Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Thinking of Getting Married in 2015/2016?



"I do!"

With these 2 words, every Singaporean's nightmare begins.

The cost of holding a wedding in Singapore has increased exponentially in the last decade, and many of my peers are really starting to feel the pinch now that we're reaching the "marriageable age" and plans to get hitched are underway.

My boyfriend has also raised this issue with me, and I thought it'll be interesting to explore what exactly happened to the state of weddings in Singapore. Aren't weddings supposed to be a celebration of joy over a couple's union? Since when did it become a contest to see who has the most picturesque / Instagram-worthy / most hashtags generating / my-wedding-is-grander-than-yours event?

Today, this obsession with making things perfect for our guests has eclipsed the personal significance of this momentous event in the couple's life. 

We were arguing over the type of wedding venue, and the boyfriend was talking about how he's in favour of holding it at a restaurant as long as there's good food to satisfy the relatives. I, on the other hand, wanted a place where my friends could entertain themselves by taking photos of the gorgeous food and environment.

STOP! I suddenly realized, why were we debating over this based on what will guests get out of our wedding? Isn't our wedding supposed to be for us, instead of making others happy?

Budget Babe is still trying to figure out how she can best plan her beautiful, memorable and yet inexpensive wedding under $20,000, so I'll leave that to a later post. But for now, here are some wedding traps I've discovered:

1. Cost of the average Singapore wedding today is INSANE


I read about a couple who spent $110,000 on their wedding last year and ended up in debt. (Funny thing is, the groom is an insurance agent. Now you know why I don't trust insurance agents to advise me on my money?)

We looked around to gather a rough idea of the budget we needed to save up, and this was what we got:

Pre-Wedding package: $3,000 - $6,000
Banquet: $20,000 - $50,000
Photography & Videography: $11,000
Wedding gown: $900 - $15,000
Bridesmaids & "Brothers" outfit: $500 - $2,000
Proposal ring: $1,000 - $6,000
Wedding bands: $800 - $4,000

Seriously?!


2. Restaurant banquets and void deck weddings aren't as cheap as you think



Some money-saving ideas we got were to hold a lunch banquet vs. dinner, look at weekday options, and consider restaurants instead of hotels. But after researching and looking at quotes, we realized they're not that much cheaper.

For approx. 200 - 300 guests (we both have big families and a wide circle of friends), hotels ranged from $30k - $40k on average. Furthermore, we calculated based on 30 tables, but 4 or 5-star hotels usually require you to book a minimum of 40 tables!


Restaurants were much cheaper at $15k - $28k, but still painful on the wallet.

You can check out more rates here.

We considered a void deck wedding as we thought it'll be pretty cool, and it should be cheap. Right? Apparently not. I found out the average Malay void deck wedding costs $30,000! So that option went out of the window as well.

Some asked us not to worry, saying that we'll "recoup from ang paos", but I refuse to spend money I don't already have. It makes me uneasy.


2. Say the word "WEDDING" and you'll get charged a premium



If you were to book a venue for a birthday party / gathering / corporate event / wedding, the price quoted also increases in that corresponding order. When I sourced for quotes for my 21st birthday bash vs. my clients' corporate events vs. my upcoming wedding, the costs were unbelievably different! It is no secret that the word "wedding" or "solomnization" will cost you a premium these days. Does that make financial sense to you?

Which brings me to my next point...

3. Blame the media for glamourizing this big once-in-a-lifetime occasion



I agree that marriage can be one of the biggest milestones in one's life. But at the expense of debt? No way.

The media has bombarded us with messages throughout the years about the "dream wedding", and tells us that we cannot afford to skimp on our wedding costs or we'll regret it later on in life.

Bullshit. I don't know any couple who ever wished they had spent more on their wedding day. But I do know of many other couples who have regretted the exorbitant prices they paid, admitting that many expenses were actually unnecessary on hindsight.

Stop buying into this trap. 

4. Unnecessary expenses?

According to a local wedding planning service, some clients spend up to $50,000 on floral decorations. One couple spent $12,000 on a gorgeous tulips bridal arch. Another more common practice is for couples to spend on overseas wedding photography packages that range from $8,000 - $30,000 inclusive of airfares and depending on your shooting destination.


Unless you can afford to spend, these luxuries honestly will not be missed too much at your wedding.

5. There ARE cheaper ways to hold a wedding in Singapore

I'm still planning mine so I don't have much conclusive information to share yet, but some of these real-life Singapore weddings under $10k really inspired me and showed that getting married in Singapore doesn't have to cost a bomb.

This couple hosted their wedding at their newly-renovated flat and spent just $900.


This couple held theirs at a bakery-cafe and spent under $1,600.

A dreamy wedding at Fort Canning Park was accomplished with $10,000.













If you're willing to go the extra mile to plan properly, look at alternative venues and DIY your decorations yourself, having a beautiful and memorable wedding need not be the expensive wedding trap that many Singaporeans fall into.

I want my wedding to be beautiful and memorable, but I don't see the point of spending the equivalent of my annual salary on just one day in my life. 



Don't feel pressured to have a fairytale wedding that you cannot afford. Frankly, after the wedding, nobody really cares what happened. Who is going to remember about your food or venue decorations a few years down the road? How often will you look at your wedding video and photographs?

Yes, it is a once-in-a-lifetime event, but spend within your means. Save the money on your wedding, but spend on your marriage instead.

It's more worth it.

With love, 
Budget Babe

29 comments:

  1. Hi BB

    Change of new domain name! Haha, now i can stalk you more easily. Ops... did i say that out loud ^^

    Totally agree with you on this point. When me and my Gf are considering wedding budgets, we end up getting stuck on what we really want. After multiple conversations, we decided the most expensive items would be the ring (she likes gold instead of the usual diamonds) and the honeymoon. But it is still a tough planning process.

    Good luck on yours. Can't wait for more tips from you.

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    1. Hi investing wolf, definitely I'll share more on other wedding tips! When is your wedding roughly gonna be held?

      Btw, your gf is a smart lady. Gold has resale value and appreciates too. Diamonds...hahaha. A girl's best friend, but not a broke chap's best friend!

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    4. Haha... We planning for it in the next 3-4 years. But it still depends on the bto settings.

      Yea she likes gold since young...whenever we go shopping, she doesn't even look at diamonds, she just goes straight to the gold section... Or anything that has gold mentioned. You are right to mention gold has values in the long run while diamonds are just nice to look at. Not a lot of value after it has been bought from the shop.

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    5. You're reading my mind! I have a draft post about the financial value of diamonds...will write that for another day. It requires lots of work in order to debunk the myth that diamonds are worth the money!

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    6. Haha... I guess most of our minds think alike... If you put dollars and cents into the equation, you rarely see diamonds in the pawn shops (what i like to call jewelry re-sellers)... but you see a lot of 2nd hand gold. and their prices are always on the front of the shop :)

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  2. Marriage = a lot debt
    And debt snowballs to more debt

    Sadly many young singaporeans gets trapped in the rat race due to wedding, house and car

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    1. Hi Felix, good to hear from you again! Exactly :( a lot of us are walking into marriage with debt and adding even more debt to that! It's crazy with the expectations for weddings these days too. Sure doesn't come cheap.

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  3. Hi budget babe

    Thanks for thus article i think it really helps especially couples wanting to get married. Maybe you could also share with us where you chose in the end?

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    1. Hi Jamie, I'm glad you find the article useful. I've yet to have my wedding, but will definitely blog about that and what I did for it once it is over :)

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  4. You are right dear; planning a wedding is a huge expense but idea of DIY wedding helps you to save a lot. I also planned my wedding myself and choose to get married at outdoor event spaces, it costed me less and I save a lot for other things.

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  5. For a one off event, the ROI is really terrible. Save the money, enjoy a nice honeymoon instead? Or better yet, go buy all those rapidly downward spiraling blue chips (now). That's probably worth a lot of repeat honeymoons downstream. Just saying.

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  7. Agreed totally, the point is to have celebration which you both want! BTW, i just recently proposed with a rolex because i simply didn't see the value in a rock, nor the meaning. Thankfully she loved it :)

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  9. Hi BB,
    Thanks for this post - definitely provides me with an insight. Am also planning for mine next year. Would be good to hear more from you on any good deals around!

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  10. Hi BB,
    Thanks for this post - definitely provides me with an insight. Am also planning for mine next year. Would be good to hear more from you on any good deals around!

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