In early October, almost everyone I know on Facebook had either commented, shared or liked a post which drew criticisms and outrage from netizens. The post was about a newspaper ad by AEON Credit service, offering financing up to RM100k for your dream wedding. I read all the angry comments under it: the majority condemned the credit company for encouraging unnecessary spending and piling up debts.
Out of curiosity, I checked out the conditions to be granted such a massive figure. One of it includes having a minimum income of RM800 per month. With such a condition, almost anyone could apply and be eligible for such grant. But of course, you have a price to pay at the end of your dream wedding (pun intended).
Wedding seems to be a way of showing off…
I’ve always seen weddings as an awful way of showing off. It looks as if everyone is trying to outdo one another. In the case of modern Malay weddings, everyone is so preoccupied on which VVIP or VIP is invited (a great way to indicate your social status) or where the wedding’s being held (people think you’re rich if you get married at hotels); things like that.
The funny thing is, you’ll never win in this game of holy matrimony. It’s like catch-22: people will think you’re a show-off if you spend too much, or you’re a cheapskate if you spend too little. I think the latter is such an unfair label, since not everyone has the same income and expenditure. You simply can’t please everybody.
I once saw a post on Facebook about a couple in their mid-twenties who held an extremely simple and low budget wedding. There were no tables or chairs and even tents, guests eat on the floor inside the bride’s house. They guest were so dismay that they decided to share about it on Facebook.
I personally don’t see anything wrong with it. The young couple was trying to save more money for their future, and isn’t that the rationale thing to do? Especially so in this economy?
My ideal simple wedding
I wish I’d been more outspoken and dare to be different like the couple, otherwise I won’t be in such a financial mess that I am now. It’s one of the worst mistakes I’ve done in my life: trying to please people.
I used to think planning and shopping for wedding was just another dreadful chore you have to do (unless you really, really love doing it), but it turned out to be a worst than a chore. It was a nightmare.
I’m a simple person, and I prefer to be practical for long-term benefit. I didn’t mind having a wedding with minimal decoration and no fancy rituals, fewer guests, an unglamorous venue (i.e. home sweet home), having only one wedding dress (brides have at least two different dresses, one for the solemnisation and the other for the reception), and no lavish banquet.
I had a budget in mind, which only amounts to about RM10,000. I was hoping to DIY everything (I’m very crafty) and would spend the money mostly on tents, tables, chairs and catering.
Succumbing to social pressure
Well, one can only plan. My overbearing mother and a few aunts thought that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime investment and that we need to go all out. The small and private wedding that I’d envisioned has turned into a very public affair, with over 1,000 guests; a banquet fit for a king; plenty of tedious rituals; useless candy bars, guestbook and photo booths (which seems to be trending these days among young couples); elaborate photoshoot, various entertainment line-up, and many other things that you can imagine. All of these came to a whopping price tag of RM200,000.
Long story short I had a fight with my mom about it, and told her that I’d like to go with my original wedding plan. She threatened me about something (unfortunately it’s too personal to share here) if I didn’t obey her wishes.
I had no choice but to apply for a personal loan at my local bank, which was easily granted. I also used half of my savings just to afford the wedding. I’m still paying off that loan because my mother didn’t want to look bad in the eyes of her so-called elite friends, among other reasons. I feel like my mom only cares about ‘saving faces’ and impressing people without any regard for my personal concerns.
At least I’m no longer under her dictatorship. My husband and I had to postpone our plan of having a child since we’re trying to pay off every post-wedding debt. We did our homework and found out that the cost for bringing up a child is exorbitant, and it seems to increase day by day.
My biggest regret would have to be that instead of the money earned by us which could be used to bring up a child, we’re spending it to pay off wedding debts. Thanks a lot, mom.
Spend within your means
If you’re about to get married and prefer to keep it simple and within your means, I say go for it. You’ll never know what kind of things that will pop up in the future, and the fewer debts you have, the better off you will be.
Save your money for rainy days, and unless you can truly afford an expensive wedding, forget about trying to please and impress people. It’s YOUR wedding, after all. It’s about celebrating you and your partner entering a whole new life, not about your guests.
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