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Wedding Budget

Tips on working out your budget – not including    the wedding gown or any other clothing

How I wish I did not have pour icy reality on your dreams with the ugly subject of money.  When planning an affordable wedding most couples, (not you, of course) don’t realize that the very first step is not finding a venue or deciding on a colour scheme,  it is about knowing what they can afford, who is going to pay and when the money will be available. Once that is sorted, all else falls into place. It’s called ‘managing your expectations’.

1. Any good wedding service provider needs to be booked months in advance and expects a 50% deposit to confirm a booking. Why such a high deposit? Well, there is a limit to what they can do in a day – usually a Saturday – and  brides and grooms are notorious for having a row and cancelling their wedding at the last minute (not you, of course). So you can’t book anything until you pay a deposit up front. Most couples have the mistaken notion that they can spread their expenses, well, you can if you start many months before, but if your wedding is less than 6 months away, you will need money up for  those deposits, so you might have to get an advance on your bonus.

2. Food cost per head. Go out for a 3 course meal or whatever you visualize for your wedding. The cost of wedding food could vary from R140 to R450 per head, unless you order buckets of KFC drum sticks or pizzas. Hey, we are not knocking fast food! A breakfast or lunch menu with lots of vegetables is usually cheaper than roasts. Sea food it the most expensive – even at the coast.

 3. Venue hire. Many don’t charge a venue hire but include it in the food cost, which would be higher than usual, perhaps R350 per head. Many venues charge a venue hire fee of between R3 000 to R15 000. An affordable venue in South Africa  usually includes tables, chairs crockery and cutlery.

4. Marquees. Don’t go this route unless you have a large budget. Marquee weddings are more expensive than weddings in a venue because you have add on a venue hire fee (unless it is on the beach) and then hire everything from a generator for the lighting and sound to portable toilets. For example the cost of a marquee that is large enough for 140 guests costs at least R10 000 and a floor is R12 000.

5. Beach weddings It is possible to have a lovely beach ceremony but our coastal weather is unpredictable, so there must be a plan B in case of rain like a tent on the beach or roofed venue nearby, so take this into account. You have to make the decision at least 3 hours prior to the ceremony so that chairs can be moved. For a beach wedding the minimum you need to hire includes chairs,  chair covers, bridal  arch with a few flowers, rose petals to make it look pretty, registration table then of course somebody has to deliver, set up and clear away. Budget at least R7 000 depending on the numbers. The there is the marriage officer, music and sound system, so it might be a little more. See our beach wedding packages

5. Photographic basic packages depends on your photographer.  Affordable photographic packages can range from R3 000 depending on the number of hours and if you want a photo CD only. It gets more expensive when you add hours and the photographer pastes prints into an album for you (cheaper to do the pasting yourself). Coffee table photo books are more expensive than having a traditional album. Cost of videographer could be R7 000 upwards. If your venue is out of town, a traveling cost and accommodation will be added. You will need to feed your photographer and videographer and perhaps 1 or 2 assistants, so add that to your food cost.

6. DJ. R4 000 to R8 000, this includes the sound system. You will need to feed the DJ and assistant if he has one.

7. Marriage officer or your priest/minister. The marriage officers we use, do all the paper work to make your marriage legal, no matter where you get married and that is about R2 000. Usually the marriage officer leaves before food is serviced.

8. Décor and flowers for the ceremony and reception. This includes the hire of vases or candelabras, candles, flowers, and overlays. Most tables seat 10 so divide the number of guests by 10. Now decide what you can spend per table on a centre piece, flowers and perhaps a gift for the ladies. The more flowers you have, the more expensive it will be. The average centerpiece is between R300 to R700 per table, depending on the vases and flowers that are used. Fancy silver candelabras are cheaper than vases.  If you want to upgrade what the venue offers and hire classy glasses, crockery and cutlery that will add to the cost per table.  Decide on a figure that you can afford.

9. Draping is expensive and charged by the running metre (width and length of the venue) and if you want to create a specific effect with all walls and ceiling fully draped, including chandeliers and/or fairy lights, of course, it is going to be costly. Some venues require very little draping while others need lots to bring your theme alive. Check your budget and then decide if you can spend money on draping. Alternativley choose a better looking venue.

Per head Take all the above costs into consideration and estimate your TOTAL spend per head. It is musch cheaper to elope, see our wedding packages

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