Don’t let the wedding ruin your marriage
From our earliest years we are conditioned to dream of a fairy tale wedding. Parents are often under a lot of pressure on themselves to give their children the perfect wedding day, and to do all they can to support them. This can get very expensive. To avoid getting overwhelmed by all the expenses look carefully at the cost implications and prioritize carefully right from the start.
Many couples get carried away with the idea of the wedding and do not stop to contemplate the actual marriage. Sit down with your fiancé and talk about your goals and what you would like to achieve in the next year, five years and beyond, such as starting a family, buying a new car or paying a deposit on your first home. Write these goals down and keep them in view as you discuss the wedding plans. This should help you keep things in check as you prepare your life journey together.
Prepare a budget
Costs will usually include invitations, the wedding dress, hair and make up, outfits for bridesmaids and grooms men, church fees, church choir and musicians, DJ, band, reception venue, caterer, wedding cake, photographs, videographer, florist, guest favors, hotel, transportation, pre-wedding entertainment, honeymoon. It is advisable to hire a wedding or event planner as they are usually able to negotiate with their network of vendors for significant discounts, extras or to waive certain rental fees.
In Africa, a marriage is much more than a union between two people; it is a marriage of two extensive, extended families. This means that the biggest factor that will influence your costs is likely to be the number of guests that will attend often without formal invitation. If your average cost per person for food, drink, and rentals is N10,000, removing thirty people from your guest list will save you N300,000. You will find that small compromises can often add up to big savings.
A buffet menu tends to work out to be cheaper than a plated one. Guests have come to expect and enjoy a good selection of mouth watering finger foods popularly coined “small chops” that are filling and are reasonably priced at between N600 – N2000 per head depending on the menu.
Drinks are a major cost particularly if spirits, fine wines and champagne are on the list. Even where you bring your own drinks to a hotel, the corkage rates can be prohibitive. A way to limit bar costs is to provide guests with basic drinks including water, fruit juices and soft drinks and drink tickets specifically for alcoholic drinks; after using their tickets, guests can purchase additional drinks with cash should they wish to do so. This is fairly common in other societies.
You don’t have to have everything. Guest favors need not be extravagant; a small meaningful memento of sentimental value will do. Large wedding cakes are a huge waste as usually desert is served at the wedding. A wedding planner mentioned that about 50% of the wedding cake goes to waste as half the guests have left before it has even been cut and shared. Remember you can still achieve the glorious look of the multi-tiered wedding cake if you replace some of the tiers with “dummy” cakes.
What are the most important things to you about your wedding day? The ring, which you will wear for decades, your wedding dress, or the photographs and video that must capture the memories? You can buy a beautiful ring without spending a fortune and then upgrade as a sentimental gesture on a future anniversary and as you refine your preferences. Bridegrooms and groomsmen routinely rent their outfits, but most brides will gasp at the suggestion that one might rent the dress of your dreams at a fraction of the cost of a new dress!
Start early, plan ahead
In an ideal world, parents should have been setting aside funds for family weddings as with other major goals such as funding your child’s education. Once you have passed the education funding hurdle, this is likely to be the next big spend.
Invest according to your time horizon. For a wedding that’s just less than a year away, funds should be placed in a bank fixed deposit or a money market mutual fund. If the expected marriage is still over five years away, you might invest in a portfolio of stocks for the prospect of long-term capital growth. An equity fund would also be an ideal choice as it offers flexibility, diversification and professional management.
To be continued….
Nimi Akinkugbe has extensive experience in private wealth management. She seeks to empower people regarding their finances and offers frank, practical insights to create a greater awareness and understanding of personal finance.For more personal finance tips, contact Nimi: Email: [email protected] Website: www.moneymatterswithnimi.com Twitter: @MMWITHNIMI Instagram: @MMWITHNIMI Facebook: MoneyMatterswithNimi