Why You Might Need Bottomless Purses

We all know that celebrating a wedding can be very costly for the bride and groom. But that’s only half the story – what about us guests? If you’ve got a lot of friends getting married now, or if you just happen to go to a lot of weddings, you’ll know what I mean. Lovely gifts, clothes, transportation and the like can all add up when you accept an invitation to an extraordinary wedding event!

The marrying couple may very well be spending heaps of money on their special day. Even small, intimate nuptials can cost thousands of dollars. The typical bride and the groom can expect to fork out between SGD 30,000 to SGD 80,000 for a wedding in Singapore. The happy couple aside, a wedding can be expensive for everyone else in attendance too.

A wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event for the happy couple. Receiving an invitation to this very special happening is a sign that you are an important part of their lives. The best you can do to reciprocate the sentiment is to be present on their big day. However, if you are a frequent guest at your family and friends’ wedding celebrations, you know that this can cost you a lot of money. If you total up everything from the monetary wedding gifts to your snazzy attire and your travel costs, you may be surprised at the level of expense you reach if you go to a lot of weddings.

  1. Wedding Gift or Ang Bao

In Singapore, it is common for the wedding guests to give money to the newlyweds. It is understandable that not all of the guests can afford to make a hefty wedding donation, but it is considered good etiquette to bring along some token gift to any party, whether it is a wedding or a birthday. Her World Brides even cites an empty-handed arrival as one of the ten most common mistakes that a wedding guest must be sure to avoid: . If you really cannot afford to give anything to the couple, the blog suggests bringing a card to avoid any awkwardness that may ensue.

For a typical Chinese wedding, the wedding gift (or ang bao) may lie anywhere between SGD 60 to SGD 300, depending on the hotels or location chosen. The amount you choose to give will largely depend on your relationship to the bride or groom, so do assess how close you feel you are to them.

The ang bao will also depend on where the banquet is being held. Try your best to give what you think your meal might cost. For example, if the reception is being held at St. Regis, Capella or Marina Bay Sands, then the socially acceptable amount for your wedding gift may be higher, for example around the  SGD 300 level.

For a typical Indian wedding, the amount of the wedding gift is lower, about SGD 50 to SGD 100. The average amount for a typical Malay wedding is even lower than this, ranging from SGD 5 to SGD 50. As a guest, make sure you know what kind of wedding you’ll be attending so as to allocate an appropriate amount to share with the new couple on their big day.


  1. Special Attire and Accessories

Most wedding ceremonies in Singapore, whether Chinese, Indian or Malay, call for guests to dress up in something nice and appropriate. For a Chinese wedding, you may opt for a formal cocktail dress or a long gown. For an Indian wedding, you may want to wear a traditional Indian outfit or any respectable attire that may be worn inside a temple. For a Malay wedding, you may wear a traditional Malay outfit like a baju kurung or any decently styled outfit that will lend appropriate coverage.

If you are a member of the bridal party, then your expenses may even be greater. You could possibly be tempted to buy a new outfit just for the wedding. Sadly, you might not be able to wear that fancy dress many more times after this special event. If this is the case, you may want to consider selling it to a second-hand clothing store to recoup a bit of what you spent on it.

Read: How To Make Extra Money Effectively

  1. Travel and Accommodation

Destination weddings are becoming more popular these days. If the bride and the groom are planning a special out-of-town destination wedding, then you may have to allot a portion of your wedding-guest budget to travel and accommodation.

If you are really close to the bride and the groom, you may want to ask them even before they send out the wedding invitations where the nuptials will be held. If you find out that they are planning on getting married on a beach or a mountainside or some exotic location, you can start saving up for your travel expenses early on. You may even want to take advantage of the opportunity to take your own mini-vacation before or after the wedding to explore the area around the venue a bit more.

Related:  6 Ways to Make Extra Money Without Quitting Your Day Job

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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