Planning for your wedding

A wedding is one of the most memorable life events. It is also one of the most expensive. You want it to be unforgettable, but you don’t want debt that will take the shine off of those honeymoon years.

Some costs start even before the big day, arguably with the engagement. Engagement rings are seen as symbols of commitment, of a love shared, or of a promise of forever. While it carries with it a lot of emotional meaning, it also carries a pretty hefty price tag. But is it worth it?

According to some experts, a diamond engagement ring is not an investment. Its value does not increase, and with the huge mark-up, especially on branded rings, you will actually lose money. And you will never recover your money should you wish to. The value of a diamond is mostly psychological, and a manufactured one from an impactful ad campaign, the sentiments of which have lasted a few decades since. If a diamond ring is a non-negotiable though, consider using an independent designer. They will be able to advise or suggest ideas based on what you are prepared to spend.

When it comes time to plan the big day, start by agreeing to three elements that are important to both you and your partner. Allocate more funds for these and cut back where possible on the rest.

It’s hard to pin down an average cost for a wedding as there are so many variables, including different cultural traditions. If you do plan on getting married soon after the engagement, say between 6 to 12 months, it might be best to start saving using in a short-term savings plan. It’s a more flexible option that will give you easier access to cash for up-front deposits and bills. You’ll have a fresh list of expenses when setting up your new life, so you will want to carry forward as little debt as possible.

Your budget will also be guided by the type of wedding you decide on. A court marriage, which actually happens in a Home Affairs office, is free and can be booked four months in advance. A church ceremony can be inexpensive, too.

The real expense is the reception. According to local wedding planners roughly 50% of your budget goes towards the venue and catering; 10% for wedding outfits and accessories; 15% for photography, music, flowers and décor; 10% for the cake, invitations and table gifts. They also suggest adding a further 10 – 15% of your wedding budget to cover unforeseen costs.

You might want to also bump up the photography budget to hire a professional to get the important shots. The pictures will be a big part of how you remember the day.

The price of venues vary a lot depending on things like date, season and location. Make your own decisions as a couple and don’t let family or peer pressure land you with an event you can’t afford. It’s your day, after all.

Price of venues

The price of venues vary a lot depending on things like date, season and location. But start with R40 000 and work out your spread, then look for ways to reduce. For the rest, make your own decisions as a couple and don’t let family or peer pressure land you with an event you can’t afford. It’s your day, after all.

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