STICK TO THE BUDGET!
HAVE A SUPER DAY without breaking the bank.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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!