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5 ways to save on your ‘I Do’s’

By Danielle van Wyk

White orchids, soft classical music provided by a four-piece orchestra, and you - gliding towards your husband-to-be in a floor-length lace gown that you may never want to take off.

This is the dream, right? But it can turn into a nightmare if you don’t have the desired budget.

The average cost of a wedding these days can rack up anywhere between R200 000 and R400 000. This is more than some students’ tuition fees for the entire four-year span – just for one day!

Fair enough, if you have the money to spend, it’s a dream. But if you don’t, you could be having sleepless nights about what is meant to be your happiest day.

Here are 5 ways to have your white wedding without getting into the red:

1.The venue: Arguably one of the biggest expenses when it comes to a wedding. The venue sets the tone for the day and conveys the couple’s personality. This is also one of the very first decisions made when deciding to get married. For some women, the decision is made even before being proposed to and they may already be saving. For others, the eye-opening realisation of venue fees only occurs once they start shopping around.

Marriage - as they say - is all about compromise, but this needn’t start just yet. You can still have the venue of your dreams, if you consider the following tip:

Plan your day during the off-peak season, typically May – August and consider hosting your wedding during the week. Guaranteed this means you’ll pay less. It might be more convenient over a weekend, but can you afford it? Visit your venue and discuss with their events personnel how they can accommodate you and your budget.

2.The reception, food and drink: Often - no matter the amount of effort you put into your flower arrangements or how beautiful the speeches are - all people really talk about is the food. This leaves you wanting to impress. While the venue may woo you with talk of lamb shanks and gourmet cheeses, the best way to save on food and drink is to provide your own.

The idea may be overwhelming but enlisting your friends and family who are able to assist may be the way to go. The trick here is to ensure that you don’t overextend yourself with complicated fare.

If you don’t want to serve a sit-down meal, consider serving appetisers or executing a pop-up food market. This will see you spending less but will also earn you coolest-couple points. Also, consider bringing your own liquor, beer or wine if the venue allows. This enables you to buy it from the wine farms or vendors in bulk and save.

3.Entertainment: Hiring a musician or band definitely adds to the ambiance, but can you really afford it? Instead, consider asking a friend or hiring a student musician to perform. In this way you’re both giving someone a chance and saving. You can also consider hiring a DJ to play all the music items.

4.Flowers: One of the sneakiest expenses when it comes to planning any wedding are flowers. You start out with a peony rose here and an orchid there, and before you know it you’re spending a good R50 000 on floral arrangements. However, if you are frugal, you can cut your flower expenses down to the stem, so to speak.

Be aware of the types of flowers you choose, what’s  in season and where you buy it. Locally sourced flowers tend to add another dimension to your décor and could be cheaper.

Also think about how you can repurpose them throughout the wedding.

5.Wedding photographer and videographer: Having someone to capture the moments of your special day is a must! When all is said and done you would want memories to look back on and enjoy. Unfortunately, this can become extremely expensive.

Consider saving by hiring someone who is just getting started in the industry or who shoots weddings as a side-gig. They typically tend to charge less as they may still be building their portfolios.

When saving for anything, planning and discipline is key. The same applies when it comes to saving for and on wedding expenses.

Giving your guests a wonderful experience as they share the day with you is important. But, ensuring you and your spouse’s happiness and enjoyment is even more vital.

This means that you preferably shouldn’t be stressed out by all the money spent come the big day. Neither should you be seeing dollar signs every time you bite into an overpriced piece of cake.

You were smart about your choice in life partner, be smart about your money too!

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