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 Tying the knot on a budget

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Max
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PostSubject: Tying the knot on a budget   Tue Feb 03, 2009 3:04 pm

Tying the knot on a budget

Sufian Suderman
sufian@mediacorp.com.sg


LIKE any bride, Cindy Tan, 32, a financial services executive, dreamed of a wedding to remember. She wanted a string quartet. A professional cartoon montage. Extra hands on deck to photograph and film the momentous day.
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But these are luxuries she must now do without — in addition to slashing the number of tables at her July wedding from more than 30 to more than 20, and honeymooning in Asia instead of South America.
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She and her hubby-to-be, a civil servant, have cut costs by up to 30 per cent. And they are not alone in their nuptial thrift.
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Almost all wedding-related businesses Today spoke to said they have taken a recessionary hit, with customers scrimping on almost every facet of their grand day.
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Ms Renee Leung, director of wedding planners The Wedding Butler, said: “Five in 10 couples are cutting costs. Instead of big wedding cakes, they now buy hotel suite cakes which we help them decorate. Instead of a five-piece band with a known singer, couples are settling for a three-piece band without the singer.
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“Couples are focusing on quality and cutting on unnecessary expenditure.” For instance, she added, not doing any pre-wedding photography shots can save a couple up to $5,000.
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Bridal boutique D Element Apparels said couples are looking for less expensive deals. Where a bride typically gets a wedding gown and two outfits for the big day, more are now buying one evening dress in addition to the gown. “They buy the tea dresses off the rack at department stores,” said a spokesperson.
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Brides have also found a cheaper way to achieve their dream wedding: They pick out design details they like from $10,000-gowns in bridal magazines, and ask the boutique to replicate it for “only a few hundred dollars”.
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There are exceptions, of course — those who can afford to are still splurging, according to Ms Rachel Yit, marketing manager of My Dream Wedding, which targets the upmarket crowd. “It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many people. Women still want to look beautiful in a bridal gown.”
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Couples also want to look good in their wedding photographs — but for less, if they can help it. Mr Albert Chua, principal photographer of Ever After Pictures, said: “More clients negotiate. They expect high quality but at a cheaper price. We try to accommodate their needs, given the economic situation. For example, they can have 10 hours of photography instead of 12.”
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One tip Mr Chua shared: Attend bridal road shows and fairs if you’re looking for a bargain, as companies do offer promotional rates.
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As for the hotels, Meritus Hotels & Resorts said some clients have cut back on the number of tables and guests by about 30 per cent. Asked about cancellations, it said if there were any it would be because of problems in the couple’s relationship rather than the economic downturn.
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M Hotel, meanwhile, reported no significant drop in bookings but has launched a wedding promotion where couples get F&B vouchers, complimentary first-anniversary stays, a free bottle of house-pour wine per confirmed table, and a complimentary table for 10.
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For some couples, it’s about putting off the lavish expenses till later. Civil servant Siti Farhana Sabtu, 26 — who had dreamed of a wedding by the beach but is now getting married at the void deck — said she and her aircraft technician husband have decided on a simply honeymoon to Genting.
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“This raised some eyebrows among my friends. We initially wanted to go to Phuket, stay at La Flora hotel, but we canned the idea. When things are better, we shall pamper ourselves silly. Just not now,” she added.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/articles/300054.asp
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