Sunday, February 17, 2013

Wedding Banner DIY

My banner idea wasn't original but inspired by my friend, Jin, in Austin whom made a DIY banner for her save the date photoshoot. I asked her for the template and got down to working on this about 1 week prior to my photoshoot. 

"Ingredients" needed - cupboard paper, patterned paper (I used gift wrap paper as I liked the galaxy print on the gift wrap paper), ribbon, stencils, scissors, hole puncher and bowls. Yup, Bowls were used to create the circle patterns. :)

Taking form....

I printed out numbers from patterns found on the internet.

Everything all stringed up and taped and ready for use. 

We used the banner extensively for our pre-wedding photoshoot at the Marina Barrage. 

We also it as part of our center piece during our solemnization of my marriage. 

Simple things you can do to spruce up your wedding and for myself, it was something that my husband and I did together which made it more memorable for us since we planned the weddings from 2 different countries. 

Wedding Shoes DIY

Just like the wedding dress, most brides would also pay special attention to their bridal shoes. There are so different types of shoes to choose from but for Trinity Bride, she choose to modify a pair of her cream colored 2.5 inches heels for her actual day.

I have this pair of rarely wore heels sitting in my shoe cabinet for almost a year. I thought of wearing it for my wedding day but I found that the flower decoration on the heel actually dropped off. 

Removing the flowers off the shoes, I thought they were just perfect for the wedding. I don't usually wear heels on a general day and I don't want to writhe in discomfort in a new pair of heels on my photoshoot and wedding day. To me, comfort is the foremost important thing on such an important event. Plus, the dress is so long, who is going to see my shoes? 

I could just leave the shoes as it is but I found a piece of old lace from my mother's stash....Isn't there a saying that says "Something old", so this was my something old. 

They almost look new isn't it? Most importantly, I walked with comfort the whole day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Julia Wedding News (Pre-wedding Photoshoot)

Sharing some of the snaps from our pre-wedding photoshoot.

There is only 1 in house photographer, Ah Liang, from JWN. He does the overseas shoot like Europe and Bali for the couples from Singapore too. The times he is away, JWN Taiwan would then assign another Taiwanese photographer over. 

Ah Liang is a very experienced photographer as he is able to capture the moments fast and spontanously. However, he does have a temper of a artistic person. Either that maybe he was too hungry or we caught him on the wrong day. Although my husband speaks Mandarin but it is still not his native language so there are moments he did not understand the Mandarin instructions given and got a little lost in translation. Other than that, it was a smooth session for us and we went to the places we wanted to go for the photoshoots. Although, I requested for a night shoot at Merlion park but he wanted us to end by 7pm. 

National Museum photo shoot. Reservations needed, Fees are S$150 for 3 hours.

Marina Barrage. 

Marina Barrage. 

Merlion Park, although I did not manage to get my night shoot but we still managed to catch a full moon. 

Sharing 2 pages of our layout.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Julia Wedding News (detailed summary)

First visit to JWN (Jan 16 2012)
Upon entry, there were some gowns hanging on the racks. Designs varied and the dresses are mainly made with different lace and lots of Swarovski crystals sewed on. The sales who assisted me throughout my patron period with JWN is Serene. She showed me the packages available if I would be sign with them and after knowing that it is my birthday month, she showed me another set of package with slightly more discount for signing on birthday month. Some of the items can actually be interchangeable if you do not need them. 

Wedding dress 1

After a 30 minutes discussion, I was ushered to level 2 of their shop to try out some of the gowns. I tried on a total of 6 wedding dress but only managed to get photos of 3. The above gown  though simple in design had a lot of tiny crystals sewed on hence you would feel that you are almost sparkling when you put it on. Imagine that on your actual wedding day when you are all dolled up. As told by Serene that this gown was quite popular with their brides. I have to admit that the heart shaped bustier would create an extra oomph impact once we have the nu-bra on and their gowns were more fitted (with zip! not tie back)

JWN was very strict with photography inside their studio, no photography is allowed but I still managed to sneak some photos here and there. Would not recommend anyone doing it as you probably might end up like me getting "warned" each time they caught me snapping a photo. Don't be naughty like me. 

Wedding dress 2

Another heart shaped bustier wedding dress, this time the focus was the upper half with a lot of crystals and design on the corset. The dress is of a ball gown design which flows out to a mid length train with a lot of crystal at the edges. (I almost chose this dress for my actual wedding day as I felt I looked more slim in this dress for some reason). By now, I noticed that most of the wedding dress designs were tube style from their collection and Serene said the main reason is that most of the gowns came from Taiwan and Taiwanese brides prefer tube designs to show case their shoulders and bust lines. 

Wedding dress 3

I requested to try on something non-tube design and tried on this deep V princess style dress with a medium long dress. The dress was off white but had this dirty gray chiffon material for the skirting so I wasn't too satisfied with. Other than that I liked this dress for its different look and sparkling train due to the crystals. 
Evening dress 1, 2, 3

JWN is reputed for their wedding dresses as they put in a lot of detail and effort into it. However, their evening dress collection was not too extensive in my opinion and some of the evening dresses even looked old and worn out to me. Although, it should not be too much of a problem for pre-wedding photoshoot as photoshop can still be used for touch up. 

Pre-wedding Photoshoot gowns selection (March 12 2012)

Prior to the gown selection day, I did my homework by surfing a lot of Taiwanese blogs, JWN's Taiwan lead photographer's blog and JWN's TW Facebook page as JWN is really popular in Taiwan. Since most of their gowns in Singapore come from their Taiwan branch so there might be a higher hit rate if I look at the JWN wedding gown styles from Taiwan. I would say that about 60% of my shortlist were found in JWN Singapore branch though some designs may come in different colors. 1 shortcoming with JWN is their really limited collection of evening dresses and they only have 2 cheongsam designs if we prefer cheongsam style.

For the groom, the suit choices came with shirt, pants and accessories. The only thing the groom need to prepare would just be his belt and shoes. You can use your own shirts if you don't like their white (not so new) Tuxedo shirts. 

I took almost 6 hours with 3 girlfriends and SB to make my final selection for the photoshoot. 
Wedding dress 1

Toga style wedding dress with tulle/chiffon for the skirting and a super long train. Dress had a soft look with not a lot of crystals sewed on. I figured that we do not need the shimmery effect for photoshoot since this dress would only be used for the indoor shoot and a outdoor photoshoot at the Museum. I liked the back of the dress which is low back to cut a V at the waist. 

Serene has kindly allowed me to take photos of my selected dress as I said I wanted to whatsapp them to the husband, if not photography wasn't allowed.

Here is how the dress look from the back from the pre-wedding photoshoot.

Front view of the gown during pre-wedding shoot. Husband choose a off-white suit for his formal photoshoot. 

Wedding dress 2

I wanted a more fun look for my Marina Barrage photoshoot so I asked for a short wedding dress (or ROM dress). They only had about 6 designs at that time so the choice for this was pretty quick. Coincidentally, I also like the back of the dress more thant the front. The back had buttons from the top to end of dress and the belt was a small ribbon which added kawaii look to the whole image. The dress would be completed with a can-can made of layered tulle (not worn here) 

Here is how the short dress look from the back from the pre-wedding photoshoot. For husband, the original idea was for him to don a vest but he said it was too hot so he chose to wear his own blue shirt, rolled up the black pants and put on a white bow tie.

Evening dress 1

It was a big challenge to find THE evening dress for the outdoor shoot as only a certain collection is allowed for outdoors. What was showed to me were either too old or too dramatic for me. I ended up with this figure hugging evening dress with tiny mirrors (or reflectors) sewed on which looked a cross between Indian style and Chinese style. The dress was all sparkling and shimmery if you take a tiny step. Frankly, I like the look behind more than the front side (gasp! suck in! hide the tummy!) This dress was featured in her world bridal back in 2010 and how did I managed to score this? It was after 2 hours of selection and rejecting almost 15 different evening dress before they presented this to me. 

Front view of the evening dress, the red did stand out as the sky was grey that day. Hubsand changed to his second suit which he chose a normal black suite paired with gray shiny vest with no tie. 

For the 4th dress, it could either be a choice of another wedding dress or evening dress but we wanted some traditional shoot on our wedding album so I requested for the Kua. Just make sure you request to take a look at the Kua they would assign it to you. The original one they had reserved for me was quite dated and decorated with beadings instead of the more traditional style with golden threading with phoenix design. i had them changed it to my preferred design. 

Actual day wedding gowns selection (August 8 2012)
Evening dress selection

For the actual day gowns, only SB and I went down to make our selection and even though it was a selection of 2 dresses, it still took us a grand total of 4.5 hours to make the choice. In fact, I was so tired out at the end of the selection that I felt I made a almost hasty choice in my wedding dress. My first selection was the evening gowns, the collection were from their actual day selection so the dresses were newer/cleaner. I still wasn't too happy with the choices they offered me though the more dramatic ones were nicer in design this time. I really like this evening dress that I saw from their Taiwan Facebook page and another Taiwanese bride posted her fushia pink dress but the one available in Singapore was dark purple and the dress itself was at least 10kg heavy. 

Selected evening dress

I finally settled for this evening dress as I was in the debate of a ball gown verus a figure hugging dress. At that point of time, I had shed 2 inches off my waist in preparation for the wedding and so a figure hugging dress should not be a bad choice but I figured since I won't get the chance to wear a ball gown ever again so I finally settled for this purple bare back dress with crystal clasp at the back. The dress was in 3 shades of purple: lilac, light purple and dark purple for the skirting and part of it was decorated with crystals and bright beads. The photo on the right would actually capture the right shade of the dress. 

 Details of the front side of the dress with lightening on the dress.

Details of the back of the dress.

Back of the dress, this would be the actual color of the dress if no spot light was on it. (This was taken when the door opened at our Tokyo reception)

Selected Wedding dress - Tokyo

So the story for the wedding dress as promised, I would need to use the wedding dress for both the Singapore and Tokyo receptions. From the package, the actual day wedding dress would belong to their premium collection which means the wedding dress is either new or wore less than 3 times. On the selection day, the choices they had laid out for me were not much to my liking and some of the dresses actually look like they had been wore for several times. In the end, I came to know they limited my choices as my rental period was extended and so they cannot allow me to bring out some of their popular gowns. =_+!! It was because of the extended rented period that I had to choose my wedding dress almost 3 months in advance to my wedding so that I can lock down the dress. I wasn't too happy by then but do I have a choice? The next solution was to choose from their photoshoot collection which definitely meant that the dress won't be in the premium collection. 

In the end, I chose this dress which was still supposed to be in their premium collection. A simple A line dress with a long flowy train made with really soft lace. The front was a deep V neckline with a plunging back. Very English feel to the dress and the skirting and train did sparkle from the crystals. (After the wedding, when clearing SB's bridal magazine I found out that this dress was actually show cased in the bridal magazine of 2010!!! I should have taken a snap of the magazine.)

I opt for no accessories except for a simple clip on ear ring as I could not find any simple necklace to go with the deep V neck line of this dress. (This was taken at our Tokyo reception, make up/hair by Japanese MUA)

Even though it was a simple A line dress but the train is long enough the fulfill any bride's fantasy and the dress was light to wear so it made wearing much more easier.  Husband chose a gray suit with black bow tie this time. (This was taken at our Tokyo reception)

Selected Wedding dress - Singapore

I insisted to try on this dress during the gown selection as I had seen it on their display during my photoshoot day but did not find this dress being prepared for my selection. It was told to me that this new dress had been booked by a bride just a week earlier for her wedding just 1 week after my Singapore wedding. Therefore, there is no way I would be able to get this dress for both of my weddings. 

However, how can I resist a love a first sight dress and this dress fitted me to a glove. No alterations were needed and I love the fact that it was mock chinese collar style with cut in at the sleeve area and the back was covered with the translucent lace and a long train. The dress just showed much class and elegance in my opinion. After a night of thought (and discussion with my indulging husband), I went back and tried on this dress again and made a super hard bargain to rent this extra wedding dress for the Singapore wedding. Yup, this was the only item throughout the entire wedding that went out of my budget and totally spent just "because I want it" 

The other dress was nice but it was a little too simple for my BIG DAY and since the main wedding activities were in Singapore. I decided to really get something more grand and to my liking. (So brides' to be, there would be these little moments when you want to indulge. Go for it so you would not regret it but of course be prudent and don't exceed to much of your budget often)

Taken during our first march in. The dress was actually a little short on me in the front after we wore the can-can but it created a peek-a-boo effect for the shoes. Husband chose back to the same off-white suit (boring man!) but this time he paired it with a vest and a shiny gold tie. He had to settle for this as all the tuxedos of his size were already reserved.

The back of the dress, for some odd reason I like the back of the all the dresses I chose :P


Kua used for actual day was in better condition with nice beads and embroidery. 

I prefer simple accessories but most of the accessories at JWN were very chunky and loud. It took me a long time to choose my accessories as most were not to my liking. The floral accessories were all very sad looking too as some of them were not well maintained or dated. I ended up with only ear rings for both of my wedding gowns with no necklace for the deep V dress. Do be ready to use your own accessories if you really do not like the ones provided, do not force it upon yourself just because they tell you that loud accessories would go with your dress. Choose what you like only. 

Car decoration was also chosen on the day when you make your gown selections. I chose pink!

Hand bouquet choice - hydrangeas with white roses lined with faux pearl. They have a lot of choices from the catalog so fret not.

Overall, my experience with JWN is not too bad. There were some hits and misses along the way which were excepted. They did a pretty good service for me but there are some moments where they were careless like forgetting to prepare the corsages for my bridesmaids the day before my wedding when I went to pick up my car decorations and hand bouquet. However, they delivered to my home on that night. My advice is unless they really screw up, if not give and take and the whole process would be pretty much enjoyable.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Chronology - Julia Wedding News (JWN)

[The chronology of events is simply acts as a reference to give brides a rough idea of the flow of events. Remember to always communicate with your bridal coordinator. No one will know what you desire until you voice them out.] - original text from SB

My journey with a bridal studio is pretty straight forward and simple. Right from the start I knew that I wanted off the rack gowns as I was too lazy to go through the hassle of made to measure gowns and I did see the horror story of the MTM gown from SB. With the spouse out of town, it means alot of decisions is really up to my hands so I wanted everything to be simple and efficient.

After the husband outright said he preferred a bridal shop over any other choices I had showed him, I chose Julia Wedding News as it was recommended by an old family friend of ours. I like the quality of their gowns as the choice of lace/tulle/chiffon were of high quality. The wedding package pricing fitted into our budget and signing the package on our birthday month did help save some moolahs. The item that helped sealed the deal was they allowed me to bring 2 gowns and 1 suit over to Tokyo, Japan for our second reception at no extra charge with a longer rental period. (Of course, that was after some hard bargaining).

In JWN, gowns used for the photoshoot would be different from the actual day wedding gowns (but that is another story to tell, we would save it for the next post) so brides can go for a different look for their photoshoot and actual day.

03 - 16 January 2012
Recce bridal boutiques.

21 January 2012
Second visit to Julia Wedding with husband (in town for Chinese New Year 2012) and sign the contract. Deposit payment of 50%.

05 March 2012
Meet up with photographer to confirm the shooting locations as this would affect the choice of gowns.

12 March 2012
Pre-wedding photoshoot gowns selection (Total 4 sets). Next 20% payment

03 May 2012
Pre-wedding photoshoot suits selection (Total 2 sets), on the spot alteration and final fitting.

04 May 2012
Photoshoot day (Wedding dress indoor shoot, Wedding dress National museum shoot, Chinese Kua indoor shoot, Short Wedding dress Marina Barrage shoot and Evening Dress Merlion Park shoot).

05 May 2012
Selection of photos, Next 20% payment

16 June 2012
View layout

30 June 2012 
Finalise layout for album after 6 draft edits. 

08 August 2012
Actual Day Gowns selection. (Total 3 sets), hand bouquet and bridal car decoration selection. Next 10% payment

28 Sept 2012
Collection of the wedding albums, table top photos and canvas print. Remaining 10% payment.

25 October 2012 
Actual Day suits selection, on the spot alteration and final fitting. Choose accessories needed for the wedding. Collection of gowns and suits for actual day.

26 October 2012
Collection of flower corsages, bouquet, following car ribbons and decoration for wedding car

27 October 2012 
Sit and look pretty as your make up artist dolls you up

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bridal Affairs

Bridal Affairs is the second place I viewed and they operate at a rented HDB flat in Tampines. Appointment has to be made prior before you can head over to view their gowns. I found them when I was randomly surfing the website for alternative bridal gown rentals besides from bridal shops. I was also drawn by their simple and yet attractive website. At that point in time, they had just started their operations for a relatively short period and hence I thought maybe their prices would be quite competitive since they might want to get more clients.

I had a little surprise again when I met up with the lady boss, Christine, she turned out to be a ex-school mate of mine back in my secondary/JC days. I definitely feel much more at ease with her since we do kind of know each other back in the days and she is one who can build a rapport with easily. Even though the bridal rental business is still new but Christine has been in the wedding planning industry for a few years. 

Similarly as Bridal Closet, the packages start from S$398 for the basic items and top up for premium gowns ranging from S$300 - S$500. Grooms can also top up their suits to Italian suites at a premium too. 
Wedding dress 1

This Vera Wang inspired gown was my favorite from ALL the gowns I had tried from the 3 wedding vendors I visited. This was a made to measure gown for 1 of her clients and can be rented at an additional top up of S$500 but only for use in indoors/hotel venues. I had not lost some of my tummy fats at that point of time but as you can see from the photo that this dress was able to help contour the body shape. What I love about this gown was its petal shape like dress mixed with some champagne colored chiffon in between. The train was not long for this wedding dress but the WOW effect was just there. I simply fell in love with it.

Wedding Dress 2

This wedding dress also belonged to the premium gown category. I wanted to try something that had cape sleeve so Christine found this for me. It was made with soft French lace hence the soft look and different feels can be created with the colored sash tied at the waist. The dress fitted till the hips and flowed out with a medium length train. 

Wedding dress 3

This wedding dress also belonged to the premium gown category, made with duchesse lace with a tube bodice. 

Wedding dress 4

This belonged to their Korean collection hence the more princessy design (of course with a top up). This dress was really sweet in design in my opinion. At this point in time after trying on like at least 10 wedding dresses from 2 places, I realized that the design and cut for the gown is very important if you want to hide some unflattering parts of your body. Like for example, a corset waist dress works better for me since I have a pear shaped figured with 2 inches worth of love handles. 

Wedding dress 5

This wedding dress is included in their package with no top up. Dress design is more simple and no train (sorry for the blur photo, we were using our phone camera) Christine's suggestion was to pick a simple no train wedding dress for the morning activities so that I can walk around comfortably and top up to 1 of the premium gowns for the evening session in the hotel and to create the WOW factor during the march in. 

Evening dress 1

This belonged to their premium evening gown section too, the top up was S$300. I absolutely love the train at the back and the royal blue on me. The material was silky and comfortable to wear. 

Evening dress 2

This was part of the collection from their package, my first time with a yellow dress. I thought yellow looks not too bad on me but I did not like the tiered design. 

Evening dress 3

This was also from their collection with the standard package with no top up needed. This dress was unflattering on me as it was not the right size but free alterations would be provided during the fitting for the bride/groom. 

Truthfully speaking, I almost wanted to sign my bridal package with them. I like their gowns in general, their partnering pre-wedding photography was 8th Avenue (I have seen their works before), their pricing was within my budget even if I had to top up at least S$1000 for the gowns/suits I wanted. On top of it, I knew Christine so I had a certain level of rapport with her. Though, I had a little hesitation with their make up artist as theirs are mainly free-lancers and no trial is included in the package. I saw some of the photos of their works but I felt the make up/hair was a little dated. 

I eventually did not sign my package with them is because my other half wanted us to settle for a all inclusive package from a bridal shop and not a package which is almost ala-carte. This is because in his home country, Japan, almost everything comes in sets or packages so he was more comfortable that we had our bridal packages coming from a shop with everything included. He doesn't mind the fact that the photos might look all too similar or there is no flexibility in some of the package conditions. He cited that with all the top ups included, the pricing would be almost the same as if we had sign up with a bridal shop. 

So, there goes my chance to be alternative bride.....and therefore, let us go back to the Tanjong Pagar stretch........for the wedding dress hunt.