[Survey]: Average Malay Wedding Cost Breakdown – Guide for Couples

As a follow up from my previous article on the Malay Wedding Cultural Procedures, you’re probably wondering about:

  • How much does a typical Malay wedding cost?
  • How many rings are involved? Do I have to buy them all?
  • What are the costs involved in each stage?
  • Can we skip a few procedures to save costs?

Words on the streets are that the average Malay wedding cost is circa RM 50,000 in Klang Valley. Seems a little steep. Is this true? Is this budget not enough? Or is this budget way over the top?

To find out, I interviewed 5 of my friends who are already married (not longer than eight years ago). These 5 friends of mine are as average as a Malaysian can be.

I consolidated my findings of the average Malay Wedding costs in this handy article.

Let’s dive straight into my survey’s summary:

Summary of Malay Wedding Costs from My Survey

My findings from test sampling five wedding costs will show a realistic range of Malay wedding expenditures from the families on a tight budget to the ones who want to splurge:

From my test sample for the all-in Malay wedding cost;

  • The median (middle) value for the Malay wedding cost is RM 50,830. If you’re an average Malaysian, this is the number that you’ll be benchmarking.
  • The lowest wedding cost was RM 32,100, held back in 2018.
  • The highest wedding cost was RM 113,300, held back in 2015.
  • That’s a whopping RM 81,200 difference between the cheapest and highest from my test sample.
  • Friend 1, 2, 3 & 4 portrays a relatable Malay wedding expenditure for most Malaysians, and Friend 5 went a little all-out to portray wedding costs on the higher end of the spectrum.
  • The largest expenditure is the wedding ceremony itself (Sanding) with a median cost of RM 33,000, which is (61%) of the overall wedding budget.
  • The Akad Nikah is the second-highest wedding cost with a median value of RM 18,600. This takes 34% of the overall wedding budget.
  • Both the Merisik & Tunang stages’ costs are minuscule in comparison to the overall budget at a percentage of less than 4% each.

Rings: How Many Does the Guy Need to Buy?

There typically will be 3 rings (cincin) in total, but not all are compulsory. For the confused fellas out there Googling this very topic, here are some visualizations of what each ring (typically) look like:

Cincin Merisik: Source
Cincin Tunang: Source
Cincin Nikah / Wedding Band: Source

Which ring is the most expensive out of the three? From my survey, there are 2 scenarios:

Ring NameEnglish DefinitionScenario 1Scenario 2
Cincing Merisik
(aka cincin belah rotan)
Survey ringCheapest, simple gold ringCheapest, simple gold ring
Cincin TunangEngagement ringMost Expensive out of the 3: big solitaire diamond ringMid-Range: Either a smaller diamond ring or another gold ring
Cincin NikahWedding ringMid-Range: Wedding band ringTop of the Range: diamond ring
Table of Malay Wedding rings & their rank

The chart below is the spread of the 3 cincin costs from each of my test sample:

From my test sample, everyone skipped 1 ring, either the Merisik ring, or the Tunang ring, or even the Nikah ring.

Friend 5 went a little all-out on their Nikah ring.

If you’re shopping for rings and would like to know a price as a rough benchmark, the median (middle) value among my survey sample for the 3 rings are:

Rings Takeaway:

  • The above values are findings from my survey; it is a mere guide. You can, of course, spend more or less in any of the rings that you choose with your partner.
  • Fellas, don’t feel pressured to spend so much on rings. Have a budget and communicate with your partner on each side’s expectations and work out a fair solution.
  • I advise the bride and groom to communicate and have a budget before you go into the jewelry shop. Some salespeople will use guilt to try to make you spend more than your budget.
  • Friend 5 skipped their Engagement ring and reallocated the budget for that into their Nikah Ring.

Merisik: The Cost

All of my test subjects skip the Merisik procedure, but most (4 out of 5) of them still get the bride a Merisik ring.

The median (middle) value of the rings from my sample is RM 800.

Meminang (Tunang): The Cost Breakdwon

Tunang CostsFriend 1 (2018)Friend 2 (2018)Friend 3 (2013)Friend 4 (2013)Friend 5 (2015)
Cincin Tunang CostRM 800RM 0RM 0RM 1,500RM 0
Hantaran TunangRM 1,000RM 0RM 2,500RM 300RM 0
Total Tunang CostRM 1,800RM 0RM 3,500RM 1,800RM 0
Survey of Tunang Cost from test sample

Tunang (Engagement) Cost TakeAway:

  • The median (middle) value for the Tunang process is RM 1,800.
  • For those of them who decide to practice the Dulang Hantaran, says that the gifts are usually inexpensive sweets.
  • Friend 1 said that most of his Dulang Hantaran gifts are stuff that they can use for their wedding ceremony later; like kain (fabric) Sanding.
  • Friend 2 & 5 skipped the Tunang (Engagement) process altogether because their logic is that they knew that they’re getting married, so this ‘booking’ process seemed unnecessary.

Akad Nikah: The Cost Breakdown

Akad Nikah CostsFriend 1 (2018)Friend 2 (2018)Friend 3 (2013) Friend 4 (2013)Friend 5 (2015)
Nikah AttireAbsorbed in hantaran tunangRM 930RM 800RM 600RM 2,500
Cincin Nikah/ Wedding BandRM 1,800RM 2,500RM 12,000
Mas KahwinRM 8,000RM 5,000RM 1,000RM 3,000RM 1,000
Wang HantaranLumped in mas kahwinLumped in mas kahwinRM 10,000RM 10,000RM 20,000
Dulang Hantaran Nikah value (1 side)RM 5,650RM 5,500RM 9,000RM 5,000RM 12,000
Total Akad Nikah CostRM 16,450RM 13,930RM 20,800RM 18,600RM 47,500
Survey of my friend’s Akad Nikah Costs

Akad Nikah Key Findings:

  • The median (middle) value for the Akad Nikah is RM 18,600.
  • Friend 1 was smart. His Nikah attire was already part of the gift in the Dulang Hantaran Tunang in the previous step.
  • Friend 1 & 2 have no Wang Hantaran because it is lumped together in their Mas Kahwin.
  • Wang Hantaran is based on the bride’s request. It is totally negotiable. Stay classy though fellas throughout the negotiation process 😎
  • The Dulang Hantaran gifts between the bride and groom are typically matched in total value on both sides.

The bride and groom are legally married at this stage! Woop! The next step is the Bersanding stage (wedding ceremony):.

Sanding (Ceremony): The Cost Breakdown

Sanding (Ceremony) CostsFriend 1 (2018)Friend 2 (2018)Friend 3 (2013) Friend 4 (2013)Friend 5 (2015)
LocationShah AlamKLJohorPutrajayaShah Alam
Invited People 1,000 pax1,000 pax2,000 pax600 pax1,000 pax
Cloth for entire familyRM 0RM 950RM 1,500RM 1,000RM 1,000
Sanding (Wedding) clothesRM 0 (reuse Nikah attire)Package RM 3,500RM 2,500RM 500RM 2,500
Invitation cards
(kad jemputan)
RM 300RM 600RM 950RM 500
Door gifts RM 3,200RM 7,600RM 7,500RM 1,500RM 1,000
Bride’s make upRM 0PackagePackage with cateringRM 400RM 500
PhotographerRM 0PackageRM 500RM 2,000RM 5,500
Event space (venue & decor)RM 3,350RM 3,350RM 0RM 6,500RM 21,500
Food CateringRM 8,000RM 20,000RM 20,000RM 8,000RM 28,000
TotalRM 14,850RM 36,000RM 32,975RM 20,400RM 65,000
Survey of my friend’s Wedding Ceremony Costs

Sanding (Ceremony) Key TakeAway:

  • The average invitees are around 1,000 people. The fewer people you invite, the cheaper the wedding.
  • The median (middle) Sanding cost is RM 32,975.
  • The highest expense is usually the food catering with a median cost of RM 20,000.
  • Event space rental and decor is the second and third-biggest expense.
  • Friend 1 really knows how to save money by conducting his wedding at his grandma’s spacious kampung lawn for free and he was lucky that his aunts and uncles are all cooks at restaurants. Catering costs were only raw ingredients.

Where Cost Can be Cut Down

Tip 1: The Merisik & Tunang processes can be skipped if you really want to save money.

Tip 2: People who are planning to get married during this Covid-19 pandemic could potentially save money as you can’t have massive gatherings anyway. There will be huge potential savings in:

  • Smaller venue, cheaper rental price.
  • Lower catering budget
  • Fewer invitation cards to send out
  • Fewer door gifts to buy

Tip 3: For couples who are not so fussy, you can potentially save money by getting wedding packages (food + venue + decor + photographer).

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. This is my survey to get a rough idea of how much a typical Malay wedding costs. It is right on the money with what I expected:

Expectation Wedding CostsMedian Survey Wedding Costs
RM 50,000RM 50,830

From my survey, the trend shows that the groom pays for the wang hantaran and dulang hantaran gifts, but the family will help out with the sanding ceremony costs.

Fellas, RM 50,830 is a lot of money. It’s better to start saving, like right now if you haven’t already.

Check out my Robo-Advisor article if you don’t know where to start when it comes to investing money.

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  2. Informative and detailed post! Although you mentioned for the bros, it is also informative for the ladies as well. After all, planning a wedding need both brains and agreement especially on the finance part.

    I do feel that your research can be more precise such as defining your ‘average guys’ by putting their estimated income at the time of wedding or whether they take loans or not.

    Also, I can’t seem to find dates on your blog post. That might be necessary for finance post as prices don’t always stay the same. Thanks!

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