Monday, March 12, 2007

Your wedding organiser

On Saturday, I went shopping. Not the usual shopping in town. Not the shopping in supermarkets. But the shopping for bridal package! Not mine, of course! The bride-to-be wanted to do some research on the bridal market. I accompanied her and found that doing "research" is not as simple as walking into one shop and getting a brochure. Let me share some tips and observations with you.

1) Get a shopping buddy
Before you embark on the arduous task of finding a suitable wedding package, think about who you want to accompany you on this shopping trip. Be warned that it can take quite long. So wear something comfortable, especially if you are thinking of trying on gowns. Your buddy should also consider bringing something along to keep them occupied in the event that you head for the fitting room. It does take some time to get into a gown.

Some people may like to bring their husbands along. Fair enough. Also take into account how the husband may have no opinion on the chosen gown. Most importantly, someone who is honest and knows you well is an appropriate shopping candidate. Please do not choose someone who will tell you your big behind becomes invisible in a fishtail gown.

2) Come up with a budget
Assuming you are going for the traditional wedding. You will have to pay for wedding dinner, wedding package, and those red packets for the sisterhood and brotherhood. The bill can extend from Singapore to Batam. Budgeting is one important issue to consider. How much are you willing to spend on a wedding package? Most packages start from $3000. However, be wary of hidden costs. Before you sign on the dotted line, be certain everything has been included and you will not be bombarded with bills to pay for transportation to the location for outdoor photography, and other miscellaneous fees.

3) Mark the places to go
At this point, a bridal magazine may be useful. Collect information on where bridal shops are located. Browse through magazines, preferably local ones. Word-of-mouth is another useful avenue to seek out.

In Singapore, the most popular street to go shopping for wedding packages will be Tanjong Pagar Road.

The road filled with happy going-to-wed couples.

There are about 20 or so bridal shops in the area. Looking at the shop windows can give an indication of the styles the shop carries. Nevertheless, if you have the time, visit more shops. More shops = more choices! :D Maybe you can also consider going for wedding exhibitions. I think there is one that is coming soon, end of March.

4) Look at packages
Many bridal shops do not start with showing you the packages they offer. Most will show you their albums. I found that it is a good idea to start by asking how many photographers they have. The average number seems to be three. Different photographers have different styles, so look at all their works. You may also want to consider whether you like to have artwork for your albums, which will be at additional charge. Inquire about the prices though, for they tend to vary.

While browsing the albums, also look at makeup and hair styles. Does the makeup artist favour a particular style? I saw one who seemed to adore blue eye-shadow with tons of blusher. +_+

Gowns are perhaps one of the most important considerations. There is a distinct style for each shop. Some prefer simplicity; others embrace beads and sequins. One bridal shop I found to have beautiful embroidery is Di Gio bridal. Their craftsmanship is amazing. However, it depends on what you’re looking for. I would recommend that you try as many gowns, in as many designs and styles as you can. Choose from halter, sweetheart, scalloped, high necklines; silk, satin, organza, tulle material; and fish-tail, straight, pickup, A-line skirts. Some bridal shops do not allow you to try the gowns until you have paid a deposit. For these, I suggest that you thumb your nose at them and spit on the ground. Pui!

Finally, it’s time to discuss the packages available. Look out for the fine print. Some provide car decorations but not the car. Other differences include photograph sizes, number of gowns provided, styles of makeup and hairstyles allowed, and the addition of actual day photography. One catch though: most shops do not allow you to take down information regarding the packages. You need to have very good memory. I suggest that you take namecards and write down your comments as soon as you leave the shop. A more interesting option would be to buy a diary, recording your thoughts as you go shopping. What's more is you can use the diary to keep other related information such as your wedding dinner reservations. Only once in a lifetime! :D

5) Choose a package
It all depends on what is important for you. Personally, I feel that the gowns and photography are the two most pertinent considerations. Gowns make you feel like the princess you are. Photographs are windows of memories. Budget is an important issue, as is the service. But as I told my friend; money you can earn, service you can bear with, but gowns appear in all photographs, and all photographs is a snapshot of your happiness. Heh heh. Got ink or not! One last tip: negotiate, negotiate, negotiate!

Do not wait for last minute to get a package! You need to alter your gowns and it takes time to fix the album.

Up to 7 or 8 months from what I heard. Start shopping now!

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