Weddings in Singapore have a bad reputation for being exorbitant. The average wedding costs between $30,000 and $80,000, and horror stories abound of couples who land in six figures of debt to finance their lavish weddings.
Bringing a wedding into the world, especially when you try to cut corners, takes lots of time and effort.
If you want to save money on your wedding but don’t want to have to spend the next 8 months of your life painstakingly DIYing goody bags, learning how to take your own wedding photos or sourcing for your own flowers, all is not lost.
Focus on the big things rather than the small, and you’ll still end up saving yourself at least a few tens of thousands. Here are the three biggest factors influencing the cost of your wedding.
Seriously guys, there’s no point in trying to buy a cheap wedding dress at Forever 21 if you are dropping wads of cash on an expensive location. The price of your wedding venue is going to be the single biggest expense, and putting in a few extra hours to source for a cheaper one can save you a five figure amount.
A wedding banquet at a five star hotel is going to cost you at least $1,500 to $2,000 per table. If your parents or spouse insist on a hotel wedding banquet and there’s no way you can hoodwink them, downgrading to a cheaper, three star hotel can save you serious cash to the tune of $500 or more per table.
But if you’re really serious about saving, it’s better to choose a restaurant or cafe, or even get married in a public park. For instance, a table at Tung Lok Seafood costs about $600+, which is less than half of what you’d pay at, say, the Hilton.
Lunchtime and weekdays are cheaper, so unless you really must listen to the fortune teller who insisted that your most auspicious day is Saturday, avoid weekends.
So you finally found the last venue in Singapore that isn’t exorbitant. But why did you still get a heart attack when presented with the final bill?
Well, that’s because your guest list has a direct impact on how much your wedding is going to cost. Even a cheap wedding venue becomes expensive if you’ve got 100 tables thanks to your parents inviting their mahjong kakis and their entire kopitiam gang.
In addition, a lot of people like to exhaustively invite their social circle, sending out invitations to everyone from their primary school classmates whom they haven’t seen in 20 years to the bouncers they say hi to at Zouk from time to time.
Cost-wise, that’s a recipe for disaster. Inviting lots of people you aren’t particularly close to also gives you a lower per-person ang bao yield, since closer friends are more likely to give more.
Photographer and pre-wedding shoot
Some couples pay five figure sums to fly their photographers and makeup artists to Paris or the Grand Canyon. Others just, er, skip the entire shoot altogether and hire a photographer to cover the actual wedding.
That means there’s a lot of potential to save in this area. First of all, keeping your wedding shoot in Singapore will be cheaper and less time consuming than going overseas.
Next, after inquiring with multiple photographers whose work you admire and comparing prices, you’ll realise that it’s often possible to save by reducing the number of hours the photographer has to work. Here’s an article elsewhere on MoneySmart with sample prices of some local photographers (good ones, not random people who happen to own digital cameras and get hired for peanuts by bridal shops).
If you want a full-day shoot at multiple locations all over Singapore, you’ll pay more than if you have a quick a shoot at one single location.
The same goes for the actual wedding day. If you’re going to do the whole gatecrashing and tea ceremony thing and the photographer is on his feet from 4am to the end of the wedding banquet, you will pay more than if you have an afternoon ceremony and lunch, and the photographer has to be present only for a few hours.
If you’re getting married soon, which of the above are you going to try to save money on? Tell us in the comments!