When it comes to planning for a pre-wedding photoshoot, the first thing a couple think of would usually be signing up for a package from a bridal studio. Why? Because it is convenient! The bridal studio will “bao-kah-liao” (a.k.a. cover everything), providing a one-stop solution.
However, with budding home-grown photographers, there has been a trend in recent years where more and more couples are opting for the “A-La-Carte” photoshoot instead of the conventional bridal studio package. This option provides the couple with more choices in their service providers (e.g. photographers, makeup artist, wedding gowns and suits boutiques etc), and hence, higher flexibility.
It can be a tough decision to decide between a package or a-la-carte deal. The top 2 determining factors would be
1) budget and 2) time.
However, it is also important to know the other factors that can affect your decision. Let this article bring you through your thought process and help you in making your final decision.
Bridal Wedding Package
First, let’s talk about the advantage of signing for a Bridal Wedding Package.
Advantage 1: One- Stop Solution
A typical full bridal wedding package generally includes:
- Wedding gown & evening gown.
- Men’s suit
- Hair & Make-up artist(s)
- Hand bouquets.
- Corsages (small bouquet of flowers worn on a woman’s dress or worn around her wrist to a formal occasion)
- Bridal car and decoration and chauffeur.
- Bridal accessories.
- Studio & outdoor photography (usually 2 locations in total).
- About 20 pieces of photos bound in album.
- One portrait size photo (inclusive of framing).
As you can see, almost everything is provided and you can be assured that you’re sufficiently covered. And the best part is that a lot of time can be saved as you do not have to choose your service providers individually. The only time consuming task which you have to go through is to select the bridal boutique. After that is done, you can leave all the minute details to the bridal studio.
Advantage 2: Concise budgeting
Another advantage of a wedding package is that it allows you to work within a budget. As a bridal studio works on an economic of scale, they should be able to customise a package for you with all the basic things included. This is more ideal compared a-la-carte; where you might not be able to maximise your dollar as much as a package deal, and the likelihood of you missing out on some items would be higher.
However, there are several cons for signing a wedding package as well.
We have listed out some of the things which you may not have thought as important when you sign up for the package, until the day of your photoshoot. Well, not saying that it will definitely happen, but nevertheless, it’s better to be an informed buyer! If you find any of the points mentioned below not applicable to you, strike it off and you will be able to make a better decision without regrets!
Disadvantage 1: The photographer
The day of the photoshoot would usually be the first time you meet up with your photographer. The photographer does not know your love story and neither do you know the photographer’s shooting style. Chances are, you will end up having a very mainstream photography style, similar to other couples who signed up atthe same bridal studio.E.g. the photoshoot venues, bridal gowns, poses, angles from which the photographs are taken from etc. Do you want your wedding album to look like everybody else’s?
Disadvantage 2: Hidden costs
We have heard all about the horror stories about how a package which cost S$3,000 originally can go up to S$6,000 because of hidden costs that were not mentioned previously! (Might be exaggerating a little here but you get the point).
Some of these hidden cost items include the request for a change in hairstyle for the bride, transportation cost, props and accessoriesfor the couple’s photoshoot… and the list goes on.So always ask and clarify what is included, or not, in the package.
Disadvantage 3: Hard selling
This is what we all dislike the most when it comes to sales. As they earn based on commission, it is almost certain that the bridal After the photo-taking session, you would probably be overwhelmed by the number of photos taken. It is almost impossible to choose just 30 out of the 500 photos.
This is when your bridal consultant will tell you that “you look extremely gorgeous in this dress”, “this photo captured your best smile”, “that photo of yours shows so much emotions and it would be a pity not to get it” etc. In the end, you might give in to temptations to get more prints and end up paying a lot more than what you have originally signed up for.
Disadvantage 4: Lack of personalised service and sub-par professionalism
As you’re not their only client, you might not receive full attention from your photographer, bridal consultant etc. From the selection of gowns to the photo-taking day, to the hair and makeup, the bridal studio might schedule as many appointments in a day as possible in order to maximise time.
For example, during your gown selection, there would usually be an assistant who will help you to get dressed. However, sometimes due to the lack of manpower or the overload on appointments, the assistant may have to help other brides while attending to you and thus, making you feel neglected.
This can also happen during your photoshoot where the photographer is scheduled for a back-to-back photoshoot.When they see that time is almost up, they may rush to wrap up your photoshoot, making your photoshoot with them feel rush too.
To avoid all this mishaps, it is recommended that you choose a renowned bridal studio which can provide you with impeccable service and utmost professionalism.
The price for a bridal wedding package can range from anything from S$3,000 to S$7,000 or more. Since you’re going to pay such a big amount, you also need to consider these 5 important things before signing up for a pre-wedding photography shoot.
If you wish to have more flexibility and more control over your service providers, the a-la-carte option is the one you should go for. Do note that the price range for this option is more varied than the package option as everything is customised to your needs. However, the a-la-carte option can sometimes cost lesser than the package deal, depending on your needs. If you do not need everything in a package deal (e.g. the Chinese tea dress, evening gown), then going for a la carte would be a more ideal choice.
Here are some of the areas where you will have to spend on for an a-la-carte option:
Gowns and suits
For a la carte photoshoot, the amount you spend on this area will form bulk of the cost. For brides who wish to have a brand new made-to-measure wedding gowns (a.k.a customised gowns) or wish to avoid the situation While there are several tailors or bespoke suit studios in Singapore, you can choose to have your suit made in Bangkok or other Asian destination (i.e. Vietnam and Taiwan)while you’re on holiday as it is much cheaper. Just make sure to maintain your figure till your wedding!
There are so many freelance wedding photographers in Singapore and you are bound to find one whomeets your expectations. Alternatively, if you have a friend who does freelance photography or is a good photographer, you could ask him/her to do your photoshoot instead of hiring a stranger. This can help you save cost and you will also feel more comfortable during the photoshoot.
Unlike a bridal photoshoot package, a freelance photographer will usually give you ALL the photos taken in soft-copy format. This is a very enticing deal as you do not have to worry about the extra cost you have to incur for addition shots as there is no such thing! In addition, a freelance photographer would usually request for a pre-photoshoot meet up so that they can understand your love story and discuss how their photography can meet your requirements and dreams.
Last but not least, as freelance photographers are likely to include your photoshoot as part of their portfolio, you can be assured that they will do their best when taking your photos as it can affect their potential business!
Hair and make-up artist
Just like the point above, if you have friends who are skilled in hair and makeup, you can seek their help for the photoshoot! Otherwise, DIY to save cost.
Other miscellaneous items
Without a package, it is possible to miss out items such as the hand bouquet, bridal car decoration, corsages, etc. It’s great if you think that these items are unnecessary as it will help to cut down on the extra outlays. But if you think that these are a must to have, do remember to set aside a budget for “miscellaneous items”.
This is an area which has been downplayed by most and not seen as an important factor as we do not see an outflow of cash. An a-la-carte wedding requires much preparation by you and your partner. Even though you can get help from your family or friends, it is your responsibility to make your wedding a perfect one. Due to the huge amount of research work to be done and the numerous decisions to be made (compared to the packaged deal), always plan ahead so that there’s sufficient time to avoid last minute work.
As mentioned above, one of the advantages of an a-la-carte wedding is the flexibility given to select your favourite vendors, and to choose only the necessary items based on your needs. You are also able to personalise your wedding and make it unique to you and your other half. Furthermore, there’s no limit to your creativity and the only constraint is your budget and time allocated for your wedding preparation.
Given that it is your wedding, you would definitely want everything to be the best. As such, it is easy to overspend on an a-la-carte wedding as you’ll realise that you need more things than you’ve budgeted for. Therefore, it would be wise for you to set a higher budget if you are going for an a-la-carte wedding photoshoot.
So at a glance, here are the differences between the 2 types of wedding photoshoot package
Still have not decided on which option to choose? As a general rule, if you have more time and budget, go for the a-la-carte. Otherwise, the package deal will be more ideal for you.