South Africa is in recession and the outlook is not great for a good few years, but life does go on and people will still fall in love and will want to get married and celebrate with their loved ones. So how do you plan a wedding when going gets tough in the Instagram | Pinterest world? When resources are limited it is best to consider your options wisely and make your decision based on quality of service/product you will be getting in return for your wedding funds. Be wise and realistic, dream but listen to the advice of experts.

I have put together a few wedding planning tips during recession:

  1. Set aside a budget BUT know it may be incorrect. Consider setting a spending range rather than a set amount. You have never planned a wedding so how would you know what a wedding will cost you?
  2. Consult a professional wedding planner and share the budget. Asking for quotes and packages is like shooting in a dark, as cliche as it sounds, weddings are really so different and so many factors influence the price. Be upfront about what you have available and listen to the feedback. A good wedding planner should be able to provide solutions within your budget range provided you are being reasonable and ready to hear honest feedback. Think of it this way, if you are looking to purchase a property and you need to share your budget with an agent, who in turn will let you know what you can look for – a studio with a loft, a 3 bedroom cluster, a free standing property, a luxury estate or a mansion. Weddings vary in price just like car brands, designer handbags, restaurants, holiday resorts, airplane tickets… Therefore, knowing and sharing your spending range will indicate to a wedding planner what type of wedding you can afford in return a wedding planner will make suitable recommendations within your budget.
  3. Negotiations are not one sided. If you are shopping around for a a ‘cheaper deal’ and asking for discounts be prepared to compromise too.
  4. Consider your guest list. In the past 18 months guest lists have increased substantially and more enquiries are coming in with a 200-350 guest list. Having a 200 – 350 people wedding may not be a wise idea in recession as just feeding this number of people might mean you might have to compromise on everything – from your wedding stationery to your flowers and even your dress! Having a beautiful and intimate wedding with most important people in your life will give you a far better wedding experience, enjoyable and beautiful wedding.
  5. Consider your location very carefully. The more you need to add and bring to your venue the higher the costs will be, so look out for a venue that is generous with what it offers and most suits the look and feel of your wedding.
  6. Beware of ‘I need a cheaper quote’ mentality because a favorable number on paper may not mean a better wedding experience for you on the day of the wedding. Be wise, ask questions and look for value deals. In weddings, you really do get what you pay for. If a few reputable and established firms are giving you a quotation which makes your head spin then trust me no immature or any less established company can create same product for less. The last thing you want is to regret your choices on the wedding day when things are not done the way you wanted and you simply wasted precious resources on ‘cheaper’ options.
  7. PLEASE stop looking at weddings of royalty, celebrities and Forbes richest people in the world and wanting that picture perfect wedding. South Africa is in recession right now so whilst some countries in the world may be able to splash out on their weddings, we cannot. So let’s stop looking at their weddings and focus on what we can do locally. Find a decorator whose portfolio resembles YOUR authentic self and trust her/him to create a picture perfect wedding using YOU as an inspiration and not Kim Kardashian’s 1st wedding. Most of us are not Sophia Vergara or Victoria Swarovski and we don’t have millions of Dollars or Euro to blow on a wedding day and that’s OK because weddings are about celebrating love and family NOT about most liked or regrammed Insta pic.
  8. And if you want that Instagram swoon worthy wedding then you better save up. Recession or not, luxury costs what it costs. Find out how much your vision will cost and figure out if you can save up by giving a few nice day to day luxuries during wedding planning months. You will be surprised how much you can save by giving up your daily lattes, a gym smoothie, a few dinner dates and maybe even your shoe shopping habit during the planning months.  Review your bank statement: your bank statement is the first financial document that you have to look into when you want to cut expenses. Therefore, you need to review your statement with great attention, because it can help you identify expenses that may be causing leakage from your pocket. Once spotted, act quickly by getting rid of such expenses. Once you identify needs vs want you will be able to access how much you can save by allocating all your ‘wants purchases’ towards your luxe wedding. After all, if you want a glamorous wedding then you will need to make short term sacrifices to get to the goal. Only you can decide if the goal is worth it.
  9. Be a Tech Savvy Bride NOT a DIY bride (that’s so 2010 and really we have moved on). For years brides were told/advised that a way to save on their wedding stationery is to host ‘fun’ nights with their bridesmaids and fold invitations, die tablecloths, papermache centerpieces, fold thousand origami cranes and so many brides who listened to such advice lost a good few friends in the process. DIY projects look SO good on Pinterest in reality often resulted in a mess, frustration, fights between friends, additional and unnecessary costs and time pressures. You will need to buy materials which might end up costing you more than consulting a reputable stationery company and letting them do all the hard work! We live in the world where professional millennials face intense pressures to deliver amazing results in their work environment so burning midnight oil folding paper is simply not a priority anymore. Having said that, despite our modern times a printed wedding invitation is still the most exciting envelope anyone can ever hope to receive. In fact, in this crazy tech world, a beautifully crafted card brings immense joy to its receiver and the best news it doesn’t have to be expensive!  My advice – use online stationery shops, I LOVE Secret Diary Online Stationery Store filled with beautiful and affordable wedding stationery.
  10. Consult with a reputable wedding planning company that has been around for a good few years for sound advice. My company, Splendid Wedding Company, has made it through 2009 recession and I have good few tricks up my sleeve that I share with my potential brides helping them make correct decision.

Never loose site of why you are having a wedding. Get your priorities right, get a clear understanding of costs you are facing and then decide the best possible way to invest in your wedding. Bring ‘JOY’ to your wedding plans. A wedding is about so much more than that picture prefect wedding that breaks an Instagram feed. A wedding is a beginning of a beautiful new life with  your soul mate and starting a family.

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    Rensche Mari

    You always have the best advice! I hope brides listen, this is sound advice.

    July 19th, 2017 19:30

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