Since I’d put up a post of The Proposal on my blog, I thought I might as well make the whole wedding planning process public. Blogging helps me think clearly, put my thoughts into words, keep all these memories vivid and most importantly, force me to start moving.
Ever since The Proposal on Christmas Eve 2011, nothing has happened. I mean, like,
Now that the excitement of finally getting the ring on my finger has settled, the impending wedding preparations loom over my head like a grey overcast on a sunny day. It’s like you know it’s a happy thing, that you’re doing it to celebrate the union of you and your partner (the sunny day), but the sheer amount of preparation required sort of makes it really scary (the grey overcast).
At times I wish there wasn’t a need to throw a wedding party. Too much trouble, too much effort, too much money, too much time. But most of the time, I look forward to my own wedding. My own wedding. MY OWN WEDDING. That sounds pretty fun. =D
Through chronicling my wedding preparations, I hope to have friends and readers share what they went through before, share tips, give some advice, or just be there to walk with me through all these. It’s really scary, you know?
I’m 29 this year, but to do all these adult things like getting a house, planning for the wedding, planning for the future all make me sick in the stomach. Oh yes, I just bought an insurance plan that has a S$1 million payout should I die. See, suddenly death isn’t such morbid talk anymore.
It makes me want to up-heave myself and travel back in time when all I had to worry about was why my friend suddenly told me she will ‘un-friend me until after recess time’ in primary school. ‘Un-friend’ as in the literal meaning of the word, not like in Facebook, please. HAHA.
The reason why nothing’s been done from December 2012 till now (April 2013) was because ME-JULI-BUN-I haven’t been doing anything for the wedding. Because I have been in denial. Because I know once I start, the nightmare begins.
Oh gawd, excuse me for being so negative. I woke up after sleeping just three hours and couldn’t get back to sleep no matter how hard I tried. Oddly, I started reading up on wedding stuff and got really disoriented with each additional article I read.
I guess we (all brides-to-be) cannot blame the groom-to-be for their lack of enthusiasm towards a wedding. To them, it is merely an event. To us though, it represents all of our childhood into womanhood – marrying the man we love, the perfect wedding gown, the fairytale wedding.
And then we grew up and BAM! Nobody told us it would be so troublesome!!!
In Part 1 of my ‘Let’s Get Married’ series will be a general idea of what’s been repeating itself, but only in my head. I hope getting all of that down by typing each letter of each word, of each phrase, of each sentence, of each paragraph, will culminate into a better understanding of my own wedding vision. I chose to use the words ‘my wedding vision’ because The Fiance told me he really doesn’t mind even if we do it at our void deck or community centre. Don’t know to laugh or cry.
The Love Nest
Our flat will be ready in end 2014. By HDB standards and from what we see now, it will be ready in mid 2014.
This sucks mainly because HDB rules that the couple has to show they are officially wedded by proof of a marriage certificate SIX MONTHS before they receive the keys to the house, as told to me by friends.
Which means that we have to sign the papers by… what?! End of this year?!!
Which means that my idea of holding the solemnization together with the wedding has gone up in smoke. *POOF* Just like that.
Which means that we might not hold an engagement party after all.
It could all be for the better though, not having an engagement party.
Me: Let’s just go ROM in flip-flops and sign the papers
Him: Okie! I don’t mind! That’s great, actually. I like it.
(ROM = Registry of Marriages)
I might have tsk-ed at him for his blatant display of nonchalance, but I was seriously toying with the idea of just getting it chop-chop over and done with. Maybe with just our families as witnesses to this matrimony.
Due to his incredible eye-rolling procrastination in proposing, I might have to walk down the aisle at the ripe auntie age of 31. Gawddamnit, my mum gave birth to her third child when she was 31. And I’m still baby-less. My system might rust you know. Not that I want to be a mother now though. Not before I am his legally wedded wife.
You might add that I could have done all the wedding preparations before he proposed since I already knew he would eventually. But there was always the possibility that he might not. The ring, The One Ring That Ruled Them All, was his way of telling me to stop nagging him for a proposal, and my green light to get started on the preps.
So, perhaps an engagement party is not necessary after all? We’ll go sign the papers, have family lunch, and then go back to our daily lives as if it wasn’t a big deal. I mean, it really isn’t a big deal. If I cannot make the engagement party a great one, I’d rather not do it at all. With the money saved from not having an excessive engagement party, we can make the actual wedding a more awesome one.
Taiwan And Singapore Pre-Wedding Photoshoots
We bought the Taiwan photoshoot package in May 2012 but I only just contacted the vendor to ask about dates and locations.
The main reason why we have to push the wedding to the later part of 2014 is because we might only go for our photoshoot in Feb-Mar 2014 when the weather Taiwan is at its best – not too hot or rainy. Give or take 4 months for the editing, re-editing, flying the album to us and probably back to them and us again, it might only be just in time for the wedding.
I don’t want to imagine how horrifying it must be if there weren’t any wedding photo albums for our guests to see on the wedding day.
Besides the Taiwan photoshoot, we want a photoshoot in Singapore too. Not so much the scenery of Singapore, but how and where it all began – in secondary school, in our neighborhood. We want to return to our alma mater and relive the places that hold memories.
Like the corridor near the mocha stall where his classmates whistled at me when I walked past and he would ask them to shut up,
the bus stop where he pretended to ‘be on the way home’ and then asked if he could walk me home since ‘it’s on the way’ (it’s totally NOT on the way HAHAHA),
the road divider where he sneakily held my hand so that I can ‘get across safely’,
my void deck where I sang and played the guitar for him… In later years we concluded that it was really dui niu tan qin* because this person cannot appreciate music. =.=
*dui niu tan qin = Literal translates to playing music to a bull. It means doing something fantastic but to the recipient who cannot appreciate it, it is a waste of time.
I hope to find a good videographer to make a short film of our childhood sweetheart story. *giggles like a silly teenager
This is the scariest part.
I’ve been to countless weddings to know what I want and don’t want. Some were great and left me feeling high on love molecules in the air; others left me feeling empty and like I was just another angbao-paying person, just like all the other guests with deadpan expressions in the room.
I don’t want a run-of-the-mill wedding. I don’t want to be ‘just another wedding’ my guests attend.
>> Wedding Venue
With that said, I will not be holding the wedding at a hotel function room or ballroom.
This is the program of most weddings held in hotels in Singapore:
- Reach hotel
- Scribble on the guest book so that the bride and groom can have a good time trying to read through everything, assuming they even bother
- Place red packet in box
- Mingle at cocktail reception. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to say hi to the couple and maybe take 1 photo
- Find your seat in the ballroom
- Couple marches in for first time
- Start eating
- Couple marches in for second time, makes thank you speeches, show videos, photos
- Wedding toast
- Couple goes to every table for group photos
- Finish eating
- Leave the ballroom and shake hands with couple and parents
There are variations in sequences and of course I’ve been to those that were executed really well. Moving thank you speeches, surprises from the groom to the bride, performances for the guests, etc.
But most tread on the borderline of boredom. Probably caused by the formality of a hotel ballroom, probably caused by the serious and boring mood conveyed by the emcees, probably caused by having attended too many copy+paste weddings, probably caused by the stale hotel room air. Throughout it all, you sit in your seat except for when you need the toilet. No interaction with the couple, no interaction with anyone except for the people on your left and right or those at your table if you do know everyone.
You won’t even know how the bride’s mum looks until you reach Step 12.
Oh yes, I once attended a wedding where the emcees sprang a sudden ‘game’ on the couple. They got the groom to sit on a chair on the stage, and asked the bride to dance around the groom to some sexy music. It would have turned out funny and mood-lifting had the couple been enthusiastic about it, had the groom been able to smile at least, had the bride been an exotic pole dancer.
But no, the groom just sat there slouching, and the bride staggered awkwardly around him in her very heavy blue gown UNTIL THE SONG ENDED. It was a torturous 3 minutes, I tell you. It was so awkward and painful to watch. The sisters who doubled up as emcees really didn’t know better, and throughout the emceeing they kept giggling among themselves.
The amount of money you put in your red packet corresponds to how much each seat costs the couple (table cost/10 pax). For a wedding where you barely get to mouth ‘hello’ and ‘thanks for inviting me’ to the couple, S$100-S$200 is a lot, in my opinion. No matter what your salary is, you have to fork out the minimum. Anything above that depends on how close you are to the couple. If you give less, be prepared to feel guilty for a long time. I really don’t mind giving my blessings, however I just feel that weddings should be more than inviting people and making them sit through a 9-course dinner.
It is your special day, but you want to make your guests feel special too, not neglected, not there to pay for a seat.
I don’t mean to sound like a prude. I appreciate being invited for every wedding coz it means I mean something to the couple, but I just don’t want our own guests to feel this way when they leave our wedding. People have their reasons for having their wedding that way and I have mine. There are pros and cons for every decision, a hotel ballroom setting just doesn’t lie anywhere in my vision.
Therefore I’m looking at garden weddings. I love how garden weddings give the vibe of intimacy, of better air quality because of lush greenery (don’t care if it’s real or artificial haha), make better photography backgrounds than hotel wallpapers and makes one feel less confined to his/her allocated table. Just being away from a hotel ballroom already changes the general mood of the wedding.
(pictures from Pinterest)
You can take a look at my Pinterest wedding board to see the kind of ‘feel’ I want for our wedding.
The wedding will probably run from afternoon to late evening. A garden-setting wedding lunch does not necessarily mean it will be cheaper than a hotel wedding dinner. It might cost the same, or even more.
Think: Setting up a marquee? Cooling fans?
>> Wedding Theme & Deco
Since we met in secondary school, what better than to relive those memories? I was thinking of having a school theme. (Nono, guests don’t have to come in school uniforms and are highly encouraged not to do so LOL)
I’d like to have props that bring memories back to the 90’s, to make our guests go ‘Woooww! I haven’t seen this in a while!’, ‘Where did you guys find these?? They’re ancient!’, ‘I love how your props bring the whole theme together’. Okie, I don’t think anyone would make the last comment HAHAHA coz guests usually don’t look at the details but the overall feel. Only when the overall feel fails will people look at the details to confirm their conviction that the whole thing is really ~meh~. At least that’s how I view the world.
Have to start looking for props like:
- Mason jars with fighting fish
- Candy that explode in the mouth
- Attendance sheet
- Photobooth with books, stationery, black specs, blow-up guitars, soccer balls, polaroid
- Colored papers so guests can make paper planes and the ‘what color do you want’ game
- Name tags
I would love to have a Milo truck parked at our reception too. That’ll be a dream come true. Maybe I should start checking to see if this is even possible.
Long tables and benches would be cool coz that was what we had in our school canteen, but I thought it would be difficult for female guests to get in and out. So that’s out.
I don’t know if having a school theme will disallow a color theme coz school stuff should be colorful and bright.
>> Wedding Food
To fit our wedding theme, I’d like the food to be reminiscent of those days too. I don’t know yet what kind of food we should have, but definitely not shark fin soup. Don’t ride your happiness on the death of these poor creatures fighting on the verge of extinction.
I want a cake that can be cut AND can actually be consumed. No fake 5-tier hote cakes made of styrofoam, please!
>> Wedding Flowers
Floral arrangements are very important in conveying the theme and mood of a wedding. Right now, I don’t even know how peonies look like or if tulips can withstand our weather, but I know flowers are really important. I’d love to have those over-arching stands where the bride and groom stand decorated with beautiful flowers too.
>> Wedding gifts
I’ve never liked the keychains, bookmarks, or chocolates hotel weddings provide. Nothing memorable, and they feel so meaningless, like I could never associate the object to the couple. Special gifts don’t have to be expensive.
I imagine our wedding to be casual, fun, and infused with DIY projects. I want it to be memorable. In the most magical, fun, happy way.
There are so many people I want to invite, and many I do not want to invite but have to because of family obligations. I hope we only have 100 guests and let 70% be people we actually want to invite. It’s quite impossible though.
Have to think of wedding invites too! NO to gawdy red square hotel wedding cards!
This is too hard. I really don’t know where to start.
I do know that with my height, body shape and personal style, I cannot wear mermaid fishtail dresses, or those that have plunging necklines that would make me uncomfortable enough to want to place a napkin on my chest while I walk down the aisle. Lol.
I don’t want gowns with meganormous flowers and sequins. I want to look strikingly gorgeous in my dress, not drown in it.
I have no idea where to start searching for The Dress. Having heard horror stories of brides-to-be signing packages only to be disappointed with poor customer service, inferior quality gowns and limited choices on the day of gown selection makes the decision even more crucial.
Finding that one gown is like finding a needle in a haystack. Can anyone help me to make the haystack smaller? Or highlight the needle to me please?
My kind of gown:
Hair & Makeup
I guess this will come as a package? I’m not sure. But if the makeup artist does not have skills better than my own self-learnt ones, I’ll not stop at finding one that does.
One of the worst weddings I’ve been to was branded so because throughout the 3 hours, only two songs were played – Jason Mraz’s ‘I’m Yours’ and a Japanese song. I understand the constrains brought about by copyright issues, but really, at the end of the wedding I hated these two songs so much.
A live band would solve copyright issues, sound more endearing and is flexible enough to change the sequence of songs and accept requests from guests.
OMG. I’m so tired just thinking about all these, don’t even want to think about honeymoon and house renovations.
Do you think engaging a wedding planner will help? They’re seriously too expensive though and friends have told me they often recommend vendors and services you don’t need just so they can earn a commission. I’m really vulnerable to sales talk! Super easily swayed. On the other hand, if you find one who can understand and execute your vision, it’ll really be a dream come true. Just sit back, relax, and be the most beautiful bride on your wedding day.
If you have any suggestions or recommendations of great vendors, please share with me! And if you’ve come across lousy ones, please alert me too! Join me on this journey, my friends! =D