So how are you enjoying International Week so far? Uh huh…thought so! It’s pretty darn epic right? So many details and ideas to absorb and utilise regardless of where in the world you’re saying ‘I Do’.
Following on from the beautiful Australian wedding that Adam blogged this morning, we’re now heading over to Singapore for a big day photographed by the genius that is Ann-Kathrin Koch.
Ann and I have been sitting on this wedding for a little while in anticipation of ‘International Week’ and I’ve been beside myself with excitement waiting to share it with you because honestly it is so MUCH fun!
Thibaut and Wanlyn are truly an international couple but I particularly love Wanlyn’s decision to pay homage to the traditions of her family background in the Chinese tea ceremony (definitely one of my favourite parts of their big day) and in the gate-crashing event which I won’t divulge any more about right now…I’ll leave the images to tell the story instead.
Sit back, relax and thoroughly enjoy this beautiful adventure….
Wanlyn The Bride: Thibaut is French and I am Singaporean. We met in Munich, moved to Singapore, and decided to get married in Malaysia, which is where we live now. We were engaged for a full year before the wedding date, and that gave us plenty of time to plan for our event. But as all brides know, there never really exists such a thing as too much time when it comes to planning a wedding!
Getting married is always a big deal. Trying to incorporate a dinner event, a vow exchange ceremony, a Chinese tea ceremony, and a gatecrashing event into a single day turned this into a monster of an event. On top of that we had 78 guests of which 76 were foreigners, many of whom arrived into Asia for the first time only two days before the wedding day. The logistics for that bit alone became the cherry on top of an already-very-wobbly 10-tier wedding cake! And as we all know, 10-tier or not, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
We never really had an exact theme to our wedding. We had many random ideas and we knew already that we wanted a color palette geared towards Autumn shades with woodsy and neutral colors. What I knew for sure was that I had not a single artistic bone in my body, so Pinterest definitely saved my life there! Pictures do speak a thousand words, and with those photos I was able to convey to our decorator the look that we were trying to achieve.
My tip to all brides is that if you do not have a specific theme, be clear with your wedding decorator about what are absolute no-gos! For example, if you have an unfathomable hatred for sunflowers or magenta please let your decorator know in advance!
Our entire wedding day took place in Johor, Malaysia. Both of us being foreigners in Malaysia, gestures of support and being a part of the local community are important to us, so we made it a point to scout for good local contacts for suppliers of hardware and grocery stores. When planning our wedding, we favored local suppliers over brand names. We did have one foreign import though, but more about that later, because I am mysterious like that and I want to keep the best for the end…
We started the morning with the gatecrashing event, which took place at my parents’ home. The bridesmaids and I had camped over at my parents the night before the wedding, and Thibaut and his groomsmen were supposed to pass a series of games before they were allowed to enter and “collect” the bride, AKA me. I had gotten up at 5am to start on hair and makeup, and had hardly slept a wink the night before due to bad pre-wedding jitters. I’d like to believe that my girls delivered a crushing defeat to the groomsmen but it was all in the name of good fun and entertainment, especially for most of our guests who have probably never witnessed a gatecrashing event! The girls did spend a good amount of time preparing for the games and everyone genuinely wanted to give the boys a hard time!
Afterwards, we had the Chinese tea ceremony in the Chinese living room of my parents’ home. I was very thankful because that part of the house needed no decoration at all; all the traditional Chinese furniture have long been in their place and just acted as the most perfect location! I had on my Cheongsam that was tailored to fit me to a T, and I am very happy and proud to say that I chose the fabrics and designed the dress on my own.
The tea ceremony turned out to be a real tearjerker. I cried when people cried. I cried as well when no one was crying. No big damage done, but here’s another tip: request waterproof makeup.
The vow exchange and dinner ceremonies were held at the Pulai Springs Resort. We had considered several venue options in Singapore, but it was clear from the outset that we would pick Pulai Springs resort. The vast space, natural air and endless perfect well kept lawns made my mind drift off to the soundtrack of the Shire from the LOTR each time we had to come by to do some venue-related planning.
We had already had our legal ceremony in Singapore two days before the wedding date, so we had our vow exchange ceremony take place on a lawn overseeing the golf course at the Pulai Springs hotel. We walked down the aisle to Carpenters “Close To You”, and were met by Katya, the godmother of Thibaut, who solemnized the event. We met with some problems during this part of the day though. The skies looked threateningly grey, our music got cut midway through the walk down the aisle, and… I forgot my speech during the vow exchange. Major lol on hindsight, though at that time I did want to plummet ten feet underground. Our friend Seb remarked afterwards that it was all those bloopers that made it feel less rehearsed and more personal. That did make me feel a lot better!
Our decorations for the wedding car, vow exchange and dinner ceremonies were managed by Weiss Decorations. They blew us away with what they produced – it was exactly what we had wanted and so much more! Another example of putting your event in the good hands of suppliers you can absolutely trust.
We had the bridal speeches, as well as the best man and maid of honor speeches during the dinner event. Dinner was a fabulous 8-course affair whipped up by the resort’s resident restaurant caterer Qing Palace. Simon and Flow provided the soundtracks to the evening for the guests to dance to, and we ended the evening with fireworks, which while not exactly legal, was a definite must-have, at least for me. As all illegal things go, it’s never really illegal until you’re actually caught.
I’d like to mention the wonderful people who made this day possible. My parents literally renovated parts of their home to prepare for the morning ceremonies, and my dad had timed his bonsais to bloom on the very day of the wedding. It’s crazy I know, some kinda bridesfatherzilla thing going on. A big shout out to my bridesmaids Sophie, Kaier and Shobana who held the forte during the gatecrashing and the night before and during the wedding when I was falling off the edge! Nat for being my maid of honor and seeing Thibaut and I through from the very beginning. There are best friends, and then there are best friends who do truly change your life and Nat’s that bestie.
My cousin Vivien served both as bridesmaid as well as chief decorator for the morning ceremonies. She’s got all the artistic bones in the family and can carve poetry into stone with her bare knuckles. And last but not least, Fanny who braved through the entire storm that is wedding planning with me. She collected my cheongsam with me one very late evening in Chinatown and I realized that there was not one point where she was not present. At some point it did feel like Fanny and I were getting married. The groomsmen Remi, Simon, Michael, Flow, Antoine and Poah Sin who were great sports during the morning events, and I’d like to give a mention to Antoine and my bro Poah Sin for taking the lead on planning a surprise stag’s night for Thibaut.
And finally, what would a wedding be without a photographer to capture those precious moments? Enter our one and only foreign vendor import, Ann-Kathrin Koch, our photographer for our engagement photos, the wedding event, as well as our mini-moon in Bali, Indonesia. We had a most fabulous day during the engagement shoot in Munich, and right from that point I knew I needed Ann right here with me in Malaysia on my big day. She was completely unfazed by the tropical heat and that it was her first event coverage in Asia. The fact that it was a marathon 18-hour coverage made her even more impressive. She rose to the occasion and delivered a most spectacular job. I will definitely be needing the Awesome Ann-Kathrin Koch, AAKK for short, some years from now for some family portraits.
To finish off, a wedding is never complete without its guests. Thibaut and I were truly humbled by the efforts that all our guests took to journey to our event. We appreciated the presence of every single person who made our wedding an incredible day for us!
We did experience our fair share of wedding bloopers, and I am very glad to say that we would not have had it any other way! My advice to all other brides is to do and plan what you can, but understand that a major part of the decision making will take place right before the wedding or even during the event itself anyway, and that it is very important to learn to fall back on people you can trust to hold it all together for you!