It's been a while since I last blogged. Life has been very interesting for me I must say! I met a wonderful guy, and we got married! Our wedding ceremony was at one of the most beautiful places on earth (to me) called Puncak Rimba, hidden in the hills of Pahang, in my home country Malaysia. We got married at 6.57pm, right before sunset, It wasn't supposed to be that late, but it was raining that day, and the bridge that everyone had to cross to get to the top of the hill was overrun by the river. That maybe caused 90 seconds of stress for me, but when everything was finally happening, and we were officially announced man and wife, we were blessed with a beautiful foggy view of the mountain, it was incredible!
I have to admit. I miss it all. I miss putting photos of inspiration in my wedding book. I miss jotting down names of vendors I like. I miss asking my fans for suggestions. It was the best thing I've ever done in my life.
A lot of fans asked me for some tips and suggestions on planning my wedding, and I never got around doing that apart from listing down all the vendors that I worked with. But trying to be a 21st century DIY bride can be a lot of work, I gotta say, it took a lot of my time trying to plan my special day, because let's face it - I don't only love creating music, I love creating memories! I like putting 110% effort into the things I love. I would love to share my experience with you guys so here it is, I'm going to separate this piece into a few different posts (because it is a NOVEL you guys!).. so yea.. enjoy reading!
When Adam proposed to me, I was over the moon. We talked about our dream wedding, but immediately it became a serious and tense topic. We realized that we can't have a small intimate wedding attended by 250 guests. Malaysians normally have huge weddings, we invite everyone, even distant cousins and friends we haven't seen in a long time. But it's never a burden to do so, it's just in our nature and culture, we love to include everyone. I have a set of proper Malay parents, the kind that will invite 'my cousin-sister's- step-mom-she-let-me-stay-at-her-house-once' so I was never going to fight that. So I knew I had to do one wedding reception for the parents. I booked a convention centre for 1300 guests, took care of that when that is done and planned out (my parents did a lot of work for this particular reception, it's literally them throwing a party 'WOOHOO My daughter's getting married!') and then finally, ask myself.. what do I want? How do I see myself getting married, celebrating the most special day in my life getting married to the most amazing person ever?
Well, I love vistas. I love hiking and climbing up a hill for a beautiful view, it's my favourite thing to do everywhere I go. I also love trees. I love my Malay roots - like traditional houses and the 'kampung', and at the same time, I love the simplicity and classiness of a western wedding. I want to have like one of those bohemian weddings, but in a very Malay set up. I hear the gamelans, in the green jungle, tropical flowers, I wanna have flowers on my turban, ooh what if it was in the mountains? That would be amazing, wouldn't it? Sometimes I let my imaginations run wild, and find myself snapping out of it, coming back to reality, as I'm driving or something, thinking to myself, that will never happen.
An outdoor wedding in Malaysia? Yea that can be a little bit tricky. Adam and I searched high and low for a beautiful outdoor location. I knew exactly what I wanted, which made the search somewhat easy. I didn't want a beach wedding, I just wanted a huge field, somewhere that's nice and cool, somewhere that doesn't rain. Which under normal circumstances, does not exist in my country. Malaysia is both hot and humid throughout the year, temperatures range from 22ºC to 32ºC year round and with a tropical climate, showers occur almost daily. Except for the highlands, I thought. So we looked for one of the more popular places for weddings in Genting, Janda Baik, and Cameron highlands, where temperatures average a very pleasant 22 ºC in the daytime and a relatively cool 15 ºC at night. Perfect! My husband won't be sweating in midst of his 'lafaz' / vows, and I won't be melting on my 'dais'.
After a few lackluster experiences scouting outdoor locations (too small, too hot, too congested, too far for our guests, mosquito infested.. etc), we almost gave up.
Then our wedding planner and decorator, The Calla mentioned a place called Puncak Rimba. A group of wooden villas up in the hills, "The owner's daughter had their wedding there." Jackpot! We decided to go take a look.
Puncak Rimba is a well kept secret - nobody knows about it except maybe to the friends and family of the owners. When we first saw the place, we were immediately captivated by it's beauty. We were blown away by the traditional architecture that sits on top of untouched nature. One villa sits right next to a waterfall, with a sliding door opening up to the waterfall. We felt the passion and love that the owner/builder had for nature and his land. Then we were taken to a huge open space, a field, overlooking the beautiful hills around Puncak Rimba's estate. I turn and look behind, and there was a beautiful old traditional Malay house that sits on the edge of the hill. I couldn't believe it! The entire area was surrounded by thick Malaysian equatorial forest, and all the sudden there's this beautiful place that sits in the middle. It was so perfect! After a few meetings and emails (we also had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful couple who owns this place) we decided to book Puncak Rimba as our akad nikah venue.
Now that we have a location, I have a clearer vision of what I wanted for the decor. I couldn't find a way to describe what I wanted, the first two words that came to my head was tropical bohemian, sounds pretentious, I know, but I don't even know any other way to describe it! Having a Pinterest board helps, that's where I got 99% of my ideas from, believe it or not. If you know me, you know I already have a mood board, where I save some of my favourite photos and put it on a PDF so I can email them to my wedding planner once I lock one down.
WEDDING PLANNER / DECORATOR
Before my engagement, I wanted to send flowers to my mom for mother's day and reached out to a florist I heard about on Instagram, FloresKL and they were kind enough to offer me help with flower decor for my engagement 'hantaran' trays. They run another company that specializes in wedding decor called The Calla. I enjoyed working with them so much on my engagement, I end up becoming friends with them, and hiring them to do my wedding ceremony seemed natural. They were very driven, I loved their work and how they're just so chill. I could see the passion they put into this project, as if it was a once in lifetime opportunity. In addition to that, they were already familiar with Puncak Rimba.
Since the weather up in Puncak Rimba is unpredictable, we also decided to hire the tent guys - YSA Events, who specializes in transparent tents. Puncak Rimba is placed on top of a hill and have limited access for cars or trucks, we decided to hire someone who knows what they're doing, who wouldn't cause damage to the property and again, who's passionate about putting together a lovely wedding. YSA Events not only specializes in installing tents, but they're also the leading company that does tent decors too.
Some married couples like to warn me about how working with a wedding planner/ decorator can be a nightmare, but like all wedding advice, I just take it with a grain of salt. Because we're all different. The way I deal with problems are different from how they deal with theirs. I think the most important thing before reaching out to a wedding planner is to know what you want, even the simplest idea like, the colour theme, the kind of flowers you want, or if you want your wedding to be minimal or over the top - anything that can easily point your planner to the right direction. Communication is also important. You have to know the costs of things and how much you're willing to spend, and you should only get something on the list if you really, really need it. Meeting face to face is always better than a phone call when it comes to making a huge change in your wedding plans. A week before the wedding, I realized I was going over budget, and I needed to cut down some items. I made sure to sit down with the decorators and talk about parts of the area that doesn't need any decor, I also had to take out some tents and pray to God it won't rain on the day itself, and let the people I work with know how sorry I am that I had to do it, and just tell them the truth - I just couldn't afford some of the things. It's also important to treat all the people you work with with respect. I try to not have a misunderstanding with anyone, because I just want to have a beautiful day on my wedding where we can all just soak into and enjoy what we have created together. I guess it's safe to say that it was a success, after everything, not only that I had a beautiful wedding, but I also I gained talented friends.
(To be continued)
Photos : weddingsbyqay.com