How to get your dream wedding on a tight budget

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Bridal couple

Weddings bring to mind a beautiful dress, pretty reception and a sparkling diamond ring. But before you walk down the aisle, you may find yourself borrowing money to fund a fairy tale, only to find that debt is killing your romantic day. Your wedding shouldn’t cost you a lot of money. You too can easily budget and set up a solid financial future.

By François Gallet

We have put together a few tips on how to have the wedding of your dreams for less:

Think beyond your wedding. Planning the wedding is only the beginning of your marriage journey – especially because many couples today finance at least part of their own wedding. Talking through your plans should ideally be part of a broader conversation: how you intend to manage your joint financial affairs from your living costs, insurance and retirement plans and provisions for family planning. With the big picture in mind, what you allocate to your wedding can be seen against a greater context of how that might impact the deposit you want to put down on a house. Budgeting with this kind of foresight also means you can choose a wedding date that gives you time to save.

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Talk honestly about money. Financial transparency is the foundation to good communication (and marriage). If your partner is coming into the marriage with a huge amount of debt, you might want to include personal debt protection into your prenuptial contract.

Begin with a budget. With foresight for your financial goals, allocate a total amount to you overall wedding budget. Thereafter, you’ll need to break your budget down into categories and then subsequently subcategories.

Saving tips:

  1. Pick your date carefully as certain months attract higher costs
  2. Avoid a full dinner – brunch, cocktails or even a garden picnic can save you tons.
  3. Be ruthless with your guest list – every guest is a cost.
  4. Be creative with your location. What about a local park or your mom’s yard?
  5. Be careful of out-of-town venues – suppliers may charge transport and accommodation
  6. Show family members your budget – this can curb family ‘demanding’
  7. Offer soft drinks only and guests can buy their own alcohol
  8. Plan in advance, ask for discounts.
  9. Look for gorgeous a second-hand gown
  10. Involve your families and friends – bridesmaids can help with flower arrangements, guests can take cell phone videos (then combine footage to create your own video)
  11. Got an iPod, smartphone or laptop? Put together your own playlist and eliminate the DJ
  12. Go paperless – design free invitations online
  13. Choose a supplier carefully – cheap can be expensive
  14. Use the flowers that are in season or use one type of flower in different vases
  15. Think about what you want your plate to look like before involving the ladies from your society or even the caterer.
  16. Serve your guests the wedding cake as dessert
  17. Borrow jewellery and accessories from your mother or grandmother.
  18. Use the internet to search for best-cost suppliers, but be sure to compare ‘apples with apples’
  19. Skip the wedding favours – make a donation to a charity and share this with guests during the speeches.
  20. Budget for clean-up, breakages and losses, and read your venue contract carefully – these costs should be included.