SAVE, BUDGET, CELEBRATE AND MARRY
From saving for your big day to compiling a wedding budget, here’s how to make the right financial decisions for your nuptials
Make the best financial decisions ahead of your big day.
HE’S proposed, the family negotiations are done and the engagement ring is sparkling on your finger: the time has come to plan your dream wedding. By starting well in advance, you can save yourself lots of tears and, of course, sky-high expenses. “A wedding is a project which should be treated with respect,” says Kgomotso Ndungane, wedding coordinator at Oak Celebrations.
Even the most simple wedding celebration can set a bridal couple back quite a bit. Here is a comprehensive guide to follow so that your big day isn’t spoiled by financial concerns.
Start planning your financial life well before the wedding. Think about your priorities and decide, for example, whether a big wedding is more important than buying a house. Even just half of the cost of the most inexpensive wedding will grow to become a deposit for a property.
Open a savings account and save for your wedding. If you want to invest money for only a short period, a money market account usually offers a better interest rate than a normal savings account.
Talk to each other Discuss your dreams, feelings and ideas about your ceremony and reception. Draw up a list of things you want and your priorities. Recognise both partners’ parents and discuss things with them. This list becomes very handy in drawing up your budget. Compile the guest list The number of guests you invite affects your venue, catering and budget. Distinguish between acquaintances and friends, close and distant family relatives. Budget It’s normal not to know the costs involved in a wedding. But weddings are like everything else in life; several options are available. “It’s extremely important to set a budget first,” says Kgomotso. “It is every wedding’s sore point.” However, decide what yours is and be comfortable with the amount. Options Every budget also comes with options. Decide what are essentials and what are luxuries.
Who pays for what? Are you as partners paying or are both your parents contributing? Decide on an amount that everyone’s comfortable with.
Set realistic expectations Be realistic about what you can afford and disregard what’s out of your reach.
DRAW UP A BUDGET
Decide on an amount Create a work sheet (Excel works well) with three columns. Enter your budgeted amount in the first column, your actual expenses in the second column and the difference between them in the third column. Create a provisional budget Write down each expense and keep your budget updated.
Unforeseen expenses The more fixed your budget, the more important it is to reserve extra money for unforeseen expenses. An additional 15 % of your budgeted amount gives you flexibility. Research Do your homework: get at least three quotations for everything. Accept Compare your quotations and decide which suits your budget. Accessibility Keep your budget in a place where you can see it, like on your fridge. The bride and groom should both have copies.
Alternative options Consider getting married during the week, on a Friday or in autumn or winter. Summer weddings are more expensive.
Drinks Avoid an open bar. Provide a few bottles of wine for each table, but guests can pay for their own drinks. Wedding planner “Brides often plan with friends and family without seeking professional help to save costs – unfortunately it ends up costing them more than if they’d consulted someone for advice,” says Kgomotso. A good way to stay within your budget is to call in an expert. A wedding planner can save you money and time. They know competitive suppliers and prices.
Promotions Look out for out-of-season special offers at venues.
Honeymoon Include the cost in your budget. It’s quite an expense and you want to spoil yourself.
Debt Don’t (don’t!) get into debt in order to have a flashy wedding.
Loans Don’t take out a bond on your property, use your credit card to its limit or go into overdraft to pay for your wedding. If you borrow “just” R50 000 on your home loan account you’ll pay back twice the amount in the end. Investments Under no circumstances dig into your retirement funds, unit trusts or investments to pay for your wedding. The importance of the venue “The best place to start when budgeting is your venue. Most of your budget will be spent here. Once you have a venue, you will know what they offer and their requirements, and you can take it from there,” advises Kgomotso. A more formal venue could make you think you have to fork out more on décor to go with the formal atmosphere. Costs per head for food and drinks could also be more. Not all venues offer alternatives to plated dinners, which could be more expensive. Make sure your venue rental is included. Is there a minimum limit for the bar? Are cutlery, chairs and tablecloths included? Are the costs of waiters included? Small extra costs like these affect your budget. Legal costs Include this item in your budget. It’s for drawing up the antenuptial contract.