Weddings and ang pows

When I told my friend that I was going to attend a secondary school friend's wedding, she wished me luck in meeting hunks there. I don't ever go to weddings hoping to meet any hunks or any guys other than my friends otherwise I would be very disappointed. Have you ever met anyone hot at weddings?

I'm happy for my friends that they are happy but weddings are just tiring and not any fun - not even for the bride and groom.

Buffet brunches are not too bad because you get to sit where you want and to leave whenever you want. Wedding dinners are the worst. They take at least 3 hours and they always start late - sometimes more than 1 hour late. I hate waiting.

I'm usually one of the last friends left standing so I often find myself at a table with just one other friend - the rest are strangers. Although the people I meet at weddings are all friendly and nice, it's boring to look at the same 9 faces for 3 hours.

Who wants to watch the waiters perform some choreographed moves? Just feed us!

Who wants to watch slide shows of their childhood or vacations? Can I just eat?

Who enjoys the yam seng? Only those who are drunk! A friend told me that at one dinner he attended, everyone was asked to shout "Amen" instead of "yam seng"! That was religiously insensitive.

Who takes 3 hours to have dinner? Everyone's just waiting for dessert to be served because that's the signal for people to get ready to leave.

The only parts that I pay attention to are the wedding vows and speeches.

Other than being time-consuming weddings burns holes in your pocket. It is customary to give an ang pow to the couple to wish them well. But it's more than just giving them red packets containing money of any amount. There's the practice of helping the couple "cover the cost" of their wedding. I heard that some couples don't invite poor people!

According to an ang pow "rate card" published in the newspapers a year ago,

Super high-end hotel: $175 and above
5-star hotel: $100-$140
4-star hotel: $80-$100
Non-hotel Chinese restaurant: $65
Non-hotel Western restaurant: $110 and above
Lunch reception: $50-$80 for buffet lunch, $80-$100 if at hotel

It seems the couples are supposed to take note of how much money their friends give them so that they can reciprocate when their friends get married. Whatever happened to the "it's the thought that counts"? If friends show up for the wedding, it's good enough because nobody really enjoys going. At some weddings, I see many empty or half-filled tables. I feel bad for the couple. Or perhaps it was their fault for inviting people whom they hardly know? It's common for couples to invite more people to fill up the tables when certain guests decline their invitation. (Hotels charge by the tables - if you have 9 people at the table, they will still charge for 10). My friend who got invited to a wedding of an ex-schoolmate whom he hardly knew told that schoolmate off for inviting him. His ex-schoolmate was angry. My friend was unapologetic.

Weddings can be expensive. Couples should spend within their means instead of hope that their friends can help them cover the cost of their expenses. If your friend chooses to hold their wedding at a high-end location, are you supposed to fork out $175 or more? $175 is enough to feed me for half a month! Come to think of it, shouldn't the happy couple give ang pows to their unattached guests to comfort them?

Having too many friends can be expensive. I know someone who doesn't attend weddings because it's too stressful for her. Perhaps I should follow in her footsteps.


JAPB said...

I totally agree. Why hold a wedding dinner and invite all the distant relatives or not-so-close friends/acquaintance? If people want to 'show off', they should just do it at their own expenses, without expecting invited guests to 'cover up'.

yg said...

yu-kym, the purpose of holding a wedding dinner is not to profit (in terms of money) from it. for my daughter's wedding, the cost of the dinner was about $1150/table. we had ang pows that contained as little as rm$20. the most generous gave a s$1000 ang pow. the majority gave between $100 and $200. the bottom line - we received a few thousand less than what we had spent. however, we were thankful to all those who attended, regardless of the size of their ang pow. we didn't bother to go and find out who gave the rm$20.

Anonymous said...


You can see why me and my recently divorced Yu-Kym prefer to get away from this wedding crap and spend our money on honeymoons instead? lol

Another good reason why marriage and weddings should be dispensed with in Singapore! There's a lot of farce and hypocrisy in wedding banquets too! Not only religion! lol

curious cat

Anonymous said...

At $1,000 per table + $200 for the bottle of liquor, 20 tables would cost $24,000. Add the cost of wedding gowns, evening dress, bridesmaid's attire and groom & best man's attire plus the cost of hiring the wedding car, photo sessions, ang pows to in-laws, $30,000 would not be enough.
The cost of the wedding ring?
The honeymoon?
Really, the whole event smacks of silliness.
If you have the dough and like to help the economy, fine. Otherwise do persuade the bride's parents you are not getting their daughter for free - if you do not hold the customary she-bang. Don't go into a debt for it.
It's an awful way to start a marriage with a huge loan over your heads.
The whole business of inviting friends' spouses and relative's children to a dinner is sheer stupidity.
I was so surprised when my wife and I found that a wedding dress cost as little as $300 in Paris. You cannot even rent one for that amount in cut-throat Singapore.
$30K to $50K would be better spent renovating your apartment.
I did not give a shit about my mother-in-law's "face" when my wife and I got married. Our eldest daughter was already a chubby 17 months and my wife was expecting our next child when my mother persuaded me to hold a dinner just so my wife have some peace with her parents.
We had explained our principles to my wife's grandmother and she approved of our not spending on the she-bang.
So there you are; if your parents-in-law insist on the she-bang, enlist the help of the uncles or grand parents where posible, to overide the objections.
Regards, Leo

Anonymous said...


What was your "wife-to-be" view about getting married without the traditional wedding banquet or a simple wedding dinner for the immediate families? I presume she must have agreed with you wholeheartedly so you had not bothered with holding any dinner at all! keke

What if your parents-to-be or your wife-to-be are of completely contrary views to yours or your wife had mixed views? Would you still give her and your parents-in-law-to-be some face?

curious cat

Anonymous said...


In 1985, there was a recession in Singapore where the economy shrunk by 3%. Jobs were hard to come by.

In 1988, we registered our marriage at ROM. I could just afford the wedding rings. She was working as a clerk for $650/month, running a tuition agency & giving tuition to earn some extra money.

In 1990, we took the keys to our exec. flat and immediately rented it out. After making the kitchen cabinets & wardrobes, I left for NZ. My last pay was $1,500/month.

We hardly have any spare cash in seriously large amounts.

We saw friends who went into debt after paying for those Face saving wedding she-bangs.

It was a custom devoid of any common sense. Whatever contrary views they may hold, I am the final decision-maker. Sorry, that's the way it goes. I do not suffer fools gladly.

Regards, Leo

Anonymous said...

Yes Leo, those were hard times necessitating hard decisions. And doing away with spending money that you didnt have on needless customs was certainly I suspect, one of the less difficult decisions you made.

I suppose too your in-laws knew or understood your financial situation then. That was why they waited sometime after your marriage before repeating their wish for a dinner?

Perhaps, their timing was still as bad, but as soon as you can afford it (say a few years more down the road), upon your in-laws' or wife's request again, would you relent and hold even a private dinner for the immediate families?

You also say you are the "final decision maker"! What if your wife has equally strong views but to the contrary! Would you give in to her in this matter of a customary wedding dinner when you can afford it?

I'm sorry if I'm prying...but I'm curious. I continue to be intrigued by your views. keke

curious cat