Planning a wedding in the new year? Here’s how you can avoid the financial headache

Couples should avoid getting caught up in the wedding planning because they could be spending more money than they originally planned to. Picture: Freepik

Couples should avoid getting caught up in the wedding planning because they could be spending more money than they originally planned to. Picture: Freepik

Published Dec 25, 2023


The wrong way to start a marriage is with massive debts hanging over your head, according to John Manyike, head of Financial Education at Old Mutual.

Manyike said that wedding vendors don’t mention that paying for everything starts the day after the wedding, which is when the financial headaches begin.

“Seeing a R20,000 wedding dress and bespoke tux gathering dust in a closet can be unwelcome reminders of decisions made hastily and at a high cost,” Manyike said.

Money stresses can also lead to divorce courts, a hard fact that was confirmed in 2019 when a survey in the same year found money problems as one of the 'top 10' reasons for divorce.

Taking all this into account, people planning to marry should be realistic and realise that Hollywood-style weddings to impress guests should not be the primary reason for throwing a lavish party

Manyike offers people planning a wedding the following advice:

– Having a longer engagement and setting a wedding date in the future gives you enough time to save money. This also means that you will have a nice bank balance, which can give you a great start as a couple.

– Weddings should not be opportunities for family reunions; you can reduce the guest numbers by inviting the people you really want to celebrate with.

– Choosing the right time or day of the week you want to get married can reduce the cost of a wedding. Manyike suggests that couples schedule things earlier so the arrangements are more straightforward and catering costs go down. Even choosing to get married on a Friday or Sunday will save money.

Manyike said that people can save 15% or more on wedding costs by moving the nuptials from the peak wedding season to a quieter time.

Traditional wedding vs white wedding

Manyike said: “When a decision has been made to have both a traditional wedding and a white wedding to celebrate a marriage, scheduling them both to take place on the same day and having one celebration will keep that bank balance looking better.”

– An informal ceremony and a wedding tea can be as memorable as dinner if the venue is carefully chosen.

– Having the wedding at a simpler venue lowers the cost. Doing some of the work for the wedding means that your hard-earned cash is not going to pay for bartenders and fancy fittings.

– When choosing between hiring outfits, which is cheaper, and bespoke outfits, people need to keep in mind that designer outfits can set you back thousands. Manyike said that renting a gown for a few hours makes sense and leaves enough budget behind to buy stunning new outfits to start married life in.

– When thinking about the decor for your wedding and how much money you are willing to spend for that part of your wedding, you should remember that simple is also tasteful.

– You need to think carefully about photographs and videos. Getting the best prices means asking around, inspecting portfolios, and comparing prices. If you want a wedding video, think about how often it will be looked at.

"The bottom line is that, like most personal financial planning, everything begins with a budget. The difference with weddings is that a little imagination can stretch a budget and make it go a long way,“ Manyike said.

IOL Business