Australia's Cheapest Weddings Ep 5 & 6: the double whammy

There have been a couple of interesting developments in the land of Australia’s Cheapest Weddings since this time last week.

One: someone at Channel 7 has clearly been reading this blog and noticed my distress at the lack of budgetary details in the last episode, because the figures were flying tonight. Thanks, nameless Channel 7 executive.

Two: This was a double episode! I had no idea. It was like waking up on December 25th and finding not only Santa, but also the Easter Bunny standing in your living room. Although, if I’m perfectly honest, I don’t know if I have the stamina to watch six budget weddings all at once, at this time of night.

But don’t worry – I persevered to bring you a recap of all the frugal fun. So if you started flagging after couple #4 and nodded off on the lounge, check out what you missed below:

Couple #1 Nathan and Nicole  – AKA the beach in the bush

Nathan and Nicole have been together 13 years, which is longer than I’ve ever done anything in my life aside from breathe. She’s from QLD, so they’re doing a beach wedding… in Broken Hill. Where there is a will, there is a way.

Also, Nicole works in a dollar store, so basically everything is from there. I hope she used her staff discount as well.

The dress:  Cost her $170. The veil, amazingly, cost just $3. So far so good, but then, it comes out that an hour before the wedding she still hasn’t even tried it on. WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING ALL THIS TIME? There’s ominous music and I am bracing for disaster, but all is well and it fits fine. This show and it’s fake dramatics will turn me grey.

Luckily, it fits and she doesn’t have to get married in her trackys.

The venue: They’re having the reception at the musician’s club, and because they’re spending $2k on the food and bar tab they get the space itself for free. They’re paying $18 bucks a head for some pretty standard pub-style food. That doesn’t include dessert (or vegetables, as one guest snarks) but they’ve got a massive wedding cake so who cares?

Oh, and hahaha she mispronounces a la carte. Whatever guys, get over it.

The drama: There’s not a lot – Nicole is late, and needs to wee before the ceremony even starts, but that’s minor.

Also, there’s some kind of misunderstanding about sand – Nicole’s sister has brought river sand to a beach themed wedding. What? Something got lost in translation there.

This is very obviously not from a beach.

Honourable mention goes to the bride’s mum, who is a true blue Aussie from the bush and perhaps the best value thing in the whole wedding.

Couple #2 Sarah and Shannon – AKA the Funky Old Ladies

These two are Melbourne hipsters through and through – I mean, Sarah catches a tram to the ceremony, and if that isn’t the most Melbourne thing, I don’t know what is. They met online and are not exactly proud of it. Don’t worry kids, that’s how everyone meets these days.

Ok, they’re cute, I admit it.

The dress: They’ve been op shopping for decorations to go with their vintage theme (“you can never have too many doilies!”) and lo and behold, on a dusty op-shop shelf, Sarah has found the perfect wedding dress. It’s nice, and apparently comes from an Aussie designer whose dresses go for up to – wait for it – $15k. She paid $80, so that’s a win for the Vinnies wedding.

The venue: True to the funky old lady theme, their reception is at the local bowlo. They pay $200 for the space, and $36 a head for a spit roast dinner, including dessert. But they want to bring their own canapés to save money – there’s a tense moment, and I feel like the bowlo manager is trying to work out how to say no on TV, but she relents, and they hit the supermarket to pick up some camembert and frankfurters.

Side note: I notice that Sarah has found a table sized doily, which is an impressive commitment to the aesthetic.

The drama: They’re baking their own cake. They’re literally googling it as they work. There’s no possible way this could go wrong.

Despite a flawless practice run, when they get it all together in the bowlo kitchen, it’s sagging to one side very noticeably. Shannon is freaking out. He’s the true bridezilla here.

And then, his credit card declines, OH NO.

The verdict: This is a cute and quirky wedding, although, they lose points because the band pushes them over budget. Having said that, the band also play Outkast so I can’t really begrudge the cost.

Couple #3 Andrew Tammi AKA “High school acquaintances”

These two have only been together for 8 months – but wait, ok, it’s fine, because they went to high school together. Well, not together together. They were more like acquaintances.

With five kids between the two of them, they’re also a modern day Brady Bunch. The wedding budget is $5,000.

The dress: Tammi wanted one that would have cost her $2k, but then she found a linen beach dress for $50. Definitely a good deal and she looks very pretty.

The venue: They’re getting married on the beach because it’s free. Wow. Ok. Colour me jealous. Nathan and Nicole are probably also jealous, since this lot have actual sand from the actual beach.

Show offs.

The reception is at the local golf club, and instead of paying $125 a head for the deluxe package that includes decorations, they’ve gone the cheaper DIY route.

Side note: They’ve got a marvel themed cake and the kids are running the music. Hot potato has never been so romantic.

The drama: They say their own vows and Andrew chokes the heck up. Oh my god it’s so lovely I can’t handle it. He is so chuffed. There’s no drama here – just love.

Must. Not. Weep.

And that’s it for Australia’s Cheapest Weddings this week – OH but WAIT! Did you think we were done? Because I did.

But no, this is a mammoth episode. It’s going past my bedtime.

The double time slot makes me wonder if this is the last time we’ll see Australia’s Cheapest Weddings actually. Anyway, cancellation speculation aside, here’s round two guys:

Couple #4 Katherine and Mark – AKA Bridezilla and her mum (Mark is there somewhere too)

Classic set up for a bridezilla story here: Katherine always gets what she wants and Mark is happy to go with the flow.

The backstory is that they had $20,000 saved up for the wedding of their (read: Katherine’s) dreams, but a storm ruined their driveway and they had to spend the money on repairs. Their new budget is $5,000.

The dress: First, Katherine tries on a princess dress. “Its a little bit fancy isn’t it. You’re not really a fancy person,” her mum says. Oh wow, thanks mum. Luckily, it’s price tag is half their budget and she puts it back anyway.

You're more of a tracky-dacks girl really.

She tries on another one that’s worth $269. “It don’t think it’s you,” mum says.

Third time’s a charm because ding ding ding, we have a winner. Even mum likes it, and the best part is that it’s only $205.

The venue: Her dad is a life member of the local surf club, so they get it as a venue for cheap. Katherine has to do lists for everyone helping set up. She’s got rules, she’s got charts. She literally loses her voice from giving orders.

Buying turned out cheaper than hiring as far as decorations go, and she’s going to flog them online afterward. In fact she’s already resold the chairs before even using them. She spent $84 on glasses and resold them for $60. Atta girl.

Honourable mention: She goes to Aldi for flowers! I love Aldi.

Mark’s only apparent contribution is dinner – gourmet pizzas. Katherine has a lolly table set up. Oh guys, you are speaking my language.

The drama: Despite having a $170 cocktail slushy machine at their disposal 

Leader of the successful revolution.

Couple #5 Ellen and David – AKA Nerds in Love (and space)

Ellen and David started saving for this wedding from a $0 account balance. Now they’ve got $6,000 to spend – and that’s it. Ellen even left uni and became a postie to make extra money, and it’s all so that they can get married on the Napean Belle Paddlewheeler, which, in case you don’t know, is apparently a very impressive thing. 

Oh, and they’re also Battlestar Galactica nerds and are theming their wedding around it. It’s like Ben and Ally from last week but IN SPACE.

This pretty much sums it up.

The dress: Is a $78 dress from Ebay. Ah, Ebay, the patron saint of frugal weddings everywhere.

The venue: Is super important. They’re willing to make a lot of sacrifices in order to have their wedding on this particular boat. They realise halfway through that they’re about $200 short though, so they bite the bullet and ask for a discount. The owner says no. Way harsh. Do you hate love, Napean Belle owner?

Anyway, they have to come up with $200 extra dollars, so Ellen decides to cook the cake herself (and does a bang up job) which she says will save them around $500.

This is the enemy of true love.

The drama: Aside from nearly blowing out the budget on their dream venue, the only other drama is that it rains, which they say is good luck on your wedding day but really is probably just a huge pain in the neck. Luckily, it clears up just in time for everyone gets dressed up in their nerd gear, put on their name tags and get on with the wedding.

Couple #6 Rachel and Craig – AKA pop-up wedding chic

Rachel and Craig have got this adult thing down. They have a kid and a mortgage and now they’re getting married. Ticking things off the adulthood list like nobody’s business.

Killin’ it.

The dress: Is actually a white skirt and black top. It looks very nice, and I imagine it would have been cost effective, although no one says a word about it, actually.

The venue: These two are doing something new and interesting – it’s called a popup wedding. Basically, that means they pay $5,500 for the venue – that’s including the space, the decorations, the celebrant and even French champagne – but they’ve only got it for 2 hours.

Side note: They have grocery store flowers, which they decide to give to a local retirement home afterwards, which is super lovely. It’s not as cutthroat-frugal as Katherine’s re-selling plan, but it’s nice.

The drama:  Rachel is late. She loses her shoes, so she winds up half an hour late to her very time sensitive wedding. She doesn’t seem concerned though, and even stops to inhale a handful of food and twirl around in her dress before heading out.

Meanwhile, Craig is at the venue with a celebrant who is clearly panicking but also clearly loving the drama of it all. I’m 90% certain he’s hoping for a Runaway Bride kind of thing to happen, so he can tweet about it later.

She makes it there in the end, they get married, it’s beautiful.

Phew. That was a marathon.

If you missed last week’s episode, you can catch up here, and if you mistakenly wound up on this blog looking for actual advice for throwing your own frugal wedding, check out some tips over here.