7/10 Real Wedding: Claudi & Luan’s $9,000 Budget-Friendly, Do-It-Yourself South African Wedding

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What happens when two besties say “I do” in a sunny South African wedding with lots of DIY touches? Magic! In October, Claudi and Luan took the big plunge with a $9,000 budget for an 80-person wedding farm-style wedding. This wedding inspiration duo took their crafting talents to the limits creating beautiful hanging decorations like hearts and flowers and personalized shoes for the groomsmen. Their hard work resulted in a personal yet super pretty ceremony with noteworthy little touches throughout the day.

Names: Claudi and Luan ten Cate
Occupations: Luan, in flight chef for Etihad Airways; Claudi, housewife

Wedding location: Olive Mystery Wedding Venue, Bapsfontein,  Gauteng, South Africa
Wedding date: Oct. 25, 2012
Wedding budget: Approx $9,000
Approximate guest count: 80
How would you describe your wedding? Fun DIY farm-style wedding
What was your favorite part of your wedding? The photo shoot with our amazing photographers, Izelle and Gerhard.
What did you splurge on? The venue and food


What did you save on? EVERYTHING ELSE
Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? Yes, I would spend more time with the guests.
What was your biggest challenge in planning? Incorporating what Luan wanted as he was living in Abu Dhabi during the whole planning process.
What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? To spend more time on myself and a little less time making everyone else happy.

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

  • The decor and flowers
  • The cake/candy buffet table
  • Venue
  • My dress
  • Our photo shoot

Top 5 least favorite?

  • Not having enough time with the guests
  • The day going by so quickly

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received?
“You need to stay on top of things and manage it carefully!” This advice is the worst because micro managing everything will just annoy those around you and face it, not everyone is as excited about your wedding as you are. In fact weddings tend to bring out the worst in some people…

The best?
Relax and let go. Nobody has the script for the day, they won’t even notice if the flowers are fuchsia pink instead of baby pink. The ambiance and atmosphere is what creates the mood and feeling so be happy and enjoy it.

If you’ve been married for more than a year, what have been some challenges?
Even being married for six months has its challenges. Like my husband not understanding the concept and importance of closing the toilet lid. Also, relocating to Abu Dhabi and having to start a life here from scratch is quite a challenge.

Any other bits of wisdom?
Don’t sweat the small stuff! The world will not end if the linens are navy instead of sapphire or if the white roses have a slight green tinge. Remember what the day is for. It is about saying “I do” and if the wrong flowers or linen will prevent you from saying “I do,” then you should reconsider getting married. My philosophy is, if you are not willing to get married in a moldy old court house without the whole white wedding then you should not be getting married. Then you are getting married for the wedding and not the marriage!

Also, try and do as much as you can by yourself. Your wedding is the day you can recreate all those amazing DIY projects you keep pinning on your wedding board on Pinterest! This keeps it personal and saves a lot of money. All it takes is some creativity.

Budget breakdown

Venue and Food: $5,000
Decor and Flowers: $300
My Dress and Accessories: $700
Groom’s Outfit:$300
Bridesmaids dresses: $70 (for all the bridesmaids)
Groomsmen Outfit: $200 (including All Star Shoes)
Hair and Makeup: $450 (for all the girls and my mom)
DJ and Photobooth: $900
Invitations and Stationary: $50
Photographer: $850
Extras: $200


Photographers: Iz Photography by Izelle Labuschagne

Wedding Dress and Bridal Accessories: Ivy Bridal House, Rachel van Loggerenberg

Venue:   Olive Mystery Wedding Venue, Anja Bands, olivemystery@gmail.com

Décor and Flowers: DaisyDoo Décor and Styling, Marie Bührlen, daisydoodecor@yahoo.com

Wedding Cake and Candy Buffet:   Daisy Doo Designer Cakes, Claudi ten Cate, daisydoocakes@yahoo.com

Bride and Bridesmaids’ MakeupAngelstar Make up, Jeanne- Marie Eloff

Lighting, Sound and DJ:   TUKS FM, Nolz van der Merwe

PhotoboothPhotobooth Inc., Rob Sulcas

These love birds highlighted their style with a budget-friendly party full of personality. Small projects at home made a big impact by adding a little extra something to some already beautiful settings — great lesson for any bride-to-be! Get creative, have fun and focus on everything you want out of your day. 

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