Choosing a wedding gown - #shaneandestherweds

By Esther Rachel Lai. - 1/13/2017

 This post has been highly requested by some of you and I apologise for taking so long but I hope I'm not too late!

Moving on, Shane and I, we impulsively signed with Seletar Broadway at a roadshow and after signing, I instantaneously had that feeling of dread right up until i went for my first fitting. Why? Well, because it was the first and only studio that we had looked at and I really wasn't planning on signing with one so quickly without looking at more but when we were at the roadshow, the sales person was VERY pushy.

I remember doing a quick search on Google while Shane was speaking to the sales lady and I was shocked at the amount of very very bad reviews given to this particular studio. Naturally, I tried to hint to Shane what I found out I even asked the lady to give us just a few minutes to discuss it within ourselves but she kept coming back to us like after only a mere minute so I really didn't get to have a proper discussion with Shane there and then. 

& you know, guys being guys, they're very chin chai and they don't really look into the details. Plus, the package that was offered to us included A LOT of things for $2.6k namely: 

- corsages for the bridesmaids
- bridal boutonnieres for the groom & both parents
- 1 blazer each for both fathers
- wedding car decor

For the groom
 - 2 blazers for the groom
 - 1 x custom made shirt (for the groom to keep)
- 2 x tailored pants (for the groom to keep)

For the bride
- 1 x wedding gown
 - 1 x evening gown
- 1 x trial make up
- bridal make up
- bridal bouquet
- faux accessories (necklace, earrings, hair pins/tiaras)

 and most importantly, if I didn't like the selection of gowns, I had the option of a 
free made-to-measure dress for both the wedding gown and evening gown as long as it isn't full lace.

Sounds super good right? 
But then it leaves you wondering, why is it so cheap. Is it cause of the bad reviews?
So to cut the long story short, we browsed through their catalog and ended up signing with them and for the months leading up to my first fitting, I was super anxious and bothered by the bad reviews that I read online. I did see only 1 good blog review but the rest were really bad and although Shane assured me that it varies from person to person, and that the reviews were really long ago (2010-2012) + if I really don't like it, I can make a dress, I still felt very uncomfortable about it but since we had already paid for the deposit (which was HALF the total amount), I had to keep my fingers crossed and pray that it will not turn out as bad.

Now before I continue on my experience with Seletar Broadway Studio, here are some tips before going down to your selected bridal studio to choose your gown.

Know Your Body Shape

To help you narrow down your search, it's good to start by first knowing what you look good in and the kind of styles that would fit you best. I've included a chart below to help you get a rough idea on what you should go for based on your body shape!

Of course, you don't necessarily have to limit yourself to what's on the chart but be realistic. What you see on pinterest and magazines can look gorgeous and stunning but not everyone can pull of a dress like those models can. Another thing you may want to consider is whether you want to have a train or not. Some ladies may not want a train because they find it a hassle to walk in while others love the classic dreamy look it gives.

Save Wedding Gown Inspirations

Just so you don't run into your bridal studio like a headless chicken, save a few inspirations so that you can show it to them and they can help you pick out a similar dress or something of the same cut for you to try. Bear in mind that your bridal studio will have LOADS of dresses and for you to try them all, would be impossible.

Set Aside Enough Time


You don't want to be rushing when you're choosing your dress because once you pick a dress, it usually is IT and there's not turning back (probably not without a cost) so be sure to free up your day, you never know how long you'd take (I took a good half a day just to choose my dress and we even had to buy our lunch to eat in the studio!).

Don't bring an army with you


 Don't ask too many people along to your fitting because it might bring you more hassle than help. Everyone's going to have their own opinions and you don't want to be overwhelmed by too many opinions so just bring a friend or two that you know can help you pick out the right dress!

Wear a strapless or stick-on bra

& preferably, wear one that you'll be wearing on the actual day itself so you get a good look and feel of how it will really look like on your wedding day. A good bra is more important than you know it. It can just add that extra "oomph!" to a dress that you may be considering!

Remember to snap photos 


Bring along a camera or simply use your phone if you prefer but while you're trying the dresses on, remember to get someone to help you snap pictures of you in it in different angles. This will help you choose at the end of your fittings so you can easily see what you look good in instead of trying and re-trying over and over again. Trust me, after a while, trying on so many dresses can get pretty tiring.

Don't try too many dresses


While you may be tempted to try as many pretty gowns as possible, avoid trying too many dresses or you might find yourself even more lost and confused deciding which you should get. There's no set number on how many dresses you should try but just bear in mind, don't limit yourself but also, don't overwhelm yourself. For me, I tried on about 9 wedding gowns and 5 evening gowns - all of which you can view below!

Okay, so like I said,we signed with Seletar Broadway Bridal Studio & much to my relief, the shop seemed pretty decent when we first arrived. In fact, it looked a lot better than I had expected.
I realise this is the only picture I have of the shop's premises. Probably too excited that I forgot to snap photos of the shop front etc. 

One thing I love about the shop is the platform that they have that lets you parade in your dress as if you're on stage. There's even two very large mirrors for you to take a good look at the dress you're wearing! (You'll see what I mean later).
To be honest, Seletar Broadway provides a really really huge selection of gowns ranging from the old fashioned ones to the slightly more modern ones. So it's actually quite possible to find something that you like BUT some of their gowns look pretty dated and most of them are in the ballgown style.
Also, for their evening gowns, they have a wide range of colours for you to choose from and some of them look really nice but I was adamant on having a dark blue gown and they didn't really have much of a choice for that. In fact, the first round I REALLY COULDN'T FIND a suitable evening gown that took my breath away. on.

So before I began trying dresses on, I was shown a couple of catalogs. For me, I knew I wanted either a mermaid cut or the traditional ball gown cut so from there, we narrowed it down to just 9 dresses!

The Wedding Gowns

The first dress I tried on had me and my friends John ( Shane's groomsman) & Pat (my maid-of-honour) wow-ing but y'know, I reckon it's cause it's the first time we've all ever seen me in a wedding gown so we were pretty blown away by it.
What I particularly liked about this dress though, is the lace details at the bottom but I noticed that the chiffon part on the dress (waist down) was slightly grey-ish I don't know if it's the off-white colour or if it's cause it's a pretty old dress and since this was only the first dress, we quickly moved on to look at the rest.

The second dress I tried on was a mermaid cut & Seletar Broadway really didn't have much to offer on mermaid cuts. In fact, they only had two so I was pretty bummed out. I'm not sure whether they've brought in more dresses in mermaid cutting since then though.
It's really quite a simple and pretty dress but we felt that the front part was a bit odd (not to mention, my waist looks really thick here) so we shoved this as second place compared to the first.

This is the other mermaid dress that I got to try. It's a very sweet, demure looking dress and Pat fell completely in love with it.
I on the otherhand, didn't really feel it for this dress. Although I loved the lace embroidery, I hated the mesh at the neckline BUT... 
I REALLY LOVED THE BACK!!! But too bad, it's impossible to have the back details sans the front. If only the mesh was a more translucent skin colour than white. I know what you're thinking, technically I can actually request for them to make a dress that's similar for me at no extra cost since it's all in the package right? Well yes, except this dress (& most other dresses to be honest, is full lace & what did the package say? "Free Made-To-Measure Dress (NO FULL LACE)" so that means if you want a really pretty pinterest-like dress, then the cost is most probably not included in the "made-to-measure" package!)
Moving on, I think this kind of dresses are also quite the trend now. Whether you'd like something more trendy or a timeless classic all depends on your personal preference.

Dress #4

Another detail that I knew I wanted on my gown was the corset back. I love how the laces adds that extra elegance to it compared to say, a zipper.

Again, similar to the first dress, I loved the embroidery at the ends of this dress but the cut at the chest area looked pretty ugly to me.

& a really huge no-go for me when choosing my dress was huge chunky ornaments. Personally I think it just makes a dress look tacky but then again, everyone's taste varies.

On to the 5th dress...
I took quite a liking to this one but not as much as the first. & for some reason we felt that this dress exuded a somewhat Indian feel (which frankly speaking, is quite apt since Shane is Indian).
I actually quite like the embellishments on this one, it's very detailed and intricate but you don't see any huge chunky ornaments like the earlier one.

Dress number 6 was a very simple dress but somehow exuded elegance.
 At first glace it really is quite pleasing to the eyes. Not too much, not too little.
But I didn't like the huge ruffled flowers & neither did John & Pat so we threw this one "out the window".

The next dress was also a very simple ball gown dress.
  When we first looked at the dress on its own, we really liked it but after putting it on for a while, it looked kind of heavy at the bottom. It's what we would say, 不耐看.

I liked how this dress gave of a very english, Disney vibe with the pleated bottom half of the dress.
& the embellishments on this dress were also very exquisite and princess-like. I actually really loved this dress too but John & Pat both said no to this.


So in the end, I settled for this dress. A very simple ballgown dress with intrinsic details that glistened in the light (the pictures don't do justice to the dress cause you can't see it glistening in the sun/light!) 
 You know whenever I watched "Say Yes To The Dress" back then on Discovery Home & Health & I'd see the brides-to-be crying over a dress I'd be like "Siao. It's just a dress why must cry and all like so over-dramatic." But when I wore this dress, I STARTED TEARING UP!

I don't know if it's the same feeling for everyone but you know when they say you'll just know it when it's the dress? Ya, that's exactly how I felt! Like I could imagine myself walking towards Shane in it & I just couldn't help the tears! I remember welling up with tears, stepping out from behind the curtain and telling John & Pat "Oh my god guys, I think this is it. THIS is the dress." & John replied, "omg, yes, I think this is it too." I WAS SOOO HAPPY!!!

I fell completely in love with this dress! It was everything I wanted! It had a corset back,
Very classy and intricate embroidery that didn't scream for too much attentioned but yet sparkled just enough to give that extra magical touch. I read some where that it's also important to pay attention to the top part of your dress because that's where it's going to appear the most in photos!

& it had that sweetheart bodice that I had always envisioned my wedding gown to have when I was a kid! One good thing about sweetheart necklines is that it accentuates the bust so for girls with small boobs like me, this will help you look a little bustier.

The only thing that I really wanted more of from this dress was to have the lace embroidery at the ends of the train as well but I was advised not to cause it was already lace from the top down to right below the hips and if I had it added, it may be a bit too much so I just went with this off the rack & I really don't regret it one bit! Even up until now when I look at the pictures, I can't help gasping to myself "wow, my dress is so niceeee!!!" 

Evening Gowns

Seletar Broadway had a really wide range of gowns and evening gowns BUT most of their designs were really dated (it's really just either you love it or you don't) and to make matters worst, I was adamant on having a dark blue evening gown + one that wasn't a ball gown cut since I was already having that for my wedding gown and for what I wanted, they only had a few pieces in dark blue.

One of it was this mermaid dress which is the exactly the same as the white one I had tried earlier only that this was in blue. It wasn't bad but the others felt that it was much to plain for an evening gown.

The other dark blue evening gowns were all too tacky-looking with huge chunky embellishments on it which I hated so I had no choice but to explore other colours.

The next closest colour to dark blue is black but they only had one dress which made me want to try it on but one look and we knew it was a definite no. 

 My next other option was gold but they didn't have any nice gold dresses either!
This wasn't too bad & Pat was really trying to help me find a nice dress and convince me that it will actually look quite good with my hair done up but I just wasn't feeling it. I'd already had a kind of dress in mind but it was just that they didn't have it!

After much persuasion from John, I decided to try on a red ball gown which surprisingly, looked quite good on me.
But I've never been a fan of bright red colours so I simply refused to settle for this either.

It seemed like I didn't have a choice but to make one because I really couldn't find anything that I liked. It wasn't until the sales lady came up to us and told me that she actually had a piece coming in August and asked if I'd like to come back in August to try it. & when I saw the photos of the dress, I was like WOAHHH THIS IS EXACTLY THE KIND OF DRESS I WAS LOOKING FOR!!!

The Dress That Surprised Everyone

& so with just one try in August, I knew without a doubt that this was defintely the evening gown I would want for my second march in!
I was going for a midnight sparkle kind of theme and as much as possible, I wanted to stick to it so this dark blue dress with little sparkles was perfect! (This was the first fit so it was abit loose at the hips in the first photo).

What was even more spectacular about the dress was...
The back!!! I'd always wanted a bareback dress with lace details for one of my dresses so this dress was a definite dream come true for me!

& after correcting the loose bits at the hips on my final fitting,
The dress looked even better on me!
I received SO MANY praises on this dress and how it completely blew everyone away when I walked further up onto the stage so that my back was facing them (like legit, in some of the snaps of my guests, I could hear them going from *clap clap clap, whooo!!* to "WOAH OMG! HER DRESS DAMN NICE!!!"

So yeah, thank God I managed to find two dresses that was really right out of my dreams BUT I have my complaints too.

One was that in the end, Shane didn't take the suits because John, Shane & EVEN MY DAD all agreed that their suits all looked horrible and dated. It just wasn't the look, material or colour Shane was going for but when we asked if there was anything we could do about it (like deduct the cost out of the package), we were told that only $80 would be deducted. LIKE SERIOUSLY?! Two full suits only deducts 80 bucks?! We didn't have much of a choice so in the end, I gave one of the suit rentals to my dad who picked out a plain black one and we had to forgo the other.

Eventually, Shane tailor made two suits on his own which cost him $800 altogether so we spent a lot more than we should have had he been able to find a suit that he liked.

Another thing about them was SERVICE. It wasn't horrendous but it wasn't great either. Just that they were so stingy and anal about everything. When I signed with them, it was a package with an open date so I roughly estimated the number of corsages that I would need but then came Megan and I decided I wanted her to be my flowergirl too so I called to ask if they could just rent me 1 more corsage & they said no. LIKE WTF?! A CORSAGE ONLY COSTS A FEW CENTS ON TAOBAO AND YOU CAN'T EVEN CLOSE ONE EYE?! They just kept insisting that whatever I signed then was what I was going to get. So yeah, I was pissed that they had to be so calculative over one corsage but decided that it's okay, if Megan didn't have it I could just get one online since it didn't cost much. But in the end, when I went there for my second fitting, another lady (who I assume is the lady boss) asked if I had requested for one extra corsage and told me that she'll throw it in for me. So yeah, I guess she kind of made up for that in a sense.

& finally, what the reviews said were true luh, most of their gowns are really pretty old fashioned looking and I'm sure that if you go to other bridal boutiques, they'll have a more up to date range. But I'm not sure if they've since updated their designs. Thankfully, I still managed to find the dresses that I really liked so that made all the money worth the while. & I guess if you're looking for the traditional ballgown dresses, this place really isn't as bad as some reviewers say ( a lot complained about their old fashioned dresses and bad attitude).

I would think that their package is really good if you took their suits because it includes the car decor, bridal bouquet make up etc. But Shane and I didn't take their car decor because (again) it looked really tacky but if you're not one to mind then I think it's okay. The bridal bouquet was not that bad and as for make up, my make up artiste did a pretty good job however there was extra charges for the facial ampoule and false eyelashes (but I was well-informed of all these when I signed the package).

I'll be honest though, Shane and Pat were both very displeased with this bridal boutique because of the few incidents. So it's really heng I actually managed to find gowns that I really really loved. So if you really want to check them out (just don't sign without checking them out first) below's the address. 

New Seletar Broadway Studio & Wedding Gown
548 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 Street 54,
 #01-2014 / 2016, (S)560548
Tel: 6457 0351
Be sure to call them up to make an appointment first though. I read reviews that some customers were treated like transparent when they walked in without an appointment. 
(P.S. Also, I think that they included the "NEW' in front cause of all the bad reviews associated with "Seletar Broadway Studio" LOL but it doesn't take a lot to know that it's same company lah)

Don't say good things never share!

Yesterday, I accompanied Pat to a bridal boutique (yes, now it's her turn to get married!) & I was SOOO ENVIOUS AND HAPPY FOR HER THAT SHE FOUND THIS GEM!!! I honestly wish I had found this place earlier when it was my turn then!
This is not an ad okay, I have absolutely nothing to gain by mentioning them on my blog but I think that this place is really VERY good so I thought I'd share it with all the brides-to-be!!!

11 Woodlands Close, #06-38, Woodlands 11, 737853
It was recommended by a friend of Pat's and I was completely in awe when we got there. They boasted a wide selection just as New Seletar Broadway did but their deisigns were like 95% very pretty and modern!!! They had so many gowns in all the various different cuts and all their gowns had very intrinsic details that didn't look a tad tacky! It's really, you CONFIRM can find something you like there! Plus their service is so much better and they are so much more flexible in changing up their package & to be honest, comparatively, their package is pretty similar (except no made-to-measure pieces) and it's a good 700 bucks cheaper than what I paid for at Seletar Broadway okay!!!

Okay, BUT BUT...(yes there's a but)

For their evening gowns, we browsed through, and their dresses are all very pretty but if you're looking for a bare back one like mine, then so far, we didn't see any BUT (yes another but) they're bringing in new collections every few months so Pat will go down to have a look at their newer collection when it arrives. If not for the bareback factor though, their evening gowns are really still very very nice. & another thing is their wedding gowns in the ballgown cut, although you'll find that they have a lot but if you're looking for something simple yet intricate like mine, they don't really have one like that? But they do have a lot a lot of others. So my take is that go view both and see which better suits you. If you're looking at traditional designs, do for Seletar but if you're looking at modern designs, go for The Gown Warehouse.

Ultimately, I think Seletar Studio isn't that bad cause I didn't see anything at The Gown Warehouse that matched what I'd rented but comparing the number of really nice gowns that both studios have, TGW in my opinion, wins hands down. It's like I could close my eyes and pick one out from the racks at TGW, and I know it would look good.

So ya, that's my review! You should go book an appointment and check them both out to see which one suits your taste and preference more because likes and dislikes are really subjective. & with that, happy wedding planning beautiful brides!!!

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  1. Hey Esther nice write up. Just wondering if your package with SB include the pre-wedding photography?

  2. Got ripped off by them in terms of the wedding car!