Gowns from Calla Bridal, who closed down in early 2015. Brides were invited to the salon to choose their gowns as compensation for the loss of their wedding packages.

With so many bridal salons in Singapore offering affordable and competitively priced wedding packages, it was a matter of time before some of them would be unable to sustain their business costs and close down.

Before you confirm your wedding package, here are some pointers to help avoid heartache if your salon closes down

The price is not always right
Quite a few bridal salons offer wedding packages at cut-rate prices to reel in as many customers as they can; with cheap prices, these salons need the numbers in order to make a profit. If they cant get the minimum number of couples based on a certain price, the salons will make losses. 

Couples have to be realistic: Cheap packages are cheap because of a reason; besides inferior quality goods and sub-standard services, cheap packages come with the risk that the salon may not be able to fulfil their promises to you. 

If the packages prove to be such a hit with many couples signing up, another problem would arise as overwhelming demand will cause service and standards to drop.  

So be realistic in your expectations when you purchase a cheap wedding package.

Wedding insurance
Though uncommon, we’ve found a few companies who offer wedding insurance coverage. It may not cover every detail in your wedding but it can help you recover some of your losses.

Do your research
It may be easier to chase for some compensation if local bridal salons closed down, but it would be almost impossible for you to chase for money if the bridal salon owners were based overseas.

So it’s best to do some research on the bridal salon and read some of the comments online from their customers. It’s always good to be a cynic when it comes to purchasing your wedding packages – best to know all the shortcomings and bad press about a shop before you sign on the dotted line.

Stagger your payments
Although this is a policy for most bridal salons here, there have been cases when some bridal salons, and bridal designers, have asked for full payment upfront. They would cite various reasons (e.g. we need more cash upfront to purchase the expensive fabric for your dress) or make empty promises just to persuade you to cough up the full amount of your package. 

Never, ever pay the full amount upfront. A bridal salon asking for full payment upfront would indicate a cash flow problem – which is not a good sign of a stable business. 

If possible, try to have as many instalment payments – you pay for whatever is delivered of fulfilled based on your contract. Work out a payment plan with the bridal salon.

With most of your bridal wardrobe budget gone, you will have to be money-smart to get your wedding prep back on track:

Cheaper dress alternatives
Opt for off-the-rack wedding gowns – available either at retail stores or online – or ask around friends and family if they have a wedding gown you could loan for your big day. You can also scour other bridal salons for inexpensive rental gowns; just rent the dress and don’t sign up for another wedding package!

Forgo your evening gown
With a simple change of accessories, hair and makeup, your wedding gown can look glamorous enough for your evening celebrations. For a bit of colour, try adding colourful crystal accessories or satin sashes with crystal brooches to your dress.

Friends with benefits
Get your friends to help take pictures of your wedding day. If you have pals who are photography buffs, they can be the main photographers for the wedding.  But also get your guests to help out: they can take pics with their handphones or you can provide them with disposable cameras.

If you’ve always admired your friend’s flawless makeup, get her to help out with your hair and makeup styling. Don’t go for dramatic or trendy looks that would require makeup experts. Stick to a simple and pretty look that you, or your friend, can achieve easily.

DIY fun 
If your wedding package includes car decor and the bridal bouquet and you don’t have any budget left to hire another florist, do it yourself! Buy some flowers, props and rolls of ribbons and get your friends to help decorate the car and create your bouquet. It may not look professionally done but it would be a lot more personal, meaningful and fun.

Not sure how to start? Google is your best friend. We found these nifty tutorials on how to put together your own wedding bouquet on www.videojug.com, The Bride Link’s Youtube channel, and tips from Rubina Tiyu of Inside the Knot.