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I Spent RM5,247.09 for My Malay Wedding (Checklist Kahwin Included)

My checklist kahwin was perfect – I thought of everything.

Then the pandemic and MCO happened so my Malay wedding plans all went whack lol.

This post is a follow-up to the Wedding Planning During Covid-19: How Plans & Budgets Changed article, where I shared how our wedding plans changed over and over (and over) again during the course of the pandemic in 2020.

Now that everything is over, I can finally write this Malay wedding budget breakdown article. Yes yes I see your requests 😛

Checklist Kahwin: What I Planned to Spend On

From my research, a ‘standard’ checklist kahwin for a Malay wedding comprises:

  • Paperwork: Kursus Kahwin, HIV test, Photocopies for documents
  • Nikah Outfit: Baju pengantin, Veil, Shoes, Accessories, Hand bouquet
  • Reception Outfit: Baju pengantin, Veil, Shoes, Accessories, Hand bouquet
  • Bridal Services: Makeup artist, Hair styling, Veil styling, Henna artist
  • Groom: Mas kahwin, Duit hantaran
  • Event services (Nikah): Venue, Food Catering, Dessert Catering, Photographer, Videographer
  • Event services (Reception): Venue, Food Catering, Dessert Catering, Photographer, Videographer
  • Bride & groom: Wedding rings, Wedding cake, Makan beradab set, Honeymoon
  • Family members: Matching outfits, transportation costs
  • Decoration: Pelamin Nikah, Pelamin Sanding (Reception), Flowers
  • Tradition: Bunga pahar/ bunga telur, Set renjis, Dulang hantaran
  • Entertainment: Music show, Silat show, Emcee, Photo Booth, Kompang, PA system
  • Guests: Kad kahwin, Door gifts

Source: I got one of those cute kahwin planner notebooks on Shopee. Get it! It’s pretty useful for DIY Malay wedding planning process!

To pay for all/most of these costs, I originally budgeted RM70,000-RM90,000 in our budget kahwin, broken down like so:

  • RM35,000-RM45,000 from my side, and
  • RM35,000-RM45,000 from his side, plus
  • An extra RM7,000-RM9,000 or 10% set aside as contingency

(what can I say. Both our parents have a lot of friends)

What I Ended Up Spending on My Malay Wedding

Actually, I spent a total of RM12,062.09 on my Malay wedding. This was an incredibly low amount, as far as Malay weddings go.

However, if you take out all the services that were cancelled due to MCO, then effectively I only spent RM5,247.09 for my Malay wedding. It became a total budget kahwin and nikah ceremony.

There were four reasons it costs so low, and none of them have anything to do with my money management skills, and everything to do with the pandemic:

#1 – We had to cancel engagement AND reception events

Reason #1 why my wedding cost was so low is simply because we had to cancel both the engagement AND the reception events due to the pandemic. The former was supposed to be in July 2020 before cancelled due to MCO 1.0, and the latter was planned on November 2020 before postponed to January 2021 before cancelled due to MCO 2.0.

Naturally, because the events didn’t happen, the things we need to tick off from our checklist kahwin significantly reduced.

But just because the events didn’t happen, doesn’t mean no costs were incurred. We managed to get our deposit back for the engagement event, but I still spent:

  • RM4,150 for the deposit at reception venue, which we cannot get back (but could possibly use towards future events… whenever and whatever that will be),
  • RM2,000 for the family’s reception outfits,
  • RM415 for wedding cards package (anyone know how I can repurpose or upcycle these cards?), and
  • RM250 for non-refundable deposit for makeup artist

So that’s a total of RM6,815 for unused items and services.

#2 – We had the nikah ceremony at my parent’s home

Event rental is one of the items in checklist kahwin. Therefore by having the nikah ceremony at home, the event venue cost became RM0 (even if I did spend RM6,230 for bridal room renovation, but that’s under Donations category not Wedding).

The decision to hold the nikah ceremony at home wasn’t intentional – it was just the most flexible option, considering the ever-changing nikah SOP at the time. We made the decision after giving up our original 14 November 2020 (Saturday) date by mid-October.

Thankfully, by late October JAIS gave us a nikah slot and we got married on Wednesday, 3pm on 25 November 2020 at JAIS office, before celebrating with close family at home.

If you take out all the reception-that-didn’t-happen expenses in #1, effectively I only spent RM5,247.09 for my nikah ceremony (RM12,062.09 minus RM6,815).

Of this, I spent:

  • RM2000 (approx) on dulang hantaran gifts,
  • RM1000 on catering,
  • RM1000 for the pelamin,
  • RM450 for his ring,
  • RM469 for my outfit,
  • Approx RM100 for required paperwork (RM50 for marriage course, RM1 for HIV test, etc)
  • And other odds and ends

P/s – In case you’re not familiar with Malay wedding – nikah ceremony is like ROM; we usually do it on the same day/weekend as the wedding reception

#3 – Received gifts and help from family and friends

I’ve always been someone who found it hard to receive help, but throughout this whole process I reminded myself that many people get a lot of joy from helping (me too, tbh), so I let them cover part of the checklist kahwin. Top of my head, I was gifted:

  • A flower bouquet from my childhood friend (thank you Shukie!)
  • Photography and videography session from my wonderful family-in-law
  • Bridal accessories (shoes, white face mask, white shawl, jewellery, veil etc) from my mom and sisters
  • A facial session one day before nikah day from my sister
  • A couple of hantaran gifts from my and his family members
  • As well as countless hours of unpaid labour from family members throughout the planning process, including researching and hiring vendors on my behalf

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Their special touches made the day more special and eventful than I could ever imagine.

#4 – Bought ready-made and DIY-ed

Another thing that contributed to my low Malay wedding cost was the lack of custom-made items and personalised services.

Tbh, this was less of a cost-saving measure and primarily to limit close contact – I know I have cheap tendencies but I didn’t want to save money for the sake of saving money, especially not to the ailing and hard-hit wedding industry.

For my nikah event, I:

  • Bought ready-made white dress (cost: RM469 including scarf and heels) instead of custom-made wedding dress (RM1000++)
  • DIY-ed my henna with inai celup (cost: RM28 including delivery) instead of hiring a henna artist (RM200++)
  • DIY-ed my hairdo – went to hair saloon to get a professional hair blow-drying session on the morning of the event instead of getting a hairdresser to come over (mostly because we couldn’t get one in time, but it turned out well, so hey)

Ngl I would have done my own makeup too (considering the close proximity), except that I know my makeup skills is practically non-existent, so a professional it is. Thankfully nothing happened.

So that’s it. Those are the 4 reasons why my Malay wedding costs so little. If I had the reception, it would have added a mere ~RM4k or so to the total, but alas it was not meant to happen. I’m okay with the cancellation, but I know my parents are disappointed so that makes me a little bit sad.

How much was your Malay wedding?

Can you share how much was your Malay wedding, all-in-all? Were you happy with how things went?

If you are planning to get married in this pandemic, my tips in Wedding Planning During Covid-19: How Plans & Budgets Changed stands – (1) expect plans to change, and change often and (2) try not to make any large non-refundable deposits.

What would you add to that? If YOU are planning a Malay wedding, what’s your biggest challenge at the moment? Let me know in the comments section!

Related: [PERSONAL] 5 Thoughts I Have About Marriage (and Money Management)

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6 Comments

  1. Congratulations again on your wedding! About those wedding cards.. Any chance you can upcycle into personalised Raya cards? Paste paper on privy/unnecessary details and scribble your Raya wishes on it.

  2. Congratulations again to you and your hubby, Suraya! Both of you are lucky to have each other 🙂

    That RM5k+ you REALLY spent on your MCO wedding is amazingly low. Other than the MCO reason, I think you planned it very well.

    Back in 2009, my hubby and me spent about RM20K on our wedding.

    I love your wedding dress and shoe, so lovely and elegant.

    Enjoy the companionship!

    1. RM20k for non-pandemic wedding is IMPRESSIVE, I think you know a thing or two about budgeting for an affordable wedding in Malaysia haha. Thanks for the compliments and well-wishes Michelle <3

  3. Congratulation to both of you! Welcome to the club! I agree with Michelle, not only you planned it very well, you managed both parties quite well. I guess you use the -talk to my hand magic. Usually, people would say, this thing right here is once in a lifetime, so must do this, do that (onion aunties) Plus getting married these days, you have a lot of options, the matters is you wanna go big or you wanna do it your own way. If I had the chance to go through the process all over again, I’ll probably go it my own way (of cause with the same women :)) again, congratulation & enjoy the new journey ya.

    1. Thanks D. Eduardo for the well-wishes 🙂 I think I learned a lot about managing expectations during the planning process. In any case, I got my parents and parents-in-law full blessing and support, so I’m happy with how things went <3

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