Its TARGET TUESDAY...yayyyyiii....we shall be discussing ...
Society has sold us the idea that the “Bigger your wedding, the more valuable your Marriage” In fact these days, when a couple decides to keep their wedding ceremony either small or private, they are stigmatized, or dubbed as ‘having not married properly’ or questions would arise as to whether the bride is pregnant? Some even say, oh! Please go big, you only marry once.
Adapting this big wedding syndrome to the Nigerian society and having just concluded my own wedding in May 2015, whilst planning same, I made some very interesting discoveries. Shockingly, given the rate of inflation and the rising cost of goods and services across the nation, to 'cater' for a minimum of 400 guests at a Traditional and White wedding ceremony would cost a minimum of NGN4.5 – 6 million, no kidding!!!
I recently attended a Project Management Course and an Architect in the class was asked how much it cost to start and finish a 3 bedroom standard flat, not low cost housing ooo and all en-suite, and his answer shocked me … wanna guess? NGN5m; yes you read that correctly … NGN5m.
So I began to ask questions and engage in some research … then I came to this conclusion according to scriptures …
“The wisdom of this world is foolishness to God”
While it may seem that going big on your wedding makes your having being “wedded” more valuable or special, I realized that the most important thing to the couple and to God is the longevity and grandiosity of the marriage in itself …
The size of the wedding/the wedding itself is only a means to an end or I dare say the beginning of a life time journey i.e. “the marriage” which deserves more of your resources and your focus.
Having laid the above foundation,here are some money saving tips on planning your wedding:
1. Save ahead for your wedding and have a strict budget. (I saved for my wedding for a set period of 10 months and I did it 2 years ahead. I had started saving for the day even before I met my Mr.)
2. Reduce the wedding planning time. The more you wait, the more resources you would likely devote to the one day/two day event. Imagine planning a wedding for 1 year, every single fund that comes into your hands stands the risk of being channelled towards the wedding ceremony.
3. On the other hand you can give yourself more time to take advantage of sales and discounts or book your dates during off peak periods.
4. Choose any other day, other than Saturday. E.g Sunday evening, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday weddings are trending now in Nigeria … Simply because couples have begun to realize the enormous resources that go into the wedding ceremony.
5. Collapse the events into one day or have your ceremony and reception in one spot. An On Air Personality (OAP) recently got married, the traditional/engagement ceremony began at 2pm and ended at about 4pm. The couple went in for a quick change of attire, at the same venue. Afterwards, an altar was set up. In less than an hour, the bride walked down the aisle and the wedding solemnization was carried out by the clergy and the reception kicked off immediately after.
All events took place at the same venue, within a few hours and most importantly, all in one day. And lest I forget, it was not done on a Saturday! Push yourself, think outside the box; save more … the marriage is more important.
6. How about a non-traditional venue? I know a couple that concluded their 8 weeks – intense marriage counselling with their church and got pastoral blessing. Afterwards, they headed for the Marriage Registry. They had their reception at a restaurant with their entire wedding party of 27 guests. It was such a private, intimate and beautiful ceremony which cost them less than NGN250,000.
The traditional marriage was then carried out at the bride’s residence. They are validly, legally and very happily married today having saved tons of money and having used a non-traditional/conventional venue. Rid yourself off the “follow-the-crowd” syndrome.
7. The wedding dress:
Dear Bride, what shall you do with the dress after the wedding? Need I say more? I would like the married folks in the group to please share their personal experience on what they did with their dress.
I know we are very spiritual people in Nigeria, but how about renting a dress? I have seen a lot of brides do this; my older sister sold her dress after the wedding. One of my other sisters’ just wore the dress used by my cousin; all three brides have been married for over 7 years and are very happy … again … the marriage … not the wedding should be your focus.
8. The guest list;
Phew! Nigerians feel offended and snubbed if they were not invited to your wedding … but the truth is, how many of these people inquire about your finances after attending your wedding? In fact should they catch you off-guard (not looking your best months or years into the marriage) they are the ones who would spread gist about your family the quickest … that you are not doing well.
There is a dichotomy between friends-close friends-family-extended family and well- wishers. Apply this principle in drawing out your guest list. Be wise, invite close friends and family and perhaps a few other friends and well-wishers and apologize to the rest later; your close friends and family would always be there to weather the storm with you; and yes! God is present, the most important of all the invited guests … as He never leaves nor forsakes you, but takes permanent residence in your home should you focus on letting Him stay;
Can we have people share their experiences; what would you have done differently at your wedding? Can we have other cost saving tips not mentioned? If you are yet to get married, you can also tell us some of your cost saving plans.
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On a daily basis, we feature words of financial wisdom from different Smart Stewards members and sometimes from Guest Contributors. You'd be glad reading them. Enjoy!
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