We first came to know about Mon Liza in their road show in Midvalley in September 2010. We were kind of please with the sample photos. The package was explained by Wendy of Mon Liza.
We also looked at other bridal house packages. We did not immediately sign up for any package, as we were surveying. Seriously, in bridal fairs, you feel like a “market” in the sense, the bridal homes will market to you like nobody’s business (trying to pursue you to sit down at their booth to convince you). The competition is really high.
I even made some searches over the internet to see comments about the bridal houses. Overtime, we found that although it can be “cheaper” (it can go as low as RM 2,000) to sign up pre-wedding packages in bridal fairs – and some even entitled you to go places like Bali or Taiwan to take photos, in the end, one likely to fork out more. Logically, this is the case since there is no free lunch in the world.
In December 2010, we scouted around among the bridal houses in SS2. Due to their high competition, they do not allow their potential customers (most bridal houses) to take back the paper where they scribal the contents of the packages. So, our advice is always bring your note book and pen along.
Finally, we picked Mon Liza Wedding Castle, SS2 (after going home to think). We signed up the package RM 3,688 where our sales assistant is Elaine. [I won’t be jotting down the package here, as this is to respect their privacy. We got her writing the package details in black and white on the invoice. Also, it is always better to check it out yourself – kick your own ass from the desk and move on!] We also requested for family photos to be taken and was told that we have to buy the extra softcopies at their stated price – which is RM 20 per piece. We presume that the family photo’s softcopy is at RM 20 per piece as well. That’s why we have choose the RM 3,688 package rather than RM 3,988 package, as we already budgeted that we will buy extra copies. The difference with the two packages, if I am not mistaken, is the size of one of the albums and an extra photo frame. Payments are split into 30:30:30:10 – deposit: gown fitting: photo shooting: collect albums. To reflect our story account is genuine, our invoice number is 3399.
We also made the gown fitting appointment. The day before the gown fitting (somewhere in March 2011), Elaine called to remind us about it. It does reflect good customer service. Before we started out to choose the gowns, we choose our “themes”. At that time, choosing themes was not easy as we were given the actual albums, which were difficult to make comparison. (Recently, I noticed that they have come out with a brochure.) Elaine choose many gowns for me and she helped me put on each gown. Truthfully, I have never worn so many dresses before in a day. It is good to have many choices, but of course, the setback is it will be difficult to choose if you like more than the ones you are supposed to take. We also bought my Nu Bra (RM 50), which will be used on the shooting day from Mon Liza, as Elaine assisted it to put on it. [Yes, one will be truly naked in front of the sales assistant for the whole fitting session] Then, we set our shooting date and with faith, we left it to Elaine to choose our makeup artist and photographer.
Come the day before the shooting date, again, someone from Mon Liza called to remind us about the appointment. When we arrived at their studio (which is located in SS3), the makeup artist and assistant are already there; in fact, helping another couple to put on makeup. We came to know that our makeup artist is Mr One, who has a lot of sense of humour; while the assistant is Grace (also a makeup artist) who helped me put on the gown. Our photographer is Rain. We choose Taman Tun to take the photos as we wanted the nature feel and also do not want to travel too far. This really depends on your preferences. So, it was outdoor and indoor photo shooting, the whole day. Our families came in the evening for the family shoots, which I think they truly enjoyed as well.
The next day, Elaine called us up to set appointment for viewing the photos, which was one to two months later. The time length of waiting, according to her, depends on how soon your actual wedding day is. If you want to view it as soon as possible, you need to stress it to her. Generally, it is quite pack on weekends.
On the selection day, which takes about half a day, we were told that they were having a promotion where if we select extra 50 softcopies, it will be RM900 (which is RM 18 per piece, instead of RM 20 per piece). However, these softcopies pricing does not include the family photo pricing. The rationale, according to them, is because there are more headcounts in a family photo (which we think is pure nonsense). So, they will be charging us RM 50 per piece of family photo. Not only that, to have the family photo softcopies, we are required to have one of the family photos framed up, which will incur us an additional charge. This was the only “trap” that we fell into? We have no choice since our families have made the time to come for the shoot and happily plus excitedly waiting for the photos. At the end, we choose 8 family photos, and forked out an additional RM 480 (we did not argue about this because we know that we have no say about this). So, the total extra softcopies cost us RM 1,380. So, if you are offered to take family photos and told about soft copies prices, do not assume that they all go on the same price. Always ask, don’t assume and get them state “black and white”, so that you have a preparation mindset and money.
As we were happy with the photos taken by Rain, we then decided to hire him as our actual day photographer. Together with another photographer, it cost us about RM 1,800, where we paid a 50% deposit on it.
We went for photo viewing (after it was designed in soft copies). It is good to be observant when viewing the pre-viewing. Things to note include – whether the sleeves are dirty, shoes are torn (you will just need to zoom into the photos one by one). Also, if you are not satisfied with the design, always voice up. This is what hubby did. He told our designer, Gino about some areas that he felt weird (some initial designs). We got Gino to change it on the spot and we were truly amazed by how she did it.
The next visit was the quality control. We were supposed to get our soft copies as well, but Gino was on leave. Hence, we couldn’t. They could have prepared in advance (by burning it into a CD) to avoid disappointment to their customers. All the photos are ok except for the biggest frame photo, where we noticed that the sharpness in the face area is not clear. Since Gino was not at the spot, Elaine called her another designer (guy) who gave us “rubbish” explanation. Also, (I think) since he wasn’t our graphic designer, he was “lazy” to entertain us and kept saying “don’t know” or we have to ask Gino. There wasn’t a remedy given, but keep denying the sharpness. Elaine resorted to “holding” the big photo before they frame it out. She said she will ask Gino to call us.
Thinking that we have spent an additional RM 3,180 (which is RM 1,380 + RM 1,800), we asked if we could get an additional 10 softcopies for free. All this while, we have been flexible to them – we are not choosy. Also, we told Elaine that we did not “calculate” with her on how they have (over)charged us for the family photos, which was out of expectation. Coincidently, the boss (Irene) was there, and when Elaine denied us, I asked to speak to her boss, which she said “if everyone wants to speak to our boss, then our boss will have a hard time entertaining customers.” Then, I stressed it out that we are serious by looking at her. Next, she resorted to asking her manager’s help, who I am not mistaken, is Emily. Without knowing the actual details of our package and spending made, Emily immediately rejected our request. And, the most annoying thing that I heard was “we hope you can refer us your friends” when they did not have the spirit of goodwill (not even bother about a win-win situation, but more like they win-we lose). They made me lose my cool. Anger was running high and I did something obscene by showing her my middle finger. And, we and they continue to sit there like nothing happen; nobody is doing anything. I only stared at them angrily (sorry, I was in bad mood that day). After some emotions running in the scene, Emily asked Elaine to write down what we have taken, and then, they went into their boss’s room to talk about it. About five to 10 minutes later, they came out from the room and Emily (with a smiling face) sat in front of hubby (and without looking at me) said that “knowing that you have supported us by buying photos and also booking Rain as photographer, we just called Rain (who will earn the commission from the additional photos you take) that he agreed to give you the 10 free softcopies.” So, at the end, we manage to get the 10 free softcopies but only can choose the photos another day.
What I don’t like is: why can’t they have the spirit of goodwill and create a win-win situation at the first place; instead would want to make us (or me) run high on emotions before they agree on it? It is not that we did not top up our package. From this point of view, you can see how they are on the winning side (if they did not agree with the 10 free softcopies). And, I still do not believe that the total cost of additional photos taken will be given to Rain – but will be shared with the management, and the management will decide on this, and not the photographer. Maybe the sales assistant should be given some flexibility/ power to decide to give out something extra for the supportive customers, which make customers happy.
Good point: They did not curse back to me for showing them my anger, at least in front of me (but, not sure, at the back scene)
The process has not ended. Besides choosing the 10 free copies, we have to collect our album, do fitting for our actual day, car decoration and collect actual day gown – before I can make a total conclusion about their package and how satisfied we are. But, seriously, the last week’s incident has given us some bad impression.
Disclaimer: I have also cooled myself down (after few days) before writing on this so that I can give an unbiased view.