The wedding event is probably the first financial exercise that you’ll be embarking on with your beloved.
There’s the fun bit – choosing of gowns, shoes, food tasting… and then there’s the financial bit which is not as romantic. Debating over budgets could possibly turn combative and worse, you may even unknowingly be sowing seeds of future discord.
To keep the love alive, the both of you need to rid your thoughts of this local convention: that to hold a wedding that meets Singaporean standards, you “need” $50k to $100k.
No, you do not “need” that amount of money to celebrate a day of love. In order to spend as little as possible, challenge yourself to stay within the budgets below.
Bridal Package / Photo Shoot
There are so many wedding studios these days and you don’t have to go to the famous big names and get shocked by a large quote. Go to the internet, speak to independent planners and independent photographers.
Trawl the web for information and you’ll be surprised by the number of good but not-so-big professionals. The common scare that expensive studios will tell you is this: “Are you sure you want to trust your most special day with a small business?”
Well, small businesses sometimes give you the best and most personalised services…and because they might not have a lot of clients to spread their love to, they are able to devote more attention to you.
The challenge: $3,000 to $4,000
Dowry are opportunities for alpha Chinese male to flaunt his financial prowess. But you need to draw the line between what is acceptable…and what is financial masochism.
There’s no point in giving a large dowry and after that, have a low quality of life in the days following the wedding. I’m pretty sure your in-laws are not exactly selling their daughter.
The challenge: $3,000 – $5,000
This ritualistic exchange of rings arrived on our shores from Western traditions. There’s nothing Asian about it. So instead of forking out thousands of dollars straight away, why not consider a modest pair of rings to start with…and then upgrading in the future?
Let the bands become fancier as the years pass on your marriage?
The challenge: not more than $500
If you’re on a budget, there is no need to hold a separate reception for the solemnization. Include it as part of your banquet and invite the solemniser along.
The challenge: A decent amount for the solemniser’s ang bao (we think $80 is respectable).
The wedding banquet is affirmatively the bulk of your expenses. The eyes of hotel sales people light up when they meet you – posh hotels can typically charge anything from $1,500 to $2,000 per table.
Some outdoor venues charge less (I know of one that charges $1,200) and Chinese restaurants charge about $800 per head. Non-hotel venues may possibly not demand a minimum number of tables.
Oh, and try to hold it during the afternoons. Lunch receptions cost less and us Asians don’t really drink in the afternoon…so this leaves you less alcohol bill to foot and leaves you sober for *ahem* post-wedding activities with your spouse.
The challenge: Stay within budgets of $800 – $1,200 per table and try to keep within 10 tables. Trust me, you might think your friends are eager to come, but honestly some of them could be thinking “alamak must give ang bao again.”
Perhaps this is one area you might want to spend a little bit more on, so why not splurge a bit?
Again, look for independent professionals and smaller studios that don’t charge an arm and a leg. Most of the magic in photographic art happens in the computers so look for someone skilled in this area also.
Consider also that these days everyone has a mobile phone with a camera and their quality isn’t that bad either – ask your guests to send your photographs and you’ll have more to remember your day with!
The challenge: Stay within $2,000
“Oh my goodness, I spent barely $25k! Will my in-laws/friends/relatives think any less of me?!”
Absolutely not. Did you read the Memorial of Dr. Richard Teo Keng Siang?
In his touching eulogy, the late millionaire doctor shared the truth about how people actually do not care and loath his flaunt of wealth and extravagance.
The wedding day is a beautiful day that is meant to be celebrated and then quickly put into your memories as you focus on the marriage instead. Use the money saved to build a beautiful home, go on a good honeymoon or invest it for your children in the future.
Wedding finances should be the last thing that adds to your burden in your journey through life together.