Saturday, December 12, 2009

An Important & Sentimental Week...

Wow, it has been 2 months since I last wrote a blog, that's not good.. I need to set some time for myself more in 2010. This week has been a very sentimental week. A year ago, 10th of December 2008 was the day my granny passed on, yes time flies. And looking back, during those 3 months after her death, we have created some of the best works we have ever imagined. I suppose during those moments, I buried myself in wedding creations and ignored the real emotions of the loss I have within me. And God is good, along with the memories, He enabled me to do what I can't imagine I can achieve, even till today I am still amazed how did I pass through those period of grieve and turn it around with His works of beauty.

The Maldives Impression
The Magical Dancefloor - one will love to have
Classic Elegance
Autumn Fantasy
Exotic Bali
Today, I have another wedding I have been looking forward to create for two doctors with big hearts... and may this be another impression for the coming year. 2010 - a year of destination weddings.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Perfectionist is it a good thing?

I just came back after a long meeting with my contractors for our upcoming showroom. Sometimes I am amazed I get to meet really good vendors in a short time, even while busy planning for my level 1 showroom, I came across great Classics Interior Designer Firm - The Interior Library - true genius and quality workmanship in classics design. And it was basically a recommendation by Patrick, another honest and devoted sofa designer. So in this journey of planning for your own office space, I met great designers as well as good contractors. It was loads of work to do your own design, and I am convinced in future, I just hire a designer to do all the specs. But being a creative person myself, I just can't help doing all the research on my own.. job hazard.

And interestingly, one designer enjoys the chemistry with another. We all believe in value for money, but at the same time, we even hold steadfast to quality creations. I remember Moses teasing me, Hannah don't rush to confirm us, you need to be comfortable with us? I was asking him why he was so chilled out in not closing the deal, and the answer he gave was classic - That's because we know what we can do and we will do it well. Excellent, I chuckled, isn't that what we will say to our clients as well..

And eventually I paid the extra and confirmed Interior Library for the job. I know I may save more by getting my Carpenter to duplicate some of the designs.. but I am as crazy in getting the precision I want. So in the end, getting the right expert is the way to go.

So what have I learnt : Do your homework, but trust your heart. If you know someone who can do it, just let go and hand over the baton, and in return, you are pleasantly surprised to realise you are free from stress, and you can't wait to be wowed.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

3 weeks leading to Hannah's Birthday

This past 3 weeks was an eventful time. I got a chance to observe and personally coached by Colin Cowie, the Celebrity and Premier event planner from States to launch the opening of a hotel in Hong Kong. Colin Cowie is one planner whom I really respect and the short 1 week with him and team was an awesome experience and life changing moment for me. What touches me is in this 1 week journey, I was assured that whatever I have set my heart to do for my clients and my business in the past years were rightfully crafted and every process I have created was the right step to the business I have envisioned. You could almost hear from my heart beat crying out "Thank you, Thank You, Thank You Lord, You made all things beautiful in Your time". I really look forward for the day I will create an event with Colin, and I believe it will come.

I met up too with my ex-boss in HK who still amazes at the fact that I have become a wedding planner and how I have grown my business in the past 6 years. Someone who was so concern I chose the right path, and someone who has seen the hands of God in my life. Eventually he told his wife this "Hannah is one bold little woman, she has done things that always amazes me, and simply because the Lord that is in her, has shown her what He can do through her" Amen & Amen.
I also had a great time with my ex-brides in HK, and got to be introduced to a new potential couple from my ex-clients. So you can imagine, I came back from HK fully charged and refreshed. Then I headed back to being busy preparing all the concepts, mock ups for the food tasting, and every moment went by so fast, that 3 weeks have just passed by so quickly. I have literally forgotten my upcoming birthday, preparing a business trip that falls on my bday.. I am a workaholic :(

So we had a great wedding on 3 Oct at Raffles Hotel. My couple came today and gave us a box of Canele goodies with a little card..

Dear Hannah & Heaven's Gift Team,

We would like to thank you and your team for making our wedding such a memorable and beautiful day. When we first engaged your services, some people questioned us "if a wedding planner the right way to go?" We are so happy that we stayed with our convictions, Heaven's Gift delivered as what was promised. The Gazebo with the lanterns, the colour scheme of the rooms of the Casuarina suites looked absolutely fabulous. We both felt like we were the stars of a movie. The candy corner looked and tasted fantastic and the photo booth had people engaged and gave the guests' something that they had never experienced before. The confetti was.. well remained in the cone, unused.. and we are hoping that we can get a refund????!!! Joking aside, we have heard from our guests that they have never experienced such a fun wedding - P & G modern and chic wedding with a touch of blue is a blast.
Joseph, one of our groomsmen who has been to a number of Singaporean's weddings and that our wedding was the first for him that Caucasians and locals mixed so well and enjoyed themselves. Heaven's Gift - you have done it! Bringing cultures and people together, not an easy task... Thank you so much for making this the "best day of our lives" - Philip & Gladys Carrigan

You would have guessed I was so happy to read this. Yes, creating a pretty wedding is my passion, but making a wedding that my clients and guests have great fun at is my fulfillment. On my way back from KK to Singapore, I was pleasantly surprised with all the sms, facebook birthday messages from my friends and partners in the industry. Often you don't take your birthdays seriously, but a note from your loved ones and friends does carry much weight.
And today, I received another birthday greeting from Elena - my ex-designer who has gone to further her studies :

Dearest Hannah, Happy Belated Birthday!
Been wanting to say a big Thank You for all the opportunity that you've given me over the past few years. Still am not quite sure why did you believe that I could do something for the company when I did not have much to prove then...Thank You!
One thing that I'm always thankful for despite that I may not be as well-to-do as compared to my peers is that in the midst of working, I always had good bosses that are understanding, willing to take time to teach and give advice with regards to my career which really is a blessing. Especially so working at Heaven's Gift. Your belief in me has really spurred me to go beyond what I think I could have ever accomplished.
There was one day while I was at home organising my documents on the computer. I came across cards that I designed in the past and I felt embarrassed for a while. For me to think that those designs were marketable for weddings at that point of time! From that, I can say I have progressed and of course, it was not only just me, but us as we worked together, fine-tuning the cards and tweaking them into the final product.
I guess in the sense, Heaven's Gift is not just a gift for the couples that you plan weddings for but also a gift to me as an employee - a treasured opportunity to explore my creative potential and translate it into elements that are part of the day that mark the start of our couples' life as one and for me, each wedding a work of progress and accomplishment.
And on your birthday, I hope that Heaven's Gift continues to be a gift to you too and I'm sure that it will also be a gift to all that the company works with, be it the vendors, suppliers, clients, or employee :)
Happy Birthday once again, and Thank You! Elena.

I kinda stopped blogging.. due to my busy travel and planning schedules.. and yet I decided to pen down the 3 weeks' journey and all the pleasant greetings to remind myself, that the path I took to be a planner, a boss, an entrepreneur was God's gift to me. And on my birthday, I just want to say "Lord, thank you for everything, truly you will give beyond what one can imagine or comprehend".

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I am on Twitter :)

Somehow when I am outstationed, I am more adventurous.. and today I decided to be on Twitter. As private as I can be, I am intrigued to explore all these much talked about communication channels.. It was strange no one register hananhchong for twitter.. so I am fortunate to own my name on it..
Looks like I will be having fun exploring this new tool..

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I am so inspired and motivated

I am supposed to be sleeping, but couldn't sleep, so much is going thru my mind as I recalled the learning I have today simply by just observing Colin Cowie walking thru the details prior to the launch of the The Mira hotel.

Even as I am penning down my thoughts in this new post, my mind is blank.. I can only say I stand in awe of someone whom I really respect and one who is really really good at what he does. Somehow today's experience brought joy and a new inspiration to my soul..

Many local vendors often wonder why Hannah & team is so particular about everything. I will spend time and visits to relook at printing of wedding stationery, floral arrangements created by the florists, retesting the lights by the lighting crew, rechecking at the table settings etc etc. and why our team will painstakingly checking on every details..
After today when I compared what we have done to what Colin & team have done .. we have so much, so much to learn...I tell myself I am not going to be shy of striving to be meticulous, to be a perfectionist. If you want to be good at what you are doing, you have to really work hard to be excellent in all that you do.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Y Generation that amazes me...

A week ago, I wrote about my dream for Generation Y, and these 2 days, I am inspired much by Generation Y. I came back from a farewell party 2 days ago. It was the party to send off Charissa (one of my ex-interns /youths) to London for her pursuit in fashion design studies. And I was very impressed and touched by every item that was presented on that day. She has learnt well and she is a very very creative lady... the overall decor, the table settings and the favours were pretty, simple and chic, and it's very her...

And we have one amazing cake chef among us, Joey, who created this Mickey Minnie Castle for her.. and it's all handmade.. and it's unbelievable. Charissa's dress was sewn by her friend, some of her gifts were handmade, including the bouquet she was carrying.. and the presentation performances by her friends were touching and creatively scripted..

Today, I came back from another dinner party for leaders, where some of our kids and youth performed an item b4 all leaders. It was one performance I initiated to be "The Producer", and yet I have to be honest, other than me guiding the youth in terms of the theme for the script, getting control in terms of logistics & overall planning, the rest of the works from the script, the dance, the props, were crafted by our youths. And it was one professional and creative performance.

I came back very recharged, very refreshed, very inspired as much as I was very very tired.. having to dance so much with the youths, knowing I am at least 2 times if not more, older than them. This is the Y Generation of my dream. I long to see the future history makers, fashion trends makers, and most of all, leaders of the next generation. I am thankful that God gives me a chance to be a part of this legacy, and it causes me to rethink my long term goal in life.. Yes, being able to lead and see how lives are transformed is the greatest privilege. and I don't want to lose the passion to continue to do that.

Monday, August 31, 2009

My Dream for the Generation Y

Last night, I had a great time chatting with a friend of mine who is a lecturer in one tertiary institution. We were commenting how Generation Y differs much from our Generation X. Today I received an email from a NUS student, requesting for a face to face interview with them for a school project they wanted to do on Heaven's Gift. Interestingly she listed all the questions she wanted to ask of me, and ended with a note "It will be good if we can have the interview tomorrow or Wednesday..." that's 24 hours notice, and imagine the email was received during my off day;)

I was just reminded of last night conversation, and I was again not surprised at this instant - "want it quick, want it fast" mentality of Generation Y. Do not get me wrong, I don't detest Generation Y, in fact I marvelled and often inspired by this generation. I personally handle a group of them under my regularly church ministry, and I am often amazed of what they can do , and how creative and talented they can be. 2 weeks ago, I gave an assignment for my church youth to write a script for a stage performance, and within few hours, the script was created, my job was only to guide and inspire them to make the script more consolidated and meaningful. And within 2 rehearsals, the entire youth group came up with amazing dance steps, skit etc and it was a well done piece of performance. That's Generation Y. They can come up with an idea almost instantly and they could surprise you with their talents and inspirations. They believe much in themselves, what they can achieve, and they will strive to make it excellent for the very goal they want to achieve. They are resourceful, and have a mind of their own, they are not followers, they are leaders.

Yet, in the midst of such individuality and efficiency, they sometimes forget about patience, tolerance and perseverance. We have received many internship applications, and I often wish I could have the ability to coach every single of those applicants. However, in many of those job applicants' responses, I often sense a lack of willingness to wait, be disciplined and be perfected.

I was reminded how my past mentos have trained us. We were only allowed to be promoted to next step, when we learnt to master the first step.. and often till we were grateful of what we had, we were then given more opportunities. And today, I felt the need to share this part of my heartbeat. I was joking with my pal, I am reaching my forties in few years time, it is so scary.. and yet it is as intriguing because it is the age of achievement and fulfillment. You have grown to master a skill, and you have grown to be grateful of what you have. And at the same time, you know you need to impart to the new generation

So this may be "2 cents worth advice" for the Generation Y, as I know some of you will be reading this post, may this post inspires you to seek more, to humble yourself to relearn some of life steps, and to believe that you can be a great legacy to the next generation.

Generation Y
  1. Do learn to be quick to listen, and slow to speak. Learn to observe what your seniors behave, excel and be willing to listen to their advice. In the presence of counsel, there is wisdom

  2. Be bold to venture into the unknown, follow your heart and pursue your passion. But do it with an awared mind of the cost and consequences. Passion is not just about pursuing dreams, passion is being focus and persever till it becomes a part of you.

  3. Respect your elders - your grandparents, your parents, your teachers, your leaders, your bosses.. submission with humility is great gain. When you learn to make your elders successful, you learn to handle success in your life.

  4. Patience, Perseverance with Tolerance. No success comes easy, no success is made overnight, It is a life journey of learnings and relearnings.. So for now, learn to give others time to catch up with you, and learn to be gracious to others. At the same time, press on don't give up easily when you are stretched or tested.

  5. Finally, learn to let go. I was taught by my ex-boss, you only know you have become a Master when you are willing to let go the very thing that make you one. Sound "chim", but I only understood that much later. When you master a skill or talent, you take time to discipline and perfect it, until you are good at it. But how do you know you have become a Master of it? It is when you are no longer bothered by it, by the perfections, by what people say about you, by the fame or failure that comes with it, you know you have overcome, because you have learnt to let go. This is so true for myself too.. I only really grow when I learn to let go, and share with others.

So I look forward in 10 years time, the new generation of inspiring wedding planners and entrepreneurs.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Inspiration -Passion begets Passion

I just came back from a dinner with one of my couples.. Eugene & Fiona, a very laid back and a very sincere couple. I am always blessed to have met such down to earth clients. This meeting was the final concept meeting, allowing my couple to envision what the final wedding night will be liked with all the details. Ead joined me for this meeting to have a time with couple as well...

And somehow, our conversation evolves from concepts, to photography, to medical, to passion and life goals... it was an interesting but heart warming discussion. I was reminded passion begets passion just like fire begets fire. I came back excited, happy and I can't wait to see the wedding in its final totality.

I ponder as I am write this new post...this is the kind of life I want to live. I want to inspire others, I want to be inspired. There are not many chances when we meet people of same philosophy, and when we do, we wish we could linger longer.. because we often seek to find that gathering of new ideas, new inspiration and eventually find like-minded friends and co-workers.

Hmm... not sure how to end this post, but for now, I want to say I do love my job. As crazy and hectic as it can be at times, it is as adventurous, exciting and intriguing. I can' wait to be in HK.. it will be one learning experience I will remember for life. This year will pass by with more than I have ever asked or imagined.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Join us for the Movie Preview of "The Proposal" and visit us at GV Marina on 13 Aug, 7pm.

Yes, we will be showcasing our wedding works, together with our long time partners, Silhouette - the Atelier, 39 East Photography. So couples out there who are keen to know more about marriage proposal, planning your wedding, come and purchase this special preview tickets at GV Marina for 13 August (Gallery from 7.00pm to 9.00pm. Preview Talk : 9.00pm-9.30pm. Movie Preview 9.30pm - 11.00pm) and we will certainly love to see you there.

It has been a long time since we last did a gallery, but somehow, the 6th year marks a new beginning into our next phase of growth. Looking back, I could still remember our first wedding workshop with Amanda Lee Weddings, 39 East Photography(then it was call Pentaserve Photography), Substance Films, Vividshots and Poppy Restaurant. And we were also priviledged to partner with Females Brides for couple of great wedding shows, including showcase of Vera Wang gowns.
Yes, it has been 6 years ago.. time truly flies..

Someone asked me "Hannah why are you entertaining the mainstream market, we always thought Heaven's Gift is targeting to niche market segment". I just laughed, in fact since the very beginning we have never really planned to target any market segment. Reflecting back, we started the business opening our arms to all customers (a rightful thing to do for new business), but somehow strangely, many of our couples that hired us were Inter-racial couples, expatriates, and couples who wanted a twist to conventional weddings. And we are so fortunate that all these years, our couples often come to us simply because they trust that we can deliver what they want, and their trust often amazes me. At the same time, deep down, I am also a heartlander, I want weddings to be as intimate as possible, more than just a showcase, more than just looking good. To me, a wedding is all about emotions and memories. To able to see your guests rush to the dance floor, enjoying the goodies corners we created, and we able to still tear for those exchange of vows, speeches.. that is true satisfaction. And the passion to share and educate more about wedding industry continues to burn within me, so here we are, you will see more of us in the coming years.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A reflection of past 5.5 yrs

Today, I received a note informing me that I was nominated for the Spirit of Enterprise Awards http://www.soe.org.sg/files/nominees2009.php, and the voting for the awards is launched for the month of August. The voting will determine partially with the panel of judges to access who among the list of nominees are deserving entrepreneurs for the title.

I can't help but look back at all that we have grown over the last 5.5 years. It has been an exciting and a steep journey of discovery. From a one man company in a small serviced office at Maxwell House, we are now a team of five blessed with a two story cosy showroom and office space. But beyond the physical facade, I marvelled at how the Lord has led myself and my team to create weddings we have once dreamt of, to places where we can't imagine our works has ventured into.
Last week, I rededicated this business again to the Lord, with our fellow cell members who have witnessed how I began this business. We are now in a new phase of another level of growth. Honestly, I am unsure what's to come, and yet deep within, I am as excited and nervous as I have been 5 years ago. All the hard work and labour has now positioned us in a place that we are ready for more. As much as the uncertainties are unknown, the opportunities are intriguing..

When Pastor shared with me the word that she felt was rightful for me, I teared knowing that at the end of all things, the greatest blessing is the Lord.. and all that we have gained for the last 5 years were given freely by Him. Yes, many will say I am a different entrepreneur, I believe in destiny. I am not one who like to spiritualise everything, but I am one who have seen the works of my Creator, and I am fully conscious of who I am and who I will be in Him. I can only share with all who want a breakthrough in your business or career, "Today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope." So tell ourselves our job is to live and give our best for the day, I need not worry of what's to come, because the very step of faith we take to live well for the day, will turn all our yesterdays a dream of happiness, and all our tomorrows a vision of hope. So be encouraged.. the future is unknown, but our future is in the hands of a known Almight God.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We have moved...

Our new office is located at 42 Hoot Kiam Road, near Zion Full Gospel Chuch and Great World City Shopping Centre- another place to hang out.
Last week was a hectic week, we finally shifted to our new office on last Mon.. and being a perfectionist, I wanted to make sure the moving was efficient and orderly, so our team have everything packed ready to move in for the new space and by Wed, all was installed and everything was made ready for guests to meet us again, except we faced technical problems with Singtel which frustartes our operations... another long story.

Otherwise, I love this new place, unique and cosier.. and I can't wait to do up the showroom level, couple of months to go for that.. and soon it will be a pretty unit..

And now we are helping our landlord to look for tenants to occupy our quaint little ex-office in Jalan Klapa. It's approx 1000 sqft, from 2nd to 3rd level.. with false ceilings and lights, and carpets already installed.. ready to move in condition for any office.. so it will be a pretty place for small business such as design house, photography, artistic business related. Call me if you are keen to see the place. They are asking about $2.2-$2.4 neg.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Inspiration from Nature - Our Heaven's Gift

Just got to see the pix from a wedding in Jan this year. I can't help to realise I love the concept of trees in weddings, many of our weddings last 1 year was inspired through nature particularly trees.. and I love the silhouette of trees. This is another wedding inspired by Nature, and I was reminded : Nature - The Heaven's Gift. Pix taken by Kelvin Koh from Lighted Pixels
video

Friday, June 26, 2009

Garden Bugs Kids Party.... I just love it..

Last week, we did a school garden party cum 6th year old birthday celebration at Eton House. It was great fun, creating those details, the overall concept from decor to cake to the stationery, and as usual, I have my team to look into all aspect of details and designs to make the party pretty and fun. It was a concept of garden bugs filled with pretty lanterns & balloons, cheery flowers & butterflies with customised bugs games and telematches.... and having the kids dressed up in garden bugs was the best final touches.. I really love the final outlook.
To be honest, doing a kids' party takes up more energy than creating a wedding... but all the charming faces of the children and their spontaneity on that day brought us so much joy and laughter.. and it's worth it.

I am certain we will have more children parties coming on our way...simply because I definitely getting younger planning those parties ;) And Aloysus from 39east did a great job capturing those moments.
video

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A beautiful concept...

Managed to gather sometime to take a look at all the past months weddings we have created. And one wedding concept was worth sharing, and one that we are happy to showcase. The wedding that we spent substantial efforts developing the theme and creating all the pretty details.
And what pleases me most was the essence of the concept was well captured by Eadwine Lay from http://www.plushphotography.com.sg/. Thank you Ead.

I just love the colours, all the little details, and I am sure you will enjoy it as well.

video

Friday, June 12, 2009

Excitement is in the air...

Back from Turkey, and somehow I was inspired by the Asian part of Turkey. I marvelled at the wisdom of Ancient Man, and I stood in awe the special provisions of God to His people. These were some of the places I love. Somehow I know 2009 and 2010 is going to be a year of unexpected reaping of His provisions... like what the saying goes : Soon all will be revealed and all will know in His time, He makes all things beautiful.

Cappadocia - Ancient Christians hiding places

Colourful Spices of Turkey


Ephesus TheatreImagine a theatre that holds 25,000 pax, and the Ancient architect could create it in such as way that when the speaker spoke from the stage, everyone at the theatre could hear him clearly - without any need of mikes and sound system.. that's genius.

Pamukkale - Beautiful Limestones..It was awesome walking down on these nature-crafted land

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bali Weddings - More to come


These days, we see many advertisements and featured articles on Bali weddings.. and indeed Bali is a great place to get marry in. Received some great shots from Kuang (from 39 East Photography) who is such a great chap to work with. So enjoy some of his details shot I have asked him to take for me for this wedding..


And I simply love Balinese and our people who worked there. They just know how to serve the guests. And as simple as we think they can be, they are a joy to work with, we have a good team in Bali who we are proud to have. Building a floating stage and a floating dance floor was never an easy task.. but our team did it to our precision, and it is just perfect when all is completed. Our guests always have fun at our weddings, and you bet the photographers have great time capturing those moments.
So look out for more Bali Weddings Heaven's Gift is offering : Be it Simple Exotic Bali Weddings, or An Extravagant Celebration you want to spend with all your loved ones, we have something for everyone.

More pix from Gabriel Mendes

A Celebrity Planner Coming to Town...

I just got back this week from Turkey, was a rested trip. I am pleasantly surprised when none of my couples called me, it was as what they have wished for me : Have a good rest Hannah, you deserve it. And I did have a great time.
Back to office, lots of things to consolidate. We got a few interesting updates and calls from the industry players. "Do you know David Tutera is planning a wedding in Singapore?" "Who is working with David Tutera?" "Are you one of them?" "Which florist has he chosen?" etc etc etc
It is not surprising, since this is the first time a Celebrity Planner from the States is coming to town to plan an event, and no wonder all of us want to be a part of it. We are all curious to see the players that will be involved.. but I am sure of one thing : It will be a great experience to see David, the genius at work.

A part of me is tempted to know the outcome, yet a part of me just simply trust the One Almighty.. If it is yours, it will be yours. If it is not, better things is awaiting for you. So I learn to focus on what I do best : Continue to conceptualise the best ideas for your couples, and wow your couples what you can do. And who knows, you may one day become a Celebrity Planner.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Children Birthday Parties


Just gotten the photos from Eadwine, and I always love his shots. This is our first children birthday party, but we have had great fun doing it. Have been leading children worship for so long, but never expected myself to be doing kids party, such an irony... and I believe more to come from now on. So enjoy these details as we have enjoyed creating them - DanDan's Safari. Jo sourced the hats, and we all love the customised balloons and I have fun decorating the place with my gals, and not forgetting my brother Chris.






I am so glad I have Joey to do this cake (a tree house with all the cutie animals). Joey, you are a genius... and I know you will be a great Pastry Chef after the Sydney training. And one thing the kids have greatest joy in : queuing up to exchange their goodies - even the mums were excited to choose for them.

















See the smiles of the children, that made our day!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

More Social Events to come

May is an interesting month, I get to create events beyond weddings.. and I love the new change. We had a great wedding on 9 May for Amy & Bill.. great crowd, great fun, almost everyone was dancing, something the couple has not expected.. but something I am always looking forward to - i.e. to witness all guests having a great time esp on the dance floor.

On the same week, we were approached by a corporate event company to plan 2 gala dinners for one of the conferences. Who will ever thought of engaging a wedding planner to design the gala dinner for another event company. It was a business opportunity I have not expected, but it was a partnership I look forward to foster.

And yesterday, we planned our first children birthday party for my cell member's 6yr old son - Daniel. My entire team enjoyed this new change.. from designing the invitations, to the games, scoreboard, safari decorations, and even the goodies and gifts corner etc etc.. we can't wait to show you the pictures. And we have never expected our first enquiry to spark off on the same day of the event.. I looked back and am truly grateful that even in times like this : God remains faithful and will always be faithful.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

March weddings are awesome!!

Finally, we have just received all the images from March weddings and I just can't stop smiling. In March, we have 3 weddings :
  • A British Indian Couple having a garden wedding at Raffles House in Fort Canning Park
  • A Taiwanese & Singaporean couple having exotic Maldives wedding at St Regis Singapore
  • A Singaporean and French couple having an enchanted wedding in Bali.

And each of the wedding setup is extensive and one of a kind. Yet strangely I was not tired, but was refreshed and energised, I just can't wait to do more of such weddings. I believe one of the key reasons for such energy was all 3 couples were trusting, and they allowed us to take one step further with the concepts and at the end of the day, everyone in our team had fun creating the concept and details. So enjoy the slide show, i.e. www.heavens-gift.com/couple.htm ; it may take slightly longer than usual, simply because Hannah just couldn't stop adding more pictures in the slide show.. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

How to begin your wedding plan?

"I am getting married!", this is the most magical remark every woman dreams to share one day. It's the dream that we may have been planning and fantasizing since we were little girls. And no wonder, it is stressful when we try to put our 20 years of fantasy to plan for that 1 perfect day we can't wait to have. So how do we begin our wedding plan, without overstretching ourselves. I am going to try to pen down all the necessary tips in 1 blog post:

1) Set a budget before you do anything.
This is such an important step in wedding planning, and ironically it is one area many have overlooked. When we are excited about getting married, we can't help to start shopping for all the essentials such as gown, wedding venue, photographers etc.. and often we start incurring expenses, before we even realise that we may have overblown the wedding budget. So take time to discuss with your partner how much you are going to put aside in your wedding budget, and do a simple spreadsheet to include all the expenses you can imagine of to spend. Do not just think about the food and beverages, think about the wedding details such as flowers, wedding stationery etc and put it a reasonable budget. Measure your budget against the market prices. Only when you have worked out a budget, then you can start narrowing down your shopping list, and selecting the right venue and vendors becomes easy.

2) Shop smartly for vendors.
Personally I don't believe in combing the entire bridal shops or wedding venues to find one perfect selection. As a busy executive, I believe in shopping smartly. Ask yourself, what are you looking for in a vendor : the skills, the designs, the style, the price. And with that, narrow down your selections, and visit max 3 suppliers for each category to complete your selections. In fact, if you have done enough research on the web or through the magazines, you usually need to visit 2 players, and you will know who you will end up with. Find an expert you trust, view their profile and portfolios, and measure the strengths against their price, and at the end, choose someone you are most comfortable with, because selecting a vendor in the wedding industry, is like choosing a property, you buy it not solely based on price or 1 specific factor , often your final purchase is coupled with a touch of your personal preferences. So go with your heart.

3) And finally, take time to think about your bridal party . A bridal party is the extended helps you would want to have. They are your "stress coolers", your "butlers" as well as your "help mates". Have someone who will look after you and is passionate to make you the most beautiful and happy bride of the day. Do not end up with others who are more paranoid and stress you further with more decisions and concerns to look after. I have witnessed weddings where the bridesmaids were more anxious than our brides, and instead of releasing the brides from worrying, the poor brides ended up worrying for their bridal party, which is really uncalled for.

And as a wedding planner, I can't help to add one conclusion : Pls find a wedding planner. These days, having a wedding planner is not a luxury, it is a necessity. You will often discover, a planner is more than a consultant, we are your bouncing boards for ideas, for some of us, we are your designers and executors of your perfect day, above all, your confidant whom you can share your dreams to, and together we shall unveil that little dream of yours to those whom you love to share with.
So have fun and enjoy every moment of your wedding planning.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Employment opportunities or internship with Heaven's Gift

These past few months, we have received so many resumes that we stop counting how many applications we have had to date. A pity that most applicants do not match the fundamental profile of team mates we are looking for.. tho some of the applicants are very well educated, experienced, otherwise, I will love to meet some of them.

So I decided why not we pen down and share with you the profile of a planner assistant we are looking to hire. And if you are the one, do write in to us, we are keen to meet you.
Basically we are not looking for short term internship, if you desire to be an intern for us, we need at least a minimum of 6 months commitment, preferably longer period. The main reason is it takes at least 6 months, if not more for someone to know the basic fundamentals in the wedding industry. All of our clients are generally well travelled, business executives or expatriates, so the ability to communicate well, as well as presenting one's knowledge with precision is essential. I don't believe in trial and error approach, every member represents a part of Heaven's Gift, and you need to be confident and know what you are talking about when you face the client.

Nevertheless, I am willing to explore new or old blood who possesses the following qualities :
  1. If you are willing to humble yourself and serve, imagine being a butler for the bride, helping her to wear her shoes, fetching things around for her or her family, and not perceive these tasks as lowly duties, then it is the first step to become a planner assistant.
  2. To be able to work as a team. No one acts like a boss in our team. Everyone learns to support and help one another. It is through that, you get to learn even more and be an efficient planner assistant
  3. Commitment, commitment and commitment. Contrary to what many think - wedding planning is so fun, it is actually a very tedious and strenuous job. We may start work late, but we work even later. Before the event begins, we are there, when all guests leave, we are still working.. Our working time stretches more than one can imagine. Clients' rest days is our work days, Client's work days is also our work days.
  4. A passion for design. In fact, I am looking for more than a flair, I am looking for talents in design and creations.. I may not be physically handling all the designing, but I do know how to train one to be good in this area. We are looking for ability and availability.
  5. Finally and most importantly, I do look for reliable and faithful team mates. The industry is too small, and too competitive. We are not looking for players who seek to take a short cut , and try to be the next competitor. We rather train someone who believes in the organization, has the heart to learn and contribute to the team, than for someone who watches and tries to duplicate. On a hind note, we know most of the planners in the industry, some have become good partners, whom we refer to clients as well when our hands are full. I always believe each planner is unique and draws a certain group of clientele.. but as any planner, I am certain no one embraces a "stealer".
And after reviewing the above checklist, and the demanding qualities, and you still think you could be the one for Heaven's Gift, then we want to meet you..
Please do not call or sms me to get a job which amazingly, some actually did, I just thought that is very unprofessional. You want to impress your boss with your first impression, send a proper resume and let us do the calling. I look forward to see the new batch of applicants who know what they are getting into.

I think many may be surprised to see my upfrontness, but it is good to know who you will be working with. I strongly believe in training planners of next generation to be professional and capable; despite some may perceive planners liken to the Hollywood movies - disorganised sloppy learners, I think it's time for a change. This is a professional and highly qualified occupation, so be different, and strive to be excellent.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tribute to Adji

I was just informed, an ex-colleague of mine-Setiadji Adityawan (Adji) from Jakarta has passed away due to a heart attack. I am in shock, and this is a dear colleague of mine. We both have grown stronger ever since our last encounter at the Marriott Hotel Bomb in Jakarta 6 yrs ago... I am speechless and all I can do is pray for the family, and Adji, this is my little short note to you as you are watching down from Heaven.

Tribute to Adji, my dear brother..
What can I say about you, my pal..
You have had been a warrior who never stop fighting the good fight.
You have had been an encourager who never stop expressing your love for us
You have had been a brother who protect and stands by me all the time esp in my days in RPS..

Sometimes life seem so uncertain, so unpredictable, and yet I know from the bottom of my heart that you know like I do, that our unknown future is in the hands of a known God
I simply trust that you are resting in Him, I prayed just as much as I prayed for my granny...
that He knows what's best for your family, and He will take care of you, and your loved ones, just as He is taking care of mine and my loved ones..

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Exotic Bali - another great Bali wedding...

I just touched ground from Bali, and when I logged onto my inbox, I was thrilled.. one thank you note from my couple from the Bali wedding, one link from Gabriel Mendes blog for the pictures he took, and one sms from Kuang whom I brought in to take some of the details shot.. every note from the team just makes me want to do another wedding soon in Bali.

The couple enjoyed themselves, the guests were spontaneous and they knew how to have fun, the team behind the scene were great. I would not have done it without you guys, thank you once again..

One thing I love about Bali, the people are so patient, they know how to make their clients happy. Usually in Singapore, besides having to supervise the setup, and the testing of sounds and lightings, my team has to further supervise the servers to ensure they response to the guests' requests, but in Bali, we just need to get the setup and details ready, and the Balinese and Javanese servers always amazes me, I just don't need to supervise, they sure know how to serve the guests well.

This wedding is as challenging as any of my other weddings, we need to build the dancefloor, the floating walkway and stage on the pool, and the first time we did it in this venue - Atas Ombak. So imagine while band was performing, guests were dancing, and next you know, everyone jumped into the pool the moment the party began.. yes, it's crazy.. but everyone had fun.. I know my team was crazy trying to ensure no one slipped and hurt themselves.. esp my bride. At the end, all went well... So enjoy the pictures taken by Gabriel, and I can't wait to see the rest and the lot from Kuang too

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It is Heaven's Gift...

Today is another amazing wedding.. I can't help to log on to my blog in the wee hours of the night to record the experience. Today is just another miraculous encounter of God's faithfulness. Few hours ago, we planned a wedding for an British Indian couple at Raffles House in Fort Cannning Park. It was a small wedding with extensive logistics setup. We have wedding ceremony under the tree decked up with hanging flowers, bird cages and lanterns. For cocktail, we have Raffles House transformed into the Blue chill out room, where guests enjoyed their canapes and welcome drinks. We were then welcomed by the lion dances to the dining area at the Flagstaff lawn which is the down the steps below the Raffles House. After dinner, we were wowed by spectacular stunts of the Bhangra dancers, ushering guests back to the Raffles House where the real party began.

One could imagine the extent of the setup. I love to work with great spaces and landscape. Can't deny one of the greatest challenge is to ensure all setup is completed in the midst of uncertain factor like the weather. The day before the wedding, we have to setup the tentage, carpeted the entire flooring including the stairs, the platform etc in the rain.. I still cannot imagine how much we went through to complete the setup..

According to weather report, it was supposed to rain in the morning, but it didn't. The weather was really hot and humid, by 5pm, the clouds filled the sky, and everyone around me was telling me Hannah the weather did not look good.. could we go to plan B. I remembered very clearly a voice within my heart said : Hannah, do you have faith? And I knew immediately, what to do. I asked my groom the same question, it was interesting when Faizal answered : Hannah, must I make a decision now... I simply nodded my head, and we both answered : let's go with our faith.. having all done we have created.. and let me share with you, the moment we agreed in our heart to go ahead, you literally saw the clouds moving sidewards.. we got our ceremony done under the tree with perfect weather.. and we have had the lion dancers coming down the stairs with no signs of raindrops.. and despite the clouds stayed darker later in the evening, God was so good He held the rain till we went back to the Raffles House from the dining area, and only when everyone started dancing, the rain came..

What can I say, God did it again.. it's another Heaven's Gift to me and my couples.. And the truth is all our guests witness the miracle, esp my couple and my team. Everyone had fun, I have mine as well simply watching the transformation of His wonders.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The meaning of wedding...

Today, I was invited as a guest to an old friend's wedding... and honestly the feeling of being a guest than a planner in a wedding is not just different, but it is a privileged place to be in away from my daily role.
The wedding started off with a few hiccups, yes I can't help to put on my planner's hat. Sound technician was not doing the job well, video montage was replayed, music pieces for key items were played wrongly, dancers were not positioned on the right platform and ironically pastor's phone went ringing half way through his heartfelt preaching.
Yet despite all these little oversight, I would say this is one perfect wedding I ever attended that was filled with intimacy and touching moments.
I witnessed the most loving and sincere couple, their love was vividly seen and felt. Every speech was great from the Dads' speeches, to the bridesmaids, and to the couple, all was unplanned for, and yet everyone was so real. Honour was given generously to the family and the couple. I actually teared couple of times just listening to the speeches.
And to end off, we have a great song - "Two words" sung by a friend, a beautifully scripted poem read by the Bride's sister (whom I have seen her grown up since age 9), and a fun-filled , creatively scripted wedding video from the church youth. Every moment in the wedding was so candid, so real, so spontaneous, so intimate, and most of all, the presence of God was clearly felt in that wedding.
I went back encouraged, refreshed and told a friend of mine who was there as well.. When a wedding is beautiful, guests walk out that place, encouraged and touched and the memories of that day are held dear. Vice versa when a wedding loses that, it was just another event. I came back praying God, make all my weddings ooze out intimate and touching moments, amidst of all the creative settings. I seek more than a perfect setting that wow the guests, I want a wedding that reflects the true meaning of celebration and love. Amen & Amen

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Whenever I see the photos, it makes my day...

Today, one bride called me up, enquring about our services, and apparently she knew quite a few of our clients.. and it was strange to hear her commenting about last wedding, which I have yet to see any of the pictures. Only then I realised Kelvin Koh from Lighted Pixels has already posted the pictures on his blog.. and when I saw those detail shots, and the smiles of my couple... all these put a smile on my face...

Below are some of the details shot I borrowed from Kelvin Koh from Lighted Pixels. Kelvin, pardon me.. and you can find more about the other pictures from this link http://kelvinkoh.livejournal.com/79583.html














Sunday, January 11, 2009

Thank you... my beloved brides.

It took me a while to share what I am going thru in my last blog post.. After last week's new post, I was touched with unexpected kindness and gestures. An old florist of mine sent me a basket of lovely arrangement, the choice of flowers were the exact range of flowers I often love working with her..Thank you Jane, all these little thoughts mean a lot to me.

The week was filled with encouragements from my ex-brides and new brides... When Linda reminded me "I don't think God gave you your gift just so you can plan beautiful weddings. I think He meant for you to do greater things, one of which is to touch the lives of others whom you may otherwise never meet in your daily life. But through weddings, through your interaction with different people, you become a messenger..."

Yes, I am a life of His grace. My blog has always been my bouncing board for reflections and records of how the Lord has brought me through in my journey as a wedding planner. And yet at the same time, I am reminded as I am a blessing to others, my brides have also become a blessing to me. When a client is more than a deal closed; a wedding showcase presented... you are often God's gifts for me... Despite my blunt honesty of who I am, how I feel at this juncture of my life, you simply accept me as who I am, and stand by me..and I am grateful...

Beloved brides and friends, thank you for every moment you have shared and will share with me. It once again reminded me I am blessed, very blessed.. This verse came to my mind " We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose. "

Monday, January 5, 2009

An unexpected season...

Have stopped blogging for a period of time... I believe many wondered. And mainly Dec has been an unexpected month for me. My granny passed on in Dec.. She was sent to hospital in the midst of 2 huge weddings setup for us. Even in the midst of her being critically ill, I have to remain strong and calm for the weddings of my clients in Dec, and even on the day of her last memorial night service, I was at another wedding. Within a week, she was gone, and to me, that was the most unexpected occurrence for the year end. I have never expected the grief that I would have been going thru this season. Christmas and New Year was painful to pass by.

I have not rested nor have the time to really grieve over the loss. In the midst of the grieve, we still had to remain happy to be the miracle worker for our clients. To the Chinese, it is not auspicious to talk about death in the midst of preparing a wedding. And as far as my clients, no one really knows about granny's death. In the midst of turning other's fantasy to reality, my heart sank deeper.. it is an irony I could remain strong and resilient as we planned the events. Demands for the weddings always grow intense near the day of the weddings... sometimes, you wanted to react to those unreasonable demands for many are results of paranoid behaviours. Though it's pardonable for couples to behave these ways (since it is their one and perfect day), but for you to remain sane in fulfilling those demands amidst the emotions within, I think it is a miracle.

And yet the last few weddings setup were one of my best works so far, esp the day when my granny was critically ill, and I was seeing one of my amazing transformations. My florist said to me, this is almost like Preston Bailey's impressions.. I couldn't smile.. because for that moment, it is no longer important, my beloved was critically ill..and nothing mattered then... all I want was a miracle for my granny. But it did not happen.

As much as we knew she's in Heaven... I know not when I will stop grieving.. it was the first time I actually detest my job... and may God help me...