Outdoor/ Indoor Photo Shoot Booked!

I wish I could be like the small percentage of couples who don't care much about outdoor/ indoor wedding photo shoot because we could save a lot but a'las, I feel we should have it for feeling-feeling kahwin with different kinds of outfits in a nice setting. It would be most probably our first and only official couple photo shoot and it would be nice to see them especially years down the road.

We got Invogue Photography and Versari Ade!

Basically, we got the package with Versari Ade and they have an in-house photographer which is Invogue Photography. This is the first package that burst our budget by a few hundred so we have to make sure other packages go under. We still managed to get Versari Ade as our bridal and Invogue's photos were remarkable. It was an obvious decision.

Not only that, Abg Hadi will do our make up as he usually does outdoor/ indoor photo shoots unlike event day make up where you have to request.



This is my buddy's wedding photo shoot I "stole". 


 Invogue's signature style is infrared photography; which one of the styles Jhon and I love in photography. In fact, if edited, the picture can look surreal. Seriously guys, look up "Infrared Photography" and you will understand what I mean. I will be very tempted to further edit the photo. =P



Click to enlarge


Burst a little of our budget but I can't wait to do the photoshoot. I just need to stop my self-esteem bother me. 

***

We've done our photo shoot! Read about the behind the scenes here.


   

Pre-Marital Course with SPMC

Initially, I wanted Kasih Sejati: Succhi Success  ($300 per couple) because it was widely mentioned in the BTB community. It was known to be fun, light-hearted and not so nervously strict. I checked our their schedules and I saw this "Note: All programmes are conducted in the Malay Language except where indicated." and none in the list indicated it was conducted in English. So, okay lor... I waited, maybe it's not updated yet. 1 week later, still no updates so I decided to contact them.

Here's their reply:
"Salam Zura. Thank you for taking the time to write to us. Currently there is not much demand for the English class. Hence there is no all-English class. But the trainers sometimes talk in English and Malay, the partner that understands only English will be given an all English workbook, while the partner a Malay workbook."

Err... Lucky I asked, if not I wait and wait until don't know when and personally, although Jhon can pick up a little Malay, it's obviously best to have full English speaking class. So I had to find another group/company.

My buddy, Fizah recommended SPMC and instantly, I could see all the rows of English courses and 1 specifically at National Library and for only $260. Save $40 lah. lol Fizah said Mr Omar was very funny and not strict at all. So apa lagi? Book lah! On Valentine's Day weekend some more. lol Not that I ever celebrated it but I guess it's cool.


Click to enlarge.

There's also a pre-marital course at Darul-aqram at $110 (Member) $120 (non-Member). If you or your spouse is a convert or had classes here, you are already automatically a member. It did slipped my mind that Darul-aqram has pre-marital courses and pinched me more seeing it was way more cheaper. But I got to admit, a bit leceh because their course is every 2 Sundays and we just want to get it over and done with. FYI, their 1 day express course is $200 (Member) $210 (non-Member), Priority is given for convert couples and to foreigners who are here on a social visit pass. Plus, they said they will focus more on inter-racial situations but we were briefed that during our religious classes there. We want information on other topics.

I will share our experiences after we attend the course which is in more than 2.5 weeks time!

We had already attended the course. Click here for our experiences!

   

Wedding Cake Booked!

I've always wanted a pulut wedding cake because I want to try infuse traditional aspects of a Malay wedding as much as possible. But while researching, I realized that pulut wedding cakes are tend to be expensive too. Not only that, some of their design is too modernized. So I kinda drop the idea and go ahead with a normal wedding cake until my mom expressed that she would love me to have a pulut wedding cake like my elder sis. I typed pulut in the Facebook search bar and I found.

Pulut Affairs!
[facebook]

I love the designs. It's traditional with a touch of modern. There were good reviews of the taste too. I was grinning ear to ear when I read that Pulut Affairs will be at the Mega Wedding Expo because I could just personally enquire and if the price is right, I was ready to deposit.

Kak Lynn, the owner, was busy with a customer when we came by so when Jhon and I were checking out their booth, her husband approached us and he tried very best to answer our questions. hehe I would say that I sensed good people vibes from her family and I love it. Eventually, Kak Lynn explained to us the packages and showed us her work.

I was so happy her price was below my budget and I love it even more that her wedding cake design looks so wonderful and grand. Especially with 20 extra free pulut domes, my wedding cake table will look penuh.

There's a full picture but I show sneak peak aje lah. Although actually you can see the full picture at their facebook. lol


I also love that instead of 3 stacked tiers, it's deconstructed or separated. When I showed to my mom, she was very excited because she said it looked unique. Not only that, even though Jhon and I are tall, I dislike when cakes are so bertingkat-tingkat until during cake cutting time, it's difficult to get a nice angle of the bride and groom.

Anyways, Pulut Affairs also provides pulut cakes for birthdays, engagements, hantaran or whatever lah.


Jhon happy, I happy, Mak happy! Yey!

Click to enlarge.

Update:
Our wedding is done. 


   

Videographer Booked

This is another vendor that I've been eyeing on for the longest time because of their subtle cinematic editing skills. Some videographers tend to over do it which makes it a little pretentious because, after all life is not very cinematic, right? Unless you all like to drama-mama lah. hehe  At least, that is my point of view. The videographer we booked, capture not only the event but also the pivotal moments of it and stitched it in a most natural, storytelling way.

It is Videosmith!
[website] [facebook] [instagram]


If given a choice, I wouldn't have videography in my wedding but I'm marrying a Filipino and majority of his family will not be here, It's important that we have video along side photos for them to see our wedding. Especially it's culturally so different from them, I think it would be interesting for them to witness a Singaporean Malay wedding.

On the appointment day, Jhon and I met Umi and Fadzil for an introductory of the company; background story and their mottos. After which, they let us watch a recent wedding video that they were working on. It was (in my guess) 85%-95% done except a few more editing needed and color corrections.

I tell you.
I knew I've liked Videosmith videos by watching their director's cut or excerpt videos but just watching a full semi-edited video, like became love. It was amazing. The quality of the video was remarkable and as mentioned, the way they stitched everything together was so natural and there was no boring moments even though I don't know the couple. Somehow, I felt that I got a sneak peek of their personal lives and not just another wedding video.

After watching the video, Umi went through all the packages they have just to be thorough and mind you, she is VERY thorough; in a good way.

Initially, Jhon and I wanted the Wedding Essentials ($1,600) because, well, budget. We don't want to pay too much over $3,000 for mediagraphy (photo&video) and we thought, good enough lah, 7-10mins video. Until when Umi replied my email and in her postscript said that last year's $200 voucher off was extended to 10 Jan 2015 and she even extended a little more because our appointment was on 13 Jan 2015.

So apa lagi? Auntie and Uncle goes for Short & Sweet package lah! So instead of $2,000, we got it for $1,800 and our video will be 25 mins long with plus-plus. Horray!!! I mean, Alhamdulillah!

I show the prices because Videosmith is transparent on their prices.
Click to enlarge.


For more details such as their other packages and works, check out their website or submit an enquiry form. Umi is very quick to respond which I love. 

I am very happy and very excited! 

Bridal Vendor Booked!

It was the first thing we booked because I've been eyeing on this vendor for the longest time because of their classy, simple and sophisticated look. If you don't like sanggul lintang bertingkat2 like me and prefer a simple one, this is your choice. They are also known for their wonderful songket sets.

It's Versari Ade!
[facebook] [instagram] [website]

I knew about them at one of my buddy's wedding[click here and here] and I just fell in love. The pictures taken didn't give them justice though. Since I was also the Maid of Honor of the wedding, Jhon and I had the wonderful opportunity chit-chatting with the one and only Abg Hadi, the boss and main make-up artist. He was soft-spoken, sweet and really nice. At that time which was more than 3 years ago, he even said he had Barong Tagalog but during our appointment with at the office, they said they didn't have any.



Check out their in-house photographer, Invogue Photography to see more pictures of Versari Ade's work beside's the photography (which is awesome too by the way).



First week of January, I called Versari Ade ade and when I found out their package was within my  budget, dengan secepatnya I set appointment date. Oh yeah, one of the reasons that I felt I was destined to get VA was that their office was a walking distance from my home lah! But dekat pun, still sesat because we had trouble looking for the entrance to Block 11 to the third level. lol

Anyways, we knew we made the right decision because as soon as we entered, pass the corridor and into the main area, we were whispering "Eh! Nice! Nice! This is nice! Eh nice! Nice leh! Nice!" to each other as we saw the photos on the wall and clothes on display. We had to wait for 5 minutes and get to see their in-house photo albums and it was so beautiful lah. I cannot! The reason I had such a reaction because I got to admit, the photos they shared on FB don't really give them justice sometimes.

Since we have previous rapport with Abg Hadi, naturally, we would prefer him as our Pak Andam. Skill set wise throughout all the Mak Andam, I could tell there was consistency [Abg Hadi personally trained them] so I really don't mind whoever I get. But to request a MUA, there's a $500 additional charge. O_O Even if we were willing to fork out that amount, we were told Abg Hadi will be involved in a project in 2016 so his availability is shaky.

But lo and behold, since we were the first of 8 couples to book on the date, we got prime pickings so we got Kak Dee, Abg Hadi's sister and also an experienced make-up artist. horray! Save $500, still got experienced MUA. No wonder some couples are so kanciong in booking. Macam gini rasa rupanya. lol

Well, I can't disclosed an accurate package rate because couple requires different things and also subject to the year they are booking for. Plus, vendors and caterers are a little sensitive with their pricing. But here's a rough idea. If you want the exact amount, you can ask me and give me your email address but it's strictly for reference only, okay?
Click to enlarge.


The deduction and additions are subject to changes. As in, maybe they suddenly have their own barong taglog, no need to deduct from the original price. Or we decided during the choosing of outfits, we want something from the Ade Couture selection, then it will be added to the final invoice.

That's it! No turning back.

Update: 19/11/2015

Check out the day we check out Versari Ade's runway along with other vendor at Love & White Posies by SID Events. Click here.


   

Our Wedding Date

My fellow readers, Jhon and I are proud to announce that we had chosen our wedding date (InsyaAllah) and had officially shared it with our immediate families.

I would say my brother's reaction was the most relaxed with "hmmm ok. In Singapore?" only and father's the most serious with suddenly an impromptu serious meeting with all kinds of questions when I told him, we just want to announce first before booking out of respect. He went all about "dah prepare ke belum?? Sunat macam macam mana?" Among other questions.

Setting that aside, our big day date is:


Lol I have a concept for a photo shoot where I would miniaturize ourselves. This was a test from old photos and I thought I also use it as an announcement date picture. It's only shown strictly on this blog. I paiseh to share on other social media. =p

So if you guys have not get the idea lately, this entire year and a little of next year, it will be temporary a wedding blog as I document goings and comings of the preparations. My blog is a lifestyle blog after all so it changes as my life changes. So for those who find this not cup of tea, sorry-not sorry. Hey, perhaps you can pick up something here and there.

Obviously, I would still blog about other non-wedding stuff as they come by. This is just a 'warning' for wedding stuff vomit. hehe

   

Wedding Hurdle 2: Future Home - Overcame

Wedding Hurdle 2 we had was regarding our future home which was a real big doozy because that's the one that make or break our wedding journey. It's because, we would not have a place to stay after getting married. There is no room in my house neither at Jhon's room as mentioned in the post.

Although my brother did offer his house for a temporary stay, it's at Punggol and it would be an inconvenience for Jhon to go to work. And believe it or not, Jhon was worried and sad that we would not able to feed the stray cats anymore. (We had been feeding the cats that stays in between the route from my house to Jhon's house)

Generally, the most ideal decision was having Jhon's room mate move out of the room so I can move in and continue renting the room. It was most ideal because Jhon's landlord is actually my uncle whom my family and I lovingly call Abg Jamil. (long story). He used to live with us for if not more, half of my life, he is my personal hairstylist and definitely one of my favorite person. How is it not way better than renting a room or house from a complete stranger?

Even if we consider renting somewhere else, we are not going to rent a room with an owner we barely know and renting a house itself costs an arm, a leg and then some.

But there is Jhon's roommate, Rommel. We are not going to kick him out. At the most, we have to help him get another room first. Plus, Jhon and Rommel has been friends for the longest time and been staying with each other since day 1. I was just worried he might get the wrong impression.

AND THEN! Something wonderful happened!

Out of the blue, Rommel said, his wife will be tentatively come over to Singapore to work by earliest, mid 2015 so he will be moving out and find a place to stay with his wife.

Which means fate has made everything smooth and easy like delicious cream for us. Rommel will move out at his own will, I will move in and Jhon and I can settle down there. At least until Jhon gets a PR so we can finally get a house we can truly call home.

I, therefore declared, hurdle crossed.


Click for previous hurdle(s)
Wedding Hurdle 1: Location, Overcame



   

My Very Own Recipe Book

It's not MY recipes but my book which is full of recipes.

98% of the recipes came from none other, my Mak. Everyone always believe and eventually learn cooking from their moms, right? So I was no different. It took me this long to actually sit down and interrogate interview my mom for recipes.

Don't get me wrong. I was trained to cook since I was 12. Rice, maggie, then it lead to simple dishes. But years after that, I got malas (lazy) so instead of a Sous Chef, I demoted myself to a Kitchen Assistant. As I got older, I knew I better buck up. I don't want to survive with just outside food after getting married. Nothing beats homemade cooking, provided they are delicious of course. lol

So last year, since I know I will be tying the knot in couple of years time and the fact that I had plenty of time for myself ever since I quit my job, there was no excuse to step it up; which I did. I bought a nice, slightly over-priced notebook binder where I can add more paper and start writing.


Not working helped a lot because I actually have time to cook almost every day. I basically had theory class and practical class. Eventually, I got confident.

The notebook I got conveniently had their tabs so I get to group them as:

Red: Appetizers; Goreng pisang, Roti John, etc

Orange: Main dishes; Traditional Soup Ayam, Asam Pedas, etc

Green: Vegetable dishes; Kuah Lodeh, Brocoli soya sos, etc

Blue: Complete meals; Mee Goreng, Nasi Goreng Belacan, etc

Purple: Baking/ Kueh Mueh; Kueh Bangkit; Kueh Tart, etc

Lapar tak? Lapar tak?

One thing about getting recipes that come from someone's brain who has been cooking for probably 50 years, it's difficult to get an accurate measurement. People like Mak are so used to main campak-campak (throw) here and there so it's hard to share newbies the right measurements.


There's where the practical sessions comes in. Eventually, I learn how much Mak campak and I would try to roughly gauge in terms of measurements.


Some recipes, even I have problem gauging so I used my own instincts that I gained from her.


Now, I can cook awesomely like her! I just need to memorize the recipes which I think will come naturally as I cook them again and again.

    

Mega Wedding Lifestyle & Exotica Lifestyle at Expo 2015

Are you going?

I am going!



What is so different about this wedding expo compared to the others is that almost every vendor will be there. I wish they share a list of vendors that will be there but from I know, vendors like Vesari Ade, Cahaya Nanie, Chinta Weddings, Qashrul Hidafi Photography, etc are attending. Basically all the well known vendors all open for your enquiries.

This would be the first time Jhon and I attending a wedding expo with a 'nak kahwin' purpose. Not counting the Iman Kindergarten performances (Nephews') that usually goes within a wedding exhibition.

Say Hi if you see us!


   

Wedding Hurdle 1: Location - Overcame

I am very happy to declare that Jhon and I overcame the 2 hurdles we came across last year but I will go through 1 hurdle at a time. Read Wedding Hurdle 1 which was wedding location to find out the issues we faced.

It was basically between a void deck solemnisation/wedding reception or a mosque solemnisation/ restaurant wedding reception. I knew without asking my mom, she would love my wedding to be under my block out of convenience but there was more to it like previously mentioned, Bridal room, Budget and Family issues. These issues may seem insignificant to some but it is to us because it creates annoyance, hassle and tension which I generally try to avoid in life.


BUT everything is discussed and settled.

Bridal Room Issue Solved:
I've discussed this with my mom and she had agreed to my idea of not having a bridal room to showcase and take photos in. We just need to tidy up and make sure my room is presentable enough for the make up artist to see because who wants to let anyone see how their room is a 'tokang pecah' or look like a hurricane had passed right?

I'm so happy that my mom was okay with it because I know she prefers to have my wedding to be traditional which means 'nikah' in my home. But I guess she realised the hassle and not to mention additional money needed just to pretty up the room.

Budget Issue Solved:
No doubt, there's a budget difference comparing an under a block wedding and a simple restaurant wedding, But as long as Jhon and I are adamant on our budget and don't get 'mata keranjang', we should be okay. Just not having a pretty bridal room saves us $500 to $1000+ so I seek comfort it in that. hehe

Family Issue Somewhat Solved:
I can't avoid my parents' tension towards each other and one of my fears was that the tension would be so thick, you can cut it with a knife and it would ruin the atmosphere. I was told that I would be so busy that I wouldn't notice but I will because it matters so much to me that my family, especially my parents are comfortable and happy.

But thanks to my cousin's wedding, I had a sneak peek on how it would be like if my parents were forced to breath the same air. It was not THAT bad on the surface although it was quite bad. I shall not disclose the details but I guess the only thing I have to worry is my mom's lack of attempt of hiding her disgust in photos.


God knows how it would be like when my parents have to sit next to each other for the bride and groom ' salaman' but I can only hope for the best.

So yes! We are having a void deck wedding after all.

I, therefore declared, hurdle crossed


Click here for Wedding Hurdle 2
.

   

The Deal with Duit Hantaran. Does Zero Means Hero?

Late 2012/ early 2013, there was a sudden surge of online/offline dispute on $0 'duit hantaran' (wedding gift in a form of money or dowry) and up till now, random articles or videos by Mats or Ustads would come up.

Just a little background info for my fellow non-Malay/Muslim readers, for our solemnisation, there is a cultural practise of exchanging of gifts between the bride and groom besides rings. The number and type of gifts are usually predetermined by them. It usually consists of religious items like a prayer mat and Quran but also other items like bags, shoes/heels, DSLR, Playstation, really up to the bride and groom’s lifestyle. BUT there is one that is always determined by the bride’s parents.

The dowry, and this, my friends, has been suddenly the controversial topic. That money is kept by the bride and usually used to cover back the wedding expenses. For those who had help from parents, that money is most probably passed to them.

The idea of a dowry has been so misused to a point it may construe as selling your daughter because it deems as “You want to marry my daughter? You must have $12K in dowry” Mind you that is not including the gifts and actual ceremony. What is worst, there are parents who don’t consider the future groom’s financial standing and would quote according to their daughter’s well being and education.

“My daughter has a degree and can cook very well! $20K!”
The guy is just a small time office boy how?


So of course slowly comes in the group of people who said they would respect parents and potential bride who ask for $0 dowry with the exception of the Mahr (mandatory in Islam – expenses for wife. Think it as alimony) which is minimum $100 or jewellery of same worth. Means they are not money minded lah.

If you find someone with a family who requests $0, FINE! Good for you. If you want to wed strictly on Islamic terms and not cultural terms, FINE! It’s your choice, your wedding, your life.
But why do these people have to be self-righteous about it? It’s as if almost immediately practically everyone who has dowry and exchange of gifts are money minded. No right? That only those who wed without that 'duit hantaran' is so pious.

Anyways, on a personal note, the question is, will Jhon and I have exchange of gifts which includes the money gift?

Yes and No.

Granted, before taking weddings seriously personally, I automatically would figured that it does include a pair of heels, a somewhat branded bag, a watch etc but now I have to actually list my items, I don’t know what I want! Those who know me know that this is nothing new. I am a useless birthday girl when it comes to answering questions of “What do you want?” I never really want things. I am happy with money. I always say, I rather have $1K in my bag than a $1K bag. What do I do with the money? I save them because it gives me a sense of security knowing that I have money whenever I need it, travel, medical or whatever emergencies.

No gifts for me, which means no gifts for Jhon. Kwang kwang kwang.. haha I reassured him, I can buy for him any time, it does not have to be on the wedding day. Yey for understanding partner!
We would probably have dowry which I shall not disclose the amount because who knows, at the last minute, different amount then paiseh…  lol But it’s a matter of whether we want to showcase it or keep it in private. Mind you, this amount is predetermined by me and Jhon, not my parents’ lol.

My dad is the ‘sembarang’ (anything goes) kind of guy and mom is very understanding in this topic. She always says “Berapa dia boleh mampu” which meant “Whatever amount he can afford”. I told Jhon, I will be using it for our marriage, you know, to get us settled down, just in case, financially, we lost control. That’s my personal opinion and my intentions.

Just a message to those who are strong willed about the $0 dowry or ‘hantaran’. Please keep in mind that it does not apply to everyone that if they request an amount, they are money minded. Too bad, there were bad eggs that misdirect the intention but don’t generalize it. You wouldn’t like it if people say you actually don’t have the money but want to act holy-moly right?

As long as the amount is realistic between 2 parties and not menyusahkan siapa-siapa who cares?