Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wedding in Japan

While I was researching for destination wedding earlier, I came across to a lot of beautiful wedding churches located in Japan. And I am thinking, why not share them here?

One interesting things I noted during my early destination wedding search was that somehow a lot of venue with stunning architecture and scenery are related to Japan - they are either based in Japan, or founded by a Japanese company or cater to a lot of Japanese couple. A little digging online soon reveals why.


Japanese wedding is an elaborate and very expensive affairs. They can be roughly divided into shinto style and western style, with the former held in a shinto shrine and latter takes place in a church. A lot of Japanese couples chose a western style wedding because it is more romantic, and it is also cheaper. But definitely not because they are Christian! As a results, there are a lot of churches and chapels built specifically to cater to this market. And they are so architecturally and functionally beautiful and romantic.

Another reason for these purpose-built wedding venues is also due to the emerging trend of destination wedding. The traditional Japanese wedding custom requires one to extend invitations to bosses, colleagues and acquaintances for career advancement. Coupled this with high cost per head count, the total cost soon spiral out of control. Thus some couples decided to pack up and get married somewhere with limited guests, either within Japan or other countries such as Guam, Bali or Hawaii.  (Sounds familiar?)

"If you get married in Japan, you are expected to have a big wedding reception and to invite your business colleagues, bosses, friends and relatives," says Taguchi. "If you get married in Hawaii, you can invite fewer guests, plus you can have your honeymoon there - it saves a lot of money."
~ Quote from TLC's article on Japanese Wedding 

Anyway, with the abundance of purpose-built church (a survey in 2006 counted 589 churches, more than half of them have stained glass and pipe organ), they must have some breathtaking ones and here are some of them.

1. Chapel on the Water (水の教会)

The Chapel on the Water (水の教会) is located within the compound of Hoshino Tomamu Resort, Hokkaido. It is designed by world renowned architecture Tadao Ando, who also designed The Church of Sea (海の教会, located at The Westin, Amaji Island, Japan), The Chapel of Wind (風の教会, Kobe) and Church of the Light (光の教会, Osaka).

2. Stone Church (石の教会)

The Stone Church is located at the compound of Hotel Bleston Court, Karuizawa. Karuizawa is a church wedding hotspot in Japan, probably stem from its strong ties with Western Missionaries in 1800. The Stone Church is designed b Kendrick Kellogg, apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright. Brilliant play and genius integration of Light, Stone, Water, Greenery and Trees blend this church into its surrounding, creating a church-without-church experience.


3. ZONA Wedding Chapel

The ZONA Wedding Chapel is located within the compound of Hoshino Resort Risonare, Yamanashi. The chapel is designed by Klein Dytham Architecture in the form of leaf, thus it is also called The Chapel of Leave. The "leaves" can be opened up, creating a transient boundary between the chapel and the nature surrounding. The design won a silver award in 2005 from the D&AD Awards (Environment Design & Architecture section), one of the most prestigious international awards for creative design and advertising industries.

4. Glass Chapel with Sea View

And of course I wouldn't missed those ubiquitous glass chapel dotted along the sea of Okinawa and Beppu. I will just post some pictures here. To find out more, you can go to Zexy, Mynavi Weddings, or Mina no Weddinge, but it will be in Japanese.

I also came across some first hand experiences attending Japanese wedding written by Taiwanese during the research. Here's the original blog entry written in chinese

Some of the interesting customs are:

1. The seating distance from the bride and groom are in inverse relationship with your actual relation with them. Thus, immediate family is being seated the furthest while not so closed friends were seated the closest. 

2. There is a "standard fixed rate"of oshugi (similar to angpow or gift money) which applied throughout all weddings. For friends, it would be 30,000 yen (~USD300) per person for single or 50,000 yen (~USD500) per couple. Ouch! I guess no one would attend any wedding in Singapore if this is the prevailing rate. 

3. However, despite the high "angpow" rate, the marrying couples is still on the losing end. It was reported that couples spend 54,000 yen per guests on average just for food and gift. And it is their custom to cover travelling and lodging cost if guests come from a distance. 


4. It is common to have a after-party celebration after the wedding reception and wedding ceremony. Most friends are invited to the after party instead of the wedding reception. The after party are less formal than the wedding reception and might involves games and lucky draw!

5. Oshugi is not required for after-party but sometimes guests pay cover charge to help the couples with the cost. 

Want to know more on getting married in Japan? Here's the link to expat-written guide

Getting Married in Japan: Wedding Types
Getting Married in Japan: Wedding Fairs
Getting Married in Japan: Negotiating a Price

Japan is also opening up for destination weddings. I guess their ageing society and delayed marriage is taking a toll on the industry.  The cost of wedding ceremony is pretty much on par with the rest of destination wedding location. For example, a wedding ceremony including dress rental, make up, photography, flowers cost 490,000 yen (USD4900) at the Stone Church. But double think of bringing an entourage of friends and families as cost of hotel and transportation are sky high in Japan. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

How to Choose Your Wedding Gown Part 2

So after settling down with big questions (if you have not, go to the part 1 of this series), now we can move on to smaller issues such as your body type, age and whether you are marrying the second (or third?) time.

Your Body Type
Actually there isn't much I want to say about the body type, there are already so much written on this issue. Just pick up any bridal magazine you will bound to find some. Or if you are really clueless, here's an infographic to get you started. There's another fantastic one, but it is too long to paste it. Check it out at my pinterest and follow it if you want to keep updated.

You can memorize all the rules or just go with the simpler way, try the dress and look into the mirror. Does it looks good on you?

The whole idea for all these rules is to find the dress that looks good on you. So that you don't get carried away by the latest fashion fad., or too entrenched with imitating the idol or model that looks so good on print. That mermaid cut might looks fabulous on the model and appear in most of the advertisement you see, but unless you have the perfect body proportion, this cut will only exaggerates all the flaw you want to hide.


Do you still remember how not long ago (ie. before the royal wedding of Kate Middleton to Price William) that almost every wedding dress you came across is strapless? Strapless is a difficult style to pull off. One must have beautiful neckline, tone upper arm, slender shoulder, decent bust size... the list goes on. Poor brides during that time have to choose either exposing their flabby arms or looks outdated. Thanks to Kate that now sleeves are back in fashion again and save us from all the pressure to tone up our arms. The key point is, fashion can goes against our body shape. And fashion won't last for next 20-30 years but your memory of wedding dress will. So when in conflict, choose one that complements your body, not the fashion, or what your idol wears.

I love Kate Middleton's (now Duchess of Cambridge's) dress. It is all about elegance in subtle form.  It looks simple on the first sight, but subtle lace appliques starts to emerge as you gaze on them longer. I love the ribbon-like bustle on the back, a reminiscence of Victorian era bustle yet with modern twist (so old and so new). And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the veil. This is what I meant by soft silk tulle veil, totally unmatched by the cheap stiff nylon version that we normally came across. Look at how soft and elegant it drapes over her face. More closeup here.  

The last point on body shape: buy a dress that looks good on you NOW, not after you lose X pounds or kilograms. Yes, in the ideal scenario we would work hard to loose that additional inches or that fat thighs that have been with her since puberty. Hey, it is still 6 or more months away, isn't it? The bad news is, when you are planning for a wedding, the last (and unnecessary) stress you want is to worry whether you can fit into that dress. And another bad news is, even you work very hard, your body type will probably remains the same - an apple shape is very unlikely to turn into an hour glass. But the good news is, it is always easier to take in a dress than take it out. So buy a dress that fits you NOW, then alter later. Don't buy a dress and hope to fit in it later.


Your Age
Just a few days ago, it was reported that the median first marriage age for Singapore women rose from 26.3 in year 2002 to 28.0 in year 2012. This is hardly surprising as youngster (man and women alike) are spending more time on their education and wants to establish a career before they start a family.

Although this is an applaudable progress showing girls that taking but is also means that almost half of our brides are going to choose their dress at a more mature age of thirty instead of tender twenty. And if our fashion sense for normal clothes changes according to our age? Why won't the fashion sense for our wedding dress change? (Point to note: the following is just for suggestions, mainly for brides who are thinking of alternatives to full ball gown, layers of tulles, miles of veil and tiara. You can be in your 50's and still get married in full bridal regalia if that pleases you)

Dress for 20's, 30's and 40's. Left: Oscar de la Renta, Middle: Vera Wang, Right: Monique Lhuillier 

If you are marrying at sweet twenties (marrying at sweet seventeen will requires parents consent in Singapore), you can pretty much get your dress inspiration from Disney Princess. You can have your full ball gown, long cathedral train, tiara, cathedral veil complete with blusher...  It is basically the bridal ensemble we have imprinted in our mind since young.

Brides marrying at thirties can still pretty much adopt what the twenty-something brides wear, but with more sophistication. You probably don't want a tiara (especially those cute small ones) unless you are related royalty. You probably want to find a tulle ball gown with a modern sophisticated twist on it a la Vera Wang.

At forty-year-old and beyond, the idea of Disney princess should have long passed you. However, not wearing a ball gown with trailing train doesn't means that you can't looks like a bride. You can still look bridal with a sophistically-cut sheath, A-line or mermaid dress, made in luxurious silk satin. You can have a small sweep or fishtail trail.

Dress for 20's, 30's and 40's. Left: Marchesa, Middle: Oscar de la Renta, Right: Justin Alexander
You probably want to double think of wearing blusher and veil, which signifies virginity, innocent and purity. At this age, you probably seen enough to know the evil of the world even though you might still as pure as snow. But you can wear jewel hair clip, beautiful fascinators, fresh flowers or even hat with netting a la 1940's. They are as beautiful and you look as much like bride.  

And be truthful to your body. Unless you are hitting the gym regularly and looks way younger than your age (some movie stars do), you might want to hide your flesh with beautiful lace sleeves and necklines.


Marrying Second Time? Or Third?
Divorce wasn't such a big taboo as it used to be and remarrying is increasingly common. As the society becoming more open, the second wedding can have as much fanfare as the first, or even more! How do one choose her second wedding dress? (Again, suggestion here is just an advice, if you wish to deck up in your full bridal ensemble, that's entirely your choice as the bride)

First of all, a second marriage most likely going to happen later in your life. The median age for second marriage in Singapore is 36.4 in 2012. So whatever written above for more mature brides applies. For example, you probably want to ditch the ball gown and opt for simpler cut dress. You might want to skip the strapless and sleeveless to give yourself more coverage.

Veil and blusher will probably not be a good idea given their symbolism. Double think of wearing a white gown, which also symbolizes purity. The good news is pastel and blush gowns are so in vogue now that you can get away looking like a bride without wearing white and looking so chic at the same time.

More than white. Left: Romano Keneva, Centre: Douglas Hannat, Right: Ines di Santo

PS:I got most of these advices from the book "Quest for the Dress: Finding Your Dream Gown Without Losing Your Sanity, Friends or Groom". Unlike typical pictures-filled wedding gown coffee table book, this book is filled of gems from bridal gown designer of 30 over years, Nancy Di Fabbio. 

Get latest blog updates by liking us on Facebook. There will be interesting wedding ideas shared from time to time too!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mason Wedding Fair 2013

We attended the wedding fair at Mason on last Sunday. We originally wanted to skip this venue as it is way too small for our total number of guests. However, thinking that we might spilt our celebration into two and also taking the opportunity to check out the restaurant at the same time, we decided last minute to attend the event.

I can't resist myself not to use a vintage filter for this shot. The place is so suitable for a vintage theme wedding.

Mason is situated at Gillman Barracks, which is considerably central, yet very quiet side and away from all the hustle bustle. It is surrounded by lush greenery that is yet to be developed. (How long can this last is another questions as it is not reserves as a park)


The layout of Mason is pretty simple: a rectangular indoor restaurant, a walkway with some sofa and alfresco dining area. As you can see from the floor plan below, the typical number of guests seated indoor is around 64 pax. Although it claims that it can fit up to 110 pax with hired furnitures that utilize smaller area, I suspects that it will be too squeezed for comfort. 

Floor plan for Mason. The current layout fits 64 pax indoor. 

Here are some of the actual picture taken on that day. 

Top left: The indoor dining area. Bottom left: Outdoor dining area which has been turn into solemnization area. Right: The walkway with sofas. 

The outdoor dining area was converted into solemnization area during the wedding the show. The solemnization took place in front of a majestic tree (sorry, my botany literacy is only capable of identifying it as "tree"). It must be very special to have a multi-hundred-year-old tree as a witness for your vow exchanges. A faux lawn was placed at solemnization table area to demarcate the special area, which blends very well in this setting.  

The outdoor dining area was set up for solemnization, with a majestic tree as the focus point. 

Here's a picture of Mason from another angle. The whole area is surrounded by open car park, so your guests will have no problem parking their car. And I think the open car park separates the building from everything else, giving it some sense of isolation and privacy which is quite lacking in Singapore. 

Vintage is definitely the theme of the day (and also a very popular wedding theme now). Outside Mason, two 1972 Volkswagen Beetles from Love Bug were displayed.

The inside were set up with vendors booth, therefore we didn't take any pictures. Here are the pictures taken from their website.

Pictures of the indoor setaing area from Mason website.

Multiple wedding decorators were present at the event: Poppy Flora Studio, Butterflies & Cakes and Wedding Diary. Here are some of their work. Again, vintage is the main theme. Butterflies & Cakes even has an vintage typewriter and telephone on display. I didn't manage take any pictures of them but luckily they posted them on their blog, so here you go. 

Table centrepiece by Poppy Flora Studio
Vintage bohemian decor by Wedding Diary
Vintage telephone and typewriter by Butterflies & Cakes (from their blog)

Butterflies & Cakes, and Wedding Diary also provide full wedding planning and/or actual day coordination services. Full wedding planning costs $4000 for both of them, excluding decoration fee. Actual day coordination costs $1500 for Butterflies $ Cakes and $2700 for Wedding Diary. 


We met with a very interesting photographer, Brian Ho from The Galeria. I was first attracted to his booth by the classically-framed black and white photo and the fine leather cover albums that are being displayed. Why am I attracted to the album? I don't know, especially when I am seriously considering NOT getting an album they are rarely browse through. 

But Mr always says that I have this intrinsic ability of picking up the most expensive things among a bunch of random stuff, and this happens to be one of them. The album turn out to be hand made entirely in Singapore with Torino Rembourrage Conventry leather and German-made archival-grade Hahnemühle Photo Rag fine art paper. You can check out photos of this hand made beauty here

What is even more impressive is: Most Of The Photos Are Taken by Film (!) and Hand-Developed by Brian himself (!!).  Brian is one of the rare few photographers that are still shooting in films in this digital age. He proudly show us his different cameras, including a Holga Lomography camera. Each photos is shot using different types of cameras and films on the fly, which is totally different and takes much more skills than just applying a filter during post-production. 

Albums and photo displays by The Galeria


Brian is also a filmmaker. Perhaps that explains why he choose to shoot in film as even nowadays, movies are still shot in films. One can sense the strong influence of cinematography in both his pre-wedding and actual day shoots. Browsing through his album feels like watching In the Mood for Love by Wong Kar-wai. More of his work can be found on Facebook and his own blog

Another interesting person we met was Carolyn Kan from Carrie K. Carolyn was a MD for an international advertising firms before she pursues her passion of jewellery designs and silversmith. When she introduce herself as the silversmith for Carrie K, the first thought that came into my mind was "Is there even such an occupation in Singapore?".

A varieties of jewellery and accessories were on display. She also does custom made jewellery and heirloom redesign since she has her own atelier. Perfect for people who wants to get their one-of-a-kind jewellery. One of her design really caught our eye - which is this jewellery bow tie. It comes in silver, yellow gold and rose gold. Knowing Mr loves all things quirky and has been feeling left out from jewellery scene for so long, I promise to buy this for him as the wedding gift. :P 

We love this jewellery bow tie by Carrie K. Jewellery is not limited to girls only anymore. 

After going  through the round, we were tired and time for us to taste their canapés. On offer were breaded shrimps with aioli. pan seared foie gras, sautéed mushroom in truffles cream, goat cheese with tomato relish, chocolate moose and home made chocolate truffles. The breaded shrimp is good, the foie gras and sauteed mushroom were also not bad. Mr gulped down the moose and truffles before I can take pictures of it, so I guess that's a good sign.

Canapés offered on the Mason Wedding Show 

There is also a selection of welcome drinks consists of two cocktails (pink and blue, not very sure what exactly are they) and one red and one white wine. I didn't try the red wine, but the white wine offered that day was really good. It is slightly sweet, with very distinct fruity after taste. It is very easy to drink and is often offered by Mason for events. 

Various welcome drinks offered at the Mason Wedding Show.

The minimum spending to rent the whole venue on weekends is $8,000++ for lunch and $15,000++ for dinner. The minimum spending is pretty customizable and you can find the cost for each item here.  

Minimum spending to privatize the whole venue

Some sample wedding packages are shown here. 


Final thoughts:

I think Mason is very quaint and nice for solemnization celebration of around 50 pax. It is not easy to find such a quiet and exclusive venue for 50-80 guests, and I think this is one of them. It should be top of your list if you want to go for vintage colonial theme. Not to forget that I LOVE the tree as solemnization backdrop.

Get latest blog updates by liking us on Facebook. There will be interesting wedding ideas shared from time to time too!

Friday, July 5, 2013

How to Choose Your Wedding Gown Part 1


He popped that question, you said "Yes", next minute you can't wait to dash out to the bridal salon.

Girls, admit it, I have been there. The first thing that occupies our mind right after engagement is not the guest list, nor the venue, but The Dress!

(For brides-to-be in Singapore or around the region, eg. Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan etc, substitute the dress with bridal package. The main decision will still lay with the bridal gown, but with additional consideration of pre-wedding photography package.)

Spring 2014 collections are out! Don't we all want to get into dress-shopping mode now?
Flowers motives are all in range again (Top left: Monique Lhuillier.  Top right:  Oscar de la Renta) and models are sent down the runway with bridal umbrella (Bottom left: Reem Acra) and hats (Bottom right: Pronovias)

Before you head out to all the bridal salons you know, or stroll down Tanjong Pagar Road if you are in Singapore, stop yourself, and ask whether you have answers to these questions?
  • Have you fixed your date and time of your celebration? 
  • Have you reserved your venue? 
  • Have you had a budget for your bridal ensemble?
The numerous wedding magazine, reality TV, romance novel or even chick-flicks would make us believe that finding The Dress is like finding The One. Blushing brides-to-be walked into a posh-looking salon, wedding dress consultant brought up a couple of dresses, you tried out one of them and suddenly the world stops, your heart races, your mum starts tearing, and Viola! you found your dress.

If that's the way you found your dress, BEFORE having the three big questions settled (and there are still numerous small ones), you are in for trouble and better start praying that the dress you choose somehow fits the bill.

It is not by chance that Kate Hudson (right) wears a much grander dress than Anne Hathaway (left) in the Bride Wars - where latter ends up just as a bridesmaid.  Lots of deliberation went into choosing The Dress instead of just geting one that makes your heart flutters. 
Have you fixed your date and time of your celebration? 
If you are based in Singapore, good for you. You don't need to worry about the chill in winter. For those who are more fortunate or unfortunate (depends on which point of view) who stay in temperate climates, the seasons of your wedding is going to determine the fabrics of your dress.Wearing a chiffon dress or even a tulle dress in the middle of winter is going to make you looks out of place, regardless how goddess-like you look in that dress. And the chill is going to make you freeze and it is going to show in the photos. On the other hand, wearing velvet or heavy satin in the middle of summer or tropical countries like Singapore is going to make you and your carefully-applied make up melt.

Even you are getting married in the middle of winter, fret not. Fur-lined gown (left) like the one from Reem Acra 2014 or a fur bolero (right) like the one from Monique Lhuillier 2014 will keep you warm and in-line with the season.

The time of the celebration is also important. If you are having an evening celebration, get something beaded or crystal-laced, use fabrics with luxurious shine. Or else you will seem under dressed-even you are clad in USD$12,000 Vera Wang Eliza. On the other hand, your bead-encrusted Zuhair Murad gown will makes you looks over-dressed for wedding lunch celebration. Plus, no one will able to see the bling under the bright sunlight which you paid so much for it.

Left: Vera Wang Eliza, one of my favourite from her collection. Right: Zuhair Murad 2011 collections.

Have you reserved your venue? 
Like real-estate, location plays more important role in determining the style of your dress then you would like to admit. Dreamy tulle gown is not going to give you the spotlight you need for ballroom celebration of 300 people. You need shiny satin, crystal, rhinestones... anything that scream bling. You might find it over the top when trying them in the bridal salon, but your photograph will convince you it is a good choice.

If you are getting married at some place less formal such as a colonial bungalow, wineyard, museum or art gallery, tone down your dress accordingly. You don' need to go all bare and ditch the satin, crystal and rhinestone altogether. Mix and match, give and take: If you are wearing satin, pick one with lace embellishment instead of crystal embellishment; if your dress is made up of chiffon, play it up with beaded collars or beaded belt to give the glam it deserves.

Glam or Casual Chic? Your wedding locations matters as much as your personality.
Left: Elie Saab, Right: Amanda Wakaley 2014 

If you are having a beach wedding, stay away from train. I once saw a picture of a bride marrying on the beach wearing satin gown with 3 feet long train. It looks out of the place. And sea water, sand and god-knows-what on the beach will irreversibly destroy your dress. Definitely not how you want your dress to end up. Go for long cathedral veil to create the omph instead.

Regardless where you choose, the keyword is reserved. Plan will change if you haven't reserved your venue. It might not be available, or you bump into somewhere better. Now you need to change your dress, which might have been ordered. Fixed your venue first, then find your dress. The good thing is, you can automatically rule out all the unsuitable ones. Trust me, you will still have more than enough to try on.

Have you had a budget for your bridal ensemble?

Before even getting into budget for bridal ensemble, have you even established a total budget for your wedding and discussed it with your fiancé or whoever is funding it? A wedding doesn't come cheap these days. The average wedding in US costs USD26,000, while in Singapore is around SGD$30,000 to SGD$50,000 depending whether you want to calculate the red packet as "profit" (see here and here).

The wedding industry machinery is well-oiled to go after your money (You NEED this hand-made letter-pressed wedding invitation to IMPRESSED your guests and shows that you CARE...which only goes down to every guest's trash bin, sounds familiar?). I am not saying that you shouldn't go for exotic flower arrangements and embossed invitation, but make sure you have your budget and stick with it. Or else, there are always more tempting "must-haves" in the wedding industry to make you spend the money that you would rather put it into house down payment or renovations.

Your dream wedding gown, at what price? Elie Saab at Paris Couture Week Fall 2013
Back to budget for bridal ensemble, and pay attention to the word "ensemble". Ensemble means your shoes, your veil, your headpiece, underwear etc. These doesn't come cheap, although Martha Stewart Wedding advices allocation around 10-15% of your total ensemble budget towards accessories, you might still be in for a price shock when you really start shopping.

I can personally vault for this. The veil I fall in love with at Designer Bridal Room comes at a jaw-dropping RM2000 price-tag. Yes, it is made of silk illusion, that drapes so elegantly and dreamy when I tried on it and it is totally different from the nylon tulle veil that crumples and completely lacks of substance. But, my god, what a price for a piece of fabric. And if you are into Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo, remember to budget that in!

Okay, I think that's pretty much to chew on for now, especially if you haven't had answers to all three questions, there are a lot of stuff to discuss and decide for you. Next up, we will talk about how to choose a wedding gown based on your body shape, age and for second time marriage.

PS:I got most of these advices from the book "Quest for the Dress: Finding Your Dream Gown Without Losing Your Sanity, Friends or Groom". Unlike typical pictures-filled wedding gown coffee table book, this book is filled of gems from bridal gown designer of 30 over years, Nancy Di Fabbio. 

Get latest blog updates by liking us on Facebook. There will be interesting wedding ideas shared from time to time too!

Random Ramble on Bridal Package

This post is "inspired" by this blog post of a bride who wrote about her experience with signing up a bridal package with a local (read: Singapore) bridal shop, where she faced underwhelming custom designed gown, worn rental pieces, appointed make up artist being replaced, inattentive service...

Disclaimer: This is NOT my personal experience, NOR does this applied specifically on just the bridal shop mentioned by the blog. Similar experiences are abundant across the forums and blogs, happening in numerous bridal shop. They are the main reason that makes me so hesitated in taking up the standard bridal package which is the common practice here.

Getting all these for $3000-$5000? Sounds too good to be true? It probably is.


For those who are not familiar with a Bridal Package, here's a quick introduction: A Bridal Package is commonly offered by a bridal salon in Singapore that comprises the following:

  • Pre-wedding photography: Full day photoshoot inclusive of 4-5 bridal gown changes, groom suit, make up and hair-styling in both studio and outdoor. Some will even offer overseas photoshoots
  • A 20 inches or 30 inches album consists of  20-30 pieces of the selected pictures, including post-processing and layout designing
  • A framed portrait from the photoshoot
  • Rental of wedding gown for wedding day (sometimes they even custom designed a new dress for you)
  • Rental of evening gown for wedding reception
  • Rental of tea dress for tea ceremony
  • Rental of bridal accessories
  • Rental of groom suit for wedding day
  • 2 X Make up and hair styling, one each for wedding ceremony and wedding reception
  • Brides bouquets for wedding day
  • Corsages for parents and groom
  • Rental of bridal car 
  • Decoration of bridal car

All these go for $2000-$5000 depending on bridal studio and package you pick. And if you bargain hard enough, there will be additional table top portraits, coffee table album, postcards, fathers/brothers suit etc. That sounds too good to be true, isn't it? And in most case it is. And poor brides-to-be see themselves spending way more than they originally budgeted and sometimes for inferior goods and services.

The biggest caveat in this whole package lays with the pre-wedding photography. It is understandably quite costly for the bridal studio to provide an all-inclusive whole day pre-wedding photo shoot. They need to pay the photographer, the photographer assistant, and sometimes a make up artist to assist with the changing of gown and hair style throughout the day.

And all these work and resources only to produce 30 pictures?

Obviously not. The whole idea is to take as many picture as possible (200+ is common) with as many variation as possible so that the couple will choose more than 30 pictures. Each additional pictures is going to cost additional $70~$100 so that the bridal studio can  "touch up and develop" them. Just imaging after deleting 100+ of your own beautiful photos (with tremendous amount of heart ache, of course), you can still easily end up with 50~80 pictures, which cost a whopping $2000~$5000 on top of whatever you have paid.
Planning to get a pre-wedding photoshoot album? Before you know it, your ONE pre-wedding photoshoot album turns into two or more. 
(And tell you a well-known secret: the wedding album and all the beautiful photos is going to end up at at the store room gathering dust as no one is going to look through it after your wedding)  

Other potential pitfalls include:

  • Restricted choice of wedding gown. Top up of few hundred dollars is not uncommon to peruse their "premium" wedding gown
  • Even they promised to design a new gown for you to rent, many find out that they will need to fork up additional $1000-$2000 for lace and detailing. 
  • Transportation of photo shoot, night scenery shooting, additional hours of photographer and make up artist can adds up to couple hundreds bucks 

And we haven't even go into the details of each service provided yet. It is difficult enough to find a good dress or a good photographer or good florist, expecting a bridal salon to provide good quality services on all these aspect is like expecting the sky.

So, I am planning to ditch the standard bridal package and pre-wedding photography.

Frankly, we only need a couple of good pictures to be used as our keepsake and portraits. And I prefer to take them on the wedding day itself, which is much more meaningful and memorable than pretending we are running along the seaside with balloons in hand (sounds familiar?).

With the money saved, we can get a good photographer and/or videographer to capture our big day together with our friends and family, which makes the photos more valuable then just taking the pictures of two of us.

I probably can get a good quality dress. Mr and I still debating regarding this. He thinks that quality is less important as it is only worn for one day and probably no one can tell. He got his point. However, it is difficult for me to convince myself to wear something of lesser quality for such an important day.

We can choose our flowers from florist we pick, and choose our own make up artist - or DIY again like what I did with my solemnization.

Finally, I must emphasis that NOT ALL Singapore bridal shops work in this manner. There are some bridal boutiques who just focus on what they do best, ie design bridal gown and they will recommend vendors according to the bride's request. However, these boutiques typically charges more (it is not common just to have a bridal gown and evening gown made for more than $4000, but isn't that more in line with Singapore cost of living?) and it is out of reach of most couples. And picking the best for each categories meaning you are paying top dollars for it, making it more expensive in this already-too-expensive extravaganza.

Get latest blog updates by liking us on Facebook. There will be interesting wedding ideas shared from time to time too!