By Jyoti Singh

For brides- and grooms-to-be, the current economic situation may seem dire, particularly if you are funding part (or all) of your wedding yourselves. It’s not all doom and gloom, though.

Common sense, and a few handy budgeting tips can see you through the lean times and ensure that you and your guests enjoy your special day.

Here are a few tips:

1. Before you set a budget, make sure that you understand how budgeting actually works

This sounds self-evident, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t really understand what the concept involves. If you have just got engaged, it is worth speaking to your financial advisor about the dos and don’ts of budgeting. Ask their advice and relay any concerns you have.

It is better to have a limited budget than to spend thousands of rands you don’t have by accruing vast amounts of debt (and interest) on credit cards, or by having to rely on loans.

WIN a R 2,000 Woolworths Voucher

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

2. Cut that guest list

While this may seem impossible when you are trying to please family members and maintain peace while you finalise your venue arrangements, that final number really counts.

Venues usually expect you to have a solid idea of how many guests will be attending up to two weeks before the big day. They are quite unforgiving after that – you will not usually be refunded if you have last-minute cancellations.

The trick is to keep the number of guests to a minimum right from the start.

Besides, intimate weddings don’t have to mean cutting your budgets on everything – in fact, they can often leave you with spare cash to spend on things that really matter to you and your future spouse.

3. Visit wedding expos and trade shows with a plan in mind

Wedding expos often see couples walking around like a deer caught in the headlights. Don’t be overwhelmed – plan beforehand by deciding what you really need to find bargains on. Go in with a checklist and get those items ticked off before you think about looking at anything else.

Don’t beat yourself up about deals you could have been cheaper at the expo if you have already settled on another venue or suppliers. What’s done is done – focus on getting the rest of your wedding organised.

4. Get your own quotes

Don’t just take a vendor at their word. Do your homework and shop around for quotes. For example, if you are really set on getting particular flowers for your big day, find what when they are in season then approach flower wholesalers to find out what they have in stock, and if a particular colour will be discounted at the time of your wedding.

You don’t have to micromanage everything, but you should at least have a rough idea of how much things cost so that you can have alternative options should your Plan A not pan out.

5. Winter weddings can be beautiful

Winter weddings are becoming more popular because of the often massively discounted prices you’re offered over the ‘low-season’. And it’s not just venue hire you’ll save on – everything is a lot cheaper: décor hire, honeymoon accommodation (if you’re planning a local getaway), and favours are all options you can look at.

An added bonus is that suppliers and venues usually give you an extra discount if you get married on any day but a Saturday.

The bottom line

Be mindful of your spending habits and cut your costs by being as sensible and practical as possible.

Do you really want or need a three-tier designer fruit cake replete with marzipan (which hardly anyone likes anyway), or will a scrumptious home-made chocolate mousse whipped together by a friend’s mother do the trick?

When in doubt, ask yourself this question: In two, five, or 10 years’ time will the decisions you make now impact you significantly? Spend your money, time, and energy on what really matters to you both.

Congratulations on taking this next step in your life, and good luck!

About the author

Jyoti Singh is the Director of Notable Communications (Pty) Ltd. She is passionate about supporting people succeed in furthering their relationships – professional and personal – through the power of language. Connect with her on LinkedIn: or follow her on Twitter: