5 practical ways to save on your wedding/banquet

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Like all young couples, Marilynn and I faced budget issues while planning for our wedding back in early 2014. Having worked for about 2 years, we finally managed to save a pile of money to get married. We talked about our finances and both agreed that we did not want to get into debt for the rest of our lives just for our wedding. We went out in search for practical options that would not compromise the wishes of our parents and yet not burn a big hole in our pockets. So here’s our 5 practical ways to save on your wedding/banquet.

1) Buying traditional marriage items in Singapore’s Chinatown vs specialty wedding shops in shopping malls

I’m sure you would have noticed that there are specialty wedding stores selling traditional items which you would need for your wedding (i.e tea ceremony sets, Wedding decor, candles etc) in popular shopping malls such as JEM or Bedok Mall. But do you know that you could get the exact same stuff in Chinatown or just across the Causeway in JB at a cheaper price by up to 75%? A tea-set sold in the shopping centers are priced at $60 and above per set while the exact same set in JB could actually cost around $25.

If travelling across the Causeway might be a little too troublesome, try Chinatown Complex. You can find multiple shops on the ground floor selling traditional marriage items. We preferred shopping here for our wedding items as these shops usually sell a wider variety of Ang Baos, decor and tea sets as compared to the franchise stores in the shopping malls. Furthermore, you can get advice  from the elderly shopkeeper if you are unsure of certain practices. 

chinatown complex

chinatown1

teaset

 

2) Join contest offered by restaurants and hotels

Marilynn and I joined multiple contests hosted by wedding conventions/fairs and sometimes through social media. Unfortunately, we did not win any, however, a friend of ours joined one such contest held by Marina Bay Sand’s and they won for themselves a complimentary 8-course dinner for 10 worth at least $1500SGD. The prize came in handy when both sides of their families came together to meet meet and discuss about the wedding betrothal gifts. We have come across other contests with prizes including getting your deposit paid for by the wedding fair organizer too!

Save a little more for your wedding too by joining such contests. I’m sure every bit of money or prize won counts. Increase your chances by looking out for such contest on Facebook or other social media platforms and join them! 

MBS contest

3) Plan your budget and use credit cards wisely to maximize rebates

Holding a wedding banquet is an expensive affair. With proper planning of your expenditure, and using the correct credit card to pay would get you really awesome rebate/goodies.  For example, in December 2013, we signed up for our pre-wedding photo shoot and put our banquet deposit in the same month to meet the then StandChart Manhatten Card’s minimum spending amount. We did this to qualify for the maximum rebate amount which we could use to offset other minor expenses.

The GSS sales period also came in handy when we purchased our wedding bands after eyeing it for 6 months. We used our Citibank card to pay for the wedding bands to get additional 10% discount and at the same time hitting the minimum spending quota to qualify for a free luggage. So, technically, one stone killed two birds. 

Do draft a spread sheet and list down all the expenses you would make after conducting your extensive research on hotels and bridal studios. Then, search online for credit card promotions.

all cards


To save you the trouble, see also: 6 credit card to earn free flights


 

4) DIY your wedding instead of engaging a wedding planner.

Hiring a wedding planner for the wedding is definitely a no-no for me. To both of us, the fun in having a wedding lies in the process of planning and executing it together with your significant other. Furthermore, by not hiring a wedding planner, it saves you that extra cash which can be spent on useful stuff.  If you followed the second point above, you would already have half the work done. What’s left is the decor for your pre-wedding photo shoot and the actual day’s reception table.

For the ultra frugal ones, do your research on wedding props and designs in our Pinterest board. Then get inspired and prepare your props with a visit to the art and craft shops.

For the busy people, we recommend checking out propsandcrafts. A wedding props company offering ready-made props for rental and the execution is left to your creativity. They have many different themes to suit your wedding theme such as Great Gatsby, Botanical and even Country Rustic.  Your bridesmaids would definitely have a good time setting up the booth with these props.  Check out the photos below on the props used for our wedding 2 years ago. 

botanictheme

decro1

church table

dinner table

 

Besides props rental, this company offers DIY photo booth packages starting from $130 (super duper value for money!). Get the groomsmen to set up the photo booth and you and your bridal party can start snapping pictures to capture the happy day. Best of all, most of these props can be customized and are hand-made with love! We highly recommend this company for its awesome service and props customization. 

5) Bargain Negotiate your wedding packages

I can’t stress this enough to all my friends who are looking to sign up for wedding packages. Bargain before you purchase your package. This allows you to avoid pitfalls and stress after signing the wedding package. I’m sure you would have heard of horror stories where the couple ends up paying thousands more after purchasing the package because of hidden costs or fine prints which are always not obvious.

Here are 2 important line items that you need to negotiate about your wedding package before you sign on the dotted line.

a) Ask for more photos for the photo album. 

Just in case you do not know, bridal companies charged approx $80 to $100 for each extra photo you buy during the photo selection process. This item alone could cost you thousands more. Here’s what Marilynn and I did. When the bridal company started throwing in freebies during their roadshow, for example, free baby photo shoot, we negotiated for more photos to be placed in the album instead. With this, we got an additional 11 more photos. Phew! $880 saved! In retrospect, we were glad that we negotiated for more. We became very emotional when we saw all 200 photos taken during the pre-wedding shoot. They were so well taken that we wanted to purchase all of them. Luckily, we stopped ourselves at the moment and stuck to the amount in the package. If we had not bargain previously, we would have splurged on more photos. 

b)Be clear on the type of wedding gown you can choose from.

Another sly tactic used by bridal companies is to mask the fact that you can only pick from a certain rack of gowns. And if you happen to want nicer gowns,  they would ask you to top up the package cost. Some bridal companies place a grade on their gowns. The higher the grade, the more the top up you would need to pay. So negotiate for full access to all gowns before signing the contract. Do not let them fool you that this is a normal industry practice. 

Afterword

Wedding can be an expensive affair and practicing the 5 suggested ways would help to reduce your expenses. Both of would need to be on the same frequency and agree that the additional money spent could be used to invest in the future, like your honeymoon after the wedding.  


Check out our trip: Iceland Road Trip!


Do you really need the wedding dinner to be in that lavish hotel? Or do you really need that one of a kind decor that people would not remember the next day? I would think not.

Remember guys and girls, the wedding only lasts for a day, but your marriage lasts forever! Make it work and don’t burn a big hole in your pockets. 🙂

 

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