Getting married has always been a huge step in a person’s life. It’s also one of the biggest expenses you can have–sometimes costing more than a year’s salary, a home, or a trip around the world.
For Arabs who are getting married, it can be an even bigger expense because its almost compulsory to invite all the people you and your families ever knew, as well as having a big, grand wedding with plenty of food.
Sometimes it’s inevitable that having a big wedding is your only option, since many couples find that guests get offended when every single member of their family isn’t invited—whether or not you actually know them.
Inevitably, you will have to spend money on your special day, but if it’s planned the right way and you know the tips to cutting down costs, it doesn’t have to break the bank.
The following are just a few tips that Arabs can use when planning their nuptials to keep the costs down, while still maintaining the happiness, joy and love associated with weddings:
1) Have it at a place of worship: Whether it be your local mosque, church, temple, or other place of worship, having your wedding here combines the solemnity of the occasion as well as keeping the costs down.
You’ll find that usually, the single biggest expense of a wedding is the hall, hotel or ballroom where the wedding will take place. It often costs thousands of dollars, depending on the size and quality of the place, and this is easily alleviated by holding it at a place of worship.
Oftentimes, you just pay a small fee or make a donation, and the grounds behind or inside, are open for your use. There is the added benefit that guests can pray and ask for blessings on your behalf.
2) No box gifts: Although this was once considered tacky by some, this has become the de rigueur way of gift-giving for weddings.
“No box gifts” essentially means that the couple prefers if guests give them money, rather than an actual gift. This is a great way to not only cover the extensive costs of the wedding, but save towards a future for yourselves.
Many couples find the cash route much easier and much more practical, too. Besides, who wants five toasters, a dozen blenders, and candy dish after candy dish?
3) Utilize family members: Instead of paying hundreds for professionally-done makeup, have your sister who’s a master with eyeliner do it for you.
The cousin who has a knack for arts and crafts? Ask her if she can help you make the stage decorations or the centerpieces. The nephew with the technical know-how? Ask him to videotape the wedding or make and maintain a website for the big day.
Have family members and friends give their talents towards your wedding if they’re willing. It can be their wedding gift to you, and a great way to really personalize your special day.
4) Different wedding cakes: Have one small, special, and beautiful wedding cake for you to cut for the pictures, and then have sheet cakes for the guests to actually eat.
Instead of spending thousands on one grand wedding cake, you can save by having one cake just for the pictures, and other, bigger cakes which are inexpensive, to give to the guests. Pick a few different flavors so guests can choose what they like, and no one will know the difference.
5) Find an amateur Photographer: Having pictures are one of the most important aspects of the day. After all is said and done, all you’ll have left are the pictures and the video to look back on, so it’s essential that they’re good.
That also doesn’t mean they have to be expensive. One of the best ways to find someone who will take your pictures or videotape the event for a fraction of the cost is to get a student studying the art to do it for you.
You can find these students through art programs at local colleges, online, or on job sites. Oftentimes, these students already have portfolios which you can peruse and make sure they’re up to your standard. These students are often vastly less than the professionals, and just as good.
Make sure you find one that you get along with, has good equipment, and a great attitude. You’ll end up saving a lot of money, as well as giving them a chance to gain more experience.