Important to budget carefully for your big day

By Wonga Time of article published Feb 14, 2020

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As early as the 14th century, Valentine’s Day has been dedicated to the celebration of romantic love and each year couples clamber to get engaged or married on the significant occasion.

John Lennon famously sang that money can’t buy love, but for those who are planning to make the ultimate commitment this Valentine’s Day, it’s worth their taking a step back from the thralls of passion to consider whether they are prepared for the financial commitment associated with getting hitched.

“It may not be the most romantic notion, but it’s important to budget for your big day,” says James Williams, the head of marketing at Wonga, which has three tips to help couples ensure they’re financially prepared to get married.

1. Make sure you are aware of the costs. The average cost of a wedding in South Africa is more than R70000 and this doesn’t include the costs associated with getting engaged or starting a life together. For example, there are a number of costs that have to be considered ahead of the wedding itself, such as buying an engagement ring or paying lobola.

The typical budget for an engagement ring in South Africa is about R20000 and lobola payments usually range from about R10 000 to R100 000, with the average groom paying about R60 000. Luckily for him, a portion of this cost is usually used by the bride’s family to fund the wedding.

2. Decide who is paying for the wedding and how much they can afford to spend. Traditionally, the bride’s family foots the bill for the nuptials, but modern couples are increasingly taking on some of the financial burden, with over two-thirds contributing to their own big day. This can be a slippery slope, and many couples take on debt to manage the expense.

“Money problems are a common cause of marital discord and taking on too much debt can be detrimental to your relationship as newly-weds,” says Williams.

It is advisable to speak about the costs and have a good understanding of who is paying for what. This will allow couples to put together a realistic budget based on what they, and their families, can comfortably afford. From this, they can start allocating costs towards things such as the venue, entertainment, décor and food.

3. Create a wedding budget and stick to it. It’s useful to use a budgeting tool such as the Wedding Budget Planner available from This will help couples to keep an eye on their spending and avoid hidden costs that might force them to go over budget.

A wedding is only the first step in a couple’s lifelong journey together, but many people get so caught up in the excitement of the day that they forget other important expenses that they might incur once they are married. Whether it’s travelling or starting a family, cash in the bank helps couples to create a life together. Therefore, when they’re budgeting for the wedding, people should be sure to keep some money aside for their ongoing financial wellbeing.

“Saving money on your wedding could mean having enough to pay the deposit on your first home or start planning for a family. Your dream wedding should not come at the cost of your financial wellbeing or your future plans as a couple,” says Williams. 


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