There’s more to married bliss than a fancy wedding
Getting married in South Africa is an expensive business. Accurate numbers are hard to find, but depending on which wedding planner you talk to, the costs could be anywhere from R70 000 to R130 000 for 80 to 100 people.
This, of course, just covers the wedding. Not the rings, the honeymoon or lebola.
To make matters worse for the starry eyed couple, the bride’s parents coughing up for the nuptials and the groom’s family picking up the drinks tab seems to be a waning tradition. Increasingly, it’s the people getting married who end up financing their wedding.
For a young couple, starting out in life, with little in the way of savings, there may be few options other than eloping, postponing the wedding until they can afford it or taking a loan.
Unsurprisingly, for many, applying for a loan for a wedding may be the most appealing option.
The application process is usually quick and straightforward and as long as you meet the requirements regulated by the National Credit Act, the money can be available within 24 hours of approval.
Although getting a loan may be the only way many young people can afford a wedding, it’s important to think beyond the joy of the wedding day. Remember after all the guests have left, you will still need to pay back the loan and financial difficulties can put a lot of strain on a marriage.
Work out a budget. How much can you afford? Use a loan calculator such as the one found here to determine what your repayments will be. Once you know how much you can spend you can then plan accordingly.
Only once you have your budget should you start thinking about how to spend it. Do you really need a designer to make a dress that you’ll wear once, or could a good seamstress make you something beautiful? Do you really have to invite everyone from the book club?
Think about the things that are important to you both and concentrate of these rather than showing off or trying to please family and friends.
The two of you could even decide to make a vow that you will not exceed your budget. It’ll be a good test of how committed you are to keeping your vows and may help to settle disagreements about how the money is spent.
There are no hard-and-fast rules to wedding budgets, but the major cost will be the venue hire, food and drinks which will comprise around 50% of the budget. Other costs include dress and accessories; photography, music, flowers and décor; and invitations and table dressing. Each of these will make up between 10% and 15% of the costs.
Remember to leave a reasonable contingency of at least 15% for unexpected costs.
Although planning and budgeting may seem to be the least romantic aspect of your wedding, you’ll love each other for having done it for the rest of your married life.