I read a post on Facebook that took an interesting spin on the wedding committees.
This wasn’t the usual spiel on how inconsiderate it is to put someone on a WhatsApp group to fundraise for your big day.
This was an alternate view on how, with our current economy and unemployment rates at an all-time high, it is almost impossible to have any money stashed away.
I used to be the type of person to bash couples who asked for contributions, especially if they were gainfully employed over a period of time.
Didn’t they know they were going to get married someday? How was their budget my responsibility? Surely they could cut their cloth according to size?
It is very easy to say all these things until you find yourself in that situation. We had a stash that we thought would give us a head start but it only took us so far.
Here are a few tips that I hope will help you as you plan your wedding finances.
Start with a realistic budget in mind. It’s very easy to try and write a budget according to what you can afford.
I would however advise that you do your research and put together the prices as they are and not how you would imagine them to be. Get the shock out of your system then breathe.
Next up is critically looking at your items and figuring out where you can slash prices. My beau and I chose to get rings that were affordable and upgrade later.
For transport, you probably know a friend, or an uncle or a colleague who can loan you the car as long as you fuel it. Read through the fine print of the quotations you get. If petal walkways are cheaper than a red carpet, choose that. Be ruthless but reasonable.
CALL YOUR COMMITEE
After that has been done, now call your committee. In my experience your committee should consist of those really close to you, people you can trust to walk this long hard journey with you.
They don’t necessarily have to be the ones with financial muscle.
Sometimes people may not be able to give you cash but may have ideas that can get you some or even save you money.
The most important posts to be filled are the chairman and treasurer. Why ? Well the chairman is the vision bearer, the person to inspire others to contribute towards your cause.
They will use whatever methods at their disposal to get you the money you so desperately need.
The treasurer ideally should be someone who is good at tracking money and balancing figures.
If you are fortunate you will get a really proactive committee but that is not always the case. I know couples, (my beau and I included) who had to lead the way despite having a chair.
We both had to do the unsavoury task of listing and calling people, some of whom we hadn’t spoken to in years, to ask for support.
That exercise in itself will teach you humility. Some people are excited to hear about your big day, pledge and make your Mpesa sing.
Others will listen to you and say “we’ll see what to do” and go silent while others choose to chat you up and offer moral support which is also very key.
If there is a gut wrenching moment that every couple has it is definitely the fundraiser.
You try and hope that your virtual meetings and weekly updates will be enough but you soon learn that sometimes meeting face to face is a necessary evil.
It is extremely nerve wracking because you don’t know how many people will show up.
You hope that the target will be reached and if all goes well you will manage to clear the deficit.
Some people are fortunate enough to have pre-weddings hosted by their parents which are likely to yield even better results.
After all is said and done, and you have tried to find money from all quarters and are still falling short, breathe and plan ahead.
I know a friend of mine who had spoken to all her vendors and informed them that she would pay in installments after the wedding.
Other couples miraculously manage to have their bills paid by a person who prefers to keep their identity secret. Still some are able to pay up using the cash gifts they receive on the day.
These are the good stories. There are ugly stories where couples promise to pay and simply can’t.
Or couples who ghost their suppliers and leave their planners or coordinators in a real mess.
As much as you possibly can, find a way to get into marriage debt free. The worst advise I have heard given to couples looking to tie the knot is to take a loan.
A loan will afford you the wedding of your dreams but possibly cause a strain on your marriage when it is time to pay it back.
Try as hard as you can to think beyond your wedding day and save whatever money you can for utilities and food. There is life after the wedding day.