A prominent bridal studio abruptly ceased operations in 2019, leaving many couples in the lurch. Sad as it is, this was not the first such occurrence. Singapore has seen a number of bridal studios suddenly shut down in recent years, leaving their customers outraged and heartbroken.
While our hearts go out to the affected couples, and we’re doing what we can to help them find alternate arrangements, it’s also a good time to examine what can be done to avoid such situations in future. If you’re a couple that’s in the midst of wedding planning, we have some suggestions for you.
Don’t be forced into paying hefty deposits
It’s normal to pay anywhere between 30% to 50% upfront for wedding services in Singapore. This is somewhat unavoidable, and we should bear in mind that businesses have cash flow needs too (rent, salaries, other overheads).
However, if you are asked to pay both your deposit and balance in a short period of time, without having at least 50% of your promised services fulfilled, then this should raise a red flag. Always ensure you have gotten at least 50% of what you paid for in your hands before paying the balance. Typically, the key milestones that require further payment would be:
Selection and collection of wedding outfits
Collection of PWS photos – digital and printed
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – Go a la carte!
One good way to manage your risk is to diversify your exposure – just like investing! Unless you’re crazy in love with everything that a studio offers, you might be better off going to different vendors for your gown, photographer, make-up, flowers, etc.
The added advantage of this approach is that you have a lot more choice and flexibility. By not limiting yourself to one studio’s offerings, you’re free to pick each vendor based on what suits you best.
Too good to be true? Then it probably isn’t true.
If you sign a package for $2,888 for 2 gowns, 2 suits, PWS, PWS makeup, actual day makeup, flowers, outfits for parents etc, it’s probably a sign that the company is facing issues and need to sell packages in volume to keep up their operating expenses.
Insider news! Ever heard of the term “Pay peanuts, get monkeys”? This is very true. Many times when you pay less for a package, the services you get are also very sub-standard. A decent quality AD photographer in Singapore usually costs $250-$280/hr (for 10 hours). If you’re only topping up $700-$800 for an AD photographer, it probably means this photographer is not getting paid much by the studio. Don’t forget, studios need to make money to cover cost too! And for the amount that photographer is receiving, they may not feel motivated to spend much time on your photos and editing.
With that in mind, if you’re paying $2,888 for a package and it cost $2,500 for a decent photographer, what do you think you’re really getting? Don’t forget MUAs also need to get paid for their services, and those suits and dresses need alteration – all these cost money!
Pro-tip! Don’t try and be a cheapo nemo by going for the cheapest items on the biggest day of your life. A standard package in 2023 usually costs between $3,500-$5,000 with add-ons included (more premium ones might go up to $7,000). Keep that in mind when shopping for packages and you should be on the right track.