Having attended quite a number of Chinese wedding banquets, yesterday’s would have been no different except for a few things:

 

1. I was seated with a table of friends.

Or more accurately, my colleagues who are also friends. In a swift move I engineered my table seating from one boring table to one fun table. I broke the cardinal rule of Not Messing With Other People’s Seating Arrangements because I saw who I was seated with were not the usual people I hung out with at work. I decided to hell with my own principles and whined at the groom until he moved me. Luckily for me he was very accommodating. There’s also the fact that I’m his reporting officer. And my whining can be a little scary. But after a night of laughs from some of my favourite people I was glad I did it anyway. This was one wedding where I wasn’t bored and reading Facebook while trying to avoid small talk with the person next to me.

2. There was crying.

Not from any of us but from the groom himself. In his thank you speech where he practically mentioned everyone he has ever met, he got particularly emotional when thanking his grandmother, his aunt, his parents and his siblings. I’ve never seen a grown man cry on stage and I sure didn’t expect it from someone who has always put on a cheery face and happy-go-lucky attitude at work. Sitting there watching him wipe his tears with the palms of his hands, I was moved to see someone openly express his emotions, especially when it’s not common in our Asian society.

3. The unnecessary stress

Because my wedding is in two weeks, last night’s wedding was almost a check list. As I watched my colleague walk into the ballroom singing with his wife, I wondered whether I should attempt at a grand entrance as that. It seems the fad now as the last two weddings i attended before this, one couple waltzed into the room and the other had a ballerina pirouette into the room. It is as if walking isn’t enough anymore.

Maybe Bryan and I should walk in on stilts with fire in our hair.

As we watched his wedding videos, I realised I have no form of entertainment during the wedding.

Then came his emotional speech and I panicked because my speech isn’t even a word old yet.

Gah!

 

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In the course of planning the invite list for the wedding, I come across many strange people with no etiquette when it comes to being the sensible wedding guest. I thought it was pretty simple: just say yes or no and keep your requests to a minimum. After all the couple has about 250 million other people on their list to deal with. But no one realises that. They think their one request is just that, one. Here’s a bunch of people I’ve come across in the past few weeks of RSVP madness.

1. people who assume they were invited

over lunch time conversation with my colleagues, P, who happens to fall on my maybe invite list, asked if i were inviting anyone from the office. Then he went on about how excited he was for my wedding. I did invite some, the rest of the people at the table. they were in the know so they had this constipated look as they tried not to let the cat out of the bag. I jokingly said no one, because why in the world would i invite colleagues. When the rest burst out laughing, P sulked because he didn’t understand the joke. I felt a little mean girlish but I was alarmed that people actually expected to be invited because it was “the norm”.

after that conversation, he didn’t speak to me for days until I did pass him the invite. gosh, he would have hugged me if i hadn’t leapt back in time. He then pinned my invite card on his office wall.

2. people who asked to be invited
as the guest list is smaller than usual, we had to restrict the guest list to families and friends only. My cousin’s girlfriend was invited to my  brother’s wedding because the party was big. but this round, my father specifically told my uncle that it’s family only. apparently my cousin’s girlfriend insisted that she gets invited nonetheless. if that’s her way of sinking her claws into my cousin and ensuring he never leaves her side, it sure as hell isn’t impressing my family.

3. people who say they are coming, but don’t answer you after that
A friend confirmed his attendance but hasn’t replied in a week when I asked for his address to mail the invite to. I’m not sure if a tornado blew through his house and he ended up in Kansas, or he’s trying to drop out of the guest list by pretending to be uncontactable.

4. People who cannot decide whether they are bringing their +1
Bryan has a friend who first said she was coming with her boyfriend. then said she can’t because she will be traveling. then said she can because she won’t be traveling. then said now her boyfriend isn’t  coming. do you know how many times we’ve adjusted our guest list because of her?

5. People at war
at my brother’s wedding there were 2 sets of people who couldn’t be seated next to each other due to some family feud that has gone on for years. Not knowing the details, I was just informed to keep them apart, which we did. On the day itself however, they almost came to arms when their paths crossed. one relative told my dad if he ever invited the Other Guy again, please do not invite him. I have decided for my  wedding I will invite NEITHER of them.

6. Miscommunication
People who thought they weren’t invited even though I’ve verbally asked them and facebook message them.

There are many ways to get through this. Know that it only last the couple of weeks. Keep your guest list on an Excel sheet helps, so that you can move people around groups or tables as one sees fit. Keep doggedly at it as you go through your list and confirm with them one by one. I used Google Documents > Forms because they list the answers in a beautiful table form.

There are some things to keep track of: who’s coming for what, how are they traveling by (car – enough parking lots), baby chairs, dietary requirements (thank god no vegans. I don’t even know what they eat). But in all, just take a DEEP BREATH and you’ll survive this!

I’m having a hard time deciding on what music to play at the wedding. I think I’m more concerned about this than what dress to wear. I have narrowed down to 3 march-in songs. I asked Bryan if we could do 3 march-ins so I didn’t have to pick one and leave the other 2 feeling left out. He said okay. we can march-in, make a u-turn, and march in again.

Above is a video link to one of the songs that got vetoed out. I’m not sure why. I think the song is perfect, especially when it’s by Postal Service. Bryan went all bug-eyed on me and asked if I listened to the lyrics. Lyrics? what’s that? The song has a great drum & bass like beat.

How can you just walk away from me,
when all I can do is watch you leave
Cos we’ve shared the laughter and the pain,
and even shared the tears
You’re the only one who really knew me at all

So take a look at me now,
‘cos there’s just an empty space
And there’s nothing left here to remind me,
just the memory of your face
Take a look at me now,
‘cos there’s just an empty space
And you coming back to me
is against all odds and that’s what I’ve got to face

Oh. sounds depressing.

But still a great beat!

I don’t look half as ridiculous as I felt while doing that.
I think if being a bride depended on posing like one, Eugene (our photographer) will do a better job being a bride.

Photographer: Light Works Photography (Singapore)

in February when we were in Malacca we came across a Peranakan shoe shop that sold traditional handmade beaded shoes. The shop was called J Manik and it’s located in one of the smaller streets adjoining to Jonker Walk. Just look out for Geographer’s Bar and you’ll find the shop just a few units down.

All the beaded shoes are hand sewn and cost from RM400 onwards. I was browsing when I came across this pair that I thought would do well as my wedding shoes. Having looked at wedding shoes in bridal magazines, I realised the range wasn’t very great. I thought these shoes would be unique while comfortable at the same time. I decided to have one made for the wedding.

They took my shoe size and let me choose the height of the heel. Most of the shoes on the rack are low heeled, up to 2 inches max. So I picked 3.5 inches and added a platform to the sole. A month of sewing later, they delivered the shoes to my home! I just received them and they are perfect!

my friend Michelle was collecting wooden fruit trays. We haven’t decided what to do with them yet.

They make really good display trays though.

I went to the DIY store and picked up oil based white paint (small can $20). Oil based paints give a glossy finish while water based paints don’t. It took 2 coats to give it a nice finish where you don’t see the wooden base, like painting toe nails! If you’re planning to paint the wood a different colour, one coat of white as a base would suffice.

Lesson learned:

1. remember to lay newspapers under your paint job

2. paint outdoors, or at least in a room with lots of ventilation. I think my cat fainted from the paint fumes.

3. if you get paint on anything, nail polish remover (even the non-acetone ones) are great for removing paint stains!

 

I’ll post pictures of the finished products another time!

The invites are out. Many thanks to Richard, who threw together a few images and designed and printed the invite. He even managed to get envelopes that didn’t cost a bomb.

Trying to get the guest list together was a pain because we wanted a small wedding but my mom was hell bent on inviting every person we’re remotely related to. My dad, bless him, decided not to invite his many friends so that what few available seats they had were given to my mom’s relatives. Then it was a 4 month battle with my mom trying to get her to give me the name list so Richard could mail merge them into the invites so I didn’t have to write 120 names. My mom threw a hissy fit as to how would she know who’s coming so she couldn’t give me the name list. I had to remind her that invite comes before the RSVP. There is certainly no chicken egg confusion here.

When the invites were printed, B was displeased that the names were inconsistent. He thought that I was going to print full names only for relatives but I had included friends as well.  I was displeased as I had read out the name list to confirm them and he didn’t correct me when I read out full name.

Lesson learned:

1. Be specific in how your guests’ names are listed, even if it’s a working table of names

2. If names were to be listed formally, it’s Mr and Mrs [family name].

3. if it’s couples only, it’s Mr and Mrs [family name].

4. if it includes families, it’s Mr and Mrs [family name] and family.

5. if you don’t really give a shit, you can write it any damn way you want. One of my friend’s invite says “To The Fabulous Robin G.” because he is fabulous.

6. Agree upfront if all names are to be mail merged and printed or handwritten. I personally prefer printed coz it’s faster and easier. B thinks handwritten is more personal. However since my invites were designed by a friend, and not taken from hotel stock, it’s already personalized, which I thought was a good compromise.

When deciding on where to get our wedding bands, we thought without a doubt that we had to go back to Choo Yilin Artisan Jewellery to get bands that match my engagement ring to create the perfect set. I was specific about what I want; the band to take the design off the ring so it looks different yet still within the same family. Not a sister but a cousin perhaps. Bryan’s ring design was supposed to be taken off my band so they complement each other.

When Kevin (the designer) first showed us the drawings, I wasn’t convinced. It wasn’t what I had imagined in my head. I was expecting something chunkier with strong lines, but his rendition showed the ring to be a frail ethereal thing. Bryan immediately liked his design while I hmmed and hawed at mine for a long time. It took a lot of convincing from both Yilin and Kevin and a lot of deep gazing at the penciling that I agreed to take their advice. They both felt that the band’s designs will be the link between my engagement ring and Bryan’s band.

There were some communication hiccups but luckily with my penchant for doing things earlier than later, we managed to finish earlier than expected. We picked up our bands over the weekend at one of Yilin’s shows and I have to admit, at first glance, I fell in love with my band. Put next to my ring, it was perfect. Both rings were a good match with each other. It’s like from the engagement ring, the wedding band was formed.

Bryan loved his ring too. He put it on and didn’t want to take it off. He asked if he could wear it home, or even wear it BEFORE the wedding. To him, the wedding merely legitimises the ring wearing.

About Me

This blog captures the moments between B & I in preparation for our wedding. Including our parents' interference, our friends' well-meaning gestures and many other things.

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