Wedding Budget 101

Setting a realistic wedding budget is an essential part of wedding planning. Apart from a couple’s personal tastes, it is their wedding budget that determines their options, particularly in regard to the size and degree of formality of their wedding. If it’s discussed openly and the couple can agree on a set amount at the beginning of their wedding planning, they will make their wedding preparations considerably easier and avoid disagreements in the future regarding how they should spend for their wedding.

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Photo by Kinici Photo

In Singapore, the cost of most weddings ranges from S$20,000 to S$50,000, although some extravagant wedding may go as high as S$100,000. The wedding budget typically depends on three factors: the couple’s preferences (do they prefer a small, intimate wedding or a grand one?), financial capacity (the amount of money they have saved and their ability to repay any loan they take for the wedding), and external assistance (any financial aid from the couple’s parents and the amount they expect to receive in their ang baos).

Once the couple has set their wedding budget, they need to break down this amount between the different elements of the wedding: reception or wedding banquet (45%), photography and video (12%), attire (10%), entertainment (10%), flowers (8%), wedding rings (2%), stationery (2%), transportation (2%), gifts (2%), and ceremony (2%). In this break down, the couple is left with a 5% allowance for miscellaneous unforeseen expenses.

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Photo by Volans Couture

Couples should note that these are simply estimates and suggestions, and that they should adjust their allocation as they see fit. For example, if they have friends who are willing to provide the reception entertainment for free, they can transfer the 10% allocation for the entertainment to the gifts for the bridal party or the wedding banquet. The above break down does not include the engagement ring (which should be shouldered by the groom), wedding planner fee (as some couple may forgo having a wedding planner), and the cost of the honeymoon (couples may choose to postpone their honeymoon or, in some cases, its cost is covered by the couple’s parents or major sponsors).

Listing specific items under each category will make for a more organized list. It would be best for couples to have a spreadsheet of their wedding budget, wherein they’ll list down the major categories of the wedding and the details under each category, the allocated budget for each detail (in percentage and figure), the quoted price/rate of each vendor, and the final amount spent. Each wedding category can be broken down into the following details:

• Reception or Wedding Banquet: venue rental, venue décor (guest registration table, cocktail stands, table décor, hallway décor, tables and chairs for VIPs, bridal table and chair), food and beverage/catering, wait service, wine/champagne, bar/alcohol station, stage, lighting, AVP system, wedding cake

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Photo by Zonzon Productions

In Singapore, the amount that guests typically put in the ang baos is based on the cost of the reception or wedding banquet. This, in a way, makes it so as though the guests have paid for the reception as their gift to the newlyweds.

• Photography & Videography: engagement photography, pre-wedding photography, AD photography, pre-nuptial AVP, wedding AVP/highlights, photo booth, live projection, instant prints, additional prints/albums

• Bride and Groom’s Attire: attire for the bride (wedding gown, evening gown, jewelry, headpiece and veil, shoes, hair and makeup), attire for the groom (suits/tuxedos, haircut, shoes, watch and accessories), gown and suit alteration

Note that some bridal shops in Singapore work in tandem with photography studios, and the two companies may offer all their services as a single package. Also, members of the bridal party typically pay for their own attire, but the couple may also choose to pay for them.

• Entertainment: singers for the ceremony, music for the cocktail hour, wedding emcee, reception band, entertainment sound system, rental of the dance floor, deejay

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Photo by Chris Ling Photography

• Flowers and Décor: bouquets (for the bride, maid of honor, and bridesmaids), boutonnières (day and night; for the groom, best man, groomsmen, fathers of the bride and groom, and ring bearer), corsages (for the mothers of the bride and groom), floral arrangement for the ceremony, flower girls’ petals and basket, ring pillow

During the reception, the venue décor is normally provided by the venue. However, the couple may request their flower and décor provider for the ceremony to coordinate with the venue so that both the ceremony and reception will have similar décor and that the wedding’s theme is followed throughout the entire event.

• Ceremony: marriage registration, venue reservation, officiant’s fee, church donation, cocktail

• Wedding Rings: bride’s rings, groom’s ring, customization

• Stationery: save-the-date cards, invitation cards and RSVPs, guests book, program booklets, menu cards, seating and place cards, thank you cards, envelopes and postage

• Transportation: wedding car for the couple; transportation for the bridal party, parents and elders, out of town guests, VIPs and major sponsors; valet parking

• Gifts: wedding favors, betrothal gifts, thank you gifts, red packets for juniors, welcome gifts for guests from out of town, gifts for the bridal party

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Photo by Affinity Pictures

While the categories listed above are essential parts of every wedding, the details under each category may vary and couples need not include every detail we’ve listed in their wedding. Conversely, they may also add other details that they will need for their specific wedding. We hope that this guide will give every bridal couple a good start in their wedding planning.

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