Thursday, December 30, 2010

Goodbye 2010


Looking back on 2010, it has been a year of utter turbulence. There was pain, tears, disappointment and regrets sprinkled with plenty of laughter, lots of love and loads of kissing.

2010 was a year of challenges for me, it was a year where God has tested my faith, family has tested my loyalty and friends have tested my patience. Hopefully through the tunnel of 2011- there will be light. You cannot help but wonder, whether a time for change has come - A big change.

Of course not all is lost, someone asked me how my life has changed after getting married, well I can honestly tell you that; Life Is Great! We are like two school kids who have just fallen in love, after 18 years and we still have so many things to laugh about, so many things to plan together, it is truly amazing. I feel more loved and in love than before I got married.

It will be Events Wizard 10th Anniversary on the 11/01/11 and the new beginning for our wedding division, we hope this will turn our luck around and give us a breath of fresh air.

Hats


I have held many roles through these 10 years and let me share with you my opinions of each hat I’ve worn.

As a Wedding Planner
You get the pleasure of making someone’s perfect day even more perfect and that IS truly fulfilling. There are times when you wonder why you are in this business, but you keep marching on and you know it’s for the better.

Being a wedding planner, you are the backstage manager, the go-to person, the confidante, the mediator, the butler and the shoulder to cry on. There is so much nitty gritty work involved that I honestly do not know how can one plan a wedding without a wedding planner!

As a Wedding Guest
You get to feel how your guest feel and see what your guest sees. You know you get irritated when they stop the food too long because of speeches. You know that you don’t really enjoy seating and sharing food with guests you just met. And you know that although the bride has painstakingly tied every ribbon on every favor, no one really pays attention.

As a Heng Dai assistant
Yes I was a heng dai assistant for friend’s wedding, not really the heng dai but not really useless as well. The heng dai’s are just as blur as everyone else and not every heng dai is evil. Some are just there for a good time. For those who are evil to say the least, I believe that if you have signed yourself up as a heng dai be a good sport, don’t push the girls, don’t be a pain and don’t take the opportunity to molest the girls.

As a Bride
Being the bride is Da-Bomb! Haha. Well being the bride, you have a lot of pressure and stress from family, friends and unreasonable guests. But you are also the star of the show and you get to throw the party of your lifetime. You could command almost anything on that day and it will be done. Among the many things a bride must know, is that everything flies by too fast, so take time to enjoy your planning, enjoy the company and enjoy every other thing. This is your day… when else are you going to walk down the aisle and marry the person you love and you'll soon realize that you'll miss your wedding (i still do after 2.5 months), you wish you could re do it all over again.

As a Chi Mui
I was a chi mui last weekend to be exact and well, I’d rather be the bride. Being the chi mui involved planning, coordinating, scheming and preparing; and at 6.00 AM in the morning !! After that you were pushed around by hooligans, screamed at and molested. But, if you have signed up to be a chi mui, do it and do it right. Be there for the bride, help get things done and not just be a by stander.

Bottom-line ? Put yourself in everyone’s shoes, try to make the event as comfortable as possible for everyone and you’ll have a fantastic do.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Back to Work Blues



The back-to-work blues hit me pretty fast. The wedding was on a Saturday and by Monday, everything was back to normal – it was so surreal. What a reality slap to the face! I had hoped to live in La- La land for a little while longer, but work would not have it.

So sad as it was, we were plummeting into our work almost immediately, but we still had the final wedding bills, the tidying up of ‘family politics’ and the cleaning up of the house to keep us in the “wedding mood”.

I suppose, it was my fault for arranging the honeymoon right after our Bali reception because that would mean I already had all my fun. But my husband promises that we would have a 2nd honeymoon as soon we settle our housing loan.

But for now, it’s definitely back to work – after all, someone has to pay for the bills.

My cousin is getting married in December and it should be fun to see the wedding plans from the outside. This time I won’t have to worry about the nitty-gritty. I just need to worry about what to wear!


Photos by Jim Liaw Photography

Logistics


Here’s a topic that’s boring to say the least, but a necessity beyond your believe. Logistics for KL were simple everyday needs that you would not think twice about, but it would have been chaos had we not planned it properly.

Condo Security:
I stay in a condo, and like all condo security, guests have to register first before they are allowed to enter – so how the hell do you get 50 guests + 10 heng dais to register one-by-one without causing a massive delay? The normal procedure would be for the security to call up to the condo, walk the guest to the lift (because the lift lobby had a security pass) and escort the guest up. I could not see that happening during the heng dais arrival. So what we did was to pay the security chief an allowance and we gave him the guest list complete with car number plates.

All the guests had to do was go to the entrance, obtain a sticker and enter. Another security guard was on standby at the lift lobby to let the guests in. Can you imagine the chaos if we hadn’t done that?

Maps:
Ensure that all your vendors, especially the early morning ones (makeup, photographer, videographer), all had your home phone numbers (in case your mobile phone is out of range), complete address and maps to the houses and venues. You don’t want to be standing at the side of the road waiting for your photographer to arrive.

Contact List:
Ensure that all the important people has a contact list of the bridal party, the important vendors and the important relatives so that in case of emergencies, everyone can be contacted without needing to disturb you (ha-ha). I didn’t even have my mobile phone with me throughout the day which was great; I just went with the flow and enjoyed not thinking of what to do next.

Bridal Car Needs:
You got your car decorated and everything is nice and waxed. But check to see if you have topped-up your Touch & Go, gas tank filled and have tissues in the car. Think as well to include a bottle of water with a straw in for your own rehydration on the way to the venue. How would you like to stop at the petrol station to get petrol on the way to the ‘zip san leung’? If possible, ensure that all your heng dais do the same.

Planning is essential.

Photos by Bonnie Yap Photography

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Money Money Money


We’re not talking about money for the wedding; we’ve covered that already. You need loads of it… FULL STOP.

I’m talking about the money that floats around on your wedding day! There is so much loose cash moving everywhere that you need to have someone you trust to keep an eye for you.

At the tea ceremony, money is given out and taken in and jewelleries are flying out of their boxes. You need someone to safe-keep and keep tabs for you at all times. Amidst hugging, kissing and smiling, the last thing on your mind would be the safe-keeping of your stack of angpaus.

For the tea ceremony, we each had someone to pass us our angpaus and also to keep our angpaus. Our head chi mui and head heng dai was on duty and they did a good job keeping track of everything.

The only thing we forgot was to give an angpau to the chi mui and heng dais (ha-ha); they couldn’t be keeping the angpaus and giving it out themselves! But that was exactly the case during my party – we totally forgot to give them the “thank you angpau” so my head chi mui had to go round passing it to everyone.

For the dinner, we had aunts on both sides keeping count and taking note.

On the same note, please pick someone whom you not only trust for the guest registration but someone who will be there on time and on schedule to look after the table (at least 45 mins prior to the scheduled guest arrival time). Not someone who would be too busy dressing up or chatting with other guests or is more interested in the bar. You will definitely need someone who is willing to spare their time for that important task.

Money situations at the registration counter can become major family debacles so please ensure that negotiations have already taken place prior to avoid any misunderstandings on that day. Who gets to keep the money? Who is to take home the angpaus? Have everything sorted out before the big day, so that there no daggers flying around during your reception!

You will find that some guests rather give you or the parents the angpaus personally but please still have the angpaus passed to your assigned person. You don’t want to be losing your angpaus on the dance floor!

Photos by Bonnie Yap Photography

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Music Makes The Mood


The venue gives you the first impact, the décor wow’s you but it is the music that sets the mood. You need to pick the right music for the night to set the right mood.

My hubby and I took a few nights pouring into our CD collection to get the right compilation of music for the night – slideshows, ceremony, pre and post-ceremony, cocktails, during dinner, pre and post dinner party. It was a really long list.

Don’t take it as a chore – it was actually bonding time for the both of us, reminiscing about our school days right down to those special songs which really took us down memory lane.

In the end though, we didn’t get to use up all the music we chose but we did set the mood and scene – to our liking at least. It really all depends on your guests, your own taste in music and how all that will jive. Our taste in music is a mixture of oldies (think Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, The Pretenders, Elvis) to the 80’s (think Pet Shop Boys) to current Pop (Lady Gaga, Ku De Ta) so it was a vast range; we figured that at least there would be something for everyone!

We didn’t get a band for Bali as we decided to pop in the IPod and enjoy everyone’s company and I have to say I had no regrets. The music set the mood enough for everyone to move their butts to the music and jump into the pool; we even had a YMCA dance routine going on in the pool!

But for KL, we did the total opposite and again no regrets. It was just the setting and scene each created. It suited everyone and suited the guests. We had a Chinese orchestra during dinner, a jazz band for the after-party and a drum performance in the middle just for the heck of it. The guests of all levels were duly entertained throughout the night.

Photos by Jim Liaw Photography

Monday, December 20, 2010

Photos


If you have read my earlier blog post, you will know that one of my biggest regrets was that time flew by. And trust me, it did. So you need to document as much as you can. Invest in a good photographer and videographer to document everything. Take as many photos as you can and gather all the photos taken from friends. You will enjoy sweeping through all the CDs of wedding photos. In total – we collected close to 10,000 photos! Photos are all you have at the end of the day; it is all you have to point out all the little touches and sweet memories.

For important photos, make sure you do two things – Have someone who knows the important people (family, friends, bridal party) so that she/he can point out to the photographer who’s who so that no important shots are missed.

Then have a list of “must-have” photos so that you don’t miss out on the little stuff too. The photographer won’t know that you had your parents’ wedding band tied to your bouquet, or your initials embroidered under your skirt. Nor will he know that your dearest uncle flew all the way from the states just for your wedding and left the very next day.

Of course, the photographer may have their own style and may not want to take the straightforward, boring shots but have a list of your must-haves and insist on these shots for your own sanity (I’m basically talking about my sanity ☺). Here is a sample list for posed photos :
___ Bride alone (full length)
___ Bride with Maid of Honor
___ Bride with bridesmaids
___ Groom with bridesmaids
___ Bride with parents
___ Bride & Groom together
___ Bride & Groom with parents
___ Bride & Groom with families
___ Bride & Groom with entire wedding party
___ Bride & Groom with flower girl and ring bearer
___ Groom with parents
___ Groom with best man
___ Groom with groomsmen
___ Bride with groomsmen

Photograph everything, everyone and everywhere. You want to be able to share your greatest memories with your children and grandchildren!

On a separate note about photographers – admittedly, I went over-the-top. I got the top 3 photographers in KL to shoot my 3 separate events (pre-wedding, Bali and KL). I have to say that the characteristics of each photographer suited the both of us at the right time. Ok, let me explain a bit further. My Bali wedding being a tad more western, with all the glamorous setting and mood, Jim Liaw happened to be the perfect person and his style suited Bali to the tee, especially with his non-stop compliments which gave everyone the confidence boost they needed for fantastic photos.

In KL, being a party, it being so huge, with so much color, so many things happening and basically a controlled chaos, Bonnie Yap was the perfect photographer. Her personality shone in this situation, her styling, her ideas and she made everyone feel at ease – she even made the relatives kiss each other after the tea ceremony session!

So picking the right photographer, for the right event is the key to fantastic photos.

Photos by Jim Liaw Photography

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Trust Your Vendors


With so many people to choose from, how do you pick the right vendor for your wedding? Well you need to understand your theme / concept, your ideas and the overall look that you want to achieve. Then do some research of your own and check out vendors’ websites to see who has done a similar feel / idea / concept. Now make an appointment to meet up and be very upfront with your wants and needs. Most importantly, be honest about your budget.

From there you would be able to get a good proposal of ideas that will help you decide who is the right person for you. This works with any type of vendors, from florists to wedding planners to photographers to entertainers.

If you got all that and still do not know between vendor A or vendor B? Well, go with your gut feeling. To me, it is all about the relationship you can create. I wanted to have a good time planning my wedding and I didn’t want to be the phone call that all my vendors would shudder at nor did I want them to paint me a pretty picture when in fact everything has gone to the s***s.

But this is here is the next trick; you’ve picked your vendor (yes, make sure everything is in writing as per our previous blogpost) and therefore thou shall Trust In Your Vendor!!

Trust their judgment, trust their taste and trust that they only want what is best for you. Sometimes unforeseen things happen – “the shipment of peonies which got attacked by bugs and the next shipment won’t arrive on time” or “the ice carving broke into half on the way to the ballroom”. Trust that your vendor would still want to get the job done well, because their reputation is at stake too.

For me, the KL affair was a party like none other; with my vendors, I basically told them my overall concept, my theme colours and I left it as it is. For Anise (Garden Fairies), I went shopping with her one day, to buy some artificial berries, pots, vases and ribbons. I wanted her opinion and her judgment; at the time of buying, we had an idea of where it would be but not how it would be. I left that to Anise to create an Asian street, and trust me, she did. My KL affair - … think Shanghai bund, think Asian chic, think feathers and tight cheongsams.

My 3rd bridal bouquet (yes, she made me 3 bouquets – one for the morning, one for the mid- morning photography and one for my walk-in) was a creative masterpiece! It was uniquely Asian. For my bridal car, I just told her what make and model it would be and that was it. In the end, to suit my theme, she made my car look like an olden day “qi”, which made my in-laws very happy. Also no one could complain that the colour was not Chinese enough.

Another trick is to BE NICE. If you are nice to your vendors, if you trust them fully, you’ll be in for a sweet surprise. Time and time again, I get inside information (I’m a wedding planner you know) that vendors don’t mind going the extra mile for the couple, just because the couple was nice.

If you are a tart, you’ll be treated like one. Vendors will commit according to their contract but don’t expect more than that. Oh – do expect your phone calls to induce sour-puss faces on these vendors.

Moral of the story – Trust In Your Vendors.


Photos by Jim Liaw Photography

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Trust Your Wedding Planner


Look, if you are getting a wedding planner, then you should go with your gut instinct- TRUST HER. If you can trust your initial judgment to hire her, you need to trust her throughout as she had been there for you throughout your planning process and for that – she will pull through for you on your wedding day.

I am the ultimate self-professed bridezilla. However, above all else, I wanted to enjoy my wedding. So when I handed over my wedding plans to Shirlyn, I trusted her and told her that although I’m a wedding planner myself, I trusted her and I left it to her to do what she thought would be right.

In every event, there will be bound to be the unexpected. But since your wedding planner has been your ‘wedding buddy’ for the past 4-12 months, you need to trust that she knows your tastes, your wants and your fears. Trust that in the event of “an unexpected” she will provide the right solutions to your best interest.

Apparently, there were so many ‘tiny’ issues on my wedding day (family, lost priest, forgotten lyrics) but I didn’t have any inkling whatsoever and if you asked me, I definitely did not want to know. So what if your cake is slightly tilted, so what if your flowers turned out redder than you would have liked, so what if the choir was singing the wrong version of the song. Your guests would never know the difference unless I decided to point it out myself!

I’ve read in so many articles that the day passes by very fast. As a wedding planner, I never felt that because my ankles, calves and my entire body was so tired by the end of the day I just felt like chopping off my legs and hanging them up for a rest. But as a bride, I totally get it now. Time flies. I remembered waking up and enjoying breakfast, remembered welcoming my bridal party, remembered having a massage on the beach, but from then on, time flew by so fast that I could not even catch my breath.

I didn’t know how to stop time or even slow it down and I even told my husband-to-be to please tell Father Time to pause for a while. But apparently he didn’t get the memo and before I knew it, I was waving goodbye to the last of my guests and it was already 2.30 in the morning! It was so true when they say time flies while you are having fun.

With that, don’t you want to spend your time doing something more meaningful, like enjoying the moment, catching the little touches, smiles and hugs, feeling the love? Trust your wedding planner and enjoy your wedding day.


Photos by Jim Liaw Photography

Monday, December 13, 2010

Darah Manis


What the heck is sweet blood? No, it’s not something out of Twilight. I heard about this from a good friend of mine (who was also my KL florist), Anies of Garden Fairies. She was telling me that the Malays have this believe that when a woman gets engaged, she exudes this aura or glow that make her attractive to other men (besides her fiancé) and to mischievous “spirits” who will do everything in their powers to play tricks on you just for the fun of it.

The day before my KL affair, when Anies was decorating my wedding car, I was just recapping for her all my uncanny coincidences that happened just in the past month. She said, she didn’t believe it herself but when she got married, all kinds of nonsense would crop up and it looked like I had it too.

I must have gotten the grade 1 “spirits” because I had my full share of challenges. But I’m happy to report that with every challenge, somehow, somewhere, things would just sort itself out and we would pull through. I’m not sure when or how it started but basically; I sprained my left foot and right ankle 3 days apart and 1 week before my wedding. Thankfully, after both Western and Chinese medication, acupuncture and lots of prayers, I could hobble around and still managed to wear my wedding shoes as well as danced on my wedding day.

My make-up artist nearly missed her flight because she had a bad case of food poisoning on the way to the airport and actually fainted in the petrol station. When she finally regained consciousness and got back into the cab, they got stuck in a bad jam (there was an accident) and then when they got out of the jam, the cab driver told her that there was something wrong with the engine and the cab might breakdown anytime. Thankfully, the cab broke down right in front of the airport.

It rained (but you already know this story), before and after my ceremony in Bali and (but of course) in KL as well. Rain just followed me everywhere!

My photographer sprained his ankle on my wedding day. He could still walk but his ankle swelled up pretty badly the next day.

The church choir forgot the lyrics to the hymns that were supposed to be sung. Thankfully I had a backup CD of the same hymns.

The priest got lost and was one hour late to the venue; thankfully everything was already delayed from the rain so his delay went unnoticed.

The list actually goes on. But I shall refrain from boring you. These brought on a whole different meaning to the term “bridal glow”. But looking back, I am really thankful that with every challenge, I suppose, our love, our strength prevailed and we pulled through. Like I’ve said so many times before, our wedding was just perfect (to us). So whether you believe in “sweet blood” or not, there can’t be so many coincidences that happen all in the same month – perhaps it was just fate.

Photos by Tjun Hong's New Toy

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Destination Weddings


Destination weddings to me are the most perfect of all wedding celebrations because it sets the tone and mood for you. Anyone going on a holiday is already psyched up for a good time so when you invite guests for a destination wedding, they are already in a the mood for a good time.

What’s not to be liked for a destination wedding? You have an exotic location, a new experience for yourselves and for your guests, you have a picture-perfect backdrop, you can choose to have as simple or as unique a wedding setting and ultimately, you have a sense of sexiness for the unknown.

Of course, having said that, destination weddings are not meant for all. You need to know if it suits you. Are you keen on an adventure? Are you prepared for things that go out of control because they are really, beyond your control? Are you ready to just go with the flow? Are you always excited to try new things?

Because whilst there is all that sexiness and magic to it, a destination wedding is not without its fair share of chaos! So here are a few things for you to consider before you think about planning one (especially if you do not have a wedding planner):

The Unexpected : As sexy as it sounds, you have to expect the language barrier and miscommunications, the foreign exchange fluctuations, the hidden costs, permits, licenses and taxes, the local regulations and the variations in weather (sunrise, sunset, prayer times, tide times, etc).

The Logistics : This is definitely not sexy and can come up to quite a lot in terms of cost. You need to think about the exit tax or visas where applicable, ground transfers, insurance, extra baggage, meals and accommodations for family and crew as well as local phone calls. Thank God I had my wedding team in place so that they could handle all the nitty-gritty issues that I didn’t want to be bothered with. Which bride wants to be calling the van driver, the florist, the rain doctor (bomoh), the caterers, etc on their wedding day?

The Unknown : The local folklore / taboos, the surrounding atmosphere and setting. For us, the unknown was actually quite a funny story. We had done our site visit of our venue before we confirmed it and everything from the lighting to the tide times to the breeze were all meticulously checked. But we were not aware that the local village boys staying around the area liked to run into the sea naked! The evening before our wedding, while we were taking our pre-wedding photos on the beach, we saw three teenage boys in their birthday suits squatting over the water for a whole half hour! Not something I would like as my backdrop during my Catholic ceremony indeed! And luckily – it didn’t happen.

On the high side, the unknown is what will give you stories to tell in years to come, so not every unknown is bad :)

So my suggestion is to get a planner – whether you bring one along or hire one from the locale of your wedding, you should have someone who knows the local scene to help you coordinate your wedding details. With limited time and plenty of guests to entertain, you want to be able to enjoy yourself too!


Photos by Jim Liaw Photography

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Regrets


Now that the wedding is over, I can sit back and reflect on ‘what may have been’.

Looking back at my Bali wedding, I did put my hopes and expectations highly on how everything should turn out, how our friends and family would be there for us, how God would not let us down with the weather. And because of these hopes and expectations, when things did not turn out as I expected then to, I was disappointed. No, I was crushed.

Days after the wedding, my thoughts were full of regrets and it was such an awful mood to be in during my honeymoon! I hope no brides would ever have to go through that feeling. (It is now one month after my wedding and I still have regrets!!)

To those who knew me – I’m sure there was a silent poll being conducted somewhere on when I’ll go bonkers or take over on my wedding day (not sure who was for me and who was against me), but to everyone’s surprise, I did let go and I did leave it to my wedding planner to sort everything out while I had a massage by the beach.

What were my regrets…

The Rain : The one and only thing I couldn’t let go of was the inclement weather which ruined the entire wedding setting. So my first regret was not the rain, but how I reacted to it. I bawled like a baby! It was just the sight of the chaos that came from the rain that hit me rather too hard in the face. To be looking out at the venue and seeing everything being ruined was like a slap in the face.

Well, on hindsight, what I should have done was to dance in the rain – ok, not actually in the rain, but I should have been the gracious hostess and welcomed my guest into the living room and continue on with cocktails, make merry and celebrate the special occasion.

Photography :
Because of the chaos and my ‘tragic’ reaction to the rain, we were not able to take all the formal portraits that I would have liked (newlyweds with individual bridesmaids, newlyweds formal portraits, newlyweds with individual parent) and no matter how we tried to recreate this (which we actually did in KL), I still did not manage to capture the moments immediately after our ceremony.

Like I said, I should have embraced the rain. Maybe some of my photos would’ve have turned out stunningly beautiful.

Time : For both Bali and KL wedding, because there were just so many activities and so many people / groups of people, we couldn’t spend as much time with all our guests as we would’ve liked to. Especially for KL – we had some guests who attended and we didn’t even know that they did! Even though we had been mingling before dinner started. This, we really tried our best – to make all our guests feel comfortable and enjoy the celebrations together with us.

I’ve planned enough weddings – including my own – to know that to truly enjoy and be happy during your once-in-a-lifetime day is to go with the flow and embrace everything positively.


Photos by Jim Liaw Photography

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Honeymoon



After a week of family, friends and fun, we headed off for our honeymoon It was a beautiful, beautiful location and the service was second to none. The Malay wedding concept of Raja Sehari has extended to our honeymoon right here!

We were really in heaven and we were excited that we could now find some quiet time alone doing whatever our hearts desired. The suite had a great view and all meals could be served anywhere you wanted! The hotel even had ‘stalking’ services – they knew exactly when we returned to the suite and when we left and things like our afternoon tea magically appeared and our laundry magically disappeared!

The problem was … we were lonely. Yes. LONELY. From having so many people around us to just the two of us were a bit unnerving. It was too quiet, too relaxed – just a couple of days before, if you asked me, I would have loved some alone time, but now it was different.

Don’t forget that we have been together for 18 years prior so we’ve been on many trips together, we have similar interests in what we want to do during a holiday and because I had planned the entire wedding to a tee, I didn’t want to plan the honeymoon as well. We decided to leave each day to do whatever we felt like doing but this proved to be a wrong move! Because we are an ‘old couple’ and we never do anything without plans (yes, even during holidays), we felt lost and in fact, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves!

We got up each day trying to plan the day ahead during our honeymoon (yes, we have a sickness) and there were days we actually walked about aimlessly. But to our surprise, we still had a good time because we were in each other’s company and we get to do ‘spur-of-the-moment’ stuff like being adventurous and getting mountain bikes to cycle through the forest without realizing that the path was so steep, we ended up pushing our bikes instead! (yes, we were not that fit :P)

At the end of the honeymoon, we were sad to be leaving Bali. We wanted to replay our wedding day and relive each moment of it right up till the honeymoon but all I have now are the great memories.

A honeymoon is really all about how you can get to know each other even more and taking the time to relive that special moment in your lives so that 10, 20 or 50 years down the road, your entire wedding celebration will be but sweet memories, erasing whatever mishaps that may have happened during the wedding.

Photos by Tjun Hong's new toy

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Family & Friends


They say that in the times of need, you’ll know who your true friends are. I would say the same goes for a wedding. Hosting my wedding had shown me who my true friends are and as some of you may have already figured out – they weren’t family!

Families (I’m talking about the extended ones) are there for one purpose and one purpose only – to lend a helping hand in the complaining. But unfortunately, you can’t choose your family so you just need to survive them. You need to find your footing in handling the family when it comes to your wedding in order to minimize the family politics. Work out compromises if possible but stand your ground for things you believe in. Discuss with the family to make sure that everyone understands where you are coming from to avoid complications and most importantly - pick your battles.

I truly believe that honesty is the best policy when dealing with the family. I would rather be upfront with my in-laws and parents than to beat around the bush and later create a misunderstanding that I would have to deal with the rest of my life!

Friends, on the other hand, are not obligated by blood to give a kind word or even show their support in any ways but it is my friends who have shown that having them there is enough to make it my day. The support that I have gotten from them is priceless.

Sure, you’ll have the friends that no one wants, but you should know who your true friends are. All you need to do is to open your eyes and ears. My husband’s heng dais’ were not very supportive during the planning process but they really pulled through on the wedding day – they were helping out in more ways than one to ensure we both have a spectacular celebration.

So when you plan your big day, make sure you don’t leave out your friends and make them feel as a part of your wedding as families are.

Photos by Bridal Party

Monday, November 22, 2010

The KL Affair


Honestly, the KL reception was at the bottom of my priority list. At times, due to family politics and increasing ‘unaccounted for’ expenditure, I even felt a remote dislike for my KL reception. Yes, true. But having said that, looking back at the fun, laughter, the stripping (yes, stripping!!) and all the crazy photos, the KL affair was really enjoyable too!

Also because I had no expectations for my KL reception, it was a more relaxed affair for me – even with 800 guests. We had gone all-out with the KL reception and did a full-blown Asian theme. We wanted to throw a party that everyone could have fun at.

And everyone did! Despite the drizzle, our guests truly enjoyed themselves (or so we were told).

It all started with the morning bridal pick-up, the customary tea ceremony and finally – the reception. We were seeing red everywhere! But the day (unlike Bali) was rather tiring – it was even more tiring than when I planned my clients’ weddings.

The night before - my father had insisted on a house party (which if you asked my professional and newly-wedded opinion, is a seriously bad mistake) and that meant having to entertain guests till the wee hours of the morning. Come the next day, it was a 5.30am morning call to get my make-up and hair done and then from there onwards, it was all the way – a non-stop activity-packed day. The traveling, the party, the luncheon, more make-up and photo sessions and the dinner and more party! A sure way to tire oneself!

But it was all worth it because we had loads of pleasant surprises that night and it was a fantastic finale to a month-long wedding celebration. Not everyone agreed to the way things were done, BUT again, it was our wedding and as long as we enjoyed ourselves, I think it was a successful event.

Once you learn to let go of the details and entrust the wedding planning and co-ordination to the right people or teams – you will fully and truly appreciate the bigger picture and enjoy yourself on one of the most important days of your life ☺

Friday, November 19, 2010

Not Enough Time


Time flies when you are enjoying yourself. As soon as our family & friends started to arrive, I realized that everything was moving along too fast. I told my fiancé that we needed to slow it down – but how on earth do you slow time?!

Even though we had a small intimate group of forty guests and we tried to get everyone to mingle and get to know each other, there were still a few distinct group of friends and families that led to us having to split ourselves. In the end, there still wasn’t enough time spent with each group.

We thought that with our periodic newsletters (started a year prior to the wedding) and introducing our guests to each other, our small guest list and the combination of our crazy friends would make it a pleasant group holiday. Oh, boy. How wrong we were! We planned for rehearsal dinners, day trips and group activities for the entire guest list but because everyone had their own agenda and not everyone was interested in bonding with everyone else, we ended up trying to split ourselves just so we could catch some time with all of them.

In the end, it was just really exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, sure, but really tiring. So, in the midst of all that, we decided it was time to get some “us” time. We booked ourselves for an afternoon spa, took a quiet down-time by the pool just gazing into the ocean and chilled in our Jacuzzi. The little breaks we took let us realized that we did all we could to get everyone together and at the end of the day, the wedding is really about us.

So take breaks – go away for the weekend for just the two of you and don’t do the wedding talk. Do the whole dating thing and relive the moments of the first kiss, the first hug, the first hand-holding. Basically fall in love all over AGAIN!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Day I’ve Been Waiting For


After two years of planning every single detail, D-day finally came. We woke up to a splendid breakfast and everything started off pretty great. I just knew… it would be a great day.

Above all else, I wanted to enjoy myself, I wanted my friends to have a good time, I wanted everything to be just beautiful and Voi-la! We did really have a good time. The wedding was a true reflection of us – it was what we wanted and hoped it would be. Sure it had been a little bit expensive plus there was some family politics to overcome, not to mention all the “should have’s”, “ could have’s”, “would have’s”, but the day I had always dreamt off was as exactly as it was.

What more could one ask for if you could marry the perfect soulmate, in a perfect wedding gown at a perfect wedding venue with perfect friends and family to celebrate with you? To us it was just perfect.

Your wedding day, when it arrives, should be how YOU have wanted it and not how everyone thinks you should have it. It is YOUR day and you should be the only drama queen and star for the day!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Not Feeling It


One week to the big day and I was working on my final ‘to-do’ list – which thankfully, was short. Get nails done – Check! Pack all luggages – Check! Send out final email reminder – Check! And we’re off!

The only problem it seems was that I wasn’t ‘feeling it’. I was waiting for the feeling to jump up at me, for me to get into the mood – but nothing! I was feeling nothing. As such, at the airport after I checked in, I got a much-needed pep talk from my partner-in-crime, Eileen to see if I could get my groove on. She said that when I arrived in Bali, I will definitely ‘feel it’. I was skeptical. Even though my fiancé was documenting every step of the way with his camera, I still wasn’t ‘feeling it’. Oh my God! I thought it felt like any other wedding that I had planned over the last 10 years – which was exactly NOT what I wanted no envisioned!

Of course, Eileen was right. When we touched down in Bali, my mood was definitely boosted when I saw our driver at the airport. Putu has been our driver whenever we go to Bali and for the wedding; we had booked his entire fleet to shuttle family and friends. When I saw Putu holding up a welcome sign just for us --- everything fell into place- “I Gotta Feeling.” When we arrived at the wedding villa 3 days later, I was super-excited as the van approached the villa and the feeling was right there at 100%. When I surprised my fiancé with a wedding gift and seeing his touching reaction, I was definitely feeling it 200%.

Now, it’s been almost a month since the Bali wedding and I am still ‘feeling it’. We keep reminiscing about everything and wish we could re-do the wedding over and over again. It was quite unbelievable that only one month ago, I had exchanged my vows by the beach and one month later, all that were left are photographs of the cherished memories.

With this ‘feeling’, I’ve come to learn that a wedding is all about the mood, the feeling, the experiences you have together as a couple. As you grow old together, it is the memories that will bring you closer to each other. I hope I can hold on to that feeling for as long as possible.

My advice to all couples is… its all about that ‘loving feeling’. The whole wedding is about the two of you and without that ‘loving feeling’, what you have would just be a beautifully decorated ballroom and an expensive menu. You need to remember that despite what everyone thinks, a wedding is about two people in love and nothing else matters.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wedding Planner / Vendor / Client Issues

Sometimes, it is not easy being a wedding planner. It can be - as everyone says, pretty damn thankless. Just yesterday, we had some issues caused by a photographer and the client - already known for crying at the drop of a pin - was obviously NOT happy.

Here's the deal - we've never worked with this photographer previously and honestly, was not a big fan of said photographer's work. Furthermore, we've had some not-so-good feedback from photographer's ex-clients. But hey - professionally, if the client insists on using a certain vendor, we oblige and we still strive to deliver the best that we can.

So, we started negotiations and we finally got the contract and invoice signed between the photographer and the client - after numerous email threads that went back and forth. However, always careful and anal, no matter how long email threads are - we archive each and everyone of them. We learnt that this is one of the best ways to safeguard ourselves.

Anyway, this bride thought she was a bit of a smart-alec. Even after the contract was signed, she still insisted on discussing other terms with the photographer - ON HER OWN without the planners being notified NOR KEPT IN THE LOOP. Despite us telling the photographer - both verbally and via emails - to notify us should there be any direct discussions with the clients, the said photographer happily - either forgot or thought us planners to be unimportant.

Now, the wedding will be taking place this weekend. The bride called us crying to say that the photographer had gone back on his words and will not be photographing certain segments of the wedding this weekend. Of course, the call caught all of us off-guard as we had NO CLUE as to what happened and what was agreed and what was discussed and etc, etc, etc. You get my drift? She then went on accusing us of being careless with our arrangements and she was not happy and she went further still saying that she was very unhappy with her pre-wedding photos that were taken by the said photographer. That just cheesed me off!

Look, I usually dislike doing this especially so close to the wedding day. But sometimes, I think one has to do what is necessary to put everything into perspective in the right order! So we pulled out our neatly-archived emails and reminded the client that the photographer was someone she insisted upon, who wasn't on our recommendations list. More emails pulled out to show her the entire negotiation and discussion that we had carried out on her behalf with the photographer to safeguard her interests as a client.

To the photographer - we did the same. But we could only ensure that what was in his signed contract and invoice were delivered to the 't'. The verbal promises / empty promises he made privately with the client is honestly - something beyond our control! It will only turn into a battle of 'he said, she said' and God knows what else anyone said!

Moral of the story : Whether you are planning your own wedding or using a wedding planner, do insist on having everything that is agreed re-produced in black & white. This really does eliminate all the 'he said, she said, everyone said' problems. AND if you do hire a wedding planner - please, either let the planner do his/her job or make sure you keep the wedding planner in the loop for any additional discussion you may have with other vendors! BECAUSE - even if you may have forgotten to get the black & white - the wedding planner, will undoubtedly do so - to safeguard BOTH you and themselves.

** graphic at the top by GraphicLeftovers.com  

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Journey To Forever In Lyrical Poses & Tantric Artistry


Last Saturday - 6th November 2010, we had some AWP members organized a little photography exhibition and talk - showcasing the artistic wedding photography of Yeh Poh Chung from Wondrous Vision. Jointly organized by Nupts & Such together with the venue - Small Talk With The Moon and endorsed by Association of Wedding Professionals (AWP) Malaysia, the exhibition featured some of Yeh's artistic wedding nudes as well as his creative slideshows.

Most friends from the wedding industry popped in for an afternoon of creativity, listening attentively as Yeh provided insights into lightings, photography style and even went into the technicality details of angles, cameras, technology and how to use them to enhance photos. Canon - the sponsor for the event was of course, very pleased with the entire showcase. Both experienced and amateur photographers were delighted to share and learn from the 'sifu' himself.

Here's a little congratulatory note from us at AWP Malaysia to Yeh Poh Chung and his first solo exhibition. We're proud of our members and we hope you will continue striving to achieve greater heights!

By the way - for those who haven't seen it - Small Talk's venue is large enough to host an intimate function and yet, small enough for it to remain warm & cosy. The owners (who happens to be Yeh's ex-clients) are all about championing and growing the local arts & culture scene. Aside from hosting a list of fabulous indie art events, Small Talk also sells unique trinkets and curios - hint! hint! Wedding Favour ideas! :)


** Photos of Exhibition by Yeh Poh Chung & Team
From TOP to BOTTOM : Yeh with the owners of Small Talk With The Moon - Lara and Nik, Yeh with The President of AWP Malaysia - Leticia Hsu (sporting a new haircut), The Vice President of AWP Malaysia - Eileen Lui - Skyping In for the exhibition, Yeh Poh Chung doing his knowledge / skill-sharing session





Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Friends, Partners & Vendors Sharing Their Thoughts on Leticia & Tjun Hong's 10.10.10

For Kris' POV - click HERE :)

For Eileen's take - click HERE :)

For Leticia & Tjun Hong's take - Please wait as the KL Fabulously Fun wedding is coming up this weekend!!

Enjoy the reading!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Perfect Dress


You've dreamt about walking down that aisle since you were a little girl, and now the big day is approaching. Whether you're choosing a dress off the rack or having one made just for you, follow these tips and make your dream come true.

1 Start your search six to nine months ahead. Special orders can take four to six months, plus time for alterations.
2 Keep your file of photographs of dresses you like from bridal magazines, advertisements and boutique promotions handy when you shop.

3 Choose a style appropriate for the ceremony. For a formal evening wedding, a floor-length dress in ivory, white, cream or champagne, often worn with gloves and a train, is an elegant choice. Semiformal dresses can also be pastels, a floor-brushing (ballerina) length, with a short veil and no train. At a less formal or second wedding, the bride may choose a long or short dress, or even a two-piece suit. A short veil may be very stylish paired with a classic pillbox hat.

4 Flatter your figure with a dress that suits you. Not every style suits your body. Try one of each basic shape--princess, ball gown, sheath and empire waist--to see which flatters you most. Check that you can walk, turn, sit and bend comfortably, as well as lift your arms and hug loved ones without splitting a seam. Comfort and confidence are vital on this day of days.

5 Shop at bridal boutiques for a wide array of styles. Try on a few designer gowns first so you recognize the quality, then choose a dress based on your budget.

6 Set a budget. This will determine whether you make, rent or buy off the rack. But it is the most important dress in your life. Do you really want to rent it?

7 Ask when bridal stores are next having a sample sale.

For me, I always knew I wanted it custom made, it IS the most important dress in your life, would you leave it to chance. I started flipping thru some magazines and found THE ONE in one of the first few magazines I picked up (surprisingly). Of course the original design to my actual gown is somewhat different, but the general idea is there. I made some modifications to give me that “one of a kind” gown.. Yes as Eileen has mentioned there are a few parts to the gown but NO Kris is not carrying it for me!!

So my perfect gown by That Special Occasion (we love you, Kris!) is ready to be picked up today and you want to know what I love most about my gown? It is so comfortable, its dreamy, its stylish, its sexy, its princess-y, its unique, its fantabulous. Of course it’s not exactly suitable for the beach wedding look but it’s MY gown and it’s MY wedding so it’s simply perfect.

Friends


True friends are hard to find, but real friends are an even bigger rarity. Some friends are there just to be associated, some friends have an ulterior motif and some friends are just plain mean.

So when it’s your wedding you would want to surround yourself with true friends, why spoil your big day with people you don’t love. I have been really lucky in this respect; I have a bunch full of true friends and a handful of real friends who has been very supportive in whatever I do.

But in time of crisis and in time of need, it’s your true friends that stand out to help. No matter how long you’ve known them, no matter what the age difference is, friends are timeless. My wedding industry friends in particular has been invaluable in the planning of my wedding, from offering advice, a shoulder to cry on, to helping me in my mission to keep to my budget ☺. Guys, you know who you are – We just want to say THANK YOU. We really appreciate all your help.

This applies also to picking your vendors, you have to pick someone who shares the same vision as you, someone you can talk to, someone who will listen and encourage you. When picking my vendors, the number one criteria was their personality, I have to like them as a person as well as liking their work. You can’t hate your videographer’s guts and yet still smile to the camera?

So when you are trying to decide whom you want to work with, think that would you rather have as a friend.

Invites


Did you know that the Chinese belief about sending invitation card was to HAND DELIVER every single one? Do you know my guest list in KL is 800 pax? Imagine delivering 800 cards to 800 houses.

I’ve known about this “urban legend” from all the years being a wedding planner, but never knew that it was actually insisted on by some parents. My in laws insisted, basically were shocked that we were not thinking of hand delivering the cards – so the compromise (well not so much of a compromise) was his parents would deliver the family cards themselves and we would send out the other cards, however we see fit. Which basically meant “mo ngan tai” (in Chinese: no eyes to see, in English: Whatever).

On my side, I scoffed off the idea of hand delivering the cards and worked my way around my mum, once I got support there was no turning back. All my family cards were posted ☺.

But the complication did not end there, have you ever tried getting 800 correct spelling names, chasing for address, typing and printing out each one, inserting the card (no names needed to be written on the actual card – Thank God), then going to the post office to weigh and purchase stamps (it cost me RM 0.80 per card for KL, don’t even talk about my Bali cards). Stick each stamp, sealing each envelope and sending out each one? To find out later some guests gave you the wrong address and some did not get the card, so you’ll need to re do the whole process. Peachy simply peachy.

Sending out my invites was a hassle to say the least; I would have loved to go for E-invites. But I love my cards even more so – suck it up and endure the pain.

I drove my stationary designer, Acadia Stationary mad (we love you Debra!), being a wedding planner I have seen all the type of printing, sizes, shape, color and material there is. So my instructions for the cards were simple (ha-ha) I wanted something no one else has done before.

Ideas were thrown around; emails flew in every direction.finally we came up with the perfect solution. My perfect card – Bali invites were printed on cloth and framed, so that when I send my guests thank you cards with their photo in it, they had a frame to frame up their photos ☺ (Guests who are reading: Hint Hint Hint that’s what the frame is for).

My KL cards were a storybook by itself, nevertheless to the theme and color. The reactions I got from my 22 year old brother would say it all “Oh my god, you are so OTT” (over the top).

Who cares, I love my stationary. Wait till you see the rest of the things I have planned.

D-I-Y


How far will you go to DIY for your own wedding? Well, I had wanted an easy to handle wedding, where even my wedding planner will have time to chill by the pool. But this wasn’t going to be the case as costs sky rocketed beyond belief, a bridal bouquet was costing me 3times the price in Bali.

So what did we do? We consulted our florist, Garden Fairies (we love you, Anies!) and she went shopping with us. We got "easy to assemble" centerpieces (light and transportable), knick-knacks, candles, etc. We sat down and designed finishing touches, adorable stationary and all the little things that make the wedding unique to us. We still ordered some decor from Bali, but very basic "must-haves".

Yes, it was a lot of work, just preparing the ribbons, the pouches, the cards, the cutting, the pasting and the tying… will drive you mad. But with my small guest list, it wasn’t too bad. Completed the entire madness in 2 months (give or take).

Would I DIY again? Well it may or may not look as pretty as if it were store bought, but my blood and sweat went into it so the guests better like it ha-ha. Yes, I would DIY, it gives me the chance to work on the little stuff and get the exact look I want.
And I can revise, amend and add to my heart's content.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Love Is


Love is a many splendor things
Love makes you do crazy stuff
Love is friendship set on fire
Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it...It really is worth fighting for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk everything, you risk even more."

The last portion of your planning stage is where couple’s show their true colors to one another. Whether you can take the stress that come with family politics, wedding preparations and the unknown future or whether one of you will just break down and recoil.

The last steps you take as individuals as you walk down the aisle will be the most important. You must ask yourselves whether you are making the right choice, the right decision and the right move. You may have the venue booked, the caterers in place, the flowers in buckets and the perfect dress. But marriage is a big step; make sure you are making the right choice before you walk down the aisle.

As a wedding planner I hope all my bride’s would have ask themselves this question way before we booked the venue ☺.

As a bride, my fiancé is my perfect pair and there is no doubt in my mind the choices I have made. He has been there for me (corny as it sounds) through thick and thin, thru tears and sweat, thru sickness and pain. Of course with all these we have had one hell of a boyfriend-girlfriend ride with plenty of laughter, loads of hugs and buckets of kisses. Now, I’m looking forward to the next step as husband and wife or wife and husband (depending on who you ask).

The Countdown Continues


14 days to go. Excited, stressed, anxious, happy these are all the words that come to mind. Ask me how I was feeling one month ago and I’ll tell you that I was stressed out full stop.

For the average bride, there is a list of say… 10 things to do a month before the wedding:
• Seating arrangement
• Facial
• Manicure
• Final Fitting
• Pack Angpaus
• Try on shoes
• Jewellery
• Confirm final numbers with hotel
• Food Tasting
• Pack Emergency Kit

For your wedding planner … the list adds on say another 40 things to do
• Confirm vendors
• Confirm pick timings
• Confirm maps etc, etc, etc

For a wedding planner cum bride … you add on 100 things more to do (this is because of my own little anal mind running wild). So what did I do?

First of all, crack open a bottle of wine, plug in your laptop, crank up the music, isolate myself from everyone and breathe. I wrote out one final to do list and started working on it one by one. Miracles or miracles I actually did 90% of my to dos in one day. I’m proud to say (with the help of my wedding planner- thanks Shirlyn!), I’ve done everything except for minor packing.

There are bound to be last minute to dos, last minute requests, and last minute stress. The only way to deal with this is to NOT PANIC, delegate to people you trust, in most cases your wedding planner (because your cousin who wants to also look beautiful on that day will not sacrifice her makeup time just to help you setup booklets) and deal with each item one at a time.

After that it should be smooth sailing. The day should always and only be about the two of you.

Dream or Nightmare


Yes yes I have been planning my wedding for the past 2 years, according to my partner, Eileen --- since I was playing with my Barbie doll (and yes I did have a Barbie doll). So expectations are way up there.

I have also be psyching myself to calm down, chill out and take things easy. What will be will be --- will be my motto. But whether that “will be” a fact, I’ll let you know after the wedding.

I had a strange dream last night, dreamt my plans got screwed by little hiccups even dreamt I forgot to get my makeup and hair done -- believe it or not. I seriously woke up in a sweat. Boy or boy apparently I need to schedule more spa sessions in Bali.

Like Eileen said … its about US not them. As long as we are happy everybody can take a back seat. I’ll repeat that over and over in my head and all should be just peachy.

Packing for A Destination Wedding


Oh My God … that is what came out from my mouth the minute I entered my office sub storage. We have been putting aside all the things for the KL wedding and the Bali wedding. Basically, organizing and diving as we go along So that we roughly know how much needs to go where.

That plan did not work out because when Shirlyn (my wedding planner) and I were running thru the list of things to bring the whole place looked like a war zone. In any case, whether you are wrapping your own favors, embellishing your own invitations or packing like me the most important thing is to organize.

Bring out everything, set a list according to the purpose of the item. Throw away rubbish bags, plastics and unwanted rubbish – basically de-clutter. Then you can see your stuff better.

Now work and tick off each item as you go along, if you’ve organized it according to the purpose of the item you’ll be able to double check if you forgot a pen/ scissors/ tape/ etc.

The bottom line, for me I’m looking at 5 big boxes, 5 hand carry, 1 lap top, 1 wedding gown, 10 mobile phones for 6 people (just the wedding team). Not too bad (I think). Well my wedding team consists of 6 people and honestly I do not think its too much, I want my family and friends to enjoy the trip and so my wedding team each have a specific task to take charge of, which will ensure efficiency.

Basic Packing:
(If you don’t have a wedding planner)

Medicine box
Emergency box (Chalk, thread / needle, extra buttons, etc)
Stationary box (Pen, scissors, paper)
Stationary (that were printed in KL)
Decoration (that were hand made in KL)
Personal artifacts (shoes, clothes, accessories)

Basic Packing:
(If you have a wedding planner)

Your personal items

So, if you are planning a destination wedding. The options are obvious.. Get a wedding planner!

Pre Wedding Treatments : Face, Body, Hair & Nails


I know brides who go to the full scale extend of diet programs, eyelash, hair and nails extensions. Not too sure about any enlargements ☺ but certainly a lot of money spent on making yourself absolutely gorgeous for your one special day.

I’ll tell you what I did. First I got my magazines and swam the Internet Ocean to look for THE LOOK I wanted and from there it was pretty easy. My friend and designer Kris says that your first instinct is always the best. This proved true with my gown, my overall look and accessories I wanted.

Had a chat with my makeup artist, Cindy to talk about my colors, tones and my skin regime.

Told my hair stylist, Chloe what I wanted to achieve and hair length I needed to get.

Had another chat with another friend, Louise -- a nail expert to talk about extensions, acrylic nails, and the works.

Also changed my eating habits, those who know me know that I did an extreme makeover here. Got on an exercise regime – not as extreme as Eileen’s but exercise nonetheless.

Got on a multivitamin program to get us in good health. Got a full medical check up.

And all these conversations took place right from the start, so that I had time to experiment, try out and test. I used other functions and events I had throughout the year to test out colors, styles and tones I liked.

I am happy to say without spending a lot of money on pre treatments, I’m good to go. I know what works and does not work and I’ll I had to do was ask.

My advice actually is to get in good health; the last thing you want is to fall ill before, during and after your wedding.

Guest List / Who Sits Where / +1


Creating a guest list can cause complete chaos. Whether it's your parents pushing you to invite all their neighbors or your fiancé insisting to cut your coworkers from the list, you're bound to come across some angst in your guest list planning. But not to worry. There is hope. If you follow these top tips, you'll minimize the madness and whittle down your list to the best-case scenario.

Stay Mum
Of course you're going to announce your engagement to close friends and family members, but because they're the first ones who'll be invited, they're safe territory. Beyond your immediate clan, don't personally call anyone else until you know the wedding's approximate size and scope, because the first thing people are likely to ask is "When is the wedding?" That way, you can set expectations when you finally announce your news: "We're so excited -- it'll be a tiny ceremony somewhere exotic," or "My parents are springing for a blowout with everyone under the sun, so start watching airfares now!" If people know from the start that they're not likely to be invited because it's a family-only or far-flung affair, they won't be miffed when they don't find a fancy envelope in their mailbox.

Divide Seats Equally
All of the immediate family with input should be given the same number of people to invite, regardless of who's paying. What that means is that if you're having 200 guests and you and your fiancé take 100 of the invites, his family should get 50 of the remaining invites and your family should get the final 50. If her folks are divorced, then each of her parents split the 50 evenly. If things work out that smoothly for you, you're lucky, but sticking with that strategy gives you a bulletproof defense against accusations of favoritism. Of course, if one of you is an only child and the other comes from a family of 20, you can reevaluate how to divvy up the numbers. If people grumble, see the next strategy about standing up to bullies.
To minimize confusion, wait to request your parents and in-law's guest lists until you've given them their target number.

Don't Be Bullied By Parents and Soon-to-be In-laws
Set and stick to boundaries. This can be tricky if one set of parents is footing the bill and demands a greater slice of the guest list. But when it comes down to it, this is your event. Sometimes it's just a matter of increasing the size of the guest list, and the parent who goes over their number of invites can pay for the overflow. But often your site caps the guest count. That means if his mom wants to invite more people (say, all of her bridge partners), either your family or you two will have to invite fewer guests. Be resolute. Explain to his mom that even though she is generously paying for the fete, this is a celebration for everyone involved, and everyone must participate on an equal footing. It may not be easy or pleasant, but if you start to bend, you're in for a tidal wave of last-minute requests.

How did I do it? Well, first of all, we are paying for both weddings ourselves. That was the number one thing we both agreed on, I have seen too many weddings get ambushed by their parents. Our agreement was if we couldn’t afford it we would just make it simple.

Well I wanted a small small small affair in Bali and wanted the guest list to stick to 30, but that did not happen so current count is 44 still manageable but there are a few guests which I would have rather not invited but had no choice.

For KL the guest list got overblown, the initial count was 1200 guests, now we have it controlled to 800 guests and dropping. Crossing our fingers the guest list will not shoot back up. So instead of having a formal sit down hotel type dinner, we are going for a wedding like no other. I guarantee you there will be guests that gossip viciously about it, and there will be guests who will love it. Most important is we will love it.

With the family we included all our family from cousins to aunts, then we added in the business partners, combined the friends and then we were left with parents friends. We told each parent they could invite 20 friends of their own, the family had already been counted in. This went well in theory.

Parents started fretting about being given too little numbers for their friends, after some compromise and some guest dropping out and number was achieved.

Plus 1, now we get guests who want to bring plus one’s whom we do not know. Here is the general rule about +1. If they have been dating for more than a year and are pretty serious, then yes invite them like you would invite a spouse. If it’s a casual friend, a maid, a mother who is alone at home or a talking companion for your main friend – you have every right to say NO. Guests should understand that adding one head here, then another one there, adds up cost for the host.

So, guests, BE CONSIDERATE!

Who Sits Where

From the Main Table (in a ballroom) :
• Family
• Extended Family
• Business Partners
• Friends
**The bridal party / close friends can also be placed near the main table

Traditions – How far is too far?


Do you know that proper Chinese traditions, the list of items to prepare/ give and receive is a really long, tedious and expensive list?

My Bali wedding is a western style, feel and colored wedding (it’s a white wedding), so I picked my battles and decided to go for an Oriental themed KL wedding that pleased the older generation.

So when it came time to discuss the traditions the parents wanted and would agree upon, I consulted a Tai Kum Che, a Feng Shui expert and a Pick Date Expert. Then had a meeting of two families in a public location, so that everything would be discussed “out in the open”.

In the tradition list there is even talk about 2 real chickens (a hen and a cock) thrown under your bed. The first chicken that comes out will determine the sex of your first-born. Don’t forget the bow and arrow the bride is supposed to carry on the wedding day to ward away evil.

I had to laugh when I printed out the full list of things and I also strong felt that asking for dowry was demeaning to say the least. What amount could you possibly ask from my in laws - Are you selling your daughter off?

Ask for a small sum RM 800 and is that all I’m worth? Ask for a big sum RM 8 million, again is that all I’m worth? I can make that on my own.

So the solution was my mother asked for a basket of fruits and nothing else. Both parents were up front and honest saying what they wanted and did not want. So the issue was settled earlier this year.

Lo and behold, the list has been expanded because of aunts and elders who can’t help lending a helping word or two. But it is still kept to an acceptable request, the funny thing about my situation is not that my parents want more things, it’s that my in laws want to give us more things. They feel that fruits are just too little.

How far you want to take traditions is really up to your parents (I’m sorry its out of your hands, the parents out rank you). My advice have both parents ask around and determine what they want, then have a family meeting to talk it out honestly and this will eliminate mis-communication.

If you DO want to go all the way with having a traditional chinese wedding, get a Chinese chaperone (Tai Kum Che), my motto is if you are going to do it, do it right.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wedding Around The Corner

This one's specially for my partner-in-crime, Leticia - whose wedding is just around the corner and we're all very excited about it :)

Counting down the days leading up to your wedding could be both stressful and exciting at the same time. Exciting because after months (for some people, years!!) of preparation, the BIG DAY is finally here and you will celebrate your journey towards eternal bliss in the presence of your loved ones and close friends. Stressful because there's always last minute changes to plans that you thought have already been set in stone (Note : Plans are NEVER set in stone. They are just that - P-L-A-N-S). And especially for those who are celebrating a destination wedding, there's always the stress of the traveling - with ALL your wedding essentials intact and in order.

Destination weddings are fun, romantic and at the same time, it can be stressful and tiring. Depending on where you're journeying to, the traveling alone can be rather tiring in itself. Not to mention, there's bound to be some plans by the bride & groom to meet up with friends and families who have traveled from afar for dinners, get-togethers, etc.. before the wedding. These schedules, if 'over-planned', can be tiring and hectic.

Speaking from experience, me thinks that whilst it is great to give your guests a list of planned activities and get-togethers for dinners or lunches, it is more important to give yourself the time to enjoy and relax. In other words, bask in the celebratory mood with your other half - plan time to escape for a couple's spa session, take a romantic stroll along the beach, have a romantic candlelight dinner together...... the list can be endless.

When I had my wedding, I was so busy running around for meetings, making sure family members have settled in and planning time to take them out to lunch and dinners as well as making time to meet our friends that I hadn't realized I nearly forgot about the fact that this trip was really about US. Not until my other half came up to me and said "Can we cancel all plans tomorrow because I want to date you," that I took a step back and enjoyed a day at the spa and a romantic candlelight dinner :)

Families and friends who have traveled for your wedding will understand that the celebration is not about them. It is about YOU. In fact, some of them may appreciate the fact that they are left alone to do their own "holiday-ing" and taking in the local sights and culture or whatever else that may tickle their fancy. Remember - this is after all, their holidays too :)

Having said that, of course, if you do have lots of time and you are able to spend some time with your loved ones and friends pre-wedding, it will surely be a bonus too. All a part of the celebration experiences for your once-in-a-lifetime moment :)

So to Leticia and all soon-to-be-weds out there whose wedding, destination or otherwise is around the corner, just remember, this celebration is for you, about you. Come what may, go on out there and have a BLAST! :) Because your guests are sure to have one too! :)

p/s : I do believe our next blogpost will be from Leticia herself, regaling us with tales of her destination wedding! Not to mention - another one from Kris Wong, who will be doing the post-wedding write-up on his blog :) So stay tuned!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Memory Lane


To montage or not to montage. That is the question. Well 10 out of 10 weddings have childhood montages and you may love seeing your adorable baby photos, dating photos and pre-wedding photos over and over again but trust me, only another 6 people out of your 500 pax guest list are truly interested.

Childhood montages are a bit overdone; if you are intending to do it, perhaps think about merging the montage into one. Not too many photos, not too long a slideshow and not too cheesy. Preferably add in captions of where this photo was taken, when was it taken, etc..It gives guests a chance to relate to you.

So for my wedding - in my mind, yes I think I was a cute baby. But apparently my fiancé thinks he is super cute and definitely wants to show off his baby fats (not current fat). So.."To montage or not to montage”.

I have to admit, looking through old albums, walking down memory lane with mum was a treat. You get to see your mum in the shortest (OMG) mini skirts and in a totally new light. You get to see the fun times, the people we miss and the moments you can never get back.

So do I want to share this moment with every one of my 800 guests? Half of whom I have not met before? Well, yes and no. Many options were thrown into the pool from stationary designers, fashion designers, wedding planners, friends and family and what did I decide to do in the end?

My super spicy wedding planner (she’s petite but a real chili padi) came up with a cost effective and to me, was a cute idea. A pin up registration board for guests to write messages and wishes, that had scattered baby photos of us. The sketch she showed me was a lovely idea.

Find an interesting way to showcase your photos and to connect with your guests, no matter how large a guest list you have. It will show that you have put your personal touches into your wedding. Or go with the montage idea but remember not everyone can spot the kid with braces in a group shot.

Pace Yourself


Your wedding is 2 years away; you think you have plenty of time. So much can happen in 2 years - my taste and choices are a vast ocean of opportunities.

Your wedding is 1 year away; you realize there are couples even faster than you and your option list starts getting shorter. Wedding planners, venues, photographers, makeup artists are getting booked up.

Your wedding is 6 months away; you finally start getting your act together and think … maybe, just maybe you should start doing something for the wedding.

Your wedding is 4 months away, after 2 months of doing nothing you think maybe I should get a wedding planner and handover all the headache to them….

As a wedding planner, we have been getting our fair share of 4-month-planning couples that have not booked anything for their wedding. Some have gotten the venue booked; some have gotten the theme colors sorted out but most of them have not even secured the venue! As a wedding planner, I’m telling you it's not going to be a fun journey planning your wedding at such short notice. Decisions have to be made instantly and your daily conversations just become wedding-infused.

As a bride, I was happy with the progress of my own wedding plans, but then again, I booked my photographer and venue 2 years ago ☺. Ok, maybe that’s the wedding planner in me talking. But at barely 2 months to go to the big day, I’m still a little stressed out with the list of to do's still on my plate.

If you ask any of my friends in the wedding industry or not in the industry, they will tell you that I’m a bride-zilla [Eileen : I agree] and I am anal about everything which means my to-do list will not be the average bride’s to-do list.

But for couples that are planning their wedding, it’s the journey. It has always been about the journey, the experience you get when you plan your wedding together. How you got there, why you chose the venue, why you chose the flowers. It’s the decision you make as a couple that helps you bond and understand each other better.

Enjoy your planning process, don’t rush it, don’t get irritated by it, have fun with it. My fiancé and I spent last night looking thru old music cds, friends’ requests and our personal selection to get the right blend of music for the night. It wasn’t what music we choose but the laughter, the impromptu karaoke and the memories that came back. That is what wedding planning should be all about.

It was a good release from the family pressures, financial crisis and overall planning stress - just to sit down with a good cup of tea and listen to good music.

If you want to have a nice wedding planning journey, pace yourself. Plan your deadlines and to-do's (if you don’t have a wedding planner), follow your wedding planner's guidelines and deadlines (if you have a wedding planner) and you will find yourself enjoying your wedding planning experience.

Trust Me.