Sunday, December 7, 2008

This is life...

This past 2 weeks was hectic for me. Recovered from the jet lag, planned a high profile wedding.. (but I must that was a great wedding and my clients were happy), had a series of food tasting, wedding rehearsals and now preparing for the upcoming wedding anniversary.
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

It's a inspiring trip...

I am back... Everyone was asking me, so how's the trip? It's one of the most inspiring one I ever had. I love Orange County, such an organised city, with one of the most friendly people I met in States. Even the custom officers greet you with a smile, you felt so safe in that place.

And of course, this conference in Newport Beach was quite different from the one I went last year. More couture, more inspiring and meeting with Colin Cowie was a great lifetime experience. I never expected such a meticulous and genius party planner, could be so down to earth and so gracious in his thoughts. I think that makes him stand out from the other celebrity planners. Every setup this time was more interesting than the previous one esp the luncheon with Colin.
Hearing his thoughts on what he thinks, he feels and how he creates bring me to appreciate life as a whole.. every part of him speaks about the kind of life and philosophy he holds dearly. If you want to know more about him, buy his book : Colin Cowie Chic. It's not about weddings, but it is about the lifestyle he upholds. Some may think he is extremely too obsessed with how he plans his life, but I felt that is what makes him excellent. I remembered one key note he reminded me from Wizard of Oz. A heart is not judged by how much you love, but how much you are loved by others. So true, isn't it.

On an interesting note, this Sun (after so many weeks away from church), I heard Pastor preaching the same thing : Excel in whatever you do, and if you want to excel, you have to discipline yourself to do what you don't like to do, to able to enjoy the very things you love to do. And one of such is being meticulous and being discipline to excel in every details. What an interesting match to what Colin has spoken.

I got to visit San Francisco as well.. visited the Fisherman's Wharf, the South Bay, which is the San Francisco Peninsula, beautiful homes, golf courses, and the nature, and one of the richest places in States. Have fun in these pictures.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Away in States...

In couple of hours, I will be on the plane heading to Newport Beach for an annual wedding planner conference. This time, our special speaker is Colin Cowie, the celebrity planner who plans all Oprah's parties.. can't wait to meet him.. and can't wait to give myself a break for the day to day hectic schedules..was told this time, besides myself, there will be couple of Singaporean planners coming along, will be great to meet everyone..

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

Another great wedding....

I just came back from a wedding, and as usual.. after a wedding, I always seem to have a surge of energy within me, it must be rubbed off from the excitement from the wedding. Tonight's wedding is another great wedding for me.

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

Our recent creations..

Yes.. have been so busy with the past weddings in Oct.. and every one is so beautiful..

In fact, our weddings from July to Oct, most of the them are inter-racial marriages, and it is so pretty to witness the various traditions and cultures..

My team has fun managing the projects, and I have fun conceptualising and creating each of the designs. And together with our floral partners, they complete what we have envisioned.. "Beautiful Weddings". Enjoy our creations!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Blessed is the man...

Sat and Sun news were bad.. the financial institutions are in trouble, Singapore govt declaring we are now in a technical recession.. everything looks gloomy.
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

Our new online wedding store is launched!!

Dear Customers and Friends,

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 for both US and local ranges, or simply go directly to 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.

What a day!!! Myself exposed.

Today, I celebrated my bday with my family in the zoo... yes, it was quite an unexpected experience.. but my sis suggested, "why not, it's a family place."So I woke up early, charged my videocam, and off I went to fetch my granny, and decided to treat my family to the zoo.

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

Reminisce my past 4.5 years

It's strange.. last night I could not sleep... have been busy preparing for my online shop as well as the marketing activities for 2009.. and all of a sudden, the flash back memories of where I have begun 4 and 1/2 years ago appeared so vividly before my mind...

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

Bali... a magical place

Just came back from Bali, and it has been a fruitful trip. In the past, I would feel the place was too religious and contrary to my faith. Yet these past few years of frequent visits, I grow to love this place. It is filled with beautiful people and amazing wonders. Below are some pictures I have taken over the years.
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

I am heading off to Bali...

I have been running back to back for weddings (too many last min weddings these days).. and still trying to keep my schedule of children worship ministry and my cell ministry.. inevitably I have not rested much these past 1 month...

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 really need to slow down.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

An interesting twist

We took some pictures of our last Safari wedding in Raffles Hotel.. yes, it was an interesting theme with a twist, no one expected that.. the final settings were better than what we even have expected.

The cutie beanies we have for our guests.. I just love the baby elephant...

The leafy wedding cake

Monday, August 18, 2008

An unexpected email from my bride....

I was just checking email on my off day.. and I received an unexpected email that ends my today with great joy...
"Hannah...I've been looking at the wedding slideshow that Kuang made for us over and over again. I am reliving the wedding days. It has not been that long ago...just over a month...but I am already nostalgic. Looking at the pictures, some of the stress of the day comes back and so does the feeling of joy and fun we had throughout the events. It is only now sinking in - SO MANY people took the time to come to our wedding and give us their wishes. We are truly blessed. And the wedding would not have been possible without all your effort and commitment. It would have been impossible to find someone else to manage the wedding better than you did. I feel like getting married to Lois all over again. If that does happen, it goes without saying, you will be our wedding planner. :)" Nisha (my bride from the Indian wedding I planned this July)

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...
Now looking back, I am so glad I took up this wedding...It was my first Indian wedding, and it changed my perspective of Indian weddings far from what I have been hearing. I heard so much horror stories from the industry about planning Indian weddings - poor payments, lots of demands, unfriendly relations etc etc.. yet my first Indian wedding has been a blessing to me...

I still remembered when Nisha first came to me, she was panicking with the last minutes details she had to look into it, and she never stopped sharing how much she loved our works.. I could still recalled telling her, can I meet your family first, to see what they are looking for.. (behind my mind, I was cautious having heard so much stories). Eventually, I took up the wedding, trusting that God has a purpose for me for every event. And I have never met such a generous family, who spent time, thoughts and efforts to ensure all the guests were well taken care of, from their accommodation, to transportation, to all special F&B arrangements (even their day to day diet, not forgetting an Indian wedding lasts a week), to even organising daily islands trips for all the overseas guests. I am just amazed.

The family trusted us more than I could ever imagined... I still remembered couple of times, Nisha uncle actually told his PA and some suppliers "You need to be able to work with our planner, Hannah. If she's not comfortable, we will review the arrangement. At the end of the day, she is the one directing the event" (I paraphrased the last sentence).

Honestly, to be able to receive such approval is an unexpected grace that the family has shown me. I don't claim to be the planner that knows it all, yet to be given such freedom and trust enables my team and I to express our works even more beautifully than what we can think of..We created an Indian wedding with a modern European twist. I suppose faith begets faith.. When someone trust you, you somehow shine under those wings of love. Once again, I love what I can get to do : Turning someone's dream into a reality...through the grace of my couples and by my beloved Father in Heaven.
P.S. Nisha & Lois, allow me to share your beautiful moments..

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My brides, my friends....

Today, I received a small package from the mail, and when I opened up and saw the Hello Kitty stickers, I smiled, it was from one of my ex-brides, Nicole from Dec 07. She just started her hobby in accessories making, and she made a pair of ear rings for me... When I saw the way it was crafted, the colours, I was touched. Nicole has known me enough to create something I like.. Simple and Elegant. It was definitely something I would love to wear... and strangely ever since I designed her wedding, from someone who doesn't like Hello Kitty, I actually bought a Hello Kitty doll for myself from Japan. Amazing, isn't it...Somehow, over these past years, my brides have become my friends, and an influence to me as well.

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

Wedding planners in Singapore

Last Thursday, there was an article about Singapore wedding planners. Somehow the journalist has written in an angle that made all the planners sound so candid.. twisted in her own angle of writing.. Nevertheless, I was also happy to see the faces that were appeared in the papers.
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

Japan - a land of wonders

I am back, refreshed and feeling a bit tour-sick(if there is such word) from Hokkaido... Not sick of tour, but rather I wish I am on a tour again..
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..

4. Genuine, authentic products... I love this, no more pirated products, no imitation goods, everything you see is authentic and true. You don't have to be worried about getting the best bargains, because everything is the same.. fair, and the only difference is the element of creativity and innovations..

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

I am having my annual break

It's past 3am, and I am still working... some last min instructions and follow up before I head off for my annual break... I will be away only for 10 days in Japan (it seems long, but actually not), and I really hope I do not have to bring my laptop(in the end I still bring my mini Vaio just in case).. have been working very hard the first half of year, and felt I needed to go away before I continue for the next half of year...
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

Everything is possible!

Last night wedding was awesome. I was aware the setup was huge when I designed it.. but never have I expected the 2 hour turn around was truly challenging... I wanted to create a 7.5m square structure of 4m height to build it like a huge Indian Mandap (where live band is positioned at the main stage, and guests dancing within the Mandap) - with details that have a twist between modern European design and Indian detailing..

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

The Almighty One reigns !

Wednesday Indian wedding ceremony was great.. Though I have to say, this short statement has travelled through much thoughts and efforts both from Planner and Host's point of view. My bride's granny felt and fractured her hip, and she was sent to A & E early in the morning.. while the rest were preparing for the wedding.. Yes, it was a period of intense emotions.

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

Eve of each wedding

This week, I have 3 celebration events for a couple. You would have guessed it, it is an Indian wedding. In some ways, I could say it is my first traditional Indian wedding that I am planning. or should I say not that traditional.. esp it is still an Inter-racial marriage of an Indian bride and a French groom..
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

How to manage your dream wedding vs the wedding obligations

2 days ago, I met up with one of my couples for 2009 to walk thru the concept. The meeting was interesting, before I even got to share the concepts I have personalised for them, they were sharing all the concerns they have to manage from families' expectations, requests, to weddings traditions etc, and all that literally drained them out.
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 :
  1. To what extent will you involve your family in the planning, i.e. from wedding budget, wedding designs, wedding traditions, wedding program etc?
  2. Other than you and your partner, who will be the people you want to seek counsel from for your wedding ?
  3. 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

Knowing your couple..

Have been very busy these past few weeks, it's the month where concepts are created, and couples flew in every week to discuss what we have developed for them. I always love such meetings, every time when a proposed concept is shared, I could see the smiles and excitement my couples begin to have as they envision for their upcoming wedding. That's how every couple should feel abt their wedding.

I met up a bride from Perth today, and I remembered her groom asking me over an email, "Hannah, do you have enough information about me to help you to conceptualise, since I have not shared much during the last interview..." I assured him yes I think I know both of you well, don't worry. And today's concept was another smooth sailing experience.. my bride just loved the proposed details, and it was almost I have known her for some time. If the groom is here, I could even be certain, we can confirm all details despite the wedding is 4 months away.

To me a wedding is a reflection of the couple... their love story, and their unique experience they are going to share with many, tho it is also a reflection of the planner. My joy as well as my challenge is how much do I strive to know my couple.. and how much our creations further reflect that. My colleague often ask me how do you ever know what they want? I don't really know how to reply that.. all I knew is I never stop dreaming, I never stop inspiring the fantasy within them...and I've learnt to never doubt my judgment and my creativity, but be confident that God has given me enough talents to do the job I have been placed to do... Like what my mentor always remind me : Love your job, and love life, and let your work be a reflection of the life that you live...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The launch of our new website....

Finally, after 5 months of on and off working on the web in the midst of all the weddings, we finally launched our new website.. It is strange, the first person that check our website is not my partner, supplier or friend.. rather my brides..

Felicia, one of my earliest bride in 2005 : Hey Hannah, saw yr web, happy 2 C yr biz has grown and God is blessing you.. I refered a few friends to your website:)
My recent brides, Linda commented : Love the feel of your new website. Feels even more pro and content-rich now, and the online shop is a great addition! Faith : Hey, saw your website. It's beautiful and yr interview.. You look really glorious.

Can't deny all these little comments made my day. We uploaded the site on last Sun(just 2 days ago), I could not wait any further.. have been directing my designer for so long from overall concept, to personally selecting the backdrop design and colours, to the content writeup, what pix to fit into which section, whose wedding to showcase, how to ensure navigation is user friendly etc etc .. and finally I decided ok.. enough of checking and editing, let's just launch it.

Sometimes I think it is more difficult to create your own designs than creating others.. I ended up becoming a perfectionist... and poor Eugene, he's patient with me. I think I eventually taught him how to be feminine from someone who has never created a wedding nor lady's portal to one who's eventually understood my language and my thoughts. Thanks Eugene, you are a star.

I suppose the change from the former site to this site, shows how Hannah has evolved as a wedding planner and designer. Some may like the new site, some may not... nevertheless it is true, the new site shows how I have grown as a planner, an artist as well as an entrepreneur. And at the end of the day, I still want to remember who has helped me thus far.. The Faithful one above... Thank You Lord.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My joys & woes as a wedding planner...

These few days have been raining unexpectedly almost like a thunderstorm. And I will be having an semi outdoor wedding in couple of hours. Tomorrow's wedding is for a charming British couple who has a great sense of humour and whom I have enjoyed working with greatly. I woke up early this morning after hearing the thunders, and I was praying real hard "Oh God, pls don't let it rain, my poor lighting guy are climbing up the trees to hang up fairy lights for tomorrow's wedding. And beside, this couple is so so so sweet... early today, I went down to look at the setup, and as usual, my vendors and partners were so supportive despite the rain, the ants on the trees and the slippery grounds. They waited for my approval before they could call a day off.

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

These pictures make my day!!

Ead dropped by today to pass me some pictures, and a simple cute remark he made (I paraphrased) "Hey, you designed a big wedding last week, shot by KC... how come I do not get to shoot such setup, so jealous...."

Sorry Ead, photographers are chosen by couples.. but I am certain you are in my preferred list of photographers.. so don't worry, you will get that opportunity...
I went quickly to check on the pictures taken by KC in his blog... and I have to say, those pictures made my day. And to large extent, I do love details shot.. and contrary to what local photographers' feel, details shot does further show the capabilities of one photographer from another..Billions of dollars are spent globally on good wedding details and lots of magazines and editorial publishers spent time to search for these... Besides, couple spent so much on these, which separate their wedding from another.
I will conclude, whether it is detail or people shots, all these make up a beautiful wedding, so fair share of emphasis should be put on it.. my 2 cents worth.
Enjoy these pictures from KC from Grey Matters

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sick but happy...

Finally I regained my voice. Have been sick for almost 2 weeks. Just had one huge wedding setup last Sat.. one wedding which I could not wait to see it expressed to the fullest according to what I have envisioned. (Tell you more once the pictures are ready)

The long hours of staying awake for the setup did make me wonder how did I make it through each event. I can only thank God I have great partners, and team to keep the dream going. I totally lost my voice after that wedding.. but it was one setup that urges me to create another wedding of such scale almost immediately. My only regret was I did not get to take some posed shots of my team with the Cherry Blossom Trees..yes, yes..I do love to pose with my details. :)

It was such a joy to see guests taking pictures again and again with each of the details..I laughed, somehow the Cherry Blossom Tree created on stage glowed so beautifully. I really wished I could bring that stage back home. Thanks much to Brenda & team from Fiore Dorato and my lightings crew who supported me to deliver the concept so perfectly. I can't wait to show you a glimpse of it, so here's one poor shot taken by me. Look out for more abt this wedding in my upcoming website.
I am glad my voice is back. Am invited to do a talk with the Ngee Ann Poly tomorrow... seems so much on my plates.. but I know all will be well.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Garden Wedding..

Saw the pictures from Ead, and love the shots. He's definitely getting better and better...
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

Love is in the air

I just got the pictures for the last Garden Wedding at Shang, imagine dining under the trees of lilies. . can't wait to show all of you more of the upcoming wedding designs, look out for my new website..

Here's a peep at it... Shuming & Edmund smiling beautifully at each other. There's truly love in the air, at the end of the day, that's what I long to see at each wedding... the love my couple has with each other, and the joy they shared under our creations..

Friday, May 2, 2008

The true meaning of wedding...

Yesterday was labour day, and I was planning for the wedding of Keon & Faith. I have to say I am very blessed planning the wedding. They came to me 7 weeks before their wedding, wanting something different and Keon was sweet, he granted Faith's desire to get a wedding planner, tho to them, having such a large group of church friends who can assist, getting a planner is unthought of for many.. but I am glad they did. Faith is always so trusting, and allowing me to do what I thought best reflected both of them. Despite all the comments they could get from their friends, they trusted their planner. And the more they do that, the more I want to ensure they have the best for their wedding. Finally, when I saw their smiles esp Faith's as she marched into the ballroom, and how happy and relaxed they were, I rejoiced. When she held my hand and said, "Hannah, thank you.. I really loved what was created...", "It's my pleasure.." I replied and I meant every single word.

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

I just love cookies & candies

Just got this picture from Eng Hong from39east.
I am in the current craze for creating cookies and candies corners, or rather I was.

Something I felt guests will enjoy and love the thrill of rekindling their love for old time favourites. Have done 3 of such concepts, but 3 very different feel... so when all the pictures are out.. you will get a glimpse of it. All these are so unique and it challenges me to make every one of them so different, and each concept that reflects my couple.
My colleague asked, so are we having cookies corner again for June weddings.. I said, no more, it's time to move on, because I just like the thrill to do something different and be the first to do so in Singapore, and I am certain it's time to move on, good things are treasured when they are limited.
And this is my first creation for Joelle & Jos wedding - 1920s vintage charm

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I have the best PR Director...

Last week passed me by so fast. Was busy preparing a wedding for 12 April (that was yesterday). Imagine having yr dinner under the trees in Shang Island Ballroom. can't wait to see the pictures..

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. 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

We grow as an industry

Today is an interesting and fruitful day. I started the day meeting Kuang from 39est ,simply chatted since he just returned from his wedding in Arizona...
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 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

Often, is the simple things in life that makes a wedding beautiful...

Ead showed me some pix he took when he attended Kuang & Juli's wedding.. Yes Chi Kuang from 39east, our great photographer...
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

Emotions within..

Granny got a minor heart attack this morning.. she fell yesterday... and tomorrow I have a wedding, one I look forward to plan. When all happened at one time, I just know I need to be still.. strangely the song that played in my car echoed, "Lord I trust you, I trust you..."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

How do you budget for your wedding?

In all my initial meetings, I always do a budget draft for my couples. Budgeting is key to any wedding plans. Without a budget, one will fail to envision what's the depth involved in a wedding.
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 :

  1. Ceremonial Rental & Ceremonial Reception - 2 to 5%
  2. Banquet Rental & Banquet Reception - 30 to 50% (the larger the guest list, this will increase)
  3. Wines and Special Beverages - 10 to 15 %
  4. Wedding Cake -3%
  5. Floral & Decor Setup (which may include lightings) -15 to 25%
  6. Bridal gown & suit -3 to 5%
  7. Makeup artist & Hair Stylist - 2 to 5%
  8. Bridal Party Floral Essentials - 3 to 5 %
  9. Wedding Stationery (invites, escort and place cards, menu cards etc) -2 to 5%
  10. Wedding favours - 2 to 5%
  11. Entertainment & Sound system - 5 to 10 %
  12. Actual Day Photographer & videographer - 10 to 20%
  13. Wedding Planners - 8 to 15%
  14. 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 :

  1. Rings
  2. Gifts for your bridal party and helpers
  3. Honeymoon
  4. Overseas guests travel and accommodations
  5. Special transport and tour arranged
  6. 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.

All was well until one artist irriates me...

Have not been blogging.. actually have been a good month of consolidating as well as spending time with loved ones.. went to Melaka and came back refreshed...
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

Count each day yr blessings...

Today is an unforgettable day...
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

Learn to be still, new joy comes...

Today is my off day... Yes, I do have off days, and am trying very hard to discipline myself to keep them as off days, and stay away fr work (but I have compromised by making some business calls, well it's necessary :) Usually, if we have no weddings on Sun, then Sun & Monday are our official off days... So for me, I don't get to have Mon Blues :) In fact, Mon is my happy day, I get to slow down myself, and relax my system, and usually creative ideas and refreshing moments come quickly during these periods.

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

How do you know whether you need a Wedding Planner?

Recently, we have received some enquiries from couples who are not sure whether they need to hire a wedding planner... in fact, hiring a wedding planner is becoming common these days, and it is no wonder many are exploring the options. Today's brides are looking for more personalised, more unique weddings, and coupled with their busy schedules in corporate world, wedding planner has become an essential more than a fad to the couple.

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 :
  1. Do you have much time to do your wedding research and resource the right suppliers?
  2. Are you good in planning your budget and working around it to create a wedding that is personal and yet special?
  3. Are you familiar with ceremonial obligations, as well as banquet essentials?
  4. Do you have abundant wedding ideas to personalise your wedding?
  5. Do you have all the wedding checklists and helps from friends who can offer professional help for your wedding?
  6. Are you confident to manage the wedding planning process on your own vs the various expectations and demands set for the event.
  7. Do you have the patience to deal with the different personalities between families, friends, and even vendors?
  8. Do you want to personally deal with your guests' accommodation or needs related to the wedding event.
  9. Are you able to take care of the unexpected of the wedding event well?
  10. 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 fiancĂ© 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

Blessed CNY!!!

First day of work after the Chinese New Year holidays... I have the best CNY in my life... where I seriously get to relax, have fun with everyone in the family and not having to worry abt what I need to plan or do during this period...

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

It's reasonably priced...

This past one week, I have many enquiries.. and I have to say I met some of the nicest couples who are not shy to express themselves but also those who came to see us because they simply appreciate our works...and I was very tempted to just manage their weddings without having to discuss abt our pricing.. Many of the brides surprised me when they shared with me that they have been monitoring my blog and updates on my website... it was almost a moment they have already known me..

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 :
  1. 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...

  2. 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...

  3. 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

To enjoy the fullest, you need to let go..

Finally, I am back to blogging... sorry guys, I have been busy.. Besides planning the weekly weddings, I was taking some time to consolidate some of my personal matters, and discipline myself to start the year of Sabbath..

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

Renew, Rekindle & Relive...

Last weekend was refreshing... I led my first worship with the children, and I heard the Holy Spirit's gentle voice of assurance..
As a business woman and a wedding planner, you always have a plan.. and this year, 2008 began for me with many unexpected news, and for the first time, I did not have a plan.. that's when my inner voice asked me, Hannah, what do you want for 2008, I said : I am not sure, my mind is blank, just like a blank of paper...

And then I heard God just spoke in my heart "Hann, that's how I want you to live for 2008, gave me your 2008, like a blank piece of paper, and let me unfold the stories I have created for you..." I teared and I was also relieved.. No planning, simply resting and enjoying...

I know it's a year of renewing my social life, other than merely working for others' weddings.. rekindle my other passion, training my vocal and travelling once again around the world.. and finally relive the meaning of a good balance of rest and work.. All work and play makes Hannah a sane planner.. I still want to create the most beautiful weddings I can ever imagine, ones that I love regardless of age..and just like this White Tree wedding I have created 2 yrs ago, till today, I still love...

A new hope for a new year...

Last weekend was a refreshing moment for me.. I have not penned down any New Year Resolutions.. as there were too many unexpected news for me at the start of the new year.

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

Thank you Nicole & Jiawei

Just came back after a dinner with my couple, Nicole & Jiawei... this was the couple that allowed me to create the theme Childhood Fantasy, for their wedding with touches of Hello Kitty, since Nicole is a fan of Hello Kitty...Love this wedding, so simple and yet so personal...

They gave me a Champagne glass with my name engraved on it, so apt.. I love drinking champagne. Today I was simply myself, sharing my encounters, joy and woes I have as a planner.. and they laughing over some of the silly things our jobs can encounter..
We had a good time sharing, and somehow I realised I missed travelling.. I realised I have not travelled as much as I used to.. and those fond memories came back when I shared abt the places I have been too.. it's time for me to travel again...

Tomorrow, I am meeting some ex-couples of mine.. can't wait to catch up with some of them.. for some, they have become friends.. and I can be simply myself with no pretense.. and that's the part I love most..

Thursday, January 3, 2008

2008... it's a new year

I have been silent since the trip back from States, and indeed Dec was a busy month for us.. but I must also say I have a great Dec month.. in fact, the past weddings since Sep-Dec were some of my best weddings of the year...

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.