You’ve met the love of your life, lobola has been paid and your dream wedding is about to become a reality. Except for one thing: your tight budget. As part of turning 2024 into 2020MORE, here are ideas on how to stretch your wedding budget.
Weddings can make us all go a little mad. Once you start planning, you keep discovering wonderful things you feel you can’t do without. Before the wedding-planning train runs away with you, you have to think about the money.
Start by reminding yourself of WHY you are getting married. If the reason is to impress your friends and family, or to blow up the internet with your fabulous photos, then you obviously have to spend the money. But that’s not why most couples tie the knot. We get married to show our commitment to our partner, to celebrate our love, and to officially start a life together. When you plan your wedding with the WHY in mind, it might help you to keep the spending under control.
Now let’s look at tactics to make more of the money you have set aside for your wedding.
- Once you’ve drawn up a budget, identify what aspects are most important to you and allocate funds accordingly. For example, if having an extraordinary venue is a must, be prepared to adjust your budget for other areas, like decorations or the dress.
- Consider having your wedding during the off-peak season or on a weekday. You will be amazed at how much cheaper venues are in winter or during the week.
- Do your own decorations or flower arrangements, or ask a talented friend to help.
- Trim your guest list to include only those people you really want at your wedding. If you feel pressure to include your wider community, simplify the catering to keep costs down.
- Keep a detailed record of all expenses, from vendor payments to minor purchases, to stay on top of your budget.
- Don’t hesitate to negotiate prices with your suppliers, especially if you’re booking multiple services with the same person or company.
- Use budgeting tools or apps to manage your money efficiently and stay organised.
- Regularly review your budget to see if it needs to be adjusted.
If, despite, your best efforts, you end up with a shortfall, ask yourself these questions before you take out a loan:
Do we want to start our life together with debts to repay?
For most of us, the answer is no. However, there might be circumstances that change your answer. For example, your joint income will make the loan affordable, or one or both of you will be starting a new job soon and earn a higher salary, which will make it quick and easy to repay the wedding loan.
If your answer is no, you have to either postpone your wedding until you have saved enough to pay for it, or you have to scale down your plans so that the event becomes more affordable. Remember, you always have a choice.
If your answer is yes, the next question is:
How much debt can we afford?
The answer to this question is your budget planner. If you already budget monthly and keep track of your expenses, you will know exactly what your position is and if you have any dispensable income you can use to repay a loan.
If you don’t have a budget, track your expenses for a month or two before you decide what you can afford. It is vital to fully understand your financial situation before you commit to a short-term loan.
In order to afford your wedding, it will probably be necessary to cut down on some non-essential expenditures, such as daily takeaways or driving your car needlessly.
Where do we get a loan?
Once you start shopping for a loan, you will be spoiled for choice – but don’t rush your decision. Many companies offer loans online and promise instant approval. While this sounds great, these loans can be extremely expensive and land you in a debt trap from which it is difficult to escape.
You should only do business with lenders who are registered financial services providers. They are bound by the regulations that were put in place to protect consumers, which means they will not give you a loan you cannot afford. Working through a responsible lender can take a bit longer, but a wedding is not an emergency, so take your time and avoid becoming a victim of reckless lending.