I spent $100,000 on my dream wedding – it was a huge waste of money but it was still the best day of our lives

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Written By Maya Cantina

A bride has admitted spending close to $100,000 on her wedding was a ‘big waste of money’ – but she doesn’t regret a thing.  

Claudia Sokolova, 26, and now-husband Nick, 29, from Sydney, exchanged vows in front of 68 guests in August after three years of dating. 

Claudia, a marketing executive, told FEMAIL she wanted her wedding to look ‘timeless’ and ‘classic’ – and it certainly was, but it was costly too. 

‘Two things can be true at the same time – yes, the wedding was a waste of money but it was also the best day of my life,’ she explained. 

‘I loved every second of my wedding and wish I could do it all again. But it’s a very expensive, long process that causes a lot of stress.’

Claudia Sokolova, 26, and now-husband Nick, 29, exchanged vows in front of 68 guests in August after three years of dating

The couple spent close to $100,000 on all wedding-related costs, including a month-long honeymoon in Bali

The couple spent close to $100,000 on all wedding-related costs, including a month-long honeymoon in Bali 

The price of the the bridal party, hens and bucks night, and their one-month honeymoon in Bali was also included in the total. They also paid for the majority of it themselves from their savings but had a little help from family. 

The most expensive element was the $20,000 venue hire followed by the $7,500 honeymoon and $7,000 wedding dress from KWH Bridal Boutique.

For $5,650 they hired Bumpy Road Catering and served shared plates of pork, chicken, gnocchi, breads, a huge grazing platter, several salads, Nutella crepes, panna cotta and more. 

There were also expenses that Claudia admits could’ve been avoided – such as $2,500 on Botox and filler and the $120 bridal robe – but she wanted them. 

‘At the end of the day, your wedding is going to be about what you and your partner want and what is within your financial means,’ she said. 

And spending nearly $100,000 on the wedding was going to make the couple happy – so they went for it. 

‘If you are not someone who deals with stress well, is introverted, doesn’t like a lot of eyes on them, and doesn’t want to spend money then maybe you should rethink the size and cost of your wedding,’ she added.  

'Two things can be true at the same time - yes, the wedding was a waste of money but it was also the best day of my life,' Claudia explained

‘Two things can be true at the same time – yes, the wedding was a waste of money but it was also the best day of my life,’ Claudia explained

The venue was the most expensive at $20,000

The venue was the most expensive at $20,000 

'People romanticise DIYs a lot. Nobody thinks about the time it's going to take you to do all those little jobs,' she said

‘People romanticise DIYs a lot. Nobody thinks about the time it’s going to take you to do all those little jobs,’ she said

The couple met through a mutual friend but at the time Claudia was ‘done with dating’. However, her friend put in a good word and convinced Claudia to meet Nick. 

‘If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have gone on date with him,’ she said. 

‘At the end of the first date I leant in for a kiss and he gave me his cheek, but in retrospect I know now it’s because of how much of a gentleman he is.’ 

As Claudia has a marketing and events background, planning the wedding wasn’t stressful and she enjoyed organising it all.

‘I’ve planned events for years so I knew what I was getting myself into,’ she said.

‘It’s an exhausting process but for me it’s where I thrive. Not everyone is going to have the same experience. I’m probably in the one per cent who loves doing this stuff.’

She added that a lot of people think planning a wedding simply involves ‘ordering some food, drinks and a dress’ but there are far more layers than that. 

The hardest part, she said, was when it came to ‘money and family’. 

‘Everyone has their opinion but no one’s footing the bill except me. Family wants to invite other people you’ve never met, and it’s like do you know how much it costs per head to have someone at your wedding?’ Claudia said. 

For $5,650 they hired Bumpy Road Catering and offered shared plates of pork, chicken, gnocchi, breads, huge grazing platter, several salads, Nutella crepes, panna cotta and more

For $5,650 they hired Bumpy Road Catering and offered shared plates of pork, chicken, gnocchi, breads, huge grazing platter, several salads, Nutella crepes, panna cotta and more

Instead of a guestbook, they had an audio phone for attendees to leave a special message

They had a cocktail hour too

When asked if she would do anything differently, Claudia said ‘no’ other than ‘soaking up the day a bit more’. Instead of a guestbook, they had an audio phone for attendees to leave a special message (left) and there was a cocktail hour (right)

While many people try to cut wedding costs by doing elements themselves, Claudia offered a ‘reality check’ and said the end product might not be as cheap as you think.  

‘People romanticise DIYs a lot. Nobody thinks about the time it’s going to take you to do all those little jobs,’ she said. 

‘If you have the tenacity to go to the flower market at 4am and do all your bouquets yourself, my hat goes off to you. 

‘I knew from planning events and being in marketing for years how long everything really takes.’

As she worked full-time, owned a business and was in the middle of wedding planning, Claudia did toss up some DIY ideas, such as the invitations. 

But the time it was going to take for her to make it all and the cost of the raw material wasn’t worth it. 

‘It wasn’t going to be that big of a difference than getting a decent price from a good vendor. You have to really consider both sides,’ she said. 

As for any advice she would give other brides-to-be, Claudia said to never go into debt to fund your wedding, recognise where your priorities lie and take things one step at a time

As for any advice she would give other brides-to-be, Claudia said to never go into debt to fund your wedding, recognise where your priorities lie and take things one step at a time

There were moments when the couple sat down and considered cancelling the whole event because of financial reasons. 

They thought about putting their money elsewhere – but at the end of the day a big wedding to celebrate their marriage is what they both wanted. 

‘I have a massive family, I’ve been dreaming about my wedding day since I was a little girl, it’s something I’ve always wanted. And my husband wanted a big party with all his mates too,’ Claudia said. 

They thought about putting their money elsewhere - but at the end of the day a big wedding to celebrate their marriage is what they both wanted

They thought about putting their money elsewhere – but at the end of the day a big wedding to celebrate their marriage is what they both wanted

She added how some on social media have criticised her for spending so much money as it could’ve been used for a house deposit – but she disagrees. 

‘The average price for a house in our suburb is $1.2million – we can’t afford that right now,’ she said. 

When asked if she would do anything differently, Claudia said ‘no’ other than ‘soaking up the day a bit more’. 

‘We could’ve saved an extra thousand dollars here and there, we could’ve bought $9 wine bottles instead of having cocktails. But the reality is weddings cost a lot of money,’ she added.  

HOW MUCH DID EVERYTHING COST?

PHOTOGRAPHY: $4,500 @henrypaulphoto

FOOD: $5,650 @bumpyrdcatering

ALCOHOL: $6,000 

VENUE: $20,000 @ravensthorpeweddings 

FLOWERS: $7,500 @ivylanecollective 

HARPIST: $1,500 @rebekah.harp 

MUSIC: $4,500 @thewhitetree 

DRESS: $7,000 @kwhbridal 

BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: $450 

BRIDESMAID GIFTS: $500 

HAIR: $850 @bridalhairbyceleste 

MAKE UP: $1,800 @chloedaymua 

GROOM’S SUIT: $1,300  

GROOMSMEN SUITS: $1,300 @institchu 

GROOMSMEN SHOES: $650

GROOMSMEN GIFTS: $300 

ACCESSORIES: $50  

STYLING: @be_designed 

AUDIO GUESTBOOK: @offthehook.au

VIDEOGRAPHY: $1,500 

GUEST TRANSPORT: $1,450 

REHERSAL DINNER: $50 

JEWELLERY: $2,500 

HENS PARTY: $700 

SHOES: $600 

BRIDAL ROBE: $120 

BOTOX & FILLER: $2,500 

BEAUTY: $1,500 

BRIDESMAID PYJAMAS: $300 

ALTERATIONS: $500 

SIGNAGE: $300 

STYLING: $6,300 

MARRIAGE LICENCE/ELOPEMENT: $1,500 

WEDDING BANDS: $500 

PET BOARDING: $660 

‘SAVE THE DATES’: $180 

INVITES: $500 

MICELLANEOUS: $1,500 

ADDITIONAL OUTFITS/CLOTHES: $800 

CONTENT: @bzeventsandsocialco_ 

HONEYMOON: $7,500 

TOTAL: $94,410 

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As for any advice she would give other brides-to-be, Claudia said to never go into debt to fund your wedding, recognise where your priorities lie and take things one step at a time. 

She said there’s always going to be the ‘wedding tax’ too – that elements cost twice as much simply because it’s for a wedding. 

‘Search for different quotes but remember that you’ll always get what you pay for in the wedding industry,’ she said. 

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