The wedding culture in Singapore is somewhat interesting, given that it is a mixture of the western -style wedding with traditional elements mixed in. While interesting as it is, the addition of the hotel banquet which takes on a much more significant part than the official signing of the wedding papers also make it an expensive affair.
While many couples these days have come to realised the impracticality of pouring such a hefty amount (typically between $30,000 to $50,000 on average) into a wedding ceremony and chosen to go a simpler route, some parents still insist on the hotel banquet, inviting their friends and business associates as a show of their child's “success”.
So what's a respectful and filial child supposed to do? Read on to find out how you can still have a conventional Singaporean wedding but not burn a hole in your pocket.
Average Wedding Cost in Singapore
Strictly speaking, you only need to sign the official papers with your partner at the Registry of Marriage to be declared legally married. Yet, many couples consider this as something less significant compared to the hotel banquet – there are even those who signed the papers earlier and hold their wedding a year later in order to save up more money or get a home first. So let's have a look at some of the common costs one can incur while planning for their wedding:
- Solemnization ceremony: $3,000 to $5,000 for location rental and lunch reception
- Wedding Banquet in hotel: $36,000-$60,000 (30 tables for $1,200 to $2,000 each)
- Bridal Package for gown rental and photography services: $3,000 to $6,000
- Actual wedding day videography/photography: $2,000 to $4,000
- Other Miscellaneous costs : $1,000 to $2,000 (wedding favours, wedding entertainment, red packet for helpers etc)
The list can go on, and we are not even including the engagement ring and wedding bands here. Using just the list above, your minimum spending is $27,000, assuming you've got half the amount of your wedding banquet back in red packets. If we look at the higher end, you will be looking at an amount of $47,000. With that amount, you can almost use it to do up the renovations for your new house!
So before you bitterly part with the money you have saved all year and spend it on the wedding, here are 5 effective ways you can use to reduce the cost of your wedding by more than 40%
1) Choose Alternative Venues Rather Than A Hotel For Your Banquet
Looking at the list of expenses above, you'd notice that the wedding banquet takes up the bulk of your total wedding cost. If you can focus on cutting down the amount you spend here, you've already scored big. What you can do and what couples are increasingly doing is to skip the hotels and hold their weddings at restaurants, event halls and even parks. They may not always be cheaper, but if you keep an open mind and make some adjustments, you will be able to find the price of each table at around $1,000. One example is the Chevron club, with weekend table prices at just over $900. Peony Jade, a renowned Chinese restaurant situated at the Keppel Club, also offers weekend table prices at slightly over $1,000. Check out country clubs, restaurants with outdoor dining and national parks and you can be sure to find a venue that can offer both value and a romantic wedding reception.
2) Get A Bridal Package Or Wedding Planner
Bridal packages are popular because it is probably the most cost-effective way to get an all-in service that includes gown and suit rental, make-up services and photography. If you were to engage separate vendors for each of these services, it can easily double your price. Having said that, there's some tips and tricks to get more out of your bridal packages. Your bridal studio will provide a comprehensive list of items included in the package – tick off what you don't want and request to exchange them for items that you want.
Many people have the impression that wedding planners are expensive since they charge an extra fee for helping to source for all the items you need and co-ordinate the event. However, wedding planners usually have their own network of vendors which can offer discounts to them. This can be very useful if you are organising a very big wedding or a ceremony with very specific requirements.
3) Consider D-I-Y
If you've got an artistic flair, do consider doing up some of the items for your wedding on your own. This can be your wedding decorations, making your own wedding favours, designing the wedding invites yourself and having them printed. You can also engage your friends to help you, such as someone who takes fairly good photos for the actual wedding day, or a friend who can help you with your make-up and hairstyle. Every small effort counts and it's also a good way to get your close friends and family together in helping you prepare for the big day.
4) Be Selective
Since you are watching costs, every small item on your list can add up to the overall cost so it is important to be selective. First, be selective of the people you are inviting to your wedding. You may want to invite everyone you know from your schooling days and professional life but you may end up with lots of absentees. A good way to make a choice is to ask yourself this question, “Will you feel bad if this person is not at your wedding?” If it makes no difference to you, you can safely leave him or her out.
You can also choose a cheaper menu at your banquet, as well as make the choice of cheaper alcohol options such as serving beer and wine instead of hard liquor. Consciously choosing a cheaper option at each step of the planning process will help you save consistently over the long run.
5) Make Use Of The Right Credit Cards
Since a wedding is a costly affair, you might face a cash-flow problem since you are dealing with big-ticket items. Always check if the credit cards you have give you discounts to any of the wedding venues you are looking at and you stand to save about 5 to 10% off your the cost of your reception.
Otherwise, you can make use of cashback cards to help you get some cash rebates. This can be exceptionally helpful if you are able to split up the payments into monthly instalments to meet the minimum spending requirement for the rebates. For instance, the UOB One Card gives you a 5% rebate if you spend $2,000 a month for 3 months consecutively in a quarter, earning you the maximum cashback of $1,200 for the entire year! The American Express True Cashback Card is another great option that will provide unlimited cashback of 1.5% per dollar, making it a great option for big purchases like weddings.
With these little tricks, you can potentially look at a wedding that costs less than $15,000 if you are able to manage your expectations. Remember that the ceremony itself is just the first step of your life together, so perhaps it makes more sense to save the money for a rainy day?