November 19

Wedding ang bao rate? I paid $0 for 2. Here’s how.


You might not want to learn from me. In 2022, I went for 2 weddings, one at a country club, and the other at a hotel, and gave a combined total of $0.

I’m secretly hoping those that invited me aren’t reading this article.

You may be silently judging me, but if you’re keen to know what you can give for your own wedding Ang Bao rates, look no further.

But if you yourself want to know why you can give whatever amount you want, here’s why I gave no money too.

The short answer to how much you give?

Look at the number of stars to the hotel.

Hotels Rates
4 star hotels such as Village Hotel in Bugis $150
5 star hotels such as Fullerton Hotel $180
Restaurants $120
Country clubs $130

For others such as restaurants and country clubs, try checking how much a typical table meal costs there.

This helps you to cover your costs.

Give what you want, not what they want

Unfortunately, sometimes, ‘friends’ may invite you because they want to cover their costs of hosting the wedding.

But you’re not there to cover their costs. They wanted a big wedding, in a fancy hotel, and if they can’t afford it, then its not your responsibility to help them afford it.

I know, this sounds brutal.

Especially if its a friend.

But as you grow up, and you slowly find yourself drifting from your friends in primary or secondary school, or even in polytechnic, that random invitation to join their wedding, may be more of a calculated cost to cover the expenses of the wedding.

wedding ang bao rate
Nah, those friends you met at preschool, aren’t those you’re obligated to.

After all, remember that your friends also have parents to answer to.

Parents may want a big fancy wedding in a hotel to show ‘face’, but your friend may not have that many close friends to invite. He slowly expands his circle, and that’s how you’re included.

Even though you’ve probably not had any deep conversations with him over the past few years. Or even decade.

Trust me.

You outgrow your friends, but sometimes your ‘friends’ come back when they need something.

Be selective about the weddings you attend

You can say no to the invitations that are issued to you.

You don’t have to go for every single one you’re invited to.

You will slowly find yourself bankrupted. After all, if you’re going to the regular Cai png store every day, just to save money, why go to weddings every other month?

Especially if you’re not close to the person?

Simply saying,

I’m sorry. I would love to be there, but am occupied that weekend.

wedding ang bao rate
Some friends, may end up draining you

It sounds reasonable enough.

Here’s how I gave $0

Know how there’s e-angbaos these days?

I just walked into the weddings, registered my name, and then sat down.

There’s the little box where you can drop the angbao. I ignored it.

Am I too kiam siap?

Yes maybe. But at that point in time, I was transiting from a salaried, full-time worker to running a business, and having to pay people made me tighten my belt, and realise that I didn’t want to pay for things that I was invited to, and wasn’t comfortable paying that much for.

A friend once told me,

You shouldn’t be responsible for covering people’s costs.

Here’s why I gave $0

More importantly, if we were truly friends, they would understand that things were hard on me, financially, and that I couldn’t just splash $150 on their weddings, with no certainty of future income. 

I’m happy to say that we are still friends. 

Besides, they can’t possibly check who has donated or given what. If your friend is going down the list, marking out who has given what, you probably don’t want to be his friend too. 

Would you? 

You too, aren’t.

Before you go for the wedding, you will always have friends who will ask you,

How much you giving ah?

That produces a lot of pressure to conform – to show that you too have the money.

Nah, forget that.

Don’t suck up to their game.

You will always lose.

Simply saying,

I’m not too sure.

And directing the question back to them, can help.

Just relax

As you grow older, you will slowly realise that there are always ‘should-s’ and ‘must-s’ and the obligations.

But stop worrying about what you should do.

Lead a life focussed on your goals, and think about your obligations to others later. If you don ’t take care of yourself first, no one will take care of you.


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