It'll cost more to say 'I do' from July 1 as fees rise

A couple holding their marriage certificate as they pose for a photo at the Registry of Marriages.
A couple holding their marriage certificate as they pose for a photo at the Registry of Marriages.PHOTO: ST FILE

Marriage registration fees will go up from Saturday. Foreigners will be the most affected by the hike, with their fees increasing by nearly three times.

The Registry of Marriages (ROM) announced on its website that couples where at least one party is a Singapore citizen or a permanent resident (PR) will have to pay $42 for registration, compared with the $26 they pay now.

Foreigners who now pay $128 on weekdays, $198 on weekends and $298 on popular days will pay a flat $380 from July 1.

An ROM spokesman said the increase was to keep up with rising operational costs, and to ensure that service quality is maintained.

The last review of prices was done in 2005.

When asked about the steeper price increase for foreigners, the spokesman said the priority for ROM is to ensure that marriage fees remain affordable for Singapore citizens and PRs.

Most Singaporean couples The Straits Times approached were not overly perturbed by the price increase.

  • 2005 The year the last review of ROM prices was done.

Registered nurse Samantha Jacob, 26, who is set to solemnise her marriage on Sept 3, said she does not understand why the prices have risen by a significant amount, but would pay the higher price anyway.

She said: "I don't really get why it is such a big jump, but it is not outside my budget, so I would just pay it."

Web developer Stanley Lim, 28, whose solemnisation was in February, said the price seems reasonable, considering inflation.

He said: "My spouse and I feel that it is jus- tifiable as the cost of $26 has been like this for at least 10 years."

Dr Mu Zheng, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the National University of Singapore, said that the price increase is unlikely to have any significant long-term effect.

She said: "For people who already intend to get married, they will unlikely change their minds because of a $20 or a $100 increase in marriage fees. But it might affect the decisions of those where marriage is not a certainty. They may instead choose to co-habit or have other living arrangements."

Marriage rates of Singaporeans have decreased since the 1990s - 41.1 females out of 1,000 unmarried female residents aged 15 to 49 got married in 2015 compared with the 59.2 in 1990, while for males, the figure went down to 44.2 from 52.2.

The ROM spokesman said it has in place measures to assist couples who have financial difficulties, and is prepared to waive fees on a case-by-case basis.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2017, with the headline 'It'll cost more to say 'I do' from July 1 as fees rise'. Subscribe