Just how does one know if a wedding ceremony was successful and value for money spent? Most people erroneously consider wedding ceremonies as valueless, a once in a lifetime splurge and except for gifts getting nothing commensurate in return to cover their expenses. But that is certainly not true especially in economic terms.
To view wedding ceremonies economically, one will have to ask what the value most expect to obtain when they organise weddings is. Value is defined as the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
The most important reason why people have wedding receptions is so they can share their joy with friends and family as well as entertain them. This certainly fits the bill of a definition of value even in economic terms.
Back in September 2012, I accompanied a friend to a wedding abroad which I thoroughly enjoyed. There were lots to eat and drink and enough fun that most invitees did not end up leaving till late. The word invitee in this wedding was not just a conjecture as it was followed almost to the letter; the number of chairs was no more than the number of invited guest. This is a typical format for weddings abroad and shouldn’t really be a surprise. However, most wedding organisers in Nigeria are gradually adopting this format.
Organising weddings receptions that is strictly by invitation makes a whole lot of economic sense. First of all, you can easily determine the number of invites and then prepare your catering budgets accordingly. We have all seen several weddings were the couples spend large sums of money on refreshments yet important invitees leave without being able to eat or drink. So while you spend what you have, you do not get the benefit of satisfying the guest that you have invited to come and celebrate with you.
Weddings receptions done strictly by invitation also help reduce the chaos associated with crowd control and scramble for refreshments. What’s the point of sending invites to people who probably have little or no connection with your personal life as of today? Your close friends, family, colleagues and business associates or customers are usually an ideal guest list.
It is important to note that a wedding ceremony I attended in Nigeria that adopted the model had bouncers and ushers at the entrance which all but ensured uninvited guests were politely turned away or made to wait whilst they made alternative sitting arrangements. I also noticed that all invited guests were called ahead of time to confirm if they will be attending and who they may wish to accompany them. That way, guests already knew it was risky to come along with uninvited guests.
Another very important metric would be determining if invitees actually enjoyed themselves. Whilst this may sound rather awkward, it can actually help measure cost to benefit of engaging the services of wedding planners and other service providers. For example, just how do you know if a wedding planner delivered a fantastic wedding?
Since deriving value in wedding receptions is not only about beautifully decorated halls and good food, knowing that your invitees are satisfied and had a wonderful time is also a very important measure of success. This makes feedback form a viable option.
Forms can be placed on guest tables where invitees can express their anonymous opinions about the wedding. Whilst this might posse an emotional concern as no one will want to hurt the feelings of a newly wedded couple, the result can be produced in such a manner that only the wedding planners and organisers are scored. That way, if a wedding planner is scored below 50 per cent, it is unlikely that the couple will recommend them. Feedback can also be extended to DJ’s, caterers, ushers etc.
I have also observed that wedding ceremonies held on weekdays mostly churn out lesser crowds and are cheaper to organise compared to those held on weekends and on public holidays. The reason is obvious as most people are engaged at work and so may not be able to attend weddings. I believe couples on a low-budget can adopt weekday ceremonies to ensure maximum value is derived. In fact, by choosing to wed on a weekday, it is highly unlikely that you will not have a dedicated priest at your wedding. You simply avoid the mass wedding scenario.
Deciding what type of liquor to serve in a wedding is also very crucial to controlling cost and yet deriving maximum value. For example, in a ceremony where there is a plethora of alcoholic drinks there is a risk that some guest may be disposed to premium selection. For instance, when invitees have an option to choose between a premium Champaign and a normal one, they often go for the former, causing a selection crisis. People do know that some invitees at weddings are VIP, therefore why not limit premium drinks to them. Most invitees will just be happy to drink what they see provided you do not show them that they have a choice for something better.
This article originally appeared on Nairametrics in April 2013