But what if you can't afford it? Then do what? Beg? Borrow?
How about... Just don't throw a big fancy wedding.
I'll be getting married in a few years' time and when that happens I'm not sure how much money I'll have on hand to throw a big party AND renovate my home. Because as you all know, after you get married everything starts to speed up and you better have cash on hand for when you take your keys.
There are plenty of blogs that calculate the costs of a wedding like this one here and here.
And based on what they all say, it's gonna cost between $30,000 to $80,000 depending on how siao on you are.
"It's gonna be covered by the ang bao lah!"
No. You can't bank on that. If your ang bao covers your wedding then good. Take it as a bonus. But don't forget, essentially a wedding is just a huge party you're throwing to celebrate the start of you're journey, and quite frankly no one is obliged to give you anything. (except maybe your in-laws. As a Peranakan I hope that the exchange of pig will happen. TRADITIONS KEPT ALIVE!)
I definitely think its good manners to give ang bao of at least $100 per person when you're at a wedding, it's meant to be a love offering from the guests to the couple who thoughtfully invited you to watch their joy. But at the end of the day, you're not obliged to give. Whether you want to be thick skinned and don't give or not is up to you lah.
Sooo.. Couples be aware that if you throw a party at some small location, in a hotel that doesn't have a big name, you're probably NOT gonna cover it all, much less make money from it. Sorry. Yep, even if your wedding is $50,000 but held at a beach, you're not gonna get much because it's not at a fancy hotel and all your guests are going to think, "oh. see. don't need to give so much cause not at Ritz Carlton."
Throw a party cause you want to, not cause you wanna make money m'kay.
So now how? Should I or should I not give?
My decision-making is pretty simple:
*I'm not saying you have to follow this, but it's just a rough guideline on how much I usually give.*
Matrimony at a church/ small venue - $88
After matrimony got lunch somemore?! - $100
Chinese dinner - $100 - $150 (depending on how well you know that person and hotel ang bao guides.)
Western dinner - SAME LAH. Just cause you think the food ang mor and three courses cheaper meh? Wake up your idea. Ang mor food is always more expensive. Old relatives might have this mentality, not hotel = cheap wedding, but friends, come on, if you love the couple... help them out lah.
*The only time you should give less than the stated amount is when the wedding is for someone you barely know. Like you only go cause your mother is making you go. Or your colleague who sits at the corner and never speaks invites the whole office anyway.
Come on guys. We live in Singapore, where cars cost more than islands and our world class public housing is way too small for its price. Let's do our parts and help our friends who are not just marrying each other or marrying into each other's families. They're marrying into a 25 year loan with HDB! So be generous, because probably if you help them, they'd help you out too.
To be honest...
I really cannot stand this Singaporean mentality of a hotel ang bao guide. I feel you should just give how much you deem fit with an average across the board of $100 - $120. It's not fair to impose Ang Bao Ideals. (I COINED THIS TERM. ANG BAO IDEALS) But anyway, in the spirit of helping my fellow Singaporeans out who have been so ingrained in this system, myself included, here's a great website that gives you useful ang bao information: Wedding Ang Bao Rates in Singapore