Getting Hitched 101
Are you getting married in the near future? Fear not! I have been actively involved in my brothers' weddings and recently got married myself! So here are some things I've learnt along the way that hopefully helps all you engaged couples:
1) What needs to be done/prepared/settled before the wedding?
A lot of people will argue that the first thing that ought to be done is...book the venue! If you have a preferred place, book the date. The last thing you want is to compromise on your dream wedding venue because of last minute bookings.
Of course, weddings are a spiritual union of two souls...but we still need to settle the legalities! So preparations must be done for the registration of marriage (ROM). For this, visit your nearest Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN) office to collect the marriage registration forms. Fill them up, attach a passport picture and submit the forms one month prior to the date of registration. There are a few important things to note here: 1) The forms need to be submitted one month in advance so JPN can put up a notice announcing this registration and some time is given for any member of the public to raise any objections if relevant, 2) The forms need to be submitted based on your address. For e.g. I'm from Kepong, so I was able to submit my forms in Putrajaya JPN but my husband is from Subang so he needed to submit his forms in Shah Alam JPN. When you collect the forms, just verify with the officer present about where you'll need to submit the forms, and 3) After the notice period, you will need to book a date for the registration at your preferred JPN office (depending on availability).
My husband and I got registered in Putrajaya and I highly recommend it! The office and surrounding sceneries are beautiful! We got a photographer for the day to take photos of the special occassion. In retrospect, it was a missed opportunity as we mostly took shots at the JPN office itself. Putrajaya has many beautiful parks and places; if you can, after the ROM visit one of these places to take some shots. This could even act as a low-budget pre-wedding shoot.
Now, you're legally married! Next stop...wedding! For the prep leading up to the wedding I can mostly only speak from the female perspective. Sure, I was involved in my brothers' weddings but let's be real, my attention was only 100 percent during the food tasting! Let's get started. So here's a list of things that need to be prepared for the wedding:
make up artists
henna artist (for Indian weddings)
door gifts (optional)
Ok, I know the list can be long and at times overwhelming but stay calm. Take it one step at a time. There is time before the wedding, you can get all this sorted. Your biggest resource here: Friends, family, Instagram & Pinterest. I'm a newb when it comes to finding the right people on Instagram. Luckily I have awesome family and friends I can rely on! My make up artist (Facebook ID: Susiladevi Velayan) was recommended by my sister-in-law. The door gift for my brother's wedding (ladoo in a customised box) was prepared by a contact given by my best friend (Facebook ID: Singh Sweets Enterprise). If you have friends or family who have recently tied the knot, ask them for much needed contacts. Plus, you would get first-hand information about their experiences with these service providers.
2) What are things to consider for the big day?
Think about the flow of the wedding. What needs to be done? Delegate duties beforehand. Who is in charge of welcoming guests? Who is in charge of contacting the caterers? Who is in charge of answering phone calls? Sort this out before the big day to avoid any unnecessary stress. One important duty to assign is the collection of angpau money. I was this person for my eldest brother's wedding. I came ill-prepared with a plastic bag. For my second brother's wedding, I came better prepared with a sling bag. For Indian weddings, usually the ceremony goes on and at the end, guests come up on stage to greet the newly wed couple, take photographs and give angpau. So immediately the bride or groom passes the angpau packets to the person in charge for safe keeping. If you fear your wedding might have a differen flow, consider making an announcement about this before the ceremony commences to inform guests on the preferred flow of events.
With all the stress of planning the wedding, don't forget about the honeymoon! I definitely recommend this, a few days away with just the two of you will be awesome! After all the stress, the honeymoon helps both of you relax and you can enjoy each other's company while taking in the sites and going for romatic dinners, what could be better! My advice is plan ahead! The sooner you plan and book the tickets, the better rates you will get. Truthfully, my husband and I booked our honeymoon before pretty much anything else for the wedding! We used AirAsia Go to book both flight tickets and accommodation. We both love the beach and ended up going to Bali for our honeymoon. If you're still deciding on a place, try Bali! It's beautiful and oh so romantic.
We stayed at the Prama Sanur Resort in Sanur, Bali. Our stay was really memorable; we had written a note to the hotel in our booking that we were coming for our honeymoon and they upgraded our room! Plus, they gave us a free photoshoot! We didn't get the time to do a pre-wedding shoot and this totally made up for it. It was my husband's birthday and we got dressed up in our jippa and saree and strutted to the beach for a photshoot. Yes, in Bali. On a hot sunny day. Yep, you know what they say. You can take the Indian out of India, but you can't take the India out of the Indian! The photoshoot was really fun. The young photographer was friendly and suggested loads of poses for us to do. And guys, the beach is gorgeous! Highly recommended for all you future honeymooners.
Having said all this, always do remember that a wedding is not an event, but the beginning of a marriage. In the midst of all the wedding prep, it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Trust me, I've been there too. Sometimes, we're striving so hard for an instagram-worthy event that we fuss over all the small details and forget about what it's all about. It's ok if some things don't go your way. Sometimes the DJ messes up the tracks or the photographer misses a photo opp. Take a deep breath and remind yourself...that this is all good practice for when you don't get your way after marriage! Just kidding, of course! Hey you've made it friend! Down the aisle with your partner in crime. This is the start of an awesome adventure. Imagine a slumber party with your best friend everyday but like a hundred times better! So don't sweat the small stuff. In a few months down the line, it all won't matter anymore. All you'll remember and all that matters is the person you're sharing your life with.
I leave you with a quote from my beloved husband that makes up for all my awkward moments in a saree caught on camera, my lenses rolling to the back of my eyes and desserts in our dessert corner being sapu-ed before we can get a snap for Instagram - "Put aside the flowers, decorations, food, invitations cards, etc. A wedding is about marrying your best friend. If at the end of the day, I leave my wedding with the girl I love by my side, I consider it a win."