Your wedding day should be one of the happiest days of your life, but you know you’ll be cringing when you have to pay up for the wedding venue, and nervously watching the ang bao box as you pray that your guests donated generously.
All this can be avoided if you lower the cost of your wedding drastically. Realistically speaking, many young couples don’t give a hoot about having a huge banquet, but they do so because their parents would throw hissy fits if they didn’t have a decent wedding dinner.
Here are four tips for lowering the cost of your wedding, while still keeping your parents happy.
Get your dress and suit tailored in Hanoi or Bangkok
If you’re thinking of buying or tailoring your dresses and suits locally, or renting them multiple times from a bridal shop for the photoshoot and big day, consider getting them tailored in Vietnam (you can get very good value in Hanoi rather than Hoi An which is a tourist trap and where tailors rely on outsourcing) or Bangkok instead.
You can get a regular corporate suit tailored for less than 100 SGD if you know where to go. The actual price of your dress or suit will vary depending on how complicated it is and the fabrics you choose.
Unless you have a recommendation from someone, comparison shop a lot and bargain hard. There are thousands of tailors in these cities and price and quality vary greatly. Your best bet would be to ask a Vietnamese or Thai friend or colleague to recommend a place and provide approximate prices. While you’ll probably still get ripped off, you can expect the cost to be a very small fraction of what you’d pay in Singapore, and probably even lower than the price of rental from a bridal shop.
Buy wedding favours and gatecrashing props on Taobao and from Daiso
You’ll probably find yourself wanting to buy a bunch of miscellaneous items for wedding favours, reception decorations and gatecrashing (if you really insist on doing the latter).
To save cash, consider getting them on Taobao with the help of a shipping agent, or at Daiso.
Daiso carries lots of cheap stationery and art and craft supplies which you can use to make invites and wedding favours. They also have wooden photo frames, candles and other decorative items which you can use to DIY your reception area.
Pick anywhere but a hotel to hold your wedding dinner
So your parents insist that you throw a wedding dinner, but one look at the prices hotels are charging and suddenly eloping doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.
Well, your folks can still have the wedding dinner if you choose a stylish restaurant and cafe, but without the price tag if you play your cards right. More Singaporeans are starting to pick hipster eateries like Kombi Rocks or Carpenter and Cook for their weddings. Cafe Melba’s events package costs only $16 to $28 per person.
Even if you’re being forced to hold your wedding dinner at a typical Chinese restaurant, you can still save by picking one that’s not situated in a hotel and priced below what hotels are charging. For instance, Peach Garden at Thomson Plaza is charging $589 per table while Qian Xi charges $588 to $638 per table depending on the location. Tung Lok Seafood charges $629 at their Orchard Central and Upper Jurong branches.
There’s also the option of picking places like the SAF Yacht Club, where the cost is only $20 per person, or The Chevrons, which works out to $708 per table. These places will give you ample space to drive up to the venue and take photos.
Another option is to get married at Gardens by the Bay. The cheapest package is a relatively inexpensive $4,000 to $5,000 a day and can accommodate up to 320 guests. Many of our local parks also have wedding venues and cost even less. Even if you choose to do your own catering, you’ll probably pay a lot less than if you’d had the dinner at a 4- or 5-star hotel.
Maintain control over the choice and cost of flowers if you’re using a wedding planner
Wedding planners are paid to make your wedding look as stylish as possible, and in their minds, this often involves the use of copious flowers.
However, as a cost-conscious couple, you don’t want to let your wedding planner call the shots, or you may later discover that that walk under that floral arch cost you thousands of dollars.
Instead, go over the flower choices with your wedding planner and compare costs. You’ll find that certain flowers, particularly those that cannot survive in Singapore’s tropical climate, cost a lot more. Instead, use more low maintenance flowers in your bouquet and displays. For instance, instead of a centrepiece consisting only of roses, you might want to intersperse the bouquet with sunflowers, which are much cheaper.
If you’re DIYing your flowers, just head to Far East Flora where you’ll be able to compare the prices of the various types. Order your flowers in advance and then store them in the fridge briefly before you’re ready to cut and prepare them.
Above all, remember that no matter how pretty your flowers are, your guests are mostly concerned about how much alcohol there is. So when in doubt go with the cheaper option.
Are you planning an upcoming wedding? Tell us what you’re doing to cut costs in the comments!