Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Guest Guru: 15 tips to planning a wedding on a budget part 1

This weeks guest Guru post is going to be split into two ... thats right two! After reading Tamlyn's post full of amazing idea's I thought it was only fair to split it so that none of the information got lost :)
Meet today's Contributer , Tamlyn from Jade and Jasmine.
As with our Previous Guest, Tamlyn and I go way back (cough *highschool* cough) . We lost touch over the years but thanks to facebook and a common love of wedding planning we've reconnected.
I hope you enjoy what she has to share with us :)
Fifteen Tips to Help You Plan That Dream Wedding on a Budget
When Emma first approached me about being a Guest Guru on her blog, my mind ran rampant!  What would I write about?  How could I possibly take all the ideas in my head and distil them down to one solid topic?  Then it came to me, like a frying pan to the face – brides-to-be don’t need more real wedding inspiration, or advice on creating the perfect 80s-inspired neon palette (what is happening to the wedding industry!?).  What more and more brides are asking for is advice on stretching that budget to cover everything their trend-loving hearts desire.
At the risk of sounding overly vain, I am especially well-placed to give this particular advice.  Not only am I a qualified wedding planner, but I just recently planned my own 80 guest wedding for just R65,000, while carrying a bouquet of roses and lilies down the aisle in my custom-made, lace wedding gown.  If that sounds too good to be true, I assure you it’s not. And there is absolutely no reason you can’t do it too. Here’s how.
Once you’ve set your budget, stick to it!
The most beneficial thing you can do when planning your wedding is be honest with yourself about how much you have available to spend on your big day.  If you can’t afford a lavish event with three hundred guests, don’t have one.  I assure you, you don’t need it.  When setting your budget, bear in mind that the average wedding will set you back R1,000 a head overall, so if you’re planning on having eighty guests (which, for the sake of this article, you are), you’ll need to budget around R80,000.  Inversely, if you have a budget of R60,000, you’re looking at a guest list of about sixty.  Have a frank chat with those involved with paying for the wedding, usually your parents, and decide who will be responsible for what.  This will help you establish how much of the final amount you will have to come up with yourself.  Don’t let all these big numbers set your head a-spin, keep calm and breathe!  And remember - people do this every day!
Be strict about your guest list!
If you’ve decided on 80 guests, stick to 80 guests.  Catering is calculated per head and, on average, your catering with comprise half of the total cost of your wedding!  So be picky about who you invite to share in the celebrations.  Be honest with your friends and family – if you have a great aunt or uncle that you never see, it’s not expected of you to invite them.  The same goes for friends you’ve lost contact with.  Your friends and family will understand that you need to keep your guest head count low – and those that don’t are simply not worth the time. 
Consider catering!
The trend nowadays is toward an afternoon wedding leading up to a grand, three-course dinner in the evening.  And it is entirely do-able on a budget!  But for those of you who need to trim down the numbers even more, consider alternative catering styles.  Perhaps opt for a morning wedding with a hearty brunch, or a classy cocktail reception for a younger, fun-loving crowd.  If neither of these is to your taste, consider a buffet rather than a plated meal.  Replace the starter course with finger foods to be enjoyed with the welcoming drinks, and serve your wedding cake as dessert to cut costs even further. 
Opt for a cash bar!
Okay, I can hear you all screaming “but it’s not the done thing!”, and I respectfully disagree.  Consider this: many venues will ask for a down payment of a set amount per head – sometimes as high as R250 (to be generous).  That means that before your guests have even cracked open that first bottle of wine, you’ve shelled out R20,000 – not conducive to staying within that budget!  Especially if you have those two or three guests who will milk the open bar for all it’s worth.  (I’m sure you’ve already come up with a few names as you read that.)  A nice compromise is to have certain drinks paid for, and a cash bar thereafter.  Consider maybe a bottle each of red and white wine, a bottle of champagne for toasting, and a jug of juice available to each table, and let your guests pay for their own drinks thereafter. 
Be creative with your wedding cake!
If you’ve started shopping around for that all-important sugary symbol of happiness, you’ll know that you’re unlikely to get away with anything less expensive than R3,500.  If this leaves a sour taste in your mouth and your jaw on the floor, don’t fret, just make a plan!  If you have a friend or relative who is a particularly good baker, why not ask them to help out?  Or visit your nearest home industry store and pick a pretty cake you can embellish with a few fresh flowers.  Simple! 
You don’t need that trendy, expensive venue!
Open Google, type in “wedding venues”, and watch the results pour in!  But as you read more, you realise that there is no way on this blue earth that you’ll EVER be able to afford that lavish venue!  Again, breathe.  Just because it came up on the first page of results, doesn’t mean it’s the only option out there – keep looking!  Many venues now offer reduced hire costs, or no hire cost at all.  All they ask is that you use their catering service.  Sound too good to be true?  I assure you it’s not!  The venue hubby and I chose for our wedding cost us nothing to hire, and included all tables, chairs, linens, cutlery, crockery and glassware.  All we paid was our catering price per head and a ten per cent service charge which covered our wait staff, set up and clean up.  So keep looking!  If you can’t afford the lavish venue, you don’t need it!
Consider your wedding date
If you have your heart set on a lovely Saturday wedding, be prepared to pay top dollar for your venue and service providers.  It is officially the most expensive day of the week to get married.  Prepare to pay even more if you’ve chosen a date in wedding season (for South Africa that would be September – February).  If you have your heart set on a specific venue or month, enquire about weddings on another day of the week.  Thursdays, Fridays and Mondays are becoming increasingly popular.  Many venues also offer winter specials, so take advantage of these if you’re not fixed on a season.
I hope you enjoyed part 1 of Tamlyn's advice!
come back Friday when we'll look at the rest of her tips:) in the mean time you can check out her blog here
Tamlyn please feel free to grab a button from the sidebar and thanks again for sharing your knowledge with us!


  1. Great tips! I could have used these in February when I got married. I found you on Blog Hop Social and am so glad to be following you. Love your blog!


    1. Thanks for Stopping by Katie :) always nice to 'meet' new people!


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