It's wedding season and hundreds of brides-to-be (and some grooms) are excitedly going through the millions of details that come with preparing for the day that most people dream about from childhood - their wedding day.

While most couples want the day to be as lavish as possible, all the extravagance doesn't come cheap.

In fact, according to Johannesburg-based pro wedding planner, Natasha Viet, the owner of Weddings By Tasha, the average price she has seen couples spend on a wedding is a whopping R200 000.

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According to Natasha, the venue, catering and decor are among the things that spike the price.

"The average wedding capacity in South Africa is 150 guests and couples can expect to spend anything from R200,000 upwards depending on the venue they choose, style of catering and also the design of the wedding."

"Some venues charge R25k for venue hire and others R60k. Catering can be anything from R350 per head to around R700 per head plus!", says Natasha.

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If you were born extremely wealthy, and money just isn't an issue, that number may not seem that big of a train smash for you.

However, if you're the average South African who'd still like to live a normal life after the wedding (and stay away from bad debt), you may need to find ways to keep your wedding classy but a whole lot less pricey.

Lee Hancox, the Head of Channel and Marketing at Sanlam, uses experience from her very own wedding planning and spending to share with us some tips on how to achieve the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.

Her first word of advice?

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Start saving ASAP.

"If you know you want to get married one day, start saving as soon as possible. Consider a flexible unit trust vehicle with good returns, or a suitable savings vehicle you’ve discussed with your adviser", she says.

She goes on to say that using money from your savings as opposed to going into debt to pay for the cost of your dream day can ensure that you can invest borrowed money into more long-term and much more needed commodities, such as your future home or car loan.

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"Use your savings, don’t go into debt. From a behavioural economics perspective, it’s a strange phenomenon that it feels easier to spend ‘borrowed’ money from the bank than funds that you’ve saved."

"When I was planning my first wedding, my dad asked me if I should rather think about using the money to put a deposit down on our home."

"Think about your future life and what you want this to look like."

"If you’re about to set up a home together, you might also want to keep what-could-have-been wedding money aside for practical things like a washing machine." , she says.

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She also advises that you have a bit of fat built into the budget. "You might budget a certain amount for the beverages, then great uncle so-and-so has a good night and you’re looking at paying quite a lot more. Remember, your wedding is one beautiful part of a much longer, exciting journey."

In other words, when the weddings over, you'll still have your whole life to live and more things to pay for. So don't push yourself too much trying to live up to those pictures you've seen on social media.

Small and affordable can still be beautiful.

How much do you think is acceptable to spend on a wedding? Are you getting married soon/have gotten married recently? 

Share your wedding stories with us here.

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