Singaporebrides | The Groom Room

February 2014

How Much Is That Wedding In The Window?

Budgeting for your wedding can be a long, emotionally draining exercise. Especially when you don’t have much in the coffers to begin with. Fu Jinming reveals the signs of nuptial budgeting woes, and how to deal with them.

Ah… weddings. They’re lavish. Romantic. And expensive. Couples often underestimate the costs of putting together a wedding. Unless your parents or in-laws have very generously offered to cover your big day, chances are, the math can be rather daunting. Especially if you’re a young couple with equally young careers.

To make matters worse, discussions about budgets can often turn into full-blown arguments. Not just with your better half, but with your family, and hers. Handled the wrong way, it’s an affair that can quickly drain your emotions and energy, way before it drains your resources.

The good news is: there are ways to cut out – or at the very least, minimise – the drama. And it all boils down to planning, teamwork, and a generous dose of reality. For budgeting is something best done with your feet firmly on the ground. Know what you can afford, and celebrate within your means. After all, your wedding is but a single day. Your marriage on the other hand is a journey that’s far more important than all the gowns, flower bouquets, and wedding favours put together.

And look on the bright side: wedding planning is a precursor to how you’ll deal with future problems together as Man and Wife. The financial bit is an important part of it all. So just take it as a warm-up for your life together.

How much is that wedding in the window

Here are some tips to help you loosen up:

Research, Research, Research

Unlike our parents’ generation, a wedding these days can cost an arm, a leg, and a shoulder blade. Especially if it includes all the traditional trappings, as well as other new-fangled wedding peripherals like photo booths, candy bars, and live musical performances. Not to mention the venue and food.

The key here is to start researching early. Wedding magazines and fairs are a good place to start getting a sense of how much things cost. There are also online wedding forums you can join (such as this one) to suss out the latest wedding rates, tips and bargains.

Set a Budget

Pretty much the first thing to do after she has said “yes”, and your folks have patted you on the back. Sit down together and decide how much of each other’s savings you’d like to allocate to the wedding. Then discuss how much money each of you can save between now and the desired date of your wedding.

You can also think about who’ll be able to help financially. Whether it’s your parents who would like to contribute, or a loan you’d like to take out, knowing how much you can start with will help you decide how much more you can afford to spend.

As a general guide, try putting aside at least 15% of your wedding budget as backup cash for burst budgets and other surprises (like the floral decoration that will cost extra with a ribbon bow the size of a cat).

How much is that wedding in the window

Do It Yourself

There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with rolling up your sleeves and putting together your own wedding yourself. Especially if you’re a creative by profession, or someone who has a knack for organising parties. Or better yet, if you can call on small favours from good friends and relatives. Know a cousin who can decorate? A best friend who can help you design your invites? A sister who can sing?

But if you don’t have the aptitude for arts and crafts, nor the connections – and time – it’s better to leave it to the professionals. Oftentimes, they are small businesses that charge what they charge for a reason. To make sure their price matches their quality, ask to see their recent portfolio. Or visit online forums and ask couples there who have used the particular establishment’s services. Then make your call from there.

Marry on a Weekday

Weekday weddings are another great money saver. Most, if not all, wedding venues have cheaper rates on weekdays. Which means sizeable savings off your dinner banquet if you were to hold it during mid-week instead of the weekend.

Conventional wisdom dictates that weekday weddings will inconvenience your guests. Particularly those who’d have to work the next day – which basically means three-quarters of your guest list. Truth is, the people who truly care will be there, no matter the day. Besides, a shorter guest list will mean less food and drinks you’d otherwise have to pay for.

Or instead of a lavish dinner, you can opt for a cosy little lunch reception. Lunchtime affairs are usually cheaper than dinner. Shorter too. Though it makes more sense to hold them on weekends, wedding lunches bring greater convenience to your guests; they can make your wedding, and still have the rest of their weekend to themselves. It’s a win-win match made in Heaven.

How much is that wedding in the window

Take Control

Wedding planning is rarely down to your spouse-to-be and you. Parents from both sides of the family often get involved – even after saying they’d “leave it up to you.”

And who could blame them? The biggest day of their children’s lives is also the biggest day of theirs. Which may result in a clash of opinions in wedding matters, and added stress for you and your other half.

The key here is to take control. If you think what your parents – or hers – are demanding is unnecessary, unreasonable, or out of your budget, tell them so. Explain that you’ve reached breaking point. And that they need to stop obsessing over the wedding favours. Or the bridal flowers. Or whether the vases have sharp edges (bad luck … allegedly).

This can be tricky to manoeuvre, especially if they’re picking up the bill for your wedding. But keeping them on budget will mean a less stressful wedding for you and your partner. At the end of the day, as much as you love them, they’d need to understand that it’s your wedding. Not theirs.

Take it Easy

At the end of the day, your wedding is what you choose to afford. You’re stuck with the budget you’ve planned with your partner, so make the best of it. As your wedding day draws closer, you’ll start focussing less on the details of the wedding that frankly, no one will ever remember (like the laser light show timed to the Imperial March to accompany your first march-in), and more on the fact that you’re marrying the love of your life.

Because when it comes down to it, if you end up getting married at the end of it all, your wedding will have been a resounding success.

So pop open that bottle of champagne. Put your feet up. And enjoy the ride.