SINGAPORE - Prepare your red packets, wedding season is in full swing.
December is the most popular month for nuptials, The Straits Times discovered in its check of marriage statistics in the past decade. The statistics are published by the Department of Statistics annually.
Last year (2016), 3,210 marriages were registered in December, making up 11.5 per cent of all marriages for the year. With the exception of October 2010 and November 2011, December has punched above its weight in the past decade.
Couples and wedding planners say the last month of the calendar year is picked for practical reasons, mainly because work slows down and the festive season gets into gear, so it is easier for couples to take time off to get married.
Marketing executive Lim Shi Han, 27, is saying 'I do' to teacher Kenji Li, 27, on Dec 9, as it is very difficult for her fiance to take leave during the busy school term .
Marketing manager Tang Ji Ching, 29, and civil servant Ng Kaijie, 29, also chose a December wedding to "optimise" their leave, alongside the Christmas and the New Year public holidays, for a long honeymoon. They were headed for a three-week backpacking trip to South America following their wedding on Saturday (Dec 2).
Architect Joel Lau, 29, got hitched at the weekend (Dec 2 and 3). The couple chose a December wedding as his wife, architect Samantha Quek, 27, loves Christmas decorations and the festive mood in December.
Jan 7 and Nov 11 most popular wedding dates this year
The most popular dates for marriages so far this year (2017) have been Jan 7 and Nov 11. There were 341 civil marriages registered on Jan 7 and 336 on Nov 11, compared to an average of 61 civil marriages a day, a Registry of Marriages spokesman told The Straits Times.
Ms Tina Farn, director of events at the InterContinental Singapore, said Nov 11 was popular as it is an easy date to remember, especially for celebrations and wedding anniversaries.
Generally, repetitive dates like Oct (10/10) and Nov 11 (11/11) get the thumbs up from couples. As for Jan 7, Ms Herlina Makmur, wedding planner at Chere Weddings & Events, said when pronounced in Mandarin, it is yi (one for January) and qi (seven), which sounds like "together''. So 1/7/17 sounds like "together, together''.
She said: "The date sounds like a good day for two to become one."
For manager Sarah Tan, 28, Nov 11 was an easy date to remember for her nuptials. But because so many other couples chose that date for their weddings, a few of her guests could not attend hers as they had another to go to. What's more, popular singer songwriter Ed Sheeran also held a concert that day and a few friends had long bought tickets to the show.
Besides the leave factor, the end of the year just seems to be a more joyful season to celebrate weddings.
Ms June Choong, director of events and sales at the Grand Hyatt Singapore, said: "People are generally more relaxed towards the end of the year and geared towards celebrations. "
But while December was the star for most of the last decade, it was upstaged on two occasions - October 2010 and November 2011, in particular, Oct 10, 2010 and Nov 11, 2011, with the dates 10/10/10 and 11/11/11.
Wedding planner Herlina Makmur of Chere Weddings & Events said, for some couples, 10/10/10 signified "shi quan shi mei" in Mandarin, meaning perfection. On Oct 10, 2010, 724 couples tied the knot, while 553 couples said 'I do' on Nov 11, 2011.
The average is 61 civil marriages a day, a Registry of Marriages spokesman said.
While December is the most popular month, April and August are the least so. Last year, there were 1,728 marriages in April and 1,405 in August.
Geomancer Adelina Pang of Adelina Pang Fengshui Consultancy noted that the Chinese avoid holding weddings during the Hungry Ghost month, which starts in August, and during Qing Ming, or Tomb Sweeping Day, which falls in April. These dates, being related to ghosts and death, tend to be seen as inauspicious.
The wedding activities pick up in the months following the Hungry Ghost Festival.
There is also a downside to getting married during a popular time, however. You have to vie with more couples to book a venue for the wedding banquet. Some guests end up with multiple invitations on the same day and have to choose whose big day to witness.
As new bride Ms Tang said: "The end of the year is really wedding season."