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...