Last updated on Jan 21st, 2015 at 06:02 am

There’s no doubt that everyone wants to make their ‘special day’ one to remember. 

Wikus Olivier, debt counsellor at DebtSafe says that while we often try to mirror the lavish weddings of our celebrity idols, weddings can lead to a mountain of debt, often taking longer to settle than to acquire.

“Planning a wedding is a big commitment for those who have decided to take that next step. Wedding costs can easily spiral out of control – attire, rings, entertainment, invitations, a venue and honeymoon costs all adds up.” 

Olivier offers the following 12 practical tips to ensure couples don’t get ‘knee deep’ into debt or overspend while planning their wedding:

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1.     Work out what you can afford and what you have to spend

“Before you start planning your big day, sit down with your partner and discuss what both of you can afford. Determine how much each partner can contribute toward the wedding. Traditionally the parents also contribute to the wedding fund. Speak to everyone who might contribute to the wedding fund to determine how much you will be able to spend on the wedding. Be open and honest as this will allow you to establish the financial end goal.

“The financial end goal will differ from couple to couple. Whether you require x amount of cash for a venue in Cape Town, or a few thousand for a horse and carriage to chauffeur you, acquiring quotes will make you aware of how far both of you still need to go until your goal is reached.”

Wedding budget (2)

2.     Decide exactly what you want and list it in your budget.

“Draw up a budget with a complete list of wedding items. Insert two columns. One column for cost estimation, and the second column for the actual cost. The first column will serve as the initial projections of the wedding costs. Once you receive quotes you can compare it with your initial projections. This will determine if you can afford that specific item. Some items will be less than you initially projected, while others will be more. The trick is finding the balance and deciding which items you can compromise on.”

3.     Visualisation

“Visualise the whole event step-by-step, write down what will happen from the moment you wake up on your wedding day, up until the time you leave the wedding. Visualising the detail will enable you to see how things are going to be on your big day. This will help you decide where you can opt for cheaper alternatives. Plus, it will also help organise everyone assisting you on the day. Limiting mistakes and bloopers could save you money.”

4.     Shop around for competitive quotes

“Contact multiple providers and compare their prices. When having your wedding in a metropolitan area you should consider getting quotes of providers outside the city’s boundaries. Close-by towns or areas offer many, well established professionals, without the big city price tags. Just double check their portfolio and references to make sure you get the best service or product.”