A Wedding Budget Overview

Image: Vizion Photography

We always start with the fun part, we search the … out of our Pinterest App for the most glamorous wedding dresses and the most magical wedding venues near me and then we find out how much it actually costs to recreate it (if even)! And we very quickly become overwhelmed by the money constraints. Rich or poor, every couple needs to have a budget and discuss where and in what they see value. Before you dive into wedding venues in Pretoria or Johannesburg, do you know how much it all costs? This will guide you on how to spend your money. Remember price is what you pay, value is what you get.

If you are lucky, your parents may host the wedding and cover the costs however this is rapidly moving away and the couple is left to fork out for their big day!

In South Africa we often hear that a man should spend at least 3 month’s salary on an engagement ring. Did you know that South African women are willing to spend at least 6 month’s salary on just the wedding! (Source: 2012 survey by Visa on Women Money Matters). This value does not include honeymoon, the rings or lobola!

It is crucial to be money savvy when planning your wedding as every last cent saved could make a significant difference in your life after the wedding!

On average a wedding costs approximately R80 000 to R100 000 for 80 to 100 guests. For more luxurious weddings these costs could be well north of R2 000 a head. That’s R200 000 for 100 guests, the same R200 000 could be put down as a down payment on a R2 million property! But yes the memories and the beautiful celebration to start your lives together is symbolic, a rite of passage and money needs to be spent, therefore being cautious would allow you to find a happy medium of priceless memories and financial wellbeing.

As a guideline your wedding budget could be split using the 50/20/10/10/10 apportionment:



Approximately 50% of your budget goes to the big ticket items: Wedding Venue (Wedding venues in Pretoria, Johannesburg, beach), Catering, Drinks and hosting costs



Approximately 20% of your budget should be allocated to:

  • Your dress
  • Your accessories: tiara, shoes, jewellery etc.
  • Décor and flower arrangements
  • Photography and Videography
  • Entertainment: Dj, band, orchestra etc.



Approximately 10% of your budget should be allocated to:

  • Wedding invitations
  • Thank you gifts
  • Personalised décor: Initials serviette holders, dance floor monogram etc.
  • Religious items: Unity candles, divine statues etc.
  • Wedding cake and confectionery



Approximately 10% of your budget should be allocated to your non-negotiables that you as a couple value. This could be dance lessons for your first dance as a married couple or things like:

  • Paying extra for the videographer to operate a drone for aerial shots of your wedding
  • Arranging your arrival transport: horse and carriage, helicopter etc.
  • An over the top dessert bar
  • Midnight toasted sandwiches for the party animals
  • All the finer details that makes your guests say that’s so them!



Approximately 10% of your budget should be kept as a buffer for the unknowns. Shortage of roses 2 weeks before your wedding or last minute safety certificates for an outdoor event can cause costs to creep up in the weeks building up to the big day!


In the end, don’t get bogged down by the numbers or what was left out; regardless of how much money you spend, it is the moments of joining your lives together that you will cherish and remember forever.

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