Tag Archives: gifts

Here’s my wedding budget

So after all my budget theory preaching, you’re probably thinking it’s about time I revealed my actual wedding budget.   I’ll do you one better: the line by line breakdown! Aren’t you excited? Doesn’t the prospect of looking at other people’s budgets get you all amped up? No? You don’t find it fun to obsess over numbers?

Jeez. Tough crowd.

I live in Singapore, so my mind thinks in Singapore dollars. Our wedding budget is (*fanfare*) SG$5000.

You probably don’t think in Singapore dollars, so you’re wondering how much money that really is. I’d go ahead and covert the currencies for you, but you know, cost of living stuff in a given area is always relative to incomes in the given area, and if you translated the cost of houses in South Africa into your local currency you’d be all, “I could have a mansion”. Plus, in Thailand you could have an amazing and massive meal for a dollar.

So refrain from using direct currency exchange as a converter, and use the Big Mac Index instead, which isn’t perfect, but at least does try to reflect the actual cost of living. I’ll tell you how many Big Macs I could buy in Singapore with that money, and then you work out how much of your local currency it would take to buy that many Big Mac’s where you live.

One Big Mac round here costs $4.85, So, my wedding budget is 1031 of them.

Ok, alright, fine, I’ll do the work for you. Here is my wedding budget translated into the currencies of various places using the Big Mac converter:

USA: $4.20 x 1031 =  US$4330

Canada: $4.73 x 1031 = CA$4877

New Zealand: $5.10 x 1031 = NZ$5258

Australia: $4.80 x 1031 = AU$4949

South Africa: R19.95 x 1031 = R20568
(see what I’m saying? One US Big Mac would buy you 4.75 South African ones, but the actual exchange rate between US dollars and South African rand is  like 7.8)

Attention England and Spain: Sorry, I couldn’t find the prices you guys have. I really wanted to know how my budget figures in pounds and euros. Maybe you could let me know your local Big Mac price?

Who else is craving a burger all of a sudden?

Ok, now for the line by line break down. I put this together, predictably, using that wedding budget calculator thing you are sick of me talking about. Then I started checking off all the things I know I don’t want to include, which was a substantial number of things (Get lost, Unity Candle!),  and filled in the fixed estimates I do already have.

Actually that last bit was interesting because it drastically changed the picture. The calculator wanted me to spend $1207 on food and $483 on booze. I’m having almost 50 people, so that’s like 10 bucks per person on drinks, which is totally laughable in all scenarios, except maybe if you home brew something, and then it gets downgraded to only pretty laughable. The amount for food is probably somewhat achievable if you’re self-catering too, but is almost half of the price I managed to get for catering.

I just want to quickly say two things here, and then I’ll move on.
1. I have a hunch that booze is much cheaper in parts of the world that aren’t Australia, NZ, and Singapore. How many Big Macs does a beer cost you, USAians?
2.  Nevertheless, these numbers and their apparent break from reality is evidence of the desperate need for a wedding paradigm shift, as I discussed in the podcast. What’s interesting is that this same iteration of the budget also allocated $733 all up for ceremony and reception decor and flowers, which seems excessive. If we’re going to afford our weddings, the paradigm shift is going to have to include a Step Away From the Pricey Decor clause. It’s a major component of wedding spending, and it needs to stop being standard and expected.

Based on the actual prices for food and drinks my venue gave me, I adjusted the catering to $1905, and $1000 for booze. I also already know that transport (ferry to the island) is going to cost about double what the calculator indicated, and I’m going to put our three nights’ stay at the resort down as the ‘facility rental’, and that’s going to be about 550 bucks.

I’m also allowing myself to cheat by not including it in the wedding budget if it’s something I’m going to use again (stay tuned for much more discussion about this in a future post).

So here, finally, is the result:

FrugallyWed’s Goal Wedding Budget

Facility rental                        550
Flowers and decorations  388
Drinks                                    1000
Food                                        1905
Bride’s wedding outfit        297
Attendants’ gifts                      55
Groom’s outfit                         46
Groomsmen outfits             119
Transport                                130
Photography                         447
Invitations                                64


Everything else we’re either not having, or it’s already included in the catering price (fire torches), or it’s something we’ll use again and thus I’m filing it under general life expense and not wedding expense. The main wiggle room comes from the flower and decor allocation – I plan to spend more than $55 on attendants’ gifts.

There you have it folks. Was that, or was that not, a whirlwind of excitement? Whew. Come, let me take you all out for burgers now.


On the pitifulness of traditional wedding media

For ages now all the wedding reading I do is in blogdom, and I’ve gotten so used to it that even when I disagree with stuff, there are still a number of certain mutual understandings among the blogs that turn out not to exist yet in the traditional media of magazines and newspapers., and I fear, therefore the general non-wedding-obsessed public too. Maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise: wedding magazines are necessarily part of the WIC and their dependence on advertising means they can’t remain bias free; meanwhile, any column about weddings that a newspaper spits out is probably written by someone who has spent, let’s just say, WAY LESS time thinking about weddings than bloggers have.

So perhaps I should forgive the author of this article about the supposed new, 2012, rules of wedding ettiquete. Some of it she gets right, some of it she gets painfully wrong, and some of it she phoned in to buff up the word count.

I mean, just take a look at this stuff:

“If the bride pays for the bridesmaid’s hair, makeup, dresses and shoes, she has every right to make them look as gorgeous or as heinous as she likes.” I think the idea behind this is it’s supposed to be the corrolary to the fact that you shouldn’t force your bridesmaids to pay for an outift that wasn’t of their choosing. But that doesn’t mean that just because you’re paying for it, you get to be totally inconsiderate to your friends that, by the way, you care enough about to have in your wedding.

“If they have a registry, use it. At the very least you know that your gift is wanted.” Nope. Most couples have a registry not because they want to make sure they don’t get any gifts that aren’t good enough, but out of consideration for the guests who aren’t quite sure what to buy otherwise. And that means non-registry gifts are likely to be some of the most welcome of all.

“Asking for money is now not considered rude. In fact, it’s pretty convenient.” No, it’s still fracking rude.

“If you’re on a budget, how much should you spend on a gift or cash? A good rule of thumb is ‘how much would this event cost me if I had bought a ticket?’” AAAAAAAAARGGHHH! NOOO!! You give people presents as a way to show love and affection, and what in the world does that have to do with how much money the couple happened to have available to spend on their wedding? This woman seems to be under the impression that weddings are fundrasiers. Way to go on making an important life event devoid of meaning.

I can’t imagine any of the wedding blogs I read saying this kind of stuff, and if they did, a bunch of people in the comments would call them out. But in the traditional mainstream media, a poorly thought out, top-of-the-mind article like this can be gotten away with. And what’s worse, most likely swallowed whole by most of the readers, and this crap then becomes the received wisdom. When someone you know thinks your wedding is not meeting the guidelines of propriety, this is why.

Thank gods for blogs!