Friday, July 5, 2013

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.

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