Where to splurge and save on your wedding

Whoop! You’re tying the knot. Such a momentous occasion! Once your engagement celebrations are over and done with, you can kick start your wedding planning. With the average cost of weddings in New Zealand sitting around the $35,000 mark, planning, research and budgeting will be key to ensure you keep within your budget but still achieve the day you’ve always dreamed of. 

The cost of your wedding of course will greatly vary depending on the type of event you’re planning. Whether you have many guests or keep it to immediate family and close friends. Whether you want the focus to be a sit-down meal, or would prefer finger food and a pumping dance floor. No matter your dreams, we’ll share where you can save costs and where to splurge. Read on to find out more.

Tips to create your wedding budget

First up you’ll need to agree on your priorities. Chat to your partner and confirm upfront what type of event you both want. You may also want to check in with any family members who may be contributing to the wedding, as your mother-in-law might be quite insistent that Great Aunt Bertha is invited to a sit down three-course meal. Once you both understand what’s important to each other, you can kick off your planning from there.

The size of your wedding is a huge factor in the potential cost. Inviting many guests can come at a cost (think food and beverages for everyone), but you can be quite innovative too with larger crowds. The numbers you want to invite can also impact the type of venue you can secure, so as well as thinking about who you want to invite, also consider how many guests will realistically come along – which overseas or elderly guests are likely to make it?

Another key consideration for your budgeting is other competing expenses. Are you also saving for your first home? Your first baby? A new car? A perfect destination wedding in Fiji? How much could you budget for your Fijian beach wedding? It’s good to consider how these additional expenses might fit into your overall plans. What could be put on hold? Or perhaps, how might you save for your wedding alongside other big-ticket items? There are lots of options for financing your wedding

You’ll also want to think about how much time and effort you want to put into the wedding, and how much time you have to spare for this side project. Committing to making and upcycling things for the wedding can be useful for smaller budgets, but only if you have the time available and motivation to craft those table decorations or decorate that wedding cake. Thinking about the things you may be able to borrow from friends and family, or that florist friend you know can all help cut corners when it comes to the all-important budget.

Wedding stationery and guest gifts

Where to save on a wedding


Chat to your partner about whether a printed, mailed invitation is a deal-breaker or not. Some great online options can save you big money in design, printing and postage. You may also feel strongly about saving a few trees by moving to an online format. 

If you want a hard copy invitation, how you could design this yourself using a free design tool like Canva, or talk an artistic friend into making personalised ones?


For some people, flowers are an integral part of their day – from decorating the church or function room, to buttonholes and bouquets for the entire bridal party. You could make some cost savings by buying wholesale and making bouquets and buttonholes yourself. Using dried flowers is another more inexpensive option. You may have a local friend or family member with a fabulous garden who doesn’t mind you helping yourself to blooms on the morning of your big day.

Artificial flowers are yet another option to explore, that you could potentially sell afterwards and recoup some of your upfront floral costs. It’s also worth remembering that bouquets don’t necessarily need to be made up of flowers – there are some amazing non-floral bouquet ideas that you or a crafty friend could create.

Wedding cars

Think about where you want to get married and whether you’ll need a vehicle to “arrive” in. Of course, you’ll need to get there, but will anyone see it, or will they already be inside the venue awaiting your grand entrance? A rental car, or borrowing a classic or luxury car from a friend for the day may be all you need to take your transport up a notch.

Wedding favours

Would your guests really mind if they left your wedding empty-handed? All too often wedding favours are left behind by accident at the end of the night. Do yourself a favour and skip this extra organising and expense and remove this from your budget, or swap it out for one of these inexpensive ideas.

Wedding cake and dessert

Cutting the wedding cake is a wedding tradition, but think carefully about whether this is an added extra you could do without? Wedding cakes have traditionally involved multiple tiers of iced fruit cake – to provide your guests something sweet to eat on the day and to keep a tier to celebrate your first anniversary.  Think about the format of your day and whether you’ll have an opportunity for a formal cake cutting moment.

Another consideration is whether you need both a cake and a dessert option. If your catering is simple finger food, you may want dessert, but if you’re planning a significant meal, a slice of cake might suffice the sweet-toothed guests you invite. Everyone else might be too full!

Elaborately decorated cakes can get expensive, so explore more inexpensive options for your cake or dessert option – cupcake towers, doughnut walls and chocolates can be great alternatives.

Where to splurge on a wedding

Wedding photographer


Your memories and photos are forever, so this is a good opportunity to choose the right photographer for your special day. You’ll be spending a few hours with them on an emotionally charged day, so make sure you connect with them! Photography rates do vary, so ask for recommendations from family and friends and shop around. It’s also a good idea to book in your photographer early in your planning so you know they can make it. 


Once your special day has been and gone, you’ll still be wearing the ring, so make sure you love it, and its reasonable quality. It doesn’t have to be super expensive, but good quality metal and gems will last forever. 

You may have the opportunity to resize a family ring or reuse the metal and gems from a family ring to suit your personal style. This is often an inexpensive way to get the ring you want and make it even more special in the process.


There is an expectation to serve food at your wedding, and it’s often the most memorable part of your wedding day for your guests – an opportunity to socialise with guests and meet your circle of friends. However, you don’t need to break the bank to feed everyone. 

For some couples, a sit down three-course meal, served by wait staff will be a priority, and they’ll want to impress their guests with fancy meat and seafood platters. For others, a buffet-style meal will suit their wedding format better, and save on wait staff costs. At the other end of the budget, you might want to explore a food truck, pre-prepared meats and salads from your favourite restaurant or a pig-on-a-spit for simple but hearty fare.

We definitely recommend you get a range of quotes, and use accurate guest numbers for these – you don’t want your costs blowing out the week before the wedding because a group of old friends can suddenly make it. Prompt RSVPs to your invitation will help with your planning and budgeting. 


If you choose an evening wedding, you’ll want to lock in some after-dinner entertainment. For guests, this is often a highlight. Memories are made on the dance floor with the right tunes! Spotify playlists are an option, but if you can make your budget stretch to a DJ or a band, your evening is sure to be a good one.

Paying for your wedding

For large ticket items like venues and catering, it is usual to pay a deposit to hold your booking or pay for initial supplies. If you’re in a position to pay upfront you may be able to negotiate a better deal. This is where Nectar’s wedding loans can be really helpful. It can also be a cheaper option than throwing it on a credit card. Check out other financing options for your big day

Wedding Budgeting

More quick tips to trim your wedding budget

Consider when you’ll get married – avoiding the peak summer wedding season and non-traditional wedding days such as a Friday can be useful to cut down costs with all your suppliers. You can of course keep your guest list small, and just share your day with the most important people in your life.

Some couples like to take a DIY or recycled/upcycled approach to their wedding day – for both budget and environmental reasons. Sourcing second-hand items from Trade Me or Facebook Marketplace or shopping thrift stores for treasures to refurbish can all help with the final budget.

There is also the option to ask friends and family for cash instead of gifts or approach your parents for a financial contribution to the big day. 

Financing your wedding with a Nectar wedding loan

Even with a strict budget and modest plans for the big day, some expenses are worth the splurge for memories you’ll have forever. That’s where a Nectar wedding loan can help. A personal loan for your wedding can help you spend money on things that really matter to you. A loan will also provide you with the cash upfront, so you may be able to negotiate better rates from vendors. A loan that’s dedicated to your wedding means you won’t have to dip into your savings or emergency fund. Keeping your wedding spending separate from your everyday expenses can help to keep you on track with your budget and other financial goals. 

Getting started with Nectar

We hope we’ve helped you take the stress out of your planning and budgeting and given you some really practical ideas to trim your wedding costs. Check out how much you could borrow and learn more about our wedding loans. You can get started with Nectar and receive a conditional approval including your interest rate, maximum borrowing amount and repayment options in minutes. Borrow better, faster today! 

*Nectar’s lending criteria and responsible lending checks apply.