Monday, December 25, 2006

Children - don't you love them??

Someone sent me the shots taken of the children at the Christmas Party last night.. When I saw them, I was grinning all the way.. oh how adorable and lovely children are.. I just love them. Dun you??!!

I decided to take out some of my past couple's pix and found some of the children pix...
One thing I concluded, whether the shots are taken by lay man like us or the professional, children shots are always so pretty.. they are so spontaneous.. natural models..

One thing I am sure to have for my wedding... many, many little children....God's blessings fr above.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

2006 - Much to be thankful for...

Last night was great... did not expect the good turn up for the cell party, despite of my late invitations. Many visited my office for the first time, and all loved the place.. Looking back, this office was truly a blessing. Usually in such gathering, everyone was busy with the food, casual chit chat and bla bla bla...
We celebrated Colleen's birthday too.. and as usual, I believe she was not surprised. But it was during that moment, I felt to do something different. why not have everyone shared something they are thankful for for 2006... I was glad I did that.. as different ones began to share how God has been good and faithful to them, beyond that short testimony, we knew and understood the journey that was taken between those words...
Yes 2006 has been a blessed year for me.

I started this year with a level of apprehensiveness, with a level of duties overloaded. We moved into this new office, just recruited a new team, and was given a new role to co-assist Pastor in Touchkids/Children worship. It was basically a new move for every part of my life, new office, new strategy, new team, new church premise. Everything was new, except one thing was not new : God is always faithful..

What can I thank Him for 2006?? Lots, and Lots, and Lots...

  1. My Grandma received Christ and was baptised at the age of 83 yrs old.. PTL!! Today, I saw her grow, from me fetching her weekly to her comfortably going to church herself thru church coaches.. I am so thankful. Granny is one person I love dearly above many.. and the day she was baptised, I teared. From a complaining naggy Granny to one that becomes optimistic and so cheerful. This was my greatest miracle for 2006.
  2. Thank God for my ministry. Each week with the children brings such new strength and passion for me to serve these children. All the crazy and sometimes seemingly silly dancing and jumping up on stage was worth it all, whenever you saw the enthusiastic responses from the children. From a period they were simply bored watching you to a period they dance and sing along with you for Him. Besides Touchkids, I am grateful for an understanding cell.. Often me as the leader was always so busy with people's weddings, I hardly have time for my members.. but they were so supportive beyond my understandings. And this year, we grew to love one another even more.
  3. Thank God for Heaven's Gift. It was a year of humbling, a year of steep learnings.. yet a year of great provisions and pleasant surprises.. every step I saw His hand leading me closer to my dreams. I have to say, this was the year I grow to love serving my brides esp the later part of the year... from all their paranoid journeys, to the day each of them was transformed to be the bride to be.. I was honoured to be a part to see their dreams come true. Whenever I see the Heaven's Gift today, I am grateful... Every wedding given was truly a blessing.. a discovery of who I am, and what He can do thru me.
  4. Finally, I thank the lover of my soul... without Him, I will not be who I am a woman who wants all her rights to one who simply learn to surrender... Afterall, He knows what He's doing.. and I just keep trusting and hanging onto Him for greater journey ahead.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas - Shopping to bless someone - Is so liberating!!!

Last week was a great week for me.. I must say it was a good closure for 2006..
I had 2 weddings to manage, one on 16th Dec, at the Sentosa Resort & Spa (Summer Havens), and one on 17th Dec (Oriental Fusion) at the Regent. Must say both couples were great, and everything about them was so spontaneous and genuine.. I just love it. Of course, I have the most unexpected lengthy appreciation note from my couple.. and I actually missed it, because was busy at the kitchen to ensure the wedding cakes are packed properly in mini favours for clients. At the end of the weddings, I felt so good... and I felt a new energy coming forward for 2007... I look forward for 2007, it's going to be a great year of new discovery, and more amazing weddings..

Today, I did my final Christmas shopping... as a planner, you are so busy planning for people's weddings, that you hardly have time for your own and your loved ones.. and today, actually received 2 enquires in the mist of festive seasons, closed one, and awaiting for the other.. i just felt so good, that the week is finally off.. and I have some private time to do my shopping- my way of relaxations.. haha
Oh you can't believe how much I bought.. (my folks were amazed just shopping w me) lots of goodies, groceries, and little toys for children.. and I can't wait for tomorrow's party to begin... and the next day, and the following...
Oh God, thank you for Christmas... this yr somehow Christmas is so precious.. maybe I knew next year Christmas, I will be planning a wedding in Bintan and away from home.. so all the more I must celebrate Christmas with all my beloved families and friends...
So for all those out there.. remember to spend the festive seasons with people you love and lavish on them, it's worth it.. trust me...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Toasting Speeches - how to make one?

Today's wedding was a light luncheon event. I love luncheon event, mainly the hours though short, the activities are tight. Guests will always turn up on time, and with the day light setting, photographers are happy because pictures will usually turn up very good, and somehow, guests are more spontaneous since the mood itself seems more relaxed and less formal.

What impressd me today was the speech made by my bride. She was definitely excited when she made her speech. I could see her the joy and the fun she had had when she shared her experience in this journey of her wedding planning, and how much she appreciated the individual ones that have helped her to make her day complete. On the other hand, the bestman and maid of honour were pretty apprehensive abt their speeches, esp when all eyes were upon them. There was a level of uncertainty and and I could tell this might be the first time they made a speech despite preparations they have made for the moment. Indeed, making a speech can sometimes be a daunting moment, so how to make a good speech, or rather I will say how to make a personal and yet lighthearted one :

Start off by introducing yourself, as not everyone in the room will know who you are. You might say "Excuse me everyone, if I could have your attention for a moment. I'd like to take a few moments to say a few words about our bride and groom. I'm Mathew Edwards, Joe's best man and buddy etc". To get the guests' attention, you might insert a quick joke here or a quote about marriage. Before you get too far into your speech, you should thank the people hosting, usually the couple, simply say, "We're all delighted to be here today on this joyous occasion."

This is where it is good to write down your thoughts before as it will really come in handy. Tell a funny story about the bride and/or groom (note I said "funny" not humiliating!), give your thoughts on love and marriage, tell the story of how they met, or talk about how you've seen them change through their relationship. While you may know the groom better, try to make your toast balanced, speaking about each of them. Try not to talk too long as nobody wants to hear you ramble, but do give some interesting details. At all costs, avoid ex-girlfriend stories and keep it rated PG for kids and grandmothers in the room! Most of all, if you are sincere about what you are saying, and your words come from the heart, it's hard to go wrong.

It's often good to wrap up your toast with a wish, traditional toast, or blessing for the bride and groom. Raise your glass with a resounding congratulations, cheers, l'chaim or salud, and don't forget to drink to your own toast!

So at the end of the day, remember the speech is a greeting and gift you want to bless the couple. Be cool and steady, always think of the couple as the focus, and hold the audience' ears to enjoy the moment, do not make it a self performance or presentation. And you will certainly not go wrong...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Table Centerpieces - which should we choose?

Table centrepieces - one floral essential for all weddings. My bride loves arrangements that has a singular floral type, and so the above arrangements were created. Choices of flowers were recommended by me and Sebastian has put together such lovely centrepieces that depict the beauty of both floral type.
When my couple asked me, Hannah which of these flowers will you recommend, we love both tho? I laughed.. and I was reminded life is just like that, we have to make choices, and sometimes both choices are as lovely.. At the end of the day, we either choose the one closest to our heart, or the one that is more acceptable to others. And I chose Phalaenopsis Orchids as theme flowers for both low and tall arrangements. To me, one that is closer to your heart is more impt than one that is acceptable to the people around you.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Understanding Your Parents - Key Essential in Wedding Planning

Just came back from a food tasting with my couple and family. I have always enjoyed meeting up with my couple's immediate family members esp their parents, and food tasting session is such a good opportunity. It is always in this meeting, you get to appreciate the differences and similarities you discover between the couple and their parents.

Most of my couples have very strong family ties and keeping family traditions is evidently a must. The dinner began by us discussing abt the timing my couple needed to keep in the fetching of the bride and tea ceremony session. It was interesting to hear from the mother of bride, her experiences when she was a bride, and how she was treated then and how she had also learnt to let go her old traditions to accommodate the new generations of wedding celebrations.

I couldn't agree more when she mentioned that. Traditions tho essential to observe, they are still afterall secondary compared to the life time happiness a couple should strive to have. All these while, traditions are created with the sole purpose to bless the couple in their journey ahead. But if traditions take over the couple's joy in appreciating that, that traditions become meaningless.

Yet as a couple, we ought to learn how to appreciate our parents' thoughts in those traditions. As long as the traditions do not compromise our life principles, it is always good to follow as they are elements of our piety and respect we can give to our parents. Wedding traditions such as tea ceremony is treasured, think abt it, this may be the only time you get to serve all your family members and your relatives you hardly see- the first tea they could ever receive from you. Isn't that marvellous... At the end of the day, as a couple, learn to enjoy the exchange of ideas from your parents... and see their point of perspective, at the same time, learn to express your ideas integrating their thoughts and make it a mutual discovered idea.

One thing I came into conclusion, no matter how involved your parents are in your wedding plan, their heart is always striving for the good of their children. So as children, we learn to appreciate that process as we plan our weddings. At the end of the day, trust me, you will appreciate the exchange of their thoughts, because they will always be a part of your life, and you hold a part of who they are in you. So instead of retaliating, why not learn to submit and enjoy the growing process as a family.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Try this, a week before your wedding, stop worrying, start pampering yourself

This week itself, I have 2 weddings to plan. And as expected, the week before each wedding, my brides will start sms me, call me, remind me for very last minutes changes, despite those details have been finalised again and again.

In fact, in every first meetings with my clients, I will preamble my brides, "trust me, no matter how cool and hands off you are, the week before your wedding, your anxiety will start escalating... and even though you and your planners have planned all the details as discussed, you may still wonder what else have we left out. So when such moments occur.. just tell yourself- I am going to pamper myself and do something different other than worrying abt my wedding details, so that I can get back to sanity.. haha"

So, why do we as brides have such paranoid behaviour.. the answer is simple- Since young, we have unconsciously think abt our weddings while we are playing with our barbie dolls. We read abt Cinderella and how she met her prince charming and lived happily ever after. We doll ourselves up as little brides, covering our face with our blanket as a veil, walking around our little room pretending we are walking down the aisle. So with all the years of preparations and subconscious awareness that one day we will get marry.. when we finally do, we certainly want the best to turn up for our wedding..
The week before the wedding, are numbered days left to get things right.. and no wonder, almost 9 out of 10 brides, this very week is the most intensed period of the wedding preparations. Simply beacause the moment we have been waiting for, for years, is coming to pass so soon..

So what is my advice to all brides out there :

  1. Before you start planning for your wedding, write down how you want to feel in your wedding? Be surprised, Be cool etc and etc And read it again and again the week before your wedding to remind yourself the key purpose of holding this wedding.

  2. Set aside a budget which you are going to spend to pamper yourself the week before your wedding, be it going for a spa, shopping for your best dress, or simply going to a hotel or resort and stay for 2 days, it's worth it. Doing something you enjoy ignites a familiar joy within you.

  3. Finally, trust your fiance, your helpers and your wedding planner.. that all will go well. As I always say "Wedding is a reflection of the host, even if everything seems wrong, but if the couple stays happy and learn to laugh it off, the guests may not even notice the err that occurs.. instead, they are drawn to the love and happiness that overflows from the two of you.

Small is sometimes better than Big

Today, my whole concentration was to get my car fixed.. and I am so glad I went into the right workshop - STA at portsdown. They are so efficient and friendly, really help me to feel good abt the whole thing.. When you are in the service line, and you experience great service from another service really makes your day...

Never thought I will have a car for the next few days.. I am pretty ignorant abt such repair services since it is my first accident.. when I was handed the loan car for my small hatchback.. I got a shock, wow Toyota Altis.. what a huge car. At least to me.
I have to say after driving for two hours, I miss my Swift... tho Altis was big and comfty.. but there's just a lack of personal touches like Smart Stereo control at the steering wheel like Swift, easy steering angle etc etc.., I think I am still suitable for small compact cars.. it's more me..
Sometimes, business is likened to it too.. Tho size sometimes matter, but being agile, customer-friendly and personal is what customer is looking for...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Be still in midst of unknown

Couldn't sleep... kept thinking abt my Swift... Each time I saw the damages to my Swift, the whole accident kept replaying. I am amazed at myself that I can be of sound mind to carry on planning the wedding. The accident happened on my journey from Beach road ECP highway to Keppel.. To imagine a cargo container hit me from behind, yet the impact we felt within was mere brush and scratching sound.. that's a miracle. God, thank you for being merciful...
When the accident happened, I was tempted to just rushed off to the workshop and call everyone.. But I have to be calm, and get the wedding going for my client. Thank God for a team of colleagues and assistants. Everyone just knew what they should do, and kept quiet. They knew the tension within me.. but we knew the task has to be carried on.

It was funny, dinner has begun.. came the Uncle of the bride who signalled for me "Are you the planner, Hannah.. " , and I replied "yes., can I help you... "No, I was told your car just got into accident.. are the damages bad... " wow news travelled fast.. I just told the groom only since I can't fetch them to the hotel.. and the world seems to know... Yet I was touched that people care despite the fact accidents are not good things to mention in a wedding.. That touches me.. and that is what makes our job even more worthwhile.. After all, weddings are reflections of the host.

Last night wedding was great.. Robin & Sue Ann was a great couple.. They learn to laugh and their sense of humour in life enables me more to work better as a planner. And they simply trusted me for everything..and enjoy the wedding. In times of such unhappy accidents, I learn to be still. Often when I am still, God blesses me with the unexpected.. and for last night, it was the love and warmth received from my couple and their guests.

The reason my blog was created

The past 2.5 years of me being an entrepreneur and a wedding planner has been an exciting, crazy and indescribable journey. I figure out that every experience I have gone thru so far in this journey should be recorded to serve as an encouragement, a hope to many out there who aspires to be a wedding planner, an artist and an entrepreneur.

Whenever I meet anyone and introduce myself as a wedding planner, almost every time I will hear this comment "Wow, your job is so fun.. i really envy your role..." And my immediate response is always a laugh (exactly the same laugh you see in my profile), yes.. it is fun. I can't deny the fulfilment I have received over the past years, yet within the laughter and fun, it is also a journey of steep learning, ever letting go myself and ever willing to take another step further to serve every bride, every couple the way the One above has led me.

You have to understand where I have come from, to completely understand why the learning were steep and amazing..Since young, I had always be an A student, academic achievements were never an issue for me. And being the eldest, you got lots of attention and support from family. Until I reach my late teens... that forced me to hold my uni pursuit for a while and stepped into the working world earlier than I thought (long story tho).

But God has always been faithful. My first company was a leather bags trader, and my Boss's favour was on me, she was willing to train me to be a merchandiser and a bag designer.. ever since then, retail lines has fascinated me for so long, part of the reason why I went back to retail and services line.. Then after 4 years, I went into the corporate world. From a merchandiser, I went to the extreme end of my career.. I went into corporate sales from training to advertising and media, to aerospace and automotive.. wow, what a change.. I suppose God has led me so far and so deep in each industry to allow myself to rethink what do I want in life...
and at the end of the corporate world, I have to admit the corporate life was an awesome journey, corporate perks were great. When you are in the top management, you get to enjoy what you have long to experience.. yet the position up there is also lonely... all the travel, the packing from hotel to hotel, the many nights away from home.. life was likened a suitcase.. haha

That was when I wondered.. Hannah, what do you want in your life??? I know what I want.. a man.. haha... but before I ever get to meet him, I realise is there one thing I want to do.. and I know from deep within, there's always a dream, a vision I aspire.. to start an art or business using my own hands.. the dream of being an entrepreneur begins.. and looking back, all the past years of my career were truly great training platform for what I am doing today...

So when I decided to abandon all the corporate perks for a start up.. my ex-boss laughed, few puzzled.. but my close group believes in me.. and that's all it matters.. It was like throwing away every glamour you used to have, and restart the learnings all over again.. I must say it was humbling at first.. but as you learn to be contented, more and more you begin to appreciate your new move.

But why weddings.. and why wedding planning.. honestly I have no idea.. I have no idea how it began.. sometimes I tease God.. You really con me into this... often, I am so glad He did.
Weddings have always been a part of my life... I was a flower girl when young, and a bridesmaid for my aunt, and then my friends.. and part time wedding florist for my church.. and then before I know, I was the wedding planner for my best friend's wedding...
I recalled two weeks before I registered my company, a friend has engaged me to do her church floral.. and we were at Mac, and she was sharing all abt her joys of her coming wedding, her anxiety abt her marriage etc etc... we were supposed to discuss abt flowers.. but we did not do much then... the entire conversation fascinated me.. wow wedding is an eye opener to one bride's dream, fears, joys and hopes...
And as a listener, I am often drawn to support, to assist and to be a part of that memory... I remembered after that conversation, I told my good friend, Colleen.. I know what I want to do for my business... I want to be involved in weddings, ... and so here I am a wedding planner..

And I called my company "Heaven's Gift", to remind myself, my couple Marriage is a gift from God. Though the journey requires commitment.. the journey reminded us abt His gift to us.. of all the millions souls on earth, you choose to marry one.. to me that's a miracle, a gift.. and hence, we should truly treasure that for life.. When we know it is a gift, the commitment thereafter becomes easy and liberated..
And this company is a gift from Him to me.. The amount of experiences I have acquired in the past 2 years can easily surpass the past 12 years of corporate world... And each time I reminded this company is a gift.. renewed strength, renewed passion continues....

Wow.. I have written much...
So friends and strangers out there.. may you enjoy my little story, and come to appreciate.. life is an adventure, an indescribable discovery of who we are and who He is..