People, these days, complain about how expensive Nigerian weddings are. However, what a lot of people don’t realise is that weddings don’t have to cost so much and this doesn’t mean settling for second best either. With a few clever ideas, you can have the wedding of your dreams for less, which is even more important in the current economic climate.
BUDGET!!! BUDGET!!! BUDGET
A good starting point is to consider how much money both of you have already saved and then deciding how much you want to spend on your big day. Giving up a few unecessary expenses such as ice sculptures, etc could make a massive difference to your budget. Use a spreadsheet to list and prioritize all the different elements for your wedding and how much you’ve set aside for each.
Wedding budgets are often broken into 12 main parts
- Bride price
- Ceremony (Imam, priest, registrar)
- Reception (venue, caterer)
- Attire (wedding gown, tuxedos, bridesmaids and groomsmen outfits)
- Decoration and flowers
- Wedding Rings
- Beauty (Hair, makeup, pedicure, manicure, spa treatments, etc)
A lot of people do what I call reverse budgeting, which implies making notes of your costs as you go along. This doesn’t help at all as you stand the risk of overshooting your budget and at that time it would probably be too late to ask for your money back. If you’re planning an introduction, engagement, and white wedding, consider which one you want to focus on and channel most of your resources to it.
For a lot of things, you don’t usually need all the money upfront immediately your wedding plans kick off. Many of the main costs such as venue, caterers, florists, etc will only require deposits; the balance would not be due until about 6 – 8 weeks before the wedding day itself. So this gives a little bit of extra time to gather up your savings. A slightly longer engagement is also a good way to give you more time to save. Be realistic with regards to wedding costs; you know what you can afford so there’s no point planning anything bigger.
TRY LESS POPULAR NAMES
For those who want popular suppliers – makeup artists, event managers, etc, you had better be ready to pay big cuz they don’t come cheap. Instead of going for a high end supplier, try someone who’s new to the market. New entrants are normally easier to negotiate with as they are still building their clientele. A lot of these new starters have worked with big names and know the industry well so they’re not necessarily inferior. However, make sure you do your homework – research and view portfolios, take time out to get testimonials of people they have served before.
ALL INCLUSIVE DEALS
A few companies now offer all inclusive deals, which can offer you a lot of savings in the long run. It also saves you the stress of having to deal with 10 – 20 different suppliers. You’d only have discussions with one person, which makes life easy.
Some couples seem to think when they negotiate, it is an indication of their present economic situation. This is utter rubbish. If you can negotiate with a hawker when you’re stuck in traffic, why can’t you do the same with a supplier. The fact that you’re in an air-conditioned room does not mean you’ve left 9ja!!! Couples can make extra savings by looking for deals. Think of it this way, the company needs your money therefore if they’re really serious, they should be prepared to offer you reasonable discounts, offers, all inclusive deals to help you out. Normally, the more you spend with them, the higher the percentage of discount they’re normally able to offer. A lot of wedding venues offer discounts simply to fill up their bookings for the year so don’t be afraid to negotiate, it’s not a crime
WED OUT OF SEASON
Getting married on a Saturday is obviously more popular and therefore is bound to be more expensive. You could opt for a weekday wedding if you think your guests won’t mind taking the day off work but avoid Christmas and special days such as Valentines Day, when prices will be much higher.
ASK YOUR FRIENDS TO HELP
Friends and relatives, most times, are usually more than happy to help you prepare for your big day. They may also be willing to get involved on the day too. If your friend’s brother plays in a band, or your aunt bakes great cakes, this is the time to call in the favors. The key word here is making sure they are reliable enough to deliver on the day. If your friend/family member is a car dealer or he/she drives a posh car, ask if you can use their car for the day.
DIY (DO IT YOURSELF)
You can also save by doing a lot of things yourself. Be creative and put your stamp on your day. For instance, instead of paying a printer to design and print your wedding invitation cards, design it yourself and just pay to get them printed. Some people have actually started resorting to electronic invites, which isn’t a bad idea. Everyone’s on Facebook/Twitter these days, so save yourself the cost of printing more IV’s and paying for postage. Your IV is pretty much useless after the day so why waste so much money on it.
KILL A BIRD WITH TWO STONES
This is really for the bride… Rather than ordering home service for your pedicure/manicure before your big day. Why not organise a girly night out/your hen do at a posh salon. Home Services tend to cost more than if you had the same service in store. Again, don’t forget to negotiate. Chances are the store will be more open to offering discounts because of the number of customers you have brought them. While you’re at the salon, why not request makeovers as well for your bridesmaids; a lot of beauty salons will offer this as a deal or even give it free of charge. Tell your bridesmaids to pay attention to the makeup routine and have them recreate this on your wedding day. That will save you having to pay for their makeover.
Remember your wedding is one day, your marriage will/should last a life time… Don’t begin your lives together in debt. This is the quickest route to disagreements, fights, quarrels which might lead to a strenuous marriage or even DIVORCE