The rising cost of loving
Wedding costs increase by up to 10 per cent each year, say wedding planners
Is it really that expensive to get hitched here?
Wedding planners The New Paper on Sunday spoke to say that a wedding costs an average of $50,000.
At the upper end of the spectrum, Singaporeans spend more than $110,000.
But even for the average couple, we're paying close to what Americans are paying, which a recent study has actually found to be extreme.
A 2015 study by US wedding planner The Knot found that Americans are spending six times more than Europeans - an average of US$32,641 (S$45,000) - on their weddings.
WHY SO MUCH?
Ms Michelle Poh, co-founder of Singapore wedding planning company Hitched Weddings and lecturer at the Institute of Certified Wedding Planners, says the price of a banquet table here increases by $100 every year.
"Ten years ago, the average cost of a table was less than $1,000 and now, it could cost between $1,500 and $2,000 on average," she says.
Industry players say prices have been going up by five to 10 per cent yearly due to rising food costs, inflation and standard of living.
But Ms Poh says that while wedding costs are increasing every year, Singaporeans are still willing to pay as it is the norm to hold weddings at hotels.
Another reason is that hotels tend to be able to accommodate the average number of guests at a typical Chinese wedding.
Ms Poh says: "Not many people can make do with a close and intimate wedding because our tradition is to invite all our relatives, even if they are distant relatives."
In the US, it is tradition for the bride's family to pay for the wedding, according to US bridal websites. But here, a young couple is expected to pay for their own wedding and hope for red packets to cover the cost.
Mr Vasavan says: "Every parent must be mindful that if they ask their children to invite a number of their relatives, it's only fair (that they) fork out some money... The reception is to tell the whole world that the couple is getting married.
"You can do it in a restaurant for a few hundred dollars per table, but we choose to do it in hotels for thousands because we Asians are more 'face-conscious'."
But he adds that the couple must discuss and consider what their parents want.
Mr Vasavan says: "At the end of the day, the most important thing is communication and striking a balance between the couple, family and in-laws."
Wedding prep stressful for couples: Counsellor
Mrs Chang-Goh Song Eng, head of Reach Counselling, says holding a wedding can really test a couple's relationship.
She says: "Just like other big-ticket items such as buying a house and a car, wedding costs can also cause a lot of stress.
"The wedding preparation is a time where many decisions need to be made, such as the budget, photography, dinner, gown and honeymoon.
"For couples, this is the time where the differences may surface."
There are couples who still bring up their wedding woes during arguments with their spouses many years later, she adds.
"It's sad to see couples planning a huge event to celebrate their love and end up ruining their relationship because of the disagreements."
It's the same in the US.
In 2014, two economics researchers from Emory University in Atlanta conducted a study to determine if there was a link between wedding expenses and marriage duration.
The study had a sample of 3,000 married, or previously married, couples.
They found evidence that marriage duration is inversely related to the amount spent on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony. In short: The higher the cost of the wedding, the shorter the marriage lasts.
To prevent the marriage from souring, Mrs Chang-Goh advises couples to "set it right from the beginning and balance out what they need and what they can do without".
She recommends that couples go for marriage preparation programmes before their wedding.
"We'll always remind couples to go back to the basic financial principles because these are crucial," she says.
"If they want the wedding to be memorable, does it necessarily have to cost a bomb?
"Sometimes they have to understand that the wedding lasts for a day but the marriage lasts for a lifetime."