How to plan your perfect Burnett wedding on a budget
OVER the Christmas holidays my best friend and partner of two years and I got engaged surrounded by friends and family at my childhood home in Kingaroy.
It was exactly the way I'd imagined it unfolding.
Tom even got down on one knee!
But that was when the fairytale abruptly ended and the sheer panic at the reality of planning a wedding kicked in.
According to a survey by Finder.com, Aussies forked out an average of $26,180 on their weddings in 2019.
Quite frankly this figure astounds me and leaves me wanting to run screaming to the Brisbane registry to elope, 2004 Britney Spears style.
With Tom currently studying, the two of us (and Barry our one-year-old beagle) are living off of my wage as a regional journalist.
At the rate we're going with our saving we won't be able to afford an "average Aussie" wedding until we're in our 50s.
So it's got me thinking, how can we get married within the South Burnett without having to sell our organs on the black market to pay for minuscule hors d'oeuvres and impostor champagne?
Lucky for me, the savvy South Burnett brides have come to my rescue and have given me some great ideas for venues, catering and DIY hacks to keep my happily ever after under $10,000.
Here were their top tips for keeping your South Burnett wedding from breaking the bank:
Ditch the traditional
While the big white princess wedding in a German castle sounds wonderful, unless you're marrying the prince of Monaco it's not going to happen on a South Burnett budget.
Lots of brides and grooms are now opting for less traditional ceremonies and receptions and ditching the sit-down dinners all together.
South Burnett bride Celia Hobbs said instead they managed to keep their wedding under $5000.
Instead of having a three course dinner or lunch, they decided to have a high tea at Whipbird Cafe in Coolabunia.
"For our reception we paid for high tea food and then guests paid for their own dinner."
And instead of forking out a fortune for flowers, Celia said they managed to used Facebook to save some coin and purchased bouquets that will serve as souvenirs and last forever.
"My step mum found bouquets of fake flowers on a buy swap and sell site in Bundaberg so they only cost us $290 for five bouquets for all of my bridesmaids.
"I wanted real flowers for my bouquet so as I walked down the aisle all the guests gave me flowers from their garden or ones they bought.
Celia said this simple act made her wedding all the more memorable and special.
"It was amazing. The best part of the day was walking down the aisle to the bagpipes, collecting flowers from my guests and then to have my step mum tie the bouquet that my guests made for me.
"It was really important to us to have a videographer for our wedding so to save costs elsewhere we bought 10 disposable cameras for the reception so we didn't have the cost of photographers there.
"Honestly I wouldn't change that. We haven't developed them yet because we are going to do it on our one year wedding anniversary."
Crowdsource and outsource to friends and family
Celia said they saved several hundred dollars by getting a close family friend to make their incredible R2D2 Star Wars themed cake.
Fellow South Burnett bride Tracey Edmondstone Hadley had the same idea in an effort to keep her perfect day under $10,000.
"That was my favourite part of the wedding, besides the part where I got to marry my now husband," she said.
"The cake cutting was so special because we had a secret gender reveal within the cake layers.
"To save money we had a friend and her sister make the cake and that was our wedding gift from them.
Think outside the square
Tracey said they also had friends who were able to help out with a free ceremony location.
"We had our ceremony on a friend's farm in Booie," she said.
"Although it was very dry it was beautiful, all we paid for was the extra decorations we added on the day.
"Our reception was in the Community Hub at Orana Retirement Living and Aged Care
which only cost us $150 to hire for the night.
"The on-site chef and kitchen staff catered for the reception which was amazing, for 80 people the venue hire and catering only cost us $2500."
These two savvy brides have proved you don't need to spend the world to make your wedding day memorable.
With a bit of extra research and the support of loved ones, any South Burnett wedding on a budget can be the day of your dreams.
And you can both keep your kidneys in the process!