Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Bali Wedding Preparation - Final visit to Designer Bridal Room/ Frequently Asked Question

Finally, after 2+ years of searching, the dress is finally sitting in my house.

Okay, actually not, I sent it for dry cleaning because I got an off-the-rack dress. It is actually NOT recommended by DBR. But who doesn't want to get married in a clean dress. So I took the risk. Will definitely let you guys know how it turns out.

I love my veil. If I have enough time, I would have added the lace trimming directly onto the dress

I got a bride-to-be who based in Singapore asking for advice on getting her gown from DBR. In fact, I was told that another bride also from Singapore actually bought a dress from DBR after reading my blog during my visit this time (And damn! they never give me referral fee :P) So I guess I shall share some commonly asked Q&A here.

1. Is it cheaper to get the dress from DBR compared to Singapore?

Well. I would say IT DEPENDS. They carry a variety of brands. Spanish brands like Pronovias tends to be more expensive and in the range of RM20k. My favourite, Lusan Mandongus and Annasul Y is around RM10k, with dresses from RM5k to RM20k.

Dresses I saw in Singapore starts from SGD3k, while those slightly branded or more fancy one easily starts from SGD5k or even SGD8k. So I guess after some currency conversion, it might work out slightly cheaper. Yet, please take note that you have to travel to KL to choose the dress and for fitting as well.

Back of the dress

2. How many trip did I make for my dress?

2 years ago, I have been to DBR 2 times. So I pretty much have quite a good idea of their offering and style. Even with comparatively good understanding, I made 5 trips for my dress.

1st trip - Choosing the dress. I sort of decided on the dress after the first trip but they didn't took my measurement. Perhaps they want to allow the bride to really think through it?

2nd trip - This trip is to double confirm the dress, I tried a few more but eventually still decided on the original dress. Measurement taken.

I think if you are very certain of the dress and have allocated abundant time at DBR, you might able to combine first and second trip.

When I need to pick up my dress and run

3rd trip - First fitting. If you are lucky, the dress might fits you like gloves and you can bring it back. However, don't count on it. If your dress is new, this might be few months away after your previous trip and chances are you changed. And unless you have taken your previous measurements with your actual wedding shoes and lingerie, the measurements are not going to be accurate.

4th trip - I made an additional trip for 2nd alteration and 2nd fitting because the inner most layer of my dress is a body hugging mermaid style and they need to get the seamstress down to look at it and work on it. Hopefully for most bride this is not necessary.

5th trip - Final fitting and collection.

Since I am making all these trips within such a small time frame (less than 2 months), it gets pretty tiring and costly, even I got the stay with my parents in KL.

I was told that the bride from Singapore brought back the dress to Singapore for alteration. So if you know some good seamstress, this might be the way.

3. Is the collection huge?

I guess they have around eighty to hundreds on the rack? Here's a shot of it (not allowed but my brother took it without them knowing :P). There's another side of the room with another half of the dress.

And finally, Here's the pictures of the corset on my dress.  

There are 3 waist stays (the 3 thick elastic band with white hook). One each for breast, waist, and hip. Waist stay and boning of the bodice is basically the main structure that holds a strapless dress onto your body (see here). But you will be surprise that a lot of strapless dress nowadays doesn't have these structure and expect the bust to hold up the dress, which of course they don't and you will see girls keep pulling up their strapless dress whole day.

The waist stay is adjustable, so that you can adjust the size according to your body condition on the actual wedding day. Girls body shape fluctuates throughout the month, so what might fit snugly 2 weeks ago might not fit at all 2 weeks later.

On top of that, you can lace the corset. This is not a "for show" constructs if it is made up of tough materials. The benefit of lace compare to the waist stay is that it is not elastic so you can really pull it in on the waist area to create a smaller waist. In fact, during the fitting, they pull in so much that I think my waist just got smaller by an inch, but I was hardly breathing :P.

Without corset, it is not possible for me to wear this dress.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bali Wedding Preparation: Photography, Videography and Makeup

Just got back from KL for another round of fitting, here's the sneak peak.

Things has been pretty crazy, there are just too much to do in too short a time.

I originally want to delay this post a bit. However, there are just too many people asking me the same questions, so I think should just put the answer up for once and for all :D. Yup, you are right, this is another post that's originated from question by readers, this time focus on photographer, videographer and makeup artist.

If you remember from last post, I mentioned that the Tirtha's Divine Sapphire package covers photography, videography and makeup. Then, you may ask, what's the hassle about all these again?

Actually, the most basic package that's offered by Tirtha is their Gracious Pearl (for Tirtha Uluwatu, USD3,000 + 15.5% tax) and Dazzling Amber packages (USD3,500 + 15.5% tax). These packages basically just provide items for the wedding ceremony, ie. usage of venue, wedding celebrant, choir, flowers, program and welcome drinks for guests. PS: there is an even more basic version which only involves venue rental but I don't think that's really relevant for most destination wedding. 

As you can envision, getting Gracious Pearl or Dazzling Amber package means more hassle than Divine Sapphire. But it also means more choices for you ~  you can get the cheapest vendor possible, or even free if your friend is doing you a favour; or you can go for the top of the range service provider.

Go Pro or Go Budget? The choice is yours. Image from graciebarra.com and www.supercoloring.com

Perhaps I should start with our current arrangement for photography and videography.

If you can remember, the Singapore package we signed up come with 6 hours of photography and videography. For photography, we are free to choose either Tirtha's in-house photographer J.Irwan (see his work here and here, David Burden (work can be seen here) and AXIOO (extensive collection of work here).

For videography, only the in-house videographer was included originally. However, after much persuasion and negotiation, Tirtha finally manage to help us get AXIOO as our videographer too at Tirtha videography price.

Now, if you had requested a price quote from AXIOO for photography/ videography, you will know that their photography service starts from IDR 40 million (~USD 4,000) and videography service starts from IDR 50 million (~USD5,000) for 12 hours of services.

Screenshot of Axioo photo. Beautiful, isn't it?

Tirtha allow us to use their service at almost half the standard price, so be prepared that there will be some differences between Tirtha package and Axioo standard package. Here are some of the thing that you may want to take note of:

  • If you are want to use AXIOO photography under Tirtha pricing, there is a compulsory requirement to take up their photo album at additional USD1100 + 15.5% tax. On the other hand, AXIOO standard package includes a 100-pages album.
  • The AXIOO-Tirtha photography package only include 1 photographer, while AXIOO standard package includes 2 photographer.
  • All softcopy of photographs are return in both packages
  • Photographer are assigned randomly. ie. we don't get to choose the photographer
  • Tirtha-AXIOO videography package only produces a 12-min video; while AXIOO standard package produces one 5-min trailer + 30-min video
  • 2 videographer are provided in both package
  • Videographer are assigned randomly.

As you can see, there is much less control/ more uncertainty with Tirtha-AXIOO package. However, the price is still significantly lower, thus we decided to go ahead with it. Stay tuned if you want to find out how it eventually turn out. You can like us on Facebook so that you can get instant notification whenever there is new updates

Since Mr has spent A LOT of time looking into videographer and photograher (so much that he actually thinking of starting a website to compile all the searches, but that's another story) and I have been constantly asked about our photographer, videographer and makeup choice, here's the list that we have came across, have been seriously considering and find it worth sharing.



Before AXIOO expanded into Bali, we were considering Ricky & Co. 2 years back. We met up with a couple of photographers arranged by our wedding planner that time (Varawedding) and find the people in Ricky's picture really pops out.

We also met with Danny Halim and Photofactory.  Their work is also not bad, but our eyes were caught by Ricky's. It wasn't cheap to engage either of them. Their rate is around USD2k for 8 hours service 2 years ago. Not sure how much it has increased now. It will also be way more expensive, perhaps a thousand more, if you want to engage Ricky to be your photographer.

Screenshot from Ricky. I love how the people especially prominent in his photo.

On the budget end, you might want to check out Bali Wedding Photography, where 2 hours of photoshoot start from USD 275 and around USD 1k plus for 8 hours of work.


Mr is extremely particular about videography - I guess he has this secret dream of becoming a director that never got fulfilled. :D So when we almost decided on a wedding in Bali, the first and probably last research he did is on videographer (=.=)

Mr like cinematography style of filming, which means there are a lot of editing to make the video more interesting, but might lose a lot of information a long the way. The few videographer we considered are of this style. If you are looking for someone to capture your day from the beginning to end, perhaps you might need to look for someone else.

Top of the list is AXIOO. You can indulge on their collection of interesting video here.

Oh yeah, in fact, there was another videographer that's actually above and beyond the typical wedding videography ranking: Mayad Studio. Mayad Studio is actually based in Philippines and is internationally well recognized. They even did training in Singapore! Their wedding videography package was USD5000 two years back, and on top of that, we will need to pay for flight, accommodation, and food for 3-4 people. Hmm, way over our budget. But their standard is really really high.

Another good choice we are considering if we can't get AXIOO is Bali Metro. I will say they are pretty much on par with AXIOO in terms of videography, although Mr thinks that AXIOO is slightly better. Bali Metro 8 hours and 12 hours of photography is around USD 2-3K, slightly more affordable than AXIOO.

Make Up Artist

I didn't go for Tirtha makeup artist, even though it is included in the package. Tirtha refunded us half the value of the makeup artist, which is then deducted from other spending we incurred.

The main reason that I didn't choose Tirtha is because I find their make up is on the natural side. This is strictly my own preference to have smokier eye makeup and more sculpted look. If you are looking for natural look, then it might be your choice.

Another reason is that their makeup is quite pricey, at USD 450 + 15.5% for one time make up and USD 550 + 15.5% for full attend. Even for my case, the full attend make up is included in the package, I would need to fork out USD 280 + 15.5% for make up trial if I want it and if you need a change of hairstyle, that's additional USD 170 + 15.5%.

Makeup by Tirtha Artist

I would have gone with Tirtha makeup artist if I didn't bump into LONA. I like how they focus on the eyes and make the face more sculpted. And if you look at their before and after pictures carefully, you can find that they are able to correct things like uneven eyes, which I have. I find that most of the makeup out there will actually exaggerate the problem if they are not careful.

LONA bridal makeup start from $3million rupiah ( around USD 300) for their team or $4.5 million rupiah if you want to engage their art director. Touch up will cost another $1 million rupiah. Makeup trial by team is $2 million rupiah while makeup trial by director is $2.5 million rupiah. Their service is not cheap. But hopefully I get what I want. :D

Feel free to email me if you have any questions. We can figure out things together! 

Before and after by LONA


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bali Wedding Preparation - Tirtha Bridal: How Much Does It Cost?

I got an email from a blog reader today asking about the cost to get married at Tirtha Uluwatu. Since I have been thinking of writing something about the cost, so I turn the email into this blog post! :D

Actually, the answer to this question is very simple and comes in 2 words:

It Depends. 

It depends on:
  • How many guests do you plan to have?
  • To what extend do you want to cover your guests?
    (eg. Are you paying for reception only, or are you covering their hotel, air ticket, pre or post-wedding celebration?) 
  • To which level of extravagance are you envisioning for your wedding?
    (eg. Designer flowers arrangement, fireworks, endless entertainment, free flow of premium alcohol?)

Found this image online. Couldn't be more appropriate for this post. 

Ceremony Only or Zero Guests Scenario

Technically the cheapest you can get away is getting their Divine Sapphire Package at USD 6,006 (USD 5,200 + 15.5% tax) + Cost of your gown/ groom suit + Air ticket + Hotel. Divine Sapphire Package includes photography, videography, makeup and wedding ceremony in Tirtha. It is pretty much all you need for a simple wedding with no reception.

Standard flowers arrangement. Pictures courtesy from Tirtha.

Basic Reception Cost

Cost will quickly escalates if you want to have your reception in Tirtha. The menu starts from USD 65 + 15.5% tax per person and non alcoholic drink package starts from USD 14 + 15.5% tax for 3 hours. The most premium alcoholic drink package cost USD 65 + 15.5% tax per person for 3 hours.You can consider getting a la carte drinks if your guests are not big drinkers.

If you are from Singapore and have 50~70 guests, you can consider taking their Singapore 50 pax Package (SGD17,800 nett) or Singapore 70 pax Package (SGD19,800 nett) that includes everything from Divine Sapphire Package plus food and 6 hour non-alcoholic drinks for 50 or 70 pax. You will need to fork out extra for alcoholic drinks.

The advantage of taking Singapore package is that they provide a wedding planner that help you source for almost everything you need such as hotel for guests, pre-wedding, post-wedding events, makeup for guests and run the logistic on the day. Frankly, I find the extra help useful, even I have done tons of research and work myself beforehand. You can find the details of Singapore package here.

It will be slightly cheaper if you have a morning + lunch celebration compared to evening + dinner celebration due to lesser alcoholic drinks and entertainment options. Just be careful of 1 pm ceremony because it is very hot. 

Pictures of food from Tirtha Facebook

Basic is Not Enough for You? Here's the Way to Burn Money.

Given that this is Bali, the charm is in the evening celebration. Especially for Tirtha Uluwatu, you might even get some magnificent sunset photoshoot over the cliff.

The bulk of the cost for evening celebration comes mainly from the entertainment. Figure USD 1,000 for band, USD 1,500 for DJ, USD 1,500 for fireworks, couple of hundreds here and there for Balinese dance, Fire dance, Kecak dance; throw in a couple hours of alcoholic drinks package, you might be looking at additional $10,000 expenditure.

Another variable cost is the flower. All packages in Tirtha includes flower for ceremony, bride bouquet and groom corsage. If you are having reception there, they also includes flowers for your table. Of course the flowers are on the simpler side. If you want to upgrade the flowers, sky is your limit! :D 

And if you are particular with photography and videography and want to engage the best, each of them can set you back couples of thousands dollars.

Fancy some designer flowers? Sky is the limit to you. Pictures from Tirtha Bridal Facebook

Other Non-Tirtha Related Expenditure

Everything I have mentioned now is just the cost for ceremony and reception alone. You will have to consider the cost of hotel, flights, attire, rings, jewellery etc. As well as whether you want any pre and post wedding celebration.

Just to give you an idea of expenditure: A friend of mine had her wedding in Tirtha Ulutwatu and then move to a hotel for reception spent around SGD 20,000 for 40+ guests.

For us, we foresee we will spend around SGD 22,000 at Tirtha alone for morning celebration and lunch reception. We will spend another SGD 8,000 for our guests accommodation, transportation, airticket for our immediate family and a welcome dinner for all. These exclude attire, ring, jewellery etc.

I guess that's all the cost I can think of for now. Free free to email me if you have other cost or non-cost related questions. I am more than happy to help if I can. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bali Wedding Preparation: Real Life Updates of Guest Accommodation - Harris Bukit Jimbaran & Hidden Valley

I would like to express my utmost gratitude to Alex, who has made this update possible.

Alex, who is going to have his wedding at Tirtha one month after mine, contacted me after bumping into this blog during his research. Since then we have been sharing our experience and findings on Tirtha wedding arrangement, which I promise I will sort them out and share later on.

Alex went to Bali to do his 2nd scouting (so dedicated, isn't it?) for Tirtha and more importantly, accommodation for guests. Harris Hotel Bukit Jimbaran is among his list, but he is more eager to find a villa to accommodate his guests. After all, this is Bali, why would one pass a chan

Without further ado, here comes the pictures. All these pictures are taken by his phone camera, but they are still amazing, isn't it?

First, some overall shot of the hotel. Looks not bad, not the fanciest but clean and tidy.
Outside view of Harris Bukit Jimbaran
Pool view room

Here's the pictures of the room. They are of decent size. Probably consider small in Bali? Room have basic amenities - "toothbrush, toothpaste, hair dryer, shampoo, locker, minibar, 2 free bottles of water, kettle". Alex alerted that he found ants in the room.

Standard room

He also shared with me regarding the suites available. There are 8 in total, all located at the same floor. Each suite has a living room and is interconnected with another standard rooms. It is great for family, however I can't imagine the headache in sorting out the rooming arrangement if I choose these. So I give up.

Here's the pictures of the suites.

Suite room

Living room at the suite

Living room at the suite

Breakfast are of acceptable standard with many varieties. Pastry are good.

Harris Cafe
Of course the highlight of the hotel is its rooftop lounge. According to Alex, the atmosphere was good with music playing, lying beds, and big round sofa at the centre can cater for large group.

The photos taken with his phone looks almost like what was shown on the website.

Small chapel like structure at the rooftop

Rooftop lounge

Another angle of the rooftop lounge
I asked him to check out the spa at Harris Bukit Jimbaran as well as the facilities surrounding it, and he gladly obliged (Thank you soooo much! Alex.)

Spa at Harris Bukit Jimbaran is more expensive than what they can get outside, but not as exorbitant as in the high end hotel. Figure 250,000 rupiah for an hour massage. Massage in Bali ranges from 50,000 rupiah at road side establishment to 1,000,000 rupiah in out-of-the-world hotel. So I guess you pretty much get what you pay for. The feedback from Alex regarding the massage was "good but not great". Yet, they "fell asleep towards the end". I will take that as a good sign?

I also asked him to check out surrounding facilities. Apparently there are 2 minimart closeby - K Mart and Post Mart, a salon cum massage store around 12 min walk and a Kat Kichen restaurant next to Harris.

Ok, that's all for Harris for now.

Alex's main focus for this trip is to find a villa for his guests. He is having Harris as his back up plan because most of the villa can't fit all this guests in one place and a lot of them have exorbitant prices!

Thankfully for him, he manage to find a boutique hotel with a mixture of villa and hotel rooms set in a close compound - Hidden Valley Resort Bali. It is something like Abi Bali, which I mentioned previously, with a more wallet friendly price-tag.

The cheapest pool view room starts from USD 50 nett including breakfast, while the more expensive sea view (!) room is USD 60 nett. They also have choice of villa starting from USD 112 nett for 1 bedroom or 116 nett for 2 bedroom.

Hidden Valley hotel
This hotel is looks secluded, as oppose to Harris right in the middle of road. And with relatively less number of rooms (26 hotel rooms, 1 VIP executive suite, 2 family suites, 7 double storey villa and 3 single storey villa), you might have the whole place to yourself!

Alex also had his lunch there, reviews: Awesome food! I guess you can arrange all the welcome dinner, post wedding party at the same place. They also have a spa too!

I won't post too much pictures of it here (since I don't have them also, just ripping it off from their website), but you can go over and check it out at their gallery.

The hotel is up and running, the villa is the midst of final touch up, and will be done by end of Dec or early Jan, which I think is a bit too close for my wedding. And I have paid down payment for Harris. Or else, it would be a very good choice.

That's all for now. For those who want to know more, feel free to email me or Alex directly. We are more than happy to share info.

Recently I found out another of my friend is going to get married at Tirtha too! (Yup, that's on top of the one who already did in last October). Perhaps we should start a Tirtha Facebook support group soon! :D

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bali Wedding Preparation - (Re)visit to Designer Bridal Room 2/ Update on Dress

Here's a sneak preview of the dress. Tada!

Yup! Eventually we/I chose the last dress because I really like the bodice. It is slightly dropped-waist. But due to the very well-constructed bodice (in fact, I think the bodices of Lusan Mandongus and Annsul Y are the best among the more than 20 bridal shops that I have tried), it accentuates the curve better than normal waist.

And I mentioned how I like the off-shoulder strap that covers my broad shoulder- as I swim quite a bit. It looks much nicer wearing it this way instead of what they show online.

The skirts is still pale in comparisons - mainly because I am so spoilt by the numerous layers of tulle and lace offered by this brand. It is really the standard cut for most bridal gown you will find out there. We are planning to add lace trimming or lace appliqués ourselves - if I can find the time.

The service is superb. I must gives kudos to Grace, who has been working with me these 2 rounds. After bothering them for so many times and trying on so many dress, I ended up with one of their cheapest dress (!!) yet the service is still warm and graceful. Grace looks extremely skilled when taking the measurements, I guess she knows some tailoring herself.

Going back for fitting 3 weeks later. Will be matching the dress with a cathedral length/ 300cm long veil. I loooove long veil. :D

I have the pleasure of having both my mum and grandma with me on the day. My mum was actually "taking leave" from the hospital to see me in the gown - she has been admitted for more than 2 weeks. It was a great day!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bali Wedding Preparation - (Re)visit to Designer Bridal Room 1

As with every other bride, the moment I know I am getting married, I am ready to get my gown. :P After so many years (well, literally that's true) of looking, I pretty much know that I am getting a Lusan Mandongus or Annasul Y at Designer Bridal Gown, KL.

So at the following week after the our decision, we flew down to KL for the gown. (Ok, this is exaggeration. It happened to be a long weekend, which I sort of planning going back to KL. So, might as well as check back with Designer Bridal Gown at the same time.) 

But, before that, I head down to Tanjong Pagar Road just to check out how much it would cost to rent. We went to Di Gio and Rico-a-Mona, the rental package cost $2,788 nett for former and $2,488+7% for later. Each package comes with: 
  • 1x wedding gown
  • 1x evening gown
  • 1x tea dress
  • 2x groom suit
  • 1x make-up and hairdo
They sounds like you are getting lots of stuff for your bucks. However, I know deep down inside I only need 1 wedding gown which cost $2,000 to rent alone. And given Mr's relatively tall size, most of the suit of the rack doesn't really fit him well. So after we left Tanjong Pagar road, I told Mr "Why don't I take $2,200 from the $2,788 to buy a gown when you take $588 to tailor make a suit?" Mr wears a suit quit often, so he can re-use them quite frequently.

And so off we went to KL.

The 6 dresses I tried during this visit. Numbered according to the sequence I tried them.

Things have changed slightly at Designer Bridal Gown, KL. Instead of unlimited trying of gowns, one can only try 5 gowns from the rack, unless you pay RM2000 "to join as member". The membership fee is deductible from your eventual dress purchases, and on top of that, you will get RM1000 discount off the price-tag immediately.

I guess this is to prevent people like me who went there trying all the gowns without buying :D

Oh, by the way, they keep quite a good record of all dresses each customer tried. So don't think you can cheat the system by going back multiple times. But if you can, let me know!

Actually, after going through the process, I think limited to only 5 gowns really makes one be very careful and selective when choosing the gown. And it really narrows down the choices so that it actually makes it easier to make the final decision.

Not surprisingly, all 5 gowns I chose was either Annasul Y or Lusan Mandongus (they do have other brands!). And I managed to pick them out without even looking at the labels. I guess I am really drawn towards the soft feminine style for these two labels.

Designer Bridal Room Online Store

The following pictures are taken from Designer Bridal Room online store. In case you don't know, they have an online store where price is cheaper than their showroom. Why people would buy a wedding dress online is something that baffles me. But what will stop me from buying the gown from their online store after trying the actual dress is also something they will need to work out.

And more importantly, the pictures shown at the online store doesn't do the gown justice at all! I have been stalking their online store since the launch and nothing caught my fancy.But things are totally different when I see them in the store.

Here's the first dress I tried. It has a satin bodice, a drop waist and skirt made up of countless layers of tulle. I always think that I can't carry drop waist due to my petite height (160 cm) but this dress proof me wrong. Apparently, with the correct cutting, drop waist can really flatter your body shape. However, the tulle skirting is a bit messy in my opinion and slightly too big to my liking. This dress is retailing at RM10,800 (or RM11,800) in the store and available for RM8,400 online.

Beryl by Lusan Mandongus

The second and the forth dress I tried are pretty similar - sweetheart strapless neckline, bodice that ends on the waist and A-line dress. I thought this cut would be the most easy to pull off.  But I was wrong. For some reasons, I look fatter in these 2 dresses and not flattering at all.

Candy. Snow by Annasul Y

Celeste by Annsul Y
The difference between these 2 dress are the different lace pattern on the bodice and the different lace appliqué on the dress - Candy has randomly distributed lace while Celeste has lace bordering the hemline. I prefer the bodice of Candy but the skirting of Celeste. In fact, I am not the only one. I was told that there was a bride order made her dress exactly just that: Candy bodice and Celeste skirt. Well, too bad I don't have enough time to order a new dress.

I remember both were retailing at RM8,800 in the store; but Candy was slightly cheaper at RM6,600 at the online store, while Celeste costs RM7,350.

Left: Bodice of Candy. Right: Bodice of Celeste

The third dress is most unflattering of all on my body. And I was quite disappointed because I am actually quite look forward to a bateau neckline and a trumpet cut. But oh well, one can't complain when she doesn't have a model body right? This dress is available online for RM6,600. Not sure how much does it cost in the store. I didn't bother to ask :P

Daralis. LM by Lusan Mandongus

I love the fifth dress. It is exactly the style I love most - understated luxury. I have this irritating preference for stuff that looks simple at the first sight, but in reality is much more complicated. This dress is just that. Underneath the simple layer of lace-appliqué tulle is actually a layer of lace that's so delicate that it melt my heart just looking at it. But such a luxurious fabrics was hidden from plain eye sight, giving only a slight shadow of it if you look carefully.

Caydee by Annsaul Y
Close up for Caydee
I almost getting this one, retailing at RM8,800 in the show room and available for RM7,600 online.

Then we thought, since I am getting a dress from Designer Bridal Room anyway, shouldn't we join the membership and try out a few more pieces just to make sure we didn't leave out The One?

Designer Bridal Room "membership"

That's what we did and I tried the last dress of the day - Citrus from Annasul Y's diffusion label Snow.

I must say that this picture does not do the design justice. The off shoulder strap looks way much better in real life. And it can camouflage my thick arms! :D

But what makes us really excited is the price tag. This dress is retailing at RM4,800 in the showroom and available at RM3,840 online. That's almost half price from other dresses that I have been trying!

Citrus. Snow by Annasul Y.
Close up view of Citrus
I love the bodice. I love the way the tulle was carefully and delicately weave into body-flattering pattern. However, the skirt is slightly disappointing in comparison. It is made up of 2 layers of tulle on top of so-so quality satin, not the rich creamy type that I experienced from them. There is not enough lace nor enough tulle to create the dreamy flowy feel that I associate with this brand. But I guess for this price, something has to be compromised, isn't it?

As we were approaching their closing time,  we decided to reserve this dress for now. Let see whether I will change my mind 2 weeks later, when the final decision is made. :D

Any questions on wedding preparation in Bali or about something I have written on the blog? Feel free to drop me an email or leave a instant message on my Facebook chat!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bali Wedding Preparation - Tirtha Weddings Singapore 1

Okay. Just sent my full guest list to Harris Hotel Bukit Jimbaran. Total guests count currently standing at 44 pax, including the bride and groom. The reason why I include the bride and groom into the total guest count is that, apart from the fact that they are the host and technically not the guests, their headcounts are still count in every single expense related to the wedding such as transportation, accommodation, wedding reception, drinks package etc.

We foresee there are still a couple of people joining, probably less than 5. That will bring our total guests to around 50 pax, which is around the number I expected.

If you remember the Singapore Package I mentioned in earlier post, you might recall that it is catered for 70 people at SGD 19,800 nett. I calculated how much each item will costs if it has been added separately according to the standard price charged by Tirtha Bridal in Bali. And this is what I get:

Value of Singapore Package, including 15.5% tax and USD to SGD conversion of 1.27. Wedding planner fee not included.

But more importantly, the Singapore Package includes a wedding planner (which is added as the last item in the Singapore Package and so insignificant that I almost overlook it). The wedding planner will not only liaise between you and Tirtha Bridal in Bali, she will also help you source for all other miscellaneous items such as accommodation and transportation for your guests in Bali, pre-wedding dinner, post-wedding breakfast etc. She will be flying there to Bali to ensure everything is handled and passed over smoothly. Moreover, if you have a post-wedding banquet in Singapore, she will also help you coordinate it. 

Given that Tirtha Weddings Singapore's wedding planning package costs SGD 4,800, and the actual day coordination will cost additional SGD 1,900, choosing the Singapore Package is a no brainer.

However, we only have 50 guests!

The cost for 50 guests, assuming that we take up all the services from them (which can be slightly more expensive than sourcing externally), will only be SGD 18k. 

Cost for 50 pax, assuming we are engaging Tirtha for all the same services. Price includes 15.5% tax and USD to SGD conversion rate is 1.27.
The cost didn't include wedding planner, which is quite substantial. But since I have done a lot of sourcing and researching by myself, the additional help might not be that crucial to me. In fact, I personally think that the actual day coordination will be much more helpful than the wedding planning stage for my case.  

We raised our concern regarding the higher price-tag to them. This is when the confusion I mentioned last time happened. In short, the person who has been liaising with us was on leave, the boss was not around to clear confusion, we have a very short time frame and we want to make sure the venue is secured, there is a promotion that's expiring, and Mr has a very specific request for the videographer that left unanswered. 

However, things cleared up when we met up with them again the next time. 

In fact, they recreated a Singapore Package for 50 people for us, which includes everything in the previous Singapore Package except that the food and beverage will be cater for 50 pax only. The package price is SGD 17,800 nett, with additional person at SGD 150. 

They also manage to get Axioo as our videographer as part of the package. Previously Axioo is only appointed as their photographer. But Mr love Axioo's video so much (see here) that he really push this through.

Our deposit for Tirtha Uluwatu

At this moment, we are still working on the details with them. We have up to 1 month before the wedding to finalize all the details. 

I think one thing that's quite different in working with Tirtha Weddings compared to typical wedding vendors in Singapore is that in Singapore, negotiation is only possible before you pay the deposit. After that, you are pretty much at the mercy of the merchant. At Tirtha, the deposit is only to book the venue, the details are being work out later. But I might be wrong. So let see how things work out and I will definitely keep updating! :D

Any questions on wedding preparation in Bali or about something I have written on the blog? Feel free to drop me an email or leave a instant message on my Facebook chat!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bali Wedding Preparation: Guests Accomodation - Harris Bukit Jimbaran

Okay, here's the first post regarding my wedding preparation in Bali.

Why the hotel? You may ask. It sounds so boring compared to venue, dresses, flowers etc.

Well, the venue has been chosen long time ago. Dress wise, based on my experience, I think my choice is pretty stuck with either Annasul Y or Lusan Mandongus. Flowers, I guess I can consider that later. And I did share some ideas on flowers and decoration on my previous post.

On the other hand, with only 2 months in hand, we pretty much need to invite our guests immediately. And guests need basic logistic info to make decision.

Anyway, once we confirmed with Tirtha Bridal that 12 Jan 2014 is available, I started looking for hotels for our guests.

There are lots of hotel in Bali, from very basic to ultra-premium. Seminyak/ Kuta has the highest concentration and selection of hotels. However, it's relatively north position and the notoriously heavy traffic between Kuta and Jimbaran means that getting from Seminyak/ Kuta to our wedding venue Tirtha Uluwatu will be a big hassle. In fact, according to one of my friends who stay in Seminyak and attended a wedding at Tirtha Uluwatu, she spent 1.5 hours on the road despite it is only estimated to be 41 min trip on google map.

Given ours is a morning celebration, we don't want half of our guests being late or missing the ceremony, don't we?

Relative geographic location of the main hotel hubs

Previously we stayed in Abi Bali Resort Villas & Spa which located in Jimbaran. We really like the cosy Bali villa style and its spacious room. Room rate of around USD 100 per night was decent for what we get. And I especially like their open air bathroom design. It was so much fun and relaxing to shower under the sky.

Abi Bali Resort Villas & Spa. Picture from their website

However, Abi Bali's manager is not responsive to our inquiry. We have sent multiple emails enquiring about possibility of group booking and group rate and they all went unanswered. As we can't wait for any longer, we move on looking for other hotels.

We focus our search around Jimbaran due to its close proximity to airport and relatively closer proximity to other sightseeing destinations. However, if you and your guests are well-loaded and looking for a getaway from everything else, hotels in Uluwatu (Banyan Tree Ungasan, Alila Uluwatu, Bvlgari, Karma Kandara, Semara Villas) and Nusa Dua (Conrad, Westin, St. Regis) might be your choice.

Jimbaran also has its own fair share of luxurious hotels such as Four Seasons, Ayana, Karma Jimbaran. But we don't think an ultra-luxurious hotel is necessary since the guests are going to spend most of their time at Tirtha Uluwatu instead of the hotel.

So as we go through the list at Tripadvisor, a relatively economical hotel pop up high in the ranking list among the luxurious brand name - Harris Hotel Bukit Jimbaran.

Harris Hotel Bukit Jimbaran
Compared to other well-ornated Balinese villa, the architecture of Harris Hotel Bukit Jimbaran is pale in comparison. However, it is a new 4-star hotel with 200++ rooms and full F&B capacity, meaning that it will able to take it group booking and cater for 50 guests easily unlike some smaller boutique hotels.

Hotel lobby
Hotel room
Rooms are modern, clean and basic. Nothing fancy but enough for a night stay for our guests.

One of the highlights for Harris Hotel Bukit Jimbaran is their rooftop bar, which offer a fantastic view of Jimbaran Bay. We are planning to hold our welcome dinner here on the night before our wedding. I hope the weather is good then we would have an amazing sunset!

Rooftop bar
View from the rooftop

And more importantly, the relative affordable price means that we are able to provide 1 night of hotel stay to all our guests. Something that we didn't think that we will be able to do it.

All our emails (and I sent no less than 10 of them in a short time frame) are promptly responded and I must give a kudos to the sales executives Mr Gustya Nugroho. He patiently and promptly answered all my nitty-gritty questions. They even specially created a set menu for our welcome dinner as we don't want a buffet. (A side note: there is around 10 different versions of buffet offered.)

I must say dealing with them is a breeze so far and I hope our stay will be as satisfying.

For now, I need to go tally up all the information of the 50 guests who are going to check in on 11 Jan 2014!

Any questions on wedding preparation in Bali or about something I have written on the blog? Feel free to drop me an email or leave a instant message on my Facebook chat!