Wedding budget and savings tips
Weddings can be costly affairs, but with a sound wedding budget and savings plan you could afford your perfect day.
Dreaming of a perfect wedding to start your happily ever after? Do it on a budget and you won’t be starting your married life with huge debt hanging over your head. To get it right, you need to put a lot of preparation and financial planning into your big day from today.
When you start adding up wedding expenses, things can spiral pretty quickly. Prices vary considerably depending on the size and location of your event, and whether you’re paying for all or part of it.
HOW MUCH DO SOUTH AFRICANS SPEND ON THEIR WEDDINGS?
Recent research conducted by The Wedding Expo found that most South African couples are spending between R80 000 and R120 000 on their weddings, including their honeymoon, according to Amanda Cunningham, Managing Director of The Wedding Expo.
FINANCIAL PLANNING TIPS FOR YOUR DREAM WEDDING
Here are some key pointers on how you can balance the wedding you want with the wedding you can afford:
1. Review your current financial state
Consider these three questions when mapping out your finances for the wedding:
- How much can you afford to put towards your wedding?
- How much more can you save between now and your save-the-date?
- If your parents or a family member are helping you pay, how much are they contributing? Next, start thinking about what type of wedding you want, including the guest list and ideal venue.
Ideas to save on expenses for your wedding
- Hold your wedding on a weekday or Sunday and save on venue hire costs. Saturday is a popular day for weddings, so not only will you find very few venues available at certain times of the year, but the cost will also be significantly higher than on any other day.
- Avoid peak wedding season and rather opt for a date just before the end of the off-peak period. You won’t have to compromise on good weather or budget-friendly prices.
- Seek out a venue that allows you to bring in your own vendors, such as the DJ, caterer and bartenders. An all-inclusive package may sound cheaper but shop around for quotes before committing to in-house vendors.
- Eliminate multiple venue hire costs by tripling the use of a single location for the ceremony, the reception and accommodation. Consider renting a guest house in an appealing and accessible location.
2. Create a detailed wedding budget
A wedding budget is essential for good financial planning. Structure your budget to list each expense as an individual line item within categories. For example, under the category of ‘photography’, list the fee for a professional photographer, the cost of photo albums and additional photo prints. This detailed approach will help you to identify and account for every expense item.
Two critical components of a good budget include ‘estimated costs’ and ‘actual costs’:
- Estimated costs are rough calculations based on your research and quotations
- Actual costs are the hard costs based on a final invoice
Because many couples begin planning and saving for their weddings many months in advance of the actual date, it is very important to factor price increases into your budget. You don’t want to be in a situation where your savings are based on estimates for venue hire, entertainment and décor, only to find when it comes time to book and pay that prices have risen by 10% to 20%.
Budgeting is an essential exercise that’ll give you a good idea of how much your wedding will cost and will also help you to separate the ‘must-haves’ from the ‘nice-to-haves’. Focus on the key parts of your big day and be prepared to make some compromises.