Many weddings are ludicrously expensive and are sometimes just a big show to flaunt your wealth (or the bride’s parents’ wealth, that is). But here in laid-back KZN, staying unpretentious and keeping affairs intimate and unique is what we’re all about. So here are some top tips to avoid bankruptcy this wedding season.
- If you’ve ever watched “Say Yes to the Dress”, you’ll be familiar with the exorbitant cost of a wedding dress — even the simplest gown can come with a ridiculous price tag. But fear not! We north-coasters aren’t ashamed of grabbing a good deal. Before selling one of your organs or taking out a small loan, try looking for pre-owned wedding dresses, which can be found online or at many thrift stores. There is also the option of hiring a dress for the day, or you could wear one from a family member and claim sentimentality rights. If you’re a non-traditionalist, you can shop for dresses that are not exactly for weddings per se, but can pass as such. And, let’s be honest — no one ever asks where the dress is from or who made it! Looking and feeling good is the most important thing.
- Photographers can also be pricey and, although it is important to support the arts and your creative friends, sometimes you have to be honest to your budget. Instead of hiring a photographer, you can arrange an intimate photo booth and borrow or organise a selfie light so guests can snap their own photos. And, of course, it’s a great way to keep them busy. Rather than booking a photographer for the whole day or night, you could look into hiring one for some time after the wedding, when you can re-stage the day with the people who are most important to you — and since it’ll only be for a few hours, it’ll be a fraction of the fee. The added plus is that there’ll be no pressure to speed through the photo shoot; so you can go and enjoy the reception yourself.
- We’ve also thought about how you can have your cake and eat it too. As soon as bakeries read “order for one wedding cake”, I’m sure they cackle evilly to themselves while they hike up the cost. My point is that everything intended for weddings will always have that extra dollar sign attached to it. Why not scout through your loving and generous family if any of them are willing to do the honours of baking the cake for you? If they’re anything like my grandma, who is a whiz in the kitchen, they’ll feel honoured. I remember watching her laboriously moulding and painting each individual marzipan seashell for my sister’s beach-themed wedding. Plus, it will taste like homemade goodness —mmmm! Or, even simpler, you can stack two of Château Gâteaux’s freshly-frozen decadent cakes on top of each other and decorate them yourself.
- A “Just Married” vehicle? Forget the limos of the early 2000s or other fancy, expensive cars. This century is all about “cool”, “quirky”, and getting more for your buck! Drive off with your soulmate in your uncle’s vintage Jeep, or disappear into the sunset on horseback. If you’re cycling fanatics, ride off on a tandem. The options are endless and the more creative, the better!
- The venue can be the most expensive part of your special day, so if your budget doesn’t allow you to book an expansive hall overlooking the glistening ocean or a lush valley, or whatever you would like to background your walk down the aisle, there are plenty of options to downscale. For example, getting married in a family member’s or your own garden is an inexpensive way to still keep the ceremony looking and feeling like a fairytale. This could also mean more in the budget for decorations or additional flowers, etc. Besides, there’s no place like home, right?
There are also a plethora of wedding-planning and décor jobs you, or even your friends, can do yourself. You can make your own table décor or wedding invitations (or just use email and save paper, time and money). You can hire a family-owned restaurant to do your catering, or use your own speaker set and aux cable as a DIY DJ! It all depends on where you are willing to cut costs and where you want to inflate the budget a little. Have fun, be creative, and embrace the unpretentiousness that is you!