When we think about the money we spend to attend a wedding, we think about the amount we tuck inside a cash envelope. But there’s a lot more costs behind attending an event like that—they’re just not very explicit.

So we’ve done the homework for you and tabulated how much it really costs you to be a part of a wedding in Singapore: whether as a guest at a local or destination wedding or a bridesmaid. Read on to find out how much money you spend in the name of celebrating true love.

As a wedding guest in Singapore

Taking a Grab to and from the event? Expect to spend about $30 on transport alone. To be fair, we arrived at this amount by using Tampines as the starting point for the journey, because according to a 2018 census by Singstat, Tampines has the highest number of citizens in the 25-29 year old range.

Note: These are GrabShare rides leaving at 4.15pm (assuming it’s a 5pm banquet) and departing at 11pm on a Saturday.

  • CHIJMES: $12-$16 there; $9-$11 back
  • The White Rabbit: $13-$17 there; $12-$15 back
  • The St. Regis: $13-$16 there; $11-$14 back

It’s hard to calculate petrol and potential ERP costs if you’re driving, but the least we’ve got to account for are parking fees. Plus, some locations offer valet parking.

  • Chijmes valet: $4 entry, additional $4/hour from 6pm onwards
  • Shangri-la valet: $8 entry after 6pm

The sky’s the limit when it comes to how much you want to spend on your outfit. But if you’re budget-conscious, stores such as Love, Bonito have a collection that are wedding guest-appropriate, with prices starting at $46 for a dress. According to wedding-planning website The Knot, the average cost of a wedding guest’s outfit is $130. 

Rule of thumb: The more familiar you are with the couple, the bigger your cash gift should be. Ideally, the amount in the envelope should at least cover what the couple spent to have you at their wedding. To figure out how much you should contribute, calculate how much each table costs and divide by the number of seats at each table. MoneySmart broke down the rate per head for various types of wedding: 

  • $150 – $293 for a Chinese wedding (includes ceremony + dinner) 
  • $30 – $50 for a Malay wedding
  • $50 – $80 for an Indian wedding
  • $40 – $50 for a church wedding with no banquet

As a guest at a destination wedding

Based on the average prices displayed on SkyScanner, a return flight costs:

  • $370 to Bali
  • $180 to Krabi
  • $100 to Kuala Lumpur 

The couple may secure a reasonable rate for guests at their suggested hotel, but if the room block rates are still too expensive, or you simply want to stay somewhere else, then you’ll need to start looking early to score the best prices. 

  • Bali: $63 per night at a 3-star hotel; $144 per night at a 4-star hotel; $358 per night at a 5-star hotel
  • Krabi: $59 per night at a 3-star hotel; $107 per night at a 4-star hotel; $339 per night at a 5-star hotel
  • Kuala Lumpur: $57 at a 3-star hotel; $93 at a 4-star hotel; $155 per night at a 5-star hotel

According to Value Champion, the average price of a mid-range meal in ASEAN countries costs $13. 

As a bridesmaid

A quick Google search for engagement party gifts will tell you that the most common gifts are those that border on the cheesy side, such as these fun matching Mr. & Mrs. mugs from Kate Spade at $84, or this wedding planner from Etsy for $23.20.

 Wicked Favors organises Bachelorette parties that start at $125 per person. They also have male strippers that you can hire for a higher fee. It’s important to note that it’s proper wedding etiquette to split the bride’s share of the Bachelorette party amongst the bridesmaids. 

Time is money, and committing to be a part of the bridal party can take up a lot of your free time. You’ll either have to spend time hunting down a bridesmaid dress or attending fitting sessions for the dress that the bride paid for, along with attending rehearsal dinner and other prep meetings the couple may call for.

The monthly median salary in Singapore (inclusive of employer contribution to CPF) is $4,437/month and the average Singaporean works 44.8 hours/week, so if you do the math, you’d be losing $24.76/hour should you decide to take unpaid leave. 

Some brides pay for the bridesmaid outfit—but not all. They may provide guidelines for the dress or tell you exactly which dress to get. According to The Knot, the average price of a bridesmaid outfit (including accessories) is $307, and if you send the dress in for dry-cleaning after, it’ll cost you $27 to dry clean an evening dress with Piing.

Don’t have the time to do your own hair and makeup on their big day? The Big Blow offers a hair and makeup package for $130. 

Evidently, being a part of a wedding can put quite a strain on your finances, so if you’re budget-conscious, you may want to be more selective about which weddings you RSVP to, and who you agree to be a bridesmaid for. That said, a wedding is a special occasion that means a lot to the couple, so if you can afford it, it’s probably worth attending even if you have to eat economical rice for the rest of the week.

Text: Claire Soong 


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