First budget and then plan
When you decide to get married in Singapore, you are undoubtedly hoping to bring all of your family and friends together to make memories that will last you a lifetime – and it certainly will. But do you want bills to last you a lifetime as well? A modern wedding celebration in Singapore comes with a substantial cost – depending on your wedding choices you can find yourself spending between S$7,500 to S$75,000 to cover all your costs. Additionally, unlike in years past, most weddings are now being paid for by couples themselves, so it is important to make sure you have put a sound financial strategy in place.
Are you ready for these kinds of expenses? When faced with this choice, many couples discover that their aspirations outpace their ability and that they have not utilised the right kinds of financial planning that will ease their stress.
Was it worth the money?
According to Kevin O’Leary, an investor on the US television program “Shark Tank” – “When you’re starting out, the worst thing you can do is put yourself in debt for your wedding. I know it sounds romantic to spend a lot of money — [but] it’s crazy to do that.”
Wedding costs are going to make a dent in your savings, but hopefully, you’ve been saving. Of course, you might be forced to resort to your credit card, but if you do so, make sure you are clear on your repayment plans. Credit cards should not be an excuse for you to spend money you simply do not have. There are also some banks and other financial institutions that will offer you personal loans that you can use for your wedding, but treat them with extreme caution. Generally, the wisest course of action is to stay engaged a bit longer, then when you are ready, plan a wedding and stick to a realistic budget.
It is crucial to begin your wedding planning by setting an affordable limit on costs. Ask yourself the following questions as you start to set your budget:
- What aspect of the ceremony is the most important to us? One expense that couples do not generally regret is the wedding dress, so be prepared to sacrifice some other flourishes for the things you really want.
- What kind of ceremony does my partner want? Never forget to ask your soon to be significant other about their ideas. They will be taking on this debt with you, you need to make decisions on the budget together.
- How much debt am I carrying now, and if I add to that, what are my repayment options? This may be a once in a lifetime experience, but the debt you accrue will only grow after interest is applied every month.
- When do I want to get married? If you find that your dreams are outstripping your ability to pay, perhaps consider postponing the celebration until you have the funds to pay for what you want. The more money you save towards your wedding, the less debt you will carry later.
Where does the money go?
When starting your wedding planning, it’s important to be clear about the items that will comprise your budget. For example, in a Singapore wedding, the venue traditionally will cost up to 40% of the budget, decorations and lighting 12%, the dress 11%, a wedding planner 8%, the photographer/videographer 7% and then the rest, then grooms suit, invitations, etc. These sorts of breakdowns are available on many wedding blogs and are a great resource to check when you start your planning. Understand the relative value of these
Don’t break the bank
It’s easy to go overboard when planning a wedding, i.e. when given a chance to choose between several options, you will likely be tempted by the most expensive choice. But this would be a mistake.
According to most post-wedding surveys, there are several costs that couples regret. For many now-married couples, it turns out that the wedding planner, the videographer and favours for the guests are some of the things that couples regret spending money on. Of course, you should make up your own mind, but don’t discount this advice either.
Here are a few quick tips that can help you avoid overspending.
- Start with an open conversation with your partner. Sit down together and take the time to thoroughly understand each other’s financial situation. Don’t hide your personal debt – this is the time to get everything out in the open and this will affect your wedding spending.
- Keep your options open. Make sure you investigate several different vendors for each service. Don’t rely on only one quote, take a few. Ask your friends for recommendations for reliable vendors.
- Consider your wedding venue choice very carefully. Because the venue is the largest expenditure, you should make sure you have thoroughly investigated all of the pricing options. For example, weekdays are not as expensive as weekends. Also, by planning ahead you can often secure better rates. You might consider a smaller wedding venue. Utilise wedding venue booking platforms which allow you to compare venues and narrow down your conditions early.
- Organise the honeymoon early. Early booking always saves money on rates. Also, consider whether you will need to postpone this trip until your finances have bounced back. A romantic getaway will soon send you crashing down to earth if you return to a mailbox filled with bills.
Listen to the experts
Don’t be afraid to include some time in your planning for research about holding an affordable wedding. There are many blogs out there that offer spot-on advice about personal finance and romantic weddings. One does not have to rule out the other. The internet has seen the number of wedding-related websites skyrocket and they are not all simply focused on wedding gowns and veils. Many offer sound and practical advice about ways you can save money, and other ways to rethink what the modern wedding really means. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to bringing in outside advice:
- Listen to your friends. If they have been planning their own weddings recently then they are sure to be a mine of information not just about quality – but also about costs. Don’t be pushed into paying more for something. Use their advice to set a baseline target to help you get started in your vendor and venue hunt.
- Use budgeting tools to keep you on track. Check out wedding apps such as Wedding Happy or Tie the Knot, they can help you recall exactly how much you have spent so far – or even offer a running total – so you don’t face cost overruns.
- Take notes! Look around for checklists and advice about how to book venues or recruit vendors. Many sites offer checklists to help you make sure that all the issues are addressed early and successfully. Print some out and take copious notes.
At the end of the day, a wedding is an investment in memories and good feelings but the details are up to you. Don’t get swept away by expectations if they put too much pressure on your financial situation. After all, you have a life to plan for, not just one day.
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