Ah, marriage! Bridal showers, big cakes, and bringing best wishes to the lovely couple. Which you’d better, considering your dinner will cost them a mid-range car. You know when the hosts looked at the bill, they were just pretending those were tears of joy right? So do the right thing. Guide them to our 7 Tips for Affordable Weddings.
1. Stick to the Budget
Hold off on the Captain Obvious jokes. Unplanned expenses in a wedding are like fries or chips: People take one, then another, and another, and before they know it they’ve blown a year’s worth of dieting. In the same way, the high costs of weddings dulls the brain. For example:
Say we have a budget of $500 for the flowers. The florist tells us that for $20 more, we can get extra roses. Logic dictates the answer is no, because the budget is $500. It’s been planned. But our brain figures: “Hey, we’re already spending $500, so may as well make the most of it. What’s another $20?” So we tell the florist to go ahead.
A while later, we get told that for another $15 we can have special stands. Again the brain starts thinking “Well, we’re already over-budget and we’ve spent $520, so what’s $15 more?”
Gradually, the overall costs spiral upward, so when the final bill comes it’s received like the business end of a semi-trailer. It’s called the sunk cost fallacy, and your wedding suppliers are counting on it. Don’t let them get to you.
Of course, sticking to a budget also means you should have one in the first place. If you don’t, sit down and work it out. Because once you’re in the middle of guests and suppliers, logic will take a running leap off the 10th floor balcony.
Solemnizations are the most overrated part of any wedding. You’ve both already said “yes” or you wouldn’t be at this stage. The last thing you want is to spend money on it. For $26, the Registry of Marriages will solemnize your wedding. I don’t know if spiritual forces will have your back, but the police will.
If you want a bigger affair, try to find a low cost venue. Ask friends who stay in condos, or have club memberships; they can probably rent clubhouses or function rooms for cheap. You can also conduct solemnizations at someone’s house. They’ll secretly hate you for the inconvenience, but how could they say no?
3. Call Instead of Mailing Invites
One of the most unnecessary expenditures in weddings are invites. As if buying or making the cards aren’t enough, the postage bills are massive. Remember, you don’t qualify for bulk mail if all you have is a few hundred cards. You have to be spamming the country to get that discount.
The simplest way around it is to just call. A phone call is just as personal as an invite, if not more so. It also gives you a chance to rally the troops (see point 2).
4. Approach Students
Rather than fork out a few thousand dollars for a decorator, consider approaching design students. Because they have a portfolio job, students at schools like La Salle and NAFA might be up for it. They’ll save you some money, and nab themselves some credit.
5. Contact the CIA for Your Wedding Cake
We never get tired of that joke. The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has a branch in Singapore. And there are lots of other prestigious baking schools, such as Shermay’s Cooking School. Do give them a call and inquire about wedding cakes. They can meet (and usually exceed) most commercial bakers.
You might also drop by the school yourself, and talk to some of the students. You may find an enthusiastic student who will take on the job. Just make sure you ask for a sample first.
6. One Word: Lunch
If you really have to save costs, make it a lunch reception. People may be inclined to drink less at a lunch reception; Merlion impressions* are more embarrassing in broad daylight. That means saving money on alcohol. Likewise, you will need less food and pay less for a venue. If you absolutely insist on hiring a band, you should be able to find one for $600 or under.
The most expensive time to hire musicians is on weekend nights, when they’ll find better paying gigs at pubs. A lunch reception is “off peak”.
*For non-Singaporeans: Merlion = Puking. See big statue in link, you’ll get it.
7. Check Wedding Blogs Instead of Sites
Wedding sites exist to sell packages. Visiting them when you’re engaged is like having your vehicle break down at a convention of used car salesmen: in about 20 minutes, you’ll be broke and still confused.
If you want a more balanced view, visit blogs like romance-fire. You might also want to stop by Singapore Brides; the forum is frequented by couples and wedding planners who seem to attend weddings every other day. Be sure to ask a lot of questions; the whole point is that you’ll get a wide range of responses.
How did you save money on your wedding? Share the secret in the comments!
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