from Miss to Mrs

Although almost every wedding magazine or website would have a checklist that starts at 18 months, We started 16 months before our big day and I felt that we had more than enough time. The beginning part was really relaxed and there wasn't much to do. We'll check for wedding shows on SingaporeBrides and visit the hotels. Only during wedding shows, would we be able to see the bridal suite, ballroom setup and taste some of the dishes. Sometimes, there would be special additions to the package, such as more beer, more wine, additional night at bridal suite and so on. Cut the long story short, we ultimately decided on Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa, mainly because we love the (air-conditioned) glass pavilion very much.

Ballroom of Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa

Glass pavilion of Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa

Food tasting at Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa

Decorated buggy at Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa

I might just be the most lazy bride and I didn't DIY anything. Everything is either part of the hotel package or part of the bridal studio package. We used the hotel's printer for our invitation card, their selection of wedding favours and their florist for the solemnization and banquet decoration. We used the studio's wedding car, make-up artist, photographer and videographer. The only thing that I did a little more intensively was to read the wedding forum for recommendations and feedback. And... I discovered the overwhelming abbreviations used:

Actual (Wedding) Day
Bridal Studio
Make-Up Artist
(Pre-Wedding) PhotoShoot
Guo DLi (过大礼 / Betrothal Gift Exchange)
Si Dian Jin (四点金 / Dowry Jewellery)
Long Feng Zhuo (龙凤镯 / Chinese Wedding Bracelet)
Jie Mei (姐妹 / Bridesmaid)
Xiong Di (兄弟 / Groomsmen)
Justice of Peace (Solemnizer)
Same Day Edit / (Actual Day Morning) Express Highlights

Funny that it's BTB and HTB, rather than BTB and GTB (groom to be) or WTB (wife to be) and HTB. Anyway, wedding preparation can become very extensive, if one chooses to include everything under the sun... as shown in the guides and checklists in this website. Really, who has the time and/or money to do that? KB and I planned and keep track of our budget and expenses on an Excel spreadsheet, shared between us in our dropbox folder. It's really important not to overspent, else it might just become a nightmare to remember. We made use of the cash rebates from credit cards, especially Manhattan World MasterCard (when there was still 5% cash back), and accumulated about one banquet table's worth of savings.

The most scary part of wedding preparation is the bridal studio "shopping", as most of them use the hard-selling tactic and pressure you into signing their package. So, most of my research on their services were done online. The wedding forum really helps a lot to identify those that are friendlier. We went to a few of them to see the gowns and check their prices. Then, finally decided to take up the package with Thomson Weddings Collection.

Our PS and AD photographer is Dawn, who is very friendly and very good at capturing natural shots of us. Her jovial personality made our tiring day a much enjoyable one. Thomas is our VG and had worked with Dawn on many occasions, therefore they are able to coordinate with each other very well, to produce fabulous works. But being professionals, they have their high standards and had made my JMs re-take several shots for the video. Since, they have been to numerous weddings, they are also able to remind us of the sequence of events and gave instructions to do all the necessary traditional requirements.

I find it particularly helpful to join a BTB group on Facebook. I found this group via the SingaporeBrides forum and the ladies have been very kind in sharing resources: PG / VG / MUA list and pricing, PS venues and cost, GDL item list, emcee scripts, AD itinerary, song list, solemnization vows, etc. Sometime, we would share our frustrations too.

Planning the banquet seating arrangement is probably the most problematic part, because there's always sudden life events to manage. Being Chinese, some of our senior generations have their own opinions about whether or not to attend weddings. If one's parent or grandparent passed away, one should not attend any wedding for 3 months. If one's getting married too, one should attend other's wedding within 3 months. One of our guest is expecting and her parent discouraged her from attending weddings until her child is born. And there might just be more "rules" to follow that we have yet to discover. Due to all these "rules" we even had to replace JM and XD, who are our very close friends. It's a tough and emotional issue to handle. At the same time, to me, it's important that our elder folks are happy... and this was why I agreed to hold the banquet dinner in the first place.

One of our happiest moment is when Dr Phua Tan Tee, the most popular JP in Singapore, agreed to solemnize our wedding! Every blog and forum that I've read recommended him as first choice. Like what all the others have mentioned, he's a grandfatherly figure and is friendly, jovial and bilingual. It is not easy to "book" him at all. We first emailed him around 6 months before our wedding, then he declined our invitation, saying that he would try to help if we are unable to find other JPs. Then, at exactly 3 months to our wedding, at the stroke of midnight, KB emailed him again. This time, he accepted, but we had to accommodate his available timing.

Dr Phua Tan Tee

The most enjoyable part for our guests seem to be the instant photobooth, which we engaged the service of Lifesparks Photography. It is the cheapest that I could find. Other than being rather last minute in producing the template of our photo prints, I have no complaints about them. In fact, there was a little miscommunication in the timing and they came half an hour earlier. As there wasn't much guest around at that time, they extended their service half an hour later, so that our guest who arrive later can also take home a photo print. I'm truly grateful for their kind gesture.

For the little ones, the helium balloons must have made their day. My dear friend sponsored the pretty Anagram balloon bouquet. Visit her online shop if you are keen on getting one... she has really cute walking balloons too! Another dear friend handmade the pretty JM wrist corsages and sent them all the way from Perth. I kept one and used it as decoration in my house now. I'm really fortunate to have these lovely friends, who have put in a lot of effort in planning a memorable hen's night for me. One of my talented JM even made a balloon sculpture of flower bouquet for me. I don't have much to offer, except to prepare little packs for the JM that I hope would be somewhat useful... handiplast (in case of blister), "thank you" candies (in case they want to bite something), cute angel figuring and a pouch to contain the items.

Handmade pretty wrist corsages

Flower bouquet balloon sculpture, Anagram balloon bouquet and my little pouch for my JM.

At the end of the day, it's really important to remember that wedding is only a one day event (although it's a really significant one), while marriage is for a life-time. This puts into perspective when we are making any decision... spend a little more on the long term items and save a little more on the short term stuff.

And so... we burst our budget and bought customized wedding bands from Fairy's Inc, because we would be wearing our rings everyday, for as many years as our fingers can still fit them. Before going there, we went to the jewellery chain stores to browse through their collections. Then, I read about Fairy's Inc in the wedding forum and we decided that there is not harm dropping by to see their designs. On our first visit to the shop, we thought we could just walk in... but the owners have to attend to their appointments, so we were handed a card and had a quick look around the little shop. We made our appointment. Evelyn attended to us, patiently showed us the prototypes and suggested some customizations. One really important thing to note about customizing rings: the time between final fitting and collection is about 3 months. Pity for me, my HTB wants to keep to the traditional-looking wedding bands with gold and rose gold. Sometimes when we visit the shop, we'll see other couples' rings waiting for collection. One pair was made with daring black gold and another pair was crafted into mini crowns!

Proposal ring from Larry Jewelry and wedding bands from Fairy's Inc

Soon after we announced our engagement, some friends have advised us to go for marriage counselling... and we did. We spent 10 hours over two Saturday afternoon attending a marriage preparation course conducted by Focus on the Family Singapore. The pair of husband and wife facilitators for our session were Jason and Shelen, who had been married for nine years and have a 2-year old son. Jason is a counsellor, who has handled marriage counseling cases, while Shelen is a staff of Focus on the Family Singapore. Some of the things talked about in the program are familiar to both KB and me, such as information from "Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti" by Bill and Pam Farrel and "Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. What I found more useful are the series of questions that we would answer individually, then compare our answers with each other... this had been quite helpful for me to know KB a little more... about him as a person, his background and his expectations of our future together. But the end of this program certainly doesn't mean that our relationship suddenly matures and become a perfect or problem-free couple. There are still so many things that we'll have to work through together... for the rest of our journey on Earth.

All Is Well With You By My Side (limited edition Precious Moments figuring)

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