Debt-Free Weddings

John Vaughan (Financial Advisor) @ Lucid Living

Getting married is not only one of the most stressful events in your life – it’s also one of the most expensive.

If you’re really short of money, the sensible thing to do is to get married at the Department of Home Affairs and have a nice lunch with your family afterwards. After all, it’s not really about the day but about the years ahead. But we know that very few brides will be convinced by that argument – so we’ve found some cost cutting hints for the big day!

• Choose an unusual time – many venues are more expensive for Friday and Saturday nights – but if you get married on a Thursday night, or have a brunch, you might find that the venue is cheaper. If you’re having an open bar, people might drink less on a week night or at a breakfast.

• Choose a site that comes with everything – People think that it will be cheaper to have a wedding in their own backyard – but once you’ve hired a marquee, chairs, tables, linen, crockery, cutlery, sound system, paid for flowers and catering, plus all the usual costs of a wedding, you’ll find that the whole exercise has been much more expensive!

• Borrow
– Whether it’s your wedding dress, your veil or fabulous vases for the tables – there is no shame in borrowing. After all, the traditional requirements are “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” And trust those of us who have been there – you never use that dress again!

• Have a small wedding – There are only two ways that you can avoid offending people – a very small wedding, or an enormous wedding. Anything in between, and you’ll offend the people that you don’t invite. Limit the number of guests that your families can invite, and invite your nearest and dearest. Explain to people like work mates that you are having a very small wedding reception, but that they are welcome to come to the ceremony if they want to share in your day.

• Combine traditional and civil ceremonies – one of the greatest money drains for South African couples is the trend of having two weddings. Have your celebration at your traditional wedding, and do the civil thing quietly.

• Think out of the box for your dress – look at vintage clothes shops (like the fabulous ones on Jan Smuts Ave in Craighall Park) or look for used dresses in the classifieds and on the internet.

• Skip the wedding favours – most of us throw away those little sacks of coloured almonds the moment we get home – what a waste of money! Skip the favours or double them up – have an arrangements of African violets as your centre piece and let each couple at the table take one home; have beautiful name cards using s momento photo of the couple which people can take home – the ideas are endless.

• Avoid a ridiculous cake – decorate your favourite chocolate cake with fresh or fake flowers for a cheap and delicious alternative.

• Have friends take photos – use the expensive photographer for a few photos of the wedding party, but ask as many friends as possible to bring cameras and take pics of the guests and the reception – you’ll have a fabulous selection of shots!

Your wedding day should be one of the happiest of your life – but if debt and bills are looming thanks to your excessive wedding, it puts a damper on your marriage. So be sensible, and compromise on a dream day in order to have a dream life.