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.