Spring wedding guest list: How to keep it under control and under budget

With the average Aussie wedding costing a whopping $50,000, every cent saved can feel like a victory for soon-to-be-newly-weds. And although there are low rate personal loans for funding your dream day, many frugal brides and grooms might be considering ways to seriously limit the cost of the big day - including taking a long hard look at their guest list. 

In fact, Josh Withers, Celebrant at Married By Josh, told us that in the past ten years of officiating at wedding ceremonies, he's noticed a trend of dropping guest numbers.

“I attribute this to the cost of catering and wait staff ever increasing, the growing value of intimate marriage celebrations over “keeping up with the Joneses” weddings, and our wider social network. As we know more people it’s harder to invite them all to your wedding, so instead of inviting some of your Facebook friends, you invite close to none,” he said.  

So if you are in the midst of sorting through wedding invites and frantically comparing them to your wedding budget, we’ve spoken to some experts in the field, and got their tips on how money-savvy couples are keeping their guest lists under control and under budget.

Leave the kids at home and go child free

For most of us, there’s nothing worse than trying to enjoy a three-course meal while having to make sure the kids don’t topple the cake. Child free weddings have risen in popularity over the last few years, as a way to keep things a little more calm - and knock dollars off the price tag. And while it can be a controversial idea, Founder of WEDSITES, Ayla Toyokawa believes that the key to getting it right is all about allowing enough time for parents to prepare.

"I understand child free weddings can be a touchy subject, but I believe couples should celebrate in any which way that they want! That said, it’s important to be mindful," she said. 

"Parents will need to make childcare arrangements to attend the wedding so the key here is to be respectful by setting expectations early on and letting them know well in advance."

Throw a surprise wedding

If you’re not too fussed with having multiple parties to celebrate your engagement and then marriage, why not kill two birds with one stone and throw a surprise wedding?

“Another recent trend I’ve been seeing are surprise weddings disguised as an engagement parties! They’re essentially knocking out 2 events in one night without the added stress and expectations associated with planning a wedding,” revealed Toyokawa.

A surprise wedding involves inviting everyone you’d like to have at your wedding to an ‘engagement party’. But instead of toasting to a happy marriage, the couple actually says ‘I do’ on the night! Surprise weddings can not only put a fun twist on your marriage, but also mean only paying for one big night.

Send out Evites

Once you’ve got your guest list sorted, your next step is to order the invitations.

But depending on the design, how many guests you plan on having and where you choose to buy your invitations, it could cost you thousands. So to cut costs for their big day, many money-savvy couples are instead opting send out digital invitations via email.

“Digital invitations are gaining popularity simply for the reason that they’re more economical for your wallet and are eco-friendly,” Toyokawa said.

“Digital invites are a great option for couples having a wedding last-minute and need to get their invitations out ASAP. You can easily put together a beautiful wedding invitation, send it out, and have your guests RSVP on your wedding website.”

Ditching tradition by eloping 

If you're really struggling to get your guest list under control and think the added stress is just not worth it, why not elope? While it’s not for everyone, eloping can dramatically cut the cost of catering, venue hire and entertainment. Plus, you’ll be able to put the money you would have spent on the wedding towards a gorgeous honeymoon or even a home deposit!

“Over half of my couples are eloping because they value their marriage over their wedding, which is a noble cause,” explained Withers.

“As a society we’re questioning everything we’ve been told about how things have to be done, and this includes weddings, and the idea of being surrounded by 300 of your closest friends and absolute strangers your parents want to show off to can really scare some people, me included.”

If you’re keen to keep your wedding as frugal as possible, head on over to our wedding hub for even more tips and tricks!