Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A Good Read [If You Feel Too Much]

The author, Jamie Tworkowski, is the founder of TWLOHA (To Write Love On Her Arms), a non-profit movement dedicated to finding help for people suffering from depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. If You Feel Too Much is a compilation of essays written by him over an extended period of time, to remind himself to celebrate life, and it's okay to be human, to feel broken, to feel depressed and to feel sad.

This is a book where I can feel a personal connection with the author, for some of the content of the book resonate really well with me. My favourite chapter is the chapter called "Elephants (Father's Day)" where Jamie, through his story, reflected on how we human refuse to talk about the "elephant" in the room - we don't speak up when there is an issue but let all the negative feelings fill our minds and hearts. But we often forget it's our choice to tell the elephant to leave.

Sometimes, when we feel overwhelmed by the negative emotions, maybe the way out is really to talk it all out. Find someone you trust, and just tell them how you feel. You will only feel better after because you will be reminded that you are not in this alone.

Some of my favourite quotes from this book:- 

"I don't believe that we are accidents in the world, and I don't believe we were supposed to be actors either. I think we were supposed to be ourselves and we were meant as a miracle."

"Stories wait for endings, but songs are brave things bold enough to sing when all they know is darkness."

"Love is a thousand things, but at the center is a choice. It is a choice to love people. Left to myself, I get quiet and bitter and critical. I get angry. I feel sorry for myself. It is a choice to love people. It is a choice to be kind. It is a choice to be patient, to be honest, to live with grace. I would like to start making better choices."

"It's easy to be a critic, easy to tear things down, easy to be blind. It's a braver thing to build, to create and to surprise."

"We don't just live in books awake and dreams asleep. We are living our stories, you and I, with dreams inside us undeniable, with love to give and people to walk beside."

From my favourite chapter:-

"Elephants show up where they don't belong and they try to stay forever and they ask us not to say a word. It's okay to tell the elephants to leave. It might take a long time - it is certainly a process - but I think you'll find that it's a better way to live. And don't worry, you don't have to go alone. You were never meant to."

"The thing about the idea that you're not alone is that it doesn't do us much good if it's just an idea. We have to do something with it....Maybe hope is like that. Maybe community is like that. Maybe relationships are like that. We have to choose these things. We have to say they're real and possible and important. We have to say some things out loud. We have to choose to believe that our story matters, along with the stories of people that we love."

Quotes to remind me and you when we feel broken - we are in this together and things will only get better. 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

A Good Read [The Rules of Wealth]

This is not a book that I would pick up, say 5 years ago.

To be honest, I didn't know who the author was when I bought it. The title looked straightforward enough to attract my attention and when I flipped through the pages, the texts seemed to be quite straightforward and easy to understand. So then I bought it.

I'm not sure if a businessman would find this book useful but for a fresh graduate like me who is about to start work soon, and, of course, has no idea what exactly is wealth, how to start and even when to start growing wealth, I think the book succinctly summarises the important rules and principles for that.

I particularly enjoy reading the last chapter - the rules of other people's wealth, because I find it quite enlightening.

Some of my favourite quotes from this book:

"And what I have noticed is that the wealthy - when they are starting out anyway - have enormous drive and are prepared to make enormous sacrifices. They manage themselves and forgo instant rewards for bigger payback in the long term. Self-control and delayed gratification are useful arts to learn."

"In fact one of the fundamental truths about getting rich is that wealth - real wealth - comes from doing deals, not from earning wages, salaries or fees."

"It's about the way you walk rather than what you wear. It's about the overall image you project."

"If it waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are it's a duck. Avoid. Walk away. Hold on to your wallet and run."

"Don't moan if you don't get what you want. Work harder and go back again."

Personally, I feel this reads more like a dating advice than anything else. But it's gold. Tried and tested by yours truly.

Practical questions for people who cannot control buying stuffs, sometimes. Guilty as charged. 

"Listen to your intuition, be the biggest, boldest and bravest. If the situation feels wrong, it probably is."

Friday, August 3, 2018

Our Intimate Wedding @ Alcove at Caldwell House

2018 has been treating me well so far! I just checked, I last updated this blog in January. So much has happened, and it took me quite a while to come to terms with everything.

To sum it up, I moved out earlier this year, graduated from law school and got married to my best friend this month! Yeah, it's crazy I know.

This post is going to be about my intimate wedding at, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful wedding venues in Singapore - Alcove at Caldwell House. You guys know I write for a reason, and the reason why I'm writing this is simple - to review some of the awesome wedding vendors that I have worked with. These people put their heart and soul into their work and it would be such a pity if I just keep their contacts to myself.

Besides, since Alcove is a fairly new wedding venue, and I didn't find much information about it while I was planning for my wedding, I thought this blog post could help brides-to-be out there who are considering holding an intimate wedding there.

I don't think we owe anyone an explanation on why we decided to do away with Guo Da Li, gatecrash, tea ceremony and a grand banquet. But if you're curious, the explanation is this - wedding to us is an extremely personal event so we wanted to keep the celebration as intimate and as simple as possible. Besides, we didn't want to stretch our budget unnecessarily or stress ourselves too much over wedding planning, not to mention that wedding is one of those events that create a lot of wastage that is uncalled for. We were glad that our parents respected our decisions. Afterall, we are living in the era where we are given the freedom to make life decisions, and of course, plan our own wedding too - so why not do it the way we want it?

Our Venue: Alcove at Caldwell House

Alcove was not the only venue that we shortlisted for our wedding but it was quite an easy choice to make. We fell in love with the venue when we did a site visit. The neo-classical architecture style, clean, bright and airy interior were some of the reasons why we really loved the place. Although it's not as grand as Chijmes Hall itself, the interior's classy, formal yet cozy vibes were something that we were looking for in our wedding venue. It was perfect for our intimate wedding. 

Location wise, it's right smack in the central (<5 minutes walk from City Hall MRT station) so it's definitely very accessible for our guests. Our wedding coordinator was very responsive and helpful, so overall, we had a great experience with Alcove. 

For the number of guests, Alcove requires a minimum number of 30 pax for their buffet and 50 pax for their sit-down reception. We decided to have a cozy wedding of about 40 guests, inviting our closest family and friends. On hindsight, I feel that I could have stretch my guest list a little bit just to invite some of my other friends which I wished to invite but didn't get to. The maximum capacity for Alcove is 100 pax, so if you have more than 100 guests, Alcove might not be a suitable venue for you. 

Just a personal opinion: Alcove looks extra stunning when the sun's up! So if you are considering Alcove, do hold your wedding during lunch instead of dinner as the venue looks best with the sunlight and all. 

Our Wedding Day

7am: Bridal Makeup and Hair

My day started as early as 7am because my trusted makeup artist, Jenn, needed about 1.5 hours to complete my bridal makeup and hair. Everything was done in the pretty bridal room at Alcove. I think Jenn makes her brides look extra pretty with her makeup skills while ensuring the brides still look like themselves. If you like the natural and radiant bridal makeup look, she is the right makeup artist for you! I will compile the list of vendors I engaged at the end of this post if you are interested.

Before I'm going to flood this post with all our wedding day pictures, I just want to say, this successful wedding experience cannot be made possible without Jerald, the best wedding photographer in the world! These candid pictures are so dreamy, I can't even. If you are looking for a wedding photographer, look no further, and I can assure you that it will be one of the best decisions you have made in your entire life. Just trust me on this. 

9.30am: First Look


9.45am Gift and Letter Exchange

10.00am Wedding Entourage Shoot

My bridal bouquet was beautifully put together by Daryl. I really love the size and colour of the Peonies he chose for me! If you love to have Peonies in your bouquet, have your wedding in May - July because Peonies are in season! Daryl is an extremely talented florist, and I love all the bouquets he created for his brides. He doesn't repeat his bouquet and he actually designs the bouquet for you based on your requirements and colour palette, so you can be sure the bouquet you are holding is the one and only bouquet in this world.

The bridesmaid posies were created by Promisetolove. They were fresh white roses tied together with white satin ribbons. I love how clean, simple and elegant they looked!

10.15am Guest Registration + Welcome Reception

We did away with traditional guest book and got wedding Mad Libs instead! Reading them post-wedding was fun and we kept every single one of them in nicely a box.

Our personalised Jumbo Confetti Latex Balloon was done by JoyAvenue and the contact person was Jane. 

We engaged Alicia and Peggie to provide free-flow coffee, tea and hot chocolate for our guests. It was another best decision made because we received so many compliments from the guests on the coffee served! I would highly recommend engaging Alicia for your wedding reception if most of your guests love coffee. She is an absolute sweetheart and extremely friendly. It's just great to have the aroma of coffee filling the entire wedding space in the morning - most importantly, it kept our guests awake too!

These paper cups provided by Alicia had our wedding logo and names on them!

We were worried that guests would be hungry when they arrive, so we prepared fruit tarts from Delifrance! They tasted awesome! 

Wedding Favours

We got these beautiful Rose Gold Memo Stand as wedding favours for our guests to take home. We made sure they all had a picture with us as keepsake. 

Venue Styling

We didn't hire an external venue styling vendor as our wedding package came with basic styling by their in-house stylist. Our stylist was Yanling and we must say she did a great job in materialising what I we had in mind! The truth is, my husband is not an artistic person, so it was more like my idea. The styling service that came with the wedding package was pretty basic so I decided to switch things up a little after looking at some arch designs on Pinterest. With Yanling's inputs, here's the final look! We also replaced the conventional solemnization table and chairs with a cocktail table because we preferred to have a standing solemnization. 

The French inscription at the dome translates into "walking along with me and be perfect" in English.

Also, can I say I love love love long table setting with Tiffany chairs! There is just something really romantic and lovely about having long tables with Tiffany chairs in weddings.

For brides-to-be who are considering this venue, they do have round table setting as well. The seating capacity for round tables will definitely be more than long tables. As a general guide, for the reception area, a round table setting can seat 60 guests (6 tables, 10 guests each) whereas a long table setting can only seat 36 guests (2 tables, 18 guests each).

11.00am Wedding Ceremony

Our solemnizer was Professor Teo Cheng Swee (JP). We loved his style - formal, short and sweet. He gave us really useful marriage advice and reminded us to love each other always. We appreciate he took time out to solemnize our marriage. He has this kind and fatherly look, don't you agree? 

Featuring the Maid of Honour, also my lovely sister.

My husband patiently waiting for my entrance (featuring the Best Man, also his best friend).

Our gorgeous groomsmen and bridesmaids walking down the aisle. 

Bridal Entrance

Featuring the back our videographer, Aloysius. We engaged him for a pre-wedding session in May and he was covering our wedding day too. We have received the final wedding video and I will be sharing more about it in my next post! Wedding videographers can be quite expensive here, and to find a good videographer who can deliver quality work for less is quite impossible.

What made us decide on engaging him was his video editing style - it's more cinematic rather than journalistic, so the video would look more like a movie trailer instead of a raw documentary, if you get what I mean. Besides, his rates are very reasonable. Like I said, there are way too many overrated wedding vendors out there charging exorbitant prices for their work. I would suggest being slightly more hardworking and doing your research thoroughly because you can definitely find dedicated vendors who deliver superb work at very reasonable rates. Aloysius is one of them.

Exchanging Vows and Rings

We are married!

11.30am Lunch Reception

The wedding package with Alcove came with food too so we didn't have to worry about looking for an external food vendor. We opted for their Premium Western Menu B (there was a Deluxe Local Delights Menu with less food options) as they offered a better variety.. Guests were telling us the food was splendid. So brides-to-be, you girls have one less problem to worry.

We preferred buffet-style reception instead of a sit-down one as we wanted our lunch reception to be more informal and casual so guests can mingle.  

We did a turn-over for the setting at the dome area after solemnization as the reception area couldn't fit all of us. Our wedding coordinator suggested having round tables but we didn't have so many guests so I thought of just having a long table, and it was perfect. 

During the lunch reception, we had speeches from our family, Best Man and Maid of Honour. We enjoyed their speeches so so much!

2.30pm: First Dance + Closing Speech

My heart is so full right now. It felt like we just had our wedding yesterday even though it has been almost a month since. We want to thank all the wedding vendors who have made this dream wedding of mine possible. And of course, our family and friends for being so supportive throughout. 

We are truly blessed.

Our Trusted Wedding Vendors

Venue: Alcove at Caldwell House
Solemnizer: Professor Teo Cheng Swee (JP)
Photographer: Jerald from Tinydot Photography 
Videographer: Aloysius from Our Wedding Story
Makeup Artist: Jenn from iheartblooms
Bridal Bouquet and Loose Flowers for Hair: Daryl from Bloomen
Venue Stylist: Yanling from Amperian
Coffee Cart: Alicia from Butler Koffee
Fruit Tartlets: Delifrance
Balloon: JoyAvenue 
Caterer: Tung Lok Group
Bridesmaid's Posies: Promisetolove at Carousell 
Wedding Gown: Daz at Far East Plaza
Wedding Heels: Queen Square at Far East Plaza
First Dance Dress: ASOS
Groom's Suit: G2000
Groom's Shoes: Rockport 
Wedding Bands: Love & Co
Engagement Ring: The Minimum Label
Earrings: The Minimum Label
Bracelet: Monica Vinader
Vow Book: Muji designed by yours truly
Wedding Gift for Her: NBC Stationery & Gifts
Wedding Gift for Him: Etsy
Photobooth Props: Kaison
MadLibs (Guestbook): Carousell
Wedding Invites: Greetingsisland.com
Wedding Photo Album: Blurb

It wasn't easy to make the choice when we shortlisted our potential wedding vendors. These vendors made it to our final list because we really love their work and service. In addition, their rates are very reasonable. Our dream wedding would not have been made possible without these awesome vendors. We are truly thankful for their great service.

If you have any questions regarding Alcove, or just general questions about our wedding, feel free to leave me a comment below! Otherwise, you can drop me an email using the Contact Form here.