How To Plan A Country Chic Wedding On A Golden Shoestring

bush wedding WA

A modern-day wedding can be anything you want it to be – grand, intimate, gilded, boho, city, country, back garden. Whatever your dreams are for the day, there’s a style and Pinterest board to match. What I want to talk about today are some of the easy ways in which you can plan your wedding so that it’s both hyper-chic AND affordable! As a Nannup photographer, I’ve photographed plenty of charming low budget weddings in South West Australia, and I can tell you that I have absolutely loved them all. 

The increasing cost of living brought on by the pandemic and current events means lower budget weddings are definitely on the rise, with savvy couples choosing to minimise their wedding budget to leave more wiggle room for things like the honeymoon or a home deposit. But there’s so much to love about a wedding on a shoestring budget – they’re fun, much lower stress, and allow you to get creative with a bit of DIY that will exquisitely match a rustic/country-chic aesthetic.

How do I plan a low-budget wedding that’s also elegant?

Wondering how to plan a country chic wedding on a budget? Here are my top tips to design a wedding that’s authentic and true to your relationship, but also easy on the wallet. 

1. Plan your colour palette and aesthetic

One massive thing that can make (or break!) the look and feel of a wedding is aesthetics – and this is true for a luxury wedding or one on a budget. Really spend some time focusing on aesthetics and creating a colour palette that you can incorporate into all aspects of your wedding.

Think about tones, complementary colours and the location of your wedding – a dominant and obvious theme will create a flow and atmosphere that imbues a natural elegance to the space. Small touches like complementary wildflowers, DIY tealight lanterns and raffia ribbons cost next to nothing, but will create an easy boho look that you and your guests will love! 

2. The best DIY wedding ideas are all about quality over quantity 

Help, how do I plan a low budget wedding when I have a huge invite list?! First, I really encourage you to downsize your guest list as much as you can. Wedding catering per person adds up quickly, so give some thought to the people you absolutely need to have at your wedding. Which friends and family are the ones you just can’t imagine not having next to you as you celebrate?

And remember: small is good! A micro-wedding in Southwest Australia is perfect, as we have so many smaller venues and wineries that suit smaller parties really well. You can approach this with the quality-over-quantity mindset – think about the people and elements of your day that are essential to you and build from there. 

This could mean having your dream wedding dress, a great makeup artist and, of course, a fantastic photographer – but things like venue, flowers and even catering and wine can be adapted to something more affordable, without sacrificing that romantic, laidback boho vibe. Candles, rugs, picnic spreads or even food trucks are fun and memorable for your guests, without requiring tonnes of staff or a huge budget. 

3. Remember: a wedding on a shoestring budget can still look like a million bucks

Here’s how to plan a budget-friendly wedding: make a spreadsheet! Not sexy, I know, but if you break down all of your typical wedding costs (like venue hire, formal catering and open bar), you’ll quickly realise how crazy expensive a wedding can be.

Once you have your independent costs figured out, chip away at the big expenses by coming up with fun alternatives. For example, instead of hiring out a whole winery, some intimate wedding ideas in South West Australia could include holding your ceremony in a National Park (many have no booking fees and only require a permit), setting up a marquee on a beautiful country farm or approaching an Airbnb that doesn’t usually cater to weddings and seeing if they would be willing to host (the latter is probably only suitable for micro-weddings), booking a space at a winery but bringing your own catering (like picnics!), or scaling down your wedding so your party can all fit into a private room in a restaurant. 

With the right decor and lighting, these options will still feel very boho chic – they just also happen to be affordable. 

4. Think outside the box with these budget-friendly wedding ideas

OK, let’s talk specifics! I love coming up with budget wedding ideas in Australia, as I see time and time again that couples are just as happy with low-key weddings. Your day is all about your love, your family and starting your life together, not about how much you spend. 

Here are a few ideas that can work beautifully:

  • Glamping weddings – everyone coming together for a weekend of glamping, celebrating and dancing. They’re so much fun and hyper-romantic! 
  • Substitute sit-down catering (which can cost a fortune per person) for a food truck or grazing picnics.
  • If you’re set on having an open bar, think about ways to make it more affordable, like using cheaper local wines to make big sangria pitchers, or purchasing kegs rather than beer bottles. Oh, and it’s definitely OK to encourage your guests to BYO, if your venue allows it.
  • Florals – locally sourced natives and seasonal flowers are always going to be more affordable than imported ones. You can also use grasses and succulents to create floral displays that will be cheaper than using fresh buds. As an added bonus, there’s little to no danger of succulents or grasses wilting under our Aussie heat and they photograph really beautifully!

I just want to add that getting those dreamy wedding photos all comes down to feeling comfortable, happy and relaxed on the day. Your venue doesn’t make your photos a success – you do. 

5. Make your wedding your own with DIY personal touches

One of the best things about country chic weddings is that you get to be so creative! DIY wedding projects are so much fun and result in a wedding that’s more meaningful and personal, since you’ve poured so much of your heart into creating it.

You can DIY just about any aspect of your wedding, including decorations, invites, batch cocktails, cooking and even your wedding cake. I recently photographed a gorgeous elopement for Nea and Straughn, who made their own wedding cake together. What a special way to bond and pour your love together to make something sweet and delicious! 

I would be so honoured to photograph your beautiful boho chic wedding – your DIY decorations will sparkle in the afternoon golden light that we get here in South West Australia, and I know we’ll capture some fun, authentic and touching wedding photos that you’ll treasure.

If I can help with any wedding planning and photography for your upcoming wedding or elopement, drop me a line!

April 15, 2022

Victoria Baker

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