So, you’ve popped the question or said yes to that sparkly diamond ring, now it’s time to plan that perfect wedding. Where do we begin planning your happily ever after?
I’ve been married for a few years now and I can now, with the benefit of hindsight, ask you to consider these 4 things before you say, “I do”.
What's your budget?
Let’s start with the most unromantic but most practical question – how much money do you have? I’m not talking about how much do you have for the wedding, I’m talking about how much money do you have for your life after your wedding.
You see, a wedding is no doubt an important day in your life but it should not define your marriage. You do not want to start day 1 of your marriage in debt because you blew all your money on your dream wedding.
Please don’t budget your wedding based on your projected “returns” from your guests’ contribution. This is not only financially irresponsible, but can also be very risky. If the actual contribution received from your guests fall short of your estimate, you may end up having to sacrifice other things after your wedding.
For a typical young couple in Singapore, chances are after your wedding, you will need to pay for your new house, renovation, furniture and electronics etc. If you plan to go on a honeymoon, then you need to set aside even more money. In the grand scheme of things, your wedding is but the introduction to your life’s story as a married couple. You might want to consider budgeting your post wedding expenses and the timeline when they become payable before working backwards to derive a realistic budget for your wedding.
Honestly, even if your wedding is so amazing that it goes viral, people are eventually gonna forget about it. If your budget is such that you had to choose between getting a photobooth for your wedding or buying a sofa for your new home, I think your friends can take their own photos at your wedding la hor? This brings us to the next consideration, how much does a wedding actually cost?
How much will your wedding cost?
Closely linked to your budget is the actual cost of the wedding.
If you have no clue what are the common expenses in a wedding, you might want to check out this comprehensive list of 21 common wedding expenses (number 2 will shock you) from our friends at The Wedding Vow.
You can find other lists through a quick google search so that you can have a rough idea of how much each component of your wedding is going to cost.
You might also quickly come to the realisation that there are a lot of these things that you see at your friends’ weddings that you can do without at your own wedding.
Our suggestion is not to start with the minor details (e.g. which wedding photographer or designer wedding gown or wedding band you “must have” for your wedding just because some influencer had them at their wedding #sponsored #blessed #nomoneynohoney) but plan around the big ticket items. After you have settled the largest expenses then check how much do you have left for your budget. This way, you will be less tempted to spend beyond your budget simply because you “must have” that [insert expensive item] for your wedding to be perfect. Remember, nobody really remembers your wedding until Facebook reminds them about 5 years later.
For most people, the most expensive part of the wedding would be the wedding banquet. In order for you to find out how much this is going to cost you, you will first need to ask yourself how many guests are you going to invite to your wedding. In this connection, you may soon realise that the answer to that question may not be entirely up to the both of you. This leads us to the next consideration.
What do your parents think?
Unless both of you have super chill parents who are totally cool with anything that you plan for your wedding, you would be well-advised to include them in the planning as soon as possible. Pro tip: even if your parents tell you that your wedding is “up to you”, it is rarely the case.
The last thing you want is to have everything planned out only for your parents to ask you to change this or add that. This can come in many different forms. For e.g. the number of guests that they want to invite; any auspicious date for the wedding / inauspicious dates to avoid; any custom / tradition to adhere to etc.
While we understand that you may think that this is YOUR wedding and you should be in charge of deciding these things, we think it is best to (hopefully) accommodate everyone so that everyone will be happy on the day of the wedding.
Yes, you may feel that you should have complete control over the wedding – it is your big day – but your wedding is also an important day for your parents too! It may be difficult to accommodate everybody’s requests but do at least hear them out and if what they want cannot be done, explain to them nicely.
At the end of the day, your wedding is a joyous occasion to celebrate the union of two people and their families so don’t sacrifice kinship over the minor details of your wedding. You also don’t want to piss off the parents because you might still be staying with them after the wedding, which brings us to our next consideration.
What's your housing plan?
For many of us, we do not have our own house to move into after our wedding. It could be because our new house is still under construction or that we have not found a suitable place to stay.
Whatever the reason, make sure you and your spouse-to-be have discussed your housing plan ahead of time. Whether it is moving into your parent’s place, renting a place or maintaining the status quo, it is important for you and your partner to agree on such an arrangement.
Please also make sure that the relevant part(ies) have been consulted on this issue. For example, if your partner plans to move into your parent’s place, the least you can do is to seek your parent’s permission. If there are other people living in the same house, you might want to let them know as well. It would also be good to keep them updated on your plans so that they will know whether this would be a temporary arrangement or if it is going to be a long-term arrangement.
Needless to say, there are no strict rules about this but it would definitely help to reduce any friction if everyone involved is on the same page, especially if they are all going to be in the same house.