Wedding Costs Even Higher in 2019: Banquet Prices Continue to Increase

The price of getting married rose dramatically in the last decade, and 2019 was no different. What happened between 2019 and 2018 to influence this trend? To help consumers, we've analysed this development and its potential causes, as well as ways to make a dream wedding more affordable.
Wedding

In the past decade the cost of getting married in Singapore has steadily risen. We have observed that this trend continued again in 2019, with average banquet prices increasing faster than inflation. Here, we explore this trend as well as some of its potential causes.

Average Cost of Wedding Banquets in Singapore 2019

Study Highlights:

  • Banquet prices continued to increase in 2019 compared to 2018 (up 2.6% overall, faster than inflation of 1.7%)
  • The average cost of wedding banquets in Singapore has increased by about 54% since 2011 (more than three times faster than inflation)
  • We estimate that the total cost of weddings in Singapore ranges from about S$33,000 to S$76,000
  • Rising incomes, older couples and rising costs for venues are all possible causes for the rise in the price of weddings

Wedding Banquet Prices Continue to Rise in 2019

To assess how the price of weddings has changed, we focused on the cost of wedding venues, as these are the primary cost drivers. Comparing a list of 102 venues with pricing for 2018 and 2019, we found that banquet prices have continued to climb in 2019 ahead of inflation. For example, we found that weekday and weekend lunch banquets cost about 5% more in 2019 than in 2018. On the other hand, the average price of weekday dinner banquets decreased very slightly by 0.6%. Overall, the average price of for the 102 venues increased by about 2.6%, which outpaced MAS Core Inflation between January 2018 and 2019 of 1.7%.

Average Cost of Wedding Banquets in Singapore 2018 vs 2019

Furthermore, this trend in 2019 is a continuation of the rising cost of weddings in the last decade. By comparing the average price per table at 55 banquet locations in Singapore with available data for 2011 and 2019, we found that prices increased by about 54% during this time. This significantly outpaced inflation of 14% from January 2011 to January 2019.

Average Cost of Wedding Banquets in Singapore

Potential Explanations for the Increase in Wedding Banquet Prices

As a couple, or parent of a bride or groom, it can be frustrating to see the cost of getting married rising so quickly. Why are weddings getting so expensive? One potential cause of this rise is the growing prosperity in Singapore. For example, the median monthly household income in Singapore increased by 32% from 2011 to 2018. During the same period, MAS Core Inflation rose by just 11%, suggesting that the average Singaporean family enjoyed a significant increase in their real income. Perhaps the increase in banquet prices reflects the rise in median income and therefore more willingness to spend in the country.

Median Monthly Household Income From Work Including Employer CPF Contributions

Rising Costs for Venues

Rising incomes of marrying couples may impact the demand for expensive wedding banquets, thereby allowing venues to increase their prices. However, it is also possible that supply side factors play a role. For example, the cost of food increased by 15% from 2011 to 2018, 3% faster than core inflation during those years. Additionally, wages for workers in the accommodation & food services industry have increased an annual average of 3.7% since 2011. These factors may increase the cost of providing wedding banquets, thereby influencing the trend we've seen since 2011.

Aside from economic and demographic changes in the country, it is also possible that there has been an increased focus on wedding banquets, leading to a higher willingness to pay for extravagant banquets. However, this is difficult to determine empirically.

Increase in Accommodation & Food Services Total Wages

No Longer Just About Getting Married Later

Last year, we suggested that because Singaporeans were getting married later in life, that perhaps, they were more financially prepared to pay for their weddings. In general, this trend has persisted in recent years; however, the most recent data from the Singapore Department of Statistics indicates that the difference between the share of individuals getting married later may have been a less significant factor than we had previously thought. In 2017, the share of brides getting married at 30 years or older decreased from 41% to 40%, while the share of grooms getting married at 30 years or older dropped slightly from 60% to 58%. Therefore, while it is possible that this trend has led to more expensive weddings, it likely does not account for the entire increase in wedding banquet prices since 2011.

Percentage of Brides and Grooms Married Annually of at Least 30 Years Old

Similarly, while the median age of both first-time brides and grooms increased by several years in recent decades, there has not been a significant shift since 2011. For instance, in 2017 the average age of first-time grooms remained at about 30 years old, while the average age for first-time brides increased slightly to 28.4 years old from 28 years old in 2011.

Total Cost: How Much Does it Cost to Get Married in Singapore

Clearly, getting married can be very expensive these days. Of course, the price of your wedding depends on the number of guests you invite as well as the venue that you choose to host your banquet. With that in mind, our analysis suggests that the average cost of getting married in Singapore ranges from the low end of approximately S$33,000 to higher-end options of approximately S$76,000.

Due to this wide range, couples may make choices that will keep their wedding within their desired budget, like choosing a less expensive banquet location, inviting slightly fewer guests or selecting less expensive wedding bands. It is also worth noting that the above figures do not factor in gifts or contributions made by the couple's friends and family, which can be used to pay for some of the wedding expenses.

Wedding CostsLower RangeMiddleUpper Range
Bridal PackageS$3,000S$4,500S$6,000
Wedding BandsS$2,000S$4,000S$6,000
DowryS$500S$2,750S$5,000
SolemnisationS$1,000S$3,000S$5,000
Wedding BanquetS$18,000 (S$1,200 x 15 tables)S$29,000S$40,200 (S$1,340 x 30 tables)
Wedding photographyS$2,500S$3,250S$4,000
Miscellaneous costsS$1,000S$1,500S$2,000
HoneymoonS$5,000S$6,500S$8,000
TotalS$33,000S$54,500S$76,200

How to Pay for Your Wedding

As we've outlined in this article, getting married can be a very expensive affair. Even the thriftiest brides and grooms can easily run up expenses in the tens of thousands of dollars. With that said, many couples may be wondering how to pay for these rising costs. First, while it is common in Singapore to take out a loan in order to finance a wedding, we recommend that you and your spouse avoid the financial burden of taking on debt, if possible. To make your wedding more affordable, you can try to plan ahead and shop around to get the best rates for your banquet. Additionally, you may have to narrow down your guest list or resell the wedding dress after the wedding.

If you are unable to reduce the cost of your wedding, make sure that you apply for one of the cheapest personal loans available, as interest rates can vary greatly by bank. Personal loans tend to charge lower interest rates than credit cards, making them a better tool for paying for large, one-time expenses, such as your wedding. Alternatively, if you are able to repay your wedding expenses within one month, it makes sense to consider a credit card that offers great rewards without caps.

Methodology & Limitations

We gathered data from SingaporeBrides and WeddingBanquetPriceList, as well as publicly available data from the Singapore Department of Statistics and the Monetary Authority of Singapore. In order to make a relevant comparison between various years we only used pricing data from venues listed in both years of a comparison. For that reason, the average prices vary slightly in our charts above.

One drawback from using these sources rather than calling each venue individually, is that prices are likely to fluctuate slightly based on specific dates. For this reason, one should not assume that they will be quoted prices that match our estimates exactly. Instead, our analysis better serves to give readers a broad understanding of current prices and how they compare to previous years.

Additionally, in attempts to understand potential influences of the rise in wedding banquet prices, we referenced a range of publicly available information. Whenever possible, we used data from 2019, but in some cases had to rely on data from 2018 and 2017 when it was the most recent data available. In this sense, our analysis was slightly limited by instances of lacking data availability. Still, we think that analysing the trends since 2011 help give a basic understanding of how economic and demographic factors have changed in recent years.

William Hofmann

William is a Senior Research Analyst at ValueChampion Singapore, focusing on banking and SMEs. He previously was an Economic Consultant at Industrial Economics Inc.

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