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Wedding Budget Breakdown in New Zealand

Preparing for a wedding in New Zealand offers an array of unique and breathtaking choices set against the country’s unparalleled beauty. From windswept beaches to majestic mountain ranges, the settings play a huge part in creating that special day. However, they also introduce variables to the average wedding budget that one might not encounter elsewhere. Today, we explore the cost of saying “I do” in Aotearoa, contrasting American norms with New Zealand’s distinctiveness.

Budgeting Under The Long White Cloud

An American wedding can be extravagant, with costs soaring and each decision carrying a hefty price tag. Across the Pacific, New Zealand couples face different challenges and expenditures when planning their big day. The raw beauty of our landscape needs to be worked with harmoniously, often involving nuanced planning and budget adjustments.

The Unpredictable Kiwi Weather

One of the most significant factors impacting a New Zealand wedding budget is our unpredictable weather. Despite planning a summer wedding, anything could happen, and experienced local wedders factor in the cost for a backup venue or additional marquees to shelter guests from a sudden change in the elements.

Isolated Beauty, Isolated Costs

New Zealand’s charm is also its challenge. Our remote location means higher transportation costs for everything from flowers to guests. This isolates expense plays into nearly every aspect of the wedding:

  • Wedding Planner: The average wedding planner will cost about NZ$4,500. They’re invaluable in navigating the nuances of a wedding here, from securing hard-to-find local vendors to contingency planning for sudden weather changes.
  • Photography: Capturing your day in stunning settings does come with a cost, averaging around NZ$3,400. New Zealand’s photographers expertly capture the interplay of light and landscape, immortalising magical memories.
  • Catering & Beverages: Feeding your guests uses a significant chunk of the budget. At about NZ$12,200 for 100 guests, the pricing is reflective of the local produce and the transportation of any non-local items to your picturesque venue.
  • Reception Venue: Whether it’s a vineyard in Waiheke or a rustic lodge in Queenstown, the venue costs, on average, NZ$3,600. It’s not uncommon for these venues to showcase the splendour of their surrounding landscapes.
  • Live Band: Kiwi entertainment averages NZ$2,200, bringing not just music but the festive essence of New Zealand’s culture to your celebration.
  • Celebrant: New Zealand wedding celebrants who can blend traditional and cultural elements into the ceremony cost about NZ$700.

On average, wedding couples engage the services of 14 vendors to help bring their wedding day dreams to life. Vendor suppliers such as the florist or the cake baker are hard to set an average price for as they depend on the couple’s brief. Likewise, such artist vendors like the Makeup artist and the hairstylist have a different number of elements that they could supply, so it’s difficult to pin down an average cost. 

Making it Work for You

Despite these costs, there are ways to plan a wedding in New Zealand that aligns with your financial comfort zone. Choosing off-peak seasons, looking for package deals, or simplifying the event with fewer guests and minimalistic elegance can substantially reduce costs. The key is to focus on what truly matters to your story and find vendors that share your vision and respect your budget.


With thoughtful planning and a realistic budget, a New Zealand wedding can be as lavish or as modest as you desire. It’s not merely an average affair but an extraordinary experience shaped by the unique characteristics of the land. If you’re ready for the adventure of not just a wedding but a marriage that starts with ‘I do’ in the most stunning serenity, then New Zealand is your unbeaten aisle.

Like many before you, Kiwis have tailored their vows and festivities to work with the whims of nature and logistics. It’s not about curbing expectations but about elevating them to meet the unmatched backdrop of our country. On your wedding day, as every day in New Zealand, expect the exceptional.

We help our couples to produce anything but average weddings in Wanaka and Queenstown. Specialising in Full Wedding Planning and Wedding Styling, we would be delighted to be there for you on your day. Reach out and let us know how we can help.