Malaysian marriages, regardless of race or religion, often takes place grandly. It can never go without a huge cheering crowd, fiesta of sumptuous food, lovely flowers, decorations, entertainment, and the list goes on. Every single thing on this list cost money. A lot of money – starting from RM50,000 and can easily reach up to even RM500,000.
And if you’re not careful with planning your wedding budget, it’s easy for you to get carried away, case in point this wedding that reportedly cost 59 million dollars.
Even with the huge cost already awaiting for the ceremony, many couples today still go a little extravagant by incurring wedding debt to fulfil their dream wedding and it gets progressively more extravagant as they attempt to set trends and appear unique from the rest.
That is when the question arises, what can you do differently but still stay within your budget? Alternating on some of these expenses can help you steer clear of the wedding debt trap.
ItemApprox. cost beforeWhat can you do different?Approx. cost now
Wedding InvitesRM 2.50/pc.
Eg; 500 guests x RM2.50 = RM1250Option 1: Get a digital invite. Digital invites are quite common now, and it costs nothing if you know how to design your own digital invite.Free
Option 2: Cannot go fully digital due to family members who are not tech savvy? Then why not just print a small number of the invites for them? Stick to digital for a majority of your guests, and print a small number for the older guests.RM250
Attire/accessoriesRM2500 for a full custom made outfitOption 1 : One good way you can save on your wedding attire is by renting it instead of ordering a custom made one! Renting can be quite cheap, and nowadays there are plenty of choices out there for you.RM500-RM1500 for rental fees (including deposit)
Option 2: Or if you’d like to keep your wedding gown for sentimental reasons, why not buy RTW (ready-to-wear) instead? RTW wedding attires are usually much much cheaper compared to it’s custom tailored counterpart, and it’s quite easy to find one that fits your tastes and themes as well.RM300-RM1000
ReceptionA hotel can charge up to RM2000 for a table of 10 pax.Instead of holding your reception at a hotel, why not use a government facility? For example a municipal hall can cost as little as RM2000 for a full one day rental of the whole hall. For the food, you can get a caterer with two dishes and rice for around RM15 per pax.Hall rental = RM2000
Food = RM15 x 500
Grand total, RM9500
Door giftsRM3.00 each
eg; RM3.00 x 500 = RM1500Instead of getting your guests something that will probably just collect dust at home, why not give your guests a plant? A succulent or a tree seedling is a good choice as it’s both eco and budget friendly. Succulent/tree seedlings = RM2.00 x 500
EntertainmentThe price for entertainment at your wedding can vary, but generally they are quite costly. For example, a violinist I contacted charges RM1000 for 5 songs.Why not be the entertainment for your own guests? For example, you and your betrothed can put on a dance performance. If you have siblings, try roping them in to sing, host or perform. It’s way more meaningful. If the occasion fits, interactive games and quizzes add a personal touch.Free
Greetings platform/pelaminMinimum price = RM2500A greetings platform and a pelamin is usually one of the mainstays of a wedding ceremony, and it can be quite pricey. One way you can avoid extra charges are to get DIY pelamins or wedding thrones, which can be quite a lot cheaper than its traditional counterpart. The catch is however, you will have to install the pelamin yourselves.>RM1000
With the above suggestions, you can easily save a few thousand bucks that can be spent on your honeymoon instead! The best part is not getting yourself deep in debt even before you embark on your married life as a couple.
Plan and save ahead of time
Planning a big event like this in advance will not just save you a lot of headaches, but also money! Most often than not, you save for big purchases like – for that Audi down payment, that dream trip to Europe or that posh apartment in Ara Damansara – a wedding should also require the same planning and budgeting.
Most of the time, it is not until the proposal actually happens that the couple even start talking about saving or gathering finances for that once in a lifetime ceremony. But, why not start saving early, even before you have met someone? Like the old Malay saying goes, prepare the umbrella before it rains. Allocate a particular amount of your savings monthly for marriage.
Many are burdened with various financial commitments, such as loan repayments, personal monthly bills or even medical fees for elderly parents, saving for a wedding before meeting the special someone can seem inconveniently painful and stressful.
If you sit down to speak on this matter only after the proposal it can be too late, unless you and your fiancé are going to wait on it for a couple of years. Not quite an easy task. Last minute planning and execution has caused many couples to acquire a long list of debts to raise funds for the ceremony.
So, start planning early, minimum one year ahead and look out for promotions in wedding expos or engage friends at a discounted or special rate. Also, keep track of current costs every time a relative or friend gets married to be able to constantly estimate the cost required.
Create a budget and stick to it
It is important to sit down and estimate the budget. List down and prioritise the items accordingly. Know what you want to spend for and how much you want to spend for each. Outline sequence of events (engagement, wedding, reception, etc.) and what you want included into the wedding (photography, videography, animation, decoration, etc.).
Also, try to choose to get married during non-peak seasons. The items on the list are usually cheaper during this time. Many vendors hike up their prices during this peak marriage periods.
However, creating a budget alone is not sufficient, but abiding by the budget is where the challenge lies. It is vital to know your ceiling point and keep track of all the expenses.
If any point you have exceeded your budget on an item in the list, be prepared to cut off something else! This way you can very well stay away from any wedding debt.
Wedding planners Or DIY wedding?
If you want to make things a thousand times (relatively) easier for you, then you can consider getting the services of a wedding planner. However, one thing to remember is that a wedding planner can be really, like really expensive.
For example, a professional wedding planner can set you back for around RM4000 – RM6000, just for their coordinating service. If you want them to fully plan your wedding from A to Z, then the cost can skyrocket to RM10,000 or more.
So if sticking to a budget is your main priority, then a DIY wedding is definitely the way to go.
Tie the knot tight
This will enable you to curb all the extra last minute costs and stay away from wedding debt. You will have a variety of choices to choose from to suit your budget and curve your expenses accordingly.
When planned well, this need not be a painful process financially and mentally. All the costs saved could very well be invested into a memorable honeymoon.
After the wedding bells have faded, it’s time to change “my” money to “our” money, and “my” financial goals to “our” financial goals. Here are the advantages of merging your finances with your spouse’s.
This article was first published in July 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.