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Mon, Jul 02, 2012
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Best bang for your buck

A Cheaper Way

Said Singaporean Ren Miller, 33, an accountant, who lives in Dubai with her husband: "We wanted a beach wedding for our big day on Jan 27 because we had spent so many summers on the beaches in Perth. We also wanted something small, intimate and simple.

"As it was a very hot summer's day, we had to dress cool. Lins (Mr Lindsay Miller) wore a white shirt and pants, and I, a cotton dress I bought off the rack. The great thing about beach weddings - shoes aren't necessary!

"At the ceremony, everyone helped. My brother brought his iPod and speakers to provide the music, my dear friend Sue's husband was in charge of the bubbly, and the beautiful backdrop was nature at its best.

"Overall, our wedding was short and sweet for our guests and stress-free for us. Most importantly, everyone enjoyed themselves. We were very grateful that our families were supportive of us doing it this way.

"The wedding cost us less than $3,000 in total, including taking our families out for dinner at night and gifts for our guests. "Dress and veil cost $50 each. Hair and make-up, $200. Lins' clothes were his own. Photography cost $500. Fee for beach hire, $40. Parasols, $50 ($5 each).

The table and chairs were borrowed and we made the bouquet from our garden."

Party Favours

Mrs Arti Mulchand-Williams (above, left), 35, owner of communication consultancy Word of Art, said that like all traditional Sindhi weddings, her four-day wedding in January 2005 could have busted hers and her husband's wallet.

But she got creative with her husband Peter Williams (above, right), 40, who works in the media, and found ways to stretch her budget but still make the event as lavish as possible.

She said: "Weddings can be really expensive affairs, especially traditional Indian ones. We wanted to give everyone, especially our overseas guests who had come a long way (and ourselves), something that was memorable yet wouldn't break the bank.

"We knew that a hotel would be expensive - especially with a full bar, so we looked for venues with fewer constraints."

On one cool cost-saving tip, Mrs Mulchand-Williams said her mother, who makes a great traditional gin-based and spice-infused Sindhi drink, made a batch of the drink for her guests to take home.

She added: "My husband and I bought clear mini bottles. He designed labels which explained what it was and printed them at home. We had a lot of fun doing it as a couple, and it became a real talking point."


Mrs Mulchand-Williams also opted for a less costly venue for her henna ceremony - she booked a yoga studio for the night.

The henna ceremony is the celebration just before a Hindu wedding where henna is applied on to the bride's hands and feet.

She said: "We had all the floor mats (for the guests to sit on) plus a garden seating, and paid only $200 for the venue."

Ms Jacqueline Hong, 26, marketing executive of La Belle Couture, encourages couples to set their wedding budget long before the big day to avoid overspending.

She also advises couples to make their hotel reservations early, especially during hotels' wedding showcase periods when there are attractive perks offered which would help save on costs.

Said Ms Hong: "Hold the wedding on a weekday instead of on a weekend as this instantly saves on costs.

"You can rest assured that only the ones closest to the couple and their families will attend, so it's economical as well."

Said Mrs Raman Rawat, 33, a real estate agent: "We had our wedding on a Monday, much to the annoyance of our family. But we saved on many unopened bottles of alcohol.

"Also, most of our guests were from overseas and would have attended the event regardless of the day, so it worked out well."

While you may think that holding it at your own home will help you save on costs, beware of hidden expenses.

Said Mr Gregory Leow, 38, a blues guitarist : "I thought holding my wedding at my mother's house would be a sure money-saver.

"But it turned out to be expensive as we had to put up tents and they cost quite a lot."

Food and Caterers

Ms Helen Loh, 47, a make-up artist at New Golden Horse Awards Bridal, said couples can also opt for simpler, and thus cheaper, wedding buffets instead of lavish banquets.


Couples who want to do their wedding photoshoots overseas can get more affordable packages from local bridal shops instead of approaching foreign vendors, said Mr Kelvin Woh, 48, owner of White Link bridal studio.

"Local bridal shops can usually offer more freebies and perks. Opting for a complete photoshoot package is also cheaper than putting together separate offers," he said.

Mr Woh's studio has a wide range of overseas photoshoot locations for a variety of budgets. These locations include Krabi in Thailand, Bali in Indonesia, Paris in France and Venice in Italy.

He said: "No matter where they go, they will get memorable shots amid beautiful scenery."

Guest List and Others

Mr Ralph Samy, 40, who works in sales, encourages couples to be very strict with the guest list and to invite only who they really want at their wedding.

Said Mr Samy, who got married in 2006: "This may be hard, but you'll save a lot and have a memorable wedding with just the people you care about."

He also did away with wedding invites, much to the chagrin of his family.

"It's just a piece of paper. Call the people you're close to and invite them. They'll discard the card eventually anyway, and you'll be saving the environment," he said.

But if you really want to have wedding invitations, you can get them overseas at a fraction of the cost here.

Said Mr Aaron Kumar, 40, an events planner: "Get your wedding invitations printed in India or Malaysia and you'll save a lot.

"I got my cards from Mumbai, India. Each card cost less than $1 and we had so many unused cards left over that now my sister is using them for free."

Bridal Gowns and Make-up

Make-up artist Jaclyn Tan, 31, said brides should go online and look for gowns that they can rent instead of making one specially for the occasion.

"You can rent gowns online for just about $200 whereas tailoring one from scratch costs $500 or more," she said.

"Of course, off-the-rack gowns will likely have sizing issues. So do allow some time for re-tailoring if your option is to buy or rent off the Internet."

Event Planners

Get a close family member to double up as your wedding planner. This will save on costs and make it a more intimate affair.

Said Ms Yvonne Tham, 26, who is in sales: "I was the wedding planner for a close friend's wedding and it was so much fun.

"I remember threatening florists who didn't bring garlands on time, and to this day, we still laugh about it as we had to delay the groom and push back the wedding by an hour.

"It's these things that you remember, and not the things that went perfectly."

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