Weddings, the SingaporeBrides way
Source: The Edge Singapore by Jean Angus
1 May 2002

A few days ago, I turned on the TV for some mindless dinnertime entertainment, only to be treated to Steve Martin hamming it up in Father of the Bride on HBO. The movie brought back memories of my own wedding in October last year. My now-husband and I planned our afternoon wedding in 3 weeks, having put things off till the very last minute. Despite the lack of advance preparation, our big day was a huge success and we have to thank for it.

Getting married in Singapore is complicated, stressful and expensive. A large-scale celebration is usually expected, as it reflects the status of the families involved. An Asian wedding involves myriad religious, social and cultural observances that add to the bill. Cost, therefore, is an all-important issue. A wedding with the whole works - banquet, studio and actual day photography, bridal package and extras - usually means a five-figure bill, so it behoves couples to look for the best deals in the market. And what better place to do it than at a virtual community of similarly stressed newlyweds-to be?

Set up in two years ago to address the paucity of online wedding resources available to Singaporean couples, SingaporeBrides has soothed many frazzled nerves, and is more useful than any wedding planner I've come across. The fact that it's local makes it all that more relevant for Singapore couples. I found the site so indispensable that I had it permanently open in a browser window when I was preparing for my own wedding. I highly recommend it to anyone planning to get married in Singapore. Don't buy the idiot's guide. Just visit this site. It has everything you need.

If you are really clueless about where to start, SingaporeBrides has a step-by-step guide to help you, with topics ranging from buying a ring for the proposal to choosing a bridal boutique and planning the honeymoon. Just consult the wedding directory, which lists florists, boutiques, car rental companies, travel agencies, restaurants, hotels and various other suppliers that you will need to hire for your big day. Links are provided to the companies' respective web sites, so you can view samples of their work online. If you are looking for a bargain, SingaporeBrides has a monthly e-zine featuring bridal and photography package promotions as well as give-aways and updates on bridal shows and exhibitions. Budget-conscious couples can also look for recommendations on the forum, which is the best thing about The forum sees hundreds of postings daily; indeed, its sheer popularity has made it necessary to upgrade the site to a more robust server to cope with the heavy traffic. Wedding industry professionals are also actively involved in the virtual community. Both my actual day photographer and makeup stylist were hired indirectly through the site; I communicated with them via the forum and e-mails, and eventually met them to see their portfolios and discuss the details. Despite vacillation on the part of the people around me over my decision to go with "unknowns", I hired both and was extremely pleased with the outcome.

The forum also features free consultation with wedding professionals. My stylist has a regular column where brides-to-be can quiz him on hair and makeup matters. Other regular contributors on the site include wedding planners, photographers and bridal ateliers. These professionals are subject to online reviews by customers past and present, so it is always good to browse the posts to see what others have been saying about the vendor you are interested in. In fact, one of the deciding factors in my decision to hold my wedding at the Shangri-La Singapore was the favourable review garnered by the hotel's high-tea buffet at SingaporeBrides' forum. My photographer and stylist also received good comments by their clients. Of course, these reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt, but I believe many of the postings are genuine, and it always helps to know what other couples recommend.

The weekly chat session is a good place to get to know other wedding couples, or to interact with wedding professionals. Held every Thursday at 9.30pm, the chats are moderated and are frequented by regulars, who have become so united in their quest for the perfect wedding that they now organise frequent gatherings in real life to share their wedding experiences in person.

All in all, SingaporeBrides played a pivotal role in the success of our wedding, which is why I'm so obviously enthusiastic about it.

No other Singaporean wedding site comes close to it in terms of content and community, and nothing else was as helpful in our preparations. I don't recommend such hurried planning, but if you do find yourself procrastinating like we did, visit the site as your first step. You won't regret it - we certainly didn't.

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