Friday, May 4, 2018

How much does it really cost to hold a wedding in Singapore? (with Tips!)

Unless you are born with a platinum spoon in your toothless mouth or you have full sponsorships, you would probably wonder the costs of a wedding at some point in your life. A year before the big day, we sat down, had our expectations penned down, and had an estimation of how much we would need for our wedding. I wouldn't kid you, our expectations were kinda different, and that night, we argued. To be honest, despite the minor heartbreaks, I wouldn't want it another way.

Here's a tip: Productive arguments are good in a relationship. Get as many expectations and values aligned with your partner way before marriage.

Months before our big day, we sat down, had slightly more idea after some research, and discussed the topic again. We had our preliminary budget worked out. "Preliminary" - because there are some items we forgot to factor and so many hidden costs, but don't worry, limpeh got you covered in this post.

As you would know, if you haven't, let me tell you - Singapore is not a cheap place to hold your fairytale wedding. An average wedding can easily cost $50-70k. I want to be careful of the word "average" here - in this case, it refers to our research results from our good friends and several online sources. Ultimately, what is "average" is largely dependant on your expectations. A wedding at a lower-end hotel or restaurant with only your close ones may cost $20-30k, while an extravagant one at a luxury hotel with your whole kampong would cost more than $100k. For this post, I share about our weddings costs.
1. Bridal Package and Apparel - $10,600

Different bridal studios offer different packages, such as wedding gowns, make-up, and photo/videography. We had both our pre-wedding and AD photography and videography taken at different vendors. For our gowns, we signed our package at Seletar Broadway, which you could read more here.

Cost Breakdown:

- Bridal gown rental, bridal bouquet and other stuff (refer to link above): $2400*
- Make-up: $250 (*we had to top up $100 for an early-morning charge (before 7am - $50/h), and $150 for an addition make-up and hairdo for second march-in.

- Kua rental at Red Wedding: $300
- Dolce & Gabbana bling bling shoes: $1300
- Made-to-measure suit for groom from SuitYourself: $450
- Accessories for groom and bride: $300

- Pre-wedding photography at London: $2400*
- Pre-wedding photography at Xi'An: $1200
- AD photography: $800*
- Pre-wedding and AD videography: $1200*

2. Banquet Venue - $45,800

The wedding banquet usually takes the largest scoop of your budget. Nearly all banquet venues charge the costs by the tables, and like everything except our salary, the costs are increasing year by year. We had our wedding held at Fullerton Hotel, a luxury 5-star hotel. At the point of signing, the costs for one 10-pax table was $1268++ ($1484 after adding the charges) for a weekend Chinese 8-course lunch.


Tip: Sign during wedding showcases for promotions.
During Fullerton's wedding show last August, we signed up their package which includes a complimentary table and a barrel of beer (which we exchanged it for wine instead).

Tip: Bargain as much as you BEFORE SIGNING the package. 
After signing, you lose 99% of your bargaining chip, so put everything on the table before you agree to anything. Chances are, if your requests are within socially acceptable limits, the hotel may just agree to it.

Cost Breakdown:
- 30 tables at Fullerton Hotel: $45,000

Other costs:
As we decided to keep our gatecrash and tea-ceremony simple and time-saving, we had everything done at the hotel compound, so I got a room for my bride and some of the bridesmaids. 
- one night stayover for Bride at Fullerton Hotel: $400
- Banquet's unexpected guests: $400
- Upgrade to loft suite: complimentary*
- Corkage fees: NA
3. Wedding Bands - $4,000

You should have already gotten your engagement ring settled by now, so let's talk about wedding bands. There are a whole lot of selection but do find one pair that matches. After searching for many outlets, we settled on a pair of rose-gold rings from Love & Co.

Tip: If your ring finger is small enough, you could get downgrade your size and get a discount. Or a bling.
My ring finger is quite slim for a guy. As a size 10, I switched mine to a thinner ring (okay, it's a female-size ring) and get a small diamond for the same price. Perks of a ladyfinger, yay.

Cost Breakdown:
- Groom's Ring: $1500 (with a small bling)
- Bride's Ring: $2500 (with a round of bling bling)

4. Dessert Table - $490

Dessert tables are getting pretty popular in the local wedding scene since God knows when. Besides the standard reception, there is always this table full of goodies screaming for attention. Well, if you want something fancy - like a mermaid cake, besides the hotel-provided cocktail reception, you could check out Creme Maison:

Cost Breakdown:
- Centrepiece Mermaid Cake from Creme Maison: $290 (* original price listed)
- Cupcakes from Frosted Chick: $100
- Other fruits and tidbits: $100
- Decorative plates and tiered dessert stands: NA

5. Additional Decoration - $1,040

The hotel did not have our "dream theme" (which is kind of a weird mix between garden and the sea) so we brought in additional vendors to help spruce up the area. We sourced some decors from online platforms, like TaoBao and Carousell as well. We even had our names laser-cut on wood as the stage centrepiece.

Tips: Set your theme and follow strictly.
Lady M We lost focus from time to time and got things that look good (although not really relevant to the theme). Two things as a result - unclear theme and money wasted.

Cost Breakdown:
- Rental of Bridal Arch and Photo backdrop: $800
- Decors (seashell, sand, glass jars, LED letters, etc.): $200
- Huge-ass Mr. and Mrs. balloons (and helium): $40

6. Ang Pows - $1,200

Many soon-to-be-weds often forget to calculate this into their budget. ALthough a $38 ang pow may seem insignificant in contributing to the hole in your pocket, multiply that amount by 20 helpers (assuming everyone gets the same share), the cost will sum up to be $760. For us, we had a range from $18 to $ 108 for our helpers, which includes the beloved bridesmaids for planning the gatecrash, the brave groomsmen for taking the hit, the decorating team, church band, and the banquet manager. Ultimately, you are the boss on that day and you get to decide who gets what.

Cost Breakdown:
- Ang Pows: $1200

7. Wedding Invitations - $155

Most hotels provide the covers for your invitation cards - which is basically the envelope and printing costs is on you. So darn helpful, I know. A range of designs are usually given, but limbeh like to be fancy-pancy so I designed my own and got them to print. Oh, don't forget postage.

Cost Breakdown:
- Printing of 150 wedding invitation cards: $150
- Postage: $5

8. Wedding gifts - $2,500

This is entirely optional and I'm not sure if this is a usual practice to get a gift for one's wife, but I didn't really care as it was from my heart and I just wanted to get her a zero-day anniversary present. And.. Apparently, I just spoiled the market for myself.

Cost Breakdown:
- Diamond pendant: $2500

9. Miscellaneous Costs - $1,630

Miscellaneous and hidden costs could add up to a sum if you do not take note of them. Don't forget to factor these in when you are writing your budget!

Cost Breakdown:
- 6x Groomsmen and 6x Bridesmaids attire: $350
- Gifts for helpers: $280
- Skincare, eyelash extension, falsies, nails to barbie-fy bride: $300
- Transport for collecting items and helpers: $100
- accommodation and hospitality of overseas relatives: $600
- Rental of cars (if needed): NA
- gifts for parents: NA

Grand Total: $67,415 (items 1 - 9)
(* partially sponsored)

Wah, vomit blood. Bad news - please note that these exclude the costs of full sponsored items (such as additional bouquets for parents etc.), the engagement ring, dowry (usually from the groom's parents) and honeymoon, which could sum up to a considerable factor.

Eh, ang pow cover how much ah?

I know, I know. Many of you right now would think, what about ang-pows received from the banquet? Well...

Tip: A safe measure is that you could get 60% of your banquet costs back from your guests.
Trust me, there is no way to know how much your guests would give. You'll be surprised that closed relatives and seemingly rich friends may give you less than those who you met once a year. Okay, I am not judging here. Yet, with the grace of God, we actually got enough to cover - not only the banquet, but also for some services used for the wedding. Yay!

The ultimate goal of this post is to give you an idea how much a wedding MAY cost. There is no "average" as every wedding costs vastly different, and this is how much it costs for us.
Here's one last tip: Find a budget which you could afford.
Do not go around incurring unnecessary debts. The memories of a dream wedding may last a lifetime, but please remember that wedding is for a day, yet a marriage is forever. Financial stress from the wedding may strain your marriage, so work within your budget. This message is brought to you by the National... nah, just kidding.

Wishing you a happy marriage prep!

-T.