Thursday, October 31, 2013

The 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

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.

Simple, Easy and Cost Efficient

Isn’t it fabulous when something so cheap, so easy and so simple can turn out so fabulous? Here was a wedding where the bride’s request was to use what the environment could give us.

Our challenge started a few months before when the bride and I went snorkeling for stones, shells and other sea worthy items to use. Yes the things wedding planners had to do to please the bride. We even had to canoe to find the resident shark so that we were assured that when the boys were given a task to snap a photo of the shark , they would actually find it !

So we used what we could get from nature and made wonders with it , I was actually quite surprised that the guests really enjoyed our DIY décor and the photos were stunning.

Here are some easy ideas for you to follow :

Noise Makers : For the guests to make noise during the festivities. We put dead corals into mineral bottles and tie ribbons around the neck.

Centerpiece : We used shells, sand, stones, leaves and added a bit of candles to create a unique centerpiece for every table

Beach Décor : Use paper bags, add a candle in it and light up the beach with your homemade luminaries

Escort Card : We used stones and wrote the guests names on it to act as escort cards

Place Card : We use sturdy leaves from trees to write the guests names on it

So think about it, what do you have that will make your wedding more YOU..

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 my colleague, 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 you decided to point it out yourself!

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.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wedding Trend # 4: Wedding Brunch Anyone?

When my brother told me that he was getting married I immediately went to wedding planner mode and was taking stock in my head of what grand plans I can start putting into place.

Then he told me his budget (which is so unbelievably low, I was speechless then hysterical then confused and now I’m taking it as a challenge), so all my initial grand plans were out the door and we (his fiancé and me) had to come up with another really really cost effective plan.

A wedding brunch was born and the ideas started to fall into place. In terms of the program its basically like a normal dinner reception program but with a slight tweak here and there, in lieu of a disco and dancing we’re going to have outdoor and indoor games, instead of a alcoholic bar (which would be rather expensive), were going to have a juice and caffeine bar.

Suddenly a brunch didn’t sound too bad. We would start the festivities mid morning and end it by teatime, giving the couple the rest of the day to spend with the family (who flew 24 hours to get there).

Brunch weddings offer brides an intimate, affordable and uniquely stylized event, with more options for dates and venues, and a timeline of your terms. Brunches in general get a bad rap because no one thinks it can be an elegant wedding, but you really just have to use a bit of creativity to “class it up”. It offers a unique guest experience, something that can be more memorable because it’s just different than what you typically see.

Vendors may offer you discounted rates because it doesn’t eat into their standard peak schedules and you can really think out of the box in terms of food stations and activities.  Think sandwich stations, waffle and pancakes, bacon and eggs or even a selection of quiche!

Instead of a wedding cake, you can have a dessert bar or in my brother’s case we’re having a
donut tower. And you can get away with having no alcohol at a brunch wedding but if you really can’t stand the idea of a dry event, offer a bloody mar bar or a mimosa’s anyone? Interactive bar's like these allow guests to mix their own drinks creating yet another unique experience.

So I did a little bit of research and although it's not a norm in Malaysia to have a brunch, we may be in for a change.

Here are some interesting traditions around the world.

Italy: Wedding festivities are kicked off in the morning preferably Sunday and couples should never marry on a Friday or Tuesday because they are bound to have bad luck. Saturdays are reserved for widows getting hitched to husband number 2.

China: Certain provinces in China believe that for a first marriage it should always be a lunch. Couples who marry for the 2nd time (for either the bride or groom) can only throw their reception as a dinner.

Sweden: With almost 20 hours of sunlight each day, summer was considered prime wedding season

Morocco: Historically, Moroccans celebrated weddings on Sunday in the fall at the end of the harvest, when there was plenty of food to feast on.

So think about it, if you are on a budget and you want something utterly different a wedding brunch maybe just what the wedding planner ordered!

(You never know, next year could be wedding suppers! Party all night and sleep all day)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wedding Trend #3 : The Wow Factor

Every wedding is out to achieve a “wow” factor but of course “wow” means different things to different people. For some it can means THE drop dead gorgeous dress, for others it may mean the 5-carat ring

But for couple’s these days it's the first impression, the concept and the setting. Giving your wedding that extra va-va-voom is a pre-requisite for this year.

The reason for this latest craze is because everyone is going to everyone’s wedding, so couple’s feel the need to make sure that when friend A attends their wedding at a hotel that he/she has visited for the umpteenth time, they want to achieve the jaw dropping “wow” reaction from their guest.

So enter the lights, the drapes, the fabric flowers, the candelabra’s and everything else in between. So here is a quick guide on what are the standard “wow” points.

First impressions
Impress your guest starting from the invitation cards right to the end of the party; there is nothing more impressive that showing guests you have put some thought into every little detail. From personalized menu cards to bathroom essentials for the powder room, impress your guest by going that extra mile. If a favor or menu card were addressed to you personally, wouldn’t it make you smile?  

Create the right ambiance to suit your theme, concept and characters. You won’t be able to fulfill everyone’s kind suggestions but you should create a concept that showcases who you both are.

Back to our article of 1001 theme’s you’ll know what I mean. But take into consideration the type of guests who will be attending, if it’s mainly for your father’s business associates I don't think a superhero theme with be amusing to them.

Most couples go for candle lighting for that cozy feel be it on the centerpieces or on the walkways, some add venue lighting like “Citi-colors”, moving heads and LED bars. These change the look and feel of venues that are large enough to take the heat (literally). With event lighting, be careful not to overdo it, there is a fine line between ambiance lighting and red light districts!

Then there is fabric flowers, candelabras, wall draping’s and fashionable furniture, with the right helping hand your decorator and planner can help create a cohesive ambiance for your theme. But with the wrong style and taste, it's a nightmare waiting to happen.

To sum it up, really good friends and family attend a wedding because it's a celebration of your love and union. Not really good friends and family attend to see how well you plan it and then talk about it behind your back. So how and why you attempt to create the wow factor for your wedding will depend on whom you want to impress and whether it is worth all that effort. Plan the wedding for yourself – as long as YOU are both happy and try to remember it is a celebration of your union and love.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Wedding Trend #2 : The Return of the Black Tie

The next trend you will see cropping back up in 2014 is the formal attire classification “Black Tie”. You will see in most invitation cards couples state their preferred attire options for their guests, from smart casual to summer chic

Black tie is the 2nd most formal dress code for any event (with “white tie” being the most formal). Who doesn’t like to dress up and paint the town red, a wedding is a great excuse to get all dolled up and to showcase all your latest jewelry.

Formal attire has always been associated with grand affairs and in this case- weddings. But it actually shocked me to find out that not everyone knows the definition of black tie. No, its not that you actually wear a black tie! (And most people actually think that it literally means black tie).

Wikipedia definition: Black tie is a dress code for evening events and social functions derived from British and American costume conventions of the 19th century. Worn only for events after 6 p.m., black tie is less formal than white tie but more formal than informal or business dress. It is also more formal than recent intermediate codes of “creative,” “alternate” or “optional” black tie.

For men, the elements of black tie are a suit, of black or midnight blue wool, in which the jacket lapels and trouser braid are of silk or other contrasting material, a white dress shirt, a black bow-tie, an evening waistcoat or cummerbund, and black dress shoes. Women's dress for black tie occasions has varied greatly through the years; traditionally it was dinner (ankle) or tea (below mid-calf) length sleeveless evening gown, often accompanied by a wrap or stole, gloves, and evening shoes. 

In other words for men; a tux is what we mean by black tie and for ladies; a long or mid calf length evening gown.

Black tie weddings will be celebrated and encouraged this coming year, but don’t forget for every dress code comes a time and a place. If you are having a beach wedding, please don't put your guests through a sauna by making them come in a tux.

Go forth confidently and dress accordingly.

** My wedding dress code for the beach was “Photography Friendly” and for the KL carnival “Come As You Are”. But that's just me being I!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wedding Trends for 2014

-->A new year is approaching and with all the excitement of the upcoming holidays couples are gearing into their wedding plans. Let’s discuss the few wedding trends that we foresee will crop up. Follow our wedding ramblings till the end of the year.

1001 Themes
Back in the day, themes were a myth. Your mother and grandmothers would just select their favorite color for each item resulting in pink bouquets, brown linens and blue suits -a multitude of colors on one day.

Now, themes are a must. With couple clamoring to “beat the Joneses” a wedding without a theme is like a marching band without the drums. So the past few years we’ve seen all kinds of themes emerge and every couple putting their flavor into each wedding design to call their own.

The trend for next year is the mother of all theme’s, a layering of themes on top of themes from a particular monogram (as a theme) that is seen on all your stationary to the shade of a color (as a theme) on all your attire to a thematic concept (as a theme) such as a love bird concept seen in all your decoration and finally a particular flowers (as a theme) in all your arrangements.

A multitude of themes for one wedding may sound a little anal, but trust me we are definitely getting there. For the couple, they get to share more about themselves with their guests making the wedding more intimate. For the planner, we get to think outside the box and let our creativity shine so we love themes!

For all you potential bridezillas keep in mind 2 main things when planning your layering of themes; 

1) Less is more. Having too many things in play will look like your concept is all over the place. 

2) Honestly, only you and your wedding planner will know what themes are even in play no one else will bother, pay attention to or admire. 

Sad but true.

5 Tips on how to choose your Perfect Wedding Planner

First off, you deserve a big hug for deciding you need a wedding planner. Couple’s who don't have wedding planners need to rely on their friends and family to really be the backbone of the wedding and this means friends and family cannot enjoy the party.

The first thing you need to do, is research to select a few wedding planners that are available on your wedding date and that you feel suits your style and budget. Then arrange for a meeting in a comfortable, quiet and calm environment for you to interview your wedding planner (and your wedding planner to interview you).

You should know that not all wedding planners are created equal. On paper, their services may all look similar (or identical), but every planner’s services are different because the planners themselves are different. Here’s some tips on how to navigate through your meeting with your prospective planners and how to decide who is the best fit for you and your wedding.

Tip # 1: Recommendations
Ask friends and family for referrals. Research options online and when you find a planner you’re interested in, look at their website, read their client reviews, fan them on Facebook, follow them on pinterest, even read their blog if they have one. This gives you a great idea of who they are before you even step in their door.

Tip # 2: Style, Taste and Connection
Don't be afraid to ask questions, you want to hear their ideas and concepts, their opinions and recommendations so that you can gauge their character. This gives you an idea whether the planner’s taste and style suits your own. You should also be able to “click” with your planner because you will be spending a lot of time with them and if you don’t like spending time with them, why hire them? Your planner will be your best friend for the next few months.

Tip # 3: Scope of Work
Most wedding planners have either a full service package or a on-the -day package, be honest about where you need help. If you don't have the time and patience to plan the entire wedding, get the planner for the full deal. Be comfortable with the planner’s package and be up front about what you expect from the start so that everyone knows the direction of the wedding.

Tip # 4: Portfolio
Look through their portfolio and let the planner explain about their previous weddings, you will then get an idea of the planner’s design aesthetics and style. Ask about certain elements that stand out to you and ask for insights of how the planner handles the design and concept of the wedding plus the different vendors involved.

Tip # 5: Listen
You want to get someone that listens to you and someone you will listen to. After all, you are getting a professional for his/her professional opinion so you must feel that you can trust your planner’s opinion and recommendation and that you will listen to the planner’s ideas.

Happy hunting!

Five Crazy Reasons Why You Must Hire A Wedding Planner (Things that wedding planners will never tell you but wishes you knew)

You have been dreaming about your wedding ever since you were a little girl or if you have not got a clue about where to start, and now that you’re engaged you are excited/ overwhelmed about the planning process.

Let me give you a little insight, planning a wedding isn’t all fun and games, there’s a lot to do to prepare for your big day! Here are some secrets as to what a wedding planner does for you (that you don't know about) so that you can judge whether or not you need to hire a wedding planner.

I feel like a therapist ….
When I am forced to step in to help with family drama. My insight is to be polite, respectful and neutral (which depending on the situation may be challenging even for me). Often, meddlesome people just want to be heard out and sometimes need to be appreciated. Since I’m an independent third party, I’m able to bring neutrality to emotionally charged situations and offer a fair solution.

I do manual labor and other dreadful tasks…
I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve been on my hands and knees, sweating. I sometimes have to count the napkins and linens before they go back to the rental company. I’m talking dirty, smelly napkins, with food, gum and whatever else is on them. Talk about gross!
Or at almost every wedding help the bride wear her shoes, to getting under her skirt to bustle the gown and at the most recent event I even had to pack up a wedding suite of strewn dirty clothes and intimate wear so that the bride could be surprised at the upgraded suite the hotel was giving them. 

Just because you got cheaper rates online ...
Doesn’t mean you can do my job better than I can. Yes, you may have found lower rates on certain websites or online offers, but you don’t have access to the contract and package perks that I’m able to negotiate. Plus you got a wedding planner to help you with the logistics, the stress and the planning of your entire wedding. Not just because you wanted cheap rates, an offer always has its hidden terms. 

This is a full time job and then some…
On the big day we are steaming the bridal gown, pinning boutonnieres, making sure that the time lines are being met, making sure there are no spots on the glasses, allowing gum to be spit out in our hands before the ceremony, using our pockets as dustbins for your sweaty tissues, writing the groom’s speech at the last minute and the list goes on! Basically dealing with any situations that arise and ensuring that everything runs like clockwork.

We are quick on our feet…
I had a situation once where the florist forgot one of the bridesmaids bouquets. Within minutes I had one ready for her by gathering some flowers from the centerpiece arrangements and ribbons that I had in my emergency kit.

At another wedding as the lovebird’s ice carving was being wheeled into the venue, the waiter tripped and the birds fell slicing off their heads. Within 30 minutes we manage to bring in the resident band to perform for dinner and the ice carving was never missed. 

You get what you pay for…
The biggest mistake you can make is choosing the cheapest vendors in the hopes of saving money. Really research your vendors, because you truly get what you pay for.
We know some trade secrets and with our connections, we catch information about other vendors through the grapevine. Trust us when we disagree with your choice of vendors, there is always a valid reason. 

Having said that, most wedding planners are passionate about their work and for me all I need is a guest (someone I don't know) who comes up to you at a wedding and say “That was a job well done, it was a fantastic wedding” and all the sweat, blood and tears are forgotten. Even for the most challenging wedding I have even planned, when I look back at the photos all I have is great memories  and good friends.