Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How to choose a bridal boutique?

There are numerous bridal boutiques to select and as a bride-to-be (BTB) have no idea where to begin. It is quite impossible to visit all of boutiques. Hence, it is very important to shortlist a few bridal boutiques to visit.

To start off, BTB can refer to the bridal forums for feedback and comments. Some brides may even share their wedding album. Recommendations from friends work as well.

Visiting a bridal show helps as well. Though, i personally do not advise signing a bridal package without visiting the bridal shop first. It is important to me as a BTB that i like most of the gowns instead of the few pieces that are showcased in the bridal show, the variety of gowns available and most importantly if my favoured gowns will actually suit me. However, i do still visit a bridal show since all the bridal shops are consolidated at one place and i can make the necessary photo albums/package/price comparisons.

Below are some factors i have considered when choosing a bridal.

Budget
It is important to set a budget for your photoshoot so you narrow down to the bridal shops that suits your budget.

The budget should also include an estimate of the additional photos that you might top up.

Bridal boutique or Ala Carte
A bridal boutique will be a one stop shop that provides all the services like photography, make-up and the gowns/suits for your wedding. E.g Digio

Ala carte is usually a more expensive option as it may or may not require you to get your own make up artist. Photography will be provided by photography studios that ties up with the bridal shop. The gowns are made to measure (MTM) and normally you get to keep the evening gowns. E.g Flamingo

The wedding couple need to get a feel of what particular style the boutique (regardless of bridal boutique or one stop shop) is selling either in photography or gowns. E.g some bridals are known to create dreamy and mystical effects for their photos like Signoria Nuziale. Some are known for creating gowns made in french lace or intricate embroidery.

Local or overseas shoot
There is also a choice between a local shoot or overseas shoot. A local shoot is done in Singapore and it can be anywhere. Some place that holds special memories for both of you or the hot spots for wedding shoots. e.g Sentosa, Hort park

An overseas shoot is conducted overseas and at scenic areas near the sea or sea of lavender or blooming flowers etc. For this, there is an option to choose a local photographer to go with the couple to the preferred location or employ a photographer located in the country. For the former, you probably have to bear the expenses of airfare and accomodation.

After you have decided on the above and you have chosen a desired boutique. What are the things to look for in a package?

The Album:
- Material of album cover
The package that you're signing up for includes which albums being presented. Sometimes when you are shown a very unique album and it may not be in the package

- what is the size of the album? If you want a non-standard size, what are the charges

- Is mini album included?

- Any charges if you want a hot press album (those that have no white dividing line for album)

Artwork:
- Is artwork for the album included or additional charges apply?

Portrait:
- What are the selection included in package? 3-in-1 or Canvas print?

- What is the size of the portrait?

Photography:
- the number of pictures included in your package. Always try to bargain for more.

- Are soft copies returned for your selected photos

- What are the charges per additional photo

- If you purchase above a certain amount does the boutique return you all the soft copies inclusive of non-selected photos

- How many full time photographers with the boutique?

- Do you like the style of the photographers?

- Do you like the portfolios shown?

- Number of outdoor locations covered for pre-wedding album photoshoot.

- Does package include actual day photography? If provided, who will do the actual day i.e in house photographers or free lancers?

Gowns/Suit:
- Are the gowns/suits on rental?

- Selection based on off-the-rack or made to measure.

- Variety of gowns available for selection. For some bridals, there is a restriction of gown selection based on your package.

- Can you try the gowns before deciding to sign with the boutique?

- How many costume changes are included in prewedding photoshoot?

Makeup:
- Do you like the makeup done from the album shown?

- How many makeup artist are with the boutique?

- are the makeup artist full time with the boutique or a free lancer?

- How many makeup is included in the package?

Miscellaneous
- Is a car (inclusive of petrol) included in the package for actual day wedding?

- Are car decorations included for wedding car?

- Car ribbons for following cars?

- How many corsages are included?

- Is guest book included?

- Logistics, transport charges for pre wedding shoot? Can it be complimentary?

- For ROM, do they provide you a short gown and flowers?

- Father suits/ Mother gowns? Can they be provided free?

- Dresses for bride's maids can be provided free? what are the charges?

When in doubts, please confirm and clarify with the boutique. Never never assume anything is given in the package.

A bridal is not a one size fits all but more of customisation. One man's meat is another man's poison. Everything mentioned above may or may not be included in a package. The couple have to find a package that most fulfil your requirements/expectations and budget.

Sometimes the perks offered to a couple may not be extended to another couple for the same price due to the bargaining and persuasive skills.

It is also important to state everything in black and white in the the invoice in case any disagreements between the bridal shops and you.

I hope the information will be of use to all the brides. Good luck in your selection of bridal boutique!

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