By Lee Hancox, 26 September 2019
“The first time, I wanted the wedding of my dreams. I may have in part succumbed to peer pressure from friends’ weddings that were all happening around the same time as well as the fact that lots of people tend to equate a wedding with how happy a marriage will be.” It’s safe to say that most of the 150 people that attended my wedding I saw for the first and last time on that day.
Hancox recalls her second time walking down the aisle as dramatically different. “It was all about us. We just wanted people there who were special to us. We didn’t even have a photographer. We captured candid, in-the-moment photos on disposable cameras instead.”
Using herself as a case study, Hancox – Head of Channel and Segment Marketing at Sanlam – says it’s important not to get caught up in peer pressure, but rather, to make the day about you and your partner as a couple. She also suggests getting savvy with money and starting to save as early as possible. South African weddings cost about R70 000 to R80 000 on average (but can escalate considerably). Globally, weddings cause spiralling debt for couples, so it’s wise to be wary and cut back on costs when you can. Remember that a wedding lasts one day, a marriage should last a life time.
“Social media has made it hard. There are so many pictures of people jetting off for perfect weddings overseas. But you never hear about the debt they go into to do so. It’s important to stay objective, consult a financial adviser and be very realistic about what you can afford.”
If you add pre-wedding expenses (these can easily amount to R50 000 to R100 000), plus the “big day” price tag of R80 000, then the honeymoon (about R27 000 according to a Visa survey), that’s close to R200 000. That could be a down payment for a home, school fees for a child for a few years, or an investment that could grow over time. That’s assuming you have the money. If you don’t and incur debt, you’re starting off your married life looking at paying back a loan for the next five years or longer