Fast forward my last entry in Musing, today is one year anniversary of my own wedding and we are still in a long destination relationship between Penang and Singapore. The initial idea of putting up a wedding is scary cause I wasn't sure what challenges that would come to us. Not in fear or anything else, but the main obstacle of planning anything is usually the people involved, the politics.
Born in typical Asian families, it's an obligation from the parents to invite as many important relatives/people, for the tea ceremony and the wedding reception. Having photographed hundreds of weddings waking as early as the bride and leaving as late as the couple from the reception, it's easily that I've clocked more 'wedding experience' than my entire clan/families combined this life time. Thus it's inevitable that I'd have certain expectations of how I want my wedding to be. Maybe a nice looking ceremony and reception with pretty details, maybe at a garden or a beach would be fantastic.
But as we started the discussion and planning, what I envisioned starts to deviate further and further as it's seemingly less practical already considering the bigger picture in mind. It's a tad disappointing at first cause I know exactly which direction it's about to be headed to. But ultimately, we agreed that the priority is to make the process as simple, cost reasonable whilst respecting each family's culture ensuring the family members are happy. Else, we could have easily avoided all the trouble but just to sign a formal paper and have a simple meal with both sides immediate families. A wise groom once told me the wedding day is transient, not the most important thing to sweat about. In hindsight, I couldn't agree more.
I knew my wife around 2004 in the Penang Symphony Orchestra we join. I had a crush on her but nothing really happened until 2012. Though we have dated only 3 years before decided to get married, the prior communication and understanding between us are really comfortable. Some people thought they needed even more time to know the other person but no time is actually long enough. I don't quite know my father even we stayed under the same roof for more than two decades. I thought, she is the one I could spend the rest of my boring life with. Yes, getting married is not as exciting as how the wedding photography or video looked on the wedding day. I'd like to think that people decided to get married because we have finally found someone compatible that is willing to go through majority of typical(boring) days with us. Getting people that come and go quickly in our life who are only happy to go through exciting times with us are not difficult honestly.
At our mid stage of courtship, I've secretly budget and think about the wedding seeing she feels like the one. A friend was of huge help by sharing her entire wedding budget with me so I have a better picture of what to expect. Looking at the dates, our anniversary looked like a good one for the wedding as it's a Saturday in year 2015. Else, the next exact date that would fall on a weekend will be another 5 years later when we would be 33 years old in year 2020. Seeing sooner or later it will happen anyway, might as well get it done as soon so we will have more quality couple life before more responsibilities were put on our shoulders.
With that in mind, I am determined and decided to strike for the proposal on a night she came back to Penang on mid of January 2015. As both of us are quiet introverts, I hope to create an experience that will serves as a pleasant surprise at a personal level at least. I am still clueless how a person will know the ring size of their partner before a proposal. Obviously if I were to pretend bringing her to any accessories shop to try on rings or to measure the size of her finger with a thread while she is asleep wouldn't work. These will only give away what's about to come. She is very smart and that would annoy me if she burst my surprise bubble in advanced. I'm not fond of buying a not-so-right size of ring and then to have it altered after the proposal. I insisted to have it right.
One day, an idea came up. Why not I just buy a ring sizer thingy and propose with just that. I haven't heard of people doing it that way and it gets the job done just nice. So I ordered one through Amazon and wrote a proposal message to her in a notebook we are supposed to keep our memories together in. On that night, after picking her up from the airport I suggested to go to a nearby beach just to chat a bit before I send her home. It's past 11pm and way beyond her usual bed time. I kinda fear the whole process will be screwed but I guess she would be awaken by the proposal! The heart was racing fast as we are closing to the beach while she is in a semi falling asleep situation.
The weather is excellent that night, no haze, no rain. Just a clear night with skyful of stars being the perfect backdrop for my mission at the beach we enjoy going. I get her to read the page of note with my personal message while I light it with phone, then I kneel on the sand and asked her to marry me while bringing out the ring sizer. hehe.. It worries me a bit when she paused for several seconds thinking cause she don't see this coming so soon. It's the reason why I didn't want to make a noisy big scale proposal surprise with lots of people or fancy settings as often than not, it can be a form of mental pressure to make one nods. Fortunately after an eternity, she said yes. :)
The next day, we went to a shopping place with the mission of getting our wedding rings bought. It was a really tiring process screening every product every single shop has and to try it on our fingers. After several hours going through, we found the one.
I guess, the wedding is 50% done at this stage after she said yes. Moreover, her mother was wondering when we will want to get married for some time already. The next thing I needed to do is to persuade her to have the wedding in 10 months time. With the surprise that I proposed and still adjusting the mind to what's about to happen, I can relate it must be a lot for her to think about. She thought it's too rushed to have the wedding on the same year but I explained about the date and it's actually not hard for us cause I knew what we needed and where and how exactly to get them. Moreover being self-employed, my time is very flexible in doing many of the things related to the wedding. She obliged after few days discussing about it. The next thing I did was contacting at least 21 restaurants + hotels that fits our budget for availability to hold the joint wedding reception that can host about 450 people.
Constantly there are a number of things to think about and pending for execution but they aren't as hard as what we thought when dealing with it one at a time. Putting these into a Google Sheet is handy to plan the wedding together and keep track of the timeline getting things done. I have shared about planning a wedding from my experience here. We are very glad we pulled through the wedding while we are still young, there are much more important things to focus in life after this.
Summing up my own experience for the wedding, I am very happy with how everything turned out except for a few regrets which I wished to improve upfront. First, in hope of not troubling other people too much, I didn't delegate as much tasks as I should for the reception night. I ended up very busy running around looking after some stuff here and there. Two, instead of showing a childhood montage like everyone else, I created a session called Story Time with us sharing personal stories in a presentation style on stage - about our childhood, how we get together etc till the day comes. I've also put up a surprise performance for my wife on stage. It's all good but the time management is a little out of place as I didn't really micro-manage the timing for the entire dinner reception. As a result, I mingled less with guests and friends. We didn't set a time to go around taking pictures with our friends either. Luckily a number of them stayed through to get a picture with us before leaving and that means a lot.
As I said before, make time to take pictures with family & friends or it may not happen. For a typical Asian wedding reception, this is a dilemma. If we are serious about spending quality time with everyone who comes to the wedding, it's literally impossible cause we are outnumbered. More than 400 people turned out that night, this also means we need to talk to 3 people every minute non-stop, not eating. This will also totally defeat the purpose of putting a wedding reception if the wedded couple didn't get to eat or let alone enjoy the night. I wished the reception was of a much smaller scale but it is what it is. We are still looking forward to meet with everyone personally to spend quality time catching up after this.
Next up, we will try settling down somewhere suitable for us and the future from year 2017. I am looking forward to write another new chapter together with TingYin and see where this will leads us to.
&.b.t.w. - Wedding photography was done by Mocco Studio.
&.&.b.t.w. - The first picture of the guys with laundry clip, I almost gave up but seeing the guys were very determined, it got me highly motivated. It's the worst pain to endure!