Sunday, December 7, 2008
Throughout the journey, I witnessed joys of a loving couple, tension between couple and parents over minute wedding details, as well as the faithfulness of another who have decided to renew their wedding vows after 20 years of marriage...In the midst of all the events, and my daily duties as a planner, I got news that my Granny was sick and had to be admitted to hospital immediately.. part of me was burdened with my granny's conditions, the other side of me was managing my client's wedding joys, woes, expectations and details... And then I decided to tell myself, Hannah paused and breathe.. God is in charge..
I was reminded what Mindy Weiss once said in an article.. after thousands of dollars is spent on flowers, and even when the hurricane comes and blows them away.. just remembered God above is still in charge of our lives..
That is so true.. as much as I am a fairy godmother to many couples, but I am also a little child before my granny.. I learn to simply trust that all will be well.. Pastors in weddings always say what God puts together, no man can put a sunder.. and yes, what God has brought in union in any relationship, let no one dare to take away what He has in store for us.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Though part of me can't wait to leave Singapore, the only part of me worries about my granny at home. Just visited her, and was more comforted. She had a fall on Sun and hit her head. She looks better now, as she descibed her fall, she could still be smiling and her expressions were so innocent. I could not help but smiled at her. My granny is always such an encouragement, I know why I got my endurance spirit from. Oh God, pls take care of her... and pals out there, pray along with me..
Monday, November 3, 2008
I have a British-Singaporean wedding. A British groom with great intelligence and precision and a Singaporean bride who is down to earth and very generous. My joy as a planner is often I get to see the extreme differences of my couple, and yet at the end of the day, I witnessed their love and how it has transformed both of their lives.. and today was another such example. The groom said his speech in Mandarin, sang a Mandarin song to the bride and her guests, and finally had non-stop "Yam Seng" with all his guests... everyone was simply having fun.
The event started with expectations of accuracy and precision. I often know before a ceremony, every one somehow looks tensed because I suppose everyone wants to ensure all goes as planned. The rain came twice during the setup. We decorated the perimeter of the Palm Gardens fountain at Raffles Hotel, everything was beautiful and the rained poured.. Actually we are quite used to that, somehow rain does appear in weddings esp the unpredictable weather in Singapore, but often it does stop at the right time. True enough, it stopped half a hour before the wedding ceremony began.
And then everything after that was a breeze.. because when you know even Heaven was good to this pair, all would be well for the day. I enjoyed every minute in this event. The Chinese crowd had so much fun in the Yam Seng sessions, the band was great, and most of all, everyone was so spontaneous.. I was surprised when the mother of the bride came to me during dessert course, and asked if they could sing some songs. Sure, why not..
Often in local weddings, you never get to see Chinese crowd step to the dance floor voluntary.. but this wedding, I saw that.. Aunt sang her numbers, and relatives supported her by joining her in the dance floor.. I saw the groom coming to me smiling "I didn't expected this, from Yam Seng to Karaoke.. it's amazing, but this is great.. everyone has fun, thank you so much for making this possible..."
Sometimes I do hear comments : weddings can be boring... I differ from that thought.. weddings are intimate, spontaneous and a joy to remember, it's all about how real you want it to be.. and today, I witnessed another real wedding...I just love my job. Thank you God for once again making me feel great about my role.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
And even at church, we continued to pray for the economy and the nations..
However, one thing remains... our hope is in the Lord. Somehow in the midst of all these uncertainties, everything looks so bleak.. then I was reminded of my business, how it was started.. and how He has provided, I told myself, Hann, there is hope.. God will be faithful as He has been faithful.
Pastor came to me and asked, so how's your business, has the recent poor economy affected yours too.. I pondered a while to answer that.. Honestly, it should have.. but then when I looked at the recent figures, it doesn't seem to be. I did receive many calls and applicants asking for a job, we did not have as many enquiries, so theoretically it is worrying... but somehow I knew in my heart, something is happening.. I can't tell what it is.. but I know it will be a time of testing, a time of strengthening, a time where the fittest will survive..
So as I was writing down and drawing my thoughts.. I draw a tree with bed of roses by the sea (so calm that the yacht floats gently) and the verse came to my mind : Jeremiah 17 : 7-8. and just as I was drawing as I was listening to Pastor's preaching.. Amazing, he read out the same verse in my mind :
But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Today, we launch our new wedding online store. I have always dreamt to go back to my retail roots, and finally today is the day...
As a wedding planner, I am always looking for new ideas, interesting supplies, but there's indeed limitations in local markets, so in the past 5 years, we have customised and created various supplies and stationery for my couples. Many of these little touches are still our treasured creations. And I was just thinking : why not share our products with brides out there, instead of keeping to ourselves.
Besides the products we have created, we also carry some of the internationally established brands from stationery to wedding favours, do take a look at the products we have prepared for you, log on to www.heavens-gift.com/shop.htm for both US and local ranges, or simply go directly to www.heavens-gift.com/store for products we carry in our local store. I hope you will find something interesting and apt for your bridal party as well as for your guests, allowing these little touches to be your ambassadors of good taste for all.
Honestly, I actually enjoyed it, despite the drizzle, we went with our raincoat and saw the beauty of nature and creations. Somehow, zoo brought back many heart warming feelings about family. I thought the day went off as planned, perfect... and after fetching my family back, I headed for my church meeting. And my day ended disturbed.. I was caught off guard, not expecting the fact my members' absence to a meeting could bring so much emotions... I somehow discovered a lot more about myself.. and often such moments are those you hardly want to confess.. and for once, I decided to do it on the blog, maybe it's the best confrontation I can have at this moment.
My life has been surrounded by my family, my business and my church life.. these 3 areas have almost occupied my entired time in a day... I almost poured out as much as I can trying to juggle all these.. Since young, I was always taught to give, impart and hopefully during my life journey, I get to see lives transformed under my leadership and ministry... and honestly besides desiring a happy family, my next dream is too see lives transformed.
Yet past 2 days, I got to see some behaviours and attitudes in the people I led in ministry.. and my heart ached. Have people become so self absorbed, so self centered.. that everything they do is more for themselves, their convenience, their benefits and not one out of passion and commitment... As I evaluated my ministry, I too reflected on myself.. have I brought up a group of people that are seemingly so talented.. but yet the hearts are so self absorbed.... what has gone wrong... I never desire to be a leader, just a simple woman that can get to do things she loves.. and often, I am put in positions or limelight more than I have wanted. I thank the Lord for the grace to be in those limelights.. but sometimes I am equally frustrated with those exposures.
I messaged my best friend today and asked for prayer.. and I knew what would be the reply.. Don't worry Hann, you will come out of it.. I know you can. Yes, I will and I can.. that's the image everyone thinks of me when they see Hannah.. but what they have not seen, is the warrior up there is also a child within... at the end of today, I was reminded about my Lord, Jesus Christ. He was bruised, beaten and criticised by the very people He loves... and despite all, He still gives..and when I compared my current situations and what He has done.. I am ashamed.. and I can only pray : Lord, make me to be more like you.. and help me to know my end.. this breath of mine is made worthwhile by the very grace of you and you alone...
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I remembered when I first started, I was a one man company. Always believed then I needed a showroom, a proper office, instead of following the rest just working from home.. Despite the caution of overheads, I followed my heart, because to me, I wanted a place where I could make my customers feel cosy at home, where the wedding ideas could be inspired from. Those days, I did everything from concepts, to designing to packaging and even to arranging the flowers, with the assistance of my part timers. That one man journey lasted for about 1.5 yr. Eventually, I built a team, and moved from a small service office, to now a little homely attic where many love.. I am amazed myself. I am grateful for all that He has given.
My assistant asked me today in one of our training, how did you start, were the wedding creations as pretty then. I laughed. In fact, if I really looked back, I was very fortunate. My first few couples' weddings I have planned were all inter-racial or expatriate weddings. I did not look for them, but they found me through my website. And just thru a simple phone call away, I was engaged by mere trust. My couples have given me the portfolio I could not have imagined today. From the very beginning, I met couples that were different, the weddings I planned have always been fun, spontaneous and intimate because of the couples I have. I have thus been inspired to make weddings the same for all my other couples.
Everyone might have thought that Hannah has started the business easy, having all these amazing couples. Yet what they did not see was the countless efforts I strive to make every wedding different. I was eager to learn, to create, I was looking for something different in each wedding, simply because I believe every wedding is a reflection of every couple I have.. and I want to make the wedding uniquely theirs, as much as I want it to reflect the creative part of Heaven's Gift. And last night all the flash back, just made me pause to thank God for all that He has done.
Today, as I was training my team, I learnt to share the experiences, to train a team that will have integrity in what they do, to be humble to serve, and to always be passionate to learn and create. Looking back, every time when I am in the office, I have not stopped working on something.. even at home, my mind is clicking.. but these days, I also learn that a rested mind will go a long way.. and that's something I have to remind myself and everyone I meet... work hard, play hard, and learn to rest as much... The journey is long.. but the rewards of discovery are many... so if you want to explore and step into the adventures of future, learn to take time and reminisce the moments... Someone up there wants to talk to you so that you can run as far as you desire to.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Now I understand why so many couples love to get married here. And Heaven's Gift will be launching Bali wedding packages for couples who simply want a simple intimate, no fuss destination wedding. And we make it affordable for you.
One change I do notice tho, 10 yrs ago, Bali was a place for the couples, the singles.. to date, Bali has become a family place. It was interesting to see couples bringing their children even their parents and rent a villa to stay. A great place for family retreat. I am considering for mine too..
I simply love Balinese kids... They are so lovely
It's time to relax, and away from the busy citylife
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Nevertheless, at the end of each wedding, when I received the thank you notes from my couples and esp from their parents, I know all has been well. It is always interesting to see the change from the first time I meet the parents in food tastings to the actual date of the weddings.. From their initial moments of uncertainty - "why my children want to hire a stranger as the planner" to the final realisation of the beautiful wedding details and moments shown on that day. This is something I am proud to be able to witness.
I just know I need to put my body to rest.. This week I will be in Bali to do some site visit and concept creations for a wedding... and I am really hope I get to slow down and get some time off..
Singapore life is becoming more and more hectic... and if we are not careful, we will be swept by the crazy pace, and forgetting to tell ourselves - Be healthy, and be happy, remember to take time to spend with your loved ones... and I am reminded : tomorrow, I must pay my granny a visit. oh Hannah.. you have so much to do...you really need to slow down.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
The leafy wedding cake
Monday, August 18, 2008
It is so strange, this morning, her aunt just called me to assist one of the relatives for the coming Sat wedding requesting help, and now receiving an email from Nisha, did bring such joy that ends my today perfectly well...
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
As a planner, I am privileged to get close to the bride's dreams, her thoughts and sometimes her private life. And often, these relationships complete my role as a planner. Though I am a planner that consistently seek for creative ideas, unique setup, and beautiful details... it is not the creative works that made my day.. it was the friendship I have received over the years that help me to believe in what I do.
Last Mon, I had lunch with another bride, we were sharing and exchanging our thoughts.. I then realised I opened up so much about my life that I almost forgot I am the consultant :) Life is amazing, it's the people you meet and befriend that makes you who you are. And I am one of such for sure... I was talking to Hari and he was right to remind me : We may at times wonder why we meet certain clients... yet at the same time, when we received clients that are so unexpected, so thoughtful, so gracious... they do seize our wondering.. We thank God, we have the best job, to do what we love and what we believe in... and to even be blessed with friends in the midst of it, it was a precious gift from God.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Most of them have become a friend and partner with us over the years. And to able to see all your partners gain a standing in this market makes you feel the industry has become more and more respected.
In the past, you won't get to hear a wedding planner promoting another... Everyone was cautious of everyone.. and yet the last 1-2 years, things have begun to change.. a group of us have realised each of us planner is different and unique, and we attract our own range of clienteles.
And instead of hiding from one another, we began to realise industry sharing is a great way of growth for each one of us, at the same time it is a motivation to see this industry grown to be more professional and respectable by many. The other good thing is our couples get to understand our roles better, and that helps us to serve them better and more effectively in accordance to the way wedding planning should be.
I was really happy.. today, when I received an email from Kim sharing some warning of scam email.. it was comforting.. because we no longer see ourselves as industry enemies.. but rather partners that will further motivate one another to grow and share..
I strongly believe that this will be the way the wedding industry will move towards in the coming future. And may the wedding planners path the way...
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
This trip to Japan was quite different from the previous, I got to discover the natural beauty of Hokkaido, enjoying every bit of being a tourist, not sourcing for wedding products, simply enjoying the luxury of being a tourist. You get to wine, dine and be merry.
And in the mist of enjoyment, the Japanese creativity and attributes does inspire me.
So what have I learnt from this amazing land, amazing people :
1. Nature is a true beauty and an unimaginative creation. I saw the growth of spa resorts at the valley of the active Volcanoes. Despite the volcanoes can explode, human beings seem to get used to that, and leverage on such high risk resources. Opportunities vs risk - I can now see the rationale...
2. Japanese are a breed of creative genius. A simple wild flower like Lavender is converted into vast rangeof beauty products, beverages, yummy lavender ice-creams, household items etc etc...
3. This is a land that consistently work to serve the consumer. Just as in the last visit, I am always amazed at some these inventions : warm seated toilet bowls with great functions; highways built with sound proof high walls to reduce noise pollution to the nearby housing estates; wide range of awesome toys, music boxes minatures, loads of pretty lavish sweet goodies that can turn a food market to a food garden, more than one can imagine..
In many ways, I love Japan, particularly Hokkaido.. and the smiles you get from the Japanese promoters always make your day.. so much we can learn from them... They are a true inspirations..
Friday, July 18, 2008
Always believe a refreshed soul and mind goes a long way..
So in case I don't reply to your email, rest assured all will still be well... and Hannah will come back more inspired and refreshed to create more beautiful weddings and moments...See you after 28 Jul... God bless.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
We had the ballroom at 5.30pm, everyone from lightings, sound, floral, band .. and we have David Gomez Quartet, so all expectations of quality details were high...When the last min clocked in i.e. 8pm.. all was up, one last step - photography of the details.. and I have to say the atmosphere was intense... last instructions for lightings and ok, all ready, the banquet door has to be opened.. when guests walked in and started taking their cameras out to take the stage and setup.. I was happy, once again, we made it for the setup we wanted..
I did panic when I saw the truss erected and seemingly leaning forward to the hotel chandeliers. Everyone held their breath.. and once again, my team has not disappointed me. Thank you guys for all the hard work. Even Tama Goh turned to me and said "It's amazing to see such a setup in such a short turnaround time"... and I have to say "Tama, thanks for rolling up yr sleeves and gave us a hand. I did not expect to see him smiling as he assisted in supporting the ladder for my floral team. After all, he's a celebrity himself. But I suppose everyone was united to see a setup completed as envisioned...
When the host, Uncle of bride came to me and said "Hannah, I have to say, looking from the two wedding setup this week, I saw yr strengths and the way you conceptualise - the word is "Understated Elegance", not loud nor tacky, that's your talent as a wedding planner. I was honoured to receive this new compliment: Yes, that is always what I wanted for all my weddings and parties... and hearing those words, once again brings me comfort and assurance in all the steps I have taken in creating the weddings I have envisioned for each bride.
Friday, July 11, 2008
As a planner, I can't do much to ease their anxiety at home.. all I want to do is to pray for her granny just as I have prayed for mine (my granny fell and her spine bone suffered compressed fractured, took her almost 6 months to have her walked properly without pain, so I knew the pain having seen her endured thru). And I have to say, I do love this bride.. Nisha is so cheery and so assuring all the time.. that I just want all to go best for her..
And of course, the day started well, my team could build the tentage, set the stage, and set the dining, stalls and kitchen area before caterer coming in to setup the dishes. Yes, it's one wedding where we have live kitchen, food stalls like a little carnival. It was great fun, seeing the moments pass by.. with the final touches from the floral team.. and finally waiting for the arrival of the guests. Interesting, when all was done, it started to drizzle.. and my heart wondered for a while. Lord, you did say today would be another great wedding... hmmm... I decided to just be still...
Finally when the guests come, the rain stopped.
Kuang, the photographer came to me after the ceremony shots was over and said"Hannah, tonight's day light is awesome, one of the best.. look at the pictures.. " He was happy that he could have such great lightings... and I was smiling and thanking God... now God I know why the rain. For normal day, it will be sunny, glaring and humid.. but You set the time, the weather, and even the moments for us to able to capture it with mere human hands.. and truly the Almighty One reigns. My prayer : You will reign in this family.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
This wedding has enabled to see how knitted Indian families can be. Last night, we had the Mehndi & Sangeet, I hardly see the crowd eat, but everyone was dancing and partying till 2am.. the friends and relatives offered dance items and special dedication as a blessing for the couple.. it was colourful.. Tomorrow is the wedding ceremony where couple will be prayed for in a Mandap. It will be interesting, my first witness of an Indian ceremony.
Yes, you must be wondering why am I still up late writing my blog... ya, that's always happen on eve of a wedding. It was not stress, not last min work (as all have been settled, my colleagues are a great when comes to completion of work). I never understand why.. the eve of a wedding, my energy level is extremely high... I will be checking websites, blog.. or reviewing my marketing plans... haha.. ya I have to agreed that I am a workaholic..
Or maybe after all the planning... you left only one area you know you can't plan - that is the Mother nature... and often I spend quite some time on bed just talking to God above... Lord pls help me to believe that tomorrow's another great day you will provide : cool wind, no rain.. and great weather... esp when it is another outdoor wedding, and I took a step of faith not to erect any tentage, and rely on existing shelter alone...
Then as I was reading my blog.. when I saw the text I wrote for my own profile and it was a reminder :
"Every wedding is a dream fulfilled, every wedding is a gift from Heaven"
So Father, I simply trust this wedding in Yr great hands... You will great the desires of my heart.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
I was sad when the groom said "It is becoming so different from what we have envisioned in our wedding, I can't wait to get it over having to manage so much obligations." (paraphrased) It was only after the concept was shared, I finally could see their eyes lighten up, and suddenly hope arises, there is still something to look forward in a wedding.
And such emotions are apparently quite common in Asian families. Or should I say in all families. Marriage is never a two person affair, likewise wedding is never a two person celebration. It is a family affair, a gathering of the loved ones and friends whom you love to share your celebration with . No wonder, we are stressed, simply because we do not want to disappoint those whom we love.
So how do we manage family traditions, expectations vs what we desire in our wedding. I will share my two cents worth in this area :
Before you even start planning for your wedding, ask yourself the following questions :
- To what extent will you involve your family in the planning, i.e. from wedding budget, wedding designs, wedding traditions, wedding program etc?
- Other than you and your partner, who will be the people you want to seek counsel from for your wedding ?
- At the end of the day, how much of your guests' comments are going to affect you, or rather how much do you want that to affect you.
The above questions sound rhetorical, yet the more certain your answers are to those questions, the better you can to manage your fear, your expectations as well as those of your family.
To put it simply, if I decide that my parents are the ones I trust to seek council from in my wedding, then I will tell myself, whatever they advise me of, I will not allowed myself to be uptight in their final decisions, simply because I trust them. And how much I am allowing them to be involved, will be the same amount of grace I am extending to them. At the end of the day, I will choose to be happy, contented and not be affected by any, other than those I have entrusted my faith in, simply because it is my wedding - a celebration of our joy, and the joy of my loved ones. The same applies if you decide otherwise.At the end of the day, I will reiterate what I always learn : Wedding is a reflection of the host... how it will begin, and end is a true reflection who the host is and expects of.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
That's why I always tell my couple : Pls trust us, Hannah is more meticulous than what you can imagine.. but often I learn to give my partners space.. after all, everyone wants to be happy doing a job. My joy as a planner is I get to create interesting weddings, and I am supported with tremendous gracious and generous suppliers who have become valuable partners. If you ask any of my suppliers, they will tell you Hannah knows what she is doing, and she is precise to what she asks.
On the other hand, as an artist, I do often get weary when I have to justify to my couple of my vendor selections, why I insist the way I approach in my planning, how I have envisioned the end product to be (despite they can't feel it for the moment).. and patiently waiting to the event day where all finally get to see what I have envisioned. The journey is often painful.. and every time, this long journey forces me to eventually decide whose wedding I want to plan . I know it may sound obnoxious.. but that's my woes as a planner.
I suppose every artist has his or her fair share of joys and woes.. and I just have to keep telling myself.. let the joy of creating beautiful weddings override all my woes. To me, a wedding reflects who my couple is, as well as how much Hannah and team have enjoyed in that wedding. I will say to all who wants to consider engaging a wedding planner, a designer, or a photographer etc for their wedding... do trust the people whom you have selected.. a true artist takes pride in showcasing his /her works, and desires to see his clients happy in receiving it.
Ok, enough thoughts for today... when I look up to Heaven, I find a new strength to press on..
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
and this was one wedding, where concept was thought 8 months prior to the wedding, and it was one wedding I can't wait to see my concept fully developed into deliverables.
Cookies corner, dining under the tree.. and most of all, a celebration that God is remembered thru out the wedding...
So enjoy these shots taken by Ead :
Couple : Shuming & Edmund
Venue : Shangri-la
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Friday, May 2, 2008
It was also one wedding that I actually teared when I heard Keon's speech. He allowed me to realise how appreciative we should be to God, to our family as well as people around us. We may want the best aesthetics for a wedding, we may want everyone to wow at the decor, or the special details we created for our guests.. but ultimately what touches the guests' hearts is the essence of celebration. Wedding is all about how a couple has found each other, it's all about how God has orchestrated the union of one man and one woman, so differently but so matched for each other. It's about celebrating the union with yr loved ones, it's about appreciating people whom you love and whom you want to rejoice with. Finally, wedding is a celebration, not a showcase, once again, this thought echoes so much deeper in my mind..
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Ok I was deviating from what I wanted to share. I received an email from Business Times, they wanted to interview me regarding wedding trends in Singapore. Last wed, I had my interview, and was noted that I was the last planner to be interviewed. As usual, I was simply myself enjoying the interview process, tho I must admit I was pretty tired due to major setup on coming wedding. Strangely next day, I received an sms from the journalist : Hannah, do you mind if we change the angle of the article.. we decided to do a featured story of you, my editor felt it was interesting to feature you.
This news came unexpected and was a pleasant surprise for me.
In the midst of busying, preparing other's weddings, God has been good preparing my PR direction. Attached is the link of what Business Times has written abt me.
http://www.asiaone.com/Just+Woman/About+Me/Marketing+Series/Story/A1Story20080414-59675.html- Becoming a Wedding Planner.
I was reflecting, in the short span of last 4 years plus, I have not spent much time nor funds on advertising nor PR management, and yet, I have been very fortunate to be featured in many different medias, and our weddings were fortunate to be featured in some magazines. Many asked how did you reach those journalists.. I smiled : I never look for them, they came to me.. and now looking back, I was reminded.. it's really not coincidence, it's divine.. God has been my best PR director, every move, every coverage was predestined by Him.. and I am grateful. Heaven's Gift is truly a gift of His love and provision to me. Thank you Lord.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Later some of us planners gathered together to have dinner.. Initiated by Esta from Truly Harmony. Despite I was actually really busy, I decided I should make time to join such community.. and I come back refreshed.
In the past, it would be a strange thing if planners gathered.in fact players in Singapore wedding industry are often close up, afraid someone would come and steal the ideas for another. But time has changed.. those who are open often are those whom you can trust to share and build the industry. I am so fortunate to have met so some of them, from photographers to planners to florists, designers etc..
For brides out there, when choosing your vendors for your wedding, look out for suppliers whose work are tested and proven. But at the same time, be weary of those that bad mouth the others in the industry. You will know who you can trust by your gut feel.. and always follow your heart when choosing your vendors, it will not go wrong..
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Kuang did tell me he's not wearing a suit for his wedding, and it's a simple celebration at the house backyard..
And when I saw the pictures, I was so happy, he truly stands up for what he believes.. And I have to say I love the pictures, I love the setup, so simple and so pretty and real. You can tell they are in love, and everyone is having fun.
Not much elaborate setup, but some lanterns, and flowers in vases, but loads of intimate moments with their loved ones.. I just love those shots.
It once again reminded me, simple things in life makes a wedding beautiful...
Friday, March 28, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
So for a while, I have wanted to share this with all of you. The following percentage is what I called an estimate for a decent wedding in Singapore, and we are referring to an average wedding concept, not one that is lush and extravagant. A decent wedding will also mean you will put aside some money for decor, for weddings details, and not entirely have all yr weddings details been provided complimentary by your venue owner. Often, we love what we see in bridal magazines, those intricate touches and wedding details, but such details are often not provided by hotel or venue owner. So you need to set aside money if you want your wedding to be personalised.
Cost to set aside :
- Ceremonial Rental & Ceremonial Reception - 2 to 5%
- Banquet Rental & Banquet Reception - 30 to 50% (the larger the guest list, this will increase)
- Wines and Special Beverages - 10 to 15 %
- Wedding Cake -3%
- Floral & Decor Setup (which may include lightings) -15 to 25%
- Bridal gown & suit -3 to 5%
- Makeup artist & Hair Stylist - 2 to 5%
- Bridal Party Floral Essentials - 3 to 5 %
- Wedding Stationery (invites, escort and place cards, menu cards etc) -2 to 5%
- Wedding favours - 2 to 5%
- Entertainment & Sound system - 5 to 10 %
- Actual Day Photographer & videographer - 10 to 20%
- Wedding Planners - 8 to 15%
- Special corners - if you decide to have Polaroid stations, special candy corner etc - 5%
Other personal costs which we do not consider into a wedding budget, as they can vary and be as large as one desires :
- Gifts for your bridal party and helpers
- Overseas guests travel and accommodations
- Special transport and tour arranged
- Pre or Post parties
The percentage may vary as the size of your guest list varies.. so take time to work out your budget and decide between both you and your partner, which of the above items are priority to you, those will be the one that will be taking the major segment of your final budgets.
Trust this is helpful to you all.
Sometimes, you have much to say, but you just do not know how to begin.. maybe life was too good...
Until this morning, I was irritated.. someone who promised to deliver her works on time did not... Usually, my couples trusted my choice of artist recommendation, because I do take pride who I recommend..
Yet somehow I realised when you are too nice to the artists, some actually took you for granted..
It has been 3 months, and the album was not delivered, I wonder why the long wait.. later I realised the artist has not touched the work yet.. and that drives me to the wall.
Certainly, she's not going to be in my list of recommendations for future clients.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Have a great lunch with Jas. Met up my ex-bride, Jas from 2005, a very creative lady with great talents in gem accessories creations. I remembered when I first knew her, I ever told her to try exploring her talent and set up a business in this line.. and a year later, she started her business.. am happy for her. Just as I left after the meeting, and was crossing the road (Not jaywalking, but with the green pedestrian light on!!!), a van dashed across towards me, and stop 30cm away from me... I was stunned and furious and stared for a long time at the driver...
The whole afternoon, that incident kinda shaken me for a while. For that moment, I was thinking I might have been killed, or in the hospital now... so close, and God was watching over me..
It was good later, that I met up with Marie & Chris and run through my wedding concept for them... we had a good time, and the ideas once again re-energises me, and the afternoon trauma left me for a while....
On my way home, I pondered.. God, life is indeed short, and I am thankful I still get to do the things I enjoy, be blessed with couples that provide me the opportunities to create the beautiful weddings I have been dreaming of, and be protected and covered by His grace.. and most of all, surrounded with His love that is everlasting.
Monday, February 18, 2008
I am now waiting at the car servicing centre, so I have my laptop.. reading some blogs, and updating mine as well.. Jus gone to Mac to have a long breakfast and was taking a bus to the mechanics to collect my car, (have not taken bus for so long), asked the driver the bus fare, when he knew where I was going, he said "never mind la, it's so short, I would give you a free ride... unexpected favour, I am happy... somehow when you are relaxed and not stressed, favour comes and you are quick to give thanks.
This period is my conceptualisation period.. so it's always good when my mind is relaxed, I get to see things beyond the natural eyes.. and I was reminded : Be still, in quietness and confidence trust, you will find your strength. So stay cheerful, stay focus, stay relaxed.. this is true.. when one is contented, all will be well... and even in the midst of uncertainty, miracles happen all the times.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
But how do you know whether you really need a wedding planner? These are ten simple questions you need to ask yourself and your partner before you decide to explore the options of engaging a planner :
- Do you have much time to do your wedding research and resource the right suppliers?
- Are you good in planning your budget and working around it to create a wedding that is personal and yet special?
- Are you familiar with ceremonial obligations, as well as banquet essentials?
- Do you have abundant wedding ideas to personalise your wedding?
- Do you have all the wedding checklists and helps from friends who can offer professional help for your wedding?
- Are you confident to manage the wedding planning process on your own vs the various expectations and demands set for the event.
- Do you have the patience to deal with the different personalities between families, friends, and even vendors?
- Do you want to personally deal with your guests' accommodation or needs related to the wedding event.
- Are you able to take care of the unexpected of the wedding event well?
- Do you tolerate stress well?
If you answer "NO" to two or more of the above questions, it's time to consider engaging a planner. Release the unnecessary stress by hiring an expert and the cost of it is between 5-15% of your total wedding budget, which is very reasonable and small. Looking at the cost vs the stress, it is definitely worth it all, unless you enjoy the learning process and able to handle your stress level. A good wedding planner will manage all the above 10 possibilities.
We always conclude for our couples to consider engaging a planner when :
- You and your fiancé are too busy to manage the entire wedding planning, or do not have the time to look into the many details of your wedding plan.
- You want to create your dream wedding, and do not have the resources to do it all by yourself.
- You are not familiar with the wedding planning details, and you need expert advice and recommendations to free you from doing all the research by yourselves.
- You simply want to enjoy on yr big day and can afford to hire professional help to make it possible.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
This year, we stayed at Granny's place for the longest time.. and simply having fun eating, watching 2 Movie Hits DVD.. , tossing Yu Sheng near Mid night and chatting up till 2am...Usually in every CNY, there were always be relatives that would ask me that one big question "So, when are you getting married??"
I suppose I can't run away from that, when I have basically surrounded my life planning and creating weddings... But I was actually amazed at the answer that came out spontaneously from my mouth : "It's never too late... as long as I am happy, and all is well.." My uncle agreed, "Yes, most impt, be happy, and choose one you want to live with for the rest of your life, not one with you can't wait to have just for the moment.."
This CNY, I was also amazed, I did something I have never done before in my life : I bought a 1000 pcs Mickey & Minnie's Wedding Jigsaw Puzzle - on Sat (Yes, job hazzard, even pastimes are weddings related...)and guess what, we began on Sun evening, and we completed on Mon evening... and this is my first Jigzaw Puzzle.. I was hooked.. wanting to see the each puzzle pcs transformed into a beautiful wedding.... and we make it, now I am waiting to frame it..
My sis asked, : are you going to sell it? Honestly, I've never thought of that, just wanted to do something I have always dream of... and finally the feeling of getting it done is an awesome satisfaction.. then again.. if I get an interested buyer, why not?
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Whenever we come to the section on pricing, it always seem steep for some of them, and there are times, I wonder are our prices really that steep.. but I knew it was not..
In the wedding planning industry in Singapore, for a full suite planning, wedding planners services range from as low as $2K, to any high as $20K. Yes, personally I was surprised too, when I was told of a wedding planner that actually charges $20K just for the management fees. Yet, when I think abt it further, that price is not really that unreasonable.. But why is that such a huge gap... it boils down to the expertise of one planner vs the other, it boils down to the establishment of one vs another.. and the extent a planner will go to create yr dream wedding vs the other...
In fact, in the wedding industry, I realised you can't really have such things called 3 quotes comparison.. wedding experts are all artists, and one art is different from the other.. you may give the same floral or venue to a florist or planner, but you will eventually see 2 concepts that can be very different...and priced very differently as well
Let's take wedding photography for instance...Today, a good journalistic photographer charges from $4 to $8K vs compared to 5 years ago, it was only $1.5K.. and the photographer tho appear only for a day, and the rest of their works go to their edit, you pay for a skill that is unique and unmatched, as well as pictures that will last a lifetime.. I always encourage couples to pay for a good photographer.. gone are the days when actual day photography are taken by good friends...
You want yr pictures to be not just another set of candid pictures.
Yet, many also fail to realise, without the wedding planner's hours of creative and well thought of details and inspired mood, one will also not be able to capture that many unique details and interesting moments... the entire process of developing and creating a dream is worth much more...
I remembered when I went to the States and discovered the rates of hiring a planner there is also very extreme, ranging from $1K to $100K.. David Tuttera alone charges $75K solely for his management and conceptualization fees... with his concept, the wedding is not just another event, it becomes a love story...
So my advice to couples who are selecting any services in the wedding industry, do these 3 impt steps :
- Ask yourselves what's your priority, to save time and hire an expert, or to hire a designer to create yr dream wedding, or simply having fun to plan your wedding all by yourself.. Your priority determines yr budget and your expectations... so take time to think it thru...
- Once the above is determined, then whoever you hire, you are not just hiring for someone who can do the job, you want to hire someone whom you know you can trust, whom you have a chemistry with.. such chemistry cannot be determined by a mere price tag.. it is an emotional attachment.. it's liken buying a Chomel bag vs Chanel bag.. they may sound the same, but they are different... the one you have an emotional attachment and one you feel most comfortable, you should just go with yr heart and not doubt further...
- Finally, after doing all the research in selecting the right people you want to work with, your ultimate goal as a couple is to simply express your dream, your story, and let the expert create one that matches yr dream, and your budget... And give them the liberty and confidence to create the wedding that you have been dreaming for years...
Monday, February 4, 2008
Last week was pretty good, I had time to watch "27 dresses" and had a good laugh, so much of the content was something I could identify with. And on thurs, I finally get to see Mary Dann's video.. and I was very very blessed, she's an inspiration. She reaffirmed many of my roles as a wedding planner..
For a long time, I always thought I have done more than what a planner will do in Singapore.. Honestly, planning a wedding is not as tedious as many will envision.. the logistics part as well as the conceptualization part is something I love to do...I love to create, and I love to see couples enjoy the creations, and guests having fun being themselves in a wedding..
but I have to say, the most challenging part of a wedding planner for me, is sometimes having to be a mediator, a therapist and a counseller between couple and families.. and learning to manage all the differences and personalites is something I used to stay away from.. But today, I have begun to enjoy the process and learning to laugh over it...
I used to think only Asian are particular abt traditions, superstitions, obligations and are conscious of how their guests perceive their weddings.. the truth is this is a universal fact of all weddings, regardless where you come from. When Mary mentioned abt her having to even take time to attain her psychology educations, to further equip herself in her role as a planner, I was indeed surprised.. when she finally relates and shares how as a planner, she often have to manage the different expectations, tensions and anxieties, and how she often become the calming influence to the couple and families.. I simple smiled.. I am learning and realising that of my role as well...
I came to a conclusion.. All parents want the best for their children and all couples want the most beautiful wedding they can remember.. and marrying the two is a learning & discovery process.
everyone has his or her expectations.. but everyone need to learn to let go of his/her expectations and choose to realise that weddings is not just a showcase, it is a celebration of love and union of 2 families.. and the earlier we understand the latter, the quicker we learn to enjoy the wedding..
So my 2 cents worth for you as couple and family members is : Plan well, Rest well.. and Determine to enjoy yr wedding to the fullest... simply because you have taken so much care in the planning to make this day memorable.... so having all planned, now is time to let go and celebrate, so that it will be truly memorable for you...
Monday, January 7, 2008
During my usual worship rehearsal, I heard an inner voice asking me, "What do you want for 2008?" My answer was "my mind is blank, an empty piece of paper..." The voice continued, "Hannah, likewise, I want you to give your 2008 to me, just like an empty piece of paper, and let me pen down your story for this year.." I was reminded abt Jeremiah 33:3, Call unto me, and I will show you great and unsearchable things you have not seen...
I did my first Barnabas club children worship after so long a break.. and I was touched to see the kids worshipping again.. at the same time, I decided I am just going to train my voice.
This year, I am not going to strive to get as many weddings, but rather I want simply to enjoy this yr of Sabbath, rekindle all my other passions that is close to my heart : Renewing some very close friendships, Rekindle some personal hobbies, and relive the pleasure of rest and work at the pace I have always wanted... so that I can be better at what I do, and create more beautiful parties and weddings I ever can imagine...just like this white tree wedding I have created two years back.. and till today, I still love it...
Friday, January 4, 2008
Thursday, January 3, 2008
At the dawn of each new year, I will always ask myself what do I seek for in 2008.. but this yr I was pretty silent... unexpected news, and unexpected emotions..and it left me wondering what a start for the year...
Pastor declared this year as the year of Sabbath.. a year of rest and a year of drawing intimacy and consolidation and I was expecting the year to arrive with great excitement..
But now looking back, the year has begun with me wondering what to do and say...
There were much dreams and plans.. but at the same time, I was put into situations where I simply decided to just be resilient and be slow to react. Maybe this year is a year I simply have to trust that despite whatever appears in my eyes are different from what I have envisioned.. in that quietness and trust, I will see things begin to craft into the plans that meant well for me..
I was reminded of Jeremiah 17 : 7-8
I will be like a tree planted by the streams, I am bearing fruit and my leaves are green.. whatever I do, I am prospering.. I simply put my trust in the Maker.