Firstly, congratulations on getting married! Or thinking of getting married. We say this on behalf of the Singapore Government and DollarsAndSense. But before your first step into marriage life, you first have to have get past your wedding day unscathed. And we don’t just mean physically and emotionally, but financially as well.
One of the worst things you can do for your long-term marriage is to bring unnecessary debt incurred over a single wedding day. Let’s take a look at some of the big tickets items that you will be facing.
1. The Engagement Ring And The Wedding Bands
For Singaporean men who don’t already know, society expects you to buy two different types of rings. First, you need an engagement ring (usually a diamond ring) to propose to your better half.
Assuming she accepts it, you would then need to purchase a set of wedding bands, which is what you would be exchanging on the wedding day and wearing for the rest of your life (ideally).
Both these rings (particularly the engagement ring) can add up to a whole lot. A simple engagement ring, even from a less fancy jewellery brand in Singapore, can easily add up to at least $3,000 (about 0.4 – 0.5 carat). A larger carat (i.e. 1 carat or above) could easily set you back $10,000 or more, depending on other factors such as the cut, clarity and colour of the rock. And don’t ask us how much these things cost at places like Tiffany and Co or Cartier, because the answer would be “insanely more”.
For wedding bands, the price can also vary quite a fair bit. You can expect to pay about $2,000 to $3,000 for a regular pair.
Total Damage: $5,000 – $10,000 or more…
2. The Bridal Package
Shopping for bridal packages can be an absolute nightmare. Pushy salespeople, hidden cost, mark-ups, rigid packages and worst of all, extra fees for handing over the soft copies of photos that you have already taken.
We are not going to mince our words here. In our opinion (and you have every right to agree or disagree), the wedding industry in Singapore is a horror to navigate. It lacks price transperancy, are filled with salespeople who know nothing about photography, make-up or wedding planning, and are far more likely to produce results that would ruin your wedding rather than add value to it. Getting a wedding package at a roadshow is just about as bad an idea as you could think of. Just go to any wedding forum in Singapore and check out how many brides-to-be are trying to sell the wedding package that they have already paid a deposit on.
Sales tactics for pre-wedding bridal package are usually quite straightforward. It consists of a basic price of about $2,888 for a standard pre-wedding photoshoot and album of about 24 photos. This usually includes other items such as wedding gowns, a gentleman suit, make-up and hairdo, enlarged photo with frame plus other fringe items such as bridal bouquet, usage of car and car decoration.
To be fair, basic prices for wedding package are quite reasonable. But that’s only if it is all you are paying. Bridal studios will try to make additional profits by upselling you items such as a top-up for more photos or to get a “premium gown”.
From what we know, most people usually end up spending much more than what they originally expected to when they work with a bridal studio.
Total Damage: $3,000 – $10,000 or more…
3. Wedding Banquet
Holding a wedding banquet is a big tradition in Singapore. To no surprise, hotels in Singapore are quick to bank in on this by offering hotel wedding packages that could easily cost upwards of $1000 per table for a weekend dinner.
Aside from this bill, you still have to deal with the challenge of guaranteeing a minimum number of tables to the hotel before being able to secure the date you want.
This creates a dilemma. On one hand, you need to invite your families and friends first before knowing how many people would actually be turning up. However, you can’t invite them without first securing the date and the venue.
As such, most couples end up having to estimate the number of tables they think they may need and hope that the actual turnout on the date is able to hit the minimum table which they have guarenteed. Otherwise, they would end up overpaying for tables they did not use.
Particularly for Chinese meals, where seating arrangement per table are done in batches of 10 seats, there can be quite a lot of wastage when tables are not completely filled.
Total Damage (based 20 tables from $1,000 to $1,600 per table): $20,000 – $32,000 or more…
4. Actual Wedding Day Costs
Having already spent a bomb on your rings, the pre-wedding bridal package and wedding banquet, you might be forgiven for thinking that your credit card(s) can finally take a break. Wrong.
The actual cost you incur for the wedding day can be pretty significant, depending on the items you want. For starters, you might be looking at a cost of about $1,500 to $2,000 to engage a photographer for the entire day and another $1,500 to $2,000 to engage a videographer.
And notice those pre-wedding activities like an instant print photobooths and candy corners? They look nice and pretty. And yes, they cost money as well.
Don’t forget to budget in for the wine and corkage charges that you may incur. Some hotels may waive this off and also provide free bottles of house wines. However, you may still need to standby your own bottles of wine, which would then incur corkage charges in addition to the actual cost of the wine.
Total Damage: $4000 – $6000 or more…
Assuming you have not already maxed out your credit card(s), you still need to set some money aside for your honeymoon. Depending on the location and how long you intend to travel, this could easily range from $3,000 (Bali), $6,000 (Japan or Korea) and $8,000 (New Zealand) to upwards of $15,000 (Europe or US). To top things off, it doesn’t help that the Singapore Dollar has been performing poorly this year.
Some people may balk at the costs we have highlighted above. Yes, there is no question that you can travel at a lower budget if you like to. But really, it’s a honeymoon and we really don’t think you will be intending to scrimp and save during this vacation.
Also, it will be better to budget higher and spend less, than to have some grand scheme of somehow spending less than $7,000 on a 2-week vacation for two to Europe because you read some tips from travel blogs, only to end up failing miserably and hating your honeymoon. Which might mean…another honeymoon after another 12 months of saving.
Total Damage: $3,000 – $15,000 or more…
The point of listing out the 5 key cost items above is to scare you off from getting married remind you to budget earlier and to plan wisely for your wedding. The truth is that it is not going to come cheap for most of us. So you need to appreciate the full picture before planning on where you can potentially save and cut corners. If you can go below what we have indicated, by all means, go ahead! We will love to hear your successful wedding budgeting stories as well so feel free to share it with us on Facebook or to email us
Total Cost: $35,000 (For the budget consicous) to $73,000 or more (for more lavish weddings)
Do note that our cost items exclude other common expenditure such as dowry, ang-pow for wedding helpers, décor items, wedding solemniser, church wedding or ROM event. What we have laid out is already the bare minimum you can expect to spend.