STICK TO THE BUD­GET!

HAVE A SU­PER DAY with­out break­ing the bank.

True Love Bride - - Bride | Diet - By Katleho Khoaele

With your big day fast ap­proach­ing, you sud­denly re­alise you need to bud­get care­fully. Fret not; fi­nan­cial plan­ning needn’t be stress­ful if you know what you want and stick to your bud­get.

In fact, you can have the wed­ding of your dreams with­out break­ing the bank, turn­ing a “stress­ful” process into a breezy walk in the park.

So, think about the kind of wed­ding you want, then set up a re­al­is­tic bud­get for it. Pri­ori­tise ac­cord­ingly. Also, do thor­ough re­search be­fore com­mit­ting to a venue or buy­ing your dress and rings. You don’t want to be still pay­ing off your wed­ding debt five years af­ter the event.

GUEST LIST

Draw­ing up a guest list and fine-tun­ing it will de­ter­mine more or less how much money you’ll need.

While it’s won­der­ful to have hun­dreds of friends on Face­book, it’s not nec­es­sary to in­vite all of them to your wed­ding. There is also no need to in­vite all your col­leagues and dis­tant rel­a­tives you haven’t seen since you were five.

Ac­cord­ing to Pre­cious Tu­misho Tham­aga, CEO and founder of Pre­cious Cel­e­bra­tions, be­fore draw­ing up your guest list, think about who you want to see (or at least recog­nise) in your wed­ding photos many years af­ter your big day.

This will help you de­cide who should be there. “Re­mem­ber, the guest list can in­crease your ex­penses. It’s your wed­ding and you should celebrate it with loved ones and close friends,” she says.

Pre­cious cau­tions that peo­ple should not be in a hurry to get mar­ried if they can’t af­ford it. She says sav­ing for your wed­ding is the best thing to do. “I’ve had clients with big ideas and plans, but they ended up run­ning out of funds. It’s not a good ex­pe­ri­ence.”

VENUE AND CATER­ING

One of the most ex­pen­sive things on the list when plan­ning your wed­ding is the venue. But you don’t have to spend a for­tune. You can still find an af­ford­able and suit­able venue if you plan ahead. Re­search dif­fer­ent venues to see what’s on of­fer. You can qual­ify for a dis­count if you book in ad­vance or dur­ing low sea­son. “You need to be smart when choos­ing a venue, be­cause it can re­ally break your wal­let. Most venues of­fer spe­cials for win­ter wed­dings, so have your wed­ding in win­ter and save,” says Pre­cious. You can also re­duce costs by hav­ing the cer­e­mony and re­cep­tion at the same venue. Try ne­go­ti­ate a dis­counted rate.

Pre­cious says to “choose a place

that also of­fers cater­ing. It’s im­por­tant to make sure that they serve de­li­cious food be­cause you shouldn’t be in a sit­u­a­tion where you’re pay­ing good money only to get sub­stan­dard ser­vice and food. Your guests have made an ef­fort to be at your wed­ding and your gift to them should be a de­li­cious meal. You can also opt for a buf­fet and a cash bar to min­imise the costs.”

THE DRESS

Most brides look for­ward to buy­ing their wed­ding dresses. It’s no se­cret that wed­ding dresses are costly, but you can still find a rea­son­ably priced one if you shop around. “A lot of peo­ple think hir­ing a dress is a lot cheaper than buy­ing a new one, but that’s not nec­es­sar­ily true. There are many op­tions avail­able to you, and one of them is buy­ing a dress with the aim of selling it af­ter your wed­ding,” says Pre­cious. Also, keep an eye out for deals at bridal chain stores. There’s also a trend of wear­ing two dresses – One for the big day and the other for the night. If this sounds like your style, Pre­cious sug­gests you buy a dress for your cer­e­mony and hire the other one for the re­cep­tion, or save by buy­ing a “two-in-one” dress.

RINGS

It’s only nat­u­ral to want to splurge on your ring. It’s also tempt­ing to ex­ceed your bud­get on this one, so ex­er­cise con­trol when it comes to buy­ing rings. “It’s easy not to over­spend on wed­ding rings when you know the real rea­son you’re get­ting mar­ried,” says Pre­cious. “There are a lot of tal­ented free­lance jew­ellers that you can buy from. Most im­por­tantly, their prod­ucts are a lot cheaper. But you must get feed­back from for­mer clients first,” she ad­vises. As much as you want to show the whole world your rock, re­mem­ber that it sig­ni­fies some­thing deeper than a mere or­na­ment on your fin­ger. Set a price for your ring and make sure you stick to it. Some jew­ellers have sea­sonal sales through­out the year, so keep an eye out. Be wise and use your ne­go­ti­a­tion skills to get a bet­ter deal.

PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Nat­u­rally, you want per­fect pic­tures that will cap­ture ev­ery gor­geous mo­ment as it un­folds on your big day. A pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher should take your wed­ding pic­tures. Do not set­tle for any­thing less than per­fec­tion on this one! Ask for re­fer­rals from friends and fam­ily, and book the pho­tog­ra­pher in ad­vance. “Good pho­tog­ra­phers are usu­ally booked a year in ad­vance as they are highly on de­mand. They also don’t come cheap. But the truth is, you can’t com­pro­mise on good pic­tures. If your bud­get per­mits, hire a photo booth where you and your guests can have fun cre­at­ing spe­cial mo­ments.

EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

What’s a wed­ding with­out get­ting down on the dance floor? We live in the age of tech­nol­ogy, which means you don’t have to hire an ex­pen­sive live band when you have some­thing as sim­ple as an iPod. Save money by com­pil­ing a playlist and play­ing it through your iPod. Play­ing your own mu­sic cre­ates an in­ti­mate vibe. If you don’t want to play mu­sic from your iPod, you can hire a lo­cal DJ. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your pool of well-spo­ken friends or rel­a­tives if you need some­one to be your em­cee for the day.

THE CAKE

You’ve dreamt about that soft red vel­vet cake with a sweet, creamy coat­ing – but it doesn’t come cheap. It’s a chal­lenge to find a rea­son­ably priced cake, but if you shop around and ask friends for re­fer­rals, you’ll no doubt find some­thing within your means. Think about the size and shape to help you de­ter­mine how much it will cost. Choose a square cake, as you’ll be able to serve more peo­ple. You can also save by choos­ing a menu that does not in­clude dessert, and then serv­ing your wed­ding cake as dessert. Al­ter­na­tively, in­stead of hav­ing three op­tions for dessert, have two and in­clude serv­ing your wed­ding cake as the third op­tion, ad­vises Pre­cious.

FLOW­ERS

Flow­ers add a mag­i­cal and en­chant­ing el­e­ment to your wed­ding. But re­mem­ber that the cost of flower girls and brides­maids’ bou­quets, cen­tre­pieces and over­all decor also doesn’t come cheap. The more outof-sea­son the flow­ers are, the more ex­pen­sive they will be. To re­duce costs, don’t or­der many dif­fer­ent kinds of flow­ers. Pre­cious sug­gest opt­ing for a min­i­mal­is­tic flower ar­range­ment but still cre­at­ing an in­ti­mate at­mos­phere. You’ll be amazed how far a lit­tle cre­ativ­ity can do to make a good set­ting a great one. Re­mem­ber not to be hasty when mak­ing de­ci­sions, and don’t try to do ev­ery­thing at on

TIPS

Don’t waste money on un­nec­es­sary gifts for your guests. Stick to your bud­get and avoid loan­ing if pos­si­ble. Pri­ori­tise and spend money on the im­por­tant things like cater­ing and a make-up artist. Don’t over­spend on liquor and other ex­penses you haven’t planned for. Re­mem­ber, it’s about the ex­pe­ri­ence of the bride and the groom, pe­riod!

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