Saturday, 17 December 2016

The Real Cost to be married in Singapore

December is the month where I would attend many weddings.

I recently attended my sister's wedding, which is extremely atypical of a Singaporean Chinese wedding.  I had to take leave to attend it, since it is on a weekday day time.

The wedding started off with solemnization at ROM. After that, the groom chartered us on taxis (ok, he booked the cabs) to their place for a lunch reception at their newly renovated flat. The event was cozy, and we get to chat with everyone, and even get to know the other side's relatives.  The lunch buffet was from a caterer which food my parents like.

I am from the bride's side, and I personally know the people she invited. As for the groom's side, it was a time to know his immediate family.

Honestly, I really enjoyed this wedding. I have never thought about a wedding like that, but I feel it's really really cool.

It was atypical of the 8 - 10 course banquets that I usually attend, sitting in a table usually with some strangers on the same table, and sometimes, having many awkward silences, waiting for the food hungrily, and gorging on them when they come. With regards to interaction with the newly married couples, I usually only talk (extremely briefly) to the bride/ groom when they make their rounds for the photo shoot, and at the start (and end if I stay till it) when we shake the hands of them and their family. Sometimes when attending such wedding, I wonder whether I am there only for the food. And after many years (maybe weeks), I don't really remember much about the wedding.

The Real Cost of Getting Married

What's the real cost to be (legally) married in Singapore?

The cost of getting married in Singapore is actually very very low.

$26 for Singaporeans/ PR. For foreigners wanting to get married in Singapore, the cost is at most $298. Click here for details.

The other costs, are generally what I call expectation costs --- costs incurred just to meet the expectations of the couples, traditions, parents, etc. You can still get married (legally) without them.

My thoughts are, the wedding is the most important day, from the perspective of businesses. For the couple, what you do after the wedding is more important. How much you spend of your wedding generally has little significance on how well you get along in the long run.

Why get into debt (meaning you cannot afford it) to meet all these expectations, when the real cost is just $26?


  1. You're absolutely right. But as humans, I guess we can't escape the social conditioning. All the marketing, "people do it so I must do it". Asked my ex if she would mind getting married without a wedding and she said no, it's a once in a lifetime thing. Actually is there any significant benefit to marriage? Having a third party tie down your "love". Some of my friends are engaged but not planning to get married.

    I would argue that the real cost should not be purely monetary, because humans do not purely see things in terms of monetary costs. There's expectation costs like you mentioned, social costs, emotional costs, time. Then we also have to take account cost of divorce. But of course this is if we consider getting married from start to end. Having your marriage recognised by law is just the start.

  2. Hi owq,

    Very good point. Real cost should not be purely monetary. In fact, there are many other costs involved. Apart from those that you name, I find the "another set of family" a big cost too, though in some case, it could be a bliss. But I see too many breakdown in relationships being triggered by this additional set of family.