Sunday, January 12, 2014

6 Tips to Afford a Wedding at the Right Depth of Your Pocket

So, articles on how a couple spent S$110K for their wedding to land themselves in debts there after have been circulating quite a bit on social media platforms. At the same time, some past examples on successful low-budget weddings - yet as successful in celebrating the union of two souls as those lavish ones - were also published on magazines online portals. Quite an interesting read since I am just a three weeks old bride wife who is still bathing in honeymoon after a very heartwarming wedding. We didn't spend a bomb, but we had the best moments that contribute to a smooth and joyous night.

Before I go on to share my bliss and happiness on my wedding day, I thought I can share some of the budget tips on wedding planning, in the right budget bandwidth. 

Well, below are some personal opinions, no right or wrong, so take whatever suits your taste yea=D
*Assuming you have already chosen your bridal studio with the pre-wedding shoot packages*

Adopted theme for my wedding: Oriental

1. Before You Sign: Negotiate for More Photos and Forgo little 'gifts'

I forgo my wedding album and a 4R or 6R bedside photo frame in exchange for 20+ photos. I can't remember the exact number as I signed my package 13 or 14 months ago but the range is legit. I am slightly luckier as working in the marketing/events trade for 5 years has earned me a decent size of contacts and networks. Hence I made my own wedding album with hard cover that comes with shuang xi deboss (can opt for personalized logo at a fee), custom album size and to choose a cover material from a range of colours and textures. Using a rough gauge, the photos had saved me a huge sum as each copy was less than $20 (estimates) after doing my maths! But if you were to purchase from photography studios, they may easily hit grands.

My experience: The textured cover, thickness of the pages and the deboss:

The Deboss

2. Pre-Wedding Photoshoot: Be Creative, Be Involved, Be You.

Encountered couples who spend S$10k for an overseas photoshoot, which encompass travel / service / accommodation fees for photographer, car rental, gowns etc not forgetting the painful experience of paying a few grands more to purchase all the photos for the very reason of travelling all the way to somewhere to take nice scenic photos and feeling silly to not buy them because you wanna save the money. 

Well, to JJ and I, wedding is a 一生一次(Once a lifetime) thing, we wish to make it memorable. Yet we recognize the fact that wedding album too is a 一生一次 thing, 一生 (只会看)一次 (Only see it once a lifetime) thing. ^-^||| Okay I exaggerated a little, but you get the drift ya. You are going to keep those nicely edited photos in your hard drive, or storeroom/under your bed after wedding. So, spend wisely, you too, can make fantastic photos using just local landscapes!=D 

Be Creative. Do it locally (Save a hell lot of moolahs) with different approach. Choose somewhere that is in Singapore yet it doesn't show much of the city's icons, leaving viewers pondering over the actual place and be impress by the authenticity of your shoot location (e.g. cafes, pasture, parks, playgrounds, shops/stores, bridge, streets etc). 

Be Involved. Think of some key poses that represent the couple's characters. Search online, through instagrams, pinterest, hashtags etc. Get inspirations, and determine your own wedding photo poses. Of course, you can't come up with ALL the possible poses for your day-long photoshoot, so you may still heed some of the photog's advice. Do remember to explore impromptus options when you are taking photos too!

Be You. Smile at your most natural when you are posing at ease, displaying the playful nature/sweet-in-your-own-way characters in you.

The poses that you and your partner brainstorm will come as delayed gratifications when you're choosing your photos as you may feel more attached to some:P Probably save you some money in buying more photos since you may have preferences over certain ones now. Appreciate your well-captured smiles, but most importantly, appreciate the memories:)

*Not saying that my photos are perfect, but I do smile a lot while looking at the planned/unplanned photos as they hold different stories of my photoshoot day. Oh did i mention that my photoshoot happened on the very day PSI hit 400 in the then hazy Singapore? hehe*
I had mine at Ikea Warehouse!:) 

3. Choosing Photos: Have a Clear Mind!

More than often, merchants will have little tricks to work your eyes and minds the way they wish to, and with a weaker determination, the buyers usually fall within their own soft spots. If the photographs are jumbled up, make sure you pay more attention to what you choose at the end of the day. Compare the photos taken at same settings again before confirming your purchases of both photos. Try to keep your damage to the lowest, most importantly, control the bride! *I admit I was the more excited one between the two back then* 


Be chill and stay calm during the process.

4. Give Yourselves a Holiday.

Take a break 6 months before your wedding, unwind, and shop for wedding materials at your currencies advantage! Killing two birds with one stone, why not ;) Wedding favours were provided by my wedding venue, but I thought I want something more than that. Hence, I bought my wedding favours and reception pens during my overseas trip with JJ, and found quite good deals! I custom made my bridesmaids' dresses in China (communications through an online platform), and bought handheld fans for my bridesmaid to suit the oriental theme wedding. Most importantly, to fan themselves while going through gate crashing and tea ceremonies at groom and bride's places in the hot and humid weather. If you do not have the time nor the mood to travel overseas, you may want to get it online, hassle free services always waiting for you if you search hard enough;)

My experience - Tags were printed and tied to our gifts:

Measuring Tape. We tend to shop online quite a bit, so thought this may be useful to some friends and I! "Marriage is about maintaining your waistline" (well, better physique gives a more confident, thus, happier you lol!)
Heart Shape bottle opener. I didn't realise that it's an opener till the shop owner told me  so, ok I'm prolly slow i know, but i was captivated by it. "Marriage is to open up some happiness"
Thought this shot glass is rather nice, and it still fall within the budget though the glass was slightly pricier than the rest. "Marriage is.. shots of merriments!"

My reception pens:

Bridal car bears from Shanghai

We did away with Ang Pow for our JOP, brothers and sisters. Instead, we gave the money in rolls, within these "Ang Pow Container". We thought it's rather cute!
The 'oriental fan' that i got for the girls;)

5. Invite Cards, discard that if you can.

Well, JJ being the co-founder of 360 & 5, I need not worry about my e-invites. How it works:
  • With customized message, URL and invitee's picture, we invited all friends through whatsapp (mobile app). Invitees can view the page on computers too since JJ is capable of doing responsive websites. There are 2 buttons on the invite page - Green = I am attendng!, Red = I am not attending. A countdown will be automated, showing the number of days leading up to our wedding. Upon responding, the different answers will lead users to different landing page, highly customize-able!
    At back end, we will have a list of responses, sorted out in any way you wish to so as to ease follow-ups. 

  • Round 2 of mass sending service - reminders and to log the dates in their calendars. Customized landing pages as well.
  • Viewers who are not invited but log on to our wedding page, will see a generic page of our wedding such as this

Not only that we saved on production costs, which will be thrown away after our wedding most likely, we also saved the earth some tree cutting, and both of us felt that the micro-site is highly personalized (with insertion of old photographs of invitees and us in the page, addressing invitees with nicknames we use on each other and personalized URL). Something that displayed our sincerity in inviting them, and to show how unique they are in ours eyes. Majority of our guests were delighted to receive such unique invitations!:)

Side note: We proceeded with 50pcs of card printing for our elders/relatives, who faithfully obey the tradition and rules of invitation, something which we highly respect as well. Glad that printing contacts come into good use phew

6. Invite to share, not to fill. 

Choose a venue that is in relevance to your desired invite list. Do not invite to fill up a venue, like come on, do you and your partner really have 600 close/best friends? Wedding is not a time for you to show off, but a celebration where friends whom you feel are truly happy for you to attend alongside with brimming joys & blessings. We had a cozy wedding of 25 tables at a truly amazing venue @Grand Shanghai, and we were showered with loves from every table. Not a single awkward moments of "who is this lady?" from both of us, as at some point or another, we have met each other's friends, else, heard of them. The coziness are something that we adored. 
That's right, my diver clique! We didn't mean 'good' in this picture btw. The diving hand sign says 'ASCEND!' - 我们上岸了!
We had a wedding at the right depth of our pockets, and we are blissfully married now. Before you go ahead and spend your next $100k on wedding, feel the depth of your pocket and decide if it agrees.

Hope the little tips help!

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