LAST_UPDATEMon, 23 Jul 2018 8pm

It’s Wedding Season. Is Your Bank Account Ready For It?

It's the wedding season throughout the end of the year! Pic:'s the wedding season throughout the end of the year! Pic: usually happens after the festive holiday season in Malaysia? If you’re guessing what I’m guessing, then you are probably right, it’s the wedding season!

Malaysia, with its countless public holidays leading up to the year-end school holidays, provides many opportunities for wedding dates. During this wedding season, it is no surprise that you’ll get an invitation every week.

We are blessed with a multi-racial backdrop that comprise of three major ethnic groups; Malay, Chinese and Indian. When it comes to weddings, all cultures have their unique traditions and customs.

Of course, it takes a lot of time, effort and money to stage your once-in-a-lifetime event. 

Everyone has their own dream wedding but can you make it comes true? Pic: mymalaysiawedding.comEveryone has their own dream wedding but can you make it comes true? Pic: mymalaysiawedding.comHow Much Are You Willing To Pay ?

Syaiqim Ghazali, 25, dreamt of having her wedding in a private island and was heavily inspired by classic films such as ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ and ‘Cinderella’ for her own wedding.

“My wedding is in the fall and my fiancé and I really prepared our financial situation first such as our working salary, savings and debts before we decided to get married.”

“Both of us used our own savings and we have already spent almost RM 80,000 for the reception, photography, attire, entertainment and other wedding essentials,” as she shared with Malaysian Digest the breakdown of her wedding cost.

“What is more important is the life after the wedding. I don’t agree with couples taking personal loans to spend on their wedding, it is much more beneficial to use it for other things like a car where you can benefit from it for up to 10 years instead of a 3-4 hours wedding ceremony,” said the 25-year-old Fraud Analyst Executive

To secure a proper married life after wedding, Syaiqim and her future husband have also invested in a house to start their new life together.

A breakdown cost for an average 'dream wedding' nowadays. Graphic: mDA breakdown cost for an average 'dream wedding' nowadays. Graphic: mD

The Cost Of A Dream Wedding

“We have quite an affordable range of wedding packages because we understand that it is a little bit pricey to host a wedding nowadays,” said Al-Fanan Zainal, a wedding planner from Dealova Place, which has been in business for almost a decade.  

A garden wedding concept by Dealova Place. Pic: Dealova Place FacebookA garden wedding concept by Dealova Place. Pic: Dealova Place FacebookThe average cost for a wedding reception starts from RM 15,000 and goes up to RM 50,000 depending on the venue and the couples’ requirements. 

At Dealova Place, clients can enjoy a minimum rate of RM 9.50 per pax for a minimum wedding of 500 pax and many variations of all-in-one packages inclusive of the solemnization and reception ceremony, food and cake, the pelamin, wedding décor as well as fresh flowers.

“Other competitors would charge around RM 50++ per pax while hotels would charge a whopping amount of RM80++ per head. So our packages are suitable for those who are from lower to middle income background,” said Fanan.

His company does weddings for Malays and Indians and their venue has less restriction compared to hotels, which has a lot of rules to be followed such as strict timing and procedures.

“I think this is the concept that most urban couples want nowadays, something that has a homely feel as it is hard to find places like this in the city. There are less receptions being held at home because most people now stay in an apartment or condominium.” 

For a Malay wedding, RM 50,000 to RM, 100,000 should be enough to cover the akah nikah cermony, dulang hantaran, attire, food and the whole reception and it is advisable for couples to share their reception instead of splitting it into two for those who are not from a higher income background.

“It is more worthwhile to have a joint-reception nowadays as couples can save up to 30% of their spending,” said the 27-year-old planner.

Compared to last time, wedding nowadays focus too much on décor, mainly for the Malays and Indians.

“It has become quite a seasonal thing to have a theme-wedding, which cost a lot more money for decorations such as the photo booth, candy bar, lighting, door gifts and props,” he said.

Most Malaysians Prefer Modern Weddings With A Traditional Touch

In the multicultural society we live in, Malaysians often share festive occasions and life’s big celebrations, like weddings, with their friends and relatives from different cultural backgrounds.  

Modern weddings in urban Malaysian society today share many similarities but different cultures will have their unique traditions as well. However, one thing they all share in common is how much more expensive weddings are today.  

Marketing Executive Ho Lee Ning, spend a whopping RM 40,000 when she married her husband back in 2011. She spent about RM 15,000 for two receptions for both the bride and groom families in Johor and Kuala Lumpur respectively.

“I spent a lot for photography and videography because I want all those heartwarming moments to be captured, so I didn’t mind hiring a good photographer and videographer during my wedding,” said Lee Ning

“I think it’s good to have a wedding planner apart from your relatives, they know what’s the Do’s and Don’ts are in order to keep me from having a panic attack during the time I planned my wedding,” chuckles Lee.

Modern Chinese wedding will always have a touch of traditonal decoration. Pic: Chinese wedding will always have a touch of traditonal decoration. Pic: added that although her wedding was influenced by the Western culture, she still kept it traditional by having Chinese lanterns as part of the decoration.

“As part of the younger generation today, one good advantage is you don’t have to spend a lot on invitation cards as I invited my relatives and friends via Facebook and social media apps like WeChat,” she smiled.

With our prevailing social media culture, weddings can be quite entertaining for guests as Lee Ning asked her guests to ‘check in’ their location once they reached the venue in order to receive a mystery gift from the host.

Seasoned wedding planner, May Xim, has been planning both traditional and modern Chinese weddings for a few years and cited that most couples prefer to include both modern and traditional customs when it comes to their wedding.

“Most couples prefers the modern way, but still follow traditions due to their family background such as the Tea and Betrothal ceremonies,” she said.

Pre-wedding portrait photography is one of the essential rituals for newlyweds. According to May, the current market that bridal houses offer nowadays will start from RM 3,000 where it will include photography during the wedding day itself as well. 

Chinese weddings are generally held in either hotels or Chinese restaurants which focus more on top quality food such as roast duck, abalone soup and seafood as well as beverages such as wine, beer and liquor that will be served during the reception. 

“The market range for restaurants starts from RM600++ per table while hotels will averagely cost you between RM 80,000 to RM 100,000 for around 20 to 35 tables,”

“Popular restaurants such as The Oversea and Noble House as well as hotels like Le Meredien and Aloft KL Sentral have become popular choices among couples to hold their reception nowadays,”  

“People always thought that hotels are much more expensive than restaurants, but it is more or less the same. Weddings in hotels have a lot of benefits such as bridal suite, complimentary rooms, decoration and a much bigger venue,” continued May.

Bridal attire and hair and make-up makes up between RM 2,500 to RM 5,000 depending on the bridal house. May said that wedding gowns and tuxedo are mostly part of the pre-wedding photo shoot packages. 

Preserving Traditions While Keeping Up With Modern Trends Can Be Costly

Indian weddings are known for its colorful lighting and decor. Pic: weddings are known for its colorful lighting and decor. Pic: weddings cost about the same amount as the Malay and Chinese weddings, around RM 50,000 and above depending on the place of the reception.

Graphic Designer, Sanusri Mohan, 26, said she and her husband, Kannathasan Mohan, also spent around RM 40,000 for their wedding.

“I spend half of my budget for my ‘Sangeet’ (pre-wedding) party which also included my dowry. The rest of the big expenses are RM 3,000 for the hall, which is at the temple, and about another RM 5,000 for my bridal make-up and the wedding attire for both of us,”

“I must say, we also spent a lot on food, which cost me around RM 6,000 because we are known to have quite exquisite traditional food,”  

“Frankly speaking, the young generation today spend a lot compared to our parents’ time. I don’t get influenced by those Bollywood weddings as I prefer to keep it traditional and simple,” shared Sanusri.

Jack Gill, founder of MD Events Asia does event and wedding services such as professional sound and lighting system, something that we would see in most Indian weddings, complete with colorful lights at the reception. 

“I must say 50% of my clients prefer to hold their wedding in hotels with the rest preferring ballrooms and halls. Common themes used would be in the choice of colors when it comes to traditional Indian weddings,” said Jack.

Jack shared that some clients with big budgets will have an international artist to entertain their guests and would book the whole package from an event management company to run their reception.

Is It All Worth It?

No matter what race and culture you are, when it comes to having a wedding, money will always be the first and most important consideration when planning the big day.

Even though a wedding is an once-in-a-lifetime occasion, that doesn’t mean you have to splurge a lot to have a memorable wedding.  After all the partying, feasting, photography, gifts and well-wishes are done, it is the marriage union itself that remains to stand the test of time.

Life still has a long way to go. A wedding, whether grand or simple, is just the beginning.

- mD