Updated: Oct 17, 2018
Recently, during Chinese New Year, I met up with an old friend of mine and was shocked to learn that she and her husband were victims of the sudden closure of Sophia Wedding Collection, a bridal studio that unexpectedly closed down and left many couples in the lurch and faced with losses amounting to thousands of dollars. Both my husband and I were shocked that such a thing could have happened in our safe Singapore. Police reports were made; however, the couples still have no guarantee that their deposits will ever be recovered. The newspaper articles that followed the incident urged couples to do their research and shop around before placing a deposit with bridal companies. It even went so far as to advise withholding full payment until all the services have been rendered.
Sophia Wedding Collection was no fly-by-night company; in fact, their lady boss had claimed the company was doing so well that it had to relocate to a better location with bigger shop space! It was a company of good standing, and forum posts seemed to indicate a lot of happy brides pleased with their service. But Sophia Wedding Collection aside, I personally have heard one too many horror stories, either from my friends or from bridal magazine articles about studios that went back on their verbal promises or kept on postponing the release of the wedding photos to the couple. I've also heard of the pressure and hard-sell tactics used to get couples to sign up for packages on the spot or to try to upsell them on wedding photos.
Another friend of mine, Janice, and her then-fiancé had gone into a bridal studio with a budget of $3000. By the time they walked out, they had not only signed a $5888 wedding package, but after listening to the sales staff, they had also agreed to take up a larger photo package, causing the final pricing to swell to $8000. That was $5000 more than what they had budgeted for! As a result, both had to take drastic measures to cut back on the other aspects of their wedding, including postponing their honeymoon until one year later.
Not keen to deal with all these issues while having to plan my wedding from overseas, I decided not to take up any wedding package, opting instead to engage individual vendors to provide the needed services. It's impossible that all three vendors would go bust on me, right? I rented my bridal gowns from one studio, engaged a photographer separately, and even found the hair and makeup artist on my own. Yes, it involved a lot of work and correspondence back and forth between myself, my husband and the different vendors; and mind you, I was overseas all the while and holding a full-time job, much like many of you. However, I felt more assured as to the quality of service this way.
Never have I been so pleased with a decision I made. It made the entire wedding planning process very unique to us, and my husband even got to participate in selecting the final vendors out of those I had short-listed after researching online.
But if you would like even more reasons why engaging individual service providers might be ideal for you too, follow us to Part Two where I continue the discussion and list out my personal reasons as well.
Written by Kally Tay
Edited by Priscilla
* Kally Tay is a writer who used to be a bride from Annabel Law Productions and a friendship blossomed with Bel after her wedding. She loves to share her knowledge of being a mum and her corporate experiences though her blog at Middle Me.