Congratulations on your engagement! Before you mentally plan the wedding of the season, take some time to consider a financial plan for your big day. Leozette Roode of SAWeddings.co.za says couples often have fanciful ideas for their wedding day but fail to consider the full cost implications.
You can opt for a long engagement while you save up the necessary funds or set a budget based on the savings you have already accumulated. For example, if you know that your wedding will be in three to five years time, a unit trust investment would be a good savings vehicle to use.
When you are planning the actual wedding and honeymoon, make use of a good online budgeting tool such as hitched.co.za to keep track of your money and where you are spending it. Hitched.co.za includes a wedding budget planner which allows you to set up a custom-made budget plan that you can update as you spend or allocate money. You can also create a to-do list and keep track of any important appointments ahead of the day.
Before you start planning the wedding, chat to your partner about how much money you are both willing to spend on this once-off event. Be realistic about what you can and can’t afford. This chat should include your spending priorities. For example, you might prefer a small wedding and reception with an expensive honeymoon in an exotic location. Or the bride may want to spend less money on flowers so that she can have enjoy the luxury of a limousine service. Take the time to research entertainment and scout out venues. Word-of-mouth recommendations are great if you can get them.
A bride and groom have a million things to keep track of. Roode offers the following tips:
If you are not sending it electronically, set aside enough money to post your save-the-dates and invitations. Take your stationery to the post office to get it weighed so that you know how much this is going to cost you per invite.
Wedding guests should always be considered unpredictable. Too often guests forget to RSVP, bring an uninvited plus-one or surprise you on your big day even though they said they would not be attending! Costs rise exponentially with each extra guest. Consider asking a friend or family member to follow up with all the invited guests that have not RSVP’ed two weeks before the wedding.
Gown alteration and preservation: It is important to confirm whether alterations are included into the price of the dress or, if not, to get a quote from your local seamstress for last minute take-ins. Remember to include the cost of dry-cleaning services after the wedding day.
All too often a wedding runs late or the bridal party wants the reception to continue a bit longer. In both cases it is important to know whether your vendors charge an overtime cost. Factor this into your budget.
Read your invoices properly and always confirm with your service providers if VAT is included into the final cost.
It is always nice to tip staff when you receive excellent service. Check if the gratuity is included in the package or cost-per-head bill.
Accidents happen and it is important to include wedding insurance in your budget. Also remember to budget for your marriage license and the cost of drawing up prenuptial agreements.
Choose flowers that are in-season to keep your florist costs down.
If you really need help but the budget is too tight, consider using an on-the-day co-ordinator rather than a full on wedding planner service.
Winters in South Africa include sunny days. Consider a winter wedding. You will be surprised at how much you will save in costs and venue availability is less of a problem.
If you take the time to create a financial plan for your wedding, you can have the big day of your dreams without breaking the bank.
SA Weddings is an online wedding guide where brides-to-be, industry professionals and wedding enthusiasts can browse for ideas, trends and wedding specialists to plan a dream wedding. Visit www.saweddings.co.za