A client recently e-mailed me the below question…
Q: I recently asked my long-term girlfriend to become my wife. Thankfully she said YES!!! I’d like to start saving up towards the big day. Do you have any advice for me on what to consider and how to get started?
Here’s my answer below. I hope it helps you too.
First comes love, then comes marriage and then paying for the wedding. There’s a reason no one writes fairy tales about the latter. Your wedding is probably the priciest party you’ll ever throw in your life. It’s easy to say you’ll stick to a budget, or have tons of fabulous DIY details, but at the end of the day, your venue and catering bill could amount to way more than you imagined.
Weddings are such a personal event that you can’t really use one person’s wedding budget as a guide for your wedding. Each person values certain aspects of the wedding differently, making each wedding and its associated costs as unique as the couple being wed. In my opinion, the best way to go is to spend money on those things which are most important to you and find ways to save on the areas which aren’t as important. You can have a beautiful wedding without breaking the bank. You can save a lot of money by involving friends and family, booking in advance, seeking specials, being creative with scheduling and substituting more expensive options for less expensive options, etc.
Always remember you’re the customer holding the purse-strings. Those bridal stores, florists, caterers, limousine companies and reception halls really want your business, so make them work for it! Let them know you’re shopping around to find a good price for the items you want for your wedding and ask for a written quote. The prices will start to come down when they know they’re competing against other companies for your business.
Perhaps the best piece of advice I could give would be not to go into debt for a wedding. I understand that weddings are one of the most important days you will ever have but starting married life in debt is an added pressure newlywed don’t need. It’s more important to have a day where you can relax and have fun and enjoy the moment without having to worry about having the debt hanging over you for months or years to come.
If you have a big budget goal that seems daunting, divide it into smaller chunks that are easier to digest. Take the sum of your desired budget and divide it by the number of months you have to save up. Getting married in a year with a budget of R200,000? Divide R200,000 by 12 (which equals about R16, 667 per month). If that amount seems like too much per month, add more time or try cutting back on a few of your big-ticket monthly expenses to help you save.
That’s literally how simple planning financially for a wedding should be.
There is a growing trend in couples living together before getting married. If that is your situation, then perhaps the fastest and easiest way to save for your wedding is to live on one salary. If you’re already a two-income household, you can live on one salary and save everything from the other until you reach your goal of paying for your wedding. This isn’t a perfect situation and may not always be possible, but it’s a whole lot better than paying for the wedding with debt, and then spending years paying them back afterward.
Where the money will be saved or invested will be dependent on your timeline, but you should typically look for vehicles that prioritise capital protection over growth, such as our enhanced money-markets account. The last thing you want is your wedding day looming over the horizon and not being able to access the funds due to short-term negative market movements posing a capital-loss threat.