Here comes the bride…here comes the bill!
Weddings in Ghana have gradually become a very expensive occasion for couples desiring to marry. Gone are the days when bride price, some food and drinks for a group of relatives were sufficient. Now weddings have become a competitive occasion where people try to outdo the other by having more extravagant decor/expensive favors/a fuller buffet table etc. There is so much to think of for that D-Day from photography, food, venue rental, canopies, cutlery, cake, drinks, decor, music, favors, bridal team attire, etc. Some want the decor to match the cutlery, others want a very Ghanaian menu whilst some opt for Asian or European style dishes. My question is does one’s wedding have to be the ‘talk-of-the-town’ especially if you really cant afford it but want people to think you can? I heard of one wedding where the bride wanted everything in 7’s; you get 7 favors, 7 types of meal choices, 7 bridesmaids, 7 groomsmen, 7 flowergirls, 7 types invites, etc. 😮 So how much are people spending on their weddings? I am thinking 5-10,000 GHC budget should be for like an average wedding. Average.

 Its a special day meant to be celebrated but i think people should seriously consider their budget and not think of other people’s opinion of their wedding. You dont need to break the bank or go begging for a loan from your rich uncle to have your wedding. After all, after the enjoyment, who gets to pay the bill?  A young couple starting life anew should start thinking of their finances well ahead of tying the knot and not be sweating on how to pay back borrowed wedding loans. You just got married and already having debts to pay??

So is it possible to have a budget wedding in Ghana? Budget doesnt mean cheap but being able to organise an event whereby you still wear your dress and get to remember this day for the rest of your life. Here are some tips couples can follow for their upcoming nuptials.

  1. Keep Wedding Decor Simple- I know for a fact the wild cost of decor for weddings and i can only say that, if you cant afford the extravagance just stick to the reception decor and avoid the church. I have seen church decor looking like its Christmas day. Consult with the decorator on the simplicity of the decor whilst still maintaining the colors you want. The bridal vehicle doesnt have to look like Santa’s reindeer with curtains and ferns growing on it. A few tulle nets with single roses on the car door should do. Simplicity can sometimes speak volumes. Have you realised how many Ghanaians dress to match your wedding color? Well can you imagine how the reception and church would look with people matching your decor? Busy. Even the photos would come out ‘some way’.

2. Shorten Your Guest List- I know this will be very difficult for most people. But seriously if you think of the number of people you have to feed (150-300) then you cant help but shorten the guest list. Its like feeding a whole refugee camp (hehehe) plus drinks. How much is Malta Guiness now? You know another benefit of shortening the guest list? You know how some Ghanaians can invite two or three other friends to ‘accompany’ them to a wedding? So there. If you invite 150, expect that number to double, 200 becomes 300 thereabouts.

3. Compare, compare and compare- Is it the venue or looking for an event planner? Compare the costs of each venue rental and event planner and track whats included in each. What is one offering that the other isn’t? Many wedding event planners are in Ghana now, so take your time and choose. Unless of course your aunties and cousins are going to be your event planners. 

4. Hold the ceremony and your reception in the same place.- Cant afford going to another location for the reception? Use the church grounds. Or choose a location for both the wedding and reception. Or why not go to the Registrar’s General to sign, get a couple witnesses and go have a small reception elsewhere. How about using your alma mater? For example, you attended Achimota School (primary, jss and secondary), why not use the Aggrey Chapel and part of the school grounds for the reception? That works?

5. Trim the length of your reception- Some receptions can go on till mama calls! Instead of doing a whole 4-5 hours sit-down reception, why not reduce it to 2-3 hours? People can still have fun and do the Azonto too! 

6. What do you want to spend most on?- Depending on the size of your guest list, you would probably want to spend half your budget on food, beverage and venue. But whatever it many be decide ahead what should take most of your budget. Is it photography or videography?

7. What type of reception?- Save on the whole buffet lunch thing and have a cocktail reception where guests are served snacks or finger food and a glass of wine. Thank you all for coming…

8. Forget the full drinks bar – Alcholic drinks can swallow up much of your budget. Instead of showing off with your Henessey and Jack Daniels, Moet & Chandon, why not save and get beer and wine? It does the same job and its cheaper. 

Ghana’s beer- CLUB

9. Why all that food?- Ghanaian weddings are just opportunity for some to eat lunch and a bit of dinner. Some wedding receptions i have attended have served banku and okra, tilapia, roasted pork to even fufu and goat light soup. You know your finances, don’t be pressurised into feeding the 5,000 people if you cant afford it. Keep the menu light and simple.

Banku & Tilapia – a very popular Ghanaian dish on most menus

10. Have a small but beautiful cake- Wedding cakes are just beautiful. And expensive. The cake doesnt have to be bigger than the two of you. It might prevent the photographer from even getting a good shot. Something small yet beautifully decorated can still bring out the ‘awww’ from your guests.

Wedding cakes. Cute or Gargantuan?

Ok…the plan was to give 5 tips but here i am on the tenth and i cant stop! In short, if you cant afford a huge wedding dont pretend that you can! As a couple you must come to an understanding on how much you want to spend and not come under peer pressure to out do your work colleague or your classmate. If you can afford it and still be left with enough cash for your honeymoon why not? You can hire a horse and carriage and have a royal wedding if you want! Event planners like PlanIt Ghana are top of the game when it comes to wedding events and your wedding photography has to be timeless! 🙂 I came across this article from Martha Stewart on budget wedding planning. You can get more tips from there.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, You are great. How about if I have guest under 100 for a surprise party. Do you have any recommendations on small kitchens or caterer who are reliable and reasonable.

  2. I stumbled upon this article as i was doing research for my blogpost about Ghanaian wedding budgets. [fetesoiree.com/spending] Thank you for such an entertaining and honest post. I’m an event planner and coordinator, and your many of your suggestions are exactly what some of my clients need to hear. I will definitely be sharing this with them in the future. -Gabriella

  3. I stumbled upon this article as i was doing research for my blogpost about Ghanaian wedding budgets. [fetesoiree.com/spending] Thank you for such an entertaining and honest post. I’m an event planner and coordinator, and your many of your suggestions are exactly what some of my clients need to hear. I will definitely be sharing this with them in the future!

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