Since I’ve hit my 20’s, marriage invitations have become an increasing obligation I can’t say no to, no matter how broke I am. You know the feeling: You really want to stay home and have your Saturday night Netflixing and pigging out, saving money and shit. But nooo… your friend has to go and get married. And because I’m secretly afraid no one will turn up at my wedding banquet when my turn comes, I pick up my ass and spend hours dressing up. And pay $150 for it. AND find out the food sucks (where’s my Peking duck and shark’s fin?).
It’s quite a ridiculous scenario to be stuck in really. One that can be avoided if I’d bothered to check the prices early instead of blindly giving a high estimate I foresaw myself spending on my own wedding. So I’m here to ensure this scenario never happens to you. Well, in the future at least.
“Geez!!! Banquet prices increase again ar? Sibei suck blood! Will it ever go down?”
I would like to think there’s a glimmer of hope it may since I’ve not passed my turn to wed yet (hur hur hur) but sadly, no, even that glimmer’s been shot. Banquet prices hardly ever go down. And I don’t think they ever will for the most case. Except I did see a decrease in Grand Copthorne Waterfront’s prices this year. But on average, banquet prices increase a 5% to 10% annually.
If you’re looking to hold your wedding in the near future….
Don’t worry, all hope is not lost..at least some weekday sessions are $200-$350 cheaper, especially if it’s a lunch. Besides, you’ll have more control over the wedding cost. There are ways to get more bang out of your buck. Most banquet packages come with a combination of the below:
- Complimentary drinks of some sort
- Wedding invitation cards for up to 70% of your confirmed guest list
- Floral center-pieces/decor on all tables
- Waiver of corkage charge for duty-paid and sealed bottles of alcohol of some sort
- Reserved VIP parking
- Car passes for up to 20% of your guaranteed guest list
- Wedding guestbook and token box
- Wedding cake
- Champagne bottle and fountain
- A night’s stay in Bridal Suite/Room (if the venue has any)
If you know how to negotiate and talk…You know, swap out things that you don’t need here and there for things you’ll need eg alcohol? You’ll get a sweeter deal. Furthermore, if you use a good credit card, you can actually rake up a pretty decent amount of air miles, rewards, or cashback rebates.
If an invitation card just came in the mail…
Then no choice, you can either politely decline (it’s really okay if you let the couple know ASAP), or show up at the banquet with a red packet in hand. Usually, a good gauge would be 10% of the table price since most places have tables for 10. After I’ve done my math, I like to round up/down my results to the nearest auspicious “8” number to wish the couple a prosperous life.
For example, a dinner at Marina Bay Sands with table price of $1634 will cost $163.40 per pax. So i’ll make that into a $168 when I’m “bao-ing” my red packet.
But with that said, if 10% of the table price is still too much for you, you can just give what you can. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s really all about the heart. Ultimately, red packets are meant to be well wishes and not money (although that’s what’s inside) used for the couple to break even. Even if that were the ideals of all couples holding their banquets, I’m sure no married couple would like their guests to go broke trying to give them their “well-wishes”. It’s just a bad omen to start with.
That’s why you’ll never come across banquet invitation cards with a clause going “come only if you can afford putting 10% of table prices in your red packet”. If they did, then those red packets wouldn’t even be “well-wishes” anymore. We can just call them regulated funding. Use table prices only as a gauge, but never as a regulation.
Got any tips on planning and going to wedding banquets? Share them with us! We’d love to hear from you.
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