Ways to save money on your wedding
Don’t let your big day burden you with debt.

The average cost of a wedding in Singapore can be more than an entire year’s salary of a new university graduate. This one event can be quite burdensome for a young couple, particularly if they have just started working. Parents may offer to help pay for a portion of the wedding. But this too can result in future burdens to the parents as they head into their retirement years.

As mentioned in a previous article, having a great wedding is not correlated in any way to having a great marriage; however, it may set the couple back financially. If you have opted to take the more frugal route, but still want to have a beautiful, “proper”, and memorable wedding, here are some ideas on how to cut costs way down on your big day:


Ways to Save on Your Wedding

1. Reduce the number of wedding guests.

Let’s be honest, if you limit your invites to just those whom you are close to, that list would probably be a mere fraction of your “friends” list on Facebook. While it’s nice to be surrounded by those who have shared a part of your life, not everyone needs to see you get hitched. They can instead just browse your Facebook photos. The number one expense for a wedding is the reception. So the less people who attend, the lower your costs will be. Don’t think or expect that the more people you invite, the more hong baos you’ll get.

2. Choose a less expensive venue.

Five star hotels seem to be the rage. But there are several beautiful and more affordable places in which you can have a memorable wedding. If you don’t want to have your wedding at a Community Club, why not have it at a restaurant or banquet hall (e.g., Ah Yat Abalone, Tung Lok Seafood, Grace’s Court, Mouth Restaurant, Food for Thought), a gallery/museum (e.g., Emily Hill, Asian Civilisation Museum, 7Adam), a park, or at a beach or country club? Many weddings and receptions in the US take place in churches and in homes.

3. Opt for just one outfit change.

It’s a wedding, not a fashion show. I’ve been to so many weddings where the bride spends more time with her stylists than with her husband or the guests. And then they’ll tell me later that the costume changes were exhausting. And they’ll say they didn’t enjoy their wedding as much as they should have.

4. Get amateur photographers and videographers.

Although it’s nice to have a professional photographer and videographer, nowadays with professional cameras (SLRs that you can rent for $10 a day on Rent Tycoons!), digital editing, along with huge capacity SD cards (which allow you to take thousands of photos), you can get quality photos without having to pay a pro. You may be able to find freelancing (hobbyist) photographers and photo editors, photography students, or friends/relatives who are photo enthusiasts.

Or you can set up a photobooth. Photobooths are very popular in the States, but can be expensive to rent. But making one is easy. You can set up your own photobooth, complete with a backdrop, camera, tripod, and a portable photo printer. If you don’t have a printer, you can just use a laptop to display the photos, and then email them to your guests (or upload real-time on Facebook).

5. Buy a la carte instead of buying a package.

Bridal packages can be very confusing. Businesses like to keep all the details and itemised prices hidden so you can’t easily and quickly figure out if you’re getting a good deal or not. Bridal boutique packages can also have a lot of add-ons, hidden costs, and the price you end up paying is often much more than what you had originally budgeted.

Instead of immediately committing to a bridal package, which can include gown rentals, a bouquet, makeup, and a photoshoot along with prints, create a list of your “must-haves” and price them out individually. You might find that if you buy things separately from different vendors, it may come out to be less expensive.

For example, the wedding gown itself can be rented for as little as $100. You can also buy a used wedding dress from various online sites (from $100-$300), including Craigslist, Gumtree, and Singapore Brides. Ebay even sells inexpensive new wedding dresses.

6. Get your wedding party or family to help out with D.I.Y. Decorations, Party Favours & Invitations.

In the US, a wedding is a all-hands-on-desk affair. There are a lot of little tasks and this is why the wedding party has a lot of bridesmaids/groomsmen. They do a lot of the scutwork. And in the States, they do it all for free (bridesmaids/groomsmen won’t get any hong baos).

If you can’t get your family or wedding party to help out with all the various tasks, you might be able to hire a freelancer. I’ve been to a couple wedding ceremonies that were decorated by the wedding party. And also ones that used digital invitations/rsvp for the majority of the guests.


Some Thoughts

I know many people just don’t want to look cheap. After all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event so there’s enough reasons for a person to splurge and go a little crazy. I respect that choice, and if a person can truly afford such a wedding, than to each his own… However, be honest with that you can afford and don’t let the wedding bill burden you for years to come.

Don’t get me wrong – I love weddings. I enjoy seeing people happy, in love, committing to one another, and starting a new chapter in their lives. And chances are, these are the exact same reasons why your guests want to see you get married too.

It’s not the food, the decorations, the venue, the entertainment, the invitation, or the fashion show. Your guests come because they want to have a unique and memorable experience, and know that they were part of something truly joyous, fun, and special. And if you still are afraid of looking cheap, you could always play the “eco-friendly” angle, and tell people that you wish to be environmentally conscious…. (just don’t say that as you’re sipping your shark fin soup!)

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