I Wanted A Small Wedding, But My In-laws Wanted A Grand One and It Cost Us RM30,000

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A decade ago, I got married to my husband. I remember visiting endless wedding boutiques just to look for the ‘perfect wedding dress’ and losing sleep over choosing the theme of our wedding. 

 As much as we wanted our wedding to be perfect, things didn’t really turn out that way. 

My partner and I had agreed on a simple wedding. 

We envisioned having a wedding by the pool on a cool Saturday morning at the Holiday Inn in Kuching, followed by lunch outdoors where guests could mingle and enjoy the scenic Sarawak River and lush greenery surrounding the hotel.

The theme would be a garden wedding with hues of green and white. Guests could even wear shorts and flip flops if they wanted. It would, after all, be a lot more convenient should they want to take a dip in the pool later on.

The wedding banquet would be arranged in the shape of a ‘U’ with tables covered by creamy white linen and guests would be treated to a delicious 3 course meal followed by a mouth-watering dessert. 

And later that evening, my partner and I would get to retire to our room and spend a relaxing night there before flying off to Hong Kong for our honeymoon the next day. 

I had told my dad about the plan. I don’t think he particularly liked the idea, but he indulged in me. (I think he was just relieved that someone actually wanted to marry his daughter. Heh.)

That was what we wanted. 

But this ideal wedding of ours never happened.

My in-laws vetoed our plan. 

They put their foot down. They would choose an auspicious date (which in the end fell on a weekday) as well as the time for the tea ceremony (it had to be before 8.30am). 

There would be ‘no wedding by the pool as the elders would be more comfortable with round tables covered in bright red cloth. 

They meant well. That I understand. But you know what’s funny? My in-laws are Christians. 

It boggled me that they still believed in Chinese superstition while professing fear and love for God. My husband had a huge argument with his parents over this.

But in the end, we gave in. 

They were his parents after all. Still, we insisted on the garden wedding theme for our decorations. We even had the wedding cards printed out in cream colors and tied with golden green strings. 

My in-laws were very creative, they went to buy red envelopes and inserted the cards into them, citing that red was an auspicious color. 

I began to develop a distaste for the word ‘auspicious’. 

On the wedding day, I had to wake up at 3am in the morning for the makeup artists to come. The wedding day was so auspicious they were booked for 3 brides. Since I was first on the list, we had the wakeup call at 3. 

This was followed by a tea ceremony at the in laws’ place before rushing off to church to take our vows. That evening we had our wedding dinner at a Chinese banquet hall with 30 odd tables. 

I’ll be honest here. My husband and I had never even met more than half the wedding guests prior to the wedding. 

Then we spent the whole evening moving from one table to another doing the ‘yam seng’ ritual with people we barely even knew. 

My husband and I crawled to bed past midnight with our wedding dress and suit still on. We were that tired.

All in all, here’s the breakdown of expenses:

  1. Wedding cards + Chinese banquet – RM688 *30 tables = RM20640
  2. Makeup artists + Wedding dress = RM2000
  3. Tea ceremony + Wedding lunch + Church deco = RM4000
  4. Hotel room – no hotel room in the end. Spent the night at in law’s place after Chinese banquet
  5. Any other expenses  – wedding cake + wedding photographer = RM3000

In the end we spent roughly around RM30k for the wedding.  

[The author and her husband’s wedding photo]

Well, that was 10 years ago. 

Looking back, I do wish we had insisted on doing things our way because, well, weddings usually come only once in a lifetime. But it no longer irks me now. 

In a way I’m thankful we gave in to our in laws. For one, the ‘ang pows’ (red packets) given by relatives we barely even knew helped to cover the wedding expenses. Haha! 

But in all honesty, I’ve come to appreciate my in-laws over the years. They’ve gone above and beyond their duties as in laws to love and care for me as their own flesh and blood. 

So what if we didn’t get to have our ideal wedding? It’s not the end of the world. After all, a wedding lasts for only one day but a marriage and family ties last you a lifetime. 

For more stories like this, read: Seven Reasons Why I Don’t Want a Wedding When I Decide to Get Married and My Friend Was a Bridezilla – and It Almost Ruined Her Wedding

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