Last week I was on TV! It was so exciting I am still on cloud nine. I went to shags over Easter and I was treated like a celeb 🙂 But before I get ahead of myself, I’d like to say thank you to each and every one of you who reads this blog. It is because you read and shared that article on wedding committees that it reached the AM Live show hosts and I was called to discuss it. Today I raise my glass to you dear reader for being so supportive. You rock!
That piece on wedding committees raised quite a number of issues that I would like to address in the next few posts. I want us to look into cheap wedding tips for your big day. But before we look at the actual ways to cut your wedding costs here are principles that I find extremely important when you get to planning a wedding.
Expensive does not mean beautiful and cheap does not equal horrible. I am witness that you can do a cheap but beautiful wedding. My wedding cost us sh. 350,000 and it was amazing. You can get low-cost service providers who do a great job. Honestly, I have noticed there is very little difference between tents and décor costing sh.60, 000 and those worth sh.200, 000. Have you been to a wedding that when you were told it cost sh.1M you wondered, “Where did that money go?” I rest my case.
No one remembers the things, people remember the mood. Look back to a wedding you attended mid last year and try to remember the décor. What color theme was used? I bet you don’t remember. What you remember though is how much fun it was or how awfully boring it was. I have been to expensive weddings that were so sophisticated you felt out of place. Maybe my taste is not refined but I find some of those weddings on Samantha Bridal terribly dull. Go for a relaxed, easy atmosphere where people can enjoy themselves. If you have relatives from upcountry, don’t use English throughout. Throw in some Swahili or mother tongue to make sure no one is left out. That is what they will remember.
Say no to pressure. Here is the thing, your folks and friends will interfere in your wedding with “ideas” on how to make your big day better. Take these ideas with a pinch of salt. Some will be helpful but the final answer lies with you. As a couple, look at the money you have and see how to spend it before you tell your parents and friends about it. That way you know what your money can handle. Learn to say no to things that inflate your budget. For instance, refuse to pay transport for your relatives coming from shags. Otherwise you will find yourself paying transport and accommodation for 50 people with money you don’t even have. Pressure will never stop. After you get married people will ask you why you don’t have a baby yet, why you live in that neighborhood, why your kids go to that school etc. If you open that door now, they will never leave.
Perfection is unattainable. This is something you need to settle in your heart. Dear bride, I’m sorry to burst your bubble but that dream wedding you’ve had in your head for years you need to put it away. Cinderella may have had a stunning wedding but her father-in-law was the King. And just because you will not have doves at the wedding does not mean it won’t be a great day. If you hold on to perfection, you will be exhausted and frustrated. Even the most expensive service providers mess up. Fussing over the fact that 3 of the flowers are green and not yellow will ruin your mood and you end not enjoying your day. It’s never that serious.
Debt is not your friend. While a wedding is a wonderful dream day, it’s important to remember that one of the biggest causes of divorce is debt and financial worries. Don’t start your family with debt because you wanted to impress people. Student loans and home loans are reasonable to have; wedding loan is a definite no.
You will need this money later. Life as a couple has just begun. You will need a place to live, food, school fees (for that Master’s degree you’ve been meaning to do) and many more expenses. One of these days you will find a great home and you will wish you had that sh.700, 000 you spent on your wedding day to put as down payment. The day you are late on your bills you will hate that sh. 60,000 wedding gown hanging in the wardrobe.
You can do some things later. If you don’t get your dream honeymoon, you can always travel some place nice on your anniversary. At that time, you will not have décor, food and cake competing for money. That ring you are not so happy about now can be replaced later.
The marriage is more important than the wedding. This has been said so many times but it is still true. We would rather see you loving each other and building a good home together than attend a big expensive wedding. I know doing an affordable wedding does not guarantee a great marriage but it is important to have your priorities right. Invest in the things that matter. Imagine the joy there will be when you call your close friends together to celebrate 20 years of marriage.
These are some things that I feel are important to remember when planning a wedding. Have I left out some? Feel free to add some more in the comments section.
Author: Wanjiru Kihusa
I am Wanjiru Kihusa and I’m a writer and founder of Still A Mum – an organization that seeks to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in Africa. I am especially passionate about women and children.
I blog to share my thoughts and experiences hoping that in the process someone will learn from my life.