5 Money Lessons he learnt from his Wedding (as a Singapore Investor in 2024)


Following the earlier piece on How this Singapore investor budgeted and saved for his Wedding (in 2024), these are the 5 money lessons this Singapore Investor learnt from planning a wedding in Singapore in 2024.

This article is written by a Financial Horse Contributor. 

One of the dumbest mistakes we made when planning our wedding was committing to a bridal studio too early.

We were newly engaged and just starting wedding planning. We visited a bustling wedding fair, having done no research, expecting to find all the vendors with unbeatable deals. It was one of the biggest wedding fairs and FOMO got the better of us.

We were drawn to a bridal studio booth by a sales agent who shared their exclusive wedding fair package, including deep discounts on the bridal and photography package.

There were only a few dresses on display and were assured by a digital catalogue showcasing hundreds more. We rationalised that with such a wide collection, my fiancée would find the perfect dress.

We signed on the spot and that evening, praising ourselves for making a savvy financial move, saving big on one of our most significant expenses.

During our first studio visit, my fiancée looked through dresses but didn’t find any she liked. It was only after visiting other studios that she realised she preferred minimalist styles not offered by our chosen studio. We ended up canceling our a portion of our package and chose another vendor, though thankfully without a penalty.

We learned a painful lesson: we should have done our homework, visiting studios to see what resonated instead of being lured by discounts. 

You’ll face many financial “firsts” when planning a wedding. From negotiating contracts, deciding on expenses, and stretching your budget. If I could go back, here are things I wish I knew.

1. Don’t blindly sign for a package at wedding fairs

There are many wedding fairs like Singapore Brides and BOWS. It is an opportunity to browse many vendors and get perks like discounts, add-ons, and cashback.

Going to a wedding fair without research is a recipe for disaster.

Firstly, a wedding fair may not give you an accurate picture of all the vendors out there. Don’t assume you’ll find the right vendor there.

Secondly, vendors are there to close a sale, not to understand your needs or for you to assess their suitability. With the crowds you will likely be rushed and pressured into a decision.

Thirdly, you can’t make an accurate assessment at the fair. A bridal boutique, for instance, will only bring a handful of dresses out of hundreds.

Only attend a wedding fair if you have specific vendors in mind and the timing works. For a venue, do a site visit beforehand. For bridal studios, visit the store and have dresses you like.

2. Consider hotel or boutique wedding fairs instead

Hotel and boutique wedding fairs are arguably a better overall experience.

If you’ve shortlisted hotels, ask if they’re organizing their own wedding fairs soon. This usually involve a venue showcases, menu samples, and exclusive perks.

Hotels usually feature vendors. Many hotels have long-standing partnerships with vendors they work closely with, making it easier to find a vendor you can trust, of high quality, and aligned with the hotel’s aesthetic.

The same goes for boutique wedding fairs. These are organised by a collective of vendors including photography, videography, florals, and dresses.

We found this to be a better use of our time because they are more relaxed compared to large-scale fairs. Vendors usually advertise these fairs on Facebook and Instagram, so follow accounts you like to stay updated.

3. Negotiate the wedding venue contract

Once you’ve chosen a venue, it’s important to negotiate the contract, which outlines the terms and conditions of the arrangement, such as the rental fee, payment terms, included services, and amenities.

These are T&Cs you’ll want to read carefully.

What are important perks and terms you should negotiate?

Weddings are notoriously boozy affairs, so alcohol is a key item you should consider negotiating. Buying extra wine or corkage during the wedding will be expensive, easily costing $50++ per bottle.

What you can negotiate for varies. Couples have gotten free beer and unlimited corkage. Some may only lower the corkage fee. We got an extra bottle of house pour wine for every two tables and 8 free corkage bottles. In exchange, we removed the wedding favours and invitation cards from our package.

Regardless, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Venues will be eager for your business and should be willing to give some concessions. Apart from alcohol, consider asking for extra canapés, parking tickets, and room upgrades.

It’s worth emphasising that you should negotiate the contract before signing the contract, when you have more leverage. Once signed, the venue will be less inclined to make changes or concessions.

4. Maximise credit card spend to earn miles

If you dream of jetting off for a honeymoon after the wedding, this is a golden opportunity to rack up miles. You will be spending the money anyway, so you should make the most of it!

This is straightforward if you prefer to earn cashback. Just choose an unlimited cashback card like the American Express True Cashback Card and get a 1.5% cashback on your spend.

But if you love to travel and can bother to optimise your spending, earning miles gives much better value.

Here’s the bottom line: we earned over 200,000 miles from the wedding alone. That was enough for the both of us to redeem a one-way business class flight to the US, worth $12,000 if we had paid for it in cash.

we earned over 200,000 miles from the wedding alone

The catch is that it can be a chore to figure out which card gives you the most points. You also need to spread your payments across multiple cards to earn bonus points without bursting the caps.

If you’re willing to go down this rabbit hole, MileLion has a great article on the best cards to use for wedding expenditure.

One common pitfall I’ve seen is for people to charge all payments into a single card like DBS Altitude or Citi PremierMiles. In mile-chaser speak, these cards earn up to 1.3 miles per dollar charged to the card.

This is a sub-optimal strategy. With the right cards, you could have earned 4 miles per dollar using cards such as UOB Preferred Platinum and DBS Women’s World Card. In other words — earning miles at a 3x faster rate.

Here’s an example of the impact of choosing the right strategy. Let’s say you spend $30,000 on a wedding venue.

  • Scenario 1 (Using a DBS Altitude, that earns 1.3 miles per dollar): $30,000 × 1.3 miles per dollar = 39,000 miles. This is enough for the couple to redeem one-way tickets to Hong Kong on economy class.
  • Scenario 2 (Using multiple cards that earn 4 miles per dollar): $30,000 × 4 miles per dollar = 120,000 miles. This is enough for the couple to redeem one-way tickets to Tokyo on business class.

This is a simplified example that doesn’t account for sign-up bonus miles, but it shows how much more miles you can earn with the right cards.

5. Best purchase: Actual day wedding coordinator

A lot of wedding content focuses on saving money. Not enough talk about things worth spending on.

In our experience, one expense worth every penny was hiring a wedding coordinator. We initially had not planned to hire a wedding coordinator. We were confident to plan the wedding on our own and had friends we could rely on for the actual day execution.

We changed our minds when we visited a boutique wedding fair. That was when we learned about “day of coordination”. This involves a coordinator who oversees all the logistics and operations of the wedding day. This includes: vendor coordination, overseeing the setup, timeline management, ceremony coordination, and many other tasks.

The process started about a month before the wedding, where we handed over all pending items to the coordinator to take over. This ensured she understood the details and finalised the plan ahead of the day. .

This service cost us $1500 — and to us that was money well spent. But relieved so much stress and gave us the freedom to enjoy the night without having to worry about the AV system, if the programme was on track, and a million other things.

It let us switch gears from chief project manager to being the dinner hosts. We could be fully present in writing our vows and soaking in the significance of the ceremony.

Many couples ask their bridal party to help, but we opted for a coordinator so our friends could enjoy the day. It also removed any risk of conflict by inadvertently bossing our friends around. And of course, a professional would do a much better job.


The wedding taught us many money lessons. We learned more than saving dollars and cents. We also learned how to spend it wisely, how to make our dollar go further, and get rewarded for it.

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