Finally, I tied the knot.
As I write, I’d just closed the accounts for my wedding ceremonies (two in total) and so, I like to offer a breakdown of their costs and my insights to them. I hope they could serve as a rough guide to you when it comes to financing a wedding. This is so that you know what to expect and plan ahead especially if you are:
- Or, Engaged.
Before I start, I believe some context can be helpful:
Family + Cultural Background:
My wife and I are local Chinese Christians. My paternal relatives are dominantly Christians, Westernised and less particular about Chinese customs. Mostly, they reside in KL. A handful live in Singapore and Australia. As for my relatives on the maternal side, they are native Singaporeans. So, we decided to host our grand wedding in KL where we invited:
- My paternal relatives.
- An Aunt as “a representative of my maternal relatives”.
- Our church friends
- Our colleagues, school friends, uni-mates and friends.
My wife is from Ipoh. Most of her paternal and maternal relatives reside in Ipoh and are more Chinese-cultured. So, we’ve organised a wedding luncheon which is more traditional to celebrate our joint-heritage.
3 Key Events:
In total, we hosted three significant events as follow:
- ROM Luncheon
- Wedding Ceremony + Dinner in the Klang Valley
- Wedding Luncheon in Ipoh
1. ROM Luncheon
This is a smaller setting of 15-20 people consisting of close family members and friends. We’ve hosted the luncheon in a Pakistani restaurant at Plaza Shah Alam where JPN is located.
2. Wedding Ceremony + Dinner in the Klang Valley
We had a Christian wedding and a Chinese banquet in a Golf Club in Shah Alam. The Christian wedding attended by 80 people was held from 4-5pm, followed by a short tea ceremony, and proceeded with the dinner from 7-10pm. In total, we have hosted a total of 23 tables for our grand wedding dinner.
3. Wedding Luncheon in Ipoh
Our wedding luncheon was held in a Hakka restaurant. The choice is intentional as both of us are Hakka Chinese. In total, we hosted 5 tables for this luncheon.
All in all, we’re happy as all three events had run smoothly. But, the question is: How much does it cost?
Therefore, here are 8 key expenditures that we spent on our wedding:
1. Proposal Ring + Wedding Bands
I purchased a diamond ring costing RM 2.5k for my wedding proposal. Then, we bought our wedding bands (white gold + diamond) for RM 900+. The rings were chosen based on our preference in terms of design, suitability, and … price. We knew that there are many nicer choices that are priced higher. But, we chose to save money as we are preparing for 7 other major expenditures listed below:
I didn’t host a separate event to propose to my wife. I had made my proposal in a quieter setting in Ipoh. It is at a spot where we confirmed our relationship. So nothing fancy, but yet, it is meaningful to us. No additional cost on this.
2. Dowry a.ka. Guo Da Li (GDL)
GDL is Chinese for dowry. There is no fixed rule to determine its amount. But, in my findings, I was “told” that the amount of GDL could range between RM 1-2k to RM 10k and to even as high as RM 20k. These are my reference points. So for us, we agreed on GDL, consisting of cash + gifts, worth RM 7+k. Here, as long as the GDL is presented sincerely, I think the bride’s family would be receptive to it (Context is more important than the content, I believe).
3. Photographers + Videographers
We engaged two separate vendors:
- The first is for our pre-wedding photoshoot.
- The second is to capture the moment on our big day in the Golf Club.
We had our pre-wedding photoshoot in Ipoh for RM 3+k. Considering our super hot weather, we had 1 outdoor shooting and 2 indoor shootings. In the end, we received a nice photo album and a huge photo printed which we’d used as “our banner” for both wedding events in the golf club and in Ipoh.
Next, we hired one photographer and one videographer to shoot and record all that happened at our wedding ceremony and dinner in the Golf Club. This costs RM 4k.
So in total, we spent RM 7+k for both photography and videography.
4. Wedding Gowns
My wife purchased a simple yet elegant wedding dress costing RM 159.. She wore it for our pre-wedding photoshoot. She had worn another dress for ROM at Plaza Shah Alam and our wedding luncheon in Ipoh. Now, as for the wedding ceremony + dinner in the Golf Club, she rented her gowns for a total of RM 2.7k. So in total, these gowns cost RM 2.8+k.
5. Make-Up and Hairdo
My wife hired make-up artists for all three occasions costing RM 2.5k in total.
6. Wedding Live Band + Emcee
We hired a wedding live band + emcee for an original price of RM 4.5+k. But, as a result of “under-deliverance” on the vendor’s part, we have settled at RM 3k+ and closed the file. So, don’t take our actual cost for this as most vendors in this field would quote around RM 4-6k. Of course, there are vendors that are priced at RM 10k-15k if you are willing to splurge on wedding entertainment.
We owe big time to our family members, friends, pastors and church friends for assisting us in our wedding preparations. So, we spent RM 2-3k in ang paos and gifts as tokens of appreciation for all their efforts.
8. Wedding Venue + Food Costs
Now, time to reveal our big bills. Here, we’ll exclude the Pakistani restaurant for the cost is smaller (RM 700+).
As for the wedding ceremony + dinner (23 tables) in the Golf Club, we’d spent a total of RM 42k+. We also bought red wine costing RM 3k. Thus, in total, the cost for our big day is RM 45+k.
We spent RM 5.7k to host our wedding luncheon in Ipoh.
All in all, we spent RM 51+k on the wedding venue and food costs.
In addition to the 8 main expenditures, there are many minor expenditures, like wedding cards, wedding attire, our hotel bookings, … etc that cost aboutRM 2k.
Finally, Our Total Wedding Cost
In total, we spent RM 87+k on our wedding.
Fortunately, we collected RM 60+k in ang pao and gifts. Some had given (KC Lau included) beyond our expectations. As such, we are super grateful. But if you’re planning for a wedding, it is prudent to not put unrealistically high expectations on the collection of ang paos.
This is because not all would contribute to “your expected amount”. If it occurs, you may feel disappointed. Also, it’s possible that you might overspend on your wedding if you place “higher expectations” on the ang pao collection. So here, I would say it’s best to be conservative and have adequate cash flow planning for your wedding. You don’t want to be starting off your marriage life with debts.
The Key Lies in Cash Flow Planning
Although our netted cost is RM 27k+, we’ve paid as much as RM 55k+ in cash to finance the above wedding cost. There are some expenses to be paid in full and deposits to be made prior to our big day. Following the above list, they include:
We did not engage a wedding planner. So, no fees incurred on this.
I would say that we had a decently heartwarming wedding. If you are looking to plan a similar wedding, you need to prepare at least RM 50k in excess cash. The amount needed would be higher if you wish to pay:
- More for Proposal ring + wedding bands.
- More GDL
- Extensive pre-wedding photoshoot (eg. overseas shoot)
- Better photographers + videographers.
- Branded wedding gowns.
- Grander & Luxurious Wedding Venues + Dinner
- Better Emcees + Wedding live Bands
If you have a desire for top notch quality, you definitely need more and the cost could go beyond RM 100k, RM 200k … even millions. If that’s the case, you may need to prepare RM 100k and beyond in cash to organise a grander wedding.
In our case, we budgeted our wedding based on our financial abilities. I would say that itself is a deliberate choice as we believe that a wedding is for a “moment” and most importantly, our marriage is for a lifetime.