Shanghai blew me away.

Not just because it’s exciting and inspiring when it comes to food, culture and shopping.. but oh the wedding shopping! it’s a bridezilla’s dream (with an affordable price tag) and the myriad of options available meant I’ve ticked off many boxes within the few stolen hours I had. Perhaps the pressure to make decisions like NOW helped!

Favour boxes, ang pows, wedding decor, cheongsams, bridesmaid dress, wedding dress..you want it, you’ll find it! You can go as avant garde chic or as elaborate and traditional as you want to. Heck, even if you really want to make the obiang choice of having a pouffy baby pink dress plastered with a large number of huge satin bows, it can be done too. (my advice is a resounding no.)

The following are the shops/markets I had visited in Shanghai on my quest for DIY wedding items. I think it’s a pretty good guide, but in no way comprehensive.

Haberdashery Market – Shang Hai Tan Shang Sha [上海滩商厦]

388 Ren Min Lu [黄浦区人民路388号] near Gu Cheng Gardens [古城公园]

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A treasure trove of spools of pretty trimmings, ribbons, buttons, crystals (both Swarovski and imitation ones).

I wanted some tiny iron-on crystals for my veil, and after looking into a few shops, finally bought a bag of 1440 pieces for 85yuan from a super lovely, patient and helpful guy called 家水 Jia Shui. He even gave me invaluable tips on how to iron my crystals on when I get home.

Qi Er Apparel Accessories[其尔服装料]– 2nd floor, 255-1

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757 Ren Min Lu [人民路757号]

This is a small complex and it should be quite obvious from the facade that it sells wedding gowns. 3 floors of bridal shops with a couple specialising in invites and favour boxes. When you’re done, you can visit the street market next to it. Nothing wedding related, but gives a good taste of local life.

copyright_maybsThe Stuck-in-a-Cake look.

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South Bund Fabric Market – Nan Wai Tan Qing Fang Mian Liao Shi Chang[南外滩轻纺面料市场]

399 Lu Jia Bang Lu [陆家浜路399号]

Here, you get to swim in swathes after swathes of floaty chiffon, silky satin, sparkly sequins or whatever fabrics you can think of, before walking out with a perfectly snipped and stitched attire tailored to your heart’s desire. These tailors come in on the lower end of the scale, but are still very skillful. A tailor shop in Chang Le Lu may have a better ambience and higher craftsmanship but be prepared to pay for up to quadruple of the price you find at this market (based on the design I was asking for anyway).

I had 2 dresses made with Mary at her stall No. 123 on the first floor. It was busy when I visited – a good sign – and the quality of the beautiful white lace and chiffon cheongsam the woman before me was trying on was enough to convince me. The ladies at the shop were lovely too. It’s good to have an exact idea of what you want – bring along a picture, and have fun picking out the right materials and the right colours. If not, the thick albums of dress styles they can copy will be on hand to help you make up your mind.

An evening dress costs around 500¥, and the white lace dress in the picture on the right will set you back by a small sum of 2000¥.

Bargain! And be very specific about what you want. It takes about 5 days or more for them to make a sample dress for the first fitting, and probably another 10 days to finish it. (It might be shorter depending on the dress). They were willing to send it to Singapore for me, although I realised  my cousin was able to pick it up for me on his next business trip. yay.

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I’m liking the top half of the last dress. It would look pretty good as part of a cheongsam!

If you need more information, I found this site recommending some shops from the market.

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Small Commodities Market on 255 Fu You Lu

[上海市黄浦区福佑路225号]

Besides many stalls selling Chinese wedding items from favour boxes and bags to double happiness stickers and tea sets, you can also find the odd knick-knack here at wholesale prices.

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Tian Zi Fang at Tai Kang Lu [田子坊/泰康路]

Even though this is not a wedding shopping destination, it is very much worth a look. A hipped up area of old and refurbished brick houses, watch out for the wet clothes on bamboo poles hanging above your head as you explore the cool local designer shops below. I spied with my roving eye some really chic teapots, jewellery and many other bits and bobs which can make great gifts. Best of all, I found my statement bracelet which was designed by an overseas-trained, local designer.

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Lastly, another couple of places worth checking out is eDressit, which has a shop on Hua Ji Lu near Long Wu Lu [上海徐汇区华济路1号2楼 (徐浦大桥龙吴路向南500米)]. If you are willing to travel a little further to Suzhou, definitely check out the Wedding Gown Street [苏州婚纱一条街] near Tiger Hill [虎丘].  Yangxifu will be able to give you more information on her blog!


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