This is a follow-up post 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 MCO wedding budget breakdown article. Yes yes I see your requests 😛
As the title said, I spent a total of RM12,062.09 for my MCO wedding. This was an incredibly low amount, as far as weddings go – I originally budgeted RM35,000-RM45,000 for it.
But there’s a reason why it was so low. Four, in fact, 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.
But just because the events didn’t happen, doens’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
Therefore the event venue cost was 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 weddings – 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. 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 low MCO wedding costs 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 MCO 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.
Did you have an MCO wedding?
If yes, can you share how your MCO wedding went, and what you would advise to couples planning to get married while the pandemic is still happening? 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 an MCO wedding, what’s your biggest challenge at the moment? Let me know in the comments section!