- Posted on Monday, 07 November 2016
A wedding on a shoestring budget? Not only is it possible, but you can still have one that looks good. Today, bride Chow Li Ying shares her Taobao tricks to crafting her cheap and cheerful wedding in Singapore, all for under $6000.
From the bride…
Wedding Dress: $163
I got my gown custom made off a site called DHgate which basically connects sellers from China with international buyers. The good thing about this site (compared to Taobao) is that the sellers actually communicate in English. I found a design I loved and had them make it in my size. However, it came slightly different than what I expected. I had to get minor tailoring done to separate the inner bodice from the skirt. I also ended up replacing the inner bodice with a bodysuit I already owned. Talk about having to improvise!
I illustrated my own invites and instead of printing them out, we sent them to our relatives via Whatsapp. Not cool I know, but there's no way we're not taking advantage of the convenience that technology brings!
Bridesmaid Skirts: $8 each
My bridesmaids preferred full-length tulle skirts for the wedding and I initially wanted them in a dusty blue colour but there weren't any for sale. So I settled for this grey coloured skirt from Taobao and added a pop of blue with customised floral crowns. The bridesmaids paired it with a white top of their own and it was wonderful!
Dried Flowers: $40
The entire decor for the wedding was done by the bridal party and I tried to use dried flowers as much as possible because not only are they cheaper, they last forever too! My guests brought home the flowers as decorations and the lavender made the entire restaurant smell amazing.
Assorted Decor: $100
The East Bureau already looked smashing without any decor, but we needed table numbers and some dolling up for the car. So we ended up using pipe decorations as flower garlands which was a smart move because they were infinitely cheaper and achieved the Pinterest look we were trying to achieve! I also printed quite a lot of hand-illustrated text to go with the floral wreaths on the cars so they looked more personalised. My favourite buy is definitely the ang pao box which also doubles up as a storage box. It came much larger than I expected, but it went splendidly with the oriental theme of the restaurant.
Bridal car wreath from Taobao. (Note: The car wreath the bride originally purchased is no longer in stock, this is a similar product from the same seller.)
Bridesmaid car wreath decor from Taobao.
Table numbers from Taobao.
Groom's Outfit: $70
Daniel decided to keep things simple and more casual which is why he opted for a vest instead of a blazer. I really liked it and thought it made him look really cute without being over the top. We chose this lightly chequered vest and pants in navy (my favourite colour) with a maroon tie that matched my insanely huge red floral crown. The pants required some altering, but otherwise it was perfect.
Groom's Shoes: $55
Daniel wore pig skin leather shoes for ultimate comfort. Plus, they were brown to match the groomsmen's brown suspenders! The devil is in the details.
Groomsmen’s Accessories: $2.50 each
Since the groom was dressed down, the groomsmen were as well. Their baby blue bow ties matched the bridesmaids’ blue floral crowns!
Suspenders from Taobao.
Bride's Shoes: $12
I didn't want to wear heels because they are a pain, and also because I preferred something more casual. That's why I opted for these lace up shoes in brown which once again, matched my husband's shoes.
Bride's Floral Crown: $9
I was inspired by a Pinterest look that featured a huge floral crown and I didn't want fresh flowers because I was afraid they'd wither faster than me. So I took to Taobao to customise one that met my requirements. The seller was a dear and made it look amazing. It was a little on the loud side, but I loved it!
Bridesmaids’ Floral Crowns: $4 each
My bridesmaids had smaller floral crowns than I did, and they were customised as well. I loved how they added some colour to their overall outfits and that the blue matched with the boys' bow ties. Little things really help bring the entire wedding together.
Wedding Bands: $450
We decided not to splurge on wedding bands because we wanted something simple and suitable for daily wear (just imagine how sad you'd be if a diamond falls of your wedding band!) So we turned to our favourite brand as teenagers – Thomas Sabo – and purchased 2 gold plated bands. I love how simple they are!
Food and Drinks: $3800
We held our reception for 75 persons at The East Bureau and it was the best decision we made. Initially we had trouble trying to find a restaurant that had amazing interior design yet served Chinese cuisine. The East Bureau did it, and they did it perfectly. We didn't really have to do much for the decor because it was already wonderful to begin with, and everyone sang praises about the food. Also, the venue was perfect because they charged per head instead of per table. The service was wonderful as well.
Our DJ was a Spotify playlist carefully curated by one of my bridesmaids, which was perfect for the afternoon. It played our favourite songs (mostly oldies)!
(TWS: Need some wedding party music ideas so you can be your own DJ too? Check out our Spotify playlists now!)
Wedding Bouquet: $90
I specially requested maroon peonies in my bouquet and I think Windflower Florist was the only florist that was able to do it at short notice. I loved how it wasn't too huge (not a fan of huge bouquets) and that it matched my outfit!
Hair and Makeup: $170
I met Fidelis of The Luckiest Chick at a tasting event long long ago, so when she started her own business I had to get her help. We exchanged a few emails before the actual day, sharing ideas and preferred looks. I really liked the way she did my hair and makeup (it's not easy to coax double eyelids out of my Asian monolids) and she was so approachable and calm – everything you need in a great makeup artist.
The perks of studying in Communications School is that you get to meet amazingly talented individuals and have the privilege of calling them friends. Kai Wen and Matthew Ng were both my course mates and they captured my special day wonderfully. They worked extremely well together and encouraged some pretty insane shots that I am so thankful for.
Thank you for sharing your budget-friendly ideas and the breakdown of costs with us Chow, we’re sure it'll help Wedding Scoopers plan their weddings in the future!
Want to find out more about how to pull off a beautiful budget wedding? Check out “A New Way to Shop for Weddings: Exploring Taobao” and these two articles from our Bride Talks Budget series: “Bride Talks Budget: Maximising Your Dollars for a Bali Wedding” and “Bride Talks Budget: A Wedding for under $5000”