老公作客文:拍拖結婚的價錢 – husband’s guest post: cost of dating and marrying in Hong Kong

We came back from Hong Kong just few days ago. It was amazing, even two typhoon couldn’t ruin this trip for us. In af1qippw_tm6rvzekgayuuptmdf2bjnxmibwf1ihdtfli-umeantime, while I edit our videos and prepare the gifts for giveaway winners, my hubby decided to contribute to this blog and write a post!

We are at the age our friends are getting married – one after another one. And Hong Kong weddings can be expensive. Not only the wedding banquet itself, but the whole dating, engagement and marriage itself. Looking at out friends and family in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and China we just had to share that very interesting phenomena.

Now when I think of it, Sing probably married me for all the possible savings. It all makes sense now.

But let’s see what he can tell you about cost of dating and marriage based on experience of people around us!

I am writing this article purely from a guy’s point of view. It’s hard to earn money in Hong Kong these days and I am sure a lot of guys will look at their wallet with an upset face after a date. This time I will give you guys a breakdown on dating and marriage so you can save your face in front of your lady.

Let’s have a full date from the morning.

A typical Hong Kong breakfast contains :

Luxury: Dim sum x 8 dishes = $20 x 8 = $160af1qipove0vk4m8bcsjjnmfpb7x8ygxfyvynmhsbpnnli-u

Regular: Congee (2x $28), fried items (2x $8) and fried noodles ($20) = $92.

Affordable: Hong Kong Cafe = Meal A (macaroni with soup and a toast) with ice milk tea x 2 = $64

My personal favorite is still the congee for some reason, not because of the price, it is purely the taste.

Then the main plan of the date is Disneyland! But before you get there, for people who live in Hong Kong island need get few changes to go to Disneyland.

Luxury: Taxi = $350 x 2, including bridges and tunnels

Regular = subway, exchange in Hong Kong station = $25 x 2

Affordable = Tram + ferry (lower deck) + subway from TST = $20 x 2

Don’t think I am cheap (he is – Lina) , my personal recommendation is the cheapest one because you get the tram and ferry at the same time!

Disneyland itself doesn’t have different price level but I do recommend you to look for different travel agencies website because sometimes they sell discounted tickets and meal deals, up to 20% off! At the end of the day, I don’t think two of you can walk out of Disneyland without contributing $1000 per person. But hey, at least lunch is in it.

So, you had fun at Disneyland and your exhausted bodies can’t wait to go somewhere for dinner.af1qipplcl95vozzsk4h82gcck7lqrroc1tmruiwwxa0i-u

Luxury: A proper continental buffer at a hotel restaurant = $1000 for two.

Regular: Spaghetti House 3 course dinner = $600 for two

Affordable: Temple street clay pot with oyster pancake and beer = $150 for two.

My suggestion is for the first few dates, let’s stick with the luxury opinion as new couple do deserve a moment of being fancy.

In total:

Luxury: $3860

Regular: $2742

Affordable: $2254

In summary, a fancy date can cost you over $3000, even if you exclude the theme park, it can easy be over $1000. The average salary of a college graduate is around $12000 to $15000. This is already 8% of their salary, imagine doing this 4 times a month, its already over the 1/3 of the incoming. (Romantic – Lina)

Now we move on to the next step, you finally feel the time has come and you want to propose to your goddess (love this term – Lina), here are the options of the engagement rings we have:

 Luxury: Cartier diamond ring = $50000

Regular: Luk Fook and Chow Tai Fuk diamond ring = $8000-10000

Affordable: No brand golden ring = $3000af1qipn_3zarnjx6ywmx1dctp5cpsaj3p0fflkuuhazri-u

For modern people, there is a pressure to show off the ring in front of your colleagues and relatives, therefore I believe the regular option with a slightly bigger diamond is the most popular option. No wonder I see so many Chow Tai Fuk commercials on buses. Remember: the price above did not include any amount of roses. They can be $15 a piece…so 99 roses means…you know… (you can only imagine why Sing proposed 2 years AFTER we got married; and no, I didn’t get any flower – Lina)

If you are luckily enough, you goddess accepts you proposal. Here is the big deal for guys:

  1. Courtesy fund to goddess’ parents = current standard price is $50000
  2. Banquet = $7000 per table of 12. Refundable because the gift money from the guests give usually $500-$800 in the red envelope. 
  3. Wedding dress and rings = $50000
  4. Wedding photoshoot = $25000 (in Hong Kong) 
  5. Honeymoon = $30000 (trip to Europe)

Since only the banquet cost is recoverable, the net spending will still be $160,000. This is equivalent a college grad’s one year salary before tax and living cost. This explains why not many teenagers can afford marriage (honey, teenage kids should not get married – said by a girl who got married at the age of 21).

On top of that, Asian thoughts of marriage is usually like: get married -> get a new home (10% for down payment these days in Hong Kong is at least $300,000, again that is 2 years of salary before tax), get pregnant (urban legend says it cost 4 millions to raise a child till 18 years old). How can you even make a baby with your parents behind the wall?! (‘Whatever floats your boat’ as they say – Lina).

It is a sad but true reality in Hong Kong that keeping a relationship is consider as a luxury. That is why many people can not or not willing to be in a ‘legal, real’ relationship. In my opinion, the biggest problem here is the traditions and customs that drives the cost up high. Sometimes I feel like its more important to find in-laws that will be on your side then your fiancee. Marrying a girl becomes like marrying the whole family. This is one of the reason why I don’t think I would be able to marry a local girl. (Gee, thanks honey, that doesn’t sound bad at all – Lina)af1qipp2cbsiisaxx-yfsgeotmduof5wl59jtbuxmqaqi-u

At the end I had to appreciate my wife because she is willing to have Cafe de Coral instead of Italian restaurant, so my wallet doesn’t hurt as much! (Have you seen prices in Spaghetti House? And that’s not even a fancy place! – Lina).

Now when I read the post, we kinda sound like pair of cheapasses. But we found each other to be cheap with.
It also shows that Sing is literally always counting something.

So what do you think guys? I do my best to respect traditions and customs, but some of them are insane, even for me! Would I want our child to follow this? Not really, if you have that much money to spend, use it as a down payment instead of bribing future in-laws or wasting money for 99999999 things.

Let us know in the comments! Or maybe you were the one in this situation? Would love to read your opinion! 

27 thoughts on “老公作客文:拍拖結婚的價錢 – husband’s guest post: cost of dating and marrying in Hong Kong

  1. Yeah, it’s the same in Singapore for Chinese weddings especially. Although dating can range from cheap to luxury. Usually a date would be dinner at a hawker center (cheap option) or at a restaurant (middle to expensive depending on which restaurant) and followed by a movie or some other activity like pubbing or disco. The Chinese wedding dinner is really a killer. As Sing said, the red packets from the guests usually can cover the cost of the tables but don’t bet on it. The cost of a table has gone up tremendously over the years. It used to cost S$500-S$800/table or 10 before tax, when I got married 20 years ago. Now it’s S$2,000-S$2,500/table of 10 before tax at a luxury hotel.


    1. Oh wow! We are so outdated with the prices! In Poland people try to give enough to cover ‘the plate’ – food they are going to eat etc. but I don’t think people should rely on the guests. We got only one red envelope from friends, the rest was wine. It’s OK with me but it can be a disappointment for people who expected to get their money back!


  2. Okay, so, wow, that’s a heck of an all day date! And the guy is expected to pay for everything? That’s crazy. Don’t women chip in at all?

    I mean, I know some American Princesses who believe that “a man should be prepared to pay for the pleasure of my company,” but most women I know would split the cost, at the very least. Or alternate who pays for meals.


  3. Wow! That is quite the punch in the wallet.

    I remember when living in Hong Kong, I would walk by wedding photoshoots from time to time and could never have imagined it costing that much.

    Here in America, most young weddings I’ve attended so far have just been simply held at their parents’ backyard. It’s interesting seeing the cultural difference.

    I also love a good Sing cameo article.


  4. My eyes were popping out untill I realized it is HKD… :p
    Yeah the Chinese ways are a bit hard on the wallet. Got to be wondering how I was so lucky that my wife even started dating when I was a poor broke down student (really, couldnt even pay food for her or go to the movies…)


  5. Sing, I can certainly see your point. I’ve heard people saying that the girls expects the man to pay everything. Maybe the first couple dates fair enough, but otherwise it seems like she is taking advantage of the man…


      1. Haha, love your soft rice eater expression.

        As my friends would say, take the girl or the guy out for climbing /hiking trips for the first few dates. If you think he/she is a jerk, just cut the rope or shove him/her off the cliff. Better still you wouldn’t spend too much money except for the bus fare to get you there and back. XD


  6. My husband’s friend from when they were both students at the University of the Philippines, never got married. I asked my husband why, and he said Juliano’s father had a gambling problem, such a bad gambling problem that he lost all the family’s money and even their house. After that, Juliano thought it was impossible for him to afford marriage.

    In my opinion, it’s a fault of Chinese culture to be so insistent on extravagance. I was lucky. I met my husband in the United States, and we got married there. Actually, I paid for most of the wedding. It was beautiful, but it didn’t cost much. Unfortunately, American weddings have become more extravagant–some of them. Others are quite simple.


  7. I guess it depends on the people too. I’m American/Australian and boyfriend’s a local. I make a decent salary but he’s a toy designer working for a local company so his is not too high. I never expected him to pay for everything, most or even half (especially if I wanted to do something more expensive).

    And now, 6 months into the relationship, we have had a lot of ‘dates’ that didn’t cost a lot – movies, local restaurants, picnic on the beach, walks on Lamma, walks in the Mei Foo park and using the old people workout machines 😉 , getting a drink at Pier 3 or 4 and sitting on the benches watching the view, swimming at the public pool, ferry trip to Park Island, etc. Yes, then there’s the Ocean Park trip, concerts, expensive dinners, trips to Vietnam and Taiwan, etc. But overall, I think there’s lots to do in HK without spending a lot of money 🙂

    Now, a wedding… No thanks, been there done that. I’d elope 😉


  8. I’m a little horrified how expensive a Sphaghetti dinner is in HK dollars.

    For any married couple, the best thing for themselves..is to spend it on the honeymoon trip. 2nd thing is at least 1-2 memorable dishes for guests to eat. No need to be a lavish banquet. Just memorable.

    The wedding dress..honest it’s just to make woman feel like a princess for 1 day. Nothing wrong with that….we just have to be realistic with a ton of money spent. Same for diamond ring. A lovely gold band will do.


  9. Here in Taiwan it really depends. I think it’s just cultural difference when guy feels responsible to pay the bills, however many of my friends still go dutch on dates. There are really a lot of ways to have a great time together without spending a lot especially when weather is nice. The good thing here is that food is pretty cheap. Me personally always just try to keep balance and don’t rely solely on my boyfriend. I admit dating in Asia it’s just different than in Poland or generally in Europe, but maybe it’s just because of more pressure from society…


  10. To the chagrin of my parents, we limited our wedding to 30 guests, inclusive of family. It was a tea time ceremony and we went on a short hike to the top of Mount Faber in Singapore with our guests. Then wedding drinks at the top of Marina Bay Sands. It didn’t cost too much but we spent meaningful time with all our guests. We believe in investing in the marriage more than the wedding.

    Of course my parents wished it was a grand affair so they could “show off” to more friends and family but they managed to get that with my younger sisters wedding. A lot of heartache and arguments erupted in the planning of lavish affairs as you can imagine…


  11. That sounds like a lot of pressure to put on a new relationship, never mind the family who I imagine is expected to help pay for at least some of the wedding expenses. I don’t know much about Hong Kong culture, other then the brief glimpse I got on my weekend trip there, but living in China I remember being told that if a couple was dating they were expected to get married. If costs of dating are anywhere near as high in China as in Hong Kong, then I understand the reason behind this. It sounds like a relationship is a huge investment.


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