Most couples planning their ‘Happy Wedding’ have one thing common – STRESS. Your wedding planning should be an enjoyable process, so we’ve looked at why and how stress can be reduced. Here are the top 3 keys that we’ve found will help you to have a Happy Wedding… and if you can keep practicing these in your marriage, you are more likely to have a happily ever after…

Key 1 – Budget: control your money

Do you know how much your wedding will actually cost?

Before you even start planning, decide what you want as well as how much you are prepared to spend on this one day.  Set your expectations accordingly.

A few facts:

  • The average wedding in KZN in 2016 cost around R120000 for about 100 guests.
  • Most people spend 15-20% more than budgeted.
  • Many people plan their wedding without having a budget and end up in debt.

How much should you allocate to each category?

Here is a guideline, but you need to decide what is more important to you and if you want to emphasise one aspect and spend more in one area, you will obviously need to reduce expenses elsewhere:

  • 45-50 % of your total budget for the ceremony and reception
  • 8-10 % for flowers
  • 5-10 % for bridal wear – dresses, suits
  • 6-8 % for entertainment/music
  • 10-12 % for photo/video
  • 2-3 % for stationery
  • 2-3 % for gifts
  • 8 % for a wedding planner/miscellaneous items.

It’s also advisable to allocate an extra 5-8% for surprise expenses – they are likely to happen and it’s better to be prepared. Remember honeymoon expenses too.

A few things to consider regarding the total cost:

  • The number of guests – the more guests you have, the higher your costs will be. Not only will you be paying extra per head for food and drink, but your flowers, sound, stationery and hiring costs will increase too.
  • Date and time – Some venues offer specials during winter or for mid-week weddings. Evening weddings tend to cost more.
  • Wedding setting and style – a formal event in an upmarket venue will be more expensive than a more casual wedding that might be held on your aunt’s farm or in a local park. Each aspect of your upscale event, whether a 4-course meal, an 8 man band, special lighting, decadent linens and elaborate flowers, will add significant cost to the bottom line. Be realistic about your expectations.

How Much Can You Save?

Once you know how much you are prepared to spend, you will know how much you need to save, depending on your bank balance and those contributing towards your wedding. If you are able to put away 15-20 % of your salary each month, you’ll be on your way. Write down your savings goals together. We recommend having a separate account for all your wedding savings. Speak to your bank to find the best account with minimal service fees, or consider opening a money-market, or fixed deposit account with better interest. This special savings account could be used after your happy wedding for emergency or holiday funds. It is good practice to do this together before you get married and exciting to see the balance grow as you save together. If you don’t have excess funds to save every month, here are some other suggestions:

Ways to save:

  • Stop unnecessary spending. Be aware of what you spend on monthly necessities – keep your slips if you need to – and decide what you can live without for a few months.
  • Reduce or cut down on eating out, shopping sprees, coffees, etc. You could easily save a few thousand over a year if you are consistent.
  • Cut back on monthly expenses, such as DSTV, gym fees; change your cell phone contract to one more affordable, etc

Depending on your goals and how much you’ll need, you may need to make bigger sacrifices, if you’re willing, such as:

  • Accommodation – move in with your parents or a friend
  • Sell your car, which could save you many thousand in expenses for petrol, insurance and maintenance. The expenses from that car could pay for a third of your wedding.

Use your credit cards wisely.

It’s convenient to use a credit card and often beneficial if you are on a rewards program, but many couples end up in trouble if they are not used wisely. Make sure you pay them off each month. If you find the balance creeping (or shooting) up, it will be safer to put them away and avoid using them to pay deposits etc.

Think of creative ways to make more money.

Consider selling items you don’t need. Get creative about earning extra income for a while. Once you have a plan in place to actually pay for your wedding, write it down and keep it somewhere so you can remind yourselves and refer to it.

How to stick to your Budget

  • Have a System to track spending and income. The marriage Meander has created a useful budget tool for you to do this. Download the free Weddings KZN App on Apple or Android devices and start using the Budget tool as soon as you start planning.
  • Explore Hidden Costs and Extras. If you are aware of what expenses are likely to be coming at you, it is easier to keep control of your money instead of money controlling you. The Weddings KZN App budget tool also lists all the items per category, so you can avoid surprises.
  • Go over your budget together and keep talking about it as you book your venue and pay deposits for your service providers. Revisit it regularly to adjust as needed.
  • Be smart and make wise decisions. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of your wedding and easy to overspend. With each spending decision, ask yourself, “Is this the wise thing to do?” You won’t look back when you get to your happy wedding day with no regrets.

Key 2 – Communication

Many issues can be resolved by simply talking to the people involved. You and those around you may take on a different personality when it comes to wedding planning, especially as it gets closer to the day – you are not unique! If you are respectful and considerate when tackling sensitive topics, you’ll all be happier and more likely to solve the problem. Keep communication open:

  • Talk to each other – discuss your expectations. Decide how much you two can contribute between now and the wedding. Be realistic.
  • Talk with your families about who will pay for what.
  • Learn to say NO!
  • Be willing to compromise.
  • Be open and honest.
  • Avoid arguing over small things. It’s not worth jeopardising relationships with your fiancé or family members.

Key 3 – Select the right service providers.

There are many wedding professionals out there, but only a select few are truly right for you. Having the right team on board can take a lot of the stress out of the planning, and ensure you have a wonderful day.

How to find your best service provider team:

  • Consider your budget and stick within your margins
  • Decide what is most important to you – food/music/photos etc and allocate funds accordingly
  • Join a Marriage Meander Journey – the best wedding planning day you’ll have
  • Meet face to face at bridal fairs to meet them and see what they can offer
  • Make sure you connect with them, and they provide great service
  • Visit reliable websites such as
  •  Speak to others and get referrals from reliable sources. Be aware that the vendors your friend used may not be the best ones for you.

Most importantly, remember why you are getting married. It is about so much more than one day. During your engagement, make sure you spend time planning your future and not just your wedding day.

If you put these three things into action, you will not only have a Happy Wedding but will be set for a Happy Marriage. Enjoy the journey.

At The Marriage Meander Company, we believe that match-making is essential when planning your big day. Let us connect you with like-minded suppliers and specialists in a personal and reliably sourced manner ~ with integrity, passion and experience.

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