In Part 1, I spoke about the monetary aspect you should look out for when choosing a bridal studio. In Part 2, I shall share about the service standards you should expect from a bridal studio.
After the Sophia Wedding failure, my fiance and I went back to our research to look at the other 2 bridal studios we had initially researched on and decided to set up an appointment. Before we did that, we also had a re-look at our choices and finances.
We were glad that some of the bridal studios were kind enough to offer affected couples from Sophia Wedding with discount prices.
We visited 2 studios before settling on our current studio. The first one I went to was a pretty new studio which has just launched in recent months. Their gowns were very very nice, owners were very sincere and helpful and they offered us quite a fair price.
The only downside was that they lacked men’s suits for rental and we were time-crunched for our pre-wedding photoshoot, so I had to give that up.
The second one was decidedly cheap, but the gowns looked pretty tired and worn, and one of the couples in the Facebook group checked their credit history and found something fishy so it was a direct no for us.
The last one, and the one we finally chose was in fact in our initial research list all along – La Belle Couture. Let us compare the services rendered so far and how they compared to Sophia Wedding:
1) Gown Choosing Process
I had a good experience with Sophia Wedding for this part as the employees were very patient. The only thing I didn’t like was that they didn’t let me take any photos. Mind you, there are other studios which has this “rule” as well.
Personally, I find it ridiculous that a client has already signed up with you and they can’t even take pictures to see how they look in the gowns! So if this is important to you, you might want to enquire before ou sign on the dotted line.
For La Belle Couture, they actually gave me a 3-hour time slot to choose our gowns and suits but it wasn’t enough. Their gowns are nice but because the fitting room is on a different floor as where they store the gowns, you have no access to view the styles you like.
You can only rely on your wedding co-ordinator to bring them to you. So this actually wastes more time as we went back for a second time.
Tip: Ask about their gown choosing process or to have a look at where they store their gowns to ensure it suits what you want.
2) Customer Service
La Belle Couture has an excellent customer service. Firstly, the co-ordinator I had is great, and you can expect very timely calls to follow up on your appointments. Previously at Sophia, no one contacted us to remind us of our appointments, told us who our photographer was and what we should do/prepare for our photoshoot.
For La Belle, you can expect calls and advice, and I was particularly impressed by the emails they sent to “prepare” us for our wedding shoot – such as reducing water intake the night before and a checklist of what we should bring.
We also met the photographer before the photoshoot and was able to discuss the style of the wedding shoot we want and hear his suggestions.
Tip: Check out bridal forums for reviews of studios and their co-ordinators to ensure you get good customer service.
3) Make-up ArtistMUA)
When it comes to make-up artists, most bridal studios work with freelancers. You’d notice that there’s usually some extra charges levied by the MUA – fake eyelashes and ampoules charges. Such charges range between $50 to $100 in total.
I feel it’s a bit too much to pay and did some research online – in fact, ampoules are optional. And from speaking to some married friends, they didn’t really feel good about paying for such charges too but felt it could anger their MUA which results in an unsatisfying make-up experience.
Well, I boldly did that and guess what, my MUA was super fine with it! There was no ounce of anger or unhappiness and she was really helpful and cheery throughout the process. Thumbs up!
Tip: It will be great to be able to send some hairstyles and make up ideas to your make-up artist before the actual day. La Belle readily gave me my MUA’s number so that I was able to communicate with her.
If you are thinking of getting ampoules and fake eyelash, I got them from Q100 but please try the ampoules out to ensure you’ve got no allergies.
Since most couple pay a few thousands to bridal studios, I believe you should get an acceptable, if not excellent service. If not, you could do better by renting gowns ala-carte. I can’t emphasise enough the research process – you do not want to look clueless in front of them and since it’s going to affect the entire wedding preparation process, it’s worth spending some time on it!