Thrifty Goth: How much does a Wedding cost?

There are so many amazing gothic weddings floating around the interwebs. Each more gorgeous than the next.

This one is especially gorgeous, head over to Offbeat Bride to see more of these two.
Seriously, gorgeous. Head over to Offbeat Bride to see more of these two.

But leather roses cost money, and even cheap candles will all add up when you choose to buy one for everyone.

If you’re looking at putting together a suitably dark wedding invariably someone, probably trying to help, will comment on your budget like it is their business with something like the following:
“Why are you spending so much money? I would never do that. If getting married at the local chapel and then sitting down in a beautiful place to enjoy a meal and music was good enough for my parents and grandparents it’s good enough for me.”
This actual comment was posted on a facebook discussion a while back. People have no idea how much a wedding actually costs these days, and don’t realise how much prices have gone up, and so might look down on you for ‘splashing out’ and buying skull centerpieces and serving snacks when instead you could buy ‘a simple cheap meal for your guests’.

So just for fun, I did the math of the cheapest wedding I could come up with that matches that criteria, with 100 guests to make it simple. This one’s based in Canberra, Australia, so you might be able to find cheaper options near you, but since that is true where ever you might be, for sake of the exercise go with it.

“…getting married at the local chapel and then sitting down in a beautiful place to enjoy a meal and music..

“…Local Chapel…” is an extra cost, so why pay for two venues? Let’s do it at the same place as the reception and just hire a celebrant. They seem to prefer you call them for a price, so comparing and finding the cheapest is difficult. The only one I found in a quick search that listed prices does weddings for $475.

“…enjoy a meal…”
Capital Roast (The cheapest potable spit roast company around) does a Wedding Feast from $34.90 pp plus a $120 staff charge. That includes crockery and cutlery. So they’ll turn up with meat and salads and cut you slices as needed, buffet style. (Note: I remember as a teenager hiring a spit roast company for less than $6 per head, so there’s a concrete example of how the prices have gone up significantly.)
So $3610.
Your guests will need to sit down to eat, so you’ll need 19 tables at 6 people per table with 2 tables for the roast to go on. Barlens hires them at $18.15 per table. So that’s $381.15. Forget table cloths or centrepieces, that’s too fancy.
Let’s buy them goon instead of buying them nice drinks. At 1 glass of 100ml per guest for the toast, it’s $38 for a case of 4 casks at Dan Murphy’s which will do 40 guests, so we’ll get 3 cases to round it up for $114. Homebrand Cups Plastic Tumbler 200ml 100pk is $4.
So for 1 meal and 1 drink per person you’ll need $4109.15.

“…Sitting down in a beautiful place…”
Barlens has chairs for hire at $3.30 each. So $330.
In case it rains you’ll need a roof, Community Centres won’t allow alcohol in their hired halls (yes, I checked), so we’ll need to book an open community space and put up a tent. Let’s say Weston Park.  As far as I can tell, you’ll need a permit for having a structure there and to book a ranger to open the gates for you. Let’s say you’re doing this without power because that costs too much and the best man can just yell his speech across the room. The TAMS website says there will be fees, but doesn’t say how much, so let’s just pretend it’s just the $34.25 call out fee for the ranger. These people are cheaper than Barlens, and have a roof only marquee for $1870 (Inc GST). Lets pretend it’s February: warm enough, but not raining enough, so we don’t need sides. We’ll also pretend that you’ve an army of friends who aren’t close enough to be invited to the wedding, but close enough to volunteer to spend 1.5hours to put up the marquee for you and will be around later to do the worse job of pulling it down.
(If you don’t want to have the bother, the next cheapest place I found was $2,500 for the Belconnen Arts Centre, but as we’re going for the cheapest I’ll stick to the tent. )
So $2234.25

Borrow your friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s aunt’s iPod plugged into lspeakers. For cost’s sake Let’s ignore the fact that an ipod shuffle costs $75 RRP and pretend someone already has one.
A 2 x 1000W Speakers Package “Comes with: cabling, speaker stands, microphone and mixer. Plugs straight into a laptop, ipod/ipad, phone or mixer” For $160.
Let’s pretend you’ve got an extension cord long enough to get to the Weston park toilet block to get power. Lets ignore the physics there. Just, pretend physics aren’t even a thing and hope that there are actually still power outlets in the toilets.
So $160

Let’s buy a dress from Supre (I know, I know! But don’t leave, just hear me out) on sale for $5. It’s high-low floaty dress, in white because we’re making a point about how much mainstream weddings cost. A suit from vinnies for $50 plus a shirt for $5 (Becasue vinnies is no longer cheap, but still the cheapest suit you’re going to find). Her thongs from Big W on sale for $7. (I’m an Aussie, people. Thongs goon your feet.) He can wear whatever shoes he already has that are nicest. No makeup and hair out.
So clothing for $67.

Flowers can be $5 bouquets from the lady who sells them on the corner next to Gus’ in Civic.
1 bride, 2 Bridesmaids and cut up 1 bouquet for the groomsmen’s lapels is 4 bouquets.
So flowers $20

Which means that the cheapest wedding I can come up with is $7065.40, which is around $70.65 per person, if you go for the Supre/Goon/married in a tent option.

So if that’s the cheapest, it’s no wonder the average wedding costs $20 000. Imagine if you went all out and got tablecloths!

Feel free to wave these sums in front of the next nosy ‘friend’ who questions why you’re spending $300 on skulls for your wedding instead of buying everyone a three course meal. (Oh, and if you do find somewhere that sells 100 skulls for only $300, please let me know!)

And just because, here’s some gothic wedding porn:

For one of the ultimates in extravagance, Vogue covered the weddings of  Dita Von Teese and Marilyn Manson
Check out that table setting! Dita Von Teese and Marilyn Manson in Vogue. More at

If you were getting married, what gothic touches would you give your wedding? Have you had to deal with the whole ‘budget’ issue? Let me know in the comments.

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