Prep - 6 Ways to Get Discounts for your Wedding

1:57:00 PM

Hear ye, Hear ye! Before people start breaking out in comments calling us "kiam", this blog post is not about bargaining for discounts for your wedding. Please do not get us wrong. We are Singaporeans, but we sure know our limits ;) Also, we want to clarify that we are not asking people to NOT spend their money and lock them up in their bank accounts. If you have the ability to spend $10,000 (assuming that is only 30%) of your salary, feel free to do so! It is about the idea of spending within your limit that we are advocating.

Looking at this title, you might think, "this is too good to be true" or "eh don't bullshit leh, where got such thing as discount", you'll see why if you read on.

When we decided to plan for our wedding, we estimated that 2016 would be a better year for us both as it would leave us more time to save up more money for our wedding and house (which we haven't purchased yet by the way). For those who commented on our previous post on putting our money investment trusts instead of earning that pathetic bank interests, we need to clarify that we are not putting our money in there to earn interests. It is to save for our marriage. Ben is honing his investment knowledge and will start investing when he is ready. Investing without proper knowledge is synonymous to gambling. You might as well bet on soccer, you stand a bigger chance if you know the teams that are playing (especially now that our National Council for Problem Gambling has "hinted" to us that Germany will win the World Cup eh). In fact he is already investing his time and money in 7 different businesses now. He will probably start investing in stocks and investment trusts in the future when he stabilises all his businesses. But oh well, we'll leave investments and entrepreneurship to later blog posts :)

Our families live in mature estates and unlike most of our friends, we chose not to get a BTO flat because we prefer to stay closer to our parents. Yes, 3 - 4 years back there were new flats released for applications within Tampines and Pasir Ris, but at that point of time, Mel had just started work (& had zero CPF) while Ben was still in university and had little savings. We were also unsure when we would be stable enough to afford a home or have enough money to host a wedding banquet. There are many other reasons to our decisions as well - units are smaller in size for BTOs (Mel needs more space for her piano studio), location is too inconvenient to Ben's office, flats are not near basic amenities like markets or hawker centres etc.

Of course the more logical thing is to apply for a brand new flat from the Government since it's a lot cheaper and you save on getting the flat renovated if you're keeping furnishing simple as compared to buying a resale flat where you probably have to spend a lot more on renovations and refurnishing. But sadly, the timing just hasn't been right so far.

Prices of resale flats are slowly dropping and it seems that early 2015 would be a good time to attack the market (keeping our fingers and toes crossed on this!). So after much consideration, we decided to bring forward our wedding to 2015, leaving us only 1 year to plan and prepare ourselves for marriage.

Thankfully, over the past few years we have consistently been setting aside a portion of our combined savings for the wedding, so we did not go into a frantic state when we saw how little time we had left till the wedding date (phew!).

While Googling on what is the norm Singaporean couples should set aside for their wedding, we found an article which gave some pointers on how couples can "cut costs and MAXIMISE PROFITS" for their weddings.

Excuse me, you think do business ah? Wedding for profit?!?

We do agree with some of the points listed on ways to cut costs (e.g. limit your wedding invitation list to closer friends and relatives, choose to hold the banquet at a restaurant instead of hotel) but there were some others which went a little overboard.

  1. One of which, was to not serve alcohol during Cocktail hour so that you will not run out of wine or beer during the dinner banquet or in worse case scenarios, have to pay for additional bottles or barrels. Erm, like that then you should call it Mocktail hour leh!
  2. Another "advice" given was for couples to hold their weddings on Sunday nights because most guests would drink less alcohol since they have to wake up early the next morning for work. Eh, why don't you ask your guests to drink first before going to your wedding lah! Haha. 
If you are to have such limitations for your banquet, you might as well not hold one. You don't need to be too generous, but you at least need to be hospitable when you are the host.

We had our own limitations when it came to planning for our wedding as well. When choosing the wedding day, we realised that closest friends of Mel's parents were not able to attend our wedding if we held it on weekend afternoons because they were hawkers, noodle sellers, fish mongers, business owners. Furthermore, we have relatives who will be coming in from Kuantan and Malacca as well, so holding it on weekdays was out of the question. While some of you would say "that's your parents' problem that their friends cannot attend what! why should you bother?!", these Aunties and Uncles are V.I.Ps to us as they watched Mel grow up and have celebrated many milestones with us over the years. So, including them on this special event of our lives is most logical.

Under such circumstances, we thought of other ways that we could save money on and have been sharing them with friends who are in the midst of their wedding preparations as well. Here goes...

1. Sign Up for a Credit Card

The card that we subscribed to is the Standard Chartered Manhattan Card that offers 3% rebate every 3 months (capped up to $200).

Ben did some calculations and we managed to strike a deal with the hotel to pay them $6,667 every 3 months in order to claim the maximum $200. This way, up till our wedding date, including the initial $80 cash back upon signing the card, we save up to $1,080 for our wedding banquet. And that can equate to getting a discount of 1 table (or partial of it if your tables are expensive) at your wedding banquet! A lot of money!

For typical hotels, they usually ask for $5,000 - 8,000 as the deposit and 1 month before the actual wedding day, you will be required to pay 30 - 50% of the remaining amount. The hotel we engaged had requested the same but because we knew about this credit card scheme, we counter proposed our payment schedule and thankfully, they accepted it, also because it would work around to the same amount if we did had chosen their method.

We are definitely NOT sponsored in any way by Standard Chartered nor do we have any benefits by recommending this card. So, we are really not sure if this is the card with the best rebates, but we strongly urge you to look for the best deals out there and plan out your finances properly to best maximise the perks. Always negotiate your way out by offering win-win situations with the vendors. So, if you do have other recommendations on credit cards, please let us know! Don't be selfish! Haha. We still have about 11 months to our wedding and welcome more suggestions on how we can save more money through rebates! :)

For a comparison of the different credit card rebates offered in Singapore, feel free to check out this website by clicking HERE.

2. Engage Multiple services from the same Vendor

We did highlight in another earlier blog post that most photography & videography companies would package their services by giving attractive discounts when couples sign up for more than 1 of their services. The discount can range between $100 - 500 which is still some money being saved in a way.

Another example is how some Bridal Shops have in-house photographers and videographers for couples to engage for their actual wedding day as well. Some boutiques also partner up with wedding florists, decor companies or wedding planners if they themselves do not offer such services.

3. Through Connections

Before you engage any vendors, you should also look around and ask friends and relatives for recommendations or if they can refer you to any vendors. Because sometimes through them you may get some great deals! Luckily for us, Ben has some connections to friends who helped us save quite some money or enjoy greater perks.

For instance, Ben used to model for a particular bridal boutique (which we will blog about after our first visit!) when he was still in shape 8 years ago! Actually now he is still in shape la, if you consider round being a shape too. Hahaha. We managed to get advanced wedding fair promotions, further monetary discounts, as well as additional perks that they could throw into our package. Ben also managed to get some good deals at the hotel we are hosting our wedding through connections as well. Ask and you shall be given :)

The best way to get discounts through connections is to be sincere and humble in your dealings with friends and acquaintances because you'll never know when you will need their helping hand. Just like how Ben is friends with most of the hawker vendors in Tampines Round Market and these aunties and uncles always look out for him and treat him as their son. Like how he got an extra half cup of coffee from his favourite coffee uncle because Mel tagged along that day. If you love coffee (Like Ben!!), do check out this coffee stall in Tampines St.11 (Swee Bee Coffee Stall), the best coffee in the Upper East side at only $1.10.

4. Sign Up for Packages during Wedding Shows / Exhibitions

Most hotels now invite external vendors to showcase their wedding services during the hotel’s wedding show. They can be wedding bands, wedding card designers, bridal shops, photo/video companies, or even fengshui masters. A special package price would usually be offered if you sign up for a package on the spot or they would throw in more “freebies” to entice you to take it up.

We do recommend you to do your homework before attending the shows and exhibitions though. To enjoy the perks, you will be required to pay a deposit straight away. Which means that if you have signed for a bridal package and a week later read online that many were unhappy with the services offered, you will not be able to cancel the package and get a refund.

5. Scout Online Forums for Sellers

While doing our wedding prep research online, we had found people selling their wedding banquet packages, bridal gown packages and even proposal rings (erm, yes, probably from a failed proposal? we're not sure, yikes!) at a lower price than what they bought it for. Some have paid for half the package price or perhaps the full price already but are willing to sell it off 10 - 30% cheaper to interested buyers.

Not all of the reasons are because the couple has separated though. Some couples could have decided to sell off their packages either to save costs or due to unforeseen circumstances. Do make sure that the seller is genuine. It will be good to ask to look at the receipt or even call up the vendor or company to verify that the package can be transferred and ask if there are any additional costs to bear for the transfer.

6. Ordering from Taobao or Chinatown

We've seen more and more people buying stuff off Taobao for their wedding outfits or their new home. While the items may be cheaper because they are shipped in directly from China, as with all online purchases, there is a risk that your items may not reach you or that you might not be satisfied with how the actual product differs from the pictures shown on the website.

Chinatown is another great place to visit if you need to purchase items for your 过大礼 (Guo Da Li) ceremony. They will have a bigger variety and selection of items as compared to the smaller shops situated in shopping malls. It's quite competitive though, because there are many shops selling the same items. Prices will be rather similar but their service will differ.

One common problem for most Chinese couples is that they think of "profiting" from the wedding banquet or at least hope that the Angbaos (red packets) that their guests give can cover their wedding expenses. That is an extremely dangerous thought that can cost you to go into serious debt!

Most hotels would require you to pay the balance of the wedding banquet on the day of checkout after the wedding day and that is where most people will try to rely on post banquet angbaos to pay it off. Our advice would be to always stick to something within your means because if your guests are not well-to-do, they may not be able to afford to cover for their share of the wedding table.

We've received many comments from our previous blog entry on 7 ways to Thrive Financially as a couple in Singapore and it was great to know that many people are supportive of our methods and would love to try them out with their partners. In any case, we do welcome friendly discussions so drop us a comment and we will reply whenever we're available :)

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  1. Firstly congrats to both of you. Well written and I think you could further stretch your savings by holding your wedding night in a fabulous restaurant than a hotel. Food is more important than the ambience and facilities.

  2. Hi Lester, thanks for your well wishes!

    Holding the wedding at a hotel was something our elders requested for. And we aren't the kind to go against their wishes. So we had to think of ways to save in other aspects.

    But you do have a point there and it was definitely one of our initial considerations before we consulted our elders :)

  3. Hi Mel & Ben!

    May i ask which hotel did you guys chose?

    1. Hi there!

      We have yet to inform our friends and relatives on the venue yet and we're keeping it till we send out our save-the-dates! Stay tuned to our blog to find out in a few weeks / months :)


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