By Desire Mbabaali
For anyone organising a customary marriage or a wedding, money is always the next thing to think about, regardless of how big or small the occasion will be. Having said that, every couple, therefore, needs a plan on how to finance the function(s). This includes seizing every opportunity available, utilising all resources and careful planning.
In this article, we explore the different options available to help you fund your dream day.
Joint accounts/ Savings
“After coming to an agreement that we would have a fairly big wedding of about 250 guests, and knowing that my wife wanted a classy, but not extravagant function, we also concluded that we didn’t want to go asking people to fund our wedding, and embarked on a serious saving plan. Though we both had our personal accounts, we opened up joint savings account for that specific purpose,” Ivan Kato shares how they financed their wedding.
The plan was to save a specific percentage of their salaries and incomes depending on what each person decided, considering the budget they had.
“I decided to save 30 percent of my salary, and my wife; 20 percent. We also agreed that we would be open to receiving any contributions from our relatives, friends and anyone who was willing to give us anything. We would also deposit these on our account,” he narrates.
Each month, the couple strictly saved Shs1.5million plus any other incomes. They also started the journey at a fairly early time before the wedding date.
As they worked on preparations and booked service providers, they would withdraw from the account. At the end of 8 months, they had saved Shs 12 Million. They also received Shs 4million from family and friends. They had a budget of 11million. At the end of the day, they had a surplus.
When asked how they were able to pull this off, Kato shared that this came out of serious commitment and discipline from both of them, and he credits his wife for being a careful and organised planner.
Discounts and promotions
“When looking for service providers, I was intentional to get those that were offering discounts. For the venue, for example, they had a 20 per cent discount if you got tents, chairs, PA system and catering services from them. At the salon, they were offering free makeup for me and my entourage if they all did their hair from there. The car rental, on the other hand, was giving me already decorated cars if I hired more than three cars,” Catherine Mwesigye shares her experience.
As for their honeymoon, they worked with a tourism company which had organised a three-day group tour and the prices were subsidised in comparison to what they would have spent if they had done it alone, Mwesigye shares.
Some of the things to look out for are promotions and discounts and offers on wedding venues, honeymoon destinations, wedding meeting venues, wedding gowns, packages by service providers among others.
One might also consider mass weddings organised by churches or enrolling in wedding competitions like ‘The Big Wedding’ and other wedding giveaways.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to part with a lump sum of money at one go yet breaking it down into instalments can make it easier. William Katungi advises couples to have a conversation with their different service providers to work out a payment plan to follow. “You need to work with service providers that are understanding and flexible, and many of them are. I for example had the same provider for my wedding venue, decor and catering. After concluding on the prices, we agreed that every month, I would pay a given amount of money until I finished paying up for everything. This reduced the financial pressure on me, and gave me a chance to finance other things I needed to in the wedding preparations,” he says.
If you believe you want your wedding five or more years from now, an insurance cover may be what you need. According to Jubilee Insurance’s kwanjula plan, one saves with them a minimum of Shs250,000 either monthly, quarterly or yearly. When the time comes, one can have access to their accumulated money to organise their marriage ceremonies.
This plan, however, won’t work if you are looking at getting married in the next few months. Nonetheless, you can think about the option for future ceremonies like wedding anniversaries.
Fundraisers can be a successful way to pool financial resources from different individuals and organisations for a common goal. Sheila Murungi an accountant with experience in fundraising shares, “I would strongly advise anyone organising a wedding fundraiser to offer something that will touch people to support their cause. Don’t seat back and hope people will just offer their money just like that. Rather, make someone who wants to give you know that they are getting something in return, that’s the best way to collect funds,” she says.
She further advises couples to organise activities through which people can give. These might be things like car washes, paid dinner parties, selling products like T-shits, organising games/fitness activities for family and friends through which they can support, among others.
This is and can be part of the wedding meetings, however, putting a new touch to it can make a difference. Hussein Makubuya an events planner shares that firstly, make items that are being auctioned worth fighting for and taking home. “One of the reasons people don’t like participating in auctions is that the item being auctioned is just not worth it. Invest in the item(s) or find items worth it from what you already have,” he advises.
Another tip for this is getting a good auctioneer that will make it interactive, engaging and fun.
A growing trend in wedding preparations that has proven to work for many are wedding launches. These give couples a big financial step to kickstart their wedding preparations.
“To get the best from your wedding launch, it has to be well planned and executed. This includes having activities that can fetch you money, without making people hate it. Make it fun too; you can have a goat roasting evening, a cocktail party or a simple diner,” Makubuya further notes. He, however, adds that though money fetches money, avoid overspending on your wedding launch to be able to save even more.
“People have fatigue for wedding meetings and many won’t come for more than two. Wedding launches are therefore one avenue to have everyone around and contributing because you might not see them again until the wedding, so invite all the ‘people that matter’” he says.