How Much Does a Small Wedding Cost? What You Need to Know

How much does a small wedding cost? This is a question that disturbs many couples intending to wed. If you intend to host a small private event with only your relatives and a few close friends, this article will show you the amount of money you need.

Most of the couple’s primary concern when planning a wedding is their budget. A wedding can become costly as prices and charges can rapidly add up. As a result, couples should openly discuss their preferences and capabilities regarding their wedding day.

First, decide the size of your wedding. You can have a small wedding with 50 guests, 25 guests, or even just ten attendees. Next, think about the venue, and lastly, consider your budget.

So, keep reading for a detailed answer to the question, “How much does a small wedding cost?”

How Much Does a Small wedding cost?

A small wedding in Kenya costs Ksh. 20,000 according to the wedding budget debate. This is the amount expected to cater for marriage rings, food, transport, and other necessities at the wedding.

Break Down of the Ksh. 20,000 Small Wedding Budget

According to experts, a couple should choose a civil ceremony at the registrar’s office if they are budgeting for ksh20,000. Furthermore, the couple must fill out an online application form via the e-citizen portal.  

Then attach the following documents:

  • An ID or valid passport copy
  • A colored passport-sized photo for each of you. 
  • Death certificate copy if either of you is a widow or widower

Other Documents include:

  • A certified copy of the divorce decree- if either of you has been previously married and divorced. 
  • An affidavit to verify the marital status if the divorce decree or the death certificate is older than two years.
  • Copies of the two witnesses’ IDs or valid passports.

You’ll then pay a notice fee of Ksh. 600 and wait 21 days for the application to be approved.

Following approval, you’ll schedule an appointment on the online portal to attend an interview and original document verification. Finally, you’ll pay Ksh. 3,300 to be assigned a wedding date by the Registrar of Marriages.

Shortly after that, you will show up to exchange vows on the assigned date. The total of the whole process would take Ksh. 3,900. However, if you want to have a brief wedding with guests at the registrar’s office, you’ll be charged Ksh. 9,700 instead of Ksh. 3,300. Alternatively, if you want a wedding garden, you’ll be charged Ksh. 16,700. 

The marriage Act of 2014 recognizes five marriage systems in Kenya:

  • Christian
  • Islamic
  • Hindu
  • Civil
  • Customary marriages.

Also Read: Cheap Garden Wedding Venues in Nairobi

The Cost of Obtaining a Marriage Certificate

a couple exchanging marriage rings
a couple exchange marriage rings
  •  Civil Marriage by Special License: The charges are Ksh. 9,700 if the wedding occurs in the registrar’s office and Ksh. 16,700 if it takes place in a garden.
  • Civil Marriage by Notice: It costs Ksh. 3,900 for the entire process.
  • Marriage by Special license: It costs Ksh. 14,200 if the wedding is held on licensed religious premises and Ksh. 21,200 if it is conducted in a garden.
  • Christian/ Hindu Marriages by Special License: It costs Ksh. 7,200 if the wedding takes place on licensed religious premises and Ksh. 14,200 if it is held in a garden.
  • Christian/ Hindi Marriage by Notice: It costs Ksh. 14,000 for the entire process of the wedding takes place in a place of worship and Ksh. 7,200 if the parties had placed a notice with intentions to conduct the wedding in a garden.

How to Slice Down the Cost of a Small Wedding 

Most likely, if you want a small wedding, you also want to be married as cheaply as possible. There are soo many ways to ensure you don’t spend money you don’t have to, but it begins in the mindset. 

Start by convincing yourself that you won’t incorporate aspects in your wedding that are not necessary just to follow tradition or to please other people. 

If you maintain this mindset and don’t let it slip, you’ll have a higher chance of keeping your expenses down and getting what you want.  Politely tell your family members and friends that you don’t want to spend a certain amount of money on one day and that you’re going to reduce costs wherever possible.

Related: Important Rules for Planning a Successful Wedding

Here are More Tips on How to Save money on your Wedding. 

Have an Open Conversation With Your Spouse

An open discussion must follow the question, “How much does a small wedding cost?”  first and foremost, your conversation will inform your wedding’s options and decision. Below are points you should raise in your discussion:  

  • Who do you want to attend your wedding? Do you only wish family members and close friends to attend, or should you also invite some coworkers and distant relatives?
  • What are your preferences? Do you want to spend a little extra at a lovely venue? Do you want a simple, short ceremony followed by an elegant, all-night-long reception? 
  • What will make you content and happy about your wedding?

Skip the Stationary 

The expenses of save-the-date and invitations can rapidly add up, even if your guest list has  50 or fewer people. To save money on stationery, send emails instead of printed invitations.

Considering that you have only a small number of guests, you can send personalized invitations; this will demonstrate your effort, love, and concern for them, making them more enthusiastic about attending your wedding.  

Be Creative With The Gift You Ask for  

Rather than the traditional gift registry, you can ask your guest if they can offer specific services for the reception or ceremony.  It will save you money and will also be more meaningful and sentimental. Below are some ideas you can consider:

  • Ask someone if they offer a venue example, their barn or backyard.
  • If you have friends who are a videographer, editors, photographers, or graphic designers, ask them if they can give discounts on their services instead of gifts. 
  • Ask someone if they are willing to be the host at the reception.  
  • Ask someone if they can help serve the food or man the open bar 
  • If you have friends who are artists, ask them if they are willing to perform at your reception.  

Don’t feel bad about taking any help from your friends and family. To them, it might be an honor to be requested to help in your wedding preparations.

Do the Catering Yourself or Seek Help 

Having fewer guests means spending less on catering, yet catering may be pretty expensive. However, there are several tips on which to find lower-costing catering alternatives.

  • If you’ve been going to a particular restaurant for years and you know the owner, you can ask them to do the catering for your wedding. Even though you will still pay a certain amount per head, they will almost certainly be less expensive than an actual wedding catering service.
  • You can also enlist the aid of your friends and relatives to assist you in food preparation, mainly if they have experience cooking for large crowds. You will realize that your elderly relatives will enjoy cooking for your wedding.

Buy a Ready-Made or Second-hand Wedding Dress

One of the essential aspects of the whole wedding is the bride’s dress, particularly for the bride-to-be. It’s critical to ensure you’re happy with your dress. Remember that you will only wear that dress once and then it will sit in your wardrobe, never to be won again.

However, it’s every bride’s dream to look like a princess.  Here are some options to consider if you don’t have the money to get a dress made for you by a dressmaker.  

  • Look if any of your relatives or friends have a dress you may like from when they married.  Take it to the tailor for adjustments if you need to. It will be less expensive than having the whole dress made from scratch. 
  • Look around for secondhand wedding gowns. Many brides resell their pricy wedding gowns at a discount after using them for their weddings just to clear out space in their closets.  

Have the Ceremony at Home or at a Friend’s Place

Wedding venues can be costly, primarily because they are geared towards hosting weddings and has everything you need for your wedding day. Seats, tables, and cutlery are often included in the price when hiring a wedding venue. Here are some crockery alternatives.

  • You can hold your reception in public parks.  Although the parks and other recreational areas may impose a nominal usage fee, the cost will be less expensive than hiring a wedding venue.
  • Alternatively, you can request a friend with plenty of space to host your wedding if your guest list is small enough. Family members will not mind doing this, particularly if the wedding will have less than 50 guests.

Best Venues for Small Weddings in Kenya

The Perfect Little White Wedding Chapel at Castello Dell’Amore

It’s a privately owned, non-denominational chapel. It’s a magnificent wedding reception and ceremony location invented for couples who want a small wedding venue that can hold up to 35 people.  

It can simply be only the two of you or up to 35 people and an optional reception. At times there is even no wedding. The couple might have already been wedded; they are just looking for a photoshop venue.

They provide an intimate ambiance for brief, simple events (weddings in particular) with videography and photography that can imply sophisticated, costly events.  It’s an ideal option for significant or Ag church marriages for modest weddings serving international, national, and local couples, open throughout the week by appointment only. Weddings are conducted daily from Monday to Sunday. 

Their wedding packages vary from simple signings to incredibly exclusive wedding ceremonies and receptions with banquets and dancing. Each can be personalized to make your wedding the mystical experience you always desired.

In addition to the competent Officiants certified by the Kenya government, they provide religious and civil ceremonies that they conduct in Swahili or English.  All packages comprise professional photography, reception, and music ceremonies.

Rusinga Island Lodge 

Nestled on the shores of lake victoria, Rusinga Island lodge provides a spectacular setting for you to exchange vows. Enjoy your wedding in the serene ambiance of the expansive landscaped grounds that extend out to the lake’s shores. 

Hemingways Nairobi 

Situated in the Karen suburb of Nairobi, the Hemingways Hotel is sure to deliver on your wedding experience.  Its outstanding accommodations, excellent services, a stunning, lavish staircase, and tranquil setting will give you a nice feeling and welcome you to the next chapter of life in style.

Tamarind Dhow 

The Tamarind Dhow, which cruises around Mombasa Coast, will provide you with an unforgettable experience for your intimate wedding.  Enjoy the splendor of Kenya’s coastline from the comfort of the classic Arab sailing boats.

Bottom Line 

By now, you should be starting to discover that a wedding don’t have to be extravagant to be remarkable. Despite the size of your budget and guest list, your primary focus should be finding ways to realize your dream wedding. 

There may be financial and logistical challenges that may arise along the way, but there are numerous ways to work around them. I hope this article has answered your question, “How much does a small wedding cost?”