Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A week of overwhelmed emotions

Today, was so refreshed to wake up late, sent my car for servicing, and then had a leisured stroll down to Mac West Coast to do some work at my own pace... The rain was pouring outside but I was taking my time to enjoy the scenery and the space all by myself... Later that day, I received a call from Caroline from Wedding Entourage, refering a client to me.. have a short but great conversation..
We both laughed at the fact that the market is big enough for all the players, and instead of competing and fighting against each other, today's business strategy is build and strength the network.. And I must say Caroline is one sweet lady to talk to... I believe we have come and grown to a point where business is not all about making money.. it's building relationships and treasuring partnerships..

I was just looking back, last 1 week was crazy for me, all the visitations, the catching up with all old friends (since our weekends are always for clients), preparing for this coming weekend children camp where I am leading the worship, conceptualising the theme details for an Easter Carnival for an outreach... hence today's pace was good for me...
Can't deny the more I am busy, the more I think abt my future, how I want to run it..
Singaporeans' lifestyle is too hectic, and too demanding.. everyone is running a rat race, everyone is somehow been pushed to run that race, and rarely gives oneself to slow down...
And I was reminded I want a life that is fulfilling and at the same time, meaningful and enriching at a pace that I desire. So I prayed a prayer today, God , grant me the time to enjoy the pace you have given, the rest that I needed, the strength to do more, and the peace and happiness to witness and discover the experiences you have created. And of course, not forgetting the prayer.. God, I hope to see my honey soon....

Monday, February 19, 2007

Contentment is great gain

The recent road trip did do me lots of good... I realised how much, stillness and freedom of space can enhance one's life... Since this week is CNY.. and you get to meet loads of people. One of the common questions many asked me was "How's your business, how's doing?" Each time when this question was asked, I marvelled as I looked back... I have not done much marketing really, other than faithfully updating our website, and striving to do something good and something different in each wedding and meeting the right people, and I must say My Lord is faithful. Every time I looked at the calendar, and when a month is quiet, I simply commit that to Him.. and without fail, He knew what I need, and enquiries will be closed at the right time and moment. To me, volume is not the key, it is the quality and passion felt in each project. I want every wedding to be one I am connected, one my team enjoys creating, not mere busy abt. Afterall, this business is birthed out of passion and vision, not out of survival...

I can't deny I am so used to receive enquiries from couples at very late notice.. and often I enjoy planning such weddings..This month alone, the couples whom we have spoken to require to get married in April and May.. and many couples often are stressed that the planning period maybe too short and tight... Now I looked back, my first few weddings were all planned within 2-3 weeks.. and they were some of my best and most enjoyable weddings..
The key thing abt planning such short notice weddings is to be precise in what you need and want, and trust experts that we knew what's best for you... I often tell couples "Wedding is a reflection of the host", so enjoy the process, and not be stressed out unnecesssary.. if you read the word "STRESSED" backwards, it is actually spelt "DESSERTS", likewise, if you look at the piles of planning task to do, you would be overwhelmed, but if you learn to enjoy the planning discovery, and see everything as something new, something different, it would be desserts for you..
Contentment is great gain... My advice for all you couples.... Enjoy and discover each other thru the planning for the journey ahead as a married couple...Have fun.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Can't wait for another roadtrip...

Have been a while since I last blogged.. am back, refreshed from my road trip to West Victoria Australia... This road trip was special, since it's the first time I was the only driver, as my sister does not drive.. and hence it was my first adventurous trip from Melbourne to Great Ocean Road, and up to the Grampians and all the little towns within West Victoria...

God has been good.. we stayed in the National Park up on the hill.. with Kangaroos roaming around us.. and I remembered in one moment, I asked :Lord, can let me see other animals than Kangaroos alone.. just as I spoke, a reindeer appeared in front of my car on the road.. we were stunned and stand in awe.. We met some great hosts in some of our guest houses..

This trip allowed me to have the space I needed.. Driving itself truly is therapeutic.. you somehow marvelled at the awesome creations of the nature.. the unspoken melody in those winds, flowers, and the forests... I have to say I was so reluctant to be back.. Somehow city life is so fast paced, so impatient at times.. and hardly the space to breathe...
Hmmm.... these are some of the pretty shots taken... you can tell we have our fun.. thru oceans, forests, the falls and the mountains... oh God, when is my next road trip... maybe back to the Alps again...

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Finally for once, I am set to travel without worries!!

As I am writing now, I am thinking of what to pack for my luggage... for the flight tonight to Melbourne. Actually, I have not packed.., but can't wait for my break - Roadtrip to Great Ocean Road and Grampians. Just closed a deal today, a couple who wants to get married by 1 April. Met up their parents for the first time who were curious what we could do for their children. It was interesting to see how our conversation evolved from a cold assessment of our capabilities to one we exchanged laughters and ideas with the parents abt the weddings.. I always marvel at such meetings... and that's what I love abt my job, unveil the beauty of relationships and family ties.. and seeing yourself becoming a part of the link.. I just love it!!!

Strangely this time, all my couples were not paranoid, despite they knew I am off for my long break. They just believed that I will know how to go about planning for their wedding..
In the past, we would have received calls after calls from couples to check on the status.. but this round, all my couples simply said, Hann, just enjoyed yrself, we will catch up with you when you are back.. I love that, afterall planners like us do deserve a break.. and having couples who release you to rest is a real blessing.
I can't wait to see daynight today... and hop on to the Rented Yaris for the GOR.... yeah, off I go.. and dun call me on my office mobile... it's off for once... :)

Bridezilla no more: 5 ways to prevent wedding stress and bridezilla moments!

Got to read this article from Ead's blog.. and had great fun simply reading a personal experience from Ami, a wedding videographer when she was a bride... can't agree more what she has expressed.. At the end of the day, all of us brides need to know one thing "Wedding is a reflection of the host, a celebration of love beyond all the details and perfections..."

Personal Experience of Bride Lee Amizadai from The Wedding Paparazzi http://www.weddingpaparazzi.com/
Just before my wedding, I resolved that no matter what, (short of death or destruction) I was not going to freak out over anything that might go wrong on my big day. Luckily enough for me, despite my lack of attention to a whole lot of details (because I was in the middle of an insane work week when I got married), nothing went badly wrong enough for me to freak out. Of course, there were things that I would have liked to have run smoother or looked better. I could list them out, but the extensive list would make you ladies gasp in horror at the lack of attention I paid to my own wedding. : )

Still, because I had determined to concentrate on nothing else except have fun, I went through it all in a aura of zen calm. And it did me so much good! I thought I should share some of the simple ideas and coping mechanisms I advice my soon-to-be-wed friends to take. Some I put into action at my own wedding, and some I kinda thought up after the event. They're not groundbreaking ideas and some are pretty common sense, but I figure we need a post that addressed how to prevent and handle wedding boo-boos!


1. PRIORITISE. First off, decide what you want to prioritise on at your wedding. Do you want it to be first and foremost highly meaningful, awesomely pretty, an occasion to honour family and friends, or simply have fun? Having a priority in mind will help you decide what to keep and what to drop when it comes down to the time crunch on your big day. Eg: Do you spend your time personally overseeing the flower arrangements to get the atmosphere just right or spend the time writing an awesome, tear-jerking speech to thank your parents at the dinner?

(For me and my husband, the main purpose of the wedding was to create a memorable occasion where people had fun. So instead of stressing over frills and pretty details, we went for the experience. We got an awesome R&B live band (Walking on Water), laid out rugs and sofas on the lawn outside Burkill Hall, got professional masseuses to give foot rubs and generally encouraged people to flop around the garden, chat and have wine. We had people who stayed till the absolute end of the wedding because they had so much fun!)

2. STRESS *BEFORE* THE WEDDING. Do all your running around, decision making, contingency planning and assigning of responsibilities before your big day. Any details that cannot be attended to before your wedding, either forget about it, or delegate to other people who can handle it for you. Which brings us to the next point -

3. DELEGATE. On the day, you are untouchable. Put all your energy into being the happiest, nicest bride ever. Foist everything off on a good friend. Most importantly, empower her with decision-making, some money, and your word that you trust her decisions intrinsically. Of course, if you have a wedding planner, all the better!
I had a great group of friends from church who volunteered to help me at my wedding. One of them was put in charge as an overseer and she basically delegated, took stock and checked up on details on my wedding day. I am so grateful I had her around - I think the wedding would not have looked or felt as put-together without her and that group of friends!

4. WHEN THINGS GO WRONG and they will, remember that there's no such thing as a perfect wedding. Accept that things WILL screw up somewhere and instead of freaking out or taking your attention from enjoying yourself, find a way to make the best of it and make it into an interesting story. It's often the wedding hiccups that make the best post-wedding stories. But only if you deal with the issues with humour, grace and restraint. And if nothing can be done to fix a problem, shrug your shoulders, close one eye and trust that everyone will be happy for you despite the tear in the dress, the fact that the flowers are not as fresh as they should be or that the makeup artist was a bit overenthusiastic with the blue eye shadow. I know one groom who forgot to bring the bridal bouquet when he went to fetch the bride. In the end he took the entire floral arrangement off the back of his bridal car and presented it to his bride! : ) It was big and bulky, was probably full of highway exhaust, but it did the job and I bet they're still laughing about it to this day.

5. DO NOT BECOME BRIDEZILLA. Keep topmost in your mind the fact that your wedding is a celebration of love, family and friendship. Don't get so caught up on the small details that you forget about the over arching reasons. The wedding is a big deal, but you're shortchanging yourself if you lose friends after the event because you threw a hissy fit, you turn out looking stressed and unhappy in the photos, and half the time you are muttering angrily under your breath in the wedding video!
And if something DOES snap and you are inadvertantly curt with someone, find a way to apologies to the person, be he/she friend, family or wedding vendor. They might be in the wrong, but practice grace and apologise for losing your temper. It will do a great deal of good in dispelling tension, keeping the peace on your wedding day and making sure there's a relationship after the wedding. This applies even for wedding vendors who you will probably not be seeing again - remember they are a part of your wedding too. Nastier ones might actually do things to spite you - think caterers or servers spitting in your food and such! Even for those who don't strike back in any percievable way, its still in your best interest to keep things cordial because happy vendors are much more likely to go the extra mile for you. Think photographers who will help you photoshop out that huge nasty pimple!

So ok, those are the preventive measures. So what happens when things do go wrong? No one can think of contingencies for every single thing, but I thought we could list out a few scenarios (whether true or hypothetical) and accompanying fixers in the comments, just to give an idea on how to approach wedding problems. So please share your wedding boo boos for the good of brides-to-be!