Wedding Rip Off

Reporter: Andrew Bourke

For most people, their wedding day is the most special of their lives, but if emotion takes over, costs can skyrocket, leaving newlyweds in serious financial trouble. In this billion dollar industry where an average wedding cost $25,000, hidden costs are everywhere.

This is big business. Wearing a disguise. Thriving on emotional couples wanting their special day to be storybook perfect. Laura Cullen married this year and knows only too well the pit falls involved. While wedding packages may seem cheap at the time, beware the massive mark-ups.

"We went to one of the wedding shows in the city and we saw this package - it was these two companies that worked together often and we thought it was a good price and we'll go for that and we booked them and when it came to after the wedding day and we were putting the album together, we didn't realise how much it would cost and that we'd have to pay an extra $4000 on top of what we'd already paid" said Laura. Laura is highly suspicious of the industry, believing that companies add on and its not just for photos.

When we asked a specialty cake supplier for a quote on a wedding cake, it was $345. When we called back and asked for a similar cake, this time for a birthday, it was $202 - $140 cheaper. The over charging doesn't stop there. Booking a restaurant 'for a special occasion' - $2,100. The same restaurant, when we mentioned the 'W' word, was $1,200 more at $3,300.

Since brides must be beautiful, a make-up artists quote for makeup for a special occasion came in at $80. The wedding special was more than double- the price of beauty - $179. In reality, the wedding suppliers know they have you over a barrel, sadly couples cannot hide the fact they're getting married and the truth is costly but wedding consultant Katrina Butterworth says you can save. "If you shop around, all suppliers want to be a part of your wedding so they may be willing to negotiate" says Katrina.

Newlyweds Joanna and Adam Skarp know how important word of mouth can be. Having friends who'd recently tied the knot, they weren't about to make the same mistakes. "We got to borrow friends cars so that saved alot of money, the wedding cake was a gift. The music had to be good so we looked around at bands cos we wanted a party for the big day. Flowers, we did research cos Adams sister got married earlier in the year and ended up going with her florist and she was a really good price" says the couple.

"Brides are looking for a fairytale, they want all the extras. They want a wedding with all the trimmings - a big reception, the 3 tiered cake with the handmade decorations and the perfect gown. All of those things come with a price tag if you're looking for a small wedding and not so much of the extras you can do that on a much smaller budget" says Katrina And just because its on a budget don't think it wont be the best day of your life. "I think we did it as cheap as you can whilst having a good time and still having good quality. Good quality and exactly what we wanted" says Adam

For more information on how to save on your wedding costs visit: