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How I manage to cover the full cost of my wedding

For people my age, wedding bells have been ringing.

A few years ago, we started out in the workforce, fresh from school, trying to earn our keeps and manoeuvre ourselves in the dogs eat dogs world.

As we earned our keeps, we also knew we had to save for impending cost bombs - for house, for wedding, for kids, and for retirement.

Back then, I set my goal to save $100k and I managed to hit it at age 25. I knew time was on my side and I had keep my expenses low in order to save. I wasn't earning big bucks - I was just a normal salaried working, earning less than what my peers were earning.

Likewise, when I planned for my wedding, I knew I had to keep my expenses low as well because my partner and I were paying everything out from our pockets. I was the Chief Finance Officer budgeting and making sure we clock rebates, and getting the best deals out of everything. I was also the CEO of my wedding, because I dictate most of the "to-do" and "not to do" list.

Now that my wedding is done and dusted, I'm glad to say that I did a good job as a CEO and CFO, for.....
we managed to cover the full cost of our wedding 
Here's how we did it (and how I think some things can be cut!)

1. Set a budget for every item

Prior to engaging vendors, do your own research of how much PG, VG, bridal packages cost. I had a spreadsheet where I listed down my budget and started working out from there.

2. Work out a guest list and keep the numbers small

In order to decide on a wedding venue, the number of tables is very important. We did a rough calculation and figured that a 18-20 tables would suffice. As such, we selected a few venues based on this criteria....and of course, aiming affordable venues to host our wedding.

3. Skip expensive hotels and do lunches if possible

I never imagined myself getting married in the grandest of hotels (think JW Marriott). I just couldn't afford the exorbitant price tag.

I also knew I had to do a lunch wedding because it is cheaper and I just wanted the event to pass quickly.

4. Negotiate and make sure your wedding venue offers deals you need/utilise

My wedding venue was not only affordable, but also provided free flow alcohol. That saved me lots of bucks. I didn't had to purchase wedding cakes and simple wedding decor were provided.
You can ask for extra nights stay but I preferred trading it off for a cheaper bill.

5. Ala-carte bridal vendors work better for us

We had a tour around Tanjong Pagar looking at bridal packages but gagged at the 4-5K packages. I was very clear on a few things
a) I don't want an expensive bridal shoot in Singapore because it would look the same as with any other couples
b) I don't need multiple gowns because all I wanted just 1 march-in
We could well negotiate a package with the bridal studio by removing items we don't need but their hardselling just tires me out. In the end, we engage vendors on our own and I realised a good thing about having ala-carte items
If your bridal studio sucks, everything (PG, VG, gown rental etc) would suck altogether

6. Overseas photoshoot at less than $2k all-in

One of the most important item that couples need to check it off, is their PWS. I knew I wanted to travel overseas because I want to take photos that's unique and I want to get to travel too!

On hindsight, I should have settled for casual PWS at possibly half the price! Honestly, your PWS photos will only see daylight during your wedding day. Mine is now stored in a cold dark place...

7. Buy items that can be reused/worn again

For brides, many are particular about the shoes they wear. But for me, I didn't see the need to buy branded shoes just for the occasion. In fact, my shoes cost me less than $30, and I wore it for my PWS and AD! Nobody will look at your feet or what shoes you wore la...

As for the groom, I suggest tailoring your own suit! My husband did his at Seah Im for $300. Fits him well and he looked so handsome that day. There's no need to travel to BKK for this you know...unless you just want an excuse to travel :P


8.  Skip manicure if possible

Nobody will look at your nails. I did my gel mani and pedi at $60 but on hindsight, should skip it all together.

9. Colour your hair at a cheaper price via fave or vaniday

I booked an appointment with a salon via vaniday, with a $30 discount. My long hair colouring cost $80. You can sign up here to enjoy $30 off.

Alternatively, use fave (get $2 off any purchase by keying in W6HZA) to purchase colouring deals or just head to JB for your hair colouring session, though my friends told me hair colouring in JB would cost similar prices for my hair length.


10. Say no to photobooth, live bands, emcees, desserts table, decoration stylist etc

This is subjective, but I didn't feel the need to procure these services. With my lunch wedding, time was on the short side, which was good - so my banquet started on time. Guests just mingled, and take photos amongst themselves if they need to. As for live bands, we had our trusted Spotify, and for emcees, our trusted friends to do the job. For my decoration table, my family did the set up for me using simple light boxes we bought. Canapes were also provided so we didn't have to cater dessert table. These easily saved us thousands. I know many couples go all out to make their events enjoyable, but remember...years ago, our older cousins who got married didn't have such things too, and yet we still had fun!

With that, the total cost of my wedding stands at $27,000, including the angbaos gifted away during gatecrash and tea ceremony to younger kids.

And thanks to the generous friends and relatives, we managed to get back more than $27,000, effectively covering the whole of my wedding expenses!

Here's an estimated cost and breakdown of our wedding:

Pre-wedding events

  • Calculation of auspicious date: $150. Can do without if you are not pantang. Just did it for a peace of mind. Honestly, whatever the shifu taught, we didn't follow. The only thing we used were the dates for GDL and Actual Day
  • Wedding band: $1,000. Could do even cheaper at a budget of $500 if not for my pea brain, insisting on a diamond studded ring
  • 1 gown: <$500. I didn't book a bridal package and did everything ala carte. 
  • Overseas pre-wedding shoot around $1,900 all-in, including flights and accommodation (plus I get to shop and play overseas too). Great experience with my husband but on hindsight, I could have saved my money on this by just taking up a simple PWS with local photographer at just a few hundred dollars, and then printing an album on my own. Note - my albums are now kept in the darkest of place, and will never see daylight anymore.
  • Hub's custom-made suit: $300
  • Hub's shoes: $70
  • Dad's suit from Taobao: $70
  • Bridal shoes for PWS: <$30
  • Bridesmaids and groomsmen outfits: ~$15 each
  • Wedding inserts: ~$40 (time to go electronic man! Unfortunately, we have to respect the older folks who prefers getting hard copy invites. That said, a lot of my dad's friends said they don't need it. Just tell them the venue and time and they'll be there #brosforlife. I prob have $20 worth of inserts sitting in my cupboard now lor!)
  • Artificial bouquet to throw on big day: <$10
  • Bengawan Solo cake vouchers for relatives <$100

Before the big day

  • Hair colouring <$80 (definitely can do at an even cheaper price)
  • Simple gel manicure and pedicure around $60 (can totally do without because nobody looked at my fingers and my feet!! Also, got persuaded into topping up $30 for feet buffing🙄. If not, my mani and pedi cost just $30. I don't know what I was thinking to pay another 50%. Even my hubby laughed at this absurdity.)
  • Car rental <$200
  • Online purchased wedding car decor <$20 (in all honesty, the car decor looked rather ugly. BUT NOBODY CARES!)
  • ROM registration: $42

Wedding day

  • No photobooth
  • No live band, just spotify 
  • No professional emcees
  • No decoration stylist to do up my photo album table
  • No taobao of decor table items
  • No dessert table
  • No wedding cake
  • Wore my <$30 wedding shoes which I wore for my PWS - note to all, the shoes will never be worn again.
  • Only one gown and one march-in
  • MUA <$300 for one look
  • Mothers' makeup $100 each
  • Photographer ~$1k
  • Videographer ~$1k. Initially, I would say you can do without it. But, I've no regrets hiring one to capture moments given that the day pass by so quickly! Also, it was a great entertainment for guests during the banquet
  • Bridal bouquet at $50 (on hindsight, can do without it too. OR buy an artificial bouquet)
  • Free staycation
Remember, do your own research and spend within your means!

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