Just Engaged

You’ve just gotten engaged and you’re super excited. It’s like you’re having an outer body experience. You’re looking at your future and the person you will spend it with. It’s all soooo exciting!!!

Whether you got engaged with just the two of you present or with friends and family around, I believe this is an amazing time. I believe it holds many promises for the future and the life you want to have. Revel in the moment. Enjoy it. I cannot tell you for how long, but I can tell you to enjoy it.




So, you’ve been engaged for a weekend, a month, a year or for years…then the questions come around a wedding and when you will have it, where it will be and how much it will be… The problem, for the most part is, we don’t get married every day so most people don’t really know where to start. Let me help you with that…

From the perspective of a South African bride, it depends the type of family you have. For the African, Jewish and Indian families, there is a lot of cultural practices that need to be done so the involvement of parents and older family members is high. This means you really can’t do much until these “meetings” or “discussions” have taken place. It’s all super up in the air until the elders have said their piece. As a couple, I think it’s important to agree the following as a start:

  • Budget in terms of what you want to spend for the wedding
  • Number of guests

When you meet with your respective families, you can have the above already agreed then if there’s any additions, the family can help “foot” the bill or you are able to at least ask them to or have the relevant negotiations…

Once the families have met and made certain agreements, then you’ll be in a better position to talk dates and where. This is typically the next thing to think of. Logistically, when do you want to get married and where (City). Some couples want to have destination weddings, others have kids and want to get married during the school holidays. These all need to be discussed by you, as a couple, so you have an idea of the where and when.

The next think to do is look at pictures of weddings. Look at styles of things you like and things you don’t like. Remember, in South Africa, we don’t have everything that you will see on Pinterest. Some suppliers will customize but this will cost you $$$. Also think of any weddings or parties you have attended. Think of the things you loved and the things you hated about those functions. Then, write a review of what you would hope your guests would say about your wedding the day after it or the week after it. The above thinking will save you and you will thank me later.

You can now revisit that budget number and see if you can realistically still make it. Again, a simple walk into woolies to look at a bunch or flowers or a visit to the Net florist site will let you know what you’re in for. If you generally wear designer stuff, then you should have an idea that you’ll be spending A LOT on the attire. I know a wedding is a one-day event and it makes no sense to spend that much…but you won’t change who you are and what you like for that one day. You may scale back, but your wedding will still take your personality. So, if you get your nails done at Tammy Taylor for R500 with all the design and nail art while there is a place where you can have the same / similar done for R200, this should give you an idea of who you are… Be realistic with your budget number and remember that it includes everything (not just décor and catering)*

The next thing to look at is just what goes into planning a wedding. A simple google search will give you many articles around what activities go into planning a wedding. Also, by looking at the list of what’s included in your budget, you’ll get a sense of the service providers you’ll need to work with. You want to do this exercise so that you will be in a position to decide whether you want to plan you wedding yourselves or get a wedding planner. As a wedding planner, I believe every couple deserves to have a wedding planner. It’s someone who looks out for your interest throughout the process and on the day of your wedding. But I know that due to budget and the availability of information, couples can plan their own wedding, delegate functions for on the day to family and friends and have the day go off relatively well.

If you are getting a wedding planner, this is a good time to look for one. They will take you through the entire process, so you don’t even need to start looking for a venue till you have booked your wedding planner.

If you decide to plan your wedding yourself, from here on out, keep your reference pictures close and that review of your wedding that you had written down. As you speak to suppliers and book them, these two pieces of information will be your true North that will guide your gut feel in supplier selections.


*When we talk about everything or all suppliers in terms of budget we mean:

  • Marriage officer / priest
  • Venue
  • Catering (Canapes, starter, main meal, dessert etc.)
  • Bar / beverages
  • Photography & Videography
  • Décor (Ceremony and Reception
    • Flowers
    • Place settings (Base plates, cutlery, glasses)
    • Candles
    • Lighting
    • Flooring
  • DJ
  • Entertainment (Band, photobooth etc.)
  • Cake
  • Stationery (save the date, invitations, seating plan, program, order of service etc.)
  • Wedding website
  • Bride and bridesmaids’ attire and accessories
  • Groom and groomsmen attire and accessories
  • Flower girl and page boy attire and accessories
  • Bride’s makeup, hair and nails
  • Groom’s hair and nails
  • Bridesmaids makeup and hair
  • Flower girl hair
  • Page boy hair

Exclusions are:

  • Rings
  • Honeymoon