IT'S no secret that weddings can cost a bomb, but there are plenty of areas where smart brides can save.
Tweed flower expert Janelle Wright, owner of Crystal Creek Flowers, said couples were starting to favour vintage-style weddings with a minimal, no-fuss look that translated to cheaper prices.
"When I got married it was all structured flowers and roses," Mrs Wright said.
"Now the vintage wedding is all the go. A lot of brides now are looking for the cheaper version to save money."
Mrs Wright said brides could save by choosing seasonal flowers, less structured bouquets and having their blooms grown locally.
She explained her business grows its own flowers at a farm at Condong, which cuts out the middle man and transport costs, making for better prices.
"If we get enough notice we can grow what you want. I've got a bride in November who wants lots of baby's breath so we'll plant it."
Cakes are another area where couples can save.
Brett Welsh, decorator and owner of Cakes on Bay Street at Tweed Heads, said serving cake as dessert and reducing cakes by one tier could save hundreds.
"Instead of a three-tier for $450, do a two-tier and save $100," Mr Welsh said.
"Time is money. If it takes you half an hour to decorate each tier you can save money."
Another option is to go for a highly decorated one-tier cake, with a more basic slab cake out the back for cutting and serving known as a kitchen cake.
Mr Welsh, who has been in the game for 28 years, said simply decorated cakes topped with fresh flowers also helped reduce price.
"In the older days it was lots of lace and handmade flowers. People now want clean lines."
Mr Welsh advised shopping around on prices.
"Weddings are dear and stressful enough without charging more," he said.
"Saving is the name of my game. No one wants to spend $700 on wedding cake."
Mr Welsh advised getting cake makers to throw in delivery to avoid disaster. Other ways to save include limiting guest lists to 50, holding your reception at a restaurant where venue hire is usually free, limiting your bridal party and opting to put together your own photo album.
Contact info: Crystal Creek Flowers - visit crystalcreekflowers.com.au or phone 02 6672 7403; Cakes on Bay Street - 12 Bay St, Tweed Heads, or phone 07 5599 5191.
Save the date
- Flowers: Cut out the middle man and get them grown locally.
- Cake: Serve as dessert, go for one or two tiers with a kitchen cake for cutting.
- Guests: Fifty is the perfect number for keeping costs down and will ensure an intimate gathering.
- Vintage: Relaxed weddings with loosely arranged field flowers, second-hand clothes and a natural setting that doesn't need much decoration helps save.
- Timing: Try a Friday or Sunday and consider a winter wedding to save.
- Alcohol: If you're on a strict budget, limit free drinks to champagne for the toasts and operate a cash bar. Alternatively offer punch for all.