Life Update


I was slightly amused to find that this blog was still alive and well when I hit the URL a couple of days ago, considering the numerous notices to renew my domain that I'd neglected over the past year or so. Blogging necessitates dedication that I can never seem to muster these days. Still, this story is one that I absolutely have to tell.

As you might know (and you must, because of the obnoxious number of Instagram posts on my profile announcing the fact), on 30 December 2017, Syafiq's tireless commitment to capturing me in the best light from behind the lens, over the years, finally culminated in his graduation to Instagram husband status.

And it was truly the best day of our lives. I hadn't expected that cliché to ring true, and retrospect is certainly capable of throwing a romantic filter over all accounts of the event, but I still vividly remember how incredibly special I felt all day. It was such a ball. And even gag-inducing terms like on cloud nine and ecstatic would not have been understating anything.

I would never fault myself for expecting to spend the weeks leading up to my wedding giddy with anticipation and joy, but having been there and back, I can still feel the full force of my naïveté glaring at me after the fact. There is massive relief that comes right after the walk down the aisle; of successfully getting show on the road, pulling it off and hopefully never having to run this circus ever again. In hindsight there were part of the process I relished, but I can guarantee that there is no weight loss program more effective than the one they call Wedding Planning. I was so out of sorts in the week before that I could barely knock back one meal every day. And it wasn't just me.

But as the big day crept closer, the beauty of everything we had accomplished together in our journey to the altar began to dawn on us, and the hysteria slowly gave way to unadulterated excitement. Our wedding day was filled with so much emotion from us and everyone around us, and our photographers did a fantastic job of capturing it in these vignettes. These photos are banded with the stories behind them, and here's hoping you see on our faces what we felt in our hearts that day. 

The day began--predictably--with a tea ceremony. This particular Chinese wedding custom didn't elude us, and though I was very much inclined to disregard tradition, in the end we caved and had it at my parents' behest. I'll give it to them though. It turned out to be a lot of fun and the cross-cultural exchange was heartwarming to partake in.

Syafiq's parents found out that it was customary for the groom's parents to give the bride jewellery during the tea ceremony. As a nod to my heritage, we went shopping for gold a couple of weeks before the wedding, which my mother in law helped me put on right after we served them tea. 

Our first look - a moment for which I'd kept my dress a secret for nearly a year.

My dress was custom made and co-designed by yours truly, a route I took because the perils of wedding dress shopping were not an inconvenience I wanted to bear. Also, since neither of us were proponents of multiple outfit changes, we stuck to just one look for the entire evening.

A lot of time and heart went into decorating our venue. We had about 12 of our closest friends aboard the night before stringing up fairy lights, streamers, cutting flowers to size and arranging everything immaculately on every table. Even with a party that big, it still ended up being a four hour job. I've never had so much appreciation for friends.

Our wedding bands - we searched long and hard, even on Etsy, for the matching platinum rings we wanted, and eventually we also allowed ourselves the novelty of having each other's names engraved within the other's ring.

In lieu of footwear I opted for stability, so I went barefoot for most of the reception. The bridal shoes I'd picked out were incredibly comfortable and I could've walked all day in them, but given the riverboat's incessant bobbing on the water, I thought it best to keep my centre of gravity as low as possible.

My maid of honor was my little sister, who at 16 years of age, truly pulled her weight and then some. We have always had a special relationship since the day the nurse let me wheel her in a plastic hospital bassinet, in all her rosy and grimy fresh-from-the-womb glory, from the delivery ward to my mom's room. Things have never really changed. A couple of days before my wedding, she promised to live and breathe our wedding itinerary so she could help me run the show, which she did. She also woke up early to make me breakfast on the day, and told me she'd personally spoon-feed me if I didn't have time to eat during the reception. She truly is the loveliest.

We'd wanted our first dance to not be trite, and it requires a little gall to pull off something that is atypical of either the bride or groom's culture, but it turned out perfectly. Our friend Theodora sang us a beautiful acoustic version of You and Me by Lifehouse, which we'd settled on just a week before. The moves were learnt just as rapidly via a visual osmosis of the Obamas' 2008 inauguration first dance.

And then came a very special moment where Syafiq surprised me by performing Perfect by Ed Sheeran, which I'd spent months leading up to the wedding being absolutely crazy about. I'd done a good job of holding back the waterworks up to that point, but that's about where my resolve ended. 

We started on this path over a year ago, and I was extremely unconvinced of the need to even have a wedding, and very certain that the money could’ve been better spent on more tangible or consequential affairs like travel or furniture. The bells and whistles of a wedding often throw up obstacles that distract even the best of us from the simplicity of the actual intention – to just be married to the one you love. And though my exhibitionist tendencies usually prevail on social media, those who know me know I can be extremely shy and private IRL. So contrary to the image of myself I sometimes project, I had no dreams for a fairytale wedding or a gown with a five foot train.

But I will say this again. My wedding was the best, happiest and most fun day I’ve ever had in my entire 26 years of life. And in light of its success I feel qualified to dish up a few pieces of unsolicited advice to all other brides (or grooms) to be:
- Tap on your contacts. Even if cost savings aren’t in the equation, working with your friends or even acquaintances as vendors will put you at ease to ask as many questions as possible and be upfront about what you want.
- Do everything on your own. I was asked over and over if we were using a wedding planner, but never found this to be necessary. We also saved hundreds by getting flowers from a wholesale flower market and tons of other decorative items on Taobao.
- Don’t be afraid to do what you think your parents won’t like. I was extremely liberal with this and wouldn’t necessarily advise everyone else to be equally audacious, but a wedding seems as good a day as ever to fight for creative control over how the event will pan out. 
- Have fun! At times it won’t seem possible, but you will, and you’ll get through it. 

All my love,
Cake Spatula Bakery
Photography Colossal Weddings
Florist hello flowers!

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