Taking A Break...

... from wedding stuff and posts.

Sometimes when dealing on such big pivotal points of your life, you just need to take a breather and take a chill pill.

Over the Chinese New Year holidays, we took the opportunity of doing something we hardly ever do anymore. Take long walks. When we worked under the same building, at least once a week, we would walk from Changi Business Park all the way home to Kaki Bukit. It was a stress reliever, one on one quality time and also exercise on the side.

So it was nice after so long, we took the time to walk in the morning from my place to Bedok Reservoir.

We walked/ jogged 1 whole round the reservoir and although the sun was shining, it was not really that hot.

After a hearty breakfast, we headed home and saw one of the stray cats we fed. This is catdog because it's a cat but size of a medium sized dog. Sometimes I use her as a feet cushion because she is THAT big and my feet size is ugly stepsister size eh. hehe

Anyways, it felt so good just to walk and talk. 
I felt so refreshed and my mind reset.


Our Experience with Pre-Marital Course with SPMC

I read somewhere that Pre-Marital Course is no longer compulsory but encouraged? I'm not sure how legit that is, perhaps if interested, you can call and check ROMM. As for us, we think there is no harm in learning. It's for our relationship anyways. We try to be open to each other and although we hardly ever fight, except for light squabbling, who knows we can learn better ways to deal with it rather than the standard "control your emotions".

Even though the 2-day course will be held at the National Library, it was written that ladies are encouraged to don their hijab. So, wrap it and go je.

I will share roughly what we had learnt and how it affected us as a couple.

Day 1:

Our first day was actually on Valentine's day. I didn't purposely book on that day eh... It was the next available English course at National Library eh. I don't even celebrate Valentine's day so I don't know why I am defensive. lol

At first, men and female had to sit separately and everyone was given a folder with 2 books. Our facilitator was Mr oOmar (nope, that was not a typo). You would think it's an auto S.O.P but you will be surprised. Please bring a pen.

By the way, gadgets in the class was so high tech to a point I feel old. haha

Mr oOmar was a very friendly and definitely cheerful man. After the introductory, we were told to have discussions on roles and expectations of our spouses as a group among the same sexes. There were plenty of interactions and movement which was ideal because it made it not monotonous. 

There were also plenty of breaks for Solat and munching. I understand the Solat but there was too much munching going on, they served food 4 times! And I know... I would've just choose not to eat but I can't. The temptation was real and the food was decently delicious. =P 

We got to write on each other books as notes of our expectations in the future. We later than get to sit next to each other to answer a few questions to know what is our Language of Love. I find this very interesting. Jhon and I have been together for 8 years and although we pretty much know each other, the quiz made know each other in a more detailed manner. 

For example, Our Love Language

We always say and do nice things together. We know what we appreciate and expect from each other but having numbers as a guide, I know know how much of an expectation it is from Jhon. 
Quality time was obvious because we are like two peas in pod but looking at the second highest number, I didn't know words of affirmation was very important to him too. I do say thank you and compliment him which to me was just a nice gesture but little did I know, it meant so much more to him. Now that I know, I should try to up sikit the compliments lah. hehe

We also learn to Ask and not Assume along with other topics. Yes, topics were technically should be bread and butter in every relationship. Everyone knows it but like knowing smoking kills, do you actually do something about it? Or when you really experience a hardship, can you really control your emotions? 

Jhon also finally understand the need of doa after solemnisation. Initially, he disagrees (because groom has to put his hand over the bride's head and he relates to demonic exorcism lol) but after understanding it's like setting up an 'anti-virus' program before marital life, he agreed. We will probably just doa facing each other instead of the hand over head thingy. =P 

After the class, we were told to fill in an anonymous comment/ suggestion form and that was the end of class.

Day 2:

We had to sit separately again but yet again, later, we would be moving around, switching seats.
Somewhere in the beginning of the class, Mr oOmar shared one of the comments mentioned in the form from yesterday's class. He said, somebody actually said what he covered was what he/she had already know. He said he was distraught because that was poor thinking.

Personally, I think someone who always thinks they know everything is boastful because even the smartest scholars thinks there is more to learn and even the most successful scientist knows there's more to explore and you think you are a know it all in relationships? Mr oOmar even showed a graph to elaborate.

There are 3 groups of people. People in group 1, 2 and 3.

In group 1, people need to be taught and guided while in group 2 are the know it alls; they think they know what it is to be learnt and beyond but yet, they are in the lower percentile with group 1.

While people in group 3 are knowledgeable but know there's room for improvement and most importantly, are humble. They are more likely to be successful (in all kinds of aspects, not just marriage). That is why, you must always try to be in group 3. So to those who think Marriage Preparation Courses are a waste of time or they think they 'know' already, think again. Which group are you actually in? Mr oOmar even gave a small 'burn' by saying people in group 2 are more likely to end in divorce as much as people in group 1.

On day 2, we learnt about sex in Islam and yes, the class got rowdy and giggly. I guess it depends on the individual. Mr oOmar was straight to the point and comical but there were moments when I shook my head while taken aback with an embarrassed laugh.

Before registering for the class online, we were asked what topics we would love to focus on and it ranges from no preference, handling in-laws, talk about Islam and others. Apparently, most of the couples chose no preference and second choice was talking about Islam. So the final topic was based on that.

It may be just a refresher course for others but I find it nice lah. It was very enlightening when coincidentally (or maybe not?), Mr oOmar answered Jhon's internal question of "Why are we here on Earth?"

Jhon has heard many kinds of answers from various people from his previous religion to Islam but he was never 'satisfied' with the answer. It was as if the answer still does not make sense to him. That was until Mr oOmar explained it. Clear cut and he finally accepted it. Alhamdulliah.

Throughout the course, we were also kept asked to sign our attendance list. We had to sign 4 times  throughout the day just to make sure we had stayed the entire course. So cannot cabot ah. Eventually, the course ended, we were told to fill in the anonymous survey form again and also write a personal letter to Mr oOmar. As in writing our thoughts and feelings of his course and if we would recommend it.

After it was done, we received our certificate of completion alphabetically. Alhamdulillah.
It was a bitter-sweet experience for me. I am happy we got our certificates but at the same time, I wish I could learn more because I don't think you can truly squeeze learning the psychology of handling a marital relationship in 2 days. It's really more than you think.

 Before the course, we always believed we have an understanding of each other's goals and expectations of all the colors of the rainbow but after the course, we learn that now we have to uncover all other colors such as the tints, shades and tones.

Would I recommend a marriage preparation course/ pre-marital course? 


Show Me the MONEY!!!

I've blogged about duit hantaran and it's issues here but now I'm going to light-heartedly talk about how to showcase your duit hantaran yang beribu-ribu tu. Pictures were collected over a long period of time so sorry I didn't provide proper source but the first 2 photos I photoshopped. =P Clearly, I was just bored and randomly typed for fun.

Whether your duit hantaran is $6,000 ke, $8,000 ke, $10,000 ke or even $12,000 (fuyoo!) the way to display it is always the same.

Frame it up simply.

Even it's just a cheque, lagi senang.

But I was wondering, if there is any other way to display the money in a different manner? Kononya nak jadi unique lah. Well, apparently, yes. Let's take a look at it together shall we?

Money Bouquets

Pretty right? I figured that you would need a string of 10 $100 notes to fold 1 rose but Singapore money now is plastic so good luck in folding them all.

Money Trees/ Shrubs

Some actually did this in Malaysia.

lol I just have to share it. Who knows some willing to do it for their wedding? Nowadays weddings are so modern and 'out there'. Jhon hates this by the way. haha

Money Cake / Cupcake

This was hilarious! This was made as an Ang moh graduation gift but I just got to share. You what was even funnier? As I was giggling and showed the picture to my mom and sis, they said it was nice. -_________-

Lastly and little realistically,

Simple Money Origami

Jhon and I love this one. We are considering to have this done although it's going to be slightly leceh with plastic money but I think it's do-able.

Butterfly is also nice but even more leceh. Tak payah melebih eh? Too much mak cik ni.
At least I am not choosing the money tree or cake. lol


Breaking My Head About Berkat

My mind is officially broken when it comes to berkat (wedding favors).

I had already blogged about potential berkat ideas here. Since then, the amount of people that will be invited to our wedding was from 300 pax to 500 pax and an official budget list had been written up.

At first, I was pretty sure I wanted giveaway jars of honey. I see it as practical. Guests can use it with tea, desserts and even hair remedies (which I usually use it for). If there are left overs, more honey hair treatment or me!

Alas' the berkat is not for the budget conscious. 

Hexagonal 45ml Jar (as shown in picture)
$2.00 each for 200 - 499pcs
$1.90 each for 500 - 999pcs 
$1.80 for more than 1000pcs 

Round 45ml Jar
$1.90 each for 200 - 499pcs
$1.80 each for 500 - 999pcs 
$1.70 for more than 1000pcs

BFG can't gave me a price because they said need to check price for cloth and tags. 
?_? But empty bottles with cloth and tags are about $1.20 for 500 pax. So you can roughly gauge lah, if add honey.

And then, I decided to heck care and just give salted eggs or boiled eggs in a box. 
It's definitely cheaper. Salted eggs are usually $2 for 5 eggs and 1 box costs about 50cents. So roughly, 1 berkat is about 90 cents each. Cheap cheap! 

"Vintage" Floral favor box - Order Code (FB-003)
$0.65 each for 200pcs - 499pcs
$0.55 each for 500pcs - 999pcs
$0.50 each for more than 1000pcs

[Berkat Favors Goodies SG]

BFG quoted me saying different boxes has different price which is understandable but they said it's $1.50 and below. That's quite a high maximum price for boxes. Anyways, they said additional 10 cents for eggs.

Then I was thinking, haiyah, Even though it comes for a somewhat traditional practice, it's still weird to give eggs/ salted eggs as berkat. I really have to not care to give. =P Then somehow, my mind lingered to getting customized sweets by Sticky.

I knew deep inside, it would would cost as much as a honey jar but I find it nice and I inquired for fun. They even gave a proposal design lah. It was really tempting.

For 500, 30g bottles: (15kg x $42) x ($1 x 500 bottles) = $1,130
For 500 plastic bags:   (15kg x $42) x ($0.50 x 500 packets) = $880
Not inclusive of delivery and GST. Plus, bags required stickers to decorate.

Basically, it was about $1.76 per berkat and it's just in a tag-less plastic packaging. Urgh! It's just too indulgent when I can save more than $300 on other things. BARGH!

It's like nowadays, you have to pay so much more for a decent berkat. It's extra hard when you are asking for berkat that is less than 1000 pieces. At this point, I am a little frustrated lah but will use the energy for my pursuit of a nice $1 berkat. Maybe tengok Bimla (ada lagi tak? lol) ke, go Johor ke, look for those glass plates. Seriously, when I was a kid, I remember following my mom and aunties shopping for pretty plates and bowls for dirt cheap man.

Although I am half-hearted to give away eggs, I have this feeling I just have to deal with it because of budget. You see, from the gecko, I made myself decide what vendors I am willing to go slightly over budget and vendors I am willing to sacrifice for budget. But I degil! Die-die nak 'nice' berkat. Maybe still early to the wedding, so I am being choosy. Maybe 6 months down the road, I am willing to 'settle'.


Photographer Booked!

Having a photographer and videographer for a wedding can leave big hole in your pocket. Base on general estimate, it can cost you more than $3,500! Sure, there are packages for both photo and video but the skill of work is not consistent (good photos, poor video and vice versa). We had already booked videography [click here] and we basically had a budget of $1,200 to work with. If you've have researched for photographers, that amount is too little for really good quality photos.

That's why we couldn't be more grateful when we saw this vendor that is packaged together with Vesari Ade. I've mentioned them 2 times in the previous posts so it's none other than.

 Invogue Photography!
[facebook] [website]

We happen to see their actual wedding photography photo album at Versari Ade's office as we were trying to book for bridal/ andaman. The photos looked fantastic so we had to ask who was the photographer. Invogue is their in-house photographer for indoor and outdoor photoshoot and apparently, also do actual day photography too.

Invogue is a Chinese company so it would be a little weird to have a Chinese photographer running around, taking the photos. Most people have this stigma of wanting to hire Malay vendors only because they know more about the goings and comings of a wedding and not to mention it's traditions. But since Invogue had been around for so long and the fact that the photos didn't look like it was any how taken, I have faith with them.

I wish there are more photos to share. The pictures on the website seems to be old and I could tell the quality is different from the recent pictures that we physically saw.

Anyways, we took our time on booking this time because we went surveying first but we still went back to Invogue. It's hard, you know, wanting good quality photos that capture moments at an affordable price. It also didn't help that Jhon is into photography so my standards also increased. =P 

Their 10 hour service was $1,600 but 7 hour service was at $1,100. Even if we had additional hours, it would peak at $1,400. They would give ALL photos taken, 500 pieces of 4R photos and a table top photo. I am contemplating on forgoing the table top and negotiate a price because I am already not only getting a table top but also a canvas photo from our indoor/ outdoor photoshoot. We shall see how it goes.

Click to enlarge

Over budget by $200 but I think it's worth it when I see the videographer and photographer we got. Sometimes, I wish I am not so particular with the qualities of the photos, confirm not over budget but these are the best at the best price for us. =D


Attending a Malay/Muslim Wedding: Tips & Advices for Non-Malay/Muslim Guests (gif post)

Firstly, these tips are not exclusively to all non-Malay/Muslim guests because sometimes, some Malay/Muslims don't seem to know the proper etiquette themselves especially in terms of what to wear.

What should you wear?

Wear modestly, appropriately and comfortably.
If you are attending a mosque solemnization, ladies, wrap a scarf over your head, men, wear long pants. For event places like the void deck, community centre,  restaurant or hotel, it is greatly advised to wear smart casual because regardless of the location, it is a joyous celebration for the bride, groom and their family. We want guests to look nice too.

Ladies, please refrain your self from wearing short skirts/dress (above knee length) and any tops that shows your cleavage; pants are allowed. In a traditional wedding, comes in traditional cultures and values. Besides that, wear anything that is comfortable of any colors you want. Usually Malays are greatly encouraged to wear their traditional outfits but if you want to too, we don't mind at all. We love to see your gusto in our culture!

Who can you bring along?

It depends on what is stated in your invitation card. Sometimes it states Mr Bla-bla and partner, sometimes it states, Mrs Toink-oing-oing and family. You can also clarify with sender just in case. Usually, especially if it's a void deck wedding, the more the merrier but of course, within reason. I don't think the bride and groom would appreciate you suddenly bringing your aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents; unless they were formally invited too.

What to bring?

Bring yourself and a smile.
Void decks can be hot so if you sweat easily, bring tissues or even better, a handkerchief. A small hand fan is acceptable too. Also, a small envelope with some cash as a token of gratitude and/or as a wedding gift to the couple. More on that later.

When is the best time to come?

For the solemnization, usually it's for close friends and family only. Unless invited personally or allowed to attend because you showed interest to be invited, you can just attend the wedding reception.

For wedding receptions, it depends on what is stated on the invitation card too. Some wedding receptions starts at 1 pm while others at 2 pm. It also depends on which side (bride or groom) venue you are visiting. If you want to 'beat'  the crowd and settle down first before the newly wed couple makes their grand appearance, come at least 30 mins earlier.

By the way, it's okay if you missed the grand appearance, no one's feelings will get hurt but it's one of the pivotal moments of the day so it would be shame if you did.

How long is the event and must you stay until the end?

Weddings ends at varied timings. The most common is 5 pm or 6 pm but some may last until 8 pm or even 10 pm. You are not obligated to stay up till the end unless you are a close relative to help out or just hang around. Usually, in my experience, guests would usually stay 2-3 hours on average but of course we would love it if you stay longer.

What to look forward for at the wedding?

Frankly speaking, all the happening stuff usually happens at the bride's side. Bride will be seated at her 'stage' as the groom comes in with his entourage and kopang (the men hitting the handheld drums). There will be 'gantries' before reaching the bride and a small singing and silat performance.

If you are at the groom's venue, you can just wait for him to bring his wife over with a simple entrance and cake cutting. If it's combined wedding, you get the best of both worlds.

It's a Malay wedding so expect food and loads of food. Some weddings have photo booths and special food/dessert carts. There are usually karaoke sessions Other than that, just mingle and absorb the atmosphere a Malay wedding exudes.

What should you do when you get to the venue?

Look for an entrance arch or where the wedding favour tables are because that's usually where the bride/groom's parents are. They would formally welcome you and ask you to settle down and eat. Don't recognize the parents? They usually are dressed up extra nice and/or the ones busy hosting and welcoming everyone else. You can always ask around too.

Once welcomed, find a seat, dine, take photos of the bride and groom, dine again (lol), visit the photobooth; if any and sign the wedding guestbook.

Where do you sit?

If it's a void deck or restaurant wedding, anywhere! Sometimes you may have to share with other people but it's okay. Be friendly and enjoy yourself. As for hotels or some community centres, there might be a seating plan so take note of your table numbers.

What kind of food would be served there?

Usually, it's Malay food but in some instances, it may be Indonesian cuisine. Food labels are usually placed for your information. Common dishes are Rendang, Ayam masak merah, Sambal Udang, Nasi Briyani, etc. The buffet are mostly catered for the carnivorous, so sorry there will be a lack of choices for vegetarians. We also have all kinds of modern and traditional desserts too,

Will there be alcoholic beverages served?

I know this is an obvious answer to most but you know...
There will be no alcoholic beverages served and allowed.

Are you expected to give a wedding gift?

Not at all. If you insist, you may but it's definitely not preferred compared to money.

How much should you give to the bride and groom and how to give it?

Honestly speaking, it's all up to you. We don't aim to collect money to match our expenses or even gain profit but if you insist in a number; minimum amount is $10 for people like acquaintances. You may give higher according to your sincerity. We were taught to be grateful whatever amount we receive. In fact, there are people who still give $2 although it's a little silly.

We would appreciate it for you to place the money in a small envelope. It's not a must to write your name on the envelope but if you insist, you may.

How to leave and say goodbye?

If the bride and groom are there and if you have a chance, you may approach or wave goodbye if they are too busy; probably from taking photos with others. Find the bride/groom's parents to formally bid farewell, wish them congratulations, compliments are optional. Preferably, if you are a man, please shake hands with the father and if you are a woman, shake hands with the mother.

Please discretely and respectfully pass them the money envelope. The parents or someone in charge of the wedding favour table will pass you a wedding favour and off you go.
If it is a combined wedding, please pass the money envelope to the the parent's of the side who invited you. For example, if the groom had invited you, please pass to the groom's parents.

I hope my tips and advice helped and if you have any questions that are not mentioned here, feel free to comment and ask!

Update (April 2016):

Photography sessions

Everyone wants to take picture with the royalty of the day but please take note of some protocol and respect. When the couple arrives and after performing a ceremony (solemnization, silat performance, tepuk tawar etc), the immediate families are always first priority in photo taking, followed by relatives/ cousins.

Only after that you may take photos with the couple. Don't worry, there is always time for photos. As long there's and opening, snap away!