In Singapore, the road to happily ever after often begins with a ritual called wedding budgeting and planning, followed by a lot of intense emailing and Googling.
It’s seen as a once-in-a-lifetime (for many) event, so many couples and their respective families do all they can for a grand feast and ceremony that they can remember for years to come. While different cultures in Singapore have different rituals, most couples across the board will probably be faced with the high costs of venue rentals, catering and wedding photography.
Here are some of the main costs of a wedding and some cost-saving ideas for those willing to get a little creative with their big day.
The main costs that you need to consider
Some couples can have a beautiful wedding for S$10,000, while others spend as much as S$100,000. Call it consumer choice if you want, but the sky is the limit when it comes to holding a wedding.
The actual cost to register for a marriage is a mere S$42 if one partner is a Singaporean or PR and S$380 if both are foreigners. Many couples choose to either have a solemnisation ceremony with invited guests at the Registry of Marriage or to plan a separate lunch or dinner.
If you’re hosting a separate party, this can cost upwards of S$3,000 depending on how many guests you want to invite and where you want to host your event. A fuss-free (and cost efficient) way to do it will be to invite your family and friends (no more than 20) to the Registry of Marriage itself and spend on the wedding dinner/banquet instead.
Estimated cost: At least S$3,000
This forms the main bulk of the wedding costs in Singapore. Many Singaporean couples like to opt for a hotel or a restaurant that caters for large events. A table for a weekend dinner in a luxury hotel costs around S$1,800 or more. The same in a boutique hotel costs about S$1,200, and in a country club it could cost S$1,000 or even slightly less.
Assuming you host a dinner with 30 tables, you’d be spending anywhere between just under S$30,000 to over S$54,000.
For Chinese weddings, the custom of guests giving ang pao (red packets) will help to recover some, or even most of the banquet costs, depending on how generous they are. However, if that’s not something that you want to count on, you may need to consider hosting a weekday dinner or even lunch as they are a lot more cost-effective.
Alternatively, you can consider booking an outdoor venue such as Fort Canning Park, hire a caterer and put up decorations with your own creative genius. This is a lot more casual and it also lets your guests socialise more in a garden-party atmosphere rather than a banquet. Needless to say, you may have to convince the folks if they are traditional.
A couple managed to keep their wedding celebration cost to about S$1,000 by hosting it in their own home. There are really no rules when it comes to throwing a party, and all it takes is some imagination and a spirit of fun.
Estimated cost: From S$30,000 to more than S$54,000 for a banquet dinner for 3,000 pax
The Wedding Dress has somehow become the universal symbol of weddings. It’s hard to say no to the perfect wedding dress, especially if the bride has been fantasising about it since she was a wee kid. Outfits can range from less than a hundred dollars to a five-figure sum.
Bridal houses usually offer a package for a starting price of S$3,000, and that includes the outfits for the bride and groom, a photoshoot, and makeup. You don’t need to resort to a hit-or-miss-terribly option from Taobao and neither do you need to splurge.
These days, local boutiques have gowns that cost a few hundred dollars and are more than decent. Instead of buying inexpensive outfits, environmentally conscious couples can also choose to rent quality gowns that would have otherwise cost thousands of dollars.
Also, don’t forget to check out bridal expos to compare rates between different vendors and to negotiate a good deal.
Estimated cost: From S$3,000
Photography and videography
Wedding photography and videography are, to many couples, memories made tangible, and the thousands of photographs are what would be reminisced upon when the double chins begin to appear.
A package would cost on average S$3,000 if you hire professionals, and if you’re looking for the best in the industry with extra services like more cameras and express edits, expect the fee to cost double of that.
If photos and a wedding video is very important to you, it would be hard to negotiate on this one as you truly get what you pay for when it comes to photography services. However, if you’re not into videos and you don’t need your photos to look like they came from a wedding magazine, then consider taking the chance on semi-professionals who have some experience with weddings.
Estimated cost: Average S$3,000
Based on the estimated costs listed above, a standard wedding would cost about S$39,000. The estimated cost here is only for a standard not-much-frills wedding and does not include items such as live band for entertainment, customised decoration, door gifts and any other special add-ons.
If you save about S$500 a month on your wedding fund in an account that gives you an average return of 5.00% per annum, you will need to save for more than five years before you save up to S$39,000.
When it comes to planning a wedding, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of perfection. However, perfection often comes with a hefty price tag. If you have not planned for it financially, a dream wedding can result in nightmarish debts.
Plan ahead to avoid any nasty financial surprises when you are walking down the aisle. You can even start to search for side-income jobs that can be financially rewarding.
Also, our take is to use credit cards that give you cash back on your wedding spending. For instance,
HSBC rewards cardholder with up to 3.5% cash back on spend with minimum spend of S$2,000 per month. Besides that, cardholder can enjoy financial flexibility by diving huge amount of purchases into small monthly instalments with HSBC’s Card Balance Conversion Plan. Enjoy sign up gifts promotion worth up to S$260 too. Hurry up, promotion valid until 31 October 2017!
With Citi Cash Back card, cardholder can enjoy 0.25% cash back on all shopping spend too. We all know in order to have a dream wedding, we need to spend a lot of money. Our take is to use credit card that comes with cash back feature as it will benefit you. Apply today and receive S$120 cash back as welcome gift from Citibank!
And remember, it’s not impossible to have a dream wedding without coughing up a fortune, as long as you get a little creative or get inspiration from clever ideas on the Internet.
The article was first published on iMoney.sg
Tilda Yeow is a contributing writer at iMoney Singapore. She is a curious traveller and careful spender who likes sharing tips about getting the best bang for the buck. She also writes for Anthill Australia and on her own travel site, Wanderful People.