A Cozy Wedding Lowdown

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Aaand we’re back. Wow what a year it has been. From our engagement after dating for 11 months, to our wedding a year after, it’s been a whirlwind two years for the both of us and we’re finally settling down after this roller coaster adventure.

Our wedding was (relatively) simple and all sorts of lovely, and we have a lot of people to thank for walking this journey with us and helping us make 17 Oct 2015 an unforgettable day. 🙂

So I’m just going to give a summary of all the friends who-who-do-cool-stuff/suppliers/freelancers we used for our wedding.

To start, we did not sign any packages of any sort for our wedding, and everything was “à la carte“. I’ve never been a fan of wedding packages for many reasons. Sometimes you think you’re paying for a good deal but these packages often compromise quality on certain aspects such as photography, catering, make-up etc. BUT with that said, we had no intention of going completely exorbitant on our wedding expenses, as the both of us had agreed early on that we could not live in a wedding and wanted to focus on building our home, so most of our savings were channeled to our renovation/interior for #acozyhome.

Of course, it also helped that we are both media/creative professionals… and hence, 1) we could do some of the things we needed ourselves, 2) we had many friends who were also from the industry who were amazing and kind enough to help us.

So if you’re too lazy to read this post, this is the tl;dr summary:

Venue: (church) Holy Grace Presbyterian Church
Gown/suit: BQueens
Flowers: Adorninglory
Cookies: HEiBaker
Hair/make-up: Delanie Wong
Photography: (photoshoot) 5degreeshift / (actual day) Chris Chang
Food: (church buffet) Rasel / (dinner) Mouth Restaurant
Staycation: Llyod’s Inn
Rings: Fairy’s Inc / Etsy

Update: If you would like a spreadsheet to plan your budget, this is a useful one that we created. Follow the instructions on the first sheet and you’d have a budget for your wedding and house!


Venue

Our wedding was held at Holy Grace Presbyterian Church. Our friends who had wedded before us had already done extensive research on appropriate churches in Singapore who were accommodating to other denominations using their premises, and Holy Grace was regularly coming out tops and as a favourite among other members of our church.

The staff are very friendly, very accommodating, very professional, and just made it very easy for us to work with. While you can’t throw flower petals or confetti in the sanctuary during your procession, they were quite relaxed with letting us put up quite a bit of decor downstairs on the church walls and pillars with blu-tac.

The sanctuary is fairly newly renovated, very white, clean and beautiful. The sound system, music instruments and projectors are also good!


Design


We’re designers. So obviously we started with a moodboard, which we used to brief our friends who were helping us as well. Above is our starting point and some shots from our “briefing x decor” session. One thing we were very clear about was that we wanted to make it as easy and hassle-free for whoever was helping us. (Yeah they’re our friends but they also have a life and weekends are precious). We did a combined briefing + decor creation session two weeks before our wedding and got most of what we needed to do in one day (disclaimer: except our cookies, more about that below).
Our theme was trains and dinosaurs – because Colin likes trains and I like dinosaurs. That’s all. These were reflected in our invitation website which we designed our guests along with other quirky bits of our personality. I like a certain range of bright happy colors but we were mindful to try and not turn our wedding into a children’s party, with Thomas the Tank Engine and all making their appearances.

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We also designed thank you cards for our guests. Thank you speeches at weddings are great, but you know you can never thank everyone enough, so we went about the slightly crazy task of writing cards to every single guest. I’m sure we might have missed out a few people by accident but nonetheless I’m just relieved we managed it at all! (Was writing cards all the way till the evening before our wedding.)


The Dress/Suit


The gown was the last thing I wanted to splurge on. I know many girls find this really important, but I fall into the “as long as I don’t look like fat/crappy/pregnant/fits me well” category. And we wanted to wear boots. Because 1) I hate heels, 2) We’re both around the same height so me in heels = taller = #nope 3) We LOVE boots.

So yes we managed to get my gown, his suit, and both our pairs of boots quite comfortably below SGD$1000. And also have you seen his tie? Colin is a transportation/train/bus/maps nerd so we bought the fabric for his tie from here and got it sewn into a skinny tie/bow tie and clip on bow tie at some shop at The Arcade.
Gown and Suit: BQueens. Valent works out of her tiny 3-room flat in Ang Mo Kio. Dress was custom-made to measure as she had something similar but I had wanted my gown short in front so we could see my boots. Returned my dress, but Colin got to keep his suit. 🙂
Colin’s boots: Dr. Martens, purchased on Amazon because #cheaper
Lizzy’s boots: Shellys London, found on eBay (just nice in my size!) as it was an out of season product


Flowers/Corsages

Our flowers and corsages were done by our awesome friend, Haylee of Adorninglory. I am not a flowers person. I don’t know what to do with them after receiving them, generally speaking. But I really loved the ‘messy look’ bouquet Haylee did for me. I requested for greens (because the only “flowers” I like are succulents) and it turned out beautifully. We bought fake flowers from The Verge (top floor, several awesome shops) and Haylee and some of our other friends helped to make them into these awesome adorable corsages. 🙂 We used magnets (available at Art Friend) instead of pins because we didn’t want our friends’ shirts/dresses to be ruined by safety pins.


Decor

Okay. The problem with being a designer/craft person is that… it will manifest at its peak during your wedding. Thankfully, I had many awesome friends who humored us me to create our photobooth backdrop, bake 300 over packets of cookies (as you’d see in the next section), cut and pin together a whole ton of windmills and put together our train and dino installation that was outside the church sanctuary… and so on. For our photobooth backdrop, we saw the reference for these hexagonal boxes on Pinterest, and ended up buying the boxes off Amazon because we couldn’t get them here and this would have been a lot less cool if they were circular/square boxes from Daiso, yes? Yes.


Cookies

Last year, we baked and iced 150 over cookies for my sister’s wedding. It was our first time attempting such an endeavour and it took us… forever. We see-sawed many times over whether to do it for our own, mainly because we had a lot of other things to do and Colin didn’t know why I would want to put myself through making so many cookies on top of everything else. But I’d wanted to have these cookies for our wedding ever since my sister’s wedding… so here they are. Helping us with this was a LOT of people:

It took us a better part of a week to put this together (with our non-working friends/friends who were nice and took leave/friends who work from home/came after work) and our awesome baker friend Ezer of HEiBaker and her boyfriend Aaron helped a LOT. Go check her out and order something yummy from her while you’re at it!


Hair/Make-up

There are ample freelance hair/make-up artists in Singapore, but if you want someone decent/professional, don’t be shocked to find that their prices (contacted about 3 and these were the average rates quoted) are all around $400 for half-day actual day hair/makeup, $800 for full-day (morning + changeover for evening), $300-400 for half day photoshoot and $150-$250 for trials. Is that considered expensive? Well, 1) they are professionals 2) they have to carry a lot of barang to your house and take taxi at 5am in the morning, you know 3) you think your Urban Decay and Make Up Forever comes cheap? As a creative professional myself, I know how people often cheapen our industries and simply not understand why we are so “expensive”, but freelancers have a lot more overheads to cover than you realize, and also, by the way, they got no CPF also hor. So I’d gladly pay up for a good profession makeup artist (MUA).

My hair and makeup for my photoshoot and actual day were done by Delanie Wong, whose contact I got from another friend as the MUAs I knew were not free on my dates. Delanie is really bubbly, friendly and makes you feel at ease immediately around her! Would definitely recommend. 🙂 Wore my hair up for our photoshoot as I fancied that slightly hipster/vintage up-do. Delanie did a good job and I liked it, but it wasn’t really “me” so we decided that I’ll wear my hair down for the actual wedding instead, with one side braided because #actcool. Also wanted a makeup look that was more natural as 1) I wanted people to still be able to recognize who was getting married. You know, some weddings you go, you see the bride and you’re like, WHO IS DAT? Yeah, didn’t want to be that, 2) I want to be able to look at my wedding photos in future and know that this was realistically me, not get depressed over how artificially gorgeous I could never attainably be again. #beyourself #beautifulenough

Another friend of mine who helped out is Leah, who is also a freelance MUA. She did my Mom’s hair and makeup for her in the morning and also had to damage control for me after our Holy Matrimony because I cried so much and ruined all of Delanie’s morning work. Ha. Leah’s first words to me when she started touching up (before we went down to say hi to our guests at lunch) was: “I’m TOTALLY JUDGING. I can’t believe you took photos looking like THIS.” Oops. She fixed it up real good though. 🙂 And she’s someone I’ll definitely recommend as well if you are looking for a MUA.


Photography

Aaaand of course! All the lovely, lovely images you see in this post are brought to you by two of my favourite photographer friends. Jac Chang (5degreeshift), who is probably one of the most amazing people you will meet. She’s one of the 3 founders of Prep, doing this photography thing on the side, and also other many other random cool things. She did our pre-wedding photoshoot, which was shot at two locations – Tiong Bahru and Pearl’s Centre carpark, because #hipster. Not sure if you can still get up to Pearl’s because the building has supposedly been en-bloc-ed.

Our actual day shoot was done by Chris Chang. He met up with us before our wedding and after hearing how much detailing we put into our wedding, made sure to get a macro lens to capture all the little details that were important to us (the installation, the cards, cookies, corsages, flowers, etc). He also captured many precious moments of us and our families, and the ample tears we both shed during the ceremony. The day after our wedding, he even surprised us with a quick edit of about 100 photos so that we could enjoy them on our honeymoon. 😀

TEARS:

 


Catering/“Banquet”

Church buffet lunch: We had tried Kigi Catering at a friend’s wedding earlier in the year and had enjoyed the menu very much. Unfortunately we contacted them too late and being a small outfit, they were unable to accommodate more than one large booking per time slot. So a plea for caterers on Facebook and some recommendations later, we decided to go with Rasel. We needed a halal caterer as we had Muslim friends attending our wedding, and the food turned out to be quite a hit so we were pleased.

Dinner: We had our “banquet” family dinner later in the evening at Mouth Restaurant. Technically it wasn’t quite so much a banquet as us booking 10 tables and a menu in advance and turning up with our own wine (at a very affordable $5/bottle corkage fee). No march in, no stage, no fancy lights, but awesome food in gigantic portions at a reasonable price. If your folks aren’t too fussy on the banquet arrangements, I’lll definitely recommend opting for a non-wedding menu at a good Chinese restaurant. The service got off to a bit of a slow start but ended with really full and satisfied relatives who even managed to tarbao the leftovers home.


Staycation

We booked Llyod’s Inn for our wedding staycation because their Instagram looked so chio. Yes. And because all my high level hipster friends had gushed to me about it some time ago. They only have about 30 odd rooms in the boutique establishment and we booked the second biggest room (The Patio), which had a nice outdoorsy toilet that the person living in the 3 storey bungalow next door could literally stare at you bathe or poop if they bothered to look hard enough. It also had an upstairs loft thing that we did not really need to use. And a comfy bed. And they wrote us a cute highlighter card because we mentioned in our booking that it was our wedding staycation. Overall, I would say it is an excellent choice for any romantic staycation if you book the bigger rooms – the small ones (which we peeked in to when they were cleaning) aren’t exactly what you’d choose for a special occasion, and they are also along the corridor closest to the lobby, which means that everyone will walk past your room on the way to theirs.


Rings

My engagement ring was Etsy-inspired and Colin had it done at Fairy’s Inc. Sandra and Evelyn from Fairy’s are great with customization and really focus on every single customer who walks in through their door to create that special Something. Their designs are very unique, magical and beautiful. 🙂

Our wedding bands were purchased from Etsy. We had wanted Fairy’s to do it, but when we showed them the design, they were not keen to do it as they were not confident of achieving the technique required, and told us they weren’t sure if anyone else in Singapore would do it either. Which I guess turned out to be pretty accurate because when I needed to resize it (it was a teensy bit too small when it arrived), another famous local jeweller said they couldn’t do it and I had to send it back to the Etsy seller in the States to get it resized.

But Sandra was really nice still, and took our ring sizes for us and helped us convert it to US size so we could order our rings online. I guess it can be pretty scary to order something as important as your wedding rings off Etsy when you can’t be sure of sizing/quality/make etc and you’re just basing it off photos. But the rings turned out great and the seller was also very responsive and accommodating! Mine was a bit too small and it cost me $30USD to send it back to her to get it resized, but everything still arrived in a very timely fashion and we love our unique rings. 🙂


Okay so that’s the extensive lowdown on everything we pieced together for #acozymarriage wedding. Phew!

Hope our journey was useful to you too! 😉

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