This article was originally on GET.com at: The Real Cost Of A Wedding In Singapore - $10,000 Or $50,000?
The cost of weddings recently came into the spotlight with the closure of a bridal studio in Singapore, leading to more than 40 couples losing part or the total amount of money they had paid to the bridal studio for various wedding services.
While many couples-to-be complain about the high costs of weddings here, they might have forgotten that it is ultimately up to them to decide how much they want to spend on it.
We at GET.com will show you how much a wedding really costs in Singapore, and how you can save money on your own wedding.
Being a young nation, weddings in Singapore have taken on a rather peculiar character, a mishmash of both western and traditional celebrations, which probably explains the expensive price tag.
Technically, you and your spouse-to-be only have to go to the Registry of Marriages (ROM) to sign official papers in order to be declared legally married.
Frankly speaking, you can have a rather low-cost wedding for less than $10,000 if you want something simple and intimate.
However, if you speak to most couples here, you'll soon realise that most shell out an average of $30,000 to $50,000 on their wedding.
Why such disparity? Let's take a look at some of the items that one would spend on for their wedding.
These are the average prices:
Wedding solemnization: $3000-$5000 (location rental and reception).
Wedding banquet: $36,000-$54,000 (for 30 tables that cost $1200-$1800 each - usually a table is for 10 people).
Bridal package: $3000-$6000 (gown and suit rental, pre-wedding photoshoot, make up, wedding album, etc).
Wedding entertainment: $700-$2000.
Actual day videography/photography: $2000-$4000.
This list is definitely not exhaustive. As anyone who has gone through the wedding preparation process will tell you, there will be many other additional costs that pop up along the way.
The list also excludes your engagement rings, wedding bands, dowry and honeymoon costs. Additionally, costs that you can expect for your wedding also include red packets for helpers, bridesmaids' dresses and wedding decor/flowers.
If you are torn between how much you should spend on your wedding, ask yourself these 4 questions to help you decide.
1. Do You Want An Intimate, Small Wedding Or A Grand Affair?
This will help you decide how many people you want to invite and to better allocate your budget.
2. Can You Choose Your Wedding Style Or Do You Need To Take Into Consideration Your Parents' Needs?
The wedding of a child is one of the proudest moments in any parent's life and traditionally, the parents' friends and network make up a substantial number of the attendees.
If your parents do not have any particular requests, then it'll be safe for you to go ahead and decide on the style and size of your wedding.
3. What Are Your Priorities?
The photoshoot, gowns, wedding location or the food quality? You can't have the best of everything without bursting your budget.
It would be wise to choose 1 item that you can focus on and compromise on the others which are of less importance to you.
4. What's Your Budget?
Ultimately, this decides everything. If you'd rather spend your money on other things, such as your new house, you can narrow your options to those that fit within your budget.
Here's An Example Of A Wedding That Will Cost You Less Than $10,000
Wedding solemnisation with a buffet lunch for 50 people - $5000
Gown and suit rental - $600-$800
Make-up for bride - $300-$500 (or ask a friend to help, or do it yourself to get it free!)
Wedding invites and favours - $200-$400
Photography - free (ask friends to help)
Transport costs - $100-$250
There you go! Even if you spend the highest amount on each of these things you would only spend $6950!
By having a simple solemnisation ceremony with a lunch reception for a small wedding party, you'd save more than 3 times the cost of a typical wedding banquet!
Think about how you can better utilise the money you save - your honeymoon, a downpayment for a new house, a future home renovation or setting up a fund for your baby!
For those who still prefer a traditional wedding with the gatecrash, solemnisation and wedding banquet, you'd need to prepare for a bigger budget. But there are still many ways for you to shave off some costs.
Here Are 4 Ways To Save On Your Wedding
1. Choose A Weekday Night Or Weekend Lunch For Your Banquet
The biggest part of your wedding cost will come from the wedding banquet. If there is one way to cut your wedding cost, it will be from the banquet.
Options include choosing less popular days such as a weekday dinner or a weekend lunch.
Both of these options will save you at least $200 per table compared to a banquet held on a weekend.
Some couples worry that having their wedding at such "inconvenient" days will see a significant dropout rate.
But on the other hand, those who care about you enough will simply find a way to attend your wedding even if it is a little less convenient. It's a good way to narrow down your invitation list as well!
Do you want to save even more on your banquet? Here are 5 ways to get more out of your wedding banquet's budget.
2. Choose Alternative Locations Instead Of Hotels
Hotel ballrooms are popular wedding banquet choices because they provide convenience for the couple.
By getting the hotel's wedding package, you get food, decor, invitations, alcohol, a sound system and even a free night's stay at the hotel.
Choosing a restaurant, especially one that does not have experience with weddings may mean that their wedding decor could be below your expectations; or you'd probably need to source for your own wedding decor.
The good news is that couples are increasingly looking at such alternative venues which sometimes provide better value for money and a different atmosphere.
Check out country clubs, national parks and alfresco restaurants and you can be sure to find a venue that can offer good prices and accommodate the wedding style of your choice.
3. Get A Bridal Package
There's a reason why bridal packages are so popular. Basically, you get your photography and gown rental all in one place.
If you've ever researched the price of a-la-carte wedding photography, you'd have realised that the cost of the photography itself can cost as much as the entire wedding package!
Having said that, there's always room for negotiation with your bridal studio. Exchange items that you do not want with more of what you do want.
One main point is the number of photos you get on your pre-wedding photoshoot. If you want to buy additional photos on top of what you are entitled to, they can go up to $90 per photo!
So it's best to do some online research on wedding forums to check out what others have paid for their package to put yourself in a stronger bargaining position. Another tip is to sign up at wedding shows and bridal fairs for extra perks!
If you only want a single gown to wear throughout your wedding, you can choose to go a-la-carte and go for a single gown rental.
Again, prices vary with the quality, you can get something for as low as $250 or one that costs more than $1000.
4. Go For An Overseas Pre-Wedding Trip
You must be thinking... what? How will a trip overseas help me cut costs? What I meant here is to go to a neighbouring country for a short trip to get all your wedding-related items.
For instance, some couples in Singapore have their pre-wedding photoshoots done in Johor Bahru, with a much wider choice of gowns and locations at half the price!
It is also no secret that many grooms-to-be head down to Bangkok to tailor their wedding suits and tuxedos at less than half the price of those in Singapore.
If you are open to such ideas, you may want to do some research before you go to ensure that you make the most of your trip.
Some items that you can get overseas include bridal gowns and suits, bridesmaid dresses, wedding favours, printing of wedding invites, pre-wedding photography and bridal accessories.
Remember that at the end of the day, the wedding is just the beginning of your life together as a couple. Splurging and getting yourselves into debt just to have a glamourous wedding may not be the best way to start your journey together.
My take is to spend within your budget and be wary of taking out a large loan to finance your wedding, especially if it incurs interest payments.
If you have problem with cash-flow, seek out interest-free instalment payment plans that come with some credit cards and use them to pay for your banquet or bridal studios.
We hope the tips above will help you to save some money on your wedding!
Lynette Tan is a contributing writer at GET.com, a lifestyle and personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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