Avoid these 10 bud­get blun­ders when you tie the knot

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ARRIED friends and cou­ples on ­so­cial me­dia agree – some of their wed­ding ­ex­penses weren’t worth the cost. We spoke to wed­ding and event plan­ners Aleit Swanepoel from The Aleit Group and Minda Maritz from Blush ­So­ci­ety about how to avoid money mis­takes ­sur­round­ing the big day.


Have a bud­get – the ­most you can spend – then break it down and don’t leave any­thing off the list be­cause it will come back to bite you.

In­clude op­tional items if you have money left over when the must-haves are paid for.

Sites such as and wed­ of­fer bud­get plan­ners. Record your spend­ing with apps from the Ap­ple and Google stores, such as Wed­ding-Happy and Wed­ding Plan­ner by the Knot.


It usu­ally costs R300 or more per head for a ba­sic meal ex­clud­ing drinks, Swanepoel says. By invit­ing 100 guests in­stead of 150 you’ll save R15 000. The more ­ex­pen­sive the price per head the more you can save by cut­ting your guest list.


Choose a smaller cake. You pay about R1 000 a layer, so save up to R2 000 by re­duc­ing the size of your wed­ding cake, Maritz says.

Many cou­ples serve the wed­ding cake as dessert so it does dou­ble duty. If the cost of dessert is R80 a head you’ll save R8 000 if you serve your cake to 100 guests.

If you have a friend who’s a good baker, ask whether they’d make your cake as a gift if you pro­vide the in­gre­di­ents.


Hav­ing a wed­ding dress made can be ex­pen­sive. De­pend­ing on the de­signer and fab­ric, it can cost ­be­tween R10 000 and R100 000. Hire a dress, Swanepoel sug­gests. The cost de­pends on the lo­cal ­ser­vice providers, but it’s usu­ally be­tween R2 000 and R8 000.

Or sell your dress ­after­wards. Maritz re­calls a bride who had a dress made for R18 000. She sold it for R11 000 on­line af­ter her wed­ding so she ended up spend­ing only R7 000 on her dream dress.


A wine farm can cost R140 000 for 100 guests over the week­end. Have your wed­ding at an un­con­ven­tional time, for in­stance in the week or dur­ing win­ter, Maritz ad­vises. This can save you about R10 000.

Morn­ing wed­dings can be 50% cheaper than an evening af­fair. Not only the venue, but the food will cost less as you won’t serve a three-course meal, and peo­ple tend to drink less or no al­co­hol in the morn­ing.

Re­search venues in your area. You can pay around R56 000 for a venue that in­cludes a three­course meal for 100 guests – much less costly than a wine farm.


They’re beau­ti­ful but present two prob­lems – the postal ser­vice can be un­re­li­able and printed cards are pricier than e-cards. Printed cards with match­ing en­velopes can cost up­wards of R30 each. Add R4,20 postage for each and 100 in­vi­ta­tions would cost more than R3 400. If the in­vi­ta­tions are big­ger, the postage in­creases.

Web­sites spe­cial­is­ing in in­vi­ta­tions pro­vide a cheaper and more eco-friendly way to send them and re­ceive the RSVPs.

Costs vary but a per­son­alised page show­cas­ing your in­vi­ta­tion could start at around R600.


It’s tra­di­tion to have small gifts for wed­ding guests. But the prac­tice is fall­ing out of favour with the bud­get-­con­scious.

If you put down bot­tles of dessert wine at R60 a head it will cost R6 000. Rather save this money and opt not to do it at all.


Choose blooms that are in sea­son and grown lo­cally. A king protea is about R35 in sea­son, but out of sea­son costs R80-R95 a stem.

Bou­quets and flower ar­range­ments for the oc­ca­sion can eas­ily cost R35 000, but if you buy the flow­ers your­self, you can save up to 40%.

A florists can charge R10 000 or more for their ser­vices. Ask a friend if they can do the flow­ers for you to cut this cost.


Do you re­ally need your guests to in­dulge in a puff of foam or a ­Mas­ter Chef-in­spired jus? Chances are they wouldn’t want to any­way. Keep your menu to sea­sonal food or stick to old favourites that can feed small crowds eas­ily.

Buf­fet meals are also cheaper than plated. You can save R50R100 a head be­cause you don’t have to use as many wait­ers.

Con­sider seek­ing out lo­cal small busi­nesses whose prices will prob­a­bly be more favourable than those of fancy cater­ing com­pa­nies. Ask friends or col­leagues or check out your lo­cal Face­book groups for rec­om­men­da­tions.


Cou­ples of­ten un­der­es­ti­mate the cost of a wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher, which ranges from R12 000 to R85 000. If you have a pho­tog­ra­pher friend, ask whether they’d be will­ing to of­fer you a dis­count or the ser­vice as your wed­ding gift.

Photo booths are pop­u­lar, but charge on av­er­age R8 000 for seven hours. Rather use tech­nol­ogy and cre­ate your own hash­tag for so­cial me­dia, Maritz says. Ask your guests to up­load their pho­tos with this hash­tag.

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