Wedding season: How brides cut costs for their big day

Thursday December 7 2017

Tiffany Mashimba Ngatia's wedding. She came up with a plan to reduce costs by creating her own unique wedding décor. Now she runs a company to do the same for other brides. PHOTO | COURTESY

Tiffany Mashimba Ngatia's wedding. She came up with a plan to reduce costs by creating her own unique wedding décor. Now she runs a company to do the same for other brides. PHOTO | COURTESY | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MILDRED SAKINA
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He finally got down on one knee and proposed. Now the countdown begins to the big event, your wedding day.

Behind the pomp and glamour is a lot of financial planning. Terry Nzaumi has been married for seven months after a private wedding ceremony in April.

“I had 15 guests for the church ceremony. We invited people for dinner after the wedding, and we requested them to pay for a plate of food as a way of supporting us.

“We had 40 guests. With the payments that were made, we were able to negotiate with the hotel to do several a la carte menus at a subsidised rate.

“With the remaining cash, we paid for the cake, photography and my two dresses for the day. We bought our rings from Canada and also paid for our honeymoon. The grand total came to Sh297,000.”

Ellah* had a very different experience. Her wedding was sponsored by parents from both sides and she has now been married now for a little over a year.

“We got engaged seven months after dating. We intended to get married in September 2017 but our parents wanted us to have it sooner, so we tied the knot a year earlier.

“We told them we did not have the financial capability to pull off a wedding at the time. That is when they said that they will take care of everything and we would handle the planning.

PARENTS TOOK OVER

“We had four months to prepare and I decided to get a wedding planner .We just could not do it ourselves in such a short time. I got one after a vigorous online search. I was looking at certain things: who responded first, positively and favourably. At the end of the day, I was looking for a people person.

“I found someone I could count on but realised my parents also wanted a say. They would talk directly to the planner and change items we had agreed on, which was challenging but we just decided to let go of our expectations and work as a team.

“When it comes to the whole budget, I really cannot say. Our role besides giving direction on what we wanted, was to show up. We ended up investing money we had saved up for the wedding and now we get returns twice a year. A pre-wedding party also boost what we had.

DESTINATION WEDDINGS

’Destination weddings’ can be exciting but it takes a lot of work and money to to pull it off. Faith Mwendwa, who lives in Nairobi, had her wedding six months after her engagement.

Since her fiancé lived in Mombasa they decided to have their ceremony in Kilifi which meant a lot of shuttling back and forth between the two towns.

“Our initial budget was Sh54,000. We ended up spending Sh400,000. Raising the cash was quite a task. For me , the debate was whether I should be part of raising the money or leave it all to my spouse but we ended up pulling our resources together to make it happen.

“My main challenge was incorporating our families’ requests for the big day. In as much as we wanted to do things our own way, we decided to consider their interests too by prioritising the most important things. Friends turned out to be a great asset during the planning process. They really came through for me.”