Come on, let’s face it: when you receive a “red bomb”, the first thing you do is to check the market rate of the wedding banquet. Your angbao strategy will be based solely on that number: if a table costs $1,500 and there are ten people, you’ll prepare a $150 angbao.
The whole idea is just for the newly wed to cover the cost of their wedding banquet. What if I tell you that won’t cover the full cost? To us, the cost is merely the table, but unless you’ve been the bride or groom, you won’t have expected that the hidden costs of a wedding dinner could be a lot higher than you expected.
Hard to believe? Well, if you’re getting married soon, take note of these things: they’re not free, and they’re usually not included in the wedding banquet. You can purchase a bridal package that takes care of some of these costs (e.g. photography or car), but there’re still some that you really can’t avoid.
The whole idea of this article is not for anyone to blast the newly wed for overspending on their wedding dinner—it’s for us, the guests, to rethink our angbao strategy, because you’ll realize calculating based on the formula of “Cost of Table / Number of people in a table = Amount to be in angbao to cover cost” isn’t exactly accurate.
Actual day videography
You won’t want to just experience the most important day of your life: you want it recorded down in motion, and that could set you back by over $2,000. This includes the video that will be shown at the wedding dinner as well, so you really can’t save on that.
Actual day photography
This is pretty clear-cut, but if you can find a friend, you can save on this. If not, be prepared to fork out an additional $1,500 or so—and if you’re kiasu enough, you can even get two photographers, lest one failed to capture the more important moments.
Wedding gown and suit rental
Many people think that the rental cost comprises just the dress and suit for the newlyweds: nothing could be further than the truth. The package usually includes the suits and dresses for your immediate family members as well, and this could go all the way up to more than $2,000.
Wedding dinner invitations
The letter you receive from mail, despite how traditional and old-fashioned it is, is imperative as the elderly would only consider you married if they receive that. This could range from $200 to $400—while you can save some money by doing a Facebook invitation for some of your close friends, the most you can save is $100 or so.
Unless you want to take a taxi or Uber around during your wedding day, you’ll need a car and a driver. As the newlyweds, your car, if you choose a luxury one with a driver, can cost up to $1,000 a day. If your groomsmen (brothers) or bridesmaids (sisters) don’t own a car, you’ll have to rent a car for them as well. It’s always better to set aside $1,500, because if you need any extra hour, you’ll have to pay.
MIA people during wedding dinner
While this sounds bad, this is a reality that you cannot neglect: if people went MIA during your wedding dinner, not only will you receive one less angbao, you still have to pay for the extra seat. Ten MIA people will mean ten less angbaos received and ten more seats to be paid—it all adds up to a big amount after that.
Extra alcoholic drinks
There’s often a limit to the amount of alcohol in a wedding dinner—if you’ve got guests who drink wine like plain water, you’ll break the limit and will be charged for the additional alcoholic drinks. Of course, you can request not to serve anymore alcohol, but come on: you really want to do that?
Not all of u have the luxury of having friends who could do great make-up. If you’re up to the challenge, you can watch make-up tutorials in YouTube and get a friend to apply based on the tutorials, but then again, are you willing to risk it?
Rental of accessories
It’s a wedding, for God’s sake. You expect the bride and groom to walk in without any accessories? Depending on how elaborate you would want it to be, it could cost $300 to $1,000.
Angbaos for brothers, sisters, MCs and other helpers
Usually, they’re there to help without expecting any monetary returns, but it’s custom to give them a big angbao for their help. If, on average, each person is at $250 and there’re about fifteen of them, that would set you back by roughly $3,750.
In totality, the hidden cost could be more than $15,000—that’s the cost of additional 10 to 15 tables. Of course, this is just an estimate and should not be cast in stone, but you should get the idea: our angbao strategy as a guest could have been wrong all the while.
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