Friday, February 23, 2018

孟想陈真 - Thomas' and Lydia's Fullerton Hotel Wedding (with Wedding Tips!)

It is official – we are married!

This year’s February 10 marks the day when the love of my life, aka Lady M and well, yours truly, tied the knot – after 5 months of preparation. The wedding process itself is like an FYP (final year project), one which we did most of the planning, coordinating, sourcing for ideas, decorations, food, you get the gist. Well, you may opt to get a wedding coordinator who could do most of the work for you, but we thought that it gives more meaning that we do it ourselves (just kidding – budget issues). Depending on your expectations, you may face various levels of stress. I mean, a basic wedding with minimal decoration and the standard program versus a celebrity-like wedding with all the glams and booms. Got it?

Here's a tip: Start prepping as early as you can.

After the proposal in Iceland in August 2017, we started sourcing for ideas on the decorations, food, and venue we wanted. Step one, work out your budget. Step two, research. I highly recommend Pinterest - which has an amazing library of spoil-market ideas, still a great source nevertheless. Bridestory is another site which not only provides ideas but also various vendors, such as wedding planners, venues, photography - probably everything that you would need for your wedding. If you're looking for lobangs for promotions, check out Singaporebrides. Most of our decoration and helpers' outfit are sourced from Taobao (use only those with good customer reviews with product photos) and Carousell.

Tip two: Choose a location with the feel - and of course, one that you can afford.

Within a month, we visited potential venues and gave scores for each, in terms of appearance, pricing, external reviews, and the feel. Ya know what I mean? The feeling that you know, that - THIS IS THE ONE (like my wife). Chjimes scored pretty high, Regent Hotel was disappointing and needless to say, Fullerton Hotel blew our minds off from the very first visit. Fullerton Hotel is not a five-star luxury hotel (and also a national monument) for no reason.

The overall feel of holding our important day in a rustic, colonial-style hotel with chandeliers in its stunning ballroom is our "dreams come true" (that's 孟想陈真 and happens to be their wedding show theme too - a sign from God). I am not kidding you when I say that we were simply dazzled at the ceiling of 386,000 crystals and the professionalism of the service staff. Especially for our hotel coordinator, Maureen, who saw us through the entire process - explaining everything so detailedly and even answering my questions on WhatsApp in the wee hours. Hats off to this amazing lady.

The day after the wedding, we woke up to a full view of Marina Bay at our two-storey Loft Suite and an international champagne breakfast buffet at their Straits Club. Yeah, you got that right homie - champagne together with your breakfast. With little time to pack so many items, Maureen assisted us to delay the check-out by two hours, which we had a smooth check-out afterwards. With a tug of our heartstrings, we waved our goodbyes to the hotel, a place now which holds plenty of dear memories.

Read more about our wedding food tasting at Fullerton Hotel here.

In short, the entire experience of holding our wedding at Fullerton Hotel can be summed with two words - no regrets. At all. We were happy, everyone's happy and we would choose this venue again even if we can turn back time.

Check out Fullerton Hotel's wedding packages here.

Tip three: If you want to do a photoshoot, do it near your hotel.

Especially for lunch banquets like ours, timing is key. With all the Chinese traditions, like gatecrash, tea ceremony and what not, you would be left with minimal time for a photoshoot with your groomsmen and bridesmaids. Save your time and do it somewhere near your banquet venue instead. We are blessed to have the iconic Merlion, Singapore River, and the Victoria Theatre, all within a stone's throw away from Fullerton Hotel. We had our photoshoot taken at the open area of Victoria Theatre and the pictures were absolutely stunning (of course you got to have the looks).
Here's the next: Worry less, pray more.

I would be lying if I were to say that we faced no stress at all. On the contrary, especially during the last few weeks, the stress level was akin to meeting my wife's parents for the first time, taking my driver’s license, year-end exam, and 13,000-word thesis. Combined. From the actual day programs to the decoration, from the helpers’ outfit to the guest-list, from garnering sponsorships to the nitty-gritty things. Despite having a “master schedule/timeline” since the start, there were numerous crop ups and add-ons. Revisions had to be made every other day. We got sick frequently due to the late nights of planning and stress, but we just hold on to God. For almost every night, we pray that He will grant us wisdom and strength, and less stress, in this process.

Nevertheless, as much as we look forward to the wedding day, we had the same anticipation for the banquet to end quickly. No, it’s not that we dread going through the day, but we can’t wait to get this major rock off our shoulders. On that day, time flies. One moment, my groomsmen and I were prepping to pick the bride at 5am in the morning, and the next moment we know, we are at the hotel, gatecrash, tea-ceremony, entertaining the guests, photo-taking, banquet and what else. At 5pm, my newly wedded wife, whom I can dearly call, Mrs. Chan, and I were sitting in our bridal suite, eating our packed lunch dressed in our pyjamas, and surrounded in a huge mess – who cares about that now anyway. We heaved a happy sigh for all is over, and for all is good.

Scroll for pictures and an end-note [warning: pictures heavy - with awesomeness]

All photos are taken by King C - a professional wedding photographer from Malaysia. We got his contact from our church friends who previously engaged him and was extremely satisfied with his professionalism and work. For those considering a wedding photographer, I strongly recommend King C.

Don't say I never give lobang, quote "NOMSAURUS10" for a 10% discount off his photography packages!

For soon-to-be-weds, someone once told me this, “Since the wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, instead of stressing over it, why not enjoy the whole process?” This simple conversation changed my perspective. All along we are trying to meet our expectations of having a “perfect” wedding, yet in the process, we are covered in stress and we noticed that hey, getting married is pretty stressful and we are not enjoying this process. So, we let go of this perfectionist mentality and let God handle all.

Here's a major wedding tip: Expect crop-ups.

Like most of my married friends would advise – expect crop-ups. Things might not go the way you want it. It is fine. Perfectly fine. To be honest, I was supposed to meet my bride wearing the Chinese traditional ching-chong costume, which I had prepared long ago. For some reason, it disappeared on the night before the wedding. The glass cover of our main wedding album cracked. We had gibberish English wordings printed on our albums, when we explicitly told them not to include. There were last-minute changes to the helpers’ and their schedule. Of course we panicked, but you know what? Life goes on. If it’s nothing major, none of the guests will actually notice. Everything turns out fine, the event and program line-up were smooth with few hiccups, photos and videos were great, and we even received praises for our wedding.

Ultimately, it boils down to one point – did you try your best?

If you know you did, here's the last and probably most important tip: Go have fun, smile, and treasure every moment of this once-in-a-lifetime event because you and your spouse are the real stars of the day.

Through this process, we are extremely thankful to God Himself and everyone who made this day possible – our parents, relatives, groomsmen, bridesmaids, helpers, hotel coordinators, and various sponsors. If you are wondering, here are the different vendors we engaged:

Venue decoration: Mirage Flowers
Bridal arch and photo backdrop: luxuri
Bridal gown rental: Seletar Broadway (bridal gown), The Red Wedding (kua)
Groom suit: Suityourself
Photographer: King C Photography
Bouquets: A Better Florist (bridal), Budding Roots (parents)
Dessert table: Crème Maison (cake), Frosted Chick (macarons and cupcakes)