By Joan Salmon
It is a time of cost-cutting owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. It has taught us several lessons that will last long. That is why, for those looking to get their wedding done with a low budget, “scientific” weddings are a welcome idea. Nonetheless, we cannot peg every decision we make to the pandemic because for some, a small, low budget wedding is what they have always envisioned.
Samuel Settumba, alongside his wife made it possible for a couple for whom they played a wedding planner role. The team was able, with Shs1.5m to plan a wedding that had all it needed. Here is how they did it.
Going to a friend who had a rather big compound that could accommodate a big number of people, Settumba knocked off the reception fee. “While the compound could accommodate a good number of people, we kept ours at only 100 people.”
Working on the sound, chairs and tents was not as difficult either. Doing your research before your wedding is very important, Greg Kamukama, an events’ organiser, says, adding that it will save you from working with abnormal costs. As the wedding planner, Settumba did that and discovered a service provider near the wedding venue who could give them the three items with no transport cost implication.
“For 100 chairs, a 100 seater tent, two small tents, and two speakers, we paid Shs350,000. We opted for two speakers because being in a residential area, lots of sound would inconvenience neighbours. Besides, being in a compound, sound from eight speakers would be more than necessary,” he smiles. Settumba adds that people with such offers are available and you just need to look around. They were also provided with tables by the same service provider though these were charged separately. “We asked for four tables and these cost us Shs40,000,” Settumba says.
Normally, taking care of the bride is such an expensive venture. Angela Birungi of Birungi Designers, saying it gets even worse if you find a picky or arrogant one. But with this wedding, Settumba’s wife and the bride took to downtown, where they were able to buy a good-looking second-hand gown at only Shs180,000. “That was so friendly because renting was actually pocket draining, going as high as Shs400,000. Her shoes were only Shs20,000 while the kitengi for her changing cloth cost us only Shs80,000.”
Sticking to downtown, Settumba was able to get a new suit for the groom at only Shs80,000. “If you know who to go to, you will be amazed at what you can get from these places,” he shared. Regarding a shirt and tie, the groom made do with some good ones from his closet. The same went for shoes which just needed to be polished and shone to look spectacular for the day.
The meal has been known to be a money-stretching item where people need down payment of more than 70 per cent before they can start serving the meal on the D-Day. “Others will not serve beyond the agreed number of people until you pay,” Paul Batte, a wedding chairman that struggled to look for top-up money, shares.
For this item, Settumba says that the person who allowed them to hold the wedding in their compound also has a backyard that was turned into a cooking area for the day. “We went to Kyaliwajjala Market, and bought rice, Irish potatoes, greens and firewood at Shs250,000. We then got a woman that is an expert at making pilao to prepare the same for us while coming with warmers, a service that cost us Shs100,000. The rest of the cooking was done by eight volunteers.” The plates and cutlery were provided by Settumba and other friends.
If there is something that always captures a woman’s attention besides her clothes, it is cake. “Some will go as far as moving around town tasting cakes yet say nothing meets their tastes for the day,” Sarah Ddembe, a baker shares. In regards to this wedding, the cake was made by a friend who asked them for Shs120,000 for ingredients and her labour. “With that, she made four cakes for the day,” Settumba says.
Working on a tight budget means having limited liberties for extravagance. As such, they got two big buckets that would act as freezers for the day alongside ice for Shs20,000 to keep the drinks chilled. “We then purchased 130 bottles of sodas at Shs1,000 each.”
Unlike a hall that would require so much to make it look appealing, in the garden, lots of trees made the task easier. “Therefore, with an assortment of decor worth Shs35,000, we were able to decorate the two tents. Then another friend offered chair covers and table linens on condition that I picked and dropped them off, not forgetting to ensure they were in good condition and none was missing,” Settumba says.
These can tend to complicate things if people are not on the same page. From turning up late for measurements and taking long to pay up, to coming to the salon late, and so much more, they can make a beautiful day turn sour. However, that was not so for this wedding as every one of them was more than willing to cater to their dressing.
Candidly sharing with the couple and the entourage regarding this item, Settumba kicked it off the list. “Everyone had to see to their salon expenses for the day,” he says.
As one for whom speaking before audiences has never been a problem, Settumba gladly took on this role. He also worked as the coordinator and transporter for the day.
For the photos, a friend of the couple offered to take the photos and give the couple the smart card on which he placed them, so that they could print them at their leisure. He offered the labour free.
Speaking about how they pulled it off with just his family’s contribution of Shs1.5m in a time where prices for wedding items are only going higher, Settumba says the event was more about the social aspect than finances. “We cannot deny that finances are a necessity but we worked around what we had. Nonetheless, the willingness of people to offer of their time and substance made it very possible as some volunteered to usher, cook, and serve. As such, there were no meetings although we shared with people about the wedding and they were willing to chip in as much as possible.”