There’s nothing wrong with finding ways to cut wedding costs, but these examples take it to the extreme.
Saving money for a wedding in Singapore does strange things to people. For many of us, it’s the first time we’re dealing with such a large price – and the surreal price tag makes us come up with surreal ideas.
1. Saving S$1 Coins for Years
Recently, a Singaporean made the rounds on Facebook after saving dollar coins for his wedding. He put the money in a piggy bank, accumulating about S$6,000 in 2 years. That comes to around S$8 to S$9 saved per day.
Now to some degree, effective saving is about psychology. Some people convert their money to US dollars to make it hard to spend. Some people use GIRO so they don’t think about it. We understand that. But the problem is, some methods actually cost you too much money – and hoarding one dollar coins is one of them.
Let’s assume that you save S$9 in coins per day, and let’s assume you let it go on for longer than two years (S$6,000 is not really a lot for a wedding). Let’s say you try to save for your wedding this way, over five years.
Coin by coin, you’d accumulate around S$16,425.
Now, consider what would happen if you stuck it in, say, a fund or insurance policy that grows at five per cent per annum. Let’s say you put in S$270 a month. At the end of five years, you’d have…approximately S$18,784.
That’s a difference of about S$2,359.
Besides making over S$2,350 more, there is the issue of safety. When money is in an account, it’s harder to steal (can you imagine the pain if someone steals those piggy banks? Good luck getting the money back, it’s not even insured).
Then again, S$16,425 in coins would weight about 98.55 kilos, so maybe theft would be a bit harder than we imagine.
2. Crowdfunding Your Wedding
First, let’s get the fees out of the way. At the time of writing, a site like Indiegogo charges about five per cent of the amount raised. So assuming you get S$5,000, the actual money in your pocket will be S$4,750.
Assuming you manage to annoy a whole lot of people into donating, a huge amount can also mean a huge payment to the site. Raise S$20,000 for your wedding, and your friends and family would have paid a thousand dollars just for your crowdfunding initiative.
Second, you could be placing an unfair demand on the people closest to you.
When you crowdfund, everyone can see the total amount raised versus the goal. If you set the goal at S$20,000, and the total donations are stuck at S$1,200 for weeks on end, well…mum and dad, and your bestie, don’t want you to be embarrassed or upset. Do you see what we’re getting at here?
The ones closest to you can see the donations are too low, and sometimes fork out sums they shouldn’t rightly be made to pay.
It also gets awkward for everyone when the funding is far below the attempted goal. If less than 30 per cent of the funding is reached, for example, there’s often embarrassment felt by the couple and the people who were asked to donate.
On top of all this, there’s the questionable issue of expecting others to pay for you. Especially if you’re able-bodied, educated, and in a good position to earn your own money.
How would you feel if a friend started to nag you for money to buy a car or a new bag? Is that really different from nagging someone to pay for a wedding?
3. Get a Company to Sponsor You
How about plastering an ad for McDonald’s across your wedding dress? Or maybe feeding all your wedding guests Pringles, while wearing a sash to promote their onion and sour cream flavour? Would you accept a free car from, say, Honda if you agree to embed them in your wedding speech?
We’re thankful this hasn’t happened in Singapore yet – though we’re getting close. Last year someone dressed up as brown bear, the mascot for the chat app LINE, to make a proposal. We don’t know if he got paid.
Nonetheless, there has been a growing trend of getting companies to sponsor your wedding. Like this couple in Florida in 2014, who asked for USD $30,000 to sponsor theirs.
While it’s admittedly a good way to get money, we think it’s also a giant vacuum cleaner sucking all the romance out of the room. An extra S$10,000 may not be worth turning the most important day of your life into the equivalent of a Google banner ad.
4. Keep Mentioning the Cost to Ensure Sufficient Ang Pow Coverage
A lot of people hope to recover the cost of their wedding. So what do they do? Loudly announce the price over social media, to their friends, or – in one terribly sad situation we know of – state the price per head in the invite (what’s next, a cover charge?).
This is done unofficially, but not subtly (e.g. A tweet to every invitee that “OMG, the caterer is charging over $70 per head for the engagement lunch”).
The least offensive method we’ve seen is to openly blog about your wedding at every step. Blog about the costs, how you’re struggling to save, the loans you’re taking, etc.
Now we’re not accusing everyone who does this of trying to ramp up ang pow contributions. We’re just saying some people do, and it’s probably the most subtle way to do it.
First, believe us when we tell you everyone gets the message. Don’t worry about that, they’ll hear you loud and clear. Second, you will probably not make much more from ang pows, and will just embarrass yourself.
People will give what they can afford to give. If you make it clear that the wedding is super expensive, and they realise they can’t afford it, they may just decide not to go at all. It’s crass and it seldom works. Don’t do it.
5. Get Married on a Sunday to Save Money on Alcohol
The theory is that, on a Sunday, people will drink less because they have to work tomorrow.
That’s a nice theory.
In reality, if you limit the alcohol you will probably just run out, whether it’s a Saturday, Sunday, or even a Wednesday. People are celebrating, and most will pull out all the stops regardless of what day it is (some will just call in sick tomorrow).
We don’t think this is crass at all – it’s a clever attempt actually. But we’re just saying it’s probably not going to work, and that it might be a better bargain to just go for the free-flow alcohol. If you run out and need to buy a few bottles later, it will get much more expensive.
Pro-tip: if you can handle the financial commitment, you can use a personal loan to pay for your wedding. Just make sure to compare interest rates and choose the loan with the lowest rate.
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By Ryan Ong
Ryan has been writing about finance for the last 10 years. He also has his fingers in a lot of other pies, having written for publications such as Men’s Health, Her World, Esquire, and Yahoo! Finance.