In Singapore, you get married, then you live together. Flo and I did the more Western thing and lived together before getting married. I can see the pros and cons in both. The Asian thinking is that if you are married before moving in together, you’ll work harder at making sure the relationship succeeds. Perhaps. On the flip side, cohabiting enables you to grow as individuals and as a couple, and figure out whether being stuck together in the long run is viable. You see the best and worst sides of your partner, and you can make an informed decision as to whether you both can build a life with each other. Neither option has a guaranteed outcome, but personally, I’m glad Flo and I went for the latter.
In so many ways, I was forced to grow up and mature, to exercise patience and be more mindful of my words and actions. I think it prepared me a lot more for a future beyond being boyfriend/girlfriend with Flo. I reckon it was the same for him. And so, on the 29th of September 2018, we exchanged our vows before the eyes of God and became Man and Wife.
To be honest, there’s really no difference between ‘being in a relationship’ and ‘being married’, largely due to the fact that we were already living together I suppose. Aside from the change in status and the rings on our fingers, Flo is still Flo, and I am still me. The absence of change however, is something I view positively. I’m so glad that the man who is now my husband, is still the same, wonderful man, he was when he was my boyfriend.
Flo and I chose not to splash out on a big, extravagant wedding filled with guests who hadn’t seen us since we were yea high. We were both certain of wanting something intimate and meaningful. Of course, what’s ‘small’ to me differed from Florian’s definition. In Europe, a small wedding consists of like, 20, 30 people. Here, anything less than 100 is considered small. So we split our wedding into two days – on the first, we had our church ceremony and a Chinese reception dinner, and on the second, we partied like the Germans.
Flo and I were incredibly blessed to have had many helping hands that enabled us to keep our wedding costs down. Also, with flexi-time on my hands, I managed to source for my beautiful gown, and a talented hair/make up artist for much less than the usual going prices. One of my girlfriends, Mei Ying, helped us design our wedding invitations, and we are so grateful for her handiwork to be part of our big day.
Mum’s friend, Aunty Janet, lent us her flower-arranging expertise at cost. The church was beautified with flowers galore from the entrance, to the pews, to the alter. She also did all the boutonnières, corsages, my bouquet, as well as our flower girls’ bouquet.
Aunty Janet also helped add some moss and flowers into the terrarium that held our rings. Loved it!
We decided against getting a guest book since most of the time, too many pages are left blank especially since most guests choose to simply sign them. So I painted a poster inspired by ‘Up’ and the painted balloons were for guests to sign in. We hope that one day, we’ll be able to hang this up in our (currently floating in the air) baby’s bedroom.
For music, we were also blessed by Justin, Esther, Chao Yuan and Isaac. They managed to provide the sound system, which the church lacked, and fill the church with their beautiful music and voices.
It was especially touching when Esther and Justin sang The Prayer in Latin while we signed the register.
Flo and I chose to have Donn from TinyDot Photography to take our wedding photos. Their prices are very reasonable and all four photographers who form the company have strong portfolios, each with their own strengths and flair in how they shoot. Flo and I loved how Donn took lots of close-ups and candid shots that captured faces of pure joy on the faces of friends and family on our wedding day.
We decided against taking pre-wedding photographs because we both know that we’ll be unlikely to look at them for… ever. Instead, we chose to have photos just of our wedding itself and the dinner. None of us getting ready before the wedding etc.
One of our splurges though, was on this Vintage VW Beetle. We did manage to get a slight discount renting it from Minibug. I was actually tempted to go for the Morris Minor, but Flo argued for the Beetle since it’s, y’know, German.
Our pre-processional walk-in featured ‘To a Wild Rose‘ with Ute and Naima taking the lead…
Followed by Flo’s best man, Lars, together with Mum…
And then grandma and grandpa.
Then, it was my bridesman aka my brother Aaron walked down with our rings which he later passed to Lars for safekeeping.
Our flower girl, my niece, Ella, was perfection!
Then it was Lesley, my Maid of Honour… Followed by Dad and I.
Since the aisle of the church was really short, we walked to Canon in D.
Now, let me gush about my gown. I LOVE it! I researched a few ateliers and found a lot of the ones that do made-to-measure gowns rather pricey. Even rental for some just didn’t seem worth it. On the other end of the scale, there were cheaper gowns to rent too but many looked their price.
I did find a few gown shops that brought in gorgeous gowns but most were tailored to tall Europeans, which meant that I had to have mine brought in in the smallest size and then tailored further to fit my frame.
Mum had accompanied me to a few fittings already when I stumbled upon Lacebridge. I had one or two gowns I was hemming and hawing over, but for some reason, felt compelled to visit Lacebridge and have a look. Mum was like, “Last one and then, please decide“. I thought likewise.
Ginny was amazing and she allowed me to take my time, encouraging me to try on as many gowns as I wanted. Mum and I fell in love with her! I tried on multiple gowns and then there was this gown that was completely translucent. It was made of vintage lace and as I tried it on, my undergarments were clear to the world. That aside, it was gorgeous – the cut, the material, the look. Clinton (Ginny’s designer friend) and I were laughing that this might end up getting two-thumbs up from Mum as ‘scandalous’ as it may have looked.
When I stepped out from behind the curtains, Mum’s eyes went wide. A moment or two later, she was gushing at how beautiful the gown was while disapproving at the same time at how much it showed. This was the dress.
Ginny helped add an extra layer underneath to make the dress less sheer, stopping at the legs area so there could be some silhouette of my legs peaking through. My dress was made-to-measure, and the price was extremely reasonable for all the hard work that went into it. I have zero regrets whatsoever. I had the perfect dress and in the process, found a wonderful friend in Ginny!
Flo and I wanted plain wedding bands. He had his in natural yellow gold, and I had mine in rose gold. We hunted around quite a bit for a jeweller who could produce the rings we wanted at a reasonable price. After all, these weren’t fancy rings so we couldn’t justify some of the jewellery shops that were retailing them for more than we thought was fair.
In the end, I stumbled upon GIOIA while surfing the internet and chatting with its owner and jeweller, Cheryl, through the website. We set up an appointment and quickly decided that she would make our rings.
She did. And we love them! So much so that we wear them on our fingers every day! Lol.
I also had my nails done at Soul Art Nails at Concorde Hotel and Shopping Arcade Level 2. Les and I love their work and have been back multiple times to get our digits prettied up.
We were joined in holy matrimony by Pastor Bobby who used to pastor the church Mum and Dad attend. Again, it was the blessing of God that Flo and I were married by him. He worked with us months prior to our big day, with him prepping us for married life, and he was wonderful conducting our short, sweet service.
The mandatory photo-taking session…
Followed by a tea reception out in the garden. We were really happy that the weather shone in our favour, and while the sun blazed upon us, better that than rain!
Being extremely stubborn, I was set on making our wedding cake for all our 80 guests to devour along side the savoury finger food we had catered. I was actually down and out with a bad flu the day before our wedding, something I seldom get and if ever, nowhere as terrible as it turned out to be. On the 28th, my nose ran incessantly and I sneezed more than I have in my lifetime altogether (ok, slight exaggeration here). I could hardly breathe as I laid in bed waiting for sleep to come the night before, praying that somehow, God would come through. He did. He totally did. My nasal passage cleared enough for me to have a good night’s sleep and while I woke still unwell, I was none the worse for wear.
And back to our cake.
Even though Flo said it’d be ok if I didn’t make our wedding cake especially with all the private and cafe orders I was still getting through the week leading up to our big day, I was adamant. I had to throw a cake or two away when they failed to meet my standards and I bought copious amounts of lemongrass since I wanted our wedding cake to be entirely natural in flavourings and colour.
I made a lemongrass genoise sponge cake with pandan buttercream, and topped it with a white fondant rose, some fondant leaves, and some gold leaves. I was pleased as punch with it.
And even happier with the taste – the lemongrass was fragrant and fresh, and the sweet pandanus flavour came through to balance off the citrus herb. It wasn’t too sweet and the sponge was fluffy and light. There was not a crumb left after the tea reception.
So hair and make up is another thing that costs a pretty penny. I managed to find Hisa from Cocoon Make Up and Hair via Instagram and liked her work. The added bonus was that her prices were very affordable too.
I played with fire not bothering to go for a trial but I figured if the make up turned out that bad, I’d have to wing it myself. Thankfully, there was no need for that. Hisa arrived promptly at 11am to get me ready with more than enough time to spare – I was to leave home around 2.20pm to reach the church on time.
Thereafter, she met me at the Pan Pacific Hotel lobby where she touched up on my make up, making it more evening appropriate, and changed my hairstyle.
Another splurge of mine went into my cheong sam which was tailor-made at Mazzario, Wheelock Place. I actually made my 21st birthday cheong sam dress there as well and I cannot deny how well made their products are. We also bought Flo’s Chinese blazer from there which matched perfectly with the gold on my dress. This is what we wore for our tea ceremony through to dinner.
We had about 6 children at our dinner reception so instead of buying colouring books which, as I found out online, are not all that cheap, I decided to draw pictures for them to colour in. I gave each child a basic box of crayons as well so they would be suitably occupied for at least some of the time since I imagine wedding dinners must bore them quite a bit.
I also decided to bake wedding favours for each guest, coupled with individually written thank you cards for a personal touch. Flo and I made sure the sign every one of them. I made about 5 different flavours of mini loaf cakes so that couples or families had different ones to taste. Also, these turned out to be perfect pre-dinner snacks or after-dinner fillers, or just perfect for eating just because.
Our dinner was altogether very casual. We chose not to have any walk-ins or clothing swaps and were in the restaurant’s private area with our guests from the minute they arrived so that we could mingle with them.
Dad gave a lovely speech before dinner commenced.
Instead of going for the more typical wedding banquet in a hotel ball room, we chose to have our dinner for 70 in Hai Tien Lo since we wanted to keep it intimate, while placing good food as our next top priority.
Hai Tien Lo didn’t disappoint. We had to wrangle them a few times to get some items changed but the food was top-notch. The steamed vegetarian dumplings were love, and everyone’s favourite without a doubt was surprisingly, dessert. Who would have thunk that something so simple on paper could blow our tastebuds out of the water! But it did. With some lucky enough to polish off a second bowl left behind by those who had to leave early.
In between courses, Flo and I flitted around the room chatting to our friends and family. I enjoyed catching up with those who had so sweetly flown over from abroad just to be with us this special day.
I also enjoyed just being amidst the hive of activity, hearing laughter all around, and the sound of excitement as the people we love gathered together and exchanged stories about themselves with each other.
Lesley gave a speech that touched our hearts. I cannot believe that I did a speech for her two years ago now, and there she was, at our wedding, giving us one.
Rounding up the line up of speeches was Flo and me – mostly me since I always have too much to say.
That’s our Day 1 over. We did go for drinks at Pan Pacific’s Lobby with our friends after dinner. Flo’s awesome friends all flew down from Hamburg, and even with Lufthansa cancelling flights and causing delays, everyone managed to reach early Saturday morning just in time for the festivities. Really, we thank God we chose to hold our wedding ceremony in the afternoon instead of first thing in the morning. Otherwise, they may have all missed it!
Sleep came late for Flo and I, but we had a delicious bed waiting for us in one of the hotel rooms so when it was time for bed, sleep came easy.
Sunday. 20 September 2018.
A week prior to the date of our wedding after-party, Flo received a text from the captain of that yacht sharing with us the bad news that the yacht had been struck by lightning and was damaged. Unfortunately, the parts required were not able to arrive in time which meant that we were left without a venue for Sunday. Flo and I considered a hiring a private room, or a rooftop bar, but none of the alternatives really sat well with us. In the end, we decided to go ahead and look for another yacht. With Lesley’s help and contact, we were able to land Primetime.
There were about 30 of us and we set sail at 5pm so that we could go further out and see the sunset.
Instead of having the yacht company provide dinner on board, Flo and I chose to cater ourselves, ordering some large salads and buying lots of Huber’s sausages, chicken wings, and some salmon and prawns which were skilfully barbecued by the boat crew. We also brought all the drinks we wanted on board – beer, water, gin, tonic water…
Les and Zen brought champagne on board, setting aside a bottle for Flo and I to pop open at dusk.
A mouthful for him…
And a drop for me.
We spent about 5 hours on board, sailing away to nearby islands and then being treated to Singapore’s skyline when it was dark. It was extremely relaxing being lulled by the movement of the boat against the waves, and there was ample space on board to spread ourselves around. I thoroughly enjoyed some of the heart-to-heart talks I had that evening with olds friends and new.
10pm was still quite early for most of our friends who didn’t have to work Monday, so Flo and Amanda made a snap decision to get us all to Orchard Central to sing karaoke. It was a first for our German friends who had a roaring good time. We brought all our leftover drinks from the boat with us, and had some more beer being poured out at the ktv, so everyone was able to let loose and go crazy singing within the privacy of the room.
We were there till 2.30am when time was up. It truly turned out to be an insane night. I loved how all our friends – both the locals and the visiting non-locals, came together and had fun, singing (or part yelling) countless songs from our youth together. Think: Backstreet Boys, ABBA, Michael Jackson’s Heal the World (who knew the song went on and on and on…!).
The after-party may not have been at the forefront of my mind when we were planning our wedding, mainly because it’s not generally a ‘must-have’ here in Singapore. I have to admit though, I think every couple should have an after-party. After all, it’s a wedding and entry into marriage should be well celebrated.
We had our after-party with our closest friends so we managed to keep it close. Of course, our immediate families were joined us too apart from Mum and Dad who both decided to let the young ‘uns have their fun. Or maybe that they were too cool for us.
I cannot begin to express how truly blessed Florian and I were that weekend. From me being able to pull together from the terribly flu I was down with whole of Friday, to all of Florian’s friends being able to make it just in time for the wedding weekend, to the awesome weather we had considering it rained like crazy the weekend after, to the friends and family who made time just to witness us getting married, with many flying in from overseas.
We had a whole village who made this wedding possible (and more wallet-friendly) – Aside from those mentioned above, we had Amanda who was our emcee; Alex and Zen who gladly took up the role of doormen; extra support we had from Ying, Pearl and YJ who helped all over the place. Lesley especially helped us so much, putting her wedding event planning skills to work overtime just to ensure that our weekend pulled off as smoothly as possible. I had no idea how much work went into a wedding and was happily thinking Flo and I’d be able to do it on our own. Les woke me up. Thank God she did!
While writing up this post and reliving our wedding weekend, I cannot help but feel a warmth spread from my heart all the way to me tippy toes. The amount of joy and love that surrounded us that day was immense. And as we start this new year together, I pray for God’s continual blessing to be upon us, our marriage, and our future.