Friday, December 9, 2016

Wedding Planning : Invitation Card Design, Bridal Furniture & Ordering Guo Da Li Package

Hello readers! This was our wedding invitation cards that is ready for distribution to our guests! I love my cards! Woots.
This was the original color of the cards without filter. 

Even though there is another long story behind this beautiful cards.
Sometimes it might not be so bad when you have some screw up moments with the vendors during your wedding planning. Because we met a lousy vendor that prompt me to find a better one and here i am with the final product after changing to another vendor to print our cards and i am so happy everyone was impressed when they received the card. Their first impression when i delivered some card personally to friends that i could meet up before i get busier was ' Wa so nice!' 'Wa got map somemore'. (Not one side, two side but our card was 4 side and it cost way cheaper than our original vendor that we went to!) 

We had some leftovers after distributing the cards that i could even use the extra cards as centerpiece on each of my wedding banquet table. (Assigned my sisters to help out with placing each and every single card on the tables) I didn't want my cards to be wasted as the design fit well with my overall theme. Even my 2nd march in hairdo roses is the same as these roses design printed on the card! I bought it because i saw the similarity when i was shopping for fresh roses just one day before the actual wedding day. Tadah! My second march in hairdo sneak peek!

For anyone that is looking to do your wedding invitation cards. I would strongly recommend you to do in JB inside City Square mall instead of Singapore even if your banquet package includes this sentence,

'Choice of specially designed invitation cards based on 100% confirmed attendance' ( cost of printing is excluded)' Initially i didn't focus too much on our wedding invitation card, i was not willing to spend anything more than $200. I thought i am able to accept if i randomly choose a card design as our invitation card. But when it comes to making the decision, i wavered. 

The lousy vendor that i was refering is tdragons which i don't recommend anyone to do their cards there. They are OCC designated vendor that we could go there to choose our card design &for printing if we want. Even though i think many hotels do use them as well when we went to their office. They asked for our banquet venue before getting a file that is for OCC newly wed to choose their wedding card design. If you do google for their website, i think you will close the tab in 5 min because the design of the website, user interface is just so bad. When i first google their website, i was trying hard not to judge them first until i see their designs. But, it's really bad. 

Before i continued, our cards were not done by tdragons eventually but in JB, this printing shop that i took their namecard below because i think they are really professional, flexible & efficient.

For tdragons,this was their price list, which is not exactly cheap because it could go up to $200-$300 if you decided to do your cards with them. (Depending on what you select)

I find it misleading when banquet package indicate that they can provide you the wedding card but you have to absorb the cost of the printing. If you still have to top up to print your cards, isn't it better to source for external vendor instead of having this option included inside the banquet package?

Since those designs that they allow you to choose contain only a certain range of designs and they are not even nice at all! (Maybe this is subject to own preference, but i think i have better taste which is why i didn't decide to choose those designs they have as shown below, even though this are just a few design that i took photo of) 

The staff at tdragon told us, many couples opt for insert paper because if you write wrongly, you can change to a new one and it cost cheaper. But that means we have to buy the thread & arrange it ourselves which Jeremy find it to be troublesome. These were their available colors for the insert papers.

Boarding pass design is not cheap if you want to get those that has die-cut shape at the corner. Additional charges apply if you want to add your photo inside.

We spend quite long browsing their file at their office, flipping from the front to the back but none of the designs could impressed me until the staff took out another file and show me other premium designs.
I think we were hungry & tired by then so i managed to settle for this design initially, (you know when there is not much selection, this design stands out in my opinion which i was glad i didn't choose this eventually because this design were printed by NETS during the CNY period as their angbao. 
To me, i select this initially because i find it look like an angbao too la, we can use the insert paper to slot inside this card holder and anyone could re-use this card after the wedding if they want to slot any other stuffs. But this card require additional top up & the cost was $1.10 per pc excluding the insert paper. Thus after adding the whole cost, it will cost us around $400 plus if we proceed with this order. I did raised my concerns whether the texts on the insert paper could be seen after we slot inside the card because when i see the sample, it was ok but i wanted to clarify, just like this sample above which i found on taobao.

You can't see other word except the chinese xi word. But the staff assured me that they can adjust the alignment accordingly so that is not an issue. She promised!  

By then, we were there for 2 hour already and a good tip to take note, never make any appointment for any viewing/selection of items if you are hungry or tired. This will influence and preventing you in making the right decision. I couldn't understand how trusting i am to believe the staff's words as we placed a $50 deposit with them.

At tdragons, they do charge you additional $10 for artwork on the card like the cartoon icon or wedding word icon. They told us it's copyrighted issue. But if they can use it, means they have already bought it and why do we have to pay for this additional cost? We are already paying you for the printing cost and you still want to charge us for this? 

When i asked them if i could have some customization on my card as i got my own cartoon artwork icon, they told me they can't do as they have to do some mould out and that will be additional charges as well. I think they do not even know how to use photoshop la. I didn't insist on inserting my own artwork icon since they can't do it. But i am glad i didnt print with them. Everything cannot. Everything additional cost. Wtf.

They told us it will takes about 3-5 working days for them to produce the artwork, they will send us an sms to inform that they have send it to our email and it will be OUR responsibility to ensure there is no mistakes before we confirm the order for them to send for printing. 

I didn't customize anything on the card, they should already have the ready template and all they need to do was to insert all our details on it. So i don't understand why they need so many days when the jb vendor could do it for us in 1.5hour. (I can insert my cartoon artwork icon in the card too)

When they send me the artwork, i spot the mistake immediately. I may not be good in my grammar but i really hate to see any mis-spell word, so when i receive the artwork and there were so many spelling mistakes, i was damm pissed. They didn't even do first round of check and expect the customers to shoulder the responsibility that its not their fault if the couples realised there is an error after printing and what, to reprint and pay u again additional reprinting cost?

The staff told us initially the english and chinese version can be printed on one side so that we would require lesser copies. Imagine if we really paid for $400 for one side of invitation card.  The artwork they shown me was merely direct translation from english text to chinese written just right below those english texts. Either they think we are idiots just because this is the first time we are getting married or they really think we are vegetable bird 菜鸟 (easy to tok) to give us such artwork.

I circled & write according to number so that i could reply back in email to get them to explain this artwork. I was questioning them the two version they told me they could do it but i didn't see it on the artwork and whether the wording could be seen after i slot the paper in.

The designer refused to answer that question i asked through email when i ask about the alignment, 

He/she merely show me this artwork, and expect me to acknowledge that the word can still be seen when we slot the paper in, without giving me clear indication of 'yes the word can still be seen' if i was not wrong, this was not the first artwork they send me. This was after they rectify and there were errors so i had to label it clearly to explain to them.

I was so mad and i reply to the designer that i want to change the design of this card and whether i will need to contact back the staff who handled our order and he told me yes. For any change of design after the artwork has been produced, they charge an additional $50 for redo of artwork on new selected cards. To me, this is damm ridiculous. Their artwork was not even up to my expectations and they was the one who over promised by telling me the alignment can be adjusted and when i told them i want to change the design, they got the cheek to tell me another additional charges will be imposed.

It seems to me that they are not even responsible to go through one round of the template check before sending to the customers. I will be an idiot if i decided to engage their service to print my card. By then i was complaining to JY and Mich as well, i went to taobao to check out the different design of invitation cards, taobao has nicer design compared to tdragons!

In fact, taobao also have this design that i selected and the cost price was cheaper! Just that most of them only comes with chinese version and they do not have english version. Even when i was communicating to the seller that i can provide them the english version, but the seller told me they are unable to do for me. I do know there are other brides who managed to do their wedding invitation card at taobao, but i didn't want to risk as we are only left with 2 month to our wedding, and i didn't want a second time screw up after this horrible experience with tdragons vendor. JY suggested to me that maybe i can try to go in JB, citysquare mall to check out their designs as she saw many couples in this shop doing their wedding invitation cards. Since the rate was 1 sgd to 3 ringgit, So it was a very impromptu decision as she was available during that weekend and Jeremy had to work so she accompanied me to JB to check out that printing shop. Before that I had google and did some research online on that shop. I thought of checking their available designs first before I can tell that stupid tdragons vendor that we are not ordering from them, i just need to have backup plan first. Haha

We went in during saturday and i still remember how crowded that day was when the queue was stretched all the way to the back of the wall at Malaysia customs. That was also the time i decided to get Macs lane pass so that i can avoid the crazy human jam with people trying to cut queue and i almost fainted with poor ventilation after being stucked in the crowd for more than 1 hour.

The experience that i had with T&T instant print in JB was different. We look through their design and there were many decent beautiful wedding card design. For their pricing, it cost only $100-$200 for around 250 copies, depending on your selected design.

Some of their wedding card design that i took to show Jeremy after i came back to Singapore.

For this kind of die-cut shape, it will cost slightly more. 

We do realised most of the cards sample written venue are actually Singapore hotels or restaurant name. So many singaporeans have went to this shop to do their cards too.

I asked the staff from T&T whether it is possible to customise my wedding card if i had my own artwork icon, they told me yes! No mould or any additional charges required as long as its not too complicated. I went back the second time because i didn't bring my thumbdrive with the artwork and i need to complete the form with all the details required for them to insert in our selected wedding card. They will require all the details and you can try to go their facebook page to retrieve that form and prepare those details in advance so that you don't waste your time when you reach there and realised you can't order with inadequate info. 

This was my cartoon artwork icon that i requested from my friend to give me after i purchased from her the artwork that comes with a white frame as part of my reception table decor for actual day. I find this cute and thought i could maximise this artwork by printing it on our card!

Our guests who has been invited to our wedding should be familiar with this icon as i posted in our Facebook page, used this cartoon icon again on our cards & the photo frame was displayed at the reception table on actual wedding day. Even though some of them told me they were busy looking around as there were many beautiful stuff at the reception area during our banquet dinner that they didn't notice. Haha.

So even though we have made the deposit of $50 for the lousy artwork from tdragons, but we was ready to forfeit that just to do our cards in JB instead since it cost cheaper and the designs were nicer and the staff were more flexible. When i called tdragons to look for the staff, i was questioning her that she told me the words can't be seen and now the artwork shown that it is visible, even the two versions that she told me is not what i expected it to be direct translation. I told her we want to cancel our order, she still got the cheek to remind us that if we cancel, the $50 is not refundable. She think i will succumb to that $50 deposit because its non-refundable and continue to let you earn my $350?

Initially, i told her that i might consider to change the design of the card because she told me one page can be used to fit both version and telling me the word will not be visible but the actual artwork does not appear to be in this case. Further adding on they can't do anything unless i remove lesser words on the card. If this was the case, i don't think there is anything wrong if i demand to change since they was not honest enough before i select this design. They had over promised! The staff told me there is another fee required to redo the artwork if we want to change a new design, i was already prepared for this answer because i did saw they indicate this clause on our deposit receipt. I wanted to see if they was going to do anything to resolve this issue after i express my dissatisfaction, but no, they decided to grab this chance to impose more additional charges. So i told her, 'in that case i will cancel my order.' She paused for awhile before telling me if i cancel my order, the $50 is non-refundable and i simply reply to her 'it's ok' They can take this $50 and i guess she was not prepared for this reaction as she try to ask me what i am not satisfied regarding the artwork after that.

Later on, she tried to call me again but i didn't pick up so she texted me telling me they are able to print for us on both side and will not charge us for the additional copies. But, its too late, for a vendor that want to charge artwork icon, cannot customise when i had my own artwork icon,impose new charges when we want to change a new design because they couldn't deliver what they promised, further telling me our deposit is non-refundable for something we are not satisfied and they are not flexible. I rather give other flexible honest vendor to do our business. The $50 that we contribute to them shall be considered as our charity to them. 

I would strongly recommend to do your wedding cards with T&T instant print service shop in JB because they are so flexible, cheaper & efficient.  Reasons as follows:

1. Convenient to locate, once you clear the Malaysia customs, just enter City Square mall to find this shop.

2. They are able to accept customisation if it's not too complicated at zero charge, unless you want lots of customisation on your card (Charges applicable)

3. They only require 1.5 hour to complete your artwork, upon completion of your artwork, you will need to check for any mistakes before they will print out one sample for you to check again. This will save your waiting time especially if you require the cards urgently and want things to be done fast! Previously tdragons told us it takes them 2-3 weeks to produce the cards.

4. Upon completion of full payment after the confirmed artwork, you can go back and collect your cards in 1 week time, in fact for us it took less than 5 days for them to print out the card. I remember going in the second time with Jeremy on Tuesday to place our order and we could collect during that weekend on Sunday. They was very efficient!

When they printed out the sample hardcopy for me, I thought that copy was just for our reference so i took some photos but later the staff told me we could bring this sample back as she will only send for printing the next day after 3pm, so if we go back and would like to make any changes, we can just whatsapp her with the details and she will send it back to us after the changes before we confirm and she can proceed to print those cards. However do note so far i converse with them in chinese texts so if you are a potato that don't know how to speak or type chinese words in whatsapp, it might be challenging for you, but can try see if they know first la hor.

The second time when i went in JB with Jeremy, i saw this design which was our final selected wedding invite, it took me less than 5 min to decide i want this! I asked the staff that i didn't see this design previously and they told me they just put this design inside their file. 

So we give her the completed form & my thumbdrive before she proceed to do our artwork in around 1.5hour, full payment is collected only upon confirmation of the artwork.

This is the front cover, follow by chinese and english version without direct translation texts this time round, inner have two side and the last page will be the map for reference.  

I passed the staff the map paper that i previously took from tdragons, it was not in color format but when they print it out for us, she took the initiative to print for us in color and told us she will go check the right name to use for orchid country club in chinese text.

My cartoon icon that has been inserted inside!
As our wedding is held one week after the chinese new year, we managed to print out in time to give to our relatives during the cny visiting, for me i am too busy to meet up with my friends starting from CNY so i use the mailing method to send to my friends. All my invitation card was send out on time but I had to constantly remind Jeremy to send out his cards, gei kiang want to send personally by hand but he was too busy and eventually i had to chase him for the address so that i can write to mail out to some of his friends/colleagues. I tend to do things very fast so i get very frustrated when he is dragging his feet. Another piece of evidence to remember against him, In fact all the cards is handwritten by me.

We ordered 230 cards including envelopes, and it only cost us S$230! For 4 sided invitation card + envelopes, i don't think it cost only $230 to print in Singapore. We got the blue envelope because they run out of stock for the pink ones and the envelopes are scented! So i would suggest doing your cards in JB is definitely a better choice compared to doing it in Singapore, the downside of doing it in JB that some people might find it troublesome to go all the way inside, and you need to complete the full payment before you receive your cards which some people may not be comfortable with. Like me, which is why i went to place order on a weekday so that i can collect it during weekends. Haha. 

For us, it was not a hassle since i stay in woodlands so we went for lunch while waiting for the artwork to be ready and took a cab to the place that Jeremy has done his research to check out the furniture in Malaysia. (Read further down this post)

For the stickers to seal the envelope, i went to taobao and order the customised stickers! It was my first purchase buying custom stickers. I think i can receive the title of Taobao Queen. Haha. If you know how to read or type chinese, you will be able to communicate with the seller like i do! I communicate with them first whether they ship to sg, how long they take to do the artwork etc before i make the payment first and give them the details after that so when they finished the artwork, i just need to check for any error before they will send for printing.  On the website, the color was supposed to be similar as the one on my card, but the actual color varies but lucky it was close enough. 
I bought from the same seller my reception signage as well, initially it was in chinese so i told them to edit into Reception, Bride & Groom texts. to be placed at each side of our wishing well angbao box. I order 100 pieces of the stickers including x2 set of Reception signage, x1 each Bride & Groom signage cost me only $10!  I forgot to take a photo of that, so this was the sample i got it from my taobao cart. 
Purchase of our Bridal Furniture
Initially i was skeptical about ordering furniture in JB because i wasn't sure if we could trust the seller especially when we have never purchase before. But this shop that Jeremy found, the owner is a Singaporean just that they based their operations in Malaysia so we was trying our luck.

We bought the whole set of this furniture for S$1200 (including all the taxes, delivery fee).
This set comes with tv console drawer, 1 small side table, dressing table, wardrobe, bed frame,mattress, x2 pillows x1 bolster. (Even though the pillow & bolster quality is lousy kind)

There were several different design for the wardrobe door so i choose this!
 Bed frame & mattress, we placed it this way as we can only do the bed setting on our guo da li day.

Ordering of Guo Da Li Package

We ordered our guo da li package from the chinese wedding shop during oct to save us the hassle of buying all the individual stuff as they prepared everything for you in the package. The nearest outlet was amk.  You can search for their facebook page. Their namecard is as shown below,
The staff that served us in AMK outlet was very friendly as she go through with us the package details and they were very flexible if you don't want certain items and wish to take it out from the package.

This was the dowry package as my dialect is hokkien. For the baby prosperity set and wooden clogs, you can choose if you want the actual size of these products or the miniature, for me i choose the mini size one because it was cute!
They have instructions for you to follow during the Guo Da Li ceremony.
This will be the Teochew betrothal package. We opted out the cans of pork leg in box as Jeremy's dad ordered separately.
Initially we also request for the x2 red banner to hang outside our house for both side, umbrella and fan for bride use on wedding day. I think it will be a good thing not to pay everything in full if possible because we placed our order by putting a deposit first, Jeremy paid in full his package, but when the wedding date draws nearer, there are bound to be some changes and i request to cancel some of the items we initially requested so with outstanding balance, it was easier for them to take out those items and charge accordingly, even though i didn't pay lesser but top up additional cost as my mum bought a hokkien basket which also create a big hooha over it.
Shall leave it to my other post.

Till then!

To read more on my wedding planning posts, click according to the post you would like to read below,

*Wedding Gown Selection Click HERE
*Tips before your wedding photoshoot and during photoshoot. Click HERE
*Our Wedding Banquet Dinner Venue  Click HERE
*Food Tasting at Orchid Country Club, Peach Garden Click HERE
*Selection of Wedding Photoshoot Photos Click HERE
*Why Taobao is the best place to buy your wedding essential items. Click HERE 
*Filing for notice of Marriage/ Trial Hairdo & Makeup/Manicure Click HERE
*Errands to complete before actual day Click HERE
*Wedding Planning (Checklist of items to take note) Click HERE
*Actual Day Wedding (Morning Ceremony) Click HERE
*Wedding Banquet dinner celebration at Orchid Country Club, Grand Ballroom Click HERE