$100,000 wedding was 'complete waste of money'

PEOPLE

SINGAPORE - It was money that she "could not really afford" for a wedding.

When Madam Melissa Ong, 30, was preparing for her wedding in June 2011, she wanted to "remember it for a lifetime".

Madam Ong, a sales executive, recounts how she ended up borrowing from credit facilities, her parents and her brother.

Her husband, who declined to be interviewed, had also borrowed from a loanshark with her knowledge.

She says sheepishly: "It was really my fault, he just wanted to please me."

Madam Ong spent nearly $100,000 on her wedding, which she now acknowledges was "a complete waste of money".

She pauses for several seconds, then says: "You know, with that kind of money, you'd have thought we held our wedding banquet at a posh hotel like St Regis.

"But it was just a regular hotel in the Orchard area."

Madam Ong, who was earning about $3,000 a month then, admits that she wasn't being practical about her financial situation.

"I just wanted to show off (in front of my friends) and I didn't think of the consequences," she says.

The wedding banquet cost $1,388++ per table, and they hosted 36 tables.

On top of that, they paid almost $4,000 for a three-piece a cappella ensemble to perform during the dinner. "I didn't want to have boring piped-in music, and I quite liked the performance I saw at another friend's wedding," says Madam Ong.

She went the distance with wedding photos too, and had them taken in Paris, a package that cost her $15,000 - including air fare and accommodation.

Madam Ong breaks out in loud guffaws for several seconds, then adds: "Except for the main photo that now hangs in our bedroom, the two albums are now collecting dust somewhere in our storeroom.

"That's $15,000 down the drain for you."

The rest of the money went into videography and miscellaneous items like alcoholic beverages and personalised door gifts, and services like renting four cars with chauffeurs to transport the wedding entourage.

She went to Japan for her honeymoon and that was another $10,000.

Madam Ong says: "When I was getting desperate and approached my parents for a loan, I still remember them telling me to 'wear a hat that fits me'.

"When I look back at what has happened, I wish I had listened to them."

Her husband, 28, was also stressed by the wedding preparations.

"He kept telling me, 'I don't have that kind of money', but I assured him I would take care of everything," she says.

"I think I didn't pay attention to his pride, and it's a good thing we are still married."

Which is why she does not blame him for borrowing $5,000 from a loan shark. The money has since been repaid.

She says: "He saw that I was taking on the responsibility for so many things, and told me, 'I'll get the wedding rings.'"

Madam Ong's advice to young couples: Work out your sums wisely.

She is still servicing a loan and paying off the credit card charges for another bank.

She says: "I now tell people that my wedding has become a nightmare to remember."

What sales exec and hubby splurged on...

Paris shoot

$15,000

Wedding dinner

$60,000

Wedding band

$4,000

Cars, gifts, booze

$10,000

Japan honeymoon

$10,000


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