Tag Archives: Singapore

Yes, I have wedding colours (plus, look at this jewellery)

If I promise to have a new money-related post up within seven days, will you let me unleash a barrage of pictures on you today? Even though its been two weeks since I last posted? Deal? Before you sign, you should know my image-manipulation skills extend to Paint, and no further. I just thought I should disclose that. In order for you to make an informed decision. On the plus side, I’ll try to avoid just having single images all in a column like a did last time. You’re a very tolerant audience, and if I could, a would put a free Etsy voucher under each of your seats as a token of my appreciation.

So yeah, I do have a wedding style vision, and even a colour theme. Though my approach with the colour theme is so loose, there’s a chance it will actually be undetectable. Nevertheless, this is how I’ve been thinking about it (caution, risk of wankiness ahead):

My basic take when it comes to styling things, is that context is everything. I don’t like it when gardens in a temperate climate have a tropical style. I don’t like it when guys have to wear long pants even though its 30 degrees and the humidity is 100%. I find it discordant. I believe beauty comes from harmony first.

So, colours: The Thirty-Something Bride puts it well here – you should choose colours that coordinate with the venue. I’ve always thought the colours that look like they belong here, in Singapore and surrounds, are bright and saturated. Plus there is so much bright pink bougainvillea here, no seriously it is everywhere, that to me it’s the signature colour of the place.

From google street view, this is what my nearest high way looks like

So, if I was to name official wedding colours, it would be hot pink plus intense turquoise. Something like this:

Thank you, Paint colour picker.

But then we have the small matter of how these colours don’t especially suit me, nor really any of the key players in the wedding. But it’s ok, because I reckon if each person looks individually awesome, then all of us together can’t help but also look awesome, even if we’re not strictly colour coordinated. So I’ve just told everyone who’s asked to wear whatever they want to wear. Meanwhile groom and I will kind of persevere with the colour theme, by adapting the pink and blue idea to versions that actually suit us. This translates to a hot pink flower pinned to his shirt, and softer pink flowers for me, with jewellery in a softer version of pink or blue.

So that’s colours (man, I overthink things). Then there’s general mood, which I think I have mentioned enough not to have to go into detail for, but basically: this is a party on a beach in a hot place. It’s surprisingly hard to find inspiration pictures for this, because people tend to want to go formal, having their men in long pants and stuff, which to me negates the whole point of the beachiness. Here is a set of pictures that kind of captures the tone I’m going for, though:

By Jonas Peterson Photography.

And the final layer on the bridal style cake is what I think expresses who I am. Valeria Chuba gets it, and I asked her to help me shop for jewellery. In response she sent me SEVENTY-FIVE links to various earrings, necklaces, bracelets and such. One of the things she sent me was this:

That is a necklace of mother-effing ROCKS. I love it.

Jewellery shopping has been one of the best parts of wedding planning so far (along with compiling and then rocking out to our playlist, that is). And I love so many of the things Valeria sent that I feel inclined to stomp around whilst saying in whiny tone, “Do I HAAAVE to choose?” But I did painstakingly compile a shortlist, which I present now for your pleasure and delectation…*fanfare*


Things I like include elephants and rocks that are jewellery.

(Left to right, top to bottom: 1. here 2. here 3. here 4. here 5. here 6. here 7. here)


When the rocks are smaller, that’s fine too.

(Left to right, top to bottom: 1. here 2. here 3. here 4. here 5. here 6. here 7. here 8. here 9. here)

The idea is to go necklace free, and have some big-ass earrings paired with probably more than one bracelet on each wrist. Which to choose, which to choose. I think I’m going to need to get several things, and then decide in person which ones to wear for the wedding and which ones to leave for every other day of the year. Which is handy, cos my current jewellery collection is virtually nonexistent, which is a whole other long story.


Purpose of weddings: It’s not about the legalities

Alternative titles for this post:

A case for multi-wedding marriages
A dress! You guys, check at this dress!*

M and I are New Zealanders. In New Zealand, once two people have been living together as a couple for three years, the de facto partnership they are in has practically the same legalities around it as an actual marriage. For instance, if you break up, assets would be split fifty-fifty. You enter this phase of financial union without doing a thing – the couple doesn’t have to go somewhere, or sign something, or make any declarations. It just becomes a truth that everything is now jointly owned.

We reached our three year mark right about the same time that we moved to Singapore. Before that though, we’d already completely merged our finances anyway. We were in it together, man. And then Singapore happened, which just further cemented the fact that as a couple, we were a done deal. Obviously emotionally, yes: if following your partner to a foreign country because he got a job there isn’t commitment, I don’t know what is. But also legally: the way the visa  situation works, M is here by what is known as an employment pass, while I am here as his dependent. The paperwork included going to the NZ High Commission to write signed statements, witnessed by an official, about how long we’ve had joint bank accounts and the like. We are officially recognised in Singapore as having a common-law marriage, and it’s what allows me to stay here with him.

It gets worse. For years we’ve had the habit of referring to each other as each other’s partner, but here in Asia, a lot of people don’t get that. And most people I’ve come across really don’t get living together before marriage.  Seriously, the number of times I’ve had to explain that we’re not married, but we live together, but it’s like being married, and actually, this is very common in NZ and it would be unusual not to live together first. So for the almost two years we’ve been living here, we’ve gotten used to just calling each other husband and wife when talking to locals. Makes conversation with a chatty cab driver that much simpler.

So why are we even getting married, when it doesn’t really change much? Well, for one, its going to be a bit more convenient to actually have a marriage certificate instead of having to prove our commitment in other ways. But for us, getting married, or more accurately, having a wedding, is not about the legal stuff at all. We’re doing it for two main reasons:

1. Making explicit all the implicit promises that we have already made to each other, and doing it in a way that our community recognises. I hate to be quoting Sex and The City, but Miranda put it perfectly, in the episode where she marries Steve: “I do actually wanna say those vows, out loud, to Steve. In front of the people I care about”

2. Acknowledging, along with our family and friends, that loving each other so much that we want to share the entire rest if our lives together, is awesome. We’ve been lucky enough to find our person, and that’s amazing, frankly, even if it is a miracle that happens to lots of people. It’s worthy of a big-ass celebration.

So once I figured out that the legal part of this wedding will be much easier to handle in Singapore than in Indonesia (for starters, Singaporeans use English), we made the decision to get the meaningless, five minute, registry office ceremony done a few days before the emotional, poignant readings, personalized vows, ring exchange ceremony at the resort.

My intention was to approach the legal thing as much like paperwork formality as possible – we’d show up in whatever we were wearing that day, sign what we needed to sign, and be done. But, it turns out, we need two witnesses. And there’s a dress code. The info online literally specifies that shorts and flip flops aren’t appropriate. What up, we live in those things.

So that means my man can wear his office wear, and I…well, I don’t look my best in my formal office wear. The thing is, for men, formal professional wear and formal social wear are the same thing. For women, they are kind of vastly different. Miss Manners discusses this issue here. And since our legal ceremony will be socially formal, and not professionally formal, I was instantly launched into fashion fantasies of a Kate Middleton-like nature.

Which brings me to this dress. I won’t bore you with listing the ways it is perfection, I’ll just let you see for yourself:

Karen Millen, I salute you.

I tend to be uber fussy, I mean discerning, about my clothes, but this one is hitting so many nails on so many heads, that when it comes to this dress, I just can’t. I just can’t not obsess over it. 

You complete me.

The only nailhead it doesn’t hit is the price.

Don’t speak. I know just what you’re saying.

You’re saying, “Lindsay, I thought this was a frugal wedding, you sell out.”

Yeah, the dress is over SG$500, and that’s not even addressing the shoe issue. So here’s the deal: it’s not coming out of my wedding budget, it’s coming out of my everyday budget. Plus I can totally wear it again. Right?! Also, you know how I just said my taste is very discerning? When my local friends just read that, they were all surprised and thought about how my ubiquitous plain t-shirt with denim shorts does not exactly reflect a keen sartorial eye. Here’s the sad truth: I’m so damn fussy about clothes, that I almost never find something that fits the bill, and hence I almost never buy new stuff, and hence, I mostly wear pretty old things that were acquired as gifts, or purchased in the days before my fussiness went stratospheric. The upshot is, I spend so little on clothes, that I can actually justify this.

Then there’s the witnesses issue for the legal ceremony. M wants his brother to be his, and I would like my mother to be mine. But since I’m all dressed up and such, and all our immediate family members will be in town, it doesn’t seem right to leave them out. We’re allowed to bring up to 20 guests to the registry office. So we’re going have all our immediate family come. And since we’re doing that, well, maybe we should all go to TWG afterwards and drink champagne and eat a macaroon or two.

Suddenly, it appears I’m having two weddings. But I don’t want to look at it like that. I still consider our non-legal ceremony on the beach to be our real wedding, the one that’s important. Now we just also have a fancy family morning tea to go with it. And the fact that I get to have both beach party princess, and elegant urbanite dresses, well, I’m not too sad about that.

*Yes, check at. That’s how we spoke where I grew up, mmkay?

My adventures in venue booking, Part 2

When I left you at Part 1, I had just been quoted a price WAY more than I had had in mind, and in a last ditch effort, decided I needed to talk to the venue people in person to try and convince them of the unfanciness to which I was willing to stoop. Resort A was telling me 90 dollars “plus plus” per person, and had also unhelpfully sent me the details of their special wedding package for newlyweds that included stuff like massages, rose petals spinkled on beds, and a fancy table set for two, all for just a few thousand dollars for a one or two nights. Resort B meanwhile had been unforthcoming with the prices.

Meanwhile another local expat friend (sup, V!) who is planning on getting married a few months after me, was doing some research of her own, and unearthed herself a $35 per person deal at a resort in Bali (read: a flight away from Singapore). And that’s right about when I started dreading whether it was even possible to do this thing this close to Singapore, land of everything-twice-the-price-as-surrounding-countries.

The problem is, I’m attached to this whole beach thing. If I was being strictly practical, we could just rent out the function room in our condo. I would bake wedding cupcakes myself and M would brew all the beer, and we could pull it off for super cheap. But then our wedding would be taking place *inside*, in a shut off and 100% characterless room with air con going. And…I just really didn’t want that. Or maybe we could set up something on the beach we live near to, with it’s extremely narrow strip of sand, hordes and hordes of people, and lack of swimming in the sea because it’s dirty, even though it is completely stinking hot. I just didn’t want that either. Me, with the whole screw wedding cake, screw wedding dresses, screw save-the-dates attitude, that very same person, was stuck on wanting for something more expensive, for purely aesthetic reasons.

I met with Resort B first. It was a giant relief. I may have implied that this wasn’t a wedding, but just a casual celebration around a wedding, as if it was one of the side events. The happiness started when she said that yes, a party on the actual sand itself is possible. And then the happiness grew: Yes, we can do a buffet where everyone just helps themselves. Yes, we can set up beer barrels with taps where everyone just helps themselves. Yes, we can set up a soundsystem down there so you can have speeches and play music off your laptop. But then! No, we can’t have a bonfire. Not as happy. But then, WE WILL HAVE FIRE TORCHES! Fire torches people!!! And all this would cost $35 “plus plus” per head for the food. Which translates to $42.35 per person, and extra for the drinks. There isn’t even a venue rental fee, though of course we’ll be paying to actually spend a few nights there. Sing with me: OH HAPPY DAY…

The very next day, I met with the person from Resort A, and gave him the same spiel. It wasn’t as happy: We couldn’t do it on the beach. We would need to have the reception either inside, or in a section of the outside bar with the rest of the bar filled with general patrons. There would be no bonfire there either. Also, the lowest he could go on food was $55 ++ per head = $66.55. Also, no fire torches.

We got engaged at Resort A, so we’re kind of fond of it. We’d had it in mind the entire time, including the morning of the day we got officially engaged. But alas, the other resort sounded better. The only thing left to do was check it out in person. I made some calls.

Ten days ago, we took the ferry over, and came across a guy holding a sign saying “Ms. Lindsay”, hopped into a car with him, and got taken to Resort B for the first time. We got greeted with cooldrinks that had decorative citrus slices on the rims. We got toured around the resort in a gold* cart. We were guided through the beachside restaurant, our backup plan in case of rain. We were shown different hotel rooms. We sat poolside in deckchairs swigging duty free Baileys. We sat at a bar in the pool, singing along to Roxette’s Joyride album. We rented electric bikes for an hour and went all around. We walked along the beach. We slid down waterslides.

So it’s officially on with Resort B, also known as Bintan Lagoon Resort. And you guys, FIRE TORCHES. Who needs bonfires anyway? And yes, the whole thing is basically a dream come true.

*Edited to add: After I published this, fiance called to tell me that even though the resort was nice, it was a golF cart, and not made from gold. He also feels it would be relevant to add that this is because you can play golf there. In case some people care about golf. Which I don’t. But thanks babe!