How to have a budget South African wedding.

I have to say, this blog has been a challenge, to say the least. I wrote almost all of it on the slowest, most annoying computer ever invented (thank you Asus for literally nothing). One night after proofreading it with my husband, satisfied, almost smug, I clicked save and shut the computer…like ordinary people with computers that work do. Only to find, dum dum dummmmmm... the next morning it wasn’t saved. At all. Not a single comma. Not one colon. GULP! Not very smug.


So, the day came when I had forgiven the universe and was ready to rewrite it all over again, in a great mood; I kissed my husband good bye and made my way to the beach. You see, I had this fairytale idea of walking down to our local beach here in Costa Rica, taking a dip then sitting under a tall tree, feeling the ocean breeze on my face, while I write about how to have an affordable yet magical South African wedding. While sloths sit on my lap and toucans nuzzle me.


In reality, I walked down there in the sweltering super-close, moist heat, got bitten by mosquitoes on every part of my body imaginable (knuckles, dude, really? How much blood are you getting out of a knuckle?), and to be shouted at by every resident dog I passed. Angrily. Like I wanted to steal their stinking tripe or something. Once at the beach, all seemed as magical as a frolicking newlywed fairy angel…in the ocean, breathing in the fresh seaweedy air and feeling the healthy salt dissolve into my pores. What could be a better setting? I was the only person on the beach. So I thought. Until I turned around to see a naked fat man washing his clothes in the fresh water pool right in front of me. Um. Rewind! Unsee it! Unsee it! No joke, he was stark naked, proud of it, and not the view I was hoping for while I wrote about our wedding. So I gathered my things, walked past the angry dogs and got knuckle-bitten by insects some more. I’m now back at the house trying to shake off the image of the cloth-washing blimp while scratching my knuckles as raw as a Victorian prize fighter.

Aaaand relax. I’m trying to gather my thoughts so that I can write exactly how romantic it is to get married in the South African bush. Lets swiftly move on and hope that it’s third time lucky.

If you’re after a fairy tale wedding, South Africa is a great place to have just that. The good news: it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. For me, fairy tale didn’t mean spending millions on a dress, or venue or all the little trinkets and nonsenses that go with it. It was more the idyll of being surrounded by wildlife and a handful of the people I love. Also, the opportunity to make that day more than, well, just a day. The great thing about getting married abroad is that it can be a brilliant opportunity for you, your family and friends to also enjoy a vacation, and we did just that. In fact, as perfect as our day was, getting quality time with family and friends in a beautiful country that’s so full of life, for us, was even more special. There is of course the downside of some people you love not being able to make it due to money, commitments, health or even just due of the politics of who you can and can’t invite. If, like us, you want a small, affordable day, all that just comes with the territory. But I can tell you, you won’t regret it. Especially if, like us, you also have a small party back home to celebrate with all those who couldn’t be there. Then you can have your cake and truly eat it. Which is also something we’ll talk about later.

Now I know what you’re thinking - how can all this be done on a tight budget? Well, everyone’s situations, desires and expectations will differ - from the amount of people you invite to the kinds of things you’re willing to spend money on. Some people will want to pay for everyone’s flights, for example. We couldn’t do that. So please don’t take what we spent as the literal no-word-of-a-lie gospel. See this as an anecdotal guide, just our story, to help you achieve the wedding you want. Take from it only what’s useful to you.

So, it’s time to fill you in on just how much our flights, the day (29 people), and a holiday cost no more than £10,000 ($12,000 USD).

Below are links to each section of the wedding, showing costs, reviews and our experiences and stories. CLICK AWAY!

- 3 steps to clearer skin & getting fit.
- Dressing the bride & bridal party on a budget.
- Surviving the Registry Office.
- Flights and car hire.
- Where to stay and what to do.
- The venue, catering & music.
- The cake, flowers & decor.

- Finding the right wedding photographers for you.

- Wedding hair & beauty horror stories.



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