Say yes to the dress(es)

We went to LA Bridal’s showflat last week to choose our two outfits…and I managed to choose my pieces in half an hour. My mother was skeptical and thought that I just chose some random gown, but surprise! For the first time throughout this entire wedding journey, I knew what I wanted and they had what I wanted.

So I got to try 4 outfits total (2 for nikah, 2 for sanding), and we chose the best from there. While initially I thought that I should be able to try more outfits, narrowing it down to the top 4 made it a lot easier to decide which two pieces I wanted.

The lady was super helpful in narrowing down the options. It’s good to have an idea what you want – I wanted a Arab/Indian fusion outfit for nikah (since he’s part Arab and I’m part Indian) and a coloured gown for sanding. She asked if I wanted a white outfit or a colourful outfit for nikah, I said white, and she went to town pulling out all the possible pieces. She also pulled out some pastel pieces when I hemmed and hawwed at the white abayas, and one caught my eye immediately. Surprise, surprise, that was the one I ended up choosing. Like I said – really helpful. Just come with a plan and she will lead the way.

(I would also highly suggest you bring a girlfriend or cousin when choosing your outfits because men are useless with things like these. They’re great ego boosters – “You look great in everything yang” – but not helpful AT ALL)

There’s not really much else to say…except that I got the gown that I fell in love with a year ago and I am so excited to wear it. Probably 50 brides have worn it before but who gives a shit I look great and I feel great in that gown. It also fits my hips just nice so I can’t gain any weight otherwise we’re going to have a problem. So I guess it’s salads and juice throughout the last month…and then probably some wild weight gain post-wedding when I shove prawn crackers down my throat.

Weirdly enough it was harder for the mat to decide what he wanted?? He was already keen on one of the suits when we went the first time before booking LA Bridal, and luckily it wasn’t taken so he got that. But the baju kurung for nikah was tough because I had chosen a cream outfit instead of a white one. They had a cream baju kurung with all these beads and I took one look and I knew he was 100% not going to put that on. Thankfully the lady dug out a plain baju kurung set that was being altered for another groom.

Now that the outfits are chosen, we need to buy some things to complete our looks. LA Bridal doesn’t provide shoes for both bride and groom, shirt, cufflinks and belt for the groom (if he’s wearing a suit), and songkok (if he’s wearing baju kurung). I was also advised to get a bodyshaper, which made me sad because I thought that meant I couldn’t eat but it turns out I can eat and the bodyshaper will hide the food baby. I am down for this.

Over the weekend we went to Tanjong Katong Complex to get the custom songkok, since he wants a cream one to match the outfit…just that we couldn’t remember which cream the outfit was. Thankfully the pakcik was so kind and told us he would prepare the rangka of the songkok first and after the final fitting we could let him know what colour we wanted. I can’t remember the name of the shop, but his store is on the first floor a few shops away from Begum Boutique. You should be able to find his store – and many other songkok shops in the TKC/Joo Chiat area – if you Google. That’s how the mat found this one.

I’m gonna have bimbo bride-to-be moment right now and tell you that I’m super excited to put on those two outfits and become his wife. I still can’t cook properly and I still haven’t met the decor person to confirm the decor and I don’t even have my berkat settled but I’m ready for this part.

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Long overdue update – Wedding planning

SO. This is going to be a LONG post because I have some real grandmother story to tell.

It has been a hot minute since I’ve been here. I’ve been pretty unmotivated and at one point bored to death with how life was going. There was this itch underneath my skin that only vanished when things that were high risk (for me at least) happened, e.g. when the mat goes at 115km/hr. Past me would cry, new me was like YES I FEEL ALIVE FINALLY.

It was a strange period but now it’s more or less gone, I’m now back to glaring at him when he goes at 100km/hr. But I feel the itch coming back a little so I think I’ll have to come up with some less dangerous activities to keep myself in check. Like maybe an intense pilates class where I’m less likely to die.

ANYWAY. There has been some major changes to this wedding thing since I last wrote here. I think I was in that state of “meh” because I was kind of bummed out that we were using vendors that I wasn’t super excited about. So for all you creative types out there – don’t go for a package. I thought it was going to be easier but it isn’t and I’m not entirely thrilled with what’s happened. But with the changes that are happening/have happened comes a sense of purpose and urgency and now that we are 2.5 months away I am fully getting on board this wedding train….and I feel like I’m kind of becoming a little bit of a bridezilla? Does the shade of gold used in my decor and my signages really have to be the same? Do I really want to do a feature wall full of greenery to make the place less basic? I’m still struggling to answer these questions. My bridesmaids have been kind enough to bring me back down to earth a few times already.

Bridal

Let’s start with the biggest shocker, shall we? I’ve been trying to get on board with FM being my bridal for almost an entire year. Her company has never been in my top bridal companies list – not because she’s terrible or anything, but the styles I see on their Instagram never wowed me. I never looked at an outfit that wasn’t customized and thought of wearing it. Her style wasn’t my style, and so I struggled to accept this because everyone was telling me that she was established, that the makeup was good, that it was a good deal to have her company as part of my package. And because I didn’t want to spend unnecessary money, I decided to go with it. Surely there was something that I could choose from their outfits. Surely there were two outfits that would suit my tastes.

Towards the end of the year, I gave them a call to set an appointment for the first fitting and was told that my fitting was only in January next year because I was getting married in March. That was a bit of a shock, but I figured they should know what they were doing since they’ve been in the business for donkey years but I asked if I could go down to take a look at their dresses so that I roughly knew what I was getting myself into when I went for the fitting in January. The lady who took my call said that wouldn’t be a problem; I set an appointment and let the mat know.

So we went there and split up – I saw the dresses, the songket, the baju nikah. I was kind of surprised at how there weren’t that many options but maybe all of them were like that how would I know, I’ve never been to any Malay bridals before. I saw two that I would consider wearing – one baju nikah that I thought was nice and one gown. He went to see the men’s outfits. I never went to that side of the room. After going through the outfits, the lady asked if we would like to look at the exclusive pieces upstairs. If I wanted to wear any of those, I’d have to top up. I was like ok sure since I’m here right?

I would have to top up $800 to wear one of those dresses. Because most of them were only worn by models for photoshoots. $800. Eight hundred dollars.

No. Not paying that money to wear a dress for 3 hours, thank you. I know some brides will do it, and gurl if that dress is the dress of your dreams I say you do you, but I would rather spend that money on food. $800 can buy me 360 of that great fried chicken rice from Golden Shoe. That is chicken rice supply for a whole year. (That will also be how I develop high cholesterol but that is another story altogether)

So I left the place deciding that okay, I’ve got two outfits I saw I liked, I’m gonna hope that it will be available for me.

Then the shocker came. The real, honest to god shocker.

The mat was not happy with what he saw.

This changed the game entirely. I was like hold up, pause, rewind, what did you say??? Because the mat doesn’t really care about these things. The mat is the kind of man who goes to Bata, finds the cheapest shoe on the rack, and if they have his size and it fits he buys it. So when that kind of man says he’s not happy with the outfit selection, this is a real problem.

What was the problem, I asked. He said that he didn’t expect the mens’ outfits to be so few. And because there were so few, they looked like they’ve been worn.

He started talking about tailoring his suit. And at that point, all intentions of me using FM as my bridal just went poof. Because I had convinced myself to use FM since he was okay with FM. But now that HE wasn’t ok with FM and wanted to get his own clothes, why should I settle?

I told him since he didn’t want to use FM, I didn’t want to either and I explained my reasons. He agreed and said I should go find a bridal that made me happy.

Suddenly, there was this urgency in me because now I could use a bridal that I really wanted. I began scrolling frantically through Instagram, looking at the ones I loved but chose to ignore throughout the year. By then it was already December and I decided to narrow down to two that I really loved. I visited them and was completely blown away by the selection – one of them had a collection three times the size of FM’s. The other had a smaller collection but was still substantial. I saw so many pieces I imagined myself in. Both of them were so kind and lovely and I wanted to sign up with both but that would be ridiculous since my wedding was only 4 hours long. Both of them also told me that I was kind of late since my wedding was in March, whoops.

In the end, I got the bridal I had originally dreamed of – Lulu Alhadad. They were the more expensive option but they had a dress that I was thinking about for a whole week straight (and still am thinking about it now tbh).

Food tasting

This is a really, really, long story so in short: Everything was nice, but almost everything had problems. Some items the taste was nice but diluted, some items tasted nice but didn’t taste like what it claimed to be. Now all I can do is pray, because my mom’s friend attended a wedding at Red Velvet last week and the food was fine.

This was also the time we found out we needed to settle our pelamin by end of the year, aka about a month to go. How lovely.

Decor

Because I was so intent on getting the bridal right, I didn’t have as much time to think about the decor when I first met the decorator, Juliana from Sentimentals. She had sent over a list of items that were in the package, and things that we could top up to make our wedding look better/nicer/grander/prettier. I secured the pelamin I wanted, thankfully, but it wasn’t a very fruitful meeting decor-wise because my brain was on bridal and the contract draft I had to prepare the next day. We discussed no. of tables, where to place the berkat table, the reception table, centrepieces and decor for the walkway leading towards Red Velvet. She’s a really down to earth lady and now that I have a better idea of what I want my wedding to be, I hope she can execute it.

Since we are on the topic of decor – ladies. Do not expect your man to be interested in decor. Do not expect him to have any input aside from “don’t need this la so expensive”. You can be angry at him for like a week but eventually you have to realize that this is not of importance to him so move on and handle it yourself. Continue to ask him for propriety’s sake but don’t be mad when he says “up to you”. (Isn’t it good, though, if it’s up to you? You get to do what you want, gurl! Unless you have a mother who’s planning her dream wedding for your wedding then that’s another story and also my condolences)

Also tell your mother to not expect your man to be interested because for some reason she would have forgotten that your father didn’t give a shit about decor back in the day too. She should take about two to three weeks to calm down about this.

Berkat

Let it be known right now that there is a 95% chance your parents will be more invested in the berkat than you. This is what they are going to give their judgemental guests when they receive duit salam, so to them it must be good.

My mother has been talking about tea the moment the mat put a ring on it, so I decided to not even bother to venture out and consider other things. Sometimes she’d say just buy Toblerone and give to people but eventually tea will come back into the picture. The mat and I did check prices of Toblerone and other chocolates but after the first 2 times giving tea came back into the picture we decided to just stick with tea regardless of what she said. It’s not offensive, people with diabetes/high cholesterol/insert illness of choice can drink it, it’s something we both drink so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that we’re giving it.

For the past half year since we started our search it always led to a dead end. One tea supplier didn’t pick up their phone and a Google search showed a residential address. Redmart ran out of one type of tea we were keen on getting. The mat found a company that does customized tea but it was out of our budget. We kept saying we were going to JB to check out the tea there but never ended up getting there.

Then my friend got married in early December and gave us cookies in pretty packaging. There was an Instagram account printed on the package. It turned out that she ordered them from a company based in KL. I started going through Instagram, hoping to find something unique from JB that wasn’t tikar sembahyang or nuts or popcorn or the biscuits I buy in bulk for $1 – and by some miracle of God, I found a vendor in Johor selling cute tea favours. I contacted her to send over a sample and now we’re waiting for it to come so that my parents can test the tea and give their seal of approval. I am hoping very, very hard that it will be approved otherwise I’m going to have to DIY some magic and that is going to take up a lot of time.

In conclusion

I have 2.5 months to go. There is still quite a bit to settle so I’m just really hoping that work isn’t going to throw me a ton of things because I definitely need as much time as possible to settle all this wedding stuff.

My colleague once told me that he’d rather make his marriage work so that he never had to do a wedding again. I’m going to agree with him 100%.

When reality hits you in the face aka Kursus Kahwin

The marriage preparation course aka kursus kahwin is no longer compulsory but it was never an optional thing for the mat and I. Both of us aren’t exactly A++ when it comes to religion and sometimes it’s just a hell lot simpler to talk to a third party about the whole marriage thing instead of your parents. Are you gonna ask your parents if oral sex is okay? I’m definitely not going to. I don’t want to know what my parents get up to in bed. Nope. Never.

I mentioned in a previous post that I had delayed registering for the course because it felt like once we were registered it meant shit had gotten serious. It sounds stupid since it should have felt like shit had gotten serious since the engagement or you know, when we booked the vendors, but this felt like a more sobering part of the “heading towards wedding and marriage” process. I think it’s probably because everything else was all about the wedding, and that’s just one day. Kurus kahwin is talking about the rest of your life with the person you’ve chosen.

If you go on the ROMM website there are several companies/organizations running the kursus kahwin. I didn’t do intensive research but as far as I’m aware (and probably you since you’d probably be doing your due diligence and stumbled on this post) there are some that offer a one day express course and others offer a two day course. Unfortunately I don’t know which companies specifically offer which courses, so I can’t give you a cost breakdown or something over here. But you might want to consider:

  1. Knowing which course you’re supposed to actually take. If you or your partner is under 21, you can’t go for the Cinta Abadi course, you’ll have to go for Inspirasi. Likewise, if one of you is a non-Singaporean and is in the process of applying for a dependents pass, or if one of you is divorced, or if one of you is bringing a child into the marriage, Cinta Abadi doesn’t apply for you either. If you don’t know if Cinta Abadi is the right course for you and your partner, check with the company/organizer you’re intending to sign up with. If it isn’t the right course they will point you in the right direction.
  2. The language of the course you’re choosing. If one of you absolutely sucks in understanding Malay, for the love of God don’t book a course in Malay. The ROMM schedule shows all the companies’ dates and what languages the courses will be in.
  3. The duration of the course. The one-day express course is excellent for couples who both are working shift and have difficulties applying leave. But if you want to go for that because you’re lazy to do a two-day course, be aware it’s likely that whatever is taught would be cut down even more to squeeze everything in a day. From what one of the instructors told us, the course is originally supposed to be done over a period of 12 weeks but because nobody got time they’ve cut it down to two days and then further down to one day. If you’re attending a two day course, keep in mind that you have to sign your attendance more than once throughout the day. If you don’t have full attendance you don’t get the certificate. Means if you want to get the certificate you’ll have to retake the course and that costs $$$.
  4. The style of teaching for the course. Different companies/organizers would teach differently. Some are more hip and modern, some are more traditional. Most of the companies’ websites have short video clips of the course so you can get a feel of how they run it. Alternatively, ask your friends who have attended the course or read reviews from BTBs.

For our scenario, the mat always wanted BDMI. I don’t even know why – maybe he knew someone who did their kursus kahwin with them, maybe after he talked to the trainer once he liked the guy… I don’t know. I didn’t have any strong urge to pick another organizer, and it wasn’t the organizer that made me a bit uncomfortable when I read reviews and watched the videos, so I was like yeah sure go for it.

The BDMI course we took was a two day course that cost $300. On that day it was done at the SMCCI at Jalan Pinang so you don’t have to worry about finding food for lunch. The other location they do the course is Kampung Ubi CC, which is near Joo Chiat so there’s a lot of food there too. It’s a full two days, 9.30am-6pm, but don’t worry they provide snacks and drinks and there are breaks.

(as you can tell I’m hungry, hence the emphasis on food lol)

From my understanding you can sit with your partner, but our group somehow just… split itself?? Into guys sitting in one row and girls another row facing each other. Halal distance lah kan (chey). You aren’t too far from one another though if your group sits that way so you can still do the activities together…just don’t eavesdrop on what the other couple next to you does ah focus on your things.

We had three instructors, all three dealt with different topics. I really don’t know what other courses or classes might emphasize on, but I did get the feeling that they went more in depth only when we had more questions on the topic. So in a way I guess it was tailored for us? Because everyone would have different things they were interested in or they found important, and it just so happened that for my group we had some similar topics and it’s probably easier for the instructor too when the whole group is like “ok this is impt I know this right now immediately”.

If you are terrified that you are going to be the trashiest couple with zero of knowledge of each other compared to the others I am pleased to tell you that you don’t have to share anything with anyone else. Everything is just between you and your partner, with the exception of the one or two times they split us up based on gender so that we realize how different we function. Sometimes they’ll ask you to exchange books so that you can read what your partner wrote for the activities. I found that helpful because 1) the mat has always a man of few words and I’ve been trying to get him to say more words but it turns out he a man of few words even in writing so I’ve learnt this is just how he is. I can write a two paragraph answer and his is two lines 2) all this while I thought I was hallucinating at that date we had in IKEA and I noticed his cakarayam handwriting because he’s been writing in caps ever since and his handwriting in caps is beautiful. It turns out he cannot write small letters MYSTERY SOLVED.

The activities for the course was pretty interesting too, like the 5 Love Languages (the mat and I both have Quality Time as our Love Language) and the Personality Audit (both of us are Calm types). Yes, these are things that you can find online and try with each other, but which mat is going to circle printouts if not in class? Not mine, that’s for sure. Additionally, the instructors give tips on how to deal with your partner’s personality if you are too similar to too different – sometimes even based on their own marriages and their own trial and error. For example, you might be thinking “Shit, this sis got lucky sia she and her mat both the same” but the reality is that if both of you are Calm types, one day someone is going to have to say “Ok look, we need to stop chilling and start moving” and drag your partner along with you. I know there’s a 95% chance it’s going to be me. So now that I know what’s going to happen, I have to make a decision – am I prepared to be that person in the future? I already know how he is I can never expect him to evolve into a go-getter.

And I think that’s another thing these courses are trying to point out – don’t expect your partner to change after marriage. Don’t expect the high-stung girl to suddenly calm down. Don’t expect the lepak mat to suddenly want to take Skillsfuture courses with you. Be aware of who you are getting married to. And after you know who that person is – are you ready and prepared to marry them? If you are, then don’t yell “I shouldn’t have married you from the start!!!!” three years down the line when you get into an intense argument.

Personally I found the real life examples they gave absurd but they were also very good lessons. No one enters a marriage hoping to divorce, but shit happens if you don’t put in effort (and sometimes, sadly, even if you do). Something as simple as the hantaran can lead to a divorce if someone thinks the money is supposed to be used to A but it turns out it was used for B.

Now… if you were wondering about the sex education part of the course… not very sexy la ah. That segment is run by the lady instructor, Cik Zarina, so we ladies don’t have to be shy and awkward and reluctant to ask a pakcik about things. She gives eloquent answers and is always ready to answer the question that you think is fucked up or weird or too kinky. Like she talked about BDSM with a straight face so you really don’t have to worry.

Gentlemen, if you are shy to ask her then do feel free to ask her husband, Encik Abu Bakar, one of the other instructors. He has a “ask me now in class but don’t ever ask me after these 2 days” policy, and he too does not blink at any questions thrown to him.

Overall I really do think it’s a course worth attending. I really would recommend BDMI, it was a good combination of fun and jokes and serious business. It might get a bit confusing sometimes but eventually you’ll understand why the instructor discusses certain things or asks certain questions.

I did not have a Eureka moment but I learnt some things about myself and some things about the mat, and most importantly I learnt that after those two days I still want to marry him despite him occasionally being trash and I will have to endure the periods that he is trash just like how he will have to endure my mood swings and me crying at Shah Rukh Khan movies. And this has been an insanely long post so I’m going to stop here.

When companies are too efficient

I got a call today saying that my wedding ring was ready and I could collect it. The collection date was supposed to be end of this month whaaaaa?? On one hand oh my god my ring is reADY but on the other hand I don’t own a safe.

Is it weird to keep your own ring? As much as I love the mat I don’t trust that this ring will not go missing in his room.

Three down, many to go

So somehow this week we managed to settle two things (surprise! sloths apparently act fast when in some kind of… productive panicky mood) and I am well on my way to creating a full set of Google docs. I know, who am I??

Actually you know what, we settled three things because the mat freaked out that some of the hotels/apartments he saved in Agoda for our honeymoon are all booked so he decided to just book everything. I’m not even making this up, our honeymoon is settled. And our wedding is not. I don’t even know what to say. On Thursday I was in his room staring at apartments, chalets, hotels and a shed (that look cute and cozy and I was about that life until we see the outdoor pic and it turns out we would be living in someone’s backyard and the toilet was separate which explained why it was going for $45) and we’re like what the heck is going on why is everything booked on the days we wanna go? It’s not even peak period it’s not the world cup it’s not the nation’s 50th birthday what is going on??

Then when I met him yesterday he’s like ok I booked everything because I didn’t want to be houseless here’s the breakdown. Boom. The man knows how go full speed ahead when he wants to.

(Also on Thursday he discovered that I get whiny and make really bad jokes when I’m tired. But that’s a whole other story.)

The first thing we settled were the wedding invitations. I decided that somebody needed to start doing something and if that someone was me fine. A woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do. Seeing how I absolutely despise talking to people (how did I do mass comm for 7 years is BEYOND ME) I decided to start with the only vendor that the Landmark gave me that had an email – my wedding cards vendor.

I remember really liking some of the designs that they showed at the wedding expo back in January, so I figured it shouldn’t really be a stressful thing (coughberkatcough). Connie from T Dragon Cards got back to me in 2 days with some photos of the designs we could pick. Now if you go to their website it might look like something done up by a secondary school kid circa 2004 hosted by Angelfire but these fellas do cards for some big hotels. Like that banquet wedding package that’s $1080/table? They’re the card vendors. So they’re legit, just that their website is not.

You can order the cards online or you can go to their showroom to look at the cards. We decided to go down and take a look, and I’m glad that we did because there’s a difference when you look at the cards in real life and touch them. The mat actually was really keen on this card that looked black in the photo they sent us but in reality it was more of a dark blue. It wasn’t printed on blue card either, it was on white semi-matte card. So if you printed one side the back was white and if you printed it both sides the edges were white. I could tell he was disappointed about it and I was disappointed about it too because this was something that he took interest in and y’all there are some things he just does not care about (e.g. bridal). But at the same time I’m not blaming T Dragon Cards because they’re probably given an budget to work with and dark blue card most likely exceeded that budget.

We ended up choosing another design and topped-up additional cost for having double sided printing. For the record, they do have those traditional cards with the two page inserts but neither of us were interested in those. And we couldn’t just have one language because he was going to invite important non-Malay people and I wanted to have Malay on the cards because I’m not about the “kacang lupakan kulit” life. Also my grandmother would never let me forget my sins and will bring that up even at her deathbed.

One of my aunts couldn’t understand why I paid for the double sided printing when they offered me those traditional cards. She said that it’s just a card, people throw away cards. And she’s right, but you know what; I’m known as the girl that does design and I’m not going to put my name on a meh card and mail it out. That card better be aesthetically pleasing because I got a reputation to maintain. If all they offered me were meh cards I would design one myself. Is that petty and kind of bridezilla? Probably. Do I care? No.

So we’re getting the cards hopefully around September if the drafts turn out fine. Then I need to make space to store all of those cards and pray hard that they don’t get yellow spots by December.

The second thing we settled was the kurus rumah tangga. I’m not gonna lie, I kinda delayed this because when you attend this course it’s basically saying, this is real. Which I should be okay with but I’m kind of worried about it because I worry about lots of things. Like what if the guy asks me “So what is his favourite song?” and I get it wrong? I know it sounds ridiculous but it’s stressful like maybe the people we’re going for this course with know each other for donkey years and know everything about each other, including but not limited to what time they pee after lunch, how many days a week they snore in their sleep and how long do their shoes last. And I suppose in an ideal world I should know everything about the mat before I marry him but let’s be real you will never know everything about a person until you live with them. What if the people doing the course tell us “look man, you guys don’t know enough about each other” what would that mean? Am I stressing myself out for no good reason? I don’t know.

Anyway. Deep (or maybe not too deep) thoughts aside, on Friday afternoon while discussing about going to take a look at the wedding cards my brain decided it would be a good time to check out the timings for the course that were still available. An hour later we’ve booked one and all we gotta do now is remember to attend it.

Now that I’m sort of on a slow roll, I should probably settle my photographer and bridal issues this coming week.

Sudden panic mode

I’m kind of freaking out.

Idk is it because it’s 12am and my brain goes haywire after 11.30 these days, but I’m now worried that the wedding is going to be a mess. It could also be because my mom is not talking to me right now because of freaking berkat, because I want to see if there are more affordable options instead of what she wants. And it could also be me realising that it’s only 7 months to go and I haven’t gotten quite a few things done because wedding planning is the last thing I want to do when I come home from work or when I go out with the mat.

I now truly understand why my colleague said “I’ll never get married again because I never want to plan another wedding”.

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 😛

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… I gotta say. I didn’t have high hopes. I was kind of like “…really?” 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.

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.

 

To kompang or not to kompang?

I’ve always imagined my wedding being either Malay af or Indian af, or mixed Malay/Indian af. Then the mat came round and he didn’t want Indian af because it meant that we also had to go Arab af, so I figured ok, Malay af it is (minus the karaoke. and the gubahan. and the pulut kuning with the red egg. and the – ok just Malay.).

And THEN last week there was a wedding at a nearby void deck and they had the most enthusiastic kompang group I had ever heard in my life. Like there was remix and there was a very passionate cowbell player and I was impressed and my mother had a headache. She told me “How your wedding going to have kompang?? It’s an enclosed area, at least this is open.”

And it struck me that I didn’t even discuss this with the mat. We have no kompang, and our wedding is in March next year. Fabulous.

I’ve read the ex-BTB blogs, I’ve talked to my cousin, I stalked Cozycot before they conveniently shut down the year I got engaged and truly needed a bridal forum so I’m pretty aware that people book kompang like 2 years in advance. They stalk the kompang group FB/Instagram/Snapchat etc. Yet here I was stuck with no kompang.

Of course, I could go without the kompang. That’s obviously possible…but what would I enter my walimah with? I hate Maher Zain, but I also feel a bit weird walking towards the pelamin with an English song (macam kerek u know?). Basically, all my life I’ve attended Malay weddings with kompang, I cannot imagine how else the pengantin will enter the walimah.

So I asked the mat if we were going to have a kompang group and he was like “No, for what? Just use music ah.” And then he went on about no clubbing music (probably afraid that I was inspired by my friend), no Hindustan music (which I probably will have to fight for), just use a mix tape. That conversation went astray so I guess I will have to address it again. Soon. Ish.

My mother had previously suggested kompang recording, because we are cheapskate like that, but fading it away as we sit down on the pelamin is going to be…kind of strange I think. I mean I could enter in a paalki carried by 6 men but that would be awkward for everyone involved including myself because I’d be worried they will drop the paalki. And we can’t enter via motorbike because the venue is on the 5th floor (he was very into that idea when we were looking at Grassroots. My mother still goes on about it.)

Oh my god I cannot believe I’m worried about kompang what has my life become. Okay next time I meet him gotta discuss this. Among like, 5 other things. I should probably write down a list I might just forget by the time I wake up tomorrow morning.