We all know how expensive weddings can get, especially with the eye-catching pictures we see on social media these days. In a way, it is understandable. After all, a wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so most people want theirs to be picture perfect. However, marriage is forever, and you shouldn’t really start off broke.
The question is, where do you start to draw the line between having your dream wedding and not going broke? This is what I think: Before you start looking at wedding inspiration posts, put down your thoughts on what exactly you want. Yes, a picture-perfect wedding is nice, but whose picture are you looking at? Putting down your own vision will help you not to get caught up in other people’s ideas of what a wedding should look like. Once you have done that, there are a few other things that will help you with planning.
Make a List
No matter how much money you have at your disposal, if you don’t make a list, you’ll find yourself spending beyond your budget. The first step in budgeting is creating a list and deciding what items deserve to stay and which need to go. After pruning the list, you will have to decide how much should be spent on each item.
Opt for an intimate proposal
Since a proposal kicks off the journey to the wedding, we’re going to start with it. Guys, you don’t have to go all out for a proposal. A proposal can also be an intimate affair. If you want to go public, it can be a simple dinner.
You don’t need flash mobs, fireworks or 99 iPhones to let your lady know how much you look forward to spending your life with her. You’re supposed to know what type of proposal she’d like and figure out a way to make it work within your means.
If she likes public proposals (“public” meaning with family and friends), you could plan a dinner or outing that won’t break the bank. One way to kill two birds with one stone is to propose at her birthday party or yours. Your friends and family will be there and there’ll be food, drinks and a festive atmosphere.
An intimate proposal cost much less than a public one. For this, you can cook her a meal, go out on a picnic, take a walk…anything. We’ll share more proposal ideas in other posts, so look out.
Simple pre-wedding shoots
We don’t know exactly when it happened, but pre-wedding shoots have become a major thing. We understand if you feel you need to have one because others are doing it, but it’s not necessary. It’s great to want to let your social media friends know you are engaged, but there’s no harm if you can’t afford it.
However, if you absolutely want a pre-wedding shoot, you could hire a (just one) photographer to take nice pictures of you and your spouse. It could be in a studio or on a day out. You can have a wonderfully conceptual shoot that doesn’t involve elaborate things like horse-drawn carriages and trips to Paris, or even makeup artistes and costumes.
Hint: a good photographer knows how to work within minimalist concepts.
Take on most of the planning
This almost seems taboo now, but it wasn’t long ago when people did most of the planning by themselves. Instead of hiring a wedding planner, you can, with the help of a few close friends, coordinate the plans and vendors by yourself.
Only do this if you have the time and energy though. If you don’t, find a wedding planner who isn’t averse to small budgets, and work closely with him or her. The best part of hiring wedding planners is that they have good relationships with vendors and can get you discounts you can’t get yourself.
Embellished invitation cards were the pre-wedding shoots of the past—they were a classy way to people let others know they were getting married. With technology, there’s almost no reason why you should have an actual, physical invitation card.
Between emails and IM platforms where you can just upload a digital invite for your intended guests to access, you are covered on inviting guests. If you want to stick to tradition, you can print some cards to distribute to a few people, like the old school grown-ups. The point is, there are cost-effective ways of inviting people to your wedding.
These days, there are so many ceremonies, it’s hard to keep track of them. There’s the engagement/introduction, registry wedding, traditional wedding, and church wedding. There’s no reason why two or more of these events can’t be merged to happen the same day. For example, you can have your traditional wedding early (only close family need to attend), and your church wedding on the same day.
Cut down the guest list
As a Nigerian, it might be difficult to avoid having a large wedding because it’s not just your wedding, it’s your families’ too. Your uncle’s wife’s cousin must make an appearance and they will bring their friends. Heck, your primary school teacher whom you haven’t seen since you were 6 may come with her family. Alright, stop.
Throw away your first guest list and think hard about this: do you really need all those people there? A large wedding means a big hall with more food, more drinks, more furniture, more cutlery, more plates, more tumblers (you get the idea). Again, think hard about this.
You can invite your close family members, friends and colleagues, and manage the emotions of everyone else. The truth is, even if you invite a thousand guests, some people will still get left out, so why not just do what is best for your pocket?
Planning a wedding on a strict budget doesn’t mean you’ll have a tacky or unimaginative wedding. Think of it as a chance to come up with a chic, minimalist concept that’ll have folks say ‘wow’. Block out the chatter of social expectations and do only what you absolutely want to do!