Monthly Archives: October 2011

A&J: Vintage Wedding Decor Ideas

P1090657

Jasmine: Many moons ago, Andrew and I were window shopping at Orchard when we came across this shop selling paraphernalia in some pretty cool designs. Andrew talked me out of any rash impulse buys then, but I went back two months later for these: wooden letters, 3 for $10, Typo.

I thought the pink heart looked rather radioactive, so I decided to tone it down with Tim Holtz Crackle Paint, for an antiquated finish:

P1090658

Tip: apply the paint by cross-hatching i.e. varying the direction of your brushstrokes for greater depth and texture.

I let it dry overnight, and then added some crystal accents, flowers and even tied on a little book charm with twine to up the geek factor:

P1090661

The finished product:

P1090660

Time taken over two days: 90 minutes

(15 for doing the crackle paint, 60 for adding the embellishment and 15 for photo documentation and erm, general admiration)

Advertisements

Making Our Guestbook: Jazzy’s Girls

Andrew: One thing we’re really grateful for in the midst of all this wedding preparation is all the help we’re getting! Seeing that scrapbooking is really not my cup of tea, I was really glad that Jasmine decided to get her cell girls to help out in the making of guest-cards for our guests to sign during the church wedding.

Jasmine: Yes, I knew I could count on my girls. I’ve seen them in action serving the village kids on our Batam mission trip last year, and knew I could rely on them. It also helped that quite a few of my girls happened to be the artsy sort, like Weilin, Megan (we took our first scrapbooking class together!) and Yunwen, so a craft project like this would be right up their alley.

Andrew: It was really a massive project that involved Dearie lugging a big bag of punches, scrapbooking paper, stamps, distress inks (I’m impressed I even remember that much!) all the way to church:

 IMG_1159

Jasmine: Good job recalling “distress inks” dear! Anyways, in lieu of the traditional guestbook, we decided to make individual gift tags that guests could sign on!

We didn’t spend a cent on any of the craft materials. Most of the papers came from Andrew’s Valentine’s Day gift to me (Webster’s Pages Country Estate paper kit) which I’d been saving for a special project, and I even borrowed some of the punches from Pastor Debra!

IMG_1160

Jasmine: When I spread out all the pretty papers on the floor, there was a collective gasp of delight and Yunwen exclaimed, “I’m so honoured that you let us use these papers!”

The girls formed an assembly line of sorts: Nat and Yunwen were cutting, Weilin, Joyce and Hannah were using the border punches, Jenna and Megan were distress inking the cards, Gabrielle and Celine were stringing ribbons on the finished cards, and I was erm, supervising and offering encouragement. Heh.

IMG_1161

The final product!

IMG_1162

Andrew: Everyone still looks rather focused and hard working at this point, but the work on the cards lasted all the way until late! The floor still looks very clean at this point too, but in about an hour’s time, the floor was literally covered with little bits of ‘punched’ out colour paper. This was really hard work!

Jasmine: We had so many curious on-lookers stop and stare curiously at us. Even Pastor Lai Fun, who was passing by, asked us what we were doing!

I was very touched by my dedicated girls.

Andrew: We were really thankful to the girls for all their help. Hannah, Weilin, Joyce and Celine worked until almost 9pm on these cards and were even thoughtful enough to ask Jasmine and I to go in for service while they continued working on the cards. They ended up making about 194 cards that day. Thanks a lot girls!

Jasmine: And a note for invited guests- we’re doing away with traditional well wishes i.e. “all the best”, “congrats”, “zao3 shen1 gui4 zi3” and would like to request that you instead write down your favourite memory of us either as a couple or as individuals. It would mean so much to us. Thank you!

Sneak Preview: Our Church Wedding Venue!

IMG_0896

Jasmine:With just over a week left to our wedding, we thought we’d share with you a quick peek at our church and how we managed to book Holy Grace in just three days.

Shortly after Andrew proposed, we  emailed or/ and called close to 40 churches in two days in a bid to find our wedding and solemnisation venue. I called around 27 churches. Because of the short lead time, only three churches were available for the date we wanted, and two were Catholic. :S

Thankfully, Andrew found this church which was available and we went to do a site visit the next day!

Andrew: The most amazing thing about this church is that it’s the same church my cousin got married at at the start of this year. This meant we could get advice on them for the parking and various other logistical matters. We were really thankful to God that the church was still available at such short notice.

Jasmine: I’ve always dreamed of getting married in a beautiful, traditional cathedral, but this church is the opposite of that. It’s very modern so I’ve had to completely rethink the vintage, shabby chic decor I’ve envisioned.

The challenge here will be creating a sense of drama and atmosphere in what is otherwise a pleasant, if not particularly impressive sanctuary.

Nevertheless we are so grateful to God for blessing us with a church venue. Stay tuned for some crazy decor ideas 🙂 (Andrew: Crazy is about right!)

Our Invitations

Jasmine: My cousin Adeline “models” our flowergirl tutu and our hot-off-the-press invitation cards! There is a reason why she is so aptly designated our Head of Decor. Heh.

I was bent on drawing my own design (hydrangeas or lacework) until I realised how much work was involved in producing a high-resolution image fit for mass production. So we decided to tweak an existing template that the printing company had. The paper and ink colours were chosen by us- the ink was supposed to be aubergine but came out looking more like cappucino brown.

Andrew: Actually, the ink colours were chosen by Jasmine. The lady there gave us a whole set of more than over a thousand colours and their various shades to choose from! I didn’t know that there were more than 12 colours (of the rainbow. Heh). Anyway, we’ll just add a small comment here too that the purple tutu skirt that Adeline had (frightfully) put on her head had been sewed by one of my cousins-in-law.

 P1090586-1

Jasmine: We found the traditional style of invitation, with the picture of the couple on the front, tacky and dated. So we decided in favour of a cleaner look. This applied to the text as well, as we did away with the Chinese translation, and pared down the English wording as best as we could (picture above).

P1090580

Jasmine: As you can see, the church invitation was designed to fit inside the Raffles Hotel dinner invitation.

But as the Raffles Hotel dinner was family only, most of our friends and students would have attended only the church wedding. We therefore faced the problem of finding inexpensive square envelopes for mass mailing.

Andrew found some cheap ones at Popular Toa Payoh selling for $2.20 for a pack of 10.

We jazzed them up, Jasmine-style, in purple to match the theme:

P1090653

Jasmine: It didn’t cost us anything as I already owned these stamps, but if anyone’s interested, an ink pad is $2.90 and the “thank you” stamp in the picture above comes from a set of three that costs $2.90. Both from Papermarket!

And the finished products:

P1090652Time taken to decorate 30 envelopes: under  1 hr

Andrew: Yes, I was rather impressed with how Jasmine was able to transform those very plain envelopes into something so beautiful! I tried to help out, thinking that stamping couldn’t be that hard (or at least, that was the impression that Dearie gave me!). Who would have known that it was actually that hard? My stamps came out rather splotchy and indistinct (as evident from the pictures below) and I embarrassingly stamped some of them the wrong direction (ie. the type-writer turned out upside down when the envelope was right side-up).

IMG_1205

Andrew: Jasmine had a rather fun time repairing my errors – too fun a time, actually. She pasted layers of ribbon all around the envelopes. (Jasmine: It’s called washi tape, dear…) Realising where my gifts weren’t best utilized, I decided to stop stamping and left Jasmine to do all the rest. Division of labour at its best! 🙂

A Big Step Ahead @ Antoinette

Andrew: In the midst of running all our wedding administrative tasks, I’m still glad that Dearie and I have the time to squeeze in some fun and joy. This week our administrative task was our statutory declaration to collect our ROM certificates!

Everything ran very smoothly. We took our queue number, waited for about 30 minutes then went in to verify our details and pledge that all we had put down was accurate – and we were out!

Of course, we couldn’t leave without some photos! 🙂

IMG_1177

Jasmine: Actually, I was under the impression that it was just a routine interview to check that we weren’t polygamists or anything. I didn’t realise we were here to collect the certificate of marriage (unsigned, hence not legally married yet) until we, well, collected it.

IMG_1180

Andrew: Yes, we know the photo and slogan are super cheesy, but it was fun! They even had a spot marked on the walkway up to ROM to indicate to you where the best spot was to take a photo with a nice yellow box! Heh.

I thought that it would be a real waste and downer for us to just go home after collecting the certificate, so I’d planned ahead for us to celebrate this big day at a very special place. Dearie, of course, didn’t know that and even up till earlier that day, we were discussing whether I should drop her off to go shopping while I went home to complete marking. Heh. We had mentioned Antoinette many times already, so I thought it would be the perfect place to go since our timing was just about right for afternoon tea!

Jasmine: I thought we were headed home after that so that Andrew could clear his marking, but Mr Chong had a sweet surprise (no pun intended) for me!

He treated me to afternoon tea at Antoinette- which I’d been wanting to go to for so long, even my mother had beat me to it 😛 Tsk… If I had known, I would have dressed better and put on makeup. (Andrew: Don’t worry Dearie, you’re always well-dressed! Heh.)

Andrew: Antoinette is located in the most unexpected of places, at Penhas place, in the midst of various industrial buildings and some of the oldest flats that I’ve seen in a while. There’s a treacherous t-junction to navigate with no traffic lights, but we eventually got there safely with minimal irritations!

We were immediately greeted with rows of colourful and gorgeous cakes:

IMG_1181

Jasmine: We loved the French-inspired setup, which was opulent yet shabby chic, rendered in soft pastels and luxe velvets! I kept bugging Mr Chong about doing up our future home like this. Heh. Needless to say, he refused.

IMG_1187

IMG_1185

Andrew: I don’t mind the colour scheme, but I did find the furniture rather overbearing and heavy (in terms of feel, not weight) for a home! Anyway, the new dressing table that Dearie bought from King & King Wong does have the same feel as the furniture here!

(Jasmine: I’m just kidding about the French baroque home. I do admit it would be overkill- a modern French style with Scandinavian elements would reflect both our styles better, methinks.)

IMG_1189

More pics of the decor:

IMG_1193

IMG_1194

Now on to the food…

Jasmine: The Antoinette was delectable- creamy milk chocolate smoothly combined with a crunchy centre.

IMG_1190

Andrew: The cherry-like ‘button’ on top of the cake is actually jam, which added a very nice sweet-sourish tinge to the rich chocolately flavour of the cake. This cake was nearly perfect!

IMG_1196

Andrew: I can’t remember the name of the tea we had, but it had Caramel in the name somewhere. It had a wonderful rich aroma and was very calming on the nerves, which was good when we were at Antoinette, but not good when I was driving back later! I kept yawning on the drive back!

Jasmine: It was caramel creme tea, and it had a wonderfully soporific effect. I couldn’t stop sniffing the velvety smooth aroma of melted caramel!

The Blini (French pancake) was deeply satisfying. The salty butter melted right away into the fluffy pancakes, topped by by slices of chewy sausage.

IMG_1199

IMG_1200

Andrew: I really liked this very much. I actually thought the sausage was very good and went very well with the blini. After we finished our food, I still felt rather peckish so we went to order:

IMG_1182

Macarons!

Andrew: Ever since my cousin and I had a discussion about macarons at a cousin’s solemnization dinner, I’ve been having an insatiable craving for macarons! We were just spoilt for choice here. We had the Britanny (caramel and sea salt flavour) and the Rose (self-explanatory). The Britanny was by far the big winner – the flavour had such depth to it with an interesting blend of milky, rich sweetness and the slight savouriness of the sea salt.

Jasmine: Yes, the Brittany really stood out with its generous dollop of luscious caramel in a rich shade of tawny golden. It was a great intertwining of sweet and salty. Another macaron that we’ve tried (at the Mandarin Gallery branch of Antoinette) is the namesake, Antoinette, which features a delicate combo of earl grey tea and milk chocolate.

Andrew: Of course, what was most meaningful about our time together at Antoinette was not the food nor the decor, but the quality time spent together and our meaningful conversation. We spent our time at Antoinette thinking about the journey that we had been through together as a couple and what we wanted to convey to our friends and family during our church ceremony.

IMG_1197

As we thought about our wedding speeches, I just brought back so many wonderful memories and made me even more appreciative of all that Jasmine had done for me and how much joy and love she had brought (and will continue to bring) to my life!

This is indeed a big step ahead for us and we are both excitedly looking forward to 5th November 🙂

IMG_1202

A photo strategically positioned to show off the engagement ring on this unexpectedly big day!

Birdcage Flower Arrangement Tutorial

Jasmine: When Andrew and I conceptualised our vintage picnic shoot, one thing that I knew I’d like to have on “set” was a birdcage (which would not only double up as church decor, but could also be re-purposed for decorating a future home, heh).

(Andrew: When Jasmine said she wanted to do ‘bird-cages’, I thought she was just going to buy some and add a few flowers/decorations here and there. I never knew that it was such an elaborate project – but I should have known – everything wedding-related for my Dearie is a huge project. Heh.).

This is my tutorial on doing a DIY floral arrangement within a birdcage.

Step 1: Assemble all materials

Our birdcage was bought from Exim Arts and our silk flowers from Exim and surprise, Cold Storage.

I decided to keep it to three colours maximum as it was my maiden attempt at floral arrangement and I didn’t want it turning out too messy.

P1090049

P1090051

Step 2: Prep the base

I lined it with some lilac raffia that I had saved from the 1st anniversary bouquet Andrew had ordered for me last year, and proceeded to glue on some leaves. You can choose to skip this step, but as our birdcage had to endure several car rides, we thought it was better to secure as much of it as possible.

P1090054

A slightly better shot of the lilac wrapper, cut down to size. I pushed the wrapper down later because I had quite a few flowers, but if your arrangement is sparse, you can afford to have the wrapper peek out more.

P1090056

Step 3: Begin with base flowers

A basic flower arrangement should have three layers of flowers for height and dimension, but I made do with just two layers. I began with the first and lowest layer: two balls of silk hydrangeas. (I got the saleslady to snip off the stalks for me with her pro scissors. But when all else fails, kitchen scissors and a great deal of twisting wires until they snap will suffice.)

P1090057

By the way, my silk hydrangeas were $5 for a ball at my trusty neighbourhood supermarket. They came to me a little crushed:

P1090058

So I opened them up by separating the individual stems, so they would look fuller and larger:

P1090059

Ok, this pic may be ever so slightly exaggerated, but the simple action of opening up the flower petals increased the volume of the hydrangeas by at least 30%. Kinda like a good mascara.

P1090060

Step 4: Add height to your floral arrangement

I bought a bunch of filler flowers, and after cutting them down to the desired size and removing unwanted foliage, I tied them together with twine (just moved house, couldn’t find rubberbands).

P1090061

Arrange your second layer of flowers. For a more 3D, naturally overgrown effect, I pushed some of the fillers and hydrangea petals out from the birdcage.

P1090062

Step 5: Add fauna to make the whole arrangement look cohesive.

For me, this simply meant closing the birdcage lid and winding some fake berries around the top and having them cascade down.

P1090069

Step 6: Decorate birdcage door and around the birdcage (optional)

My scrapbooking materials came in handy for this step. It took less than 5 minutes to glue on a couple of colour-coordinated Prima flowers.

P1090072

I also found an Ikea wreath that my brother had bought for my mum many moons ago, which was just the right size to go around the birdcage.

P1090073

And stuck some leftover flowers on the wreath to tie it in with the filler flowers in the birdcage.

P1090078

That’s the first birdcage:

P1090081

Oh, and did I mention I bought a second birdcage too?

Here’s the mini one:

P1090080

P1090074

The Ikea wreath and scrapbooking flowers on the birdcage door were actually applied to this mini birdcage, but otherwise, I left this one empty as this is the designated angpow box (fear not, we’ll enlist vigilant receptionists!), and only scattered some paper flowers in it.

Both the birdcages!

P1090079

Did a “full dress rehearsal” with all the picnic props:

Jasmine: Another tip I gleaned from scrapbooking websites it to always do groupings in odd numbers, in this case, two cakestands and one birdcage.

And here’s how it looked for reals, at Botanic Gardens (again, another of our outtakes):

DSC_1437

(On Andrew: custom-made tux shirt from Rossi; on Jasmine: custom-made “Prada lace” dress from Angelique)

Andrew: The bird cages really added a nice dash of colour and freshness to the whole setup – made it seem rather vintage and had a good out of Singapore vibe. We didn’t have that many nice shots of it unfortunately, but now it serves as a decorative piece in Jasmine’s home. 🙂 Thanks Dearie for putting so much effort into our wedding photoshoot!

Sneak Preview: Gowns & Bridal Package!

Jasmine: After “When is your big day?”, the second-most popular question is “What are you wearing?”

I was tasked with the job of finding a bridal salon that could offer us a reasonable and comprehensive package.

I researched close to a dozen bridal salons, and finally shortlisted two: Bridal Veil and Emanuel B Couture.

I had heard good reviews about the level of service and professionalism about both, but in the end I went with Emanuel B.

IMG_1017

The reasons why:

1) Portfolio and style

Emanuel B’s portfolio was closer in style to the wedding and evening gowns that I had in mind, which involved a fair amount of draping, micro-pleating and lace. In contrast, Bridal Veil by Michelle Huimin specialised in simple, clean lines, and adding pleating and French lace would require us to top up substantially for the additional materials.

2) Professionalism

Of all the bridal studios I called or emailed, only two bothered to even reply- Bridal Veil and Emanuel B.  (The Wedding Present sent me a default email with their rates, but I don’t think that counts.) Of the two, I was more impressed with Elaine because when she called me back, she had already looked through the email I had sent her with my dream dresses, and was able to tell me what sorts of material she planned to use.

On that note, she didn’t charge extra (unlike Bridal Veil) for using French chantilly lace, corded lace and silk chiffon- top-of-the-line fabrics. (Lower-tier bridal studios use polyester chiffon, which isn’t as smooth and doesn’t move as fluidly because it’s more lightweight.)

Lastly, during my initial meetup with her, Elaine was able to make helpful suggestions. For example, I wanted a row of buttons on the torso, and Elaine responded that she “liked things to be there for a reason”, and said she would place a seam there so the buttons would have a reason to be there.

It’s extremely difficult to impress me, especially on all things fashion, so trust me when I say that Elaine knows her stuff and most importantly, she has good taste, which is essential- after all, she is only designing the dress for the biggest day of your life!

3) Value for money

Emanuel B Couture is a mid-range bridal studio that specialises in made-to-measure gowns.

Hence, comparing its price to that of lower-end salons that throw in photography as well is unfair. I’ve seen the gowns and photoshoots done by bottom-tier bridal studios. I admit that when it comes to value for money, Emanuel B simply can’t beat studios that include bride’s gowns, MOTHER’s gowns, flowergirl dresses, groom’s suits, photos blah blah blah. However, when it comes to quality and taste, I am sure Emanuel B outclasses these studios. I cannot stress how important it is to find a designer who has taste, so you can trust that she will execute your design with impeccable workmanship and elegance.

I am rather mortified by the “princessy”, overly-embellished, poufy, outdated ballgowns provided by the lower-end studios that don’t take into consideration the wearer’s figure or age. Elaine and I were on the same page here, as she even mentioned how so many brides want princess ballgowns that even she gets bored of designing them! (Why even go to the trouble of doing made-to-measure if you’re going to show up in the same dress as every other bride… Why not just rent a gown off-the-rack and like, switch the brooch or something? :P)

Don’t even get me started on the budget photography, with the unnatural, Taiwanese-inspired shots, which frankly border on cheesy and contrived.

Here’s the package I negotiated with Elaine, the designer:

1) Wedding Gown (Made-to-measure) – Rental

2) Evening Gown (Made-to-measure) – Rental (the deal was either top up $400 for the extra silk chiffon needed for the draping and keep it, or rent it to waive the $400)

3) 2-Piece Men’s Suit (Made-to-measure) – To keep

4) 2 handbouquets

5) 6 corsages

6) Silk flower decorations for bridal car

7) Trial makeup and actual day makeup

8 ) Men’s vest (Made-to-measure) – to keep *

9) Men’s shirt (Made-to-measure) – to keep *

4) Good Reviews

Although Emanuel B. is not quite as high-profile or prominent in the media as other salons in its price range, all online reviews were unanimous in recommending Emanuel B for the quality fabrics and especially the service provided by Elaine.

Now, the sneak pix you’ve been waiting for! (These are outtakes from our pre-wedding shoot)

You’ll notice that we’ve made very subtle changes to Andrew’s outfit. The beauty of his three-piece suit is that it can be worn in endless combinations. The two looks featured here are:

1) just the vest, paired with a purple shirt and bow tie for a casual feel (made-to-measure vest and shirt from Emanuel B, bow tie from N. Tyler)

2) vest under jacket, with white tux shirt and cravat, for a formal vibe (all from Emanuel B with the exception of the tux shirt, which was custom-made at Rossi)

And I think it goes without saying that my gown has been designed by yours truly and made by Emanuel B. Heh.