One of the most talked about topics in 2018 was probably the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It was a grand and beautiful wedding that many would call a fairytale. In Singapore, there are fairytales as well. With a wonderful mixture of different cultures, beautiful and different wedding ceremonies conducted by various cultural groups occur.
Regardless of any race of religion, the marriage and wedding is probably one of the most important event in a person’s life. Many couples dream of having the perfect wedding where ladies don on beautiful wedding gowns while the gentlemen put on suits that make them look more handsome than ever. At any wedding, it is full of joy and happiness where friends and families of the couple shower them with blessings.
However, costs of weddings are not low especially in Singapore. Whether it is a traditional Malay wedding, Indian wedding, Chinese wedding or a Western wedding, the entire event usually costs thousands of dollars and sometimes, more than $50,000. Some couples also choose to have many wedding ceremonies which increases the cost of weddings even further.
So, how much do weddings cost and what are the preparations needed? What are the procedures and what happens at the weddings? Why do some couples choose to apply for wedding loans? In this article, we breakdown the necessary procedures and costs needed for Malay weddings, Indian weddings, Chinese weddings and Western weddings in Singapore.
Malay Weddings In Singapore
One of the unique cultural weddings in Singapore are the Malay weddings. The total average cost of a Malay wedding in Singapore can be estimated at $40,000 depending on the venue selected. Approximately half of this amount will go to the dowry and gifts. For the couples who are not able to raise these finances in any other way, there is the option of Malay wedding loans in Singapore which are offered by several financial institutions.
The details involved in Malay weddings are given below:
- PREPARATION COURSE
For a Malay couple, there is a marriage preparation course done at the Mosque before the wedding for a period of two days. This is a course where the couple is taught about the different issues such as budgeting and handling in-laws. Upon the completion of this course, the couple are given a certificate.
- HENNA STAINING
This happens two to three days before the wedding. The couple have their fingers stained with henna to signify their new status as husband and wife. This is a practice which has been adopted from some Hindu traditions. The couple can choose to invite their friends and family to attend this session, and it can also include photo taking.
- BETROTHAL GIFTS
This is a part of the traditions of Malay weddings, and the couple are required to give gifts as well as money to each other. There are no set rules as to what the gifts should be, and each partner is allowed to give as many gifts as he or she desires. These gifts could be food, perfume, bags, and any other thing that the partner would like. Along with these gifts, the groom must present the bride with another cash gift just before the solemnisation, and this gift should range between $8,000 and $15,000, or depending on what was budgeted. After the solemnisation, the groom must present his bride with another gift which can be cash or a gift such as jewellery, a house, a car, or any other item. This particular gift becomes the asset of the bride permanently. All these gifts can be very costly, and Malay wedding loans can be of great help.
- DECORATION OF VENUE
Apart from the betrothal gifts, the couple will also give each other a floral arrangement that signifies their virginity. These two floral arrangements are placed on the dais as part of the wedding decorations. The caterers also provide food a day before the wedding because it is common to have guests turning up on the evening before if they are not able to attend the wedding itself.
- THE SOLEMNISATION CEREMONY
This is the actual wedding day, and the couple will typically have three sets of clothing for the ceremonies involved on this day. Many couples choose to have one modern outfit and two traditional Malay outfits for the day. The solemnisation is done in the bride’s home. The father of the bride is a key person in this ceremony because he gives her away to the groom. In the absence of the father, the person present should be the bride’s brother, or the paternal grandfather or the paternal uncle, in that particular order. There should also be two people to witness the ceremony, and a solemniser should also be present.
The bride is usually in her own room away from the ceremony, and the solemniser will first ask her if she has agreed to get married to the groom. After she has expressed her agreement, several verses from the Koran will be quoted after which a sermon will be given on Islamic marriage. Once this is done, the groom then states loudly and clearly that he is willing to take the bride as his wife, after which he will shake hands with the solemniser. The couple will then be declared husband and wife. The groom will read out his duties as a husband and also the rights of his bride as a Muslim wife.
After the ceremony, the solemniser is invited to be part of the wedding feast. He is also given a token of appreciation, usually more than $100 for the services he has given and also for his transport expenses.
- BLESSING OF THE MARRIAGE
After the solemnisation, the couple will go through another ceremony where the marriage is blessed and protected. In this blessing ceremony, the older generation comes and will sprinkle different items on the couple as a sign of different kinds of blessings. The items sprinkled include white rice representing fertility, yellow rice representing nobility, kernel representing wealth, and rose water representing harmony.
- THE RECEPTION
A reception follows the solemnisation and it is usually a two-day celebration. The bride will sit at the dais, and the makeup artist will cover the bride’s face with a fan. The groom will then approach the dais with a group singing verses from the Quran. The bride’s friends and relatives try to prevent him from reaching her on dais, but he eventually gets to her and pays the makeup artist to remove the fan from her face. The bride and groom then sit together and the men each perform a ritual of speaking blessings over the couple. There is a photo session, after which the couple go over to the groom’s side.
- OTHER THINGS TO NOTE – GIFTS AND CULTURAL PROCEDURES
There are other things to note about Malay weddings such as the fact that guests are encouraged to dress decently, and there are no restrictions on the gifts to be given to the couple. For Malay weddings, it is best for guests to be dressed in long pants or dresses that avoid showing bare arms. Cash and cheques as gifts are appreciated but not compulsory. In Malay weddings, the wedding wishes are more important than the gifts. Nonetheless, if one is worried about costs and budget of food, they can still prepare a small monetary gift for the couple. Place the money in an envelope and respectfully, discretely pass it to the parents of the couple. The guests are free to enjoy the meal as soon as they arrive at the wedding, and they are encouraged to be part of the photo session.
Malay weddings are full of colour and have a detailed list of cultural procedures. The couple should be careful to stick to the wedding budget that they had made initially. However, if a situation arises where some expenses surpass the budgeted amounts, then the couple can quickly look for Malay wedding loans in Singapore to cover the short fall.
Indian Weddings In Singapore
Apart from Malay weddings, there are also other kinds of weddings in Singapore, such as Indian wedding ceremonies. These have their own unique set of traditions and it is a time for families to come together and celebrate. The average total cost of an Indian wedding in Singapore is anywhere between $30,000 and $50,000. Marriage loans are available for such weddings as well. The details and requirements for Indian weddings are given here below:
- THE PRE-PARTY
This is a party held a few days before the wedding. It is characterised by plenty of songs and dance. The family members sing and dance to celebrate the upcoming wedding. The bride’s family sing traditional songs to the groom’s family as a way of welcoming them.
- THE BANGLES
This is another part of the wedding process which is part of the Indian culture. The bride receives a wonderful gift of bangles from her husband-to-be. Also, as part of her personal beautification, the bride gets a wonderful henna treatment done on her hands. In the Indian culture, it is believed that if the henna is very dark, then the groom loves his bride very much. This is then followed by a lot of singing, dancing and feasting.
- THE ENGAGEMENT
Shortly before the wedding, a formal engagement is done. The couple will confirm their intended marriage to a priest. According to the culture, the husband-to-be needs to show that he has the capacity to be a good provider for his wife-to-be, and this is confirmed by him lavishing her family with gifts. The groom will also provide gold to be smelted so as to make a pendant which is a symbol of the marriage. Both families may also choose to have a time of fasting so as to invite blessings on the union.
- THE ARRIVALS ON THE WEDDING DAY
The groom will arrive at the venue of the wedding accompanied by three matrons. The priest offers prayers and proceeds to bind some cord on the husband-to-be’s finger. The bride is escorted to the venue by the groom’s relatives, and once she arrives, her father conducts a ceremony to release his daughter. The husband-to-be must assure the bride’s family that he will embrace the virtues of love, wealth and righteousness. After this, the couple are allowed to sit at the same place.
- THE ACTUAL WEDDING
During the actual wedding, the bride’s finger is bound with a cord by the priest, and this is for the purposes of connecting her to the husband-to-be. The sari and pendant which the groom brought are also blessed by the priest. At this point, the bride needs to change her clothes because it is a requirement that she wears the new sari. While the bride goes to change, the guests are blessed with assorted food items. After changing, the bride and groom decorate each other with flowers as they enjoy the lively music. The guests also bless the couple by showering them with rice.
- THE CEREMONY WITH FIRE
At this point, the couple are required to go round a fire several times while throwing rice as a sign of their love for each other. They are also required to give each other their vows, and the bride’s toes will be adorned with beautiful rings. This is followed by a wonderful time of feasting for everyone.
- THE RED POWDER AND RED DRESS
Some red powder is applied on part of the bride’s hair as a symbol that she is a married woman. She will also be beautifully clothed in red attire.
- PHOTO SESSION
The bride and groom then have a photo session with their family and friends. After enjoying taking several photos, the happy couple will leave together to start a new, blessed life in marriage.
Western Weddings In Singapore
A popular type of wedding done in Singapore is the one which embraces the Western type of culture. This type of wedding has certain characteristics that are unique to the traditions of people from the West.
There are several stages involved in having a Western type of wedding in Singapore are these are given here below:
- THE PROPOSAL
For Western weddings, this is where the whole process begins. The groom-to-be makes a proposal to the bride-to-be about marriage. The gift given by the groom to confirm his intention to marry the lady is an engagement ring. Depending on the budget that the groom had in mind, an engagement ring usually costs $2,000 to $3,000 or even more. This can be a costly affair, and wedding loans can facilitate the groom to purchase the ring and start the wedding process.
- CHOOSING A VENUE
If the couple choose to do a simple solemnisation at the registrar, this will cost between $2,500 and $7,000. The main cost will go towards the luncheon given after the process is done. However, if the couple prefer to have a full wedding banquet, then this will cost an average of $15,000 to $36,000, depending on the number of guests and the particular venue chosen. This is a substantial amount of cash, and the couple can look for various way of raising these funds, such as getting their friends to help or sourcing for wedding loans.
- PURCHASE OF WEDDING BANDS
Depending on where the couple decide to buy their wedding bands, and also the type of bands in terms of gem stones, wedding bands can cost anything from $2,000 to $10,000.
- PURCHASE OF WEDDING ATTIRE
The wedding gown and groom’s suit are a very vital part of the wedding. The bride will want a gown that gives her very memorable pictures. Indeed, a wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime affair, and therefore, it is important to allow her to choose a bridal gown that will give her utmost happiness. The groom’s suit should ideally match with the bride’s wedding gown, and they should look well paired during the occasion. The bridal gown and suit could cost anything between $2,000 and $6,000 depending on whether the couple choose to rent or buy their garments. The bride’s makeup and hair should also be budgeted for and depending on the kind of look that she chooses, this can cost anywhere between $400 and $800.
- CHOOSING THE BRIDAL PARTY
The bridal party should be people who are very close to the bride and groom. This could be a combination of family and friends who have been involved in the lives of the couple. There will be a separate budget for the dressing and makeup of the bridal party and this will be an average of $1,000, depending on how big the bridal party is. The makeup of both the bride and groom’s mothers also need to be catered for, because they are key people on the wedding day and they need to look their very best for the occasion. The couple should choose a bridal party who will be willing to cooperate fully and understand their role in the wedding.
- GETTING PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY SERVICES
The wedding photos and videos of any couple are usually a treasured reminder of their very important day. Couples in Singapore usually choose to get their wedding shoots done in the sunny island, or at beautiful places such as Paris, Iceland, New Zealand and Bali. It is vital that they get a professional to do the job. Even if the couple have a very tight budget, it is not advisable to compromise on the quality of pictures and video taken because these are the memories that will be carried forward from their big day. The average cost of both photography and videography is between $2,500 and $5,000, depending on whether the couple wants half-day or full-day services.
- GETTING A WEDDING DECORATOR
The kind of flowers and decorations on the wedding grounds, tables, and around all around the wedding venue is very important. The colours of the decorations and flowers used need to blend in with the colours of the wedding theme. The decorator will charge anything between $2,000 and $3,500 and this is exclusive of any equipment used during the setting up of the decorations. The couple should be keen to get a decorator who has good customer reviews.
- CHOOSING A WEDDING CAKE
A wedding cake is a very integral part of Western weddings because the cutting of the cake is an important part of the ceremony and it is usually accompanied by popping of champagne. The type and design of cake should blend in easily with the theme of the wedding, and the flavour should be suitable for all the guests. The estimated cost of a wedding cake is $1,000. If the venue of the wedding is a hotel, then the cost of the cake will be factored in together with the cost of the venue.
- RENTING A WEDDING CAR
If the couple does not have their own car, they will probably need to rent a suitable car to be used on their big day. The cost of the rental will depend on the model of the car being rented and number of hours that it will be needed. The car will be used for the transportation of the couple, and if necessary, a second car can be hired for the bridal party. On average, the rental will cost between $300 and $1000.
- GETTING ENTERTAINMENT
The couple will need an emcee and probably a live band or some other form of entertainment. The emcee should be chosen carefully because he or she will keep the guests entertained throughout the ceremony. Depending on the preference of the couple, there will be a live band or a DJ hired to play a selection of music chosen by the couple. The entertainment will cost the couple approximately $1,000.
- CHOOSING THE HONEYMOON LOCATION
The honeymoon should be well-planned because these are the first few weeks of the couple as husband and wife. The honeymoon should be a time of excitement and relaxation for the couple after all the stress involved in the wedding preparations. Depending on the destination chosen, a honeymoon for a period of two weeks will cost between $5,000 and $12,000. The couple should do extensive research on the various honeymoon destinations before settling on the best option.
From the above points, it is obvious that Western weddings are very costly in Singapore. However, each step is important for those couples who embrace the Western culture. There are various financial institutions in Singapore that offer wedding loans, and this can facilitate the couple to plan the wedding of their dreams.
Chinese Weddings In Singapore
This is probably the most popular form of wedding in Singapore. The Chinese tend to have very rich culture and traditions. Some Chinese have embraced Western cultures when it comes to weddings, but there are many who have remained committed to the traditional cultural practices as a way of showing respect to the elders. Many Chinese couples will choose to have both a traditional Chinese wedding and a modern Western wedding.
Below are the details involved the traditional Chinese wedding ceremonies:
- GIFTS OF BETROTHAL
According to ancient Chinese tradition, a basket of gifts is given to the bride’s family by the groom’s side. The gifts given are a symbol by the groom that he will actually honour the vows that he makes to his bride. The gifts in the basket include peanut candies specifically for Teochew families, rice candies specifically for Hokkien families, betrothal jewellery, tangerines, a roast pig, dragon candles, two bottles of brandy and phoenix. All these betrothal gifts can be estimated at $6,000. However, it is also a tradition that the bride’s family should return some items to the groom’s family as a good gesture. It is also a sign of sharing good fortune. Everything in the basket is returned except the jewellery, dragon candles and brandy. In more recent times, it is more common for the betrothal gifts to be different types of gold items such as earrings, a ring, a necklace and a bracelet, and the bride is able to keep these for herself. These gifts are costly and the groom’s family can explore the option of taking wedding loans to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
- HAIR COMBING RITUAL
This is a ritual conducted on the couple the night before the wedding. It is done by a lady who has a husband and also has children or grandmother. The couple bathe in water that has pomelo leaves, and after this they sit before the lady who proceeds to comb their hair four times while speaking blessings over them. At the end of the ritual, the couple will eat rice balls to symbolise a good marriage.
- THE GATE CRASHING
On the morning of the wedding, the groom will go with his brothers to the bride’s house to fetch her. The bride’s sisters or bridal party will have set up a series of comical challenges and hurdles for them to overcome before they get access to the bride. One symbolic activity is to make the groom and his men eat food with different spices. These different spices represent the different emotions in marriage, and if the groom and his men consume these spices successfully, it signifies that the marriage will be strong and healthy. After this, they are still subjected to many challenges, such as being asked about details of the bride, doing hilarious dances, and many other interesting tests. After successfully completing the tasks, the groom and his men must give the bridesmaids red packets as an appreciation. These red packets cost $2,000 on average. The groom is then given access to the bride, and they go to the groom’s house together with the whole bridal group for a tea ceremony.
- THE TEA CEREMONY
The tea ceremony is an affair for the close family members, and during this session, both families give respect to each other. They give each other tea mixed with red dates and longans. The couple’s parents are served first, followed by the senior relatives, then the younger relatives.
- THE BANQUET
Later on in the same evening there is a huge wedding banquet where there are several guests invited. The guests normally give gifts to the couple during this time of feasting. The couple give the guests an eight to ten course meal in a good hotel and there is a lot of toasting done for the couple by the guests. The average cost of the having this banquet is $40,000 depending on the venue of the banquet.
- ADDITIONAL ITEMS
There are other items which will also involve cash such as makeup and hair styling for the bride. This is at an average $2,500. There is also the cost of photography and videography which is at an average of $5,000. The wedding bands also have an average cost of $1,600.
The above points confirm that Chinese weddings can be very costly. However, the total costs depend on the couple and the type of services that they decide to engage.
Why Couples Choose To Take A Wedding Loan In Singapore
- GIVES AN OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A DREAM WEDDING
Many couples tend to put off getting married simply because of the heavy financing needed for it. This results in cases where there is no real commitment made, and there is no stability in relationships. The wedding loan allows couples to finally make a full commitment to each other and it also gives honour to the parents of both families. In addition, the couple are able to have a memorable day since they are able to engage good quality services for their wedding guests. This gives a positive opinion about the couple to their family and friends.
- GIVES A SOLUTION IN CASE OF SHORTAGE OF FUNDS
A couple may have saved for their wedding, but once the preparations begin, they discover that there are several miscellaneous costs that had not been catered for. Rather than postpone the wedding, the couple can opt to take a wedding loan so as to cover the shortage. This will enable them to proceed with wedding as planned without any interruptions or disappointments.
- GIVES THE COUPLE INDEPENDENCE
The couple are able to make their own decisions about the items that they want and the venue that they desire. This is because they will not have sourced the wedding cash from family and friends who could decide to have some control over decisions made if they had contributed. The loan is an independent source of funds that allows the couple to make decisions according to their own preferences. They also gain the respect of others.
- TIMELY AND LUMP SUM AMOUNT
When the couple get a wedding loan, they will be able to get the amount needed for the wedding in a lump sum, and in good time. Trying to raise wedding funds from friends and family can end up delaying the whole process. This is because many wedding providers need deposits or the full amount to be paid before they deliver. It will be difficult for the couple to honour all the payments needed within the stipulated deadlines if they are relying on their family or friends to help them because the money will not come as a lump sum. With the wedding loan, the couple are able to plan confidently, knowing that the wedding will take place as planned.
- PEACE OF MIND
Having all the money required for the wedding beforehand gives the couple peace of mind. It can be very frustrating for the couple if they were to keep looking for money as they plan the wedding. Indeed, they would lose focus and it can become a source of great discouragement even on the wedding day itself. Once they get the cash from the loan, they can make a budget and stick to it. This makes planning much easier.