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I get the feeling that Singaporeans in their 20s and 30s attend way more weddings than their overseas counterparts.
First of all, there’s no such thing as moving to another city or state. As long as you’re still in Singapore, you’re available for every wedding thrown by your kindergarten classmates/ex-colleagues/kopitiam auntie’s daughter.
Then there’s the fact that weddings here tend to be on the large side. It’s not uncommon to invite one’s entire secondary school or JC class, never mind that you haven’t seen most of these people for 10 years.
Given all the above, most of my friends in their 20s and 30s are now seasoned wedding attendees. And as everyone knows, holding a “traditional” wedding banquet in Singapore costs a ridiculous amount of money. (Save money on your banquet with these tips). So here’s what you should spend less on, and what’s worth the money.
Now, I’ve received some wonderful goodie bags, the most impressive consisting of gourmet miso paste and porcelain cups from some Japanese artisan. I’ve also received some that, let’s be honest, most of the guests probably tossed - there’s only so much utility you can get out of a candle with the couple’s faces emblazoned across it.
But that’s not the point. The point is, the goodie bag, no matter how awesome or how modest it is, really does not make that much of a difference to your guests’ wedding experience. The goodie bags have had little bearing on the best, as well as the worst, weddings I’ve attended.
So goodie bags are definitely one thing you want to lower the cost of, or do away with altogether. One of the best goodies I’ve ever received at a wedding—an exotic looking candle holder of the type you can find at bazaars in Little India - cost probably a dollar or two.
And seriously, don’t bother customising the gifts, because only your parents would want to use a namecard holder/picture frame displaying your and your spouse’s initials and wedding date.
We get that you want the theme of your wedding to be consistent. But your invites don’t have a very large impact on how your guests feel at your wedding. In fact, most wedding guests don’t even bother to keep invites, having received too many over the years.
There’s no need to hire an artist to custom-make your invites for you or to buy the most expensive designs. If you’re inviting 150 people, spending $2 per card adds $300 to your budget. If the venue provides free invitation cards, use those, otherwise try to DIY. Seriously, most of the cards are going to end up in the bin, which makes spending more money on them pointless.
Whether you’re going with the hotel’s decor (here are 9 essentials for pretty wedding decorations) or DIYing all the way (see 8 easy DIY projects to try), there is usually no reason to spend a ton of money on fresh flowers.
If you’re trying to cut costs, do away with the wedding bouquet, fresh flowers as centrepieces and ridiculous add-ons like floral wedding arches (this couple reportedly spent $12,000 on theirs). See 4 ways to save on flowers here.
Unless flowers are included in the cost of your bridal or banquet package, you might want to skip them altogether.
Yes, we get it that you want the banquet hall to smell like the Elysian Fields. But then you realise that a single bridal bouquet can cost hundreds of dollars at high end florists. Floral centrepieces will set you back at least $50 to $100 per table (see how to recreate pocket-friendly centrepieces here).
Honestly, 95 per cent of the guests will not even realise you had flowers if you quiz them about your decor two hours after the wedding.
What should you spend on?
From the point of view of a wedding guest, what makes a good wedding?
Decent food is always nice to have. Now, that doesn’t mean you need to order the premium menu at a five star hotel. In fact, many high-end hotel wedding banquets end up being quite unmemorable. Conversely, a simple lunch buffet might not be fancy, but that’s okay. The main thing is to try to get the best value for your budget, or include some add ons like a nice dessert that your guests will enjoy.
If you’re serving alcohol at your wedding, this is one thing that can make a real difference by lubricating the crowd and stopping them from falling asleep during your Powerpoint presentation. If you’re thinking of allocating a little extra to a particular category this would be it.
Finally, the thing that makes weddings memorable is usually the after party. Throw a fantastic after-party and your guests will forever refer to your wedding as the best wedding ever. Some people like to open a room in the hotel their banquet is at for their closest friends. Others herd everyone down to a club. If you’re getting married in a park or restaurant you can hold the party in-house.
Have a great party and nobody will even notice you didn’t hand out goodie bags.
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