One in five UK weddings takes place abroad, according to Mintel. If you and your partner are excited about the idea of having an African bush wedding, you’re in luck – Mintel stats from a few years ago show that the average wedding abroad costs approximately£6,500, which is almost one-third less than the cost of having a wedding in the UK! In fact, a study by currency exchange specialists FairFX has found that UK weddings are some of the most expensive in the world, and can easily hit the £20,000 mark. Even though a safari wedding can be less expensive, budgeting for it is key to its success. Here’s our guide to creating a budget for your safari wedding.
One of the best reasons to have a safari wedding is because of the fab scenery on the African continent. Whether you’re saying your vows in Kenya with zebras in the background or having a romantic bush wedding at sunset in South Africa, you’re guaranteed to have a beautiful experience. However, while you’re choosing the most spectacular views for your bush wedding, there are important things to consider when planning a safari wedding, such as travel expenses, as well as accommodation for you and your guests. If saving money is important to you, it’s important to plan for every element of your wedding.
How to budget for your safari wedding
When planning a wedding anywhere, it’s common for your venue (which includes food) to make up approximately 50 percent of your budget. Things like your wedding gown, photography, flowers, and décor should make up no more than 15 percent of your amount. The wedding invitations, cakes, and wedding favors should be between 2 and 5 percent of your amount. Always be sure to set aside up to 15 percent of your funds for any unforeseen costs that can crop up.
Should you get a wedding loan?
If you’re seriously strapped for cash, a wedding loan could come to the rescue. Of course, it’s not called a “wedding loan.” It’s a personal loan that can assist you with your wedding budget and prevent you from racking up credit card debt.Getting a personal loan is something that’ll last long after your wedding, so you and your partner need to be sure if taking one out is the right solution for you. A benefit of taking out a personal loan for your wedding is that payments will be fixed, but paying it off sooner will help to decrease the amount of interest you need to pay. It also helps to take care of your other financial obligations or other loans you might have, such as to consolidate your student loans, so that you can lower your monthly payments in order to fund your wedding.
It might sound like having to fly to Africa for a safari wedding will notch up costs quickly, but it can actually be less expensive than having your wedding at home. That’s because you’re likely to have a smaller guest list because of the distance they have to travel. An important travel cost, however, is travel insurance. You never know what can happen when you’re on holiday for your wedding and honeymoon, so travel insurance can give you peace of mind. You should choose an insurance plan that costs between 4 and 10 percent of your total trip cost. So, if your trip will be £10,000, you should expect to pay up to £1,000 or a bit less on insurance. If you’re younger than 65 years, you’ll probably pay less for insurance. Finally, how long you’ll be in Africa for your safari wedding matters. The longer you’re there, the more risk there is that something could go wrong and your insurance costs could, therefore, be higher.
Accommodation and venue expenses
Since the venue and accommodation makes up half of your safari wedding budget, you should try to save as much money as you can in these areas. Generally, luxury lodges in Africa can cost you approximately £1,000, while less expensive ones cost up to £600. Most places that offer accommodation will include game drives and three daily meals. If you want extra things, such as spa treatments or bridal makeup, you’ll have to pay extra so be careful of what you want.There are many wedding packages available, so study them well before you agree to them. Ensure you won’t pay for extra things that you don’t want as this can cost hundreds of pounds.
Consider having your wedding during off-peak season. When fewer people are trying to get wedding locations and accommodation, you’re likely to save up to 30 percent of your wedding cost, according to Real Simple. The best and most popular time to have a safari wedding is during spring, which is between the months of September to December. Having a wedding during summer and autumn can also be beautiful, though!
Accommodation for destination weddings such as safari weddings usually accommodates between two and 10 guests. Larger, more commercial safari weddings will be able to host up to 120 guests. It’s vital to know how many guests will definitely be attending your wedding. Request RSVPs from your guests months ahead of time.
When budgeting, it’s important to decide if you’ll be paying 10 percent of the total accommodation bill for guests, or not. If you know that you’re going to have a large number of guests, block-booking all the rooms in the lodge is advisable. However, if you block-book and many of your guests don’t arrive, you’ll be liable to pay for their accommodation. That’s why it’s so important to have a definite number of guests.
Wedding catering that offers excellent quality and three-course meals for guests would cost between £20 and £26 per head during a safari wedding. A general rule for food and drink is that you’ll pay less when offering your guests fewer choices. As for the wedding cake, many safari wedding venues will include it in their price. Even so, you can find ways to add colour and beauty to the wedding cake to avoid extra costs, such as by decorating it with fresh flowers and ribbons.
One of the most budget-friendly tasks on your list when planning a safari wedding is that you won’t need to worry too much about décor and flowers. You’re surrounded by such natural beauty! Venues tend to provide the basics, such as table linens, tents, chairs, as well as seasonal decorations. Remember that going the DIY route can save you lots of money. You could easily make things to use as a table or tent décor, as well as fun wedding favor gifts. In fact, DIY wedding tasks can go a long way to reduce your wedding expenses in general. Consider asking your friends and family members to pitch in to help with décor as well as other wedding tasks, such as photography or videography.
When you’re posing in front of magical sunsets or waterfalls, you want to be sure that you look amazing. People spend a lot of money on wedding gowns. Wedding statistics released by The Knot found that people readily spend almost £2,000 on wedding dresses.If you’re going to have your wedding in Africa, it might be a good idea to purchase a dress there, too. You can drastically chop your expenses in this way, as the average wedding dress in South Africa costs as low as R3,000 (£180), although it obviously can also enter the double digits. Remember there’s the option to rent a dress, which will cost between R5,000 (£300) and R12,000 (£722). Renting a gown and tux makes monetary sense as you’ll have stunning photos to remember your special day and won’t need the actual gown in future.
There’s no doubt that getting married at a destination wedding, such as an African safari, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, expenses can easily accumulate, which is why smart financing and budgeting will go a long way to helping you create a memorable day without the financial strain.