After Marco proposed to Tsz Yan, whom he has been dating for more than five years, the couple started to plan for their wedding. Marco sets aside $8,000 per month while Tsz Yan draws on her relatives' experience to come up with a stunning and budget-friendly wedding party. The Chin Family shadowed this couple for half a year in the lead-up to their big day. See how they make their budgeting decisions. In some areas they managed to save some money but still ended up over budget. So how much did their dream wedding cost in the end?

Real dialogue

Tsz Yan: It costs $13,000 to $18,000 to hire a wedding planner. Why would I hire someone if I can do it myself?

Marco: Wedding photography companies offer a wide range of packages. To make our wedding albums look better, we ended up paying extra for more photos. These were beyond what I had planned for.


Five tips to stay on budget for your wedding

It's natural to want a grand and romantic wedding. But this is just the first step in your marriage and it doesn't have to be a big affair. Even though you will want to make your partner and parents happy, you should also be practical and not spend beyond your means. If you need to borrow money for your wedding, it could mean starting your new life in debt. Discuss with your partner the type and scale of the wedding, and prepare a budget to meet the costs.

Besides using our wedding budget worksheet which helps you plan and control wedding expenses, you can also consider the following tips to keep the costs down:

  1. Prioritise your expenditure items. Determine the items that you are willing to pay more for and what can you pay less on to strike a balance.
  2. Plan the wedding yourselves. Show off your creativity while saving on the cost of hiring a wedding planner.
  3. For most, the banquet is the most significant. Therefore, booking the wedding venue early gives you more time to plan and budget. Make sure you have contingency budget for additional expenses for any extra tables, seats and beverages as well.
  4. The wedding photo album photography may not cost you much. However, be careful when comparing the services, photographer styles, sub-item charges and packages of different photography companies, and choose the service provider which suits you most to avoid spending more on re-takes
  5. Good condition second-hand wedding goods from friends, or online stores can save you some money because these are likely to be infrequently used. When it comes to wedding dresses and gowns, many opt for rentals.

What's your partner's attitude towards money?

A strong marriage relies on you and your partner loving and committing to each other equally. But knowing your partner's attitude towards money is also important. Many couples do not rely on the other financially before they marry, but this usually would change afterwards. Your partner may have different ideas from you about buying a home, investing, or how much money should be given to your parents. You may, in fact, disagree about lending money to friends, how much to spend on clothes each month, tipping at restaurants or even daily means of transport and these could result in conflicts.

How to handle shared expenses

As couples will live together after marriage, which means sharing expenses such as rent, mortgage payments, gas and electricity bills, buying a car, or paying for a holiday together. You will need to work out whether these expenses are shared equally, or whether one partner pays more.

It doesn't matter so much who pays as long as you talk about it and come to an agreement. It's important to build a stable financial foundation for your life together. Don't let money become a barrier to a happy marriage.

It’s best to talk about your views on money before getting married, so you know what to expect from each other. The following questions may be useful:

  • Do you want to handle finances separately or together?
  • How will you manage daily expenses? Should income and expenses be managed separately or together?
  • What is your income? What is your monthly spending? What do you normally spend on?
  • Do you make a budget for savings and expenses?
  • Do you set aside money for emergencies?
  • What level of risk can the two of you handle?
  • How much money do you want to give your parents?
  • Do you need to increase insurance coverage? Or take out extra insurance?
  • What are your short-term and long-term financial goals?
  • Do you plan to buy your own home?
  • Do you want kids?
  • When do you want to retire? Have you set aside money for retirement?

Useful Financial Tools

Financial Health Check: Check your financial health. Get free analysis and an action plan to improve your finances.
Savings Goal: Find out how to reach your savings goals and how long it will take to achieve them.
Money Tracker: A mobile app to help you plan, budget and track income and expenses anytime, anywhere.
Retirement Planner: Work out a budget for retirement and come up with an action plan.
Wedding budgeting worksheet: It helps you plan and manage your wedding expenses.