In the ever changing world we live in today where costs keep rising yet the resource envelope remains limited, one of the most frequently asked questions I often find myself responding to is “How do I plan a low budget wedding?” It is a question I will seek to answer here in the hope that it will also speak out to others with similar concerns. Below are some 9 ways I believe one can achieve a low budget wedding:-
Hire a wedding planner. I know what you are thinking. He had to say something like that because he is a wedding planner. Actually no. I say this because it is actually true. Let me explain. A good wedding planner will do a cost benefit analysis for every decision you wish to take regarding your wedding and therefore enable you take the most cost effective decision. e.g. outdoors reception venue Vs indoors reception venue. A good wedding planner will also connect you with cheaper service providers that fall within your budget. I usually ask my clients what type of service provider falls within their budget i.e. high end, medium or low end. This in no way means a compromise in quality but rather is usually determined by years of experience in the industry. Service providers that have spent longer in the industry are likely to charge higher rates than new entrants. A wedding planner will also guide you around common wedding mistakes that end up increasing your overall wedding costs.
Invite fewer people. This seems obvious yet it is one of the most difficult decisions for couples intending to get married. By the very nature of our extended families, the question of who not to invite is a tricky one and yet one that must be addressed for someone who wishes to keep their wedding costs at a minimum. One way to cut numbers is to invite only those that contribute a certain minimum contribution to the wedding budget. E.g. depending on your total budget, you can say that minimum contribution is UGX 30,000. This means that only those that contribute this fee would get invitation cards with only family who had a direct bearing on you at some point in your life being the exception. U can also invite individuals as opposed to inviting couples!
Outside catering as opposed to hotel food. The cost of a plate of food in most hotels is UGX 25,000 on average and this is usually in low cost hotels. For someone wishing to cut costs, this might be prohibitive. The alternative therefore is to get outside caterers who usually offer lower rates. I know of outside caterers who can offer food for as low as UGX 8,000 a plate. The client can also opt for fewer food menu items as the more food menu items, the greater the cost. There is also the option of buying the food items yourself and merely paying for labour to cook the food and transport of the food to the venue. I would however advise anyone wishing to use this last option to approach it cautiously and be sure to calculate all costs involved lest it proves more expensive in the long run.
For reception venues, outdoor gardens are usually cheaper than the hotel indoor venues. Gardens belonging to schools during school holidays or gardens belonging to religious establishments like churches or mosques are usually even cheaper. If your parents’ compound is big enough, then the home reception is an option too although you may need to be creative about the parking.
For drinks, you should make the purchase from a single drinks company. The advantage of that is that if you buy a certain minimum number of crates, the company will provide you with additional items like chairs, tent, icebox etc which will all help you reduce your costs. U might also want to limit the drinks to non alcoholic drinks which are usually cheaper than alcoholic drinks.
Reduce the size of your entourage. The bigger the size of your entourage, the bigger the costs. This cost is especially felt when you are choosing the cars for the entourage. The larger the entourage, the more cars you will need and the smaller the entourage, the fewer the cars. If you have friends who already own the cars you wish to be in your entourage, you can ask them to volunteer their cars and you fuel them. Don’t forget to request them for a driver too!
Keep the decor simple. One of the easiest ways to do this is to reduce the clatter on the tables. Instead of asking for charger plates, flowers, juice and wine glasses, simply keep it flowers and juice glasses. U might also want to do away with things like draping of the ceiling.
Limit entertainment. Stay away from live bands, dance crews. Keep it simply DJ. You might also want a friend to volunteer for MC instead of hiring a professional MC.
Ugandan honeymoon. Finally, have your honeymoon here. Uganda is not called the Pearl of Africa for nothing. There are many beautiful places you have not visited and your wedding planner can help suggest some venues. Indeed these venues will be cheaper than any foreign option you have.
There you have it, a well organised low budget wedding!