Monday, 17 March 2014

“Shobha-approved” Top Ten Indian Wedding Vendors 2014

Besides the non-negotiable ingredient, i.e. a loving groom, a bride looks for the best wedding vendors to make her happy on her big day!

Engagement, Wedding & Reception location: Malaysia.
Vendors: Malaysia and India.
Feb, Mar 2014

It appears that every bride goes through a learning curve. I am not talking about the advent of married life hitting you like a ton of bricks. Well, that is inevitable. 

The part I talk of, is the wisdom slowly acquired upon engaging vendors for a wedding. Good ones, rotten ones, accommodative ones, affordable ones, arrogant ones, rude ones, diligent ones, memorable ones and ones you’d rather have not met.
I had three events; engagement, wedding and dinner reception. I cannot recommend all the vendors from all the events as not everyone deserves a Shobha-approved stamp!

So, here’s my list of best bridal vendors in order of superb-ness!

  1. Saree Blouse Designer and Tailor for engagement, wedding and reception - Navira Tailor, Brickfields, KL.  Led by a vibrant Mrs. Rajah, this tailor promised (and delivered!) quality work. She even professionally undid the horrendous work of a so-called celebrity tailor I engaged in Ernakulam, and re-constructed my blouse by using the orginal blouse piece material, with absolutely no visible flaws! Any tailor who can undo the disastrous handiwork I brought back from India (for my engagement, wedding and reception), deserves commendation in my book! Navira Tailor deserves the first “Shobha-approved” stamp! Contact me for her number.

  1. 2.      Venue Decorators at reception – Sareenpaal Creatives. They were not interested in a long sales talk that my bridal deco vendor experience had until then, reeked of. These guys just did their job and did it well. I asked for samples and they did not guide me to any physical studio, which would have wasted half my day. Instead, they sent me options based on my specific deco requests, via whatsapp, with photos! Choosing was thus made easy. They had a positive can-do attitude about my suggestions and did not pressure add-on stuff just to inflate my bill. They respected my love for minimalism and even suggested how I could keep cost low. Now that is a trait every bride and her groom cannot disregard in recommending vendors. Second “Shobha-approved” stamp goes to Sareenpaal Creatives

  1. 3.       Wedding Dinner Saree – Jayalakshmi Silks, Trishur. I know a Textile shop is not a service-based vendor. Or is it?! The service I received at Jayalakshmi in Trishur and Kochi(India) were a notch above the rest in India. The personable staff, impeccable service and choice of dreamy sarees gave me the kind of experience that every bride wishes for, during her bridal shopping. My saree was a hit with the groom, our families, my tailors, my photographer, my makeup artiste, my saree-draper and even my launderette! Everywhere this champagne studded lame gold, thread work saree went, it received gasps! Best part – it cost me far less than it would, to buy one exported out of India. That is, if at all by some miracle, it were available in local stores. Well done, Jayalakshmi.

  1. 4.       Make Up and Hair – I had three different ones, one for each of my events. I attended 6 trials – so I have experienced 6 vendors and dare say I have sampled enough to know what I am talking about. The only makeup and hair artiste I would recommend of them all would be Cut Above @ BV II (artiste/stylist Pink), who did both my makeup and hair for my engagement. The others I considered were typically affordably priced, as she is. But my grouse isn’t on price; Though all vendors’ skills and price were at par with each other’s, Pink at Cut Above beat the other vendors at attitude, service levels, reliability, professionalism and speed.

  1. 5.      Wedding video montage – Mr. Kannan (contact available upon request), came through for us where so many others claimed a week between the wedding and reception was too short to produce a video montage. Jaws dropped at the reception dinner because skeptics had earlier concluded that Mr. Kannan would not be ready given his low prices. They had to eat their words when at the reception dinner, the video montage played on repeat, on a projection screen! His pricing and attitude are bankable. His commitment thrilled my groom and our family members.

  1. 6.      Door Gift was perfect for my groom and me. My groom is an artiste and I am a writer of sorts. I proposed fridge magnets with a variety of wordings thanking my guests, alongside prints of my groom’s had drawn art. The company took the order and produced these within no time. No fuss, no hassle – at less than RM1.50 a piece for 300 dinner guests. And these are items your guests will find useful to pin up notes and lists on their frideges. It also has my personal messages to them so taht they know that their presence is appreciated. Best of all - no mess of handling messy cupcakes or melting chocolates.

  1. 7.      Wedding Cake - Suguna Creative Cakes is owned by an effervescent Mrs. Suguna who revels in the art of making special-occasion cakes. She made us a three tier pink and white butter cake, in theme with my dinner deco colours. I was tied up with so much to do, that I all I did was give her a verbal description of what I wanted. She intelligently  used just that and her own creativity to bake her masterpiece. She kept the cost affordable but gave us the best possible taste that caused guests to rave about her cake on the way home. She also went beyond her call of duty and recommended Magnetking to us. We now call her our  “resourceful aunty Suguna”! 

  1. 8.      Saree-draper - Now this is a service you don’t see advertised very often. But make no mistake, it is big business in Malaysia. Brides needing this service come from modern and traditional families. Typically, those in Malaysia  who have delved in traditional dance forms (whether of modern or traditional upbringing), learn saree-draping as it is woven into their dance lesson. The rest of us, despite being able to boast a strong base in traditional arts such as in singing or instrument-playing, are often detached from the art unless we happen to wear the garment every day! We Malaysian women often get away with moderate saree-draping skills by intermittently opting for other Indian attire such as Salwar Khameez or Lehengas. Saree-draping has been thus not a compulsory skill to acquire. Corp jobs require more pant suits and skirts than the flowing saree. But the occasional traditional occasion throws us a surprise every now and then. Hence the newfound career for many beauticians, in saree-draping. My artful draper did a good job for my wedding and engagement, and draped sarees for many others who managed to queue for their turn once the bride was done. He deserves mention. Here’s to every woman’s best friend at an Indian wedding; Mr. Joseph of Petaling Jaya (contact available upon request)! 

  1. 9.      Wedding card – Often forgotten about once the wedding planning is underway, the card is the first step to kick-starting the event! Shippraas at Brickfields was easy to deal with. We told them we wanted them to print the card as per our design, and they were willing to negotiate on price with us. No delay. No drama. No hidden costs. Tel: +603 22721290
  1. 10.    Catering - We used Little Caterers at all 3 events and had no complaints other than the fact the sales person was usually hard to reach. However, once we got him, he was easy to work with. The food got great reviews and they lived up to their reputation with both, the vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

I’d love to name my other makeup/ hair artistes, my AV vendor etc, but really, the names above are the only ones I’d put my money on without a doubt. They are all “Shobha-approved”.

The rest, predominantly one of the makeup artistes, was hard to deal with.  There are also those who never made my vendor list as they were never shortlisted to begin with ;  a card vendor, several caterers, etc.

If I had a list of who NOT to hire, I’d have their names on it, starting with a Malaysian Indian hair / makeup artiste who seemingly made up many television and film stars at her shop in Brickfields. She had skilled hands but was not able to keep appointments, produced only a verbal pricelist, tried to wrangle more money than I had paid for services within her package and was polite only until her deposit was banked in.

I’d love to tell you who she is, but remember I talked about the vendors I would “rather have not met” in my first para? This is one of them. So, I'd rather forget her existance. Well, it depends – if you’re getting married and desperately need to know who she is, so that you don’t repeat my mistake, just ask me nicely….


stone gold said...

Nice article for wedding party arrangements and thanks for wedding planning mobile apps

stone gold said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vinivedivici said...

Hi Shoba, I stumbled upon your blog when looking for a good tailor for Saree blouse. I was wondering if you could share with me the contact details of Mrs. Rajah or any other tailors you'd recommend. I'm new at wearing Saree and hoping to get a great tailor to make me a beautiful, comfortable and fitting blouses :) -Vini

V said...

Hi! Came across your blog when I was looking for a good saree blouse tailor. Could you please share me theither contact number pleaseeeee ^_^


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Pamela said...

My phonPlease WhatsApp me MRs. Rajah's phone no. as I have a few disastrous expensive outfits as well as new ones. THanks. Beautiful post.

Dee M said...

Hi, may I know what is the name of your superb tailor? It is incredibly hard to find good tailors that they are a godsend. Thank you in advance. (: Also, I would have emailed you but I can't find the contact me details hence my msg here.