In January of last year (way before Garth was even a concept in my way of thinking and dance lessons seemed like a vaguely interesting idea), Daddy God told me He was going to pay for my wedding and I needed to ask for an amount. In fact, I had to present Him with a budget. I laughed. That was crazy, right? WHO DOES THAT???
Me. I did that.
Because He told me to.
I created a rough draft and told him I could arrange a wedding for R50k. Yip, feel free to laugh – Holy Spirit did. Daddy God told me to trust Him for Bigger Things. I replied that I couldn’t bear the thought of spending more that R75k for my wedding. I wasn’t comfortable with it. (Please keep in mind that in 2018, the average wedding in Cape Town hovers between R150 – 200K mark). I was determined to do it for less and was prepared to make serious cuts from what I have often thought of as ‘unnecessary frills’ that only the bride (and photographer) really notice. Quick disclaimer: if you have spent that amount on a wedding and loved each detail in your wedding – awesome! I love that you got the wedding you wanted; I just wanted Another Way. And it was important for me to honour the convictions in my heart. I am so grateful for a groom who supported me, parents who allowed me to be unconventional and everybody else… well, their opinions honestly didn’t matter (although those that know and love me, were not even vaguely surprised).
So, the obvious question is did we stick to our budget and did Daddy God really pay??
Yes and YES!
Let’s look at the second answer first (because we’re embracing Unconventional):
When Daddy God asked me to draft my budget, I had a certain amount of money saved in my bank account. Garth and I did make an effort to begin saving and the account grew, but not remarkably. My work situation changed and I was suddenly earning 1/3 less of my previous take home salary (it was converted into benefits – which wouldn’t really pay for my wedding). Saving and making our own plan suddenly became Impossible. Then God did what He does: He stepped into our financial situation. Out of the blue, I was paid an amount almost twice my usual salary (minus hefty tax reductions, I was left with R20k). Nobody can explain why the Education Department paid me this money, other than it had to be ‘back pay’ – no other job conversion colleagues received back pay. This just happened to coincide with a month I needed to pay several deposits. And then, a savings investment I had started in 2009 matured and R35k appeared in my bank account – the same month I needed to pay off the balances. The following month I received R5k as my yearly incentive bonus, Garth received R5k through his work and I received another R15k through a wedding booking and inheritance money from my gran (which I hadn’t even dreamed of receiving). In the space of 4 months, we had received R75k – just as Daddy God has promised. Tell me God is not faithful to His promises??
And that amount in the savings account? Its still there. Just saying.
So – Question 2: did we manage to arrange a wedding for that amount?
Before I give you the breakdown, I want to point out how blessed we were and how we acknowledge each of these blessings to also contribute to our low expenses and not only how grateful we are for each, but how humbled and in awe we are that people love us that much, that they would bless us so abundantly… we pray they will receive 1000-fold in blessings from God.
Item Budget Actual Expense
- Photos 22k 22k
- Venue 12k 12k
- Catering 8k 4765
- Dessert 1k GIFTED (free)
- Cake 2k GIFTED (free)
- Sparkling wine 1500 1137
- Welcome Drinks 1k 300
- Dress 3k GIFTED (free)
- Rings 1500 1200
- MUAH 2k 2750
- Flowers 7500 7500
- Decor 1500 1425
- Ante-nuptials 2k 1890
- Suit (groom) 3k 2950
- Cash Bar 2k 1382
- Sound 550 650
- Haybales 1700 1700
- Stationery 300 187
- Legal fees 1k 1k
TOTAL R73 550 R61 836
As I said, this would only have been possible with incredible blessings and ‘gifts’ from dear friends – people like Sylvie who gave us decor and flower service worth twice the amount that we paid; Lynn & Margaret making my dress as a gift; Sarah baking the most incredible (and delicious) cake as a gift… we are truly grateful and humbled.
So what did we do to cut costs?
- We stuck to our budget.
- We cut costs by not having a formal sit down meal, instead we embraced the unconventional (but totally us) and had canapes and pizza buffet. Our overall catering ‘per head’ cost was around R120 all inclusive. Unheard of in wedding worlds.
- We didn’t get caught up in the details – we didn’t have assigned seating which meant we didn’t need name cards, table numbers, seating plan etc.
- We chose not to have ‘favours’ – opinions may vary and feel free to disagree with me, but after waitressing and photographing weddings for 7 years, the one thing that gets left behind are the favours. Sad, but true.
Where I was not prepared to cut costs:
- Lizelle. I honestly was prepared to plan my wedding date around her availability and we were not disappointed. Her photographs (even just the few we have seen) have left us speechless. We see our hearts and Holy Spirit’s fingerprints in each of them – she has truly managed to capture our Love Story. And being able to share this journey with her, has been priceless. Yes, my photography budget was 1/3 of my total cost – for what I received: I would pay more. Future brides – cut costs anywhere BUT your photographer. Seriously. Your photos are the only lasting ‘thing’ from your day (and it goes by in such a blur, the photos really do help…)
- The venue. Although we had originally budgeted between 10-15k for a venue, having seen Anna Beulah, we fell in love immediately and knew this was the place we would get married. In terms of venue hire fees, it is incredibly reasonable for Cape Town standards, especially since they allow you to bring in your own caterer. Not many venues extend that courtesy.
- MUAH (make up and hair). To be honest, I was tempted to try do this myself but am SO GRATEFUL that I didn’t – it may sound silly, but the difference in confidence that I felt (and saw in my bridesmaids) was worth every cent. We not only looked beautiful, but felt gorgeous – thank you to Lindsay and Alicia from BLUSH Hair and Make Up. There are no words to express our gratitude.