If there’s one decision we made that I’m proud of, it would be the decision to do our dinner reception overseas with a small guest list.
Similarly to my SG Wedding Q&A post, I’m about to do up a Q&A post on having my dinner reception overseas in a matching manner. For this post, I hope I will reach out to those who are thinking of having a destination wedding and have many questions in mind.
And so, I will also be talking about:
- what/who/where did I choose (type of wedding, gowns, bouquets, etc.)
- why I chose them
- is there anything in particular that I liked/disliked
- if I re-did my wedding, would I choose them again?
Here it goes again!
1) STYLE OF WEDDING
What type of wedding did I choose?
Destination dinner reception in Lombok in the style of garden wedding.
Why did I choose this style of wedding?
Before Kenneth and I even got together, I knew in the back of my mind that if I were to ever get married I would never do a typical 30-40 table hotel wedding banquet. It did not make sense to me, spending almost a hundred thousand bucks on people, most of which I am not close to, some of which I only meet once a year (thanks to Chinese New Year) and the last few whom I probably have never talked to or even met before!
So slightly over a year after Kenneth and I got together, when we started talking about the prospects of getting married, I raised the option of having our dinner reception in an overseas island nearby. Kenneth was very open to that idea and it took a bit of negotiation before both our parents agreed as well.
Why garden wedding? I wasn’t very keen on a beach wedding (not a big fan of having sand in my footwear) and, coincidentally, the location we ended up choosing only had the option of garden wedding.
Is there anything in particular that I liked/disliked about having a destination garden wedding?
I think the main difficulty is really the exchange of ideas without concrete view. Kenneth and I had previously took a trip down to Kebun Villas & Resort in Lombok to check them out and although we had a rough idea of how our venue was like, subsequent communications about decoration was still pretty difficult to imagine without being physically there.
Aside from that, everything else is actually pretty easy. With the current age of e-communication via Whatsapp, it really brings international communication to a whole new level. Planning can continue to happen while Kenneth and I were in Singapore as, even though Bianca Fung (the manager of Kebun Villas & Resort) was largely located in Lombok, messages and picture references could still be sent to each other through Whatsapp.
I also liked the idea of having the chance to “custom-make” my own wedding. I didn’t have to choose my favourite theme out of all the hotels’ themes, I get to make it from scratch with Bianca. From fairy lights to chandeliers, VIP long table to lounge seating, a REAL WEDDING CAKE to popping champagne of our choice to floating lotuses, from extensive floral deco to actually have faunas around us during the dinner reception, from life size games like tic tac toe/jenga/link 4 to a crazy after party in the pool. Everything customised to our preferences.
With that said, it goes to show Bianca visualises and bring to life ideas very well. The 16 months of planning was more than worth it.
Would I still do it this way?
YES. It was so much more fun than any wedding I’ve attended (no offences but sometimes #truthhurts) and it still does not make sense for me to pay almost a hundred thousand dollars on people I barely meet or talk to.
It cost us slightly over 20 thousand dollars for this huge event and, sure, we didn’t receive ang pao money to cover our costs, which we weren’t expecting to anyway since it’s a destination wedding and it already meant a big deal to us for our friends and loved ones to have had been able to make it, but we didn’t lose 20 thousand dollars; we earned invaluable memories. THAT compared to spending 40-50 thousand dollars OR MORE on people we weren’t close to and possibly losing up to 30 thousand dollars (based on stories we heard), the 20 thousand dollars we spent was far more worthy of every cent.
Where did I have my destination dinner reception?
Kebun Villas & Resort in Lombok, Indonesia.
Why did I choose this venue/location?
Once Kenneth and I mutually agreed to have our dinner reception overseas, we started researching on nearby islands. Here are the list of islands we looked at and why we rejected these islands:
- Batam -> despite the fact that it’s near and convenient/dirt cheap to get to on a ferry, the resorts were either really beautiful but REALLY EXPENSIVE or really cheap but really shit. Only Montigo had private pools in their villas but of course if you’ve been there you should know even their 1 bed-room villas are really expensive.
- Bintan -> same, near and convenient/dirt cheap to get to by ferry but also resorts either really beautiful but really expensive or really cheap but really shit. Of which I believe none of the resorts provide villas with private pools.
- Phuket -> though a short plane ride away, easily accessible resorts/villas/whathaveyous are flippin’ expensive while the nice and reasonably priced ones are quite a distance away.
- Bali -> I am one who can’t unhear what’s been heard. Some of you might already know where I’m going at. There’s this infamous curse in Bali where unmarried couples who travel to Bali together will inevitably end up separated. This is due to a legend where a young prince and young princess in Bali were madly in love. However, one day, that particular prince decided he was just gonna disappear on the young princess. So that particular princess decided to put a curse on all unmarried couples who visited Bali, cursing them to break up upon leaving Bali. Of course it’s a myth but I’ve seen my fair share of unmarried couples who visited Bali together end up separated. But there are also those who survived the curse. To each its own. I didn’t want to take that risk. Neither did I want to put my unmarried couple guests in that risk.
- Australia -> yes, I know it’s an entire country (and tectonic plate) on its own BUT it’s like a second home to me. As much as I love this country and I call it my second home, it just did not make sense financially.
We only explored these few as we are somewhat familiar with these few islands.
Then I noticed a few pictures and advertorial posts of Lombok popping out here and there so I started looking up Lombok and also showed Kenneth. Kenneth found it interesting and a possible option and so, one fine Sunday afternoon in March 2016 while Kenneth and I were lazing around in the living room of my parents’ place, my dad, out of nowhere, asked us, “BOTH OF YOU KEEP TALKING ABOUT GETTING MARRIED SO WHEN ARE THE BOTH OF YOU ACTUALLY GETTING MARRIED?!”
*frantically open laptop and start searching Agoda for resorts in Lombok*
The very first resort that caught our eyes was Kebun Villas & Resort. Their pictures on Agoda were STUNNING. Their main infinity pool (currently the longest on the island), their villas, the greenery, everything. So I went to check their website out to see if they had any wedding packages. None. LOL I could have just “ok, next” but for some reason I felt compelled to send them an email to enquire more.
Moments later, a friend from a church I used to attend sent me a Facebook message, telling me he’s seated right beside Bianca at a wedding in Singapore.
WHAT WERE THE ODDS.
So my friend passed Bianca my number, Bianca sent me a message via Whatsapp, initiated a meet up twice (Kenneth told me to reject the meet the first time) and we met up. With no clue what I wanted for my wedding. Didn’t even know it was going to be a garden wedding. But after an hour or so of discussion, we roughly pinned down a theme: rustic royal.
Kenneth and I also took a trip down to Lombok about 2 months later in May 2016 to check out their Cendana (3 bedroom) Villa where the reception was going to be held. With that visit, we could visualise better what we were going to get ourselves into. It was also because of that visit, that Kenneth and I fell head over heels with their villa and decided, yes, this would be where we were going to have our dinner reception.
Is there anything I liked/disliked about this venue?
I didn’t like the venue. I LOVED IT. Take a trip there and you will know what I mean. You literally don’t ever need to get out of their resort! They have EVERYTHING! Every room/villa comes with complimentary stuff (e.g. one packet of potato chips, 1 or 2 cans of BEER LIKE WHERE DO U GET FREE BEER RIGHT, a few cans of soda). Need toiletries? Their showers/baths come with shampoos and body wash. Their cafe, Gula Gila, situated right at the entrance of their resort, sells things like usb cords, power adaptor (if you don’t have 2 pin plugs like theirs in Indonesia), toothbrush, toothpaste, cup noodles AND SO ON. Their resort restaurant serves GOOD FOOD. It’s not even just decent, IT’S GOOD. Like, carbonara with poached egg kind of good.
In May 2016 I only walked out to explore the nearby shops and area in the evenings to try out some massage places and other restaurants. This time for my wedding trip in July 2017, I only walked out ONCE out of the 8 days we were there. The remaining days were spent in the villa by the private pool soaking in the sun working on a tan ordering in-house dining. We headed out with Kenny Lim (owner of Kebun) and Bianca for dinner twice (1st night and last night) and supper on the very night of our dinner reception after all our guests had left to rest.
Their staff are also very efficient, professional and extremely friendly. Some of them even remembered me from my May 2016 trip!
There’s really nothing I disliked about this place. Even the 1-1.5 hour drive from the airport was worth it ‘cos you get to see the local agriculture, shops and beaches along the way.
Will I still choose this venue if I redid my wedding?
YA DUH?! Over and over again I’d still choose Kebun for my dinner reception. Kenneth and I are even planning on heading back again and again for getaways!
3) WEDDING GOWN
Where did I get my gown?
I got my gown from Bridal Place Malacca as well.
Why did I choose to get my gown there?
I guess for this, I really need to get down to details.
ACTUALLY, I had a dream gown I tried on earlier this year (or maybe end of 2016 I can’t really remember lol) that really flattered my figure in many ways possible. Here it is:
The problem with this gown was, it came with a huge price tag. It was a few thousand dollars even after discount. Till this day I still think of that dream gown, did anyone get it, what would my wedding have looked like if I wore that gown instead, etc.
But one thing’s for sure: it wasn’t practical to get that gown.
I guess if Kenneth and I were millionaires, we could get any outfits we wanted, whether they were just slightly over a grand or maybe a few 10s of thousands. The thing is, we weren’t. We did have the money to spend comfortably on our wedding (and of course still hope that the ang pao moneys would cover some of our costs) but we didn’t have the money to spend lavishly.
Also, this gown was mermaid. I already had a white mermaid gown for church (covered by a cape but it’s still mermaid haha) and I guess I wouldn’t have wanted to go through another night of uncomfortableness. I probably wouldn’t have been able to sit at the lounge area with our younger guests if I had gotten this gown. So practicality wise, it also didn’t make sense for me to get this gown.
Then I resorted to Dressily Me. I saw this semi-ballroom kind of gown that had a slit and was off shoulder which looked completely gorgeous and sexy on the bride who wore it in their pictures. I got it made-to-measure for slightly over a hundred bucks, extremely excited to check out how it would look on me but alas. When it came and I tried it on, I looked crap in it.
Let me show you what I saw and what I got:
Just so many nos in so many levels. It didn’t quite look like what they showed in pictures! It was much more blue than grey. And I also figured I just look horrible in ballgown. I look shorter, almost disappearing.
So with all that said, during one of our trips to Malacca for our photoshoot, I decided to take a look at some of their coloured gowns and saw the brown one! It was semi-mermaid with silk-like material. Everyone liked it on me (I whatsapp-ed a few people back in SG photos of me in the gown). And so we got it.
Is there anything I liked/disliked about getting my gown in Malacca?
Before I found this gown, their previous variety of evening gowns were not exactly very flattering. Or maybe they just weren’t to my taste. So the fact that it was quite last minute made it quite stressful. What if I can’t find anything? What if they need more time to tailor the gown to my size?
BUT they managed to get it done for me. I bought it during my trip down for photoshoot, they tailored it while I’m back in SG waiting for my photos and I collected the gown during the same trip I went back down to collect my photos. All in all there were no wasted or extra trips needed!
Would I still get my gown there?
I think if I had to redo my wedding, I probably would make sure I had way way WAY more savings to have more flexibility in the choices of gowns. AIYA KIDDING, even though I know how impractical it would be to get that expensive gown that flattered my figure, I still keep thinking about that particular gown cos it fit me so well and I looked so good in it. But getting that gown really would have made my dinner reception a very uncomfortable one for me.
The gown I ended up getting served its purpose and matched Kenneth’s silver suit. It’s still semi-mermaid so I was still comfortable in it and yet it also somewhat flattered my figure.
BUT I don’t know if they will have any other gowns that will be as flattering and beautiful so…this really depends. I will still head down while I’m in Malacca to check their gowns out I guess but I don’t know of the chances of me getting a nice one again.
4) HAIR & MAKE UP ARTIST
Who did I engage?
For hair, Bianca got it sorted for me based on the style I wanted to go for and she got Jia Jia from New Charly Salon. I don’t have their website or anything, sorry!
For make up, I did it myself!!!!!! Based on all the years (about 14 years to be exact) of experience plus tips I learnt from make up artists while I did film acting in Singapore and also checking out youtube videos on make up tips. I think I did a pretty damn good job hahahaha.
Why…? (I don’t really know how to phrase this question in this context lol)
For hair, simply because it’s too goddamn difficult to do ur own hair. It’s not impossible but I have never really dolled up my hair much in my lifetime so I obviously need professional help.
I didn’t exactly get to choose form a range of hairstylists because I didn’t have any contacts in Lombok so I literally trust Bianca to get me the best and she did!
For make up, initially it was really just to save cost. But then after I did my own make up I realise, you only know your own face best. Only YOU will know what you want. Only YOU will understand the “flaws” you see on your face and work on it by make up. So I guess it all worked out well.
Is there anything I liked/disliked about getting it done this way?
Jia Jia was late. Not 10-15 minutes kind of late. FORTY-FIVE MINUTES KIND OF LATE. That unleashed the bridezilla in me. I get it, I tend to be late for my appointments as well. BUT NOT FORTY-FIVE MINUTES KIND OF LATE. So that really messed up my feel for the day from the very beginning already.
On top of the fact that she was FORTY-FIVE MINUTES LATE, she also took DAMN BLOODY LONG for my hair. I think 2 hours? Cos of the major humongous delay, I had to rush through my make up.
Photographers and videographer came on the dot so they started to rush me so we could go take some photos and boy did that make me boil even more. To be rushed and blamed for something that wasn’t even my fault to begin with? You picked the wrong woman. AND I STILL HAD TO SMILE FOR PHOTOS DURING THAT FRUSTRATION. Like. HOW?!
I guess the only take away from this whole ordeal was that my hair was really done up very very nicely. Thankfully enough I still managed to get my make up down perfectly amidst the rush and frustration.
Would I still engage her?
You see, this is a tricky question. I don’t have any contacts in Lombok so it would have been difficult for me to give a flat NO. Also, at the end of it all, she did deliver good results and made my hair look amazing. So I guess I’m on the fence?
If I were to engage her again I would probably get Bianca to nag at her till she gets it in her head that she needs to be on time in order for other things to NOT be delayed even further.
5) PHOTOGRAPHER & VIDEOGRAPHER
Who did I engage?
Timeless Photography. Head photographer: Yossi. Videographer: Adit.
Why did I engage them?
Likewise, I had no contacts in Lombok and Bianca recommended them.
I didn’t want to bring in a photographer and videographer from Singapore as it would have cost a bomb. Singaporean rates are getting a little steep and I would also have had to pay for their flight and accommodation.
So when Bianca recommended this team, and Kenneth & I looked through their portfolio, we thought, yea why not? 900SGD for photo AND video AND hard copy albums. And their photos were not bad!
Was there anything I liked/disliked about their services?
I guess we kind of started off on the wrong foot on the actual day itself, with the hairstylist being awfully late and taking ages to get my hair done. I was already frustrated and their team also rushed me twice to be ready so Kenneth actually told them off.
On top of that, I notice Yossi likes using random objects, e.g. a drinking glass, to blur out certain parts of the photo to put the main focus on the moment he wants to capture. Initially I thought it was a pretty cool thing to do but then he kept doing it for a number of photos so it no longer ended up as a fresh idea so to speak.
Also, Yossi does minimal editing and that’s his style which I respect. But what I didn’t quite like was how he didn’t edit my yellow teeth, my eye bags, my double chin (closing one eye on this), Kenneth’s scarred face, Kenneth’s balding spot etc. It really felt like he shot it and just passed the whole batch of photos to us as they were.
So before uploading the photos up to an online platform, I literally edited every. single. photo. that had us in it. It took me about 2-3 weeks. I felt like, ok, maybe cos it was just 900SGD so I had to finish up his loose ends.
When I raised the matter up to Bianca and Bianca passed the message on to Yossi, he said the photos were already sent for printing and couldn’t be edited anymore.
Great. I guess we will just tuck the hard copies in one corner of our future home.
Would I engage them again?
This is the same issue with the hairstylist; I have no contacts in Lombok!
Ok maybe this time round I would do my homework. After all photographers should be less difficult to source for online.
IF I can’t find a better photographer with a similar quote, then, yes, I’ll have no choice but to engage them.
But given how the internet saves lives every other day, I think it shouldn’t be too difficult to find someone of similar or better standard who EDITS THEIR PHOTOS to their customers’ requests.
6) FLORAL ARRANGEMENT
Who did I engage?
Mawar Saron Florist & Decoration (I don’t have their website either, haha sorry)
Why did I engage them?
Same same. I had no other contacts in Lombok LOL. I told Bianca I wanted carnations, I wanted hyacinths (not many florists like/have hyacinths) and I wanted a bouquet similar to this:
Was there anything I liked/disliked about their services?
This question ought to be answered by Bianca HAHA ‘cos she was the overall planner, she dealt with the florist the entire time while I was fuming mad with the hairstylist.
According to Bianca, she came TWO HOURS LATE. Bianca told me it’s a Lombok thing lol but even then, Bianca was also fuming mad and cursing & swearing the entire time. Like me. But I was indoors while I cursed & sweared.
Aside from being two hours late, the entire set up was amazing! Also, the bouquet was exactly what I wanted, but with golden sprayed carnations!
The floral arc was also so damn beautiful!
I wish I could bring the floral arc home sia seriously.
But I did wish I was advised to do the entire floral arc with artificial flowers with golden sprayed carnations inserted here and there. The back of the floral arc had 2 more batches of REAL FLOWERS which were splendid and beautiful but really the attention went entirely to the white artificial ones at the front cos they look so dreamy!
Not forgetting the cute little baby breaths and pink carnations they provided for my hairdo!
Would I hire them again?
Given the DISASTER I had with the florist I engaged for my wedding in Singapore, YES. MANY TIMES YES. I loved the flowers this florist provided. They even gave SPARE FLOWERS which I eventually gave to my bridesmaids as bouquets! I doubt Singaporean florists will do such a thing.
Of course, I would make sure Bianca would continuously badger the florist to arrive on time!
7) WEDDING FAVOURS (OR DOOR GIFTS, AS THE OLDER GENERATIONS WOULD CALL IT)
Where did we get them done?
Why did we get them to do it for us?
Actually, the owner of SG Wedding Favors is the daughter-in-law of a dear friend I met during my schooling years in LASALLE. So when my friend, Dorothy, found out I was engaged and planning my wedding, she approached me, letting me know that should I be planning on getting any wedding favours done, her daughter-in-law has a business in wedding favours.
In the process of the whole planning, Kenneth and I didn’t quite know what we wanted to have as wedding favours. I kept thinking of things our guests will actually use and not end up discarding in a stash in some corner or, worse, throw it out completely. I thought of things like…jam…so you know..they can consume it HAHA but it just didn’t quite feel right. We needed something that represents Kenneth and I.
So I asked Kenneth, when people thought of us, what would they think? Kenneth’s immediately reply was beer. Bingo. And almost immediately I had a eureka moment. BOTTLE OPENER!!!!!!
So I searched for bottle opener wedding favours and so many designs popped up. They had cute designs and credit card sized designs. Within the credit card sized designs there were also cool designs like bottle opener with playing cards design. But well, it made more sense for us to make one that had details of our wedding and customise them to our guests’ specific names.
So I approached Vimun (owner of SG Wedding Favors) around January and told her about what I had in mind and she told me it’s doable! I got back to her again in May when I had somewhat finalised my guest list and passed it to her for her to customise the bottle openers.
Was there anything I liked/disliked about getting it done with SG Wedding Favors?
Nothing really. Vimun was extremely patient and helpful throughout the whole process. I noticed 2 spelling errors (my own mistake) and asked if I could make 2 extra. It definitely cost more to just make 2 customised bottle openers but I was willing to pay that extra cost and she managed to get it done!
During the process of it, Vimun’s supplier also decided to charge her an extra sum of money due to the “hard work” of customising each and every one of the openers and while Vimun brought that issue up to me, she also gave me the choice whether I wanted to help with that extra sum. Well if she was just any tomdickharry vendor I had, I probably wouldn’t have helped out HAHA but she was my friend’s daughter-in-law and I wasn’t ready to burn this bridge, hence Kenneth and I decided to share the extra cost.
Would I still hire her to do little favors/door gifts?
If I redid my wedding, YES. But I do wish her supplier had more flexibility in customising the gifts. I was hoping to make 2 towels for 2 toddlers who attended out wedding but they refused to customise just 2 towels. I understand the trouble BUT I WAS WILLING TO PAY FOR EXTRA COSTS WA LAO. I guess if I had to do other gifts that didn’t need customising, I would definitely go back to Vimun!
8) WEDDING INVITATION CARDS
How did I get them done?
Similarly to the one I did for our Singapore Church wedding, I got them done online, save picture and sent to Kenneth’s friend for printing.
Why did I do it this way?
Was there anything I liked/disliked about doing it this way?
Totally no dislikes!
Would I still do it this way?
9) ALL OTHER RANDOM STUFF
As you can see from the photos, I got mine from Aldo and Kenneth got his from Pedro. He wore the same pair for the actual day in Singapore. As for why I didn’t get heels, IT’S A GARDEN WEDDING I WILL DIE. And really, no one will see. The only purpose of heels when you get floor-length gowns is really just to make u taller so you won’t step on the gowns.
The only issue I had for wearing flat gladiator sandals was it didn’t make me taller and I was stepping on my gown left right centre because I’m clearly not the most elegant female you will find.
Although we had the option of renting them from Kebun, I still decided to get them online and maybe sell them. Lucky for me, I found them on sale on Singsale so they didn’t cost a bomb!
So here’s a list of will engage again and will not engage again if I re-did my wedding:
Highly recommended, will engage again:
- Kebun Villas & Resort [their fb] – Wedding venue
- Bridal Place Malacca – Wedding gown
- Jia Jia from New Charly Salon – Wedding hair; provided she’s ON TIME or at the most 15 minutes late MAX.
- Mawar Saron Florist & Decoration – Wedding floral arrangment
On the fence, will not engage if I can find better:
- Timeless Photography (their instagram) – Wedding photography; I like their shots, they really take very beautiful shots but really, the editing needs bucking up.
Highly NOT recommended, will not engage again:
- NONE! SURPRISE SURPRISE! I guess I enjoyed myself too much for this wedding haha.
So yea, I obviously have no regrets whatsoever. We actually had relatives (Kenneth’s relative to be exact) coming to us telling us how we shouldn’t have done it this way ‘cos it’s a waste of money and we can’t cover our costs.
Well here’s what I have to say:
Your wedding is a once in a lifetime thing as long as you don’t screw your marriage up and re-marry.
For Kenneth and I, up till now, 2 months on, we still look back at our wedding with a smile, really glad we chose to do our wedding the way we want it.
For something that’s once in a lifetime, it’s only right to do it the way that both the bride and groom will be happy and will enjoy. I highly do NOT believe in doing it for parents and relatives. If they want it THEIR way then, well, they can get married again and then they can have the freedom to do it their way.
If you’re all for spending approximately a hundred thousand dollars on a hotel banquet in Singapore for approximately 30 tables, inviting every single tomdickharry, some of which you may not have even met before, and don’t mind the risk of not knowing whether you can cover the cost, go for it. Like I said it’s YOUR wedding and if that’s what you have in mind there really isn’t anything wrong with it either.
If you’re like Kenneth and me (more of me), where you’re not keen on inviting people you’re not close with, not on good terms with and might not even know, and if you’re ok with losing just about 20 thousand dollars, go for an intimate wedding somewhere. Doesn’t have to be overseas even. Actually, IT’S NOT A LOSS OF MONEY. It’s money spent on a celebration that should be UNIQUELY YOURS.
So, don’t compare. I may not be up for having a hotel banquet but it’s not wrong either. You may not be up for having an intimate wedding and that’s also perfectly fine. What’s most important is you don’t judge people for their choices of wedding styles. NEITHER DO YOU AS AN ELDERLY THINK YOU HAVE THE RIGHTS TO CONTROL HOW YOUR OFFSPRINGS OR “YOUNGERLIES” CHOOSE TO CELEBRATE THEIR MARRIAGE AKA WEDDING.
I’m going to repeat this one last time: YOU ONLY GET MARRIED ONCE IF YOU DO IT RIGHT IN YOUR MARRIAGE so please don’t end up with regrets.
To end it all off, here’s a short video of our amazing wedding =) :