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A Wedding Cost Checklist with Tips to Save Money

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Planning a wedding is an exciting time for soon-to-be newlyweds! From the big decisions like finding a venue to the little details like picking out décor, you have a billion things running through your mind. 

But before you can complete any other tasks related to planning, you must think about how much money you want to spend on your special day. Knowing what typical costs may look like will give you an idea of where your funds should go when creating your customized wedding budget.

A rough cost estimate will also help you determine where to get the finances for your big day. It is especially necessary if you’re in a country like New Zealand, where the average wedding cost is about $35,000.

And so, we’ve created this wedding cost checklist with financing tips as a starting guide.


What’s your ideal wedding location? Is it the cliff-top at Piha Beach, a historic homestead in the South Island, or an underground wine cellar in Auckland? Wherever you decide to hold your special day will directly affect the cost of your wedding. Depending on the type of venue, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 – $15 000+ on your venue. 

Since it’s a major chunk of the total wedding cost, it may be worth considering taking out a loan to cover it. Contact the best personal loans provider in your area to get an idea of your options and eligibility.

Here are some things to look for when choosing a personal loans provider:

  • Flexible repayment terms
  • Low-interest rates
  • The easy-to-use online application process
  • No hidden fees


You can spend all you want on the floral arrangements and decorations, but the guests will remember your wedding more for the food. Professional catering services in NZ usually charge from $50 to $150 per person, depending on the type of menu and the number of guests. A good way to save money is by hosting a buffet-style dinner rather than a sit-down. You can include various options that range from budget to luxury so that everyone can enjoy their meal. Also, consider getting creative with the cake and drinks.

Consulting with the caterer and venue manager will help you make a more informed decision regarding food. They will both have valuable insight into finding the best menu to fit your budget. Plus, if you can give them a finalized guest list, they’ll be able to give you an accurate cost estimate.

Photography and Videography:

Of course, you’d want to capture all the wonderful memories on camera. The average cost of wedding photography and videography in NZ can range from $2,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on the package and number of hours.

When it comes to wedding photography, you’ll want to find someone experienced in wedding photography. A local photographer will be familiar with the area and have access to the best locations for your photo shoot.

If you’re on a tight budget, consider asking a friend or family member to take pictures on your wedding day. You can also use digital solutions like a virtual photo booth that allows your guests to capture photography throughout the event and automatically share it to a live gallery, so everyone can participate in the event photography.


Of course, the bridal dress and groom’s suit must be at the top of your list. Depending on what you’re looking for, a bridal gown and matching accessories can cost anywhere between $2,000 – $6,000. The groom’s suit is usually about one-tenth of the bridal budget.

Some brides like the extravagance of a designer gown with all the bling and trimmings, while others prefer a simple and elegant look. It’s best to research local bridal boutiques and find one that offers a wide selection of styles within your price range.

You’d also want to consider getting tailored suits for the groomsmen and bridesmaids. Local menswear stores offer packages with discounts for larger orders, so that should help keep costs down. Groomsmen can also opt for men’s formal wedding attire for a fresh, stylish, and different look.

Beauty and Hair:

Weddings don’t happen daily, so you want to look your best on the big day. That’s why a visit to the salon for hair and beauty treatment should be part of the checklist.

Hair styling and makeup can range from $100 to $400, depending on the look you’re going for. Additionally, if you want to add a few extra touches like manicures and pedicures, you should factor in an extra $50 to $100.

It’s best to start looking for a professional hairstylist and makeup artist early on, so you have plenty of time to get the perfect look. Book a few appointments and discuss your vision before committing to one artist.

Wedding DJ and Music:

Nothing enlivens a ceremony like music. The type of music you choose for your wedding day should reflect your taste and the event’s theme. Whether it’s the fun vibe of a DJ or the romantic atmosphere of a live band, it’s important to find entertainment that won’t blow your budget. Most DJs and bands charge an hourly rate for their services, so make sure to get a quote before deciding.

If you’re considering a karaoke setup, consider the cost of the equipment and speakers you’ll need. It might be more cost-effective just to hire a band or DJ. If you’re looking for a more personal touch, you can always hire a musician to play the music of your choice at your ceremony or reception.


Your wedding cost checklist shouldn’t be limited to the above items. Depending on your wedding day plans, you’ll need to consider other expenses such as stationery (invitations and thank-you notes), decorations, favors, and gifts.

Of course, the cost of these items will depend on your style preferences and budget. It’s important to look for ways to save money without compromising on quality. For example, you can buy generic stationery items in bulk or search online for DIY ideas.

Finally, don’t forget to add the cost of a wedding planner. This way, you won’t have to worry about the nitty-gritty details on your big day. A professional wedding planner can help you stay organized and ensure everything runs smoothly.

Final Thoughts:

Wedding days are the most special days of your life, and you want to make sure you plan them carefully and wisely. You don’t want to start your new life with a mountain of debt, so it’s important to make a budget and stick to it. Research your options, look for discounts and deals, ask your family and friends for help, and make sure you enjoy the planning process. With a bit of organization, you’ll be able to save money and have an unforgettable wedding day.

Happy planning, and congratulations on your upcoming nuptials!

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