Bridal photography and packages for wedding dinners: I used to think that when things come in a package, it's automatically value-for-money.
In fact, the more things inside, the better. But that's not always so, as I've realised.
This is especially so for wedding packages. There're just some things you can make do without.
Here's what you don't really need and why:
FOR BRIDAL STUDIO PACKAGES
Most bridal studio packages may range anywhere between $3k to the $7k range depending on your choice of dress, photography destination etc. And given credit, these packages are really value for money…but that's only 'cause you're not given the best quality. Remember those weird bridal photos that went viral?
Bridal studio packages do not allow couples to choose their photographer. So it's like a game of luck who you get and how your photos turn out. So if Pinterest/Instagram worthy photos are what you're looking for, and you don't mind getting a "gown only" package, try doing away with the studio appointed photographers and choosing a separate one whose portfolio you like.
They might be a little pricier, but remember your photos will stay with you the rest of your life.
Even if you're looking to shoot your photos overseas, engaging a local photographer there might give you better mileage for your dollar since some photographers are cheaper. Platforms like OneThreeOneFour allow easy finding of photographers based on your destination and you can even find one in France for as low as $900.
That's pretty reasonable if you consider Singaporean bridal shoot prices.
Otherwise, if you'd chose to go a full photography package, the bridal studio would often give you a free "upgrade" of photo albums (no, I'm not talking about an upgrade in quantity of photos).
Citing the difference in quality between the original album given and what not.
But what are the chances of you ever taking out that bulky thing-a-ma-bob when everything these days are going digital? All my friends who've had weddings before usually end up chucking their big-a** photo albums/carousels/displays/ whatever-you-call-it in some neglected corner at their homes, collecting dust.
With apartment spaces getting smaller, you'll be better off opting for higher quantities of digital (edited) copies instead.
CORSAGES (AND CAR DECOR)
I don't know if it's just me who finds them dated. But even if they're not, flowers can be easily sourced from your local wet market florist, bears from the toy store or even your home, and DIY-ed by your wedding party.
FOR WEDDING DINNERS/SOLEMNIZATION PACKAGES
Banquet package prices might be final and difficult to bargain down, but that doesn't mean you can't swap things out to make your package run a longer mile.
Components like corkage fees, carpark passes, the 30 per cent leftover ratio for wedding invitations, etc. make for better things to have in your package.
For example, outsourcing wines would be much cheaper if corkage charges were waived.
FLOWER BOUQUET & DECORATIONS
Although bouquet and venue decorations are usually cheaper when you get them in the package, they're usually made up of fake/real flowers that may not necessarily go with your dinner theme.
It's fine if you're not anal on details like these, but if you are, cut this portion from the package and get them done by a professional decorator instead. This brings me to my next point…
Nobody ever keeps random memorabilia with labels like "momo & jojo's wedding" imprinted on it, so why waste money right?
Instead, why not let your guests take their pick of fresh flowers (if you've used any) from your venue decorations? That way you make better use of the fresh flowers as opposed to throwing them away after your banquet ends. And you don't even need to spend additional money.
Otherwise, if fresh flowers aren't your thing, small DIY jam/honey jars are another classy yet practical way to approach favors.
DUMMY WEDDING CAKE
Many venues these days still offer a fake wedding cake for couples to cut during banquets. I don't know what the symbolic meaning is to this but even if there is any, a fake cake sort of makes any meaning to it moot. It's just laughable watching a couple slice through a cardboard cake and nobody gets to eat anything real.
Complimentary guestbooks can sometimes be a little too gaudy, and it doesn't cost much to actually buy or make one on your own.
If only 70 per cent of your wedding invitations are complimentary, you should either bargain for the other 30 per cent, or get your own altogether. With typography becoming such a popular hobby these days, you can snag a youngster or your friend to do it for you for cheap.
Even if you can't, make-your-own kits are so accessible online, and Etsy has invitation templates you can buy ready-made.
What do you think is worth doing away with? Let us know! Better yet; Tag your engaged gong-dai friends.