Your dream wedding may be more expensive than you plan. Take charge of your money and find out how to budget for your wedding, honeymoon, and other wedding expenses.
Planning your wedding
Money can be a sensitive topic in any relationship. When planning your wedding, have a good talk with your partner. Make your expectations known from the start. But hear each other out on what should be a sensible and comfortable budget to have for your big day.
Family members from both sides are likely to want a say in the planning process. More so, if they are contributing to the costs.
They could also have strong views about ideas and traditions to be included. Be open to suggestions but remember that it is your big day (not theirs). Take control to have the wedding you want and avoid spending money on something you don't want.
What your cousin or friend spent on their wedding should not be the benchmark for you and your future spouse! A lavish wedding may not necessarily be more memorable.
Beyond wedding planning, set the tone now rather than later, for how you want to deal with finances as a couple.
Setting a budget for your big day
1. Start by making a wish list
List all the items you need and what you want for your wedding. Include honeymoon expenses and other costs, such as gifts. Decide together how you would prioritise needs vs wants and how much you want to spend on each item. Keep a buffer for unexpected costs.
2. Allocate your budget
Bridal magazines or websites provide some idea of how much things cost and how to allocate your budget. For example:
- Bridal package – 15%
- Traditional wedding ceremony – 5%
- Wedding dinner – 60%
- Honeymoon – 20%
If you want to get a wedding planner, make sure you check out their services and work out the full costs before engaging one.
3. Plan early and watch for early-bird deals
If your budget is getting out of hand, see if you can make do with less. Have a simpler wedding - this can be just as fun and meaningful. Or see if you could get better deals by planning early.
4. Avoid borrowing to pay for your wedding
Don’t start your marriage with debt. If you really have to take a loan, first think about:
- How much you need, what you can afford to repay monthly and how long it will take to clear the debt.
- Shop around for the lowest Effective Interest Rate (EIR) on your loan.
Some money-saving tips:
- Rent a wedding gown instead of buying it. Wearing your mother’s wedding dress is also a common tradition in some parts of the world.
- Ask about credit card discounts at bridal studios or banquet venues.
- Negotiate with vendors to see if you can get any extras thrown in.
- Ask a good friend to be your photographer; do without a professional.
- Do the flowers yourself.
Your ceremony can be held at the Registry of Marriages (ROM) or elsewhere. ROM offers no-frills solemnisation rooms and services to keep marriage fees affordable.
The Wedding Dinner
The number of guests attending and the venue will have a huge impact on your overall budget. Start looking at possible venues and discuss with both families who to invite early.
If money is tight, try to limit your guests to close families and friends, i.e. people who matter to you.
Some money-saving tips:
- A wedding lunch could be a cheaper alternative to a dinner.
- Have your wedding banquet on a weekday. It is usually cheaper than on the weekends.
- Negotiate with the venue owners. Ask for extras such as free mementos.
- Do not feel that you have to stick with the set menus. See if there is room for negotiation.
Honeymoon (optional for some, compulsory for others)
A short break may be a nice way to wind down from all the excitement of a wedding and to start your married life in peace. It could be a short stay in a hotel or an overseas vacation.
If you have spent a lot on the wedding, maybe your dream honeymoon can wait until your finances have recovered.
Some money-saving tips:
- Spend within your limits. Apart from flights and hotels, don't forget to set a budget for meals, transport, and ad-hoc expenses, e.g. airport taxes, tips, entrance fees to museums and parks.
- Start planning early. Flights are often cheaper when booked in advance.
- Shop around for the best deal. Compare prices between travel agents. Look out for any promotions and visit travel exhibitions as well.
An expensive wedding is not necessarily a better wedding. Celebrating with those that you love and who love you is the most important part of the day.
Find out more
Getting Married - Planning your finances together booklet - A booklet targeted at couples who are planning to get married or newly married. The booklet provides financial planning tips on the various financial decisions that couples have to make in their marriage journey.
Download: Getting Married - Planning your finances together