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Wedding Planning in Australia: Your Step by Step Guide To A Successful Wedding Day

Wedding Planning in Australia - an Australian  wedding planner guiding the wedding party to the alter

Welcome to the captivating world of wedding planning in Australia! As a Certified Gold Coast Wedding Planner with over three years of industry experience, my journey has been an educational adventure of learning and growth. Having planned, styled and coordinated up to a hundred weddings and events, I have gained invaluable insights and expertise along the way. I now stand proudly as the founder of Van Dev Weddings (an exclusive wedding planning and styling business), with a wealth of knowledge that I am excited to share with you, to help you plan your extraordinary wedding day.


In this blog post, I delve into the intricacies of wedding planning in Australia. Together, we'll embark on a meticulously crafted journey where I unveil the exact steps I take to orchestrate flawless events for my couples. Join me on this voyage as I guide you through the planning process step by step, providing practical tips and invaluable advice to ensure the success of your wedding day! Prepare to feel empowered as we navigate the planning journey together, streamlining your path to the altar with clarity and joy.



First 3 Steps To Wedding Planning in Australia

While wedding planning in Australia is undeniably exciting, it is also a lengthy and time-consuming process that can quickly become overwhelming, particularly for those who are new to the planning process and unsure of what to expect. Employing the expertise of a wedding planner in this early stage is a strategic decision that will significantly enhance your entire wedding experience. With industry expertise, wedding planners streamline decision-making, connect you with trusted vendors, and ensure a well-coordinated event. By managing logistics and handling all the details for you, we alleviate stress, save you time, and guarantee a meticulously executed wedding day, allowing you to focus on the planning aspects that you actually enjoy and to fully immerse yourself in the celebration.


As an industry professional, my primary focus for full-planning clients, and the first three steps I recommend for anyone embarking on wedding planning in Australia or anywhere else, are as follows:


These three aspects of your wedding are interconnected, each influencing the other. Your wedding budget impacts the type of venue and the number of guests you can accommodate. Your guest list, in turn, affects both your budget and your venue requirements. Similarly, your chosen venue directly impacts your guest list and your budget.


The sequence in which you address these three aspects of your wedding is not necessarily fixed. Your unique circumstances, financial considerations, and wedding day priorities should dictate the order in which you address these tasks.


I recommend starting by determining your maximum wedding budget. Depending on your priorities, you can then choose between selecting your wedding venue or drafting your guest list next. If finding the perfect venue with specific aesthetic details or characteristics is your top priority, selecting your venue would be your next step. Conversely, if you envision a large celebration and wish to avoid limitations on guest numbers, drafting your guest list ahead of selecting a venue would be more beneficial to you.


1. Determine Your Wedding Budget

Wedding piggy bank, calculator and flowers illustrating an Australian wedding budget

Creating your wedding budget can be a daunting and difficult task, especially when navigating the myriad costs associated with wedding services. A good place to start is by assessing your financial situation to determine a realistic and manageable figure. If finances are not a limiting factor, determine an investment amount that aligns with your comfort level. Establish a threshold where spending a certain dollar amount seems overly excessive, and cap your budget just below this point. By doing so, you ensure prudent allocation of your resources, maintaining financial piece of mind throughout your wedding planning journey.


If your wedding is being funded by friends or family, it is important to involve them in all discussions concerning your budget. Additional advice on effectively navigating financial gifts is located further below.


If circumstances allow, it's advisable to maintain a flexible budget rather than a fixed one, allowing for greater adaptability as you progress. As you delve deeper into your planning journey, your wedding vision will clarify as you familiarise yourself with available services and their associated costs. A flexible budget allows for adjustments based on your new found insights and preferred vendor price points.


Understanding the average cost of a wedding in Australia is crucial for shaping your budget and managing expectations. According to the Easy Weddings 2024 Wedding Industry Report, the average Australian wedding costs $33,810, with slight variations between states. It also states that on average, couples spend 22% more than their initial wedding budget. Plan accordingly by setting aside additional funds or consider hiring a wedding planner (like myself) to assist in budget management. Please bear in mind that these figures represent the Australian average. If you're envisioning a luxury wedding, your budgetary considerations should surpass this national average.


Once you've established your wedding budget, you can proceed to allocate funds to various sectors, including your venue, food and beverages, entertainment, and more. I've prepared a free digital budget workbook to assist you in this process. To access this resource, simply click the button below.

A free Wedding Budget Workbook provided by Van Dev Weddings

Additional Budgeting Advice: Navigating Financial Gifts

Receiving financial assistance from friends or family members for your wedding is undoubtedly a generous gesture. However, it's essential to clarify expectations to avoid any potential misunderstandings or complications down the line. Before accepting such a gift, have an open and honest conversation with the giver to understand if there are any implicit expectations attached to it.


If the donor is a parent or close family member, they might have specific desires regarding their involvement in your wedding. For instance, they may expect to be named as hosts on the wedding invitations or desire a say in certain aspects of the planning process. It's crucial to assess whether you're comfortable with these terms and whether they align with your vision for your wedding day.


If you find yourself at odds with the expectations tied to the financial gift, it's perfectly acceptable to decline it graciously. Ultimately, your wedding should reflect your preferences and priorities, and you shouldn't feel pressured to compromise on your vision. By respectfully declining the donation, you retain full control over the planning process and can proceed with arrangements that resonate with you and your partner. Remember, it's your special day, and it's essential to approach it in a way that feels authentic and true to yourselves.


2. Draft Your Wedding Guest List

Step 2 Of Wedding Planning in Australia: Pen and paper on desk for drafting your wedding guest list

Drafting your wedding guest list is a pivotal step in shaping the ambiance of your wedding day. It's a decision that warrants careful consideration, as the guests you invite will profoundly influence the atmosphere of your event. It's essential to ensure that both you and your fiancé are aligned regarding the number and type of guests you extend invitations to, whether it's an intimate gathering of immediate family, close friends, and those actively involved in your lives, or a broader celebration including extended family and acquaintances.


As your guest count increases, the demand on your budget also increases as a greater portion of funds are necessary to accommodate additional guests. This could potentially increase your budget beyond your planned limits or necessitate cuts to other aspects of your wedding. Conversely, a smaller guest list allows for a smaller budget making this option more affordable. For those envisioning an opulent event, a smaller guest list permits a smaller allocation of the budget towards essentials like food and beverages, enabling you to channel the extra resources towards creating breath-taking décor or enhancing guest entertainment, elevating the overall wedding experience.


Careful consideration should also be given to those individuals not included on your guest list, as wedding-related emotions can run high, potentially impacting relationships. If you opt to exclude someone who might expect an invitation, it's prudent to communicate openly and tactfully. Express that, regrettably, you are unable to accommodate their presence due to factors like budget constraints or venue limitations. Emphasize that while they won't be attending, you value their role in your life and hope to maintain a close connection. This proactive approach can pre-empt any potential issues.


Furthermore, it's wise to exercise discretion when discussing wedding plans with individuals who won't be invited. Involving them in discussions or sharing details about your wedding might lead them to assume they're included, which could lead to misunderstandings or hurt feelings. Approach these conversations with sensitivity and respect, steering clear of topics that might cause confusion. By navigating these interactions thoughtfully, you can mitigate potential conflicts and maintain positive relationships throughout your wedding planning journey.


3. Select Your Wedding Venue

Wedding Venue: Indoor Ceremony

As you embark on the journey of selecting your wedding venue in Australia, your initial decision centres on choosing a location that aligns with your vision. It's crucial to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of hosting a destination wedding versus a local wedding. Consider logistical factors such as accessibility to the desired location, accommodation options onsite or nearby, and any associated costs for both you and your traveling guests. By carefully considering these aspects, you can ensure that your chosen location accommodates not only your vision but also the practical needs of your guests, ultimately contributing to a successful celebration.


During this stage of wedding planning in Australia, opting for a preferred month or season over a specific wedding date is advisable as it expands your venue options. The likelihood of your dream venue being fully booked for an entire month or season is much lower in comparison to being unavailable for a single date, granting you a broader selection of venues to consider. However, if you do have a specific wedding date selected for sentimental reasons or otherwise, that is entirely up to you. In such cases, it's important to bear in mind the possibility of your dream venue being unavailable on that particular date. If this does occur, you may need to compromise on certain venue aesthetics or features to secure a venue on your chosen wedding date.


Determining the preferred season or month you'd like your wedding to take place is also beneficial to the venue selection process as some venues transform throughout the year with certain flowers in bloom during specific months or seasons, profoundly influencing the venue's appearance. When researching venues within your chosen wedding location, it's essential to inquire about any seasonal changes the grounds undergo, with a particular focus on how the venue will look during your desired season. This ensures that the venue's appearance will align with your envisioned aesthetic.


Once you have selected the location and preferred month or season for your wedding, the next step is to research wedding venues within that area. When researching potential venues, it's crucial to consider various key factors to ensure you discover the perfect setting for your wedding day. Evaluate each venue's visual appeal, taking into account any seasonal changes to the venue, as mentioned above. Additionally, assess factors such as guest capacity, availability, and affordability to determine the venue's suitability for your wedding.


As you come across venues that align with your criteria, add them to a list of favourites. Once you've compiled your list, prioritise the venues from most to least preferred. Schedule venue tours accordingly, starting with your top choices. While the number of venues you choose to tour is ultimately up to you and your fiancé, I recommend visiting at least two venues before making your final decision as this allows you to compare your options first-hand.


When embarking on venue tours or site inspections, it's wise to compose a list of questions ahead of time to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of each venue. Inquire about key aspects such as venue amenities, minimum guest requirements, spending thresholds, noise restrictions, access for setup and pack down, event hours, and cancellation policies, among others. To facilitate this process and aid you in the selection of your wedding venue, I've compiled a list of essential questions I recommend you ask on venue tours. This complimentary Venue Viewing Questionnaire is available for download below.

Free Wedding Venue Questionnaire created by Van Dev Weddings

Upon the completion of a venue tour, most venues in Australia offer the option to place a tentative hold on a date for a specified period of time, generally around seven days. This grants you the flexibility to explore other options without the risk of loosing the venue's availability to host your event. This enables you to conduct thorough venue tours and evaluations, thereby facilitating your final decision. By conducting this diligent research and meticulous planning, you can choose a venue that not only aligns with your aesthetic preferences but also meets all your practical requirements. This careful consideration lays the foundation for a seamless and unforgettable wedding day.


The subsequent step in selecting your wedding venue involves securing it for a specified date. If you and your fiancé have already chosen a wedding date, you can proceed to the following paragraph. If you have not yet selected your wedding date, begin this selection process by examining the available dates offered by your chosen venue within your preferred month or season. Consider factors such as the venue's minimum spends and guest counts associated with each date, recognising that these may fluctuate based on weekdays versus weekends, among other variables. Align these considerations with your budgetary guidelines to determine a wedding date that harmonises with your vision, guest count, and financial parameters.


Once you and your fiancé have confirmed your wedding date, promptly secure your chosen venue by contacting the venue's representative to initiate the necessary arrangements. Each venue's processes may vary, however this typically involves signing a contract and submitting a deposit to formalise your booking. The completion of this planning milestone is a joyous occasion worthy of celebration. Not only does it guarantee the reservation of your dream venue for your chosen date, but it also advances you through to the subsequent steps to wedding planning in Australia.


Celebrating succeeding to the next stage of wedding planning

Subsequent Steps To Wedding Planning in Australia

Now that you have successfully navigated through the foundational stages of wedding planning in Australia, it's time to embark on the next phase of transforming your dream wedding into a reality. Continue on this journey with me as I guide you through the subsequent steps to wedding planning in Australia. These next essential steps are also relevant to those marrying abroad, and they are outlined as follows:



Each of these subsequent steps in wedding planning plays a vital role in refining your wedding vision and bringing it to life. Just like the first three steps to wedding planning in Australia, these subsequent tasks do not need to adhere strictly to the order outlined above. Instead, consider addressing these tasks concurrently to streamline your planning journey, but do not rush through this process. While this blog post offers timeframes for certain tasks, remember that these are guidelines, and your individual circumstances and preferences should dictate when each task must be completed.


1. Curate Your Wedding Design Concept

Wedding details: wedding shoes, jewellery and flowers

This stage of the wedding planning process offers an opportunity to infuse your wedding with personalised touches and unique elements that reflect your love story and personalities. As a creative at heart, I find immense joy in helping my clients through this aspect of wedding planning, and if you share a similar creative spirit, you'll find this process equally fulfilling. To begin curating your wedding design concept—a visual representation of your desired aesthetic, themes, and overall ambiance, you must first gather images, colours, textures, and motifs that resonate with you and your partner. These elements will form the foundation of your design concept in the form of mood boards. Be sure to take note of each idea and the significance behind its inclusion.


Consider weaving elements that reflect your shared journey into your design concept, whether it's a cherished memory, a beloved hobby, or a shared passion. Infuse these personal touches within the components of your wedding, from your décor and stationery to your attire and entertainment, allowing your individuality and love story to shine through. For example, if you each hold a deep interest in visual arts, consider incorporating hand-painted wedding signage or hiring a live painter to capture a special moment from your day, signifying your shared artistic passion. Similarly, if your relationship sparked over a shared beverage at a bar, consider incorporating that specific drink as a signature cocktail. You could even elevate the experience by featuring a tower of your distinct beverage instead of the traditional champagne tower, adding a personalised touch that honours the founding moment of your life together.


The possibilities for personalising your wedding are endless, so let your creativity run wild. Your wedding presents an opportunity to weave your unique love story into every detail, inviting your guests on a heartfelt journey through the various chapters of your lives while showcasing your authentic personalities. By infusing each component of your celebration with significance and sentiment, you allow your guests to truly connect with your décor and other wedding elements, creating a meaningful and memorable celebration. Have fun with the process and embrace the opportunity to create a wedding that is authentically and unmistakably yours.


If you find yourself not naturally inclined toward creativity and would appreciate my assistance in this process, I'm here to help. Click the button below to explore my Styling and Design packages, where I can offer tailored assistance to ensure your wedding reflects your unique love story in the most beautiful and meaningful way possible. Let's collaborate to transform your wedding desires into an extraordinary celebration that perfectly captures the essence of your relationship.



2. Discover Your Dream Wedding Attire

A bride to be Wedding dress shopping with friends illustrating the next step to wedding planning in Australia

With your design concept in mind, embark on the journey to discover your dream wedding attire. Whether you envision yourself in a breath-taking wedding gown or a dapper suit, take the time to explore your options and uncover the perfect ensemble that resonates with your personal style and complements your wedding vision. Begin your search by researching bridal boutiques or suit tailors within your geographical area. Once you've identified potential sources, schedule appointments for fittings and consultations.


When extending invitations to friends or family to accompany you to these appointments, prioritise surrounding yourself with a supportive circle of individuals who will uplift and empower you. The search should be an exciting and positive experience so try to avoid inviting individuals who may have a tendency to be negative and critical. I recommend you select an intimate group of two - four supportive individuals to join you on this journey, rather than a larger gathering. This helps to ensure the primary focus remains on you and assisting you in discovering your dream wedding attire.


As you try on potential suits or dresses, remember to stay true to yourself and how you feel in the garments. It's easy for outside opinions to influence your decision, but your wedding attire should reflect your personal style and make you feel confident and radiant. While your invitees can offer advice and opinions, it's essential to remember that the final decision is ultimately yours and their main role is to support you in this process.


If you plan to wear a wedding dress, it's crucial to start your search early. Wedding gowns often require considerable lead times in Australia, with orders taking up to 8 months to arrive. Additional time is then needed for alterations. By commencing this process well in advance, you'll alleviate any last-minute stress or disappointment, ensuring your dream wedding dress arrives on time and is the perfect fit for you on your wedding day. For more insights and tips on finding your dream wedding dress, be sure to check out my Instagram or TikTok profiles, where I've shared a 3-part video series (one, two, three) covering everything you need to know about wedding dresses.


Once you and your fiancé have chosen your dream wedding attire, it's time to select outfits for the rest of your wedding party. Keep your design concept and your own attire in mind to ensure a cohesive look. Once you have selected the attire for your wedding party, be sure to check the lead times so that they arrive on time, and allow extra time for alterations if needed. Starting this process early, ideally six months out for bridesmaid dresses, ensures a seamless planning experience, preventing any last-minute panic.


3. Select Your Wedding Vendors

A wedding Band

A wedding vendor is a professional or business that provides goods or services for a wedding. They comprise of a diverse array of professionals, ranging from photographers and florists to caterers and entertainment providers. These talented individuals or companies are the driving force behind each wedding, responsible for bringing your dream wedding to life. Selecting the right team of wedding vendors in Australia is crucial to the success of your wedding day.


The type of vendors you select for your wedding are influenced by your budget, design concept and personal preferences. If you've utilised the Wedding Budget Workbook provided above, you've likely created a 'Need vs. Wants' list with your fiancé. This valuable exercise helps prioritise elements of your wedding that hold the most significance to each of you, enabling you to allocate your budget effectively.


Among the most critical of vendors for you to employ is the service of a celebrant or priest, as they officiate the legal ceremony. Other key vendors include a wedding coordinator to seamlessly execute your day, hair and makeup artists to ensure you and your wedding party look and feel beautiful, a photographer to capture your precious moments, caterers and beverage attendants to ensure guest satisfaction, and a Master of Ceremonies (MC) to skilfully guide guests through the event. These foundational pillars are indispensable for ensuring your wedding day runs seamlessly and is unforgettable for all the right reasons.


If your budget permits, there are several additional vendors worth considering to enhance your wedding experience. Live entertainment options such as DJs or musicians can elevate the atmosphere of your wedding and entertain both you and your guests. A wedding planner or stylist can expertly plan and style your entire event with precision and expertise. Enlisting a talented florist will infuse your wedding design with stunning floral arrangements. A skilled pastry chef can craft your dream wedding cake or alternative dessert, delighting your taste buds. Bridal car and guest transportation services ensure everyone arrives punctually and returns home safely. Investing in a videographer ensures your precious memories are immortalized for years to come. There are also various forms of guest entertainment to consider to keep your celebration engaging and enjoyable. While the possibilities for wedding vendors are endless, it's essential to remain mindful of your budget, follow your personalised wedding design concept and stay true to the vision of your perfect wedding day that you and your partner share.


Once you've determined the type of wedding vendors you require, embark on thorough research and vetting of each potential vendor to ensure they align with your vision, budget, and expectations. Explore their website and social media pages, delve into reviews from past clients, and request quotes to compare their services, pricing, and availability. Schedule consultations and meetings to discuss your vision, preferences, and any specific requirements you may have. During these interactions, don't hesitate to ask questions, clarify expectations, and establish clear communication to ensure an honest and open collaboration. Once you've found the perfect vendor to fulfil each required role for your wedding, secure their services to guarantee their availability on your special day. With the right team of vendors in place, your dream wedding will become a reality.


4. Invite Your Wedding Guests

wedding invitation envelope

If you have been progressing through these steps of wedding planning in Australia with me, you will have already constructed your draft guest list. Before sending any correspondence to potential guests regarding your wedding day, you must first finalise your guest list. Once your guest list is finalised, you can invite those individuals to join you in your wedding celebrations.


Before purchasing or designing your invitation suite, you must first determine whether a physical or digital version is best for you. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of both and select the option that aligns best with your budget, design concept and logistical needs. When purchasing or designing these invitation suites, refer to your design concept to create a visually captivating and cohesive experience for your guests.


Your Save the Dates mark the initial communication your guests will receive regarding your upcoming wedding and should feature essential details such as your confirmed wedding date and location. To allow ample time for planning and attendance, your Save the Dates should be sent out well in advance of your wedding, ideally between 12 to 8 months prior. If your wedding is taking place abroad, sending Save the Dates to those on your guest list as soon as possible is advisable.


Your formal invitations serve as the pivotal announcement of your wedding details, encompassing all the essential information your guests require, such as your wedding date, ceremony start time, venue address, dress code, RSVP deadlines, and any additional pertinent details for your celebration. If you have built a wedding website, be sure to include the URL within your formal invites also. For weddings held locally or within Australia, it's recommended to dispatch formal invitations to your guests 6 to 8 weeks prior to your wedding. If you have planned a destination wedding outside of Australia, your formal invitations should be sent to your guests approximately 3 months in advance.


The information provided above offers valuable insight into invitation etiquette and provides guidelines and recommendations to aid you in inviting guests to your wedding. While these suggestions are not rigid rules, they are flexible guidelines designed to support you throughout your wedding planning journey. However, it's important to remember that every wedding planning process is unique, and what works best for one couple may not necessarily suit your individual circumstances. If you find that the advice provided doesn't align with your specific situation, whether due to a condensed planning timeframe or other factors, feel free to adapt and tailor the process to suit your needs and preferences. Ultimately, your wedding day should reflect your vision and priorities, so do what works best for you and your fiancé.


Planning a Wedding in Australia (or abroad) But Need Help?

Whether you're just beginning the planning process or perfecting the final details, I can assist you no matter how far along you are on your planning journey. At Van Dev Weddings, our packages are tailored to your planning needs. If you're ready to take the next step in your wedding planning journey, I invite you to book a consultation with me. Together, we'll discuss your unique needs and wedding vision, address any questions or concerns you may have, and determine how I can best assist you. From there I can tailor a personalised plan to bring your dream wedding to life. Click the button below to book your free consultation today and let's make your wedding day an extraordinary success!



Alternatively, if you have any inquiries or wish to get in touch directly, feel free to contact me here.

A Gold Coast Wedding Planner waiting to guide couples through the process of wedding planning in Australia

If you found this blog post helpful, or have questions regarding wedding planning in Australia, let us know in the comments section and be sure to share this post with others embarking on their own wedding planning journey.

2 Comments


dasilva.dianaf2
May 20

Beautifully written and super well explained !Great tips and the the The Wedding Budget Workbook such as helpful idea ! Congrats

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vandevweddings
May 20
Replying to

Thank you, I'm glad you found it explained everything really well and I'm very pleased you like the Wedding Budget Workbook! Enjoy.

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