Busy busy bees

Hope your Ramadan has been going well and that you are ready for Hari Raya! I haven’t been posting for the past few weeks because my nights have been busy. By the time I actually have time to myself it’s at least 10.30pm and I get sleepy by 10.45 if I’m not going for round 2 ūüėõ

I finally have some time so some quick wedding updates because quite a bit has happened this month. I really didn’t expect any progress and was planning to go full steam ahead post-Ramadan but I have no idea what has gotten into the mat (not that I’m complaining). He’s been on the ball and I feel kind of guilty because I’ve been so busy at work that I can’t contribute as much as he has been lately.

Suddenly, a photographer

The first shocker was during the first week of Ramadan when he told me that he wasn’t sure if we should be using his friend as our photographer. I was quite surprised because he was so sure about it since we went ring shopping. His friend takes really nice photos and was offering to do it as a wedding present – that’s a pretty good thing, right? So why are we letting go of the good thing?

Turns out he’s concerned that said friend was going to take an eternity to edit the photos and that we would only get the pictures a year later. So he could still take nice photos at our wedding, that’s no problem at all, but the mat felt that it was safer to get an official photographer. And considering that the mat wants to save every single cent he possibly can for the honeymoon instead of spending it on the wedding, I have deemed this a legitimate concern.

However, due to truly terrible time constraints this month, I’ve only managed to drop an email to one photographer asking for their rates – and unfortunately they were not available on our wedding date. This has led me to being mad paranoid that every good photographer isn’t going to be available but I am also a naturally pessimistic human being so I’m hoping to the heavens that we can find someone.

Money, money, money

Then the second week of Ramadan we started discussing outstanding items and how much more are we going to have to spend on things outside of the package we currently have with The Landmark. Turns out it is quite the list. At the top of my head, I know we gotta get:

1) Photographer + videographer (my mom wants a wedding video. Let the lady have it she only has one daughter)
2) Top-up desserts – The Landmark is only giving some kuih talam, if we want anything else we’ll have to bring it in ourselves
3) Pre-marriage course
4) Tok kadi
5) Wedding rings

And we have to follow up for the:

1) Bridal – do we really want Fatimah Mohsin? Still on the fence cause I’m flip flopping like roti prata. And apparently the mat didn’t think that he was going to get his clothes from them I’m done
2) Decor – got to contact vendor
3) Berkat – got to contact vendor
4) Invites – probably the most urgent one right now since that’s got to be ready by December

I also have to introduce the mat to Spotify. He’s still stuck in the “do a mix tape” era bless his heart.

Doing rough calculation it accumulated to a total of $30k, which is a ridiculous sum that makes me wish we just didn’t give a shit about society and just got married by the beach and gave everyone thank you popcorn for coming. Or maybe thank you Indomee. I really like Indomee.

A legit WTF moment

So after that discussion, the mat chased for the berkat list. We were supposed to get a list of the different berkat The Landmark was offering so we could decide what we were going to take, if we have to top up if necessary, but we haven’t heard anything since March when I asked for more details of the vendors.

The first round he got a company name and a contact person but no list. There was supposed to be a catalogue but there there was nothing in the email, so he chased again. In the meantime I took a look at the company’s website and‚Ķ I gotta say. I didn’t have high hopes. I was kind of like “‚Ķreally?” Whatever I saw looked very generic and (dare I say it?) cheap. But I was like never mind, maybe the catalogue would have other things, we can’t assume, blah blah blah.

Then the catalogue arrived.

I have never been so underwhelmed and so unimpressed.

I thought whatever I saw on the company’s website was cheap, but almost everything in the catalogue made the products on the website seem acceptable. You know what, I’m going to say it – I was upset. I was upset that I had waited five damn months to receive a catalogue full of wedding favors that I would never give because if I received them as a guest I would be pissed. I’ve received better berkats in 1999. If I knew that this was what they were offering, I would have just went searching for berkat straight away I wouldn’t have bothered.

To quote my mother, “Nak kasi tapi tak sincere”.

I couldn’t accept any of that so I told the mat that I wasn’t impressed by any of that, and he wasn’t that hyped about it either but he felt that if we didn’t take something it was going to be a waste because it wasn’t going to be replaced with anything else (this was added into the expo package, they made it clear that if we didn’t take the berkat there would be no replacement). Which I understood but nothing was looking good.

He then asked the vendor what else they had and the vendor said that we could choose something from the website for “a small top-up”. And so my mom and I went through the website trying to find something, and finally we all settled on these salt and pepper shakers that were kind of cute (they were like peas in a pod, and I thought at least this represented us: he loves peas, I love stupid puns/idioms(??) like this). Of course, I knew I had to see this with my own two eyes before agreeing because if it was shit quality I wasn’t going to spend my coin on something that I’m settling on.

The next day he told the vendor we were keen on that and how much did we have to top up?

$1.60 per piece. One. Sixty.

That’s not “a small top-up”. My cousin’s berkat is cheaper than that and she’s getting something she actually likes. I told him I didn’t agree to that price and thank god he agreed that it was ridiculous so we’re now looking at other things. He found Pocky that cost $0.85 but my mom thinks Pocky is a little juvenile for adults so the next time I meet him I’m going to have to break that news to him. And that she keeps mentioning tea so let’s just get that and get over it.

I was intending to contact the vendor for the invitations so that I had something to update the makciks during Raya (I am 100% not looking forward to the upcoming interrogation), but again no time this week, so I guess I gotta just say “Oh we’re doing it soon!” and that’s it.

And that’s what’s been happening for the past month! I guess compared to other BTBs this is not even much drama but considering how our wedding prep has been stagnant for a while this is a lot. And there’s more to come when we start meeting vendors after Raya, when we sit down with his brother who’s our unofficial wedding planner, and when I bring my bridesmaids into the fray. I don’t know if I’m excited or dreading this. Maybe a little of both.

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Choosing my engagement ring

I was initially hesitant to share my experience choosing an engagement ring because this is not a story where I look at Etsy and see all the pretty rings there and I go look for something similar in store or the mat goes to a jeweler to get it custom-made (that’s what my dad did for my mom’s wedding ring). But it’s also not a story where money is tight and I have to give up my dream ring. It’s a story that I haven’t seen online (at least among Malay BTBs) which made me have my reservations putting it up on the Internet for everyone to see.

It’s been 5 months since I got my ring so I’ve gave it some thought and I think it would benefit some people who end up in a situation like mine.

When the mat and I started seriously talking about getting married, we¬†didn’t see the need to get engaged. To us, an engagement only means “I chope you” but it didn’t change anything else. “I chope you” could have been¬†important if I¬†had a pesky suitor who didn’t know the meaning of no (looking at you, Malaysian dramas that think that a man’s refusal to say no is supposed to be romantic) or if he had some girl throwing herself at him every other day, but it was just the two of us doing our own thing. So the initial agreement between the both of us was each of us gets a wedding ring.

And then the parents got involved and were appalled because their children didn’t even know meminang was a thing and that led to me needing to get an engagement ring. It’s not necessary but his mother wanted me to have a ring. So I figured okay, let’s look for engagement rings.

Personally, I have never¬†seen the appeal of a diamond engagement ring. Growing up no women I knew owned a diamond ring. My grandmother has a plain gold ring. My mother’s ring was inspired by Cartier’s Trinity ring. I saw a lot of gold rings (some with coloured rocks, some without) in the Malay community. To me, the diamond ring was more of a rich Chinese thing, a mat salleh¬†thing.

As I grew older I learnt about blood diamonds, that a diamond’s value drops drastically once you buy it, that the concept of a diamond ring to show your love only got popular in the early 1900s thanks to DeBeers’ iconic slogan for their campaign to get people to buy their diamond rings. And I was like WELL THEN I might as well get a ring with a pretty stone that I actually like.

So that’s what I planned. We set a budget for the ring, I went to Etsy, and after a few weeks I pretty much had the top 5 rings and we were at that point of “to buy on Etsy or to get a jeweler to do something similar?” We were concerned that the ring might not fit me right but I had read online that many people went to get their ring finger measured at a store and then provide the Etsy seller the ring size. He was searching how much it would cost us to resize the ring if¬†shit happens.

He told his mom about our plans and she was weary about ordering the ring online because she was afraid we’d get cheated. After that discussion, she¬†gave¬†him a catalogue. I¬†asked him if she wanted us to buy from that specific store and he had said “No la just a suggestion. We can still look around.”

We decided to consider looking for/doing up a similar ring. We found a company that could customize the ring and my colleagues chipped in about how much we should be paying.

And then¬†one day he tells me that his mother wanted me to specifically have a diamond ring and she was going to pay for it. She had been going around looking at diamond rings and she’d seen some that she wanted me to try on.

I’m going to pause this story to say this: This is legit proof that you cannot rely on your fiancee to interpret what your future MIL is trying to say. Ladies, trust your damn gut. Your mat will not realize what is going on until it slaps him in the face.¬†

She wanted me to have a diamond ring because she had one and she feels that it’s a must-have. She wanted a ring that would last me decades, like hers, and it had to be of some standard. The older generation still see diamond rings as a big deal, and she had decided that her future daughter-in-law was not going to buy her ring from some shady seller online. No, she was going to buy a ring with a certified diamond that was going to impress everyone who sees it.

Was I upset that I now had to go look at rings that I had no interest in and eventually had to pick one? Yes. I’m not going to lie, I was frustrated. But was it something that I was going to have to swallow and make the best of it? Yes.

Now at this point, I know a lot of people are going to be like “Oh my god what??? Gurl you can’t just accept it it’s something you’re going to wear for the rest of your life!!” And I could have done that but then it would have soured my relations with his mom. And you might disagree but having a decent relationship with your mother is law is important. Unless you are only going to meet her once a year at a family gathering and she doesn’t have any impact on you or your spouse’s life for the other 364 days, you cannot have a screwed up relationship with your MIL. It will affect your relationship with your spouse because it’s his/her mother. She will always have an influence on them.

The second reason why I kowtowed was because she meant well. It might not be what I want, but if it is that important to her to the point that she went to look at rings during her free time and take down the models that she thought were worthy to be put on my finger…fine.¬†It wasn’t as if she asked me to downgrade. In some ways I guess you could say it was an upgrade.

That being said, I am certainly not suggesting to be a pushover. Some things you can kowtow and agree, but some things you might have to take a stand. The mat’s mother was not a happy camper when she found out we wanted to book The Landmark, and my mother was not a happy camper when she heard we wanted to have a wedding dinner, but it was something that the both of us really wanted and they would just have to deal. And they have. You just gotta figure out which fights you want to go all out for.

Eventually we went to two jewellers: Meyson Jewellery and Poh Heng. I got my ring at Meyson for the following reasons:

  1. Price. A diamond at Meyson vs a diamond at Poh Heng had a price difference of about $2.5k. PH’s rep told us that they use only D grade diamonds and was very proud of this, but frankly unless everyone is going to inspect your ring under a magnifying glass the human eye is unable to tell the difference between a D, an E, and an F grade diamond.
  2. The reps at Meyson were very informative.¬†They explained everything, like they had actual charts. A device that lets you look at the serial number of your diamond. The mat asked them about princess cut diamonds and they explained that while pretty, the cut didn’t show off the brilliance of the diamond. You couldn’t shine your ring at someone’s face and blind them.
  3. To me, there was a better selection at Meyson. If you want a massive two carat ring then go ahead to Poh Heng cause that’s where it’s at, but the one I went to had one 0.5 ring and the rest were 0.7 and above. And the rep was pushing me to buy a 1.5 carat ring that I could legit use as a weapon. I didn’t even bother to ask the price.

It came down to two rings that looked almost identical, just that one was a slightly smaller D grade and one was a slightly bigger G grade. The G grade was almost $800 cheaper, and I couldn’t tell the difference between the G and the D. Even the rep was like “To the naked eye there’s no difference”, and¬†joked that a few years down the road I could ask for an upgrade for my anniversary anyway.

I got the G grade diamond. It might not be the D grade that Poh Heng bro boasted about but it’s still pretty damn shiny, it can probably scar someone who tries to attack me, and it even came with a magnifying glass for anyone who wants to inspect it up close.

More importantly, I’ve gotten used to it. Today I’m not thinking about that emerald¬†that I saw on Etsy, or those engagement and wedding ring combos that form a beautiful design when worn together. I’m okay with my ring. Weirdly enough, there is some sort of higher standard¬†when you wear a diamond ring? Someone once asked if I was going to get married at a void deck and another person said “Void deck? Have you seen her ring?” Which is problematic but you know, you..uh… take the backhanded compliment (?) and then educate them about how expensive void deck weddings are these days.

And I guess what I’m saying is that you might not be able to have everything you want during this process, and that’s okay. We deal, we move on.

 

Wedding inspiration no 5 – the BHLDN round

For some strange, strange reason, I suddenly feel the urge to have that dreamy, Pinterest-perfect wedding. Which is dangerous because that way leads to possible excessive spending and the need to have the perfect floral arrangement on every table. Dangerous.

This also translates to the outfit I mean…

…As you can tell there is an aesthetic that I am drawn to.

So here I am suddenly having feelings and guess what?¬†BHLDN appeared on my Instagram feed. One thing led to another and¬†I ended up on BHLDN’s website. It’s still as pretty as I remembered. It also has a lot of things that make me have even more feelings.

Let’s start with the gowns. For the record, I am well aware that I can’t wear all of this, but I am drawn to the elements of the dresses – the colour, the beading, the embroidery etc. The dusty rose / rose gold / millennial pink aesthetic is 100% me right now. If I could convert 3/4 of my wardrobe to those colours I’d be set for life.

blogaurora

Aurora is very much the classic white dress with¬†a little oomph. I think the beading saves this one from being a snooze, and that’s kind of what I go for on a day-to-day basis.

blogbarton

But then again I also hear that Fatimah Mohsin lady telling me that the bride can’t be dressed so simply, so the Barton ups the glam factor but still maintains the simplicity that I love. For real, make this long sleeved and it is highly likely that I am sold. The beading at the waist makes me feel so satisfied.

blogcecelia

While I am on the fence about Cecelia’s embellishments, I am on board with the colour and cut.

blogramona

This Ramona gown is here solely for the wild tulle skirt. If I was going to get married in a garden this would be the kind of gown I would go for.

blogsierra

I love love love the length of the Sierra’s train. Not too intense, but still there. I feel like if the train on my dress is too long I’ll step on it and fall. Seeing how I’ve stepped on my own kain before and almost tumbling down it is definitely possible. And the flowy sleeves are so pretty.

blogsol

This was the dress that I saw on Instagram that gave me life and opened the gates to this madness. THAT LACE THO?? It is so incredibly pretty and dainty and I want it. However. I’m kind of disappointed with the front of this Sol dress because my first look of it was from that back and it was incredible so I had mad high expectations for it. To me, this is very much a “Take my pics from the back” dress.

blogsunvalley

If the Sun Valley was a long dress instead of a short one, I would be absolutely sold. Flowy, muted pink, fair amount of bling, loose sleeves so that no one knows the real size of arms…yes to all.

blogitalandelia

BHLDN also has separates for you to purchase to form your own unique wedding outfit (that might really look like a gown unless you squint closer), like this Itala and Delia combo.

blogwythenamora

And this Wythe and Amora duo – could you tell that this was a top and a skirt if I didn’t mention it? I love how¬†the colour of the embroidered flowers match the skirt. It’s details like these that pull me in. I also really like the shape that this outfit gives…but am I willing to wear such a silhouette that demands a flat stomach aka I must wear a corset and that means I can’t eat much? I’m not sure tbh. Probably will depend on how great my butt looks.

Who can forget the veil?

blogveilninette

The Ninette veil + Sol gown = perfection from the back. I haven’t seen Malay bridals do this kind of veil though, most of them are just mad long with little to no bling.¬†The shorter ones I’ve seen on Instagram end at a weird length and makes the outfit look incomplete. It could be the way the fabric is cut – a lot of it is straight across instead of the gentle curve this veil has.

blogveilsonnet

A handpainted long veil screams Pinterest worthy. The Sonnet would be the perfect veil for a laid back wedding aka the wedding that is not mine.

blogaccwintergardencombs

While I know I want the veil for the nikah, I’m not completely certain on a veil for the walimah, especially since so many stores now have pretty accessories like these winter garden combs.

blogshoesvictoria

Now we talking about the serious stuff.

Shoes, even though they are hidden under the pouf of a skirt, are important. If Singapore’s wind decides to turn up for the wedding uninvited, you bet I’m gonna be exposing some quality footwear (even if it ends up to be my 3 year old Charles and Keith heels. Those heels make my feet look important and make my legs last for days).

The Victoria heels are pretty lace heels from the 1st photo in the mosaic above. These are what I consider aspirational wedding shoes – shoes that theoretically, in my head, are the ideal pair for a bride. They are white and lacy and delicate. They are madly photogenic.¬†They are also not practical for daily use, and if I wore this to people’s houses for Hari Raya everyone will know that these were the heels I got married in because it is such a bridal shoe.

They are also very, very pretty and if I had the money I would buy them.

 

blogshoescandace

I have been toying with the idea of wearing wedges instead of heels for the added support, but I might actually be more likely to end up tripping on my gown in wedges. These Candace wedges are glorious though.

blogshoeskierna

In the interests of my feet, I’ve also been looking at lower heeled shoes like the Kierna. These are pretty bridal, but I can also see myself wearing this again and again to many occasions – going out, to weddings, even to work. However. The mat is pretty damn tall. Like I’ve worn five inch heels next to him and¬†I still gotta look up a little kind of pretty damn tall. And while I am more than ok to be shorter than him, I am not ready to appear midget-like in wedding photos. These are real first-world problems.

So that’s what caught my eye over at BHLDN, and I’m surprised that I wasn’t drawn to the serious bling that I saw in belts and other hair accessories. Shows how your tastes can change so quickly.