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  • Step-by-step guide to saving for your dream wedding

    “Getting married is a dream come true for many people, but it can be a costly affair if not properly planned. Most couples want and dream of that perfect wedding but sometimes weddings come in at a high cost, which can create a huge hole in your pocket,” says Ester Ochse, FNB Product Specialist.

    Ochse says having a working budget will help you plan for these events. She suggests 10 steps that will help you save for your wedding:

    Step 1: Draw up your Budget

    A budget template is your blueprint to managing your expenses and enhancing your financial well-being. Create a budget template that takes into account your daily grocery and home expenses, rent, bonds, health, entertainment and investments. This will give you an overview of where you are financially and where you need to cut down.

    Step 2: Refine your guest List

    Family is everything but we also need to look at cutting numbers down which will help reduce your wedding costs. Your wedding should be shared with the people you love and care for the most. So ensure that your guest list is manageable on both sides of the family.

    Step 3: Look for affordable venues

    We have exquisite venues in South Africa and many of them are affordable. Once you decide on your wedding date, book your venue immediately. Consider holding your wedding ceremony at home or outdoors (dependent on the weather). You will be surprised at how your home space can add to the tranquillity of your big day.

    Step 4: Lower catering costs

    Get help with your catering from your family or friends, or even look at hosting your wedding at a small quaint family restaurant. Food alone is a costly affair, but if you get the right caterer or restaurant, you can save on food costs and also unnecessary wastage.

    Step 5: DIY your invites and decor

    You can get an array of décor and invite ideas with the help of social media websites like Pinterest and Facebook. These sites not only give you tips on décor for the wedding but also provide practical hands on advice on how to be creative and innovative.

    Step 6: Wedding dresses

    You can get a fancy wedding dress if you saved well in advance and have the extra cash on hand. Sometimes brides spend quite a bit on their dresses only to sell them after the wedding at a fraction of the original cost. Couples explore all their options and consider renting the wedding dress instead of having them professionally made.

    Step 7: Get your family or friend to DJ/MC

    Hiring a professional DJ is great, but also costly, especially if you anticipate a relatively small number of guests. The other option is to get a friend or family member who is up to the task and for entertainment, there are various apps that allow you to become your own DJ. These apps give you the option of adding music and mixing them on the spot which is amazing. All you need is a laptop or iPad, music, speaker and you set you go. In addition, a Karaoke machine will add much vibe, humour and fun to your special day.

    Step 8: Wedding planner

    Wedding planners are a good to have, but planning your wedding on your own could be a memory that you live with forever. Wedding planners also come in at a price, so should you want one, you must ensure that you cater for this in your budget.

    Step 9: Photographer

    Today’s smartphones and apps allow you to become instant photographers. Create a website or rather a Facebook/Instagram page and encourage your guests to post the pics they shot at your wedding. You can download these for your wedding album.

    Step 10: Honeymoon

    Look at specials and compare prices before booking your honeymoon. Besides, international destinations look at local places in South Africa as well. If too costly, postpone your honeymoon to off-peak season when prices have been reduced.

    “In any given situation it’s important to understand the difference between needs, wants and responsibilities. This will help you understand how to better manage your money. Follow the 10 steps to save for your wedding to ensure that you don’t over burden yourself financially when it comes to planning your or a family members wedding,” concludes Ochse.Read more at:plus size wedding dresses | short wedding dresses

  • All About Aftab Shivdasani And Nin Dusanj's Dreamy Sri Lankan Wedding

    At a time when relationships around us are constantly crumbling, Aftab Shivdasani and wife Nin make you want to believe in love again. The actor, who has been happily married since 2014 recently decided to celebrate his relationship in a unique way – by tying the knot again!

    “We had registered our marriage three years ago but could never have a proper wedding,” laughs Nin, on the phone from Sri Lanka where the couple was enjoying their break. “We wanted to have a destination wedding but couldn’t zero in on a property despite visiting Thailand, Philippines, UK and other countries. Finally, on a trip to Sri Lanka on our anniversary, walking along the beach at Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, we felt there was no better place than this for a wedding!” Thus began the efforts to organise a beautiful albeit intimate ceremony replete with band, baaja and baarat.

    THE LOVE STORY

    The Aftab-Nin story began a few years ago when Nin, a Hong Kong resident on a visit to Mumbai (her sister Parveen is married to Kabir Bedi), met Aftab at a book-signing event. “It was love at first sight,” says Aftab, “I didn’t know who she was but had this urge to meet her. A common friend introduced us and we went out for lunch. Soon we started meeting more frequently. The more I saw her, the more I realised the feeling was real. We started dating within a week!” (Note to cynics: If you thought love at first sight existed only in books and movies, this story should change your opinion!). “Yes even I started believing in it after experiencing it myself,” laughs Aftab.

    Within weeks, the actor was ready to pop the question. Once again, there was no filmy drama or grand proposal; he simply asked her to marry him and she said yes. Nin decided to move in with Aftab, leaving behind her life in Hong Kong. Undoubtedly, a difficult task but worth every moment. “The decision (to shift to India) wasn’t difficult, the process was. The lifestyle in India is very different. But I adapt easily."

    The couple lived in for a bit before deciding to make it legal and get their marriage registered though the thought of having a proper ceremony with rituals and traditions was always there at the back of their mind.

    THE WEDDING

    That dream finally came true in 2017, three years after their court marriage. Aftab and Nin took care of every detail to make it as special as possible and the two-day wedding rituals couldn’t have been more perfect!

    Breaking away from tradition, the free-spirited couple decided to incorporate local elements into their celebrations. Thus, from fire dancers at the mehendi to local drummers at the sangeet, a little bit of Sri Lanka made its way into an Indian wedding. They entered in a boat for the mehendi and were led to the beach. Another twist was having Aftab, who wore Troy Costa outfits for the big day, arrive with the baarat on an elephant while Nin – looking resplendent in a Yoshita Couture ensemble - demurely took the doli!

    Both Aftab and Nin were clear that they didn’t want a big, fat wedding. “The focus was on having a sophisticated event with like-minded friends and family,” they chorus. Incidentally, it didn’t even feel like a ‘remarriage’ says Nin. “Usually the bride and groom, when they get married without knowing each other well, feel nervous about their big day. But we were very chilled out. And that made it more sacred. The idea was purely to celebrate our love.” Post the wedding, the couple continued the honeymoon period and stayed back to bring in Nin’s birthday.

    KEEPING THE SPARK ALIVE

    We asked Aftab what it takes to sustain a relationship given the stresses that people go through. The actor has some simple, but very useful tips:

    * Keep ego out of the relationship.

    * Misunderstandings may happen, but look at the larger picture. Don’t get stuck in petty issues.

    * Respect your partner. “Nin didn’t know who I was when we met so that helped,” he says. “She fell in love with the person I was.”Read more at:black bridesmaid dresses | bridesmaid dresses melbourne