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.


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.


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.


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.


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!!