Whether it’s traditional or western, your wedding day should leave you with memories to cherish for the rest of your life…

Wedding season is upon us and many couples go all out to create lasting memories for their special day

“Getting married is a dream come true for many people, but it can be a costly affair if not properly planned. Most couples want and dream of that perfect wedding but sometimes weddings come in at a high cost, which can create a huge hole in your pocket,” says Ester Ochse, FNB Product Specialist.

Ochse says having a working budget will help you plan for these events. She suggests 10 steps that will help you save for your wedding:

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Step 1: Draw up a budget

A budget template is your blueprint to managing your expenses and enhancing your financial well-being.

Create a budget template that takes into account your daily grocery and home expenses, rent, bonds, health, entertainment and investments. This will give you an overview of where you are financially and where you need to cut down.

Step 2: Refine your guest list

Family is everything, but you may also need to look at cutting numbers to help reduce your wedding costs. Your wedding should be shared with the people you love and care for the most. So ensure that your guest list is manageable on both sides of the family.

Step 3: Look for affordable venues

We have exquisite venues in South Africa and many of them are affordable. Once you decide on your wedding date, book your venue immediately. Consider holding your wedding ceremony at home or outdoors (dependent on the weather). You will be surprised at how your home space can add to the tranquility of your big day.

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Step 4: Lower the catering costs

Get help with your catering from your family or friends, or even look at hosting your wedding at a small quaint family restaurant. Food alone is a costly affair, but if you get the right caterer or restaurant, you can save on food costs and also unnecessary wastage.

Step 5: DIY your invites and decor

You can get an array of décor and invite ideas with the help of social media websites like Pinterest and Facebook. These sites not only give you tips on décor for the wedding, but also provide practical hands on advice on how to be creative and innovative.

Step 6: The wedding dress

You can get a fancy wedding dress if you saved well in advance and have the extra cash, but sometimes brides spend quite a bit on their dresses, only to sell them after the wedding at a fraction of the original cost.

Couples should explore all their options and consider renting the wedding dress instead of having one professionally made.

Step 7: Get someone in your family or a friend to DJ/MC

Hiring a professional DJ is great, but also costly, especially if you anticipate a relatively small number of guests.

The other option is to get a friend or family member who is up to the task and use various apps that allow them to become the DJ. These apps give you the option of adding music and mixing them on the spot which is amazing. All you need is a laptop or iPad, music, speaker and you’re set to go. In addition, a karaoke machine will add much vibe, humour and fun to your special day.

Step 8: Wedding planners

Wedding planners are a good to have, but planning your wedding on your own could be a memory that you live with forever. Wedding planners also come in at a price, so should you want one, you must ensure that you allow for this in your budget.

“In any given situation it’s important to understand the difference between needs, wants and responsibilities. This will help you understand how to better manage your money”

Step 9: The photographer

Today’s smartphones and apps allow any and everyone to become instant photographers. Create a website or rather a Facebook/Instagram page and encourage your guests to post the pics they shot at your wedding. You can download these for your wedding album.

Step 10: The honeymoon

Look at specials and compare prices before booking your honeymoon. Besides international destinations, look at local places in South Africa too. If too costly, postpone your honeymoon to off-peak season when prices have been reduced.

“In any given situation it’s important to understand the difference between needs, wants and responsibilities. This will help you understand how to better manage your money. Follow the 10 steps to save for your wedding to ensure that you don’t over burden yourself financially when it comes to planning your or a family members wedding,” concludes Ochse.