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  

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