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What A Catholic Bride Needs To Know: Timeline

5 Mar

I’m Catholic and it’s always my dream to hold my wedding in church, because the act of marriage is sacramental to me. Now, I will not go on about what it means spiritually to me, but in this post, I’m going to share some of the things you probably have to take note of. (Married Catholics, feel free to comment. Since I haven’t gone through everything yet, I may have missed out some things.)

st teresa

Photo from pianofortephilia.blogspot.com

There are several things to take note of for a Catholic wedding, but here is a basic check list:

Before you book the church…

One of you has to be Catholic before you can get married in a Catholic church. You also have to have already completed the Engaged Encounter (EE) or Marriage Preparation Course (MPC) before the wedding takes place.

Keith and I went through the MPC before we were engaged. While many couples choose to only go through it in the midst of their wedding preparation, we wanted to do it before the engagement was announced, to be sure that we knew what we’re in for before we say yes with the proposal ring. But of course, it is up to the individual. I should probably write a separate post on this, but the MPC was a great programme that really benefited Keith and me. If you’re thinking of just “getting over and done with it”, I hope you could uplift the attitude, because after all, you’re planning for a marriage, not just a wedding.

Anyway, another thing you should think about before you head over to book the church is the date. Most churches only do weddings on Saturdays. Also, while it is still done, most priests would not encourage weddings to be held during the Lent or Advent period because it’s a period of repentance and spiritual preparation.

Booking the church

You can technically book any Catholic church for your wedding. Keith and I will be holding ours at St Teresa Church, although we attend Mass at Christ the King (and will make Holy Cross Church our parish after we move into our new place).

stc

Photo from marctey.com

Visit the website of the church of your choice for details on how to go about the booking. Most of the time, you’re required to see the parish secretary personally to do the booking and to pay a token for the facilities.

The priest who’s celebrating your wedding

It’ll be best if you have already asked a priest to celebrate your wedding for you when you do the booking of the church. Because of the busy schedules of priests, some of them may request that the wedding be held at the parish that they serve in. Check with him on this. The contact details of the priests are also available in the link I’ve provided above for the list of Catholic churches.

Three months before the wedding

This is probably the time when you begin to feel the heat of preparations. It is also time to do the following: book the choir, hire a florist and speak to the priest.

The secretary is likely to pass you some notes and contacts regarding the resident choir and florist that you can speak to. Otherwise, you can use any Catholic choir, and any florist. We decided to go with the St Teresa Church ones because we feel that they would know the church best. Your choir and florist should be able to guide you through what to take note of and provide you with songs/flower options.

Your priest will contact you around this time too, to fill in an application form for a church wedding. During this meeting, he will explain the meaning of a Christian marriage to you and then you declare your understanding of what the church teaches about marriage. He would also fill in an ROM form that states that your solemnisation will be done by him. You need to eventually submit this form to ROM.

Some priests may also speak more to you to learn a little about you. This is a good time to ask the priest for any advice and if you need help with choosing the readings for the Mass/service. The priest is very experienced, having celebrated many weddings. He will be able to give you guidance.

Two months before the wedding

stc2

Photo from nearby.sg

This is probably the time to decide on your readings and hymns, complete your Mass/service booklets (if you’re intending to have them) and send them off for print. Remember to let the priest approve it before you send it to print. He is definitely more familiar with it than you are.

One month before the wedding

The parish secretary will call you up to arrange for a rehearsal. She will let you know who is involved in the rehearsal and you have to arrange for everyone to be present.

If you’re intending to do a reception after the wedding (like we are), this is also approximately the time for you to confirm your attendees and to shortlist and book a caterer.

I will be posting more about choosing of the readings and hymns, as well as spiritual preparations in later posts once I find the time to :) I hope this is helpful!

How To Choose Your Wedding Venue

19 Feb

The wedding venue was the first thing on my to-do list after Keith proposed. This is because I’ve often heard stories about how popular venues get snapped up one year in advance and since I had one year to plan the wedding, I decided that I wanted to settle this first. (Anyway, true enough, my original “dream venue”, which was Fullerton Hotel’s Straits Room was already booked when I enquired).

Having gone through the process of booking, here are a few things I’d advise all brides-to-be to take note:

    • Plan your guest list first. This is going to help with your venue shortlist tremendously. Different venues have a different capacity and “minimum booking”, so you need to have a good approximation of how many guests you want.For us, we really wanted to make it a cosy celebration among only our nearest and dearest, and are not foreseeing to have more than 150 people in our “inner circle”. Our church wedding, on the other hand, will be the “bigger event”.As such, we only looked at small ballrooms with a capacity of 15 (minimum booking of 12) tables.
    • Shortlist and start emailing. We shortlisted all the venues that can accommodate our number of guests and are most keen on three of them: Four Seasons Hotel (Crescent Ballroom), Movenpick Heritage Hotel (Heritage Room), The Sentosa Resort & Spa (Beaufort Room) and Raffles Marina.
      exterior 2

      The exterior of Movenpick Heritage Hotel.

      exterior 4

      Movenpick Heritage Hotel from a distance.

      It is easy to email, and to me, what’s important during this stage is to see how responsive the venue is. A responsive catering manager assures me that he/she will be responsive when I need assistance in the future when I book with him/her. Also, always ask to go down and view the venue.

    • Site inspection. We went down for all the venues we shortlisted besides Raffles Marina. This is because they were very unresponsive and don’t seem willing to meet us on weekends or after work hours. Well, we have to work and it’s expected for someone from the service industry to understand that they may have to put in these hours. This is why many of them work shifts.During the site inspection, we really looked out for a few things:
      -How are the service staff like in the hotel? Are they polite? Are they helpful? Note that the overall service level of the hotel is going to leave an impression on your guests.
      -What’s the table arrangement going to be like? For me, a straight aisle is very important, so I need to know if the tables can be arranged such that the aisle is straight.
      -How do you feel about the venue? Can you see yourself holding your wedding there? I think that “gut feeling” is important.We chose Movenpick Heritage Hotel in the end for a few reasons: The staff, from the doorman to the front desk staff, are all very polite and helpful. We could feel their genuine warmth from the moment we step into the hotel; the entire hotel, not just the ballroom, is beautiful; I liked the signature fragrance of the hotel; I love that it’s in Sentosa because I love Sentosa; It’s incredibly easy to get to, whether by car or monorail (it’s located right in front of Imbiah Station, which is just two stops away from VivoCity); and I have a good “feeling” about it.
movenpick hotel ballroom 4

The ballroom

ballroom 12

The ballroom

ballroom cocktail reception 2

Cocktail area

ballroom cocktail reception

Cocktail area

ballroom reception

Setup of reception table in front of ballroom.

  • Sign off. I will suggest committing to the minimum requirement at first and then later let your catering manager know you need to increase your tables. Your deposit is based on the number of tables you’ve committed. And since you don’t know if your guests may or may not RSVP affirmatively, go for the lowest possible commitment first.
surroundings 1

Sitting area in hotel

surroundings 4

Pool

surroundings 5

Exterior of hotel

surroundings 6

Exterior of hotel

surroundings 7

The iconic Merlion sits right outside the hotel

So far, Movenpick Heritage Hotel seems to be a good choice for us. Even when I requested to do my pre-wedding photoshoot in their premises, my catering manager was very prompt and helpful with coordinating it. The service has been impeccable.

Which bridal nail design should I go for?

5 Feb

To me, the pre-wedding shoot (or engagement shoot, if you prefer) is like a good chance to try out the dresses and makeup before the wedding day.

My shoot is happening next week (so fast!) and I’m now racking my head, trying to figure out what I haven’t prepared for it.

Oh yes, there are actually quite a number of things to do prior to the shoot. I will save the details for a separate post but for now, I want to focus on one thing – my nails. I’ve received a sponsorship for manicure (I will share more after it’s done!) and have also shortlisted a few looks that I liked.

image

Which do you think I should go for?

Recollecting 2013…

27 Dec

People often say that time appears to move faster as they grow older. I kind of have a logical explanation to why this felt so. When you’re 5, one year is like 20% of your life. But when you’re 25, it’s only 4% of your life! Now, wait till you’re 50, one year makes up just 2% of your life! Gasp.

While 2013 does feel like it flew past for me, sitting down at a quiet corner, just recollecting what happened in the year is kind of bittersweet for me – ok, probably more sweet than bitter. Here are some of the most exciting things that happened to me this year:

    • I started Daily Vanity with Keith. We’ve been colleagues before and even up till when we started dating, I’ve never thought of him as a potential business partner. Keith and I are both “builders” who love to create things that we can call our own and Daily Vanity is that project we’ve been slogging happily for. It’s seen much progress within a short span of time and I’m just really grateful for it every day.
      (The Daily Vanity journey comes with a whole set of milestones that I will share on a separate post).

daily vanity 2

daily vanity 1

  • I turned this blog into a “me blog”. I first started blogging when I was in university, when I was 19. Then, I was thrown into an environment where I felt was a little too massive to what I’m used to, and a little lonely. Also, I started a spiritual journey and thought that a blog was a great way to keep stock of things. Later on, lots of teenage drama happened and I decided to shut it down. THEN, I started Beauty Sorority just to chronicle the products I’ve tried and share with like-minded people about them. The old Beauty Sorority was probably informative, but I never really do much personal reflections. Now, with Daily Vanity taking over the beauty duty, I decided to reserve this space to writing about stuff that are closer to my heart.
  • Keith proposed to me. You might have probably seen the proposal video. I’m so grateful that he made it super special and it’s a story I always enjoy telling whenever someone asks about it.  It even got published on Zaobao and My Paper – a great way to immortalise the moment.

proposal preparation 5

  • I went on a press trip. Thanks to the invitation from Elizabeth Arden, I went for my press trip representing Daily Vanity. Coming from a publishing background, I understand how most beauty brands still see a “difference” between print media and digital media. Having done PR myself, I know why this is so and how this is so, and that’s why I’m very elated to see steps taken to engage more with members of digital media. This press trip invitation was more important to me than just going for a free trip. It tells me that digital media is taken a progressive step towards being recognised as a “serious” media, and also because it tells me that Daily Vanity is handpicked as a good representative of digital media, as far as beauty content is concerned. Anyway, I had planned to share some photos of the trip with you, but I just haven’t got time for it.

press trip

    • I met Anna Sui, Xiao Kai Lao Shi and Olivia Ong. These are movers and shakers I’ve always admired and it was a surreal feeling to have them so close to me and have a conversation with them.

interview-with-xiao-kai-lao-shi-5

olivia ong interview

    • I got a new job. And I actually really like my new company, new colleagues and job scope. Once again, I’m just super grateful that everything’s going right.

colleagues

  • I pushed my limits to time management. Those who know me since maybe 10 years ago would probably know that I’m a multi-tasker who can’t stay still. I need to fill all my time with productive activities and having “free time” just bore me out of my wits. Even in university, for instance, I would fill my after-class hours with tuition (as in, giving them), ministry work in school and in church, writing… But this year, it kind of got even more crazy with my after-work hours and weekends filled with work for Daily Vanity, preparing for the wedding and the house. It’s like everything gets thrown in my direction and I need to quickly pick up plates to catch and hold them. The lucky thing is that I’ve got Keith to help me do the juggling act and he, like me, is crazy about time management and project management, and it really helps that we work really well as a team. Planning for the wedding with him is like hiring two wedding planners, I’d always say. We’re both super on-the-ball. And no, don’t worry, I’m not stressed out. At least not yet.

And yes, these are some of the highlights from 2013. As for new year’s resolutions… let’s save it for another blog entry because I need to move to my next task now – I’ve only allocated 20 minutes for blogging today.

Surprise Proposal At The HDB estate

21 Nov

Finally! The proposal video is ready.

Once again, I’d like to thank my friends (Hui Hui, Jueqi, Lizhuang, Peiwen, Shn, Sinye, Tianming, Yiling) and family for being part of this memory. And big thanks to other friends who can’t be there (Charlene, Jessie, Sihan, Tianyun).

I know it’s not easy keeping secrets from me because I’m paranoid and suspicious smart and not gullible but you guys pulled it off!

And of course big thanks to my fiance, the love of my life, Keith Toh, who’s spent several late nights planning this surprise for me, and to coordinate with my nearest and dearest to organise this mega party.

Here’s evidence of him working hard till the wee hours:

proposal preparation

Special thanks to Sinye too, whom I know is responsible for a lot of the coordinating and planning, and for Leslie, my dearest bro, aka the “spy” at home.

Here are photos from the night of proposal and the video:

proposal preparation 2

proposal preparation 3

proposal preparation 4

proposal preparation 5

proposal preparation 6

proposal preparation 7

 

Thank you, video crew, for bringing down so many cameras and equipment to make sure that this memory is recorded :)

What To Expect For Your First Appointment At The Bridal Studio

7 Nov

Well, that was the question I ask myself when Keith set the appointment to meet up with French Weddings. In the end, we’re just two clueless people, not knowing what to expect. Keith told me to do some “homework” so we can have some ideas to share with the designer (my dress will be made to measure), and I did that - googled for “bridal gowns” and compiled the bridal gowns that I like. But you see, these are dresses that I think look good on the models – but I have no idea how they will look on me, and that’s all that mattered, right?

After spending almost two hours at the studio, trying out gowns after gowns (which, trust me, is a super tiring process), this was the one that I thought I liked.

my bridal gown at french weddings

And this dress, if you recall, doesn’t look like any of the dresses that I shortlisted. So, after this experience, here are tips that I have gathered to take note of at the first appointment:

  • Try as many dresses as you can: Well, it’s free-of-charge! Just try as many as you can, so you’ll know what looks good on you. While it’s a tiring process, it’s going to be helpful.
  • Keep an open mind: I thought that I would want something with a slightly higher waistline and has many lace details. However, after trying out many dresses, I realise that drop-waist designs look more flattering on me and I actually prefer organza as the main material.
  • Be yourself: Ask yourself if it is a dress that you can see yourself in. There was a dress that look absolutely gorgeous and was flattering on me, however, it has a touch of opulence that I thought was a bit too over-the-top for me. I didn’t think I was going to feel comfortable with it, and so I passed over it.
  • Go general, then go niche: When you’ve zeroed in to the type of dresses you like (in my case, organza material, drop waist), ask for more dresses that fall into this category. That way, you’ll know you’ll get closer to picking out your dream dress.

Anyhow, my second appointment with the designer would be to work with him to sketch out a mock-up for the actual dress that they will be tailoring for me. And by then, I already know what types of dresses I look best in, and now it’s time to do useful “homework”! These are the looks that contains elements that I like:

bridal gown with ruches

organza bridal gowns

bubble skirt and weave bridal gown

bridal gown with bubble skirt

My designer has already sketched out the mock-up and I’m super happy with what I saw. I actually have it with me but I decided that I want to save it for later – and show it to you together with the final dress when it’s done up, which will probably be in January to February :)

Our proposal on Lianhe Zaobao & My Paper

14 Oct

So I mentioned that we were featured in Lianhe Zaobao and My Paper, here are photos of the articles!

zaobao

mypaper

mypaper 2

Stay In Shape Retreat At Amara Sanctuary

11 Oct

You’ve seen the Larkhill Terrace that Keith and I stayed in when we were at Amara Sanctuary. Now, I’ve finally found time to share with you the rest of the exciting line-up we went through when we were having our vacation there.

The package that we went for was the Stay In Shape retreat, which included a 45-minute training session at Aileron Wellness.

aileron amara sanctuary 7

aileron amara sanctuary 6

When I went to visit the spa at Amara Sanctuary a few months ago, I went past Aileron Wellness. It is situated above the spa and is a quiet area where you can look out to the greens. (Then again, it’s not that tough when Amara Sanctuary is literally surrounded by flora and fauna).

It’s kind of strange to simply call Aileron Wellness a “gym” since it’s really very different from the conventional gyms that I’ve seen. Besides the superior environment, Aileron Wellness has interestingly split its space into two parts – the traditional gym and the play area.

This is how the traditional area looks like. And if you look carefully, it isn’t all that traditional too. One of the machines that they are equipped with is the Power Plate, which vibrates as you do your routines on it, hence, making the intensity higher than if you have done them on normal ground.

Our trainer for the day, Keith (not my Keith, but another Keith), who is the owner of Aileron Wellness, brought us through sequences like squats on the Power Plate. With the help of the Power Plate, it is indeed more intense than my usual squatting routine, and stretch just the right muscles. It’s best to have a trainer with you when you are using the machine for the first time, though. I realise I find it easy to get the right position with Keith guiding me to it.

Even (my) Keith who works out regularly, finds this more straining than his usual workout. I guess this means that the training at Aileron Wellness is working!

aileron amara sanctuary 5

After a few minutes of warming up at the traditional area, we went to the play area for some circuit training. This playground is equipped with all kinds of interesting tools and equipment, and furnished with grassy carpets and a lot of open spaces, it reminds me very much of my primary school PE classes – but with a professional trainer, and professional routine.

Keith brought us through the different stations and showed us what we were supposed to do at each of them.

aileron amara sanctuary 3

aileron amara sanctuary 4

Every station trains our core muscle and more. One of the most interesting stations is probably the interactive punching bag area. Like an arcade game, after tapping on the start button, different parts of the stands light up and we are to punch or kick the lit part to turn it off. It trains your reaction and gets you to run around a little. It may look simple, but it can be quite challenging. It’s super fun, though!

Here’s (my) Keith and I having a go at it.

aileron amara sanctuary

aileron amara sanctuary 2

We had a really good time and learnt so much from Keith about physical training and overall well-being. He and his team bring along with them a set of certified skills that you may not be able to get in normal gyms. The state-of-the-art equipment is definitely something to shout about as well. I find the non-intimidating environment another great plus for those who want to get out of their workout rut and finally have fun while training up.

After washing up, we went to Shutters Restaurant for a healthy dinner. We’ve heard so much about Shutters Restaurant and was really excited to finally visit it.

The ambience is elegant and quiet in the evening, and I think it makes for a very cosy and romantic venue for dinner.

We started off the meal (you get to choose the items) with a glass of fruit juice.

shutters amara sanctuary 1

shutters amara sanctuary 2

shutters amara sanctuary 3

shutters amara sanctuary 4

We completed the night at Tier Bar, where we were served herb-infused cocktails. The chilli and pepper concoction was extremely interesting – thought it’s definitely not for the weak-hearted, because it’s so strong!

As for the rest, they include halia tea cocktail and lemongrass cocktail, all of them really easy on the palate and I enjoyed them very much.

tier bar

tier bar amara sanctuary

Wedding dresses I love

7 Oct

Keith and I have confirmed our bridal package with French Weddings and have scheduled for our first appointment in a few weeks’ time.

And so I’m supposed to attend it with some ideas in mind and seriously, this is tougher than I thought. Well, first, I think the gown that I’m going to wear to the church is of utmost importance to me and I definitely want it to be white. However, white isn’t quite my favourite colour (I think I have less than 5 white items in my wardrobe).

The other problem – I hardly wear gowns (besides my school prom eons ago) and I simply can’t visualise myself in one. This means that even if I’ve shortlisted the looks that I like (on models), it may not mean that it’ll be the look that I want on myself.

Nonetheless, I guess I still gotta do some homework, and here’s sharing some inspirations that I’ve had with everyone:

ruches at the torso area

My thoughts: Yes to a long veil, asymmetrical look (see straps) and ruches at the torso area.

a line skirt, ankle length

My thoughts: This actually looks a bit dated (perhaps it’s the gloves. Very Mary Poppins! But I actually like the silhouette of an A-line skirt – it gives that prim, proper but very elegant look that I’m in favour of for a wedding gown.

laced details at hem

My thoughts: I’m not sure about the high neck (because my neck is so short). But I think the details at the hem are absolutely gorgeous!

laced details on sleeves and v neck line

My thoughts: I don’t like sweetheart neck lines but if comes with some kind of lacy sleeves, it’s a yes, yes, yes!

laced sleeves

My thoughts: I’m opened to the idea of laced sleeves too (okay, by now you should know which is my favourite material in the world).

wedding-dress-bridal-gown-veluz-reyes-1

My thoughts: I like the details on the lace above the bodice.

2-new-kenneth-pool-wedding-dresses-wedding-gowns-bridal-market-fall-2013

My thoughts: A huge skirt that looks like clouds will probably make me look like I’m in cloud nine, no? I hope it won’t be too heavy.

halter

My thoughts: This looks very elegant! I’ve got a dress with a rather similar neckline and I thought it looks fine on me.

P/S: I will update this post whenever I find something pretty.

Are these sufficient ideas to share with the designer? Or do I have to look for more inspirations? Which of these looks do you like best?

We’re engaged!

2 Oct

If you’ve been following me on Instagram or Twitter, you probably already knew about it. It’s kinda “old news” – Keith proposed almost 3 months ago. But I haven’t shared photos or details on this blog.

Anyway, even if you’ve seen the proposal photos, have you seen the proposal ring? He actually proposed with a one that’s much simpler than what I’m wearing now. The intended design is the one I’m currently wearing, but the jeweller couldn’t get it out in time for his planned proposal, so he used a simplified version instead.

proposal ring

proposal with friends

proposal 1

proposal 2

I won’t be sharing the details in this post, because a video depicting it is coming up. The video team has been working on it and we’re doing up some final touches. It probably tells a better story than if I rattle on in a 1000-word article.

Anyway, if you’ve read My Paper or Lianhe Zaobao and thought you saw someone who looked like us – yes, our proposal was featured in these two publications. :)

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