Weddings are big business in Singapore. Some people spend enough on their wedding dinner, photo shoot, gown and ring to buy a house in some Southeast Asian countries.
But the real killer is definitely the wedding banquet. And hotels know people are willing to pay big bucks to impress their relatives. So every so often, they dutifully hike up their prices, telling themselves these couples will make back that money when they receive their Baby Bonus.
So, we have gathered all the banquet prices of weddings at hotels and restaurants to show you how prices of banquets have increased over the years. The prices are based on Saturday night, which is the most popular option.
(All prices are obtained via SingaporeBrides.com. Updated 14 Jan 2018)
WEDDING BANQUET PRICE LIST (2019)
Wedding banquets at 5 star hotels
Wedding banquets at 4 star hotels
Wedding banquets at restaurants
Wedding banquets at alternative wedding venues
HOW DO 2019 WEDDING BANQUET PRICES COMPARE TO PREVIOUS YEARS?
Since June 2017, 78 per cent of the hotels, restaurants and venues we previously listed has increased their prices. The price hikes in 2018 were much more significant from 2017 than in 2019.
However, this could be because the price hike for 2019 has not kicked in yet for many hotels. It is not uncommon for wedding venues to hike up their prices more than once a year.
Surprisingly, Capella Hotel Singapore has decreased their prices from $2,222 (2018) to $2,104 (2019), after most dramatic price hike in 2018. 2018 prices were $2,222, 11.8 per cent more than 2017's $1,987.
There seems to be growing popularity for couples to use alternative venues simply based on the increase of prices. Let's take the ever popular CHIJMES for example: In January 2018, the price was $1,881, up 6.69 per cent from June 2017's price of $1,763. Currently, it's $1,916, which is almost another 2 per cent.
Serangoon Gardens Country Club dropped their prices from $888 to $688 (22.5 per cent) from 2017 to 2018 and has maintained that so far into 2019.
ARE THE PRICE HIKES JUSTIFIED?
From November 2016 to 2017, average consumer prices in Singapore increased by 0.6 per cent.
MAS's Core Inflation Measure for the same period was 1.5 per cent (core inflation excludes price changes in certain things such as accommodation and cars, so that we have a better idea of how consumer prices for day-to-day goods are changing).
So we can see that even with slowing year-on-year price hikes, venues are still increasing their charges disproportionately. It's possible that renewed optimism about the economy in the coming year has caused them to still consider raising their fees in anticipation. Already, in 2016, it was reported that the price of wedding banquets have hit "new high", but ain't no mountain high enough when it comes to weddings, I guess.
For couples about to tie the knot (or guests attending their weddings, ang bao in hand), that means you should feel the pinch a little more this year. Or, consider alternatives!
For instance, you can go for weddings at restaurants instead. While the prices of wedding banquets at restaurants have also increased year on year, the cost of a wedding dinner at a restaurant is still averaging at $700 a table, which is almost half the price (or even a third) of most hotels.
MORE TIPS TO SAVE ON YOUR WEDDING BANQUET
Whether you think it's justified or not, the fact remains that you're going to be paying more to throw that dream wedding of yours.
Here are a few ways you can save on your banquet package.
DON'T GET MARRIED ON A SATURDAY NIGHT
It's no secret that Saturday night is the most popular time of the week for wedding banquets. But because the demand is so high, the prices are also the highest.
If you don't mind, almost every other time slot is cheaper. For weekends, Sunday lunch is usually the cheapest.
CUSTOMISE YOUR PACKAGE TO SUIT YOUR NEEDS
Most wedding banquet packages come with the following:
- Food tasting
- Wedding cake
- Wedding favours
- Car park coupons
- Wedding invitation card design and envelopes (excludes printing)
- A holding room for your wedding coordinators
- A bridal suite for the wedded couple
All these are bundled in for your convenience, but if you're a bridezilla who's already got your fancy wedding invitations and favours settled elsewhere, then you can definitely negotiate to have these taken out of the package.
You're unlikely to get a direct discount for taking stuff out, but you may be able to swap them for other stuff that you need. Some of these include extra car park coupons or more free beer for your guests.
NEGOTIATE FOR A PAYMENT SCHEDULE THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Most hotels will tell you that they have a fixed payment schedule, but if you have any special requests, feel free to let them know. Usually there is about a 20 per cent first deposit upon confirming your date.
Assuming your banquet costs $50,000, your downpayment will be about $10,000. If you're hoping to maximise your credit card's cashback, you can be sure that $10,000 will burst all the rebate caps.
Instead of swiping the whole downpayment like you're supposed to, you can try requesting to stagger the payments so you can hit your monthly spend to get maximum cash back. There's no guarantee the hotel can accommodate, but let's just say that it's not impossible.
This article was first published in MoneySmart.