How to spend!
There are a number of loyalty programmes around, some aligned with credit cards, some with airlines, some with retail outlets and some with just about everything. Because your wedding will involve spending a lot of money in a short space of time, it makes sense to get something in return (other than one of the most special days of you life, of course!).

In order to take advantage of most loyalty schemes, you have to be enrolled as a member. Some, like Air New Zealand's Airpoints, require a small fee to join, while others, like Fly Buys, are free.

Some loyalty programmes can be combined for maximum benefits. For every dollar spent as part of American Express' Membership Rewards programme, you get one reward point.

These points can be exchanged for a variety of goods and service, or converted into Air New Zealand Airpoints. This is where it pays to think smart. By paying for your honeymoon airline tickets on your credit card, you get airpoints, as well as reward points.

These reward points can the also be converted into airpoints, meaning you get twice the airpoints for the same holiday. Si of you're lucky enough to be heading to Europe for your honeymoon, you've already earned yourself a trip to the Pacific Islands, gratis!

Fly Buys is probably New Zealand's best-known loyalty scheme, and without a doubt the most prolific. Looking through the list of retailers where you can collect points, it's not hard to put together a shopping list for your wedding. Unlike purchasing airfares, which most of us only do every-so-often, Fly Buys and membership rewards can be accumulated by supermarket shopping, filling the car up and so forth. This means you can add to your points – and your rewards – before and after your wedding.

By far the best part about accumulating points, whatever the kind, is cashing them in! By selecting your retailers according to the programmes with which they are aligned, looking out for 'double points' offers, and paying for everything on an aligned credit card, points mount up quickly. With some smart thinking, you could have a few more wedding presents when you return from your honeymoon, a little help setting up that new house together, or even a second honeymoon a few weeks later!

How to make the wedding dollar go further

  • Like everything else in a successful wedding, planning is the key to spending wisely. Set your wedding budget, and work out what you can realistically afford within that, allowing room for unforeseen expenses.
  • If you need to raise some additional finance, work out how much you need and how quickly you can pay it back. For short-term credit, use your credit card, but for anything longer, look at extending your overdraft or getting a bank loan.
  • When it comes to repayments, give yourself some room to breather – you don't want to have to walk straight off the plane and into weeks of overtime!
  • If you're not already a member of an airpoints scheme or Fly Buys, fill out the forms, work out where best to spend your money, and start collecting points.
  • Most importantly, don't forget that there are experts all around you with words of wisdom, so don't be afraid to call for some advice. Most people only have one wedding, so you can be excused for not knowing all the answers in advance!