Sarah and Samuel Dennis are proof you can hold a big wedding on a tight budget. The Canterbury couple invited 200 guests to their summer country wedding, yet the bill was only $5000, including the honeymoon.
The couple, who now have a 3-month-old baby, used the connections and skills of family and friends, as well as their own budgeting skills, to ensure their big day was "as cheap as possible", said Sarah, 25.
"We married on January 14. It is possible to have a cheap wedding," she said. "You just need to compromise on a few things."
Catering for afternoon tea was "much cheaper" than a full meal.
Decorations for the church and wedding vehicles, including a Rolls Royce, were lent by friends, another friend donated flower arranging skills, and the considerable sewing skills of the groom's mother came in handy for alterations.
The cake was made by family but iced by a professional, and the couple made their own invitations using computer templates and buying special paper.
When it came to hiring suits for the groomsmen, the couple shaved $200 off the cost by ditching dinner jackets, which they said wouldn't have been needed anyway considering the summer heat.
Even the honeymoon was discounted. "My sister worked at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Christchurch so we got a family discount.
"The rest of the honeymoon we travelled to Hanmer Springs and stayed in a cabin at a lovely campground. It was amazing and I wouldn't change a thing."
Hubby Sam, a PhD student who is standing for parliament (Family Party) added people wouldn't have known the wedding was done on the cheap.
"Lots of our guests said - and not just to us - that it was the best wedding they'd been to. It was a lovely country wedding.
"But we couldn't have done it without the very generous input of family and friends."
Tips for a big day without the big budget:
Get a relative to make the cake.
Use an iPod hooked up to a sound system. Make your invitations.
Get married in the same place as your reception.
Have a wine/beer bar instead of full bar.
Limit the number of bridesmaids and grooms.
Sunday weddings can be cheaper.
Try not to mention "wedding" when obtaining quotes - some caterers and suppliers bump up prices for weddings.