tried was the one then it’s probably is!

5. Sell your dress!

It’s understandable that brides are attached to their gowns, but the reality is it is something that will most likely never be worn again. Selling your dress allows you to have the funds to remember your day with something more practical or meaningful – perhaps an eternity ring or a second honeymoon! It is also a chance for that exquisite dress to help another bride shine.

How to Save for Your Wedding (the smart way!)

How to Save for Your Wedding (the smart way!)

Fact: weddings cost money. In Australia the average wedding now costs $38,179 so for most of us we probably have to start saving well before the big day. Fact: Money does not fall from the sky nor does it grow on trees. Whether you’re planning a casual soirée or a black tie ball it’s likely you will have to undertake some careful financial planning before organising your party of a lifetime. We’ve teamed up with ANZ to find out how you can save for those bigger things like your dream wedding!


The thought of sacrificing that amazing couture gown, the tiffany chairs or an extra week in the Maldives is often enough to kick-start your saving side. ‘I have to admit I’m not a great saver, but it was the motivation of having this amazing perfect day that really spurred me to action,’ says recent bride Stacey Bremner.

‘Everyone wants their wedding to be an unforgettable experience and a big part is avoiding the money worries that come with it by being smart about the way you save leading up to the big day,’ says Macaire O’Brien, ANZ Product Manager, ANZ Online Saver and ANZ Term Deposits.

If visions of wedded bliss are enough to convince you of a need to save, then how do you save and get the most out of your hard earned dollars?

Stacey and her partner Scott saved for 12 months in the lead up to their December wedding last year. ‘We wanted that dream wedding so saving money for the wedding became a determined goal. Scott and I put together a list of all the expenses and from there we would put money away to ensure we were able to pay for everything.’

ANZ recommends setting a budget. ‘We set our budget and gathered quotes from several wedding suppliers,’ says Stacey. ‘Make sure you and your fiancé are on the same page about how much you want to spend and put your savings in a joint account that you can both see and contribute to. A dedicated wedding bank account definitely helps to see how much money you have saved.’

Macaire suggests an ANZ Online Saver account. ‘With ANZ Online Saver you can set up multiple accounts so you can dedicate a different aspect of the wedding budget such as the rings, dress and reception to each account. This will make it much easier to track all of the bigger costs of a wedding and interest is calculated daily and paid monthly so you can still earn while you budget!’ says Macaire.

A top tip is to try and spread out payments early on so you’re not hit with one big cost at the end. A savings account that has no withdrawal fees makes it easier to make payments in a staggered way. Plus accessing your money using your mobile phone and internet banking makes arranging down payments and organising on the run totally stress free!

You need to be realistic about all of the costs associated with a wedding including post-wedding costs such as the honeymoon! For those who need a dose of discipline and structure to help them start saving, Macaire recommends an ANZ Progress Saver account. ‘An ANZ Progress Saver account is perfect for people who need a structured plan in order to save for their dream wedding. One of the best things about this account is that it rewards you for disciplined savings, which can be a great way to keep your savings on track!’

The account will help your dollars go further by paying bonus interest in addition to the current base interest when you make at least one single deposit of $10 or more in a month and make no withdrawals or debits in that same month. You can also keep a close eye on your progress with a savings graph on each statement that will help keep you on track and let you know whether you might need to drop some of the ‘nice to haves’ to make sure your remain within your wedding budget. Or if you’re doing well, maybe you can even splash out on a few extras – crystals, couture and imported peonies here we come!

Special thanks to the team at ANZ for sharing their latest money saving advice with us! If you’d like more information about how ANZ could help make your dream wedding a reality head to ANZ Online Saver or ANZ Progress Saver.

Happy Saving! MW x

P.S We’ll be hosting a LIVE Q & A on the Modern Wedding Facebook page where you can ask budget and saving related questions directly to Macaire. Stay tuned on Monday 24th March 4-6pm!
Any advice does not take into account your personal needs and financial circumstances and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) ABN 11 005 357 522 recommends you read the Terms and Conditions and the Financial Services Guide before acquiring the product

Top Tips For Having a Thrifty Wedding

Top Tips For Having a Thrifty Wedding

Take a deep breath. A wedding doesn’t need to cost your life savings. Especially with these thrifty wedding tips!

The wedding of your dreams can be a cost-effective affair; it’s entirely up to you how much you spend. Just make sure you don’t scrimp on the important stuff! It’s not a good idea to compromise on quality; after all it’s the day you and your partner will remember for the rest of your lives! To help you keep to your wedding budget, we share our top tips for having a thrifty wedding!
1. Know Your Budget

That means outline how much you are willing to spend on each aspect of your wedding! It’s great to have an overall budget, but breaking it down will help you decide what is important to you.

The engagement ring will most likely cost you a bit. After that you’re likely going to want to spend the most money on the reception (food will be your main expense) and the honeymoon. Our budget breakdown will give you an idea of where the majority of couples’ money will be spent. Just remember, think about what is important to you and your fiancé and adjust your spending to reflect that.

2. Have Realistic Expectations

Don’t be a control freak and expect everything to be perfect. You may have planned your dream wedding on your secret pinterest board, but you were most likely looking through that inspiration without your budget in mind. When you look back at what you’ve pinned, remove what is completely out of your budget to avoid disappointment. Also try to think of ways you can DIY some of your inspiration or how you can achieve the same look or ambience on a smaller scale.
3. Use Your Imagination

There is so much you can do with humble everyday items like empty glass sauce bottles, wine bottles, jam jars, tin cans, gift wrapping paper and ribbons. These materials can be repurposed into useful items such as tea light holders, candle sticks, vases, table numbers and bunting! Even if you don’t plan on a complete DIY wedding, there are little bits and pieces that you can create yourself to add to your look. All of these little things can add up to potentially save lots of dollars or enable you to allocate your funds to something else.
4. Be resourceful

Ask family and friends if they have any items such as furniture, pot plants, ladders or old school cases that they want to dispose of and which might fit in with your theme. Often people are keen to have an opportunity to put to good use pieces that have been sitting in their garages gathering dust. Having additional help will relieve some of the stress and there is no harm in asking family and friends to help or contribute in some way to your wedding – just be sure that whatever you ask them to do won’t take away from their experience of your big day. For example, your bestie might be a photographer, but you’ll need to weigh up whether it is worth saving on photography by using her rather than having her by your side.
5. Try DIY

You’d be amazed at how easy it is to create beautiful things for your wedding! Even if you don’t consider yourself artsy! There are so many tutorials available online and in Modern Wedding DIY Magazine to help guide you through each step. Even just doing a DIY for one or two aspects of your wedding will help you save and DIY wedding projects will help add a touch of personality to your day. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the enormity of a project, ask friends and family to help out! They’d be thrilled to see the products of a fun-filled crafternoon come to life on your big day.

Perfect Little Buys at $300, $500 and $1000 For Your Wedding

Perfect Little Buys at $300, $500 and $1000 For Your Wedding

Your wedding is the perfect time to indulge in a little something special that will make your day all the more wonderful. We share our favourite perfect wedding buys at $300, $500 and $1000, and how you can #payyourway with American Express!


In life, we get only a few chances to really spoil ourselves, and weddings are one of those times. That’s why we’re of the mantra of treating yourself to something that will make your day all the more special. The good news is that these sweet somethings come at every budget and today, we share the most lust-worthy picks of the bunch!


1. Roman and French ‘Baule Bridal Necklace Set’ RRP $469.00 2. Roman and French ‘Viola Bridal Garter’ RRP $359.00 3. Panache Bridal Shoes ‘Paige’ Heels $350.00 4. Catanach’s Jewellers 9ct yellow gold bracelet $395 5. Olga Berg ‘Bria Bejewelled Cage Pod’ RRP $369.00 6. All Thing Sweet By Carissa bespoke 3-tier cake starting at $300.00 7. Fluffe Fairyfloss Cart service packages start at $350.00

L U X E F O R L E S S A T $ 3 0 0

Finish of your bridal look with gorgeous accessories that will add brilliance to your bridal style without breaking the bank. In terms of accessories, a little bit of bling will go a long way! Bedazzled heels, a sparkly clutch or fabulous jewels are perfect additions to any bridal outfit.

Treat your guests to something special at your reception by going all out with an extravagant cake, or for something sweet that is a little left-of-centre, hire a gorgeous dessert service to serve your guests gelato, ice-cream or fairy floss!


1. Maria Elena Headpieces Australia Bracelet/Cuff (style 9050) RRP from $838.75 2. Art Of Baking bespoke 3-tier naked cake from $520.00-$560.00 decorated 3. Bill Hicks Jewellery Diamond bezel and freshwater pearl drop earrings $500.00 – $700.00 4. Catanach’s Jewellers 9ct rose and white gold diamond rings RRP $795 each 5. Inspired By Happiness bridal bouquet with four bridesmaids bouquets start from $650 6. Freya Rose ‘Darling’ RRP $580.00 available at The White Collection 7. Decorations By Jelena bespoke bridal flower services start from $500.00

A D D T H E E X T R A O R D I N A R Y F O R $ 5 0 0

Make your day deluxe with captivating classic choices. The hautest, most heavenly looks are often quite simple, but its the intricate details that make them so beautiful. Personalise your style with subtle sparkle at your feet or with fine jewels that you can cherish for life.

You can also add a personalised touch with a bespoke bouquet of flowers. The style or number of bouquets that $500 can buy will depend on the floral designer as services are highly personalised, but you can count on walking down the aisle with a display that is utterly unique and divine!


1 & 7. Custom Ceremony Styling by Decorations By Jelena starts at $1000 2. Catanach’s Jewellers Pearl Necklaces $995.00 each 3. Sophia Webster ‘Wifey For Lifey’ Bridal Clutch RRP £750.00 4. Bill Hicks Jewellery 18ct White gold Diamond and South Sea pearl drop earrings RRP $1,500.00 5. Maria Elena Headpieces Crown (style 9006) RRP $1,799.99 6. Christian Louboutin Follies Strass 100 Rete/Lame Sirene Strass Heels RRP $1685.00

T I M E L E S S T R E A S U R E S F O R $ 1 0 0 0

A budget of $1000 will afford you the most opulent accessories to finish off your bridal style. From bespoke jewellery, designer clutches and heels to a stunning crown fit for a queen, you’ll feel like a million dollars on your wedding day and will have stunning pieces that are destined for heirloom status.

If your wedding dreams are made of personalised styling, then this is your chance to bring it to life with the services of a wedding planner and stylist. Wedding stylists such a Decorations By Jelena work closely with couples to tailor packages to their taste, style and budget. A budget of $1000 can be spent on things like an elaborate floral arbour or furniture hire, and would bring so much more personalisation to a wedding styling package.

H O W T O A F F O R D I T ?

Let’s face it – weddings aren’t cheap, no matter how hard you try, and after spending so much on your wedding already, it may seem like too much to spend any more on yourself. The solution? Pay Your Way with American Express! The new Pay Your Way program gives eligible American Express Credit Card holders the flexibility to spread payments for large purchases over 3, 6, or 12 month instalments at 0% p.a (establishment fee included). Plus customers still enjoy the rewards benefits of American Express Credit Cards Cards – so while you pay for parts of your wedding, you can earn points to spend on your honeymoon! #winning! Terms, conditions and the nuts and bolts for how it all works can be found here.

Wedding Planning

wedding Planning – Tips and Ideas

Wedding Planning

You have a ring on your finger, excitement is in the air and the count down is on ‘til your party of a lifetime. Wow! So much wedding planning to be done, where do you start?

Firstly BREATHE. Now allow yourself to enjoy being engaged with your fiancé. Wedding planning does not have to be stressful, if you take it step by step and keep a level head you will get through it beautifully and avoid bridezilla-dom.

Now down to business – where to go from here…

Spread the news! Buy the engagement ring if your finger isn’t already ‘blinged-up’. Placing a notice in the newspaper is a classic way of announcing your engagement and provides a valuable keepsake for your wedding album, but most couples will spread the word quickly via Facebook, twitter and instagram. Just be sure those closest to you know before they see it on their newsfeed!

Buy a dedicated wedding diary/planner like Modern Wedding Planner so you can keep track of all your upcoming appointments, quotes, phone numbers and ideas. Sign up to our free wedding planning tools for a comprehensive interactive checklist, budget manager, guest list manager, seating planner and supplier shortlist so you can make a record of all your favourite suppliers.

Even though everyone has been informed there’s nothing that will bring it home quite like a party to celebrate your engagement. Click here for engagement party ideas and procedures.

Before you decide on budget, discuss the style of wedding with your fiancé… yes he should have a say! It’s a good idea to start the engagement off on the right foot, so arm yourself with an open mind and perhaps a bottle of bubbly. It is one of the most important days of your life and also one of the most expensive. The only way to survive is to work out a detailed wedding budget. Read through our tips for setting a budget. Discuss who is paying for what and what you or your families can afford before booking anything.

Wedding Planning 2

Settling on a date is not easy either – there are many considerations to take into account, and remember that pleasing everyone is near impossible!

Grab a pen, some paper and your man and get brainstorming. Flip through Modern Wedding magazine and browse through real wedding features to get ideas. Discuss the style of wedding you want, talk about the guest list and time of year as these will in turn determine budget and other wedding planning considerations. Decide on what is important to you both and wedding planning will be a much smoother ride.