The lawUMK “How To Guide” For A Budget Wedding

So many of my friends are tying the knot this year and no better way to contribute than to share with them from my recent experience. Weddings do not need to be an expensive exercise – rather, save your breath for the first night and your cash for the long marriage that commences once all your guests have departed.

For all those out there who have found the right partner and are worried about the marriage question simply because of cash, here are some points that can help you take that leap:

1. WEDDING PLANNER: The issue of a wedding planner is not to be debated. YES you need a wedding planner, and he/she doesn’t have to be the talkative, book-carrying, fast-talking and ‘seriously passionate about pudding’ person… NO, it could be your sister/brother, a close friend or even YOU….yes YOU. You could be your own wedding planner. The cost saver here is to choose someone that will not charge you an arm and a leg. Good wedding planners cost R10,000 and up. You do not have to spend that much. Look around your Facebook friend list for that friend who is always throwing a party and someone who pays attention to detail. then make that person THEEE person.

2. THE GUEST-LIST: Be honest with yourself, you cannot invite the entire village to your wedding. Once you have set a budget for the wedding, invite those who you feel will make the day very special for you and then stop there. Make sure you explain to the rest of your friends that you are running on a budget. The cost saver here is you are limiting the catering cost per head by reducing your list to only the people you consider your VIPs. Also remember you do not have to invite in couples, if you know her very well but not her new boyfriend, invite her alone and tell her you are trying to save cost.

3. THE INVITE: Gone are the days where people gave face to what your invite looked like. There are great invites, but there is nothing like a bad invite. Quit it, save the trees, send out an email invite. Don’t worry about those sneaky people who would think you are cheap, they shouldn’t be at the wedding in the first place. Get one of those your wannabe graphic designer friends to hook you up with a mean looking wedding invite on email. The cost saver here is that sending emails are way cheaper that printing paper invites.

4. THE VENUE: Look for all inclusive venues – by all inclusive, I mean venues that provide both a chapel for the ceremony and an open hall for the reception. A nice garden in the venue will be a plus as it saves you the burden of driving to the Union Buildings to take pictures. Research shows that 80% of couples in PTA took their wedding pictures at the union buildings. QUIT IT – you will not get a tax reduction. The logistics of moving people from the church venue to the union buildings and then back to the reception hall is just not worth it. The cost saver here is the stress of traveling around town on your wedding day. Don’t inconvenience your guests, have everything done in one place.

5. THE PHOTOGRAPHER: Weddings are lovely and memories are good but an average photographer will charge you in upwards of R8,000 for a full wedding package. Trust me, most of these so called professionals are not any better than that your friend from high school who always took the group pics. Now is the time to look for that friend who loves photography and convince him/her to pull through. Get more than one photographer and practice your shots days and weeks before the wedding until you are completely satisfied. Give the final shots to that graphic designer friend of yours to help touch up the pics. After all, what are friends for.

6. THE FOOD/THE DRINKS: Leave this one to the professionals. Food poisoning is a reality. If you combine this with point 4, the saver could be that you get an all inclusive price for venue and food. Look at the packages offered and select what suits you best. As for drinks, soft drinks, toast champagne and juices can be provided, however alcohol should be paid for by guests requiring it. Provide a cash bar, nobody should get drunk on your pocket.

7. THE DRESS: To hire or to buy??? These days the cost of hiring nearly mirrors that of sale… my advice is to go the cheaper route, why? simply because you only wear the dress once. Even if you remarry (heavens forbid) you tend not to wear the same dress from a past wedding… Get it??? Don’t worry about designing a cinderella dress, someone has already made your design, spend time shopping around and find that perfect dress for your special day. Same thing applies to the guys.

8. THE DECOR: Good flowers are expensive and cheap flowers stink. Look for other ways to beautify your reception and wedding venue – go on the internet, research, research, research….and SAVE.

9. THE CAKE: Refrain from copying the 7 tier cake you saw on that celebrity wedding. YOU WILL DIE BROKE. Nothing wrong with a one tier cake. Who cares!!! People don’t really remember how ugly a cake looked, just make sure it tastes good.

10. BE WISE & NEGOTIATE: Nothing quoted is final, be ready to negotiate all prices DOWN and deal with suppliers who allow for negotiationS. Yes you will look like a cheapy, but you will be debt free after your wedding.

The most important thing is to cut your cloth according to your material in hand. Anyone who tells you a “wedding is an investment” is lying to you, nothing you spend on a wedding is coming back to you (except your breakage deposit). Rather a small (in-budget) wedding full of love than an extravagant affair that ends in 72 days. A wedding is a party not an investment. BE WISE

Don’t forget to share these tips with your own friends tying the knot soon


Follow @lawUMK


About Lawrence Umukoro

Lawrence Umukoro is an entrepreneur and producer who has a passion for business and producing theatre, film and live events. Mr Umukoro was born in Nigeria and educated in South Africa, Australia and the USA. He is proud to be a graduate of Edith Cowan University Australia with a B.Eng (Hons) in Electronics and Communications Engineering. He may be reached at



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