A Budget South African Wedding:

The cake, flowers & decor.

The Cake: Finding a cake in the price range we wanted to pay was no easy task. We needed to keep to a budget of around £100. I understand that all the work, time and attention to detail that goes into making an outrageous wedding cake makes it something of an art form...and of course an extravagant cake should come with an extravagant price tag. But we weren’t after extravagant. I personally could not justify spending hundreds on something that was, after all, just going to be cut up, eaten, some wasted and mostly forgotten.

Thankfully, I was recommend a lady by one of the home owners in Marloth Park that I had been in contact with. She told me about Shelly’s Cakes. Shelly was amazing - she got back to my emails really quickly and the minute I got the quote, I knew I was in safe hands. Which was probably crazy, as looking back I hadn’t even seen one of Shelly’s cakes! I went into this order blindly, winging it, like I always do...and it happened to worked out. She delivered it early on the morning of the wedding, and it looked exactly as I hoped it would. It wasn’t properly high-end, and perhaps a little lopsided…but really…it’s a cake. Get over it and throw it down your cakehole.

Above images by Phonix capture


It only cost us 1000 rand which is £58 (around $71) for a chocolate and vanilla cake. It was really moist and tasted amazing. She had advised me on having a two-tier cake of these measurements: bottom layer of 20cm and the top tier of 15cm. It was the perfect size to feed our party of 50 - with left overs given to every one at the end of the night. NOTE FROM HUSBAND: ‘I didn’t get any’ (and that was his own fault).

The Flowers and decor: We flew to South Africa a week before the wedding and stayed in Nelspruit (in between Johannesburg and Marloth Park…it’s your last chance to visit a big mall and pick up things you can’t find in the more remote Kruger areas). We planned it so we could have a meeting with the lady that runs Umbali Rentals - the company we used to organise all our flowers, chairs, altar, cutlery and decor. As all our communication was only made via email prior to the meeting, a lot of it was lost in the confusion of the international ether…and a lot of what was discussed was lost in a long thread of emails. So we almost had to start from scratch when it came to explaining what we wanted. However, she was extremely helpful, calm and pointed us in all the right directions to bring to life our (well, my) vision of how we (I) wanted it all too look.

There were so many good aspects to working with Umbali that I would definitely recommend them. Unfortunately, it wasn't all roses (literally), as things did go a little tits up with the actual roses. However, I do not blame Umbali for this. As I have said, it was difficult communication-wise, especially while I was in the UK. When we met in person, I had the chance to show Theresa (the manager) a couple of images of the kind of bouquet I was after. I wanted all the roses to be a very pale pink/peach colour, and for the bouquet to droop, not be structured. Unfortunately, due to time and distance, I wasn't able to be at the fresh flower market when the roses were chosen. Pale roses were not available, leaving Teresa with the hard task of choosing an alternative. Luckily she didn't go too wrong and the colour was beautiful, matching all the outfits perfectly and adding a lovely flash of colour to the day. After all, all flowers are incredible and Theresa certainly chose well.

Above images by Phonix capture

Not only were the flowers beautiful, the decor was incredible! I opted for a very simple rustic look with a vintage feel, and she provided just that. I left a lot of the decision-making to Theresa when it came to where to place things, etc., and it was all laid out perfectly.

Umbali are also very reasonable when it comes to pricing. For them to travel over an hour to drop off and deliver all the flowers, cutlery, decor, chairs and the altar, came to a total of £759 (around $929).  

The Cake including delivery: £58
Flowers, decor, cutlery, pick up & delivery: £759
Total: £817

- 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.

- Finding the right wedding photographers for you.

- Wedding hair & beauty horror stories.

Above images by Phonix capture


I loved all the little touches - from the lace she wrapped around the cutlery to the lay out of the lanterns and gypsophillia (little white flowers). They were also fantastic at delivering and picking up everything before and after the wedding. I barely even noticed them come and go. So I highly recommend Umbali for decor, and you can certainly put your trust in them with the little details.

Plus, the bouquet was easily lightened up with as few of the dark pink roses being swapped for white ones from the altar flowers, which looked incredible, by the way. The altar flowers were a beautiful touch from Theresa - during the meeting she offered to make us something special for the altar, and she did just that.


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