Category Archives: Budget

Tips on Sourcing money for your Wedding

Even the most modest wedding will cost some money, and many couples are left wondering how they are going to pay for their wedding. Raising money for your wedding can seem like a daunting task. With high wedding prices and rough economic times, it will be hard for many couples to afford their ideal wedding.

The Samantha’s Bridal believes you can have your wedding without breaking the bank. Some of these ideas will require work and a willingness to maybe go outside of your comfort zone. Decide what you want. Plan your budget. Work your plan. Have your dream wedding.

Open a Wedding Bank Account
The first thing to do when saving money for your wedding is to set up a separate bank account for wedding related funds. This might seem like a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it. Find a bank that offers a free savings account. It’s a lot easier to save money if you have a dedicated place to put it. You will be less likely to spend the money because it is in the bank, and you can easily track your deposits and account balance to determine what your overall wedding budget will be.

Saving up is the most common way to raise money for your wedding, but it requires discipline and time. If you have a year or so to save, you can put away a portion of your income every month into your wedding account. This will allow you to slowly build up a nice chunk of change to use for your wedding expenses.

Moonlighting is basically finding an additional source of income aside from your regular job. If you have some extra time and some marketable skills, this may be a great way to raise money for your wedding.

Get Sponsors/Set up wedding committee
What is a Sponsored Wedding? A sponsored wedding is when you have different sponsors for the different parts of your wedding. These sponsors can be friends, family, or even wedding vendors that you plan to work with. With friends and family, you will basically be asking them to contribute to your wedding costs. A sponsored wedding involves asking these people for help. This may be uncomfortable or even slightly embarrassing, but many friends and family members are more than happy to chip in. At your ceremony, be sure to publicly thank these individuals who were willing to help. Just know that the Kenyan setup only helps those who also take part and burden for others and hence to form a committee to fund your wedding you also need to have supported others before.

Vendors may give you discount or offer their services for free if it can benefit them in some way, such as helping them generate more business through advertising.

Sell Your Stuff
Most people have lots of stuff, and that stuff might just be taking up space in your house. Turn that stuff into cash by selling them. Old furniture, clothes, toys, etc. are all items that people will buy. You can also consider selling items on OLX.

Wedding Loans
Wedding loans are becoming more and more popular because more young couples have to foot the bill for their own weddings. Nobody wants to start a marriage in debt; you definitely don’t want go further into debt to get money for your wedding. By getting a loan you will end up paying way more for your wedding and you will still be paying for it long after it’s over. If possible, borrow money from a family member instead of getting a wedding loan. At least then you hopefully won’t have to pay interest and fees. Don’t take a loan if you can avoid it.

Budget for your upcoming wedding

Once the engagement glow has faded, it’s now time to sit down and plan for the big day, you’ll find it very hard to get anything accomplished without a good wedding budget. A budget will give you an outline of what you should spend on each item, so as to ensure you don’t spend more than you intend to.

Who’s funding the wedding?

Although in Kenya traditionally the grooms’ parents pay for the whole thing, this has now changed, couples can now both help each other in funding the wedding. If you can pay for the whole thing yourselves, that makes things easier. If you want your families to help you out, or pay for it all, you should have a frank discussion with them about it. You should be prepared to answer questions, such as “How much do you think the whole thing will cost” and some other questions that you might not know the answer to.
There are several options:

  • Parents can say that they are contributing a specific amount, and then the couple decides on a wedding budget and makes up any difference themselves.
  • Parents can say that they want to pay for specific items such as the bride’s gown, or the catering. The couple then has to figure out how to pay for everything else.
  • The couple can set a budget and then ask to split it evenly. This is particularly a good solution for divided families.
  • Friends and relatives can set up a wedding committee but remember the African set up you have to be supportive to other people for you also to be supported.

Figure Out a Basic Wedding Budget

Start off by using a wedding budget planning worksheet to figure out the basics (below is a sample of the budget worksheet get the actual worksheet in the Samantha’s Bridal Magazine which is available at our offices).

Budget Worksheet
Budget Worksheet

If you already know some of the costs, such as the hall rental, put the actual figures, and adjust the other figures to make up for it. You can also ask other brides who have had weddings in your area what they spent on vendors to figure out if these numbers are realistic, or need to be adjusted.

Budget Worksheet
Budget Worksheet

Make room for what really matters

Prioritize what’s important to you, choosing 2 to 3 most important items. Writing down questions and filling them may help in this process. You may decide that you want to have a great photographer, but you’re happy to hunt for a bargain on the gown. If you’re having a small wedding, your catering bill won’t be big in the percentage of the budget. You can adjust your budget figures to reflect your priorities.

Save your wedding budget

Start by looking through the budget and crossing off anything that you don’t need. For example if you’re having both the ceremony and reception at one location, you might not need to include transportation. Use your contacts. Don’t be afraid to ask recently married friends who they used and what they paid. Ask friends in the wedding industry to help you out, and give you a discount if possible. If the numbers still aren’t working out, ask yourself what’s really important to you.

Once you’ve set a budget, stick to it. It’s easier said than done, but an important thing to do.

Cutting The Costs Of Wedding Budgets


Tips on budget guzzlers from wedding essentials

Photography by Shutter Speed Studio

Scenario 1

You know you are below budget from the start but you want to have a wedding. What are some of the ways you can go about arranging for your dream day at a minimal cost?

Guest list

Looking after your guests, who may have spent aconsiderable amount to be with you, should be your mostimportant concern. So think seriously about the number.It’s better to invite fifty and look after them well, than tryto stretch your resources. Make out a guest list – if in doubt,ask yourself, would you be insulted if they did not invite youto their wedding? Work out how many are likely to comeand then you will know how much you will roughly spendper head. Remember, food is a very big budget driver as it takes up almost 50% of the total wedding budget.


Photoshots Kenya

Ask for help

Depending on how creative your friends and family are, askthem to help in all sorts of ways. But never allow someoneto take over responsibility for an area in which they have noprevious experience. For most girls the greatest priority isthe dress, which I think is a mistake. You can have the mostbeautiful wedding dress and it does not have to be worththousands of shillings. What is most important is that it fitscomfortably and emphasizes your best features. Similarly,it is a needless expense to have ten bridesmaids or even smoother the church with flowers, when few well placed arrangements, highlighting the building’s best features, can be as effective.

Photography by Ben Kiruthi

Double your pleasure – group wedding

This is good for friends, cousins or even brothers. You probably have the same family friends, common friends and relatives. If you do decide on a double wedding, there’s a great deal of “killing two birds with one stone” to do.Fortunately, most of it saves you money. You send out oneinvitation for both couples, buy one set of flowers, have aDJ or band. It would be best for everyone’s eyes and earsif the level of style and formality between the two weddingparties was the same. Long, flowing burgundy dresses in one party and red polka-dotted mini-skirts in another will not make for a pretty picture. Similarly, it’s doubtful thatyour DJ will appreciate alternating heavy-metal tunes forone couple with classical recordings for the other.

Let’s say a sister, close friend, or relative wants to share your wedding day. You, of course, would tell her to Get Lost.Okay, maybe you’re glad to share this day with someone who’s special to you. Whoever the special person is, the two of you will have memories to share for the rest of your lives.Before you consent to a double wedding, realisticallyconsider your relationship with the other couple. If thetwo of you are likely to be pulling each other’s hair out atthe altar, or have drastically different opinions on religion,fashion, music, or other issues, you may want to “just sayno” rather than risk any embarrassment at the wedding. Inother words, you should only agree to a double weddingif the memories you and your potential fellow couple willshare for years to come are likely to be pleasant ones.The main piece of protocol to be aware of in a doublewedding is that the older of the two brides proceeds downthe aisle first with her wedding party, and does other keythings first. As you might imagine, two full wedding partiescan get rather large, so find a place that can accommodateeveryone. Aside from the fact that everything is done twice,the double wedding can be just like any other wedding.As far as bridal showers and other pre-wedding events go,it’s up to you and the others involved to decide whether ornot to do things jointly. It’s certainly easier on everyone elseif the two of you have a joint shower, but if either of youfeels the need to retain a sense of individuality, you mighttactfully request doing some things separately.

Cocktail reception

Serving hors d’oeuvres (bitings) and appetizers at your reception is not only one of the hottest trends in catering,but also affordable. The secret is to have your caterer keep the preparations simple and the ingredients inexpensive.Include an assortment of meat and vegetarian samosas,spring rolls and kebabs. Presentation is very important. For example, if people walk in and the food is appealing and tastes good, it makes an impression.

Shutter Speed Studio

Destination weddings

For less than Kshs.100,000 your groom and you can have a real wedding complete with God’s blessings. Many hotels are now offering wedding packages for example the Whitesands hotel.


That’s all folks!

It is not common but an idea that few have tried. Couples without a budget for a reception go ahead and invite guests for the ceremony only. Let your guests know in advance though. After the church service you leave for your honeymoon or to your first night venue. Or alternatively organise for a small cocktail drink.This is what you should do. First, review all your expenditures; menu, music, flowers, everything. Then consult each vendor to figure out where it’s possible to cut costs or change choices without reneging on your agreements. Many service providers told us that they would be willing to work out a solution with couples in a genuine financial crisis.In this section, professional wedding planners and service providers give advice on budgeting for the big day and surprising brilliant suggestions on how to reduce your expenses without sacrificing your dream.

Photography Photoshots Kenya
Photography by Photoshots Kenya

Wedding Expenses

No couple wants to go into debt in the name of wedding budgets and start off the marriage in liabilities. For a perfectly budgeted wedding and honeymoon, carefully itemize each expense to make it a groan-free success. You will be paying out a lot and small items seem to add up and if you are not careful, you can easily go over the budget.


Who pays for what?

A wedding planner, Patricia, from Wedding Essentials says there are no hard and fast rules as to who pays for what. From her experience it’s the couple that pays for the wedding with the support of their family and friends. Traditionally, the African custom dictates that the groom and his family pay for most of the expenses. So in most cases, you’ll find that many times it’s the groom’s side who take care of the larger side of the cost and the smaller costs like the tents and flowers, the bride plays a dominant role because the theme is normally the bride’s. So together with the groom, they will have to put their money together and decide how much they are going to spend on the different things and to have a contingency. Sometimes depending on the financial status of the couple and their respective families, costs may be shared on any item related to the wedding. While some parents may offer a cash gift for the couple to choose how they want to spend it, offers of cash from uncles, aunties, and grandparents are common but not expected. In the western world and Asian communities, the bride pays for the whole wedding including dowry where applicable.

Gone are the days that couples had to rigidly follow traditional rules and customs. More and more couples are opting for the modern way of setting a wedding and many times, there really are no rules or division of duties. Both parties can agree to share the expenses of the wedding, or the bride and groom can decide to pay for it themselves. Rules are bending or being bent to accommodate the bride and groom’s wishes which are the most important in the end. Couples usually save up for their wedding if they decide to pay for it on their own. Sometimes if the expenses become a tad staggering for them, they may ask for help from close friends or relatives.

Who Pays for What?

Most of you (40%) are paying for your own wedding, of these 64% are using their own savings, while a small percentage (14%) is getting loans from the bank. 18% of you are asking friends to assist you, while 8% of you have your parents financing your wedding. In comparison, 99% of the Asian brides told us their family is paying for the wedding.

How much are People Spending on Weddings?

On average the African bride (51%) is spending Ksh500,000 to Ksh1.5 million, while 19% spend below Ksh500,000. 12% spend over Ksh1.5million. 5.3% are spending over Ksh2.5 million. On average the Asian bride is spending not less than Ksh5 million. The average guest list is not less than 3000, with most holding not less than three parties.

Her Hand in Marriage

99% of the grooms are still the ones popping the big question, of those 43% go down on one knee half the time over a romantic dinner.

Wedding Planning Stress

Surprise, coping with your mother in-law and dealing with both families is the least stressful thing about organizing your wedding. Issues with financial planning ranked first, followed by traditional ceremonies, guest list, and balancing your job with planning weddings, in that order.

The First Night

62 % of you told us that you plan to stay in a hotel for the first night while all of you plan to go for honeymoon. 51% of you will travel to a domestic destination, while 42% plan foreign travel. The rest of you are not sure.

Big Day Beauty

Most of you are planning to change your usual cosmetic brand with more emphasis being on lipstick, perfume and eye shadow. Advertising and magazine articles are still Influencing your choice of a cosmetic brand for your big day beauty

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Getting Started

Wedding Style Budget

What kind of wedding?  The one decision that is going to be the starting point of your wedding planning is the type, size and style of wedding. Do youbwant a religious or civil wedding, fairly tale wedding, traditional,do you want a big wedding with all the trimmings or just a simple I do? Or do you want something completely out of the ordinary.

Once you are clear on the theme, with almost any budget,some imagination and flair, you can create a wonderful wedding. Remember extravagance isn’t necessarily the option as people remember the little touches, and there are many wedding themes to choose from.

The Guest List

Try to make a rough estimate of how many guests you expect even at this early stage as this will help you make important decisions on the wedding venue and budget. When deciding on a guest list, again there are no hard and fast rules but it sure will cause you a lot of stress. Best way to handle it is to split the guest list in three quotas; one for both your mutual friends, next for his parents and relatives and the other for the bride’s relatives and parents. You can then all discuss the lists together and come to an agreement.

Remember that the longer your guest list, the bigger your wedding will be, thus the more your budget will have to stretch. You can reduce the guest list to a much smaller number by having an invitation-only reception and insist on RSVP. At the end of the day, let your budget decide the number of guests.

Date and Location

Setting a date will enable you to go ahead with plans. You ill not know what amount of time you have to search or the right dress, when you’ll need the ceremony and reception sites plus photography, catering, florists and the details that need a set date and time.

Things to consider
When setting a date, think about the weather. Do you want a ceremony during the sunny season? Or is there a particular date and time that is of sentimental importance to you and your fiancé or family? Or would you prefer it at a laid-back season or during a festive season like the month of December? Consider all these points and discuss with your partner. Consider your guests’ plans. Perhaps some of them usually choose this time to travel up-country to see their relatives during the holiday season.


As soon as possible, decide on how much you can afford. If the money you have from your own savings, your parents and friends contributions is not enough to create the wedding you want, you may want to save some more. At the same time look for ways to cut back on some spending in some areas.

To help you estimate the total cost of your wedding so that you can prioritize and make the necessary budget allocation, we have designed a comprehensive budget over view so that you can have an idea of all the expenses that you are likely to incur and thus have an idea of what your wedding will cost.

Fill in the budget column putting in the estimated amount then add all the “Budget” amounts per category. Write the total amount in the “Budget Subtotal” space provided at the end of each category. Finally add all the “Subtotal” figures to come up with your final wedding budget.

The “Actual” column is for you to input your actual expenses as you purchase items or hire your service providers. Writing down the actual expenses will help you stay within your budget. After adding up all your “Budget Subtotals,” in case you find that the amount is more than the budget allocated, adjust your expenses accordingly by deciding what is an important must-have to you and knocking out what is not.