We almost got away with a secret vegas elopement, but when that didn't work out we decided to do the wedding thing, but were adamant we were going to forget traditions and just plan the day we both wanted. Our favourite destination close to home is Byron Bay - so a simple ceremony on the beach, and a intimate reception overlooking the waves is what we chose.
What I didn't realise at the time, was some of our 'wedding hacks' were not only things that saved the budget, but made our wedding really memorable for our guests. Few of them were so memorable that people have talked about them years later, or pinched the idea for their own wedding - so I thought I'd share a few...
1. Own transport - we were lucky and my husband had his own kombi which we used for the wedding and incorporated into photos. But he's offered his car to plenty friends (and friends of friends) for their own weddings - they just need to ask. Particularly with the age of social media, if you have a certain vehicle in mind or a style of transport share the request socially and people who have their own private vehicles are more often than not flattered! A few friends have now done this and scored a beautiful ride for their wedding, and majority for the cost of a carton of beer! (one friend had a car enthusiast that just wanted a few professional photos of it in return!) Another lovely idea is using your parents first car, or your grandparents car - there's something special about travelling in a vehicle that has been owned by those close to you who have set the ultimate marriage goals.
2. Support students and new business - we knew we wanted a ceremony on the main beach in Byron Bay, but with time restraints didn't have time to do the set up the morning of, so I found a student who was studying event management on Gumtree! She was looking for event experience, so I sent her a Pinterest image of what I wanted on the beach, and she magically found all the materials and created exactly the photo. She was happy to do the whole set up for free so she could buy the materials for future events given we were her first client. It only ended up costing us a few hundred dollars, and she even went to the effort of putting on drinks in ice buckets for our guests on the beach after the ceremony. There's plenty of event management courses and colleges - reach out and you'll never know what students are willing to do for experience to build their portfolio!
3. Wedding Gifts - I love weddings where the wedding gift or token has involved some thought and not just a 'bought' something. For us, we had a holiday to Bali a few months before the wedding, so we visited some factories and bought our own silver gift boxes (for 50cents each - and hilariously we have seen them in some fancy homeware stores since for $20!) and also a few wood sculptures to have as the centrepiece on each table. In the gift boxes we had simply 2 things - our favourite 'Byron Bay Cookie' which is one of our favourite indulgences and also celebrated the location of our wedding. The second item was a hand written note to each of our guests. We had about 70 guests at our wedding, so this took a little while, but I made the effort to personally write a short note to each guest thanking them for joining us at our wedding and share one of my favourite memories with them. Particularly for people who really helped us with any of the wedding plans, or travelled far, it was a great chance to say a personal thankyou for their effort. This works a treat if you have a seating plan!
4. Grandmas Fudge - wedding cakes have become big business. If you're not fussed on spending big or being particular with a cake, we opted for our favourite desert in the world - my grandmas fudge. Since I was a kid my grandma has had a famous fudge recipe that is unlike anything else. So I asked her to make a big bunch (enough for the 70 guests!) and we asked our venue if they could style the fudge and serve with a local gelati. We were blown away when they created this artsy pyramid with fresh cream and berries. Not only was it delicious, but it created a special memory with my grandma.
Hope these few ideas help with your own wedding planning! On the few areas we saved costs on (we didn't pay for transport, flowers, cake etc) we splashed out on music! We had a reggae band on the beach, and an epic motown band for the reception. We wanted to create a 'memorable party' and having amazing live music definitely achieved this!
And if you happen to be considering Byron Bay for your own wedding, I cannot recommend the Byron Bay Beach Cafe highly enough! Right on the beach, it's the perfect intimate setting for a private event with incredible menus.
And of course if Travelshoot can help with your wedding photography, we've just launched our $1499 wedding package and our destination photoshoots are the perfect honeymoon experience starting from $399!