By Emsie Martin
Nowadays weddings are exorbitantly expensive and could cost between R100 000 and R200 000. To plan the wedding of your dreams is a challenge, especially if it has to be done on a limited budget. Forget about keeping up with the Jones’s wedding, do what makes you happy and will suit your wallet!
The best way to save is to rein in your friends’ and family’s talents, and to ask them to lend a hand as their wedding gift to you, and in this way make your wedding more personal, special and memorable.
Kick off with this list:
- Do you know someone who bakes great cakes?
- Is one of your guests a budding photographer?
- Who is handy with a video camera?
- Do you have a friend who could provide great music?
- Is there a family member with a beautiful garden where you could have your reception?
- Do you have a friend who has a talent with flowers?
- Do you know someone who could arrange discount for you on printing?
- Is there a friend with a holiday home that you could lend for your honeymoon?
- Do you have a friend that can do the make-up for you and your bridesmaids?
- Could your friend or best man be master of ceremonies?
- Does your uncle own a vintage car that you could use as the bride’s car?
According to Wikus Olivier, debt management expert at DebtSafe, newly-weds need not start with a load of debt. Olivier shares these handy tips for you to have a special, affordable wedding:
Consider the time of year
You won’t believe how much you save by merely choosing the right day and season for your wedding. People are inclined to marry in the summer; why not make it a cosy winter wedding or choose a weekday or a Sunday? Olivier says you can save R20 000 to R50 000 by avoiding the peak season and marrying in the morning and/or on a weekday/Sunday.
Logistics and venue
Olivier says you can save money by having the ceremony and reception at the same place. You save on transport costs and other expenses. Be on the lookout for special offers during wedding expos as well as advertisements on web pages. Alternatively, don’t look for a formal venue; go through your guest list and rather make use of someone’s beautiful garden.
The wedding cake
Wedding cakes are expensive, but if you really would like to have a cake – keep it small and simple. Instead of a gigantic, elaborate wedding cake, rather order a large muffin tower, or bake them yourself.
Food and drink
Food and drink can make out some of your largest expenditures. Many guests don’t even get to the dessert and in this way a lot of food goes to waste. Rather choose a spit roast reception of even a picnic instead of a three-course sit-down meal. Use a cash bar.
The bride’s make-up and hairstyle
You can always save a few rand by making use of a bridal package that includes make-up and hairstyling for the bride, bridesmaids and mothers. Or get a professional person to do your make-up, while you leave your hairstyle (free) in the hands of a competent friend.
Décor and gifts
Table and reception venue decorations can make a large hole in your budget. Try to keep it simple yet beautiful. Hand-made decorations are a hit and make the occasion so much more personal. The delicious meal, let-your-hair-down dance floor and quality time with your friends and family are the ideal substitutes for material gifts.
Flowers and bouquets
Flowers can be expensive, therefore make sure the flowers you will be using, are local and in season. Consider even using herbs or bark that are great alternatives to flowers. If you really want to use flowers for the church ceremony, what about a few single shrubs instead of a huge bouquet? Olivier says you should be on the lookout everywhere for where you can get flowers and don’t forget about retail florists or flower farms in your area.
Wedding dress and suit
If you like traditional things, consider wearing your mom’s wedding dress. And if it isn’t your style, rather rent a wedding dress instead of buying one which you will never wear again. If you would like to have a dress made, choose lace and material that are affordable. Make a bit of effort and stay away from expensive imported lace. The bridegroom will also save quite a few rand if he rents a wedding suit, or buy an attractive and affordable dinner suit that can be worn again in future.
Invite only those people you truly want to be at your wedding. Nowadays technology is an asset. Send your informal reminder and official invitation by email. For the older relatives who might find it difficult to work a computer – give them a call or make them pretty and affordable invitations yourself.
Ask if they offer discount and if they would throw in some extras if you for example pay cash. Offer to pay a deposit. Suppliers are much more inclined to take a client seriously when they know they have a client who is committed and won’t cancel at the last minute. Get enough quotations and play suppliers off against each other. Just by mentioning that you can get a lower price elsewhere, you can ensure a significant discount for yourself.
There are various things you can do to cut wedding costs. By applying the above tips, you can save a few rand and have a bit extra available for unforeseen expenditures that may arise.