Buying the cow

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“How do people afford to go on honeymoon!?” I’m sure in the world of wedding planning this is a fairly common gripe, but on this occasion it was coming from a close friend of mine currently undergoing the arduous task of planning her wedding.

She had just put a deposit that might buy a small bull elephant down on the venue of her choice.

I comforted her, as a good friend should, by saying all the right things, “You only do it once” hopefully, “You’ll remember this day for the rest of your life”, “just think about how perfect it will be!” and so on, all the while thinking for that amount of money you could probably build a venue, never mind hire it for one day.

The thing is; you do only hope to have one wedding, one perfect day that you will remember forever and whether you build a venue of your own or hire one, the wedding of your dreams is going to cost you. Luckily there are a few options available to you for financing your wedding.

The first step in financing your wedding should be to work out a budget and then stick to it as strictly as possible. Make it as realistic, working from a worst-case scenario, to be sure that you will not over-spend. List everything you need to pay for, and prioritize the list, putting the must-haves first, and the can-do-withouts at the very end.

Option number one is the simplest, most obvious and by far the option with the fewest far-reaching consequences. I’m going to title it the “pay-as-you-go” wedding financing. It involves pretty much exactly what the name suggests; paying for each item of your wedding as it comes up with money that you have saved in the months preceding your wedding.

Saving up and using the money that you accumulate to cover the cost of the wedding will prevent you falling into debt. This option has the added bonus of living off beans on toast for months with the prospect of a beautiful wedding to fortify your will. The alternative is incurring debt, which will leave you living off beans and toast and only a memory will give you sustenance.

This is of course an ideal scenario and not all couples have the luxury of unlimited time in which to save enough, or the amount of discretionary income necessary. Saving as much as possible and skimping on luxuries in the months before the big day will go a long way in helping you to establish how much you can afford, and what you will be able to cover on your own.

Now I’m aware that human beings are stock-full of this little thing called pride. Like the four year old, who has learnt a new skill in tying his laces, will refuse help until they trip over their own feet. This evolutionary gem will have many brides doomed to suffer the full burden of their wedding dues in silence. Don’t make that mistake. Ask your parents and other family members if they’d be willing to help pitch in. Even if its in the form of a cash gift, or by covering the cost of a specific item like a part of the bar tab; it will go a long way in helping out. Chances are they’d be more than happy to help.

Also, pool your resources. Is one of your friends a designer? Ask them if they’d do you invite. Does your aunt have a talent for making dresses? Why not get her to make the flower girl dresses. Does your third cousin twice removed own a bakery? Get her to make the cake. Make it clear that you are willing to pay for their services; chances are they will charge a reduced price as a wedding gift, if they charge at all.

If all else fails there is always the option of getting a loan to pay for the wedding, or parts thereof. This is most likely a very real necessity, especially for young couples hoping to enjoy a honeymoon. I would personally make it a last resort; you want to start life as a newlywed with as little baggage as you can get away with. Shop around and beware the interest rates, as you might end up paying far more than you bargained for.
When you’re gritting your teeth at venue prices, and eating beans for the fourth week in a row take comfort in the fact that for centuries young couples have been getting married whether they wanted to or not, and in all that time there has definitely been someone more broke and unprepared than you. If they could do it, you can too.

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