Long Distance Wedding Planning (LDWP)
This blog post was meant to be written right after the wedding reception I had in Malaysia. However, things happened. I did not feel like writing about it until recently. I got an email from a fellow Malaysian who will be planning her wedding soon (Hello, Ying!).
So, you heard or know about Long Distance Relationship (LDR) which may lead to LDWP, as I call it. That is for Long Distance Wedding Planning!
Planning a wedding which was to be held in Malaysia from Germany was a big task but honestly, the internet gives you enough resources. The major problem I had was time. I was calling from meeting rooms, running away from work all the time with the hope that the person in-charge was still there since we had 7-8 hours difference. My mornings would be already late afternoon or evening for Malaysians. Therefore, my notebook which is meant for work was then filled with notes and numbers of Malaysian restaurants and hotels.
No couple especially bride would consider wedding planning easy because of expectations. My expectations were also not easy to fulfill. I wanted it to be less ‘Chinese’-sy, perhaps in a relaxed ambience like a casual garden buffet lunch, or a chilled evening in an Italian restaurant. Then, there were also parents’ expectations. “Buffet is not going to be filling!”, “Pohpoh (granny) is not going to enjoy Italian food”, “Relatives will be coming all the way from Malacca and they are going to complain because the food isn’t good!”.
JP’s expectations? To not have a wedding reception more than 10 people. In fact, no wedding reception at all. Seriously.
After much looking around and talking to a good friend, I decided to scrape the garden-buffet-lunch. First of all, garden weddings can be pretty hot. Since JP threatened to go in T-shirt, I had to be considerate and not make him blame me for the rest of our lives for forcing him in a suit when the temperature is 34 Celcius! Just like my relatives and friends, I too, do not want to attend a wedding and eat horrible food. Finally, I settled for Prince Hotel KLCC (now known as Pullman KLCC). The ‘Chinese’ thing? I did some of it and even wore the traditional Chinese wedding dress. Look, I am glad I did it!
The planning experience with Ellie Low from the hotel, our contact person, was smooth! Ellie had many experiences with wedding planning especially with couples from abroad. She also shared some advice which really helped in saving some money! For example, I wanted a band. I mean, almost all weddings you see on social media must be serenaded with a band, right? I want it too!!! *stomps feet* Ellie suggested to not have it because of the size of the hall which was rather small and most of the time, guests won’t be listening to the songs which is very true.
Another thing which I felt was really important was to ensure that your contacts are always, and I do mean ALWAYS, available for you within a few hours, if not immediately! It may seem very unreasonable as I read it now. However, if you think about it, most brides overthink. And when they overthink, anxiety happens. There is a very fine line between anxiety and anger. That was why, I am thankful because Ellie returned my calls, whatsapp messages and also emails promptly.
I took time to meet Ellie nine months before the reception. If you have the time, do so. Meet your contacts for them to have an impression of you and the other way around. It was that time Ellie and I sat down to discuss the details and she also gave me a tour of the hotel.
Communication is really important. Share your ideas or thoughts with your wedding planner of the venue you chose. Trust in their advice for your big day. I got most of my ideas from Pinterest – brilliant tool! Ellie catered to my ideas of building my own Dessert Table or changing the table cloth. She printed our photos and placed them in photo frames for our Dessert Table. She also gave us a few plates for us to have candies and chocolates on them. Our table cloths were ironed and they were placed as how we wanted them to be.
JP and I thought that the hotel could be a little more modern for our liking but for the price we paid, we were satisfied. The service was great! Besides the wedding planning, Ellie made sure our stay in the hotel was taken care of. We had a nice suite for the night too.
The food during the wedding reception was from their Chinese restaurant, Tai Zi Heen. During food tasting, we were very satisfied with the food served. However, during the dinner reception, the crispy chicken did not have the skin which immitated the suckling pork even though that was what we had during food tasting. That night, it looked and tasted more like the roasted chicken one will get with chicken rice. Even the fish was overcooked! The chef did explain to us that it was due to the amount of food that was needed to be cooked. Of course, we thought the food was not extremely bad but it was not on par with the standard they had during food tasting. It was a pity.
Actually, the most important thing in a wedding are not the decorations, dessert table or the songs, but the guests. I had the luck to have all my loved ones on this special day. My closest relatives and friends attended the evening.
RSVP was a breeze because we only had about 100 guests and if you invited people who mean a lot to you, just as much as you mean to them, they will be responsible guests and reply you ASAP. I had a few spreadsheets on Google Docs which I shared with my parents and girlfriends. All details such as agenda, tasks, contact details, etc are found in these documents. Well, those project management skills are for once useful! If you want to make sure everything is under control and are very much into planning, try Trello to ensure your tasks will be distributed among your family and friends.
Finally, if your partner is foreign to your culture, brief him! JP may be half Asian but at that point of time, I was frustrated and wished that JP was 100% European who had the yellow fever because he was not very excited about the whole cultural/crowd hoo-haa. LDWP means that brides are meant to be the ones browsing the internet researching and going through email/phone communications alone, with your partner CC-ed of course. He forgets the details anyway. So, communicate everything to him. I normally go to JP with a shortlist of vendors and we will decide together. Do tell your other half what will be happening, so that he knows and this will ensure that the experience will not scare him for life! (For Chinese weddings, go easy on the games, girls.)