Making Your Wedding Day Yours
Just the other day, after coming back from a good friends wedding, Yusuf looked at me and said, he liked our wedding day best. I think he loved the simplicity of that day because it was far from grand and perfect. It was an intimate joint ceremony of only 350 guests, held at my uncles garden. It started at ten in the morning with the solemnisation, continued with Yusuf’s guests coming first, then mine.
Before I continue, can I just sat that I’m really excited to talk to you guys about my wedding day and its details. If I could rewind time, I would’ve vlogged the process but it all went by so fast and I was too disorganised to do it all during that short period of time. I'm hoping this post can give you a glimpse into our big day and help any of you out there that is planning your big day.
So we all know weddings usually rhymes with expensive, especially in Malaysia. But I truly believe it is still very much possible to have a nice wedding without breaking the bank (or taking up a loan) that very much represents your style and you as a couple together.
Yusuf and I had a tight budget for our wedding because neither of us had time to set aside money as things moved really fast. So I repeated again and again to myself, focus on only the important things and be creative in ways to make it beautiful without causing financial strain. So in this post I’ll share how, with our tight budget, I was still able to have a wedding day that turned out even better than I imagined it to be. What I prioritised, and let go. And how the help of my friends and family MADE OUR WEDDING DAY.
Here's a glimpse of that day.
So many people made this
day extra special for me,
in so many ways.
My mum bought a ticket for my elder sister Huda to fly in the morning of the wedding day to surprise me (she lives in Brisbane). I cried when I opened the door at 7am seeing her standing there in the flesh. And my close friend Kim couldn’t fly back because it was too close to her baby's due date. So she was there with me the whole day through this gorgeous bouquet. Thanks for the beautiful gift. My best friend Toots couldn't be there because she had just given birth two days prior but she was present in so many other ways. The amount of help she contributed for the preparation was just priceless.
1. My Bridal Make-Up
If you follow me on my Instagram stories, you will know I do the same type of make up everyday, doesn’t matter for what occasion and it’s a more natural look. I did not want to risk looking like anyone other than myself on that day. I almost wanted to just do my own make-up, but closer to the wedding date, I knew I didn’t have the skills to do it well enough that it could stay on the whole day under our hot and humid weather. I had someone in mind, but I also knew she would most likely be busy because it was so last minute to ask, and I assumed she would also be out of my price range. She was my teacher who taught me all I know about how to wear make up on my face today (I had a class with her last year when we had our Olloum team building session at the office). She is Noriana, the face designer. I waited till two weeks before the wedding to get the courage to just ask her hoping that a miracle would happen. And it did. First, she said she was available, then second she said because it was her birthday month, she was giving a discount to all her client. PRAISE THE LORD. I knew I was in safe hands that day. I felt so at peace after this was settled.
Also, there is only one other MUA I would recommend. If you want to look your best self and not overly made up, contact Joey (+60162201232). I've worked with her ever since my magazine days ten years ago and she charges A LOT less than the average cost for bridal makeup. I highly recommend her. Less is more!
2. Florist & Photography
Ya'll know I LOVE my flowers, and I am just as picky with my flower arrangement as I am with my makeup. My best friend toots knew this so she recommended a florist she knew that was very talented and her charges are really reasonable, lifesaver. Same florist that did my surprise bridal shower. I was SO HAPPY she agreed to do our wedding and even wanted to do more if she could. I've always wanted to have a huge wreath, and fate had it that she wanted to try to create one too, seen in the picture above. Will forever be grateful to her for making my flower dreams come true. Please do contact Sher if you're looking for a florist for any event. Truly, she is so nice and accommodating.
Another one of my passion is photography so this was a very hard choice to make. I did not have a huge budget for this so I looked at who I have worked with in the past, and decided on who I was most comfortable with. Don't choose one based on social media followers. Decide what are the images you want to remember from that day, and see which photographers work displays that in their portfolio. I love moments. And wedding photography is such a personal thing to me, so I have to be comfortable with him/her. Fortunately, Syahmie is a good friend of my colleague and his soon to-be wife was also an intern at the office. So I was very much comfortable with him. So grateful to him for shooting beyond the hours he was hired for and managing to capture moments I want to look back on.
3. Skipping Traditions
I think it's important to have the support of your family if you're going to do this. Yusuf and I skipped lots of traditions; merisik, tunang, bersanding, renjis, wearing innai and dulang hantarans. As things moved really fast with us, it made sense to skip the traditional sequence of things. We were each others fiancé the minute we agreed to get married, with approvals from our family and best friends. No ring was involved, nor did we have an event where our families discussed details of the wedding. Yusuf’s father lives abroad as he’s a diplomat so I didn’t even meet him till the morning of the wedding. Thankfully though, I did manage to meet his mum prior to this day. She came along with Yusuf's brother and grandmother to meet my mum and I here in KL.
We also skipped giving each other dulang hantarans because I knew this would be an extra thing on Yusuf's plate. Usually families will help out with this, but I knew he would have to do it on his own because his mum is unwell, and lives in another state. And I figured the money spent to get those gifts could be put elsewhere to more important things like getting home things once we've moved in together. Don't worry though, I told him I'm coming back to claim my gifts once he starts making millions. I'm guessing next month. Wishful thinking, hahaa. I've given him links to Net-A-Porter and Vestiaire.
Basically, we really wanted to keep things basic and simple as possible so that things could move as fast and smoothly as possible.
I love that my wedding outfits were a mix of something new and something borrowed from my best friends. It felt so meaningful to wear something of theirs on such a special and significant day, and, it helped me save on getting things I would have had to spend more on.
4. DIY Decor & Details
There’s no secret to this really. If you’re on a budget but still want to have beautiful details at your wedding, you have to DIY. This is when Pinterest came in very handy.
And don't try to do too many things. Limit yourself to at most three areas or things you want to DIY. For me, I knew I wanted to have a seating area which served also as the backdrop for photos that wasn’t so conventional. So I got the caterer to bring an extra small tent and got them to drape it with white cloth. Then, the night before I brought my living room chesterfield sofa and pillows and placed it under the sheer white drapes to add a touch of cosy. Keep in mind, DIY can also end up costing you a lot, so try using items you already have around your house or can borrow from your friends or family.
You can also find decor rental services in KL. I rented some carpets and chairs from Something Borrowed by Nawal. My mum was the one who knew about her because she's friends with the owners mum. Her prices are really reasonable so that worked out really well for us. I went to her warehouse and she has basically everything under the sun that you can think of that you may want to use for your wedding. So you can contact her to see what you can rent that will compliment the look you want for your wedding.
5. Food and Dessert
There's lots to talk about with food; caterer, dessert table, and last but not least, the WEDDING CAKE and favours.
Basically 70% of the budget went to the caterer. Good food is something guests will remember. Ideally, I wanted a western menu, (just to give our guests something a little different from the norm) similar to the one I ordered for my mum on her wedding day, catered by the restaurant CopperbyFav. But I knew it made more sense budget wise to serve local dishes, and keeping in mind Yusuf's side of the family were more traditional.
The caterer we hired was the same one my mum hired for my sisters wedding more than ten years ago. I highly recommend them (Sajian D'Hidang 0192331727). I opted for the Kampung menu because I love their daging salai.
Okay, now let's talk dessert. What would I have done without my good friend Aishah, from That Last Slice. She literally took the load off my mum for the dessert table. Of course, I initially wanted my mum to do the desserts as I love everything she makes, but I also knew she already had a lot on her plate. So in came That Last Slice to the rescue. Everyone was raving about how delicious the cakes, macarons and tarts were. THANK YOU SO MUCH AISHAH.
She has always been the next best thing to my mums desserts for me.
I also really wanted local desserts, and my favourite is goreng pisang (fried banana fritters). So my mum (God bless her) created our own goreng pisang stall by getting a few part-time helpers to fry them fresh at one corner of the garden. I loved that guests had them hot and fresh to eat whenever they felt like some. Best part was, it was my favourite home-made recipe that my mum makes with sesame seed. And, my sister got an apam balik stall which is always a crowd favourite. (Contact Faiz at +601123214876)
WEDDING CAKE AND FAVOURS
Thankfully my mum is the cake artisan for Gateauxlicious, so of course she made our wedding cake. I was clear on the design I wanted. Modern Luxe. And the door gifts (seen on the right here), we made them together, my mum and I. I've always loved edible door gifts so we made decorated sugar cookies together, starting three weeks before the wedding. We packed them individually and it was so beautiful.
Btw, I just wanted to share that, if having a wedding cake is not within your budget as they cost quite a lot, consider making your own. Check out this Naked Wedding Cake that is very do able.
6. Wedding Outfits
This was literally the first thing I thought about as soon as I knew I was soon to be wed. Okay who am I kidding, I knew what I wanted to wear years before I was even ready to get married again lol. Truth - I prepared what I wanted to wear before I knew the kind of man I wanted to marry.
First up, my nikah/solemnisation outfit. The Modern Kebaya by Nurita Harith.
I fell in love with it right away (saw it online on FV's website a year ago) because I knew I could wear the flowy bell sleeve top again after the wedding. And I have used it more than three times already, once on our honeymoon. My best friend's convinced me to add some lace detailing's and a veil. At first, I was so adamant to do without it, but I'm glad I listened to them because it all looked seamlessly beautiful together.
Right after that, we changed into this stunning gold songket ensemble. To be honest, my initial plan was just two outfits, the Kebaya and then the Pants reception outfit. But Yusuf wanted to do something for his mum and grandma. He knew they wanted to see him get married in the full traditional Malaysian wedding outfit, so he asked if we could try and fit that in. I was worried I couldn't pull of a songket because I've never been the traditional kind but I was on board to do something for Mama and Opah.
So a month before the wedding we were scrambling to figure out where to get a nice songket without having to spend too much. THANKFULLY, best friend Toots quickly offered I wear her wedding songket that was impeccably made by Rizalman. And it fit me like a glove, phewhhhh. And thankfully too, Yusuf fit into her husbands songket. This was one of my special something borrowed. In fact I almost wore her wedding nikah dress too because she really wanted to see me get married in it but by the time she found it, it was too late.
Now, the main reception outfit that I had dreamt of wearing for many years. The Pants outfit by Nurita Harith.
Ahh, I loved it so so so so soooooo much.
About four years ago, I had an idea that I wanted to wear pants for my next wedding. I found an amazing reference picture and saved it ever since. It was modern, uber chic, unique and surely comfortable to wear in your wedding day, I thought. I've done the whole tight fitted dress (in my first wedding) and it's safe to say that those kind of dresses are not the most comfortable to wear. So I knew in my bones that I wanted to wear pants regardless of anything. Comfort was what I wanted on my big day.
So here is the story of the Pants outfit. It involved tears.
Two months before the wedding, I bought fabric on my own and passed it to my usual tailor with the reference image, tweaked the design a little to suit my aesthetic and left for him to do his magic, which he always does. Good to note that he has never disappointed me with his amazing cutting and fitting in the past.
Three weeks later, my tailor texted me saying it was ready. I was ecstatic! Unfortunately, it came out nothing like how I imagined. Toots came with me on my fitting and I think she held back as much as she could to not make me panic. In her mind she was saying DO NOT WEAR THIS. I felt it through her silence. Sigh, what's a wedding without a few unfortunate events. I pointed out things for him to fix. And even after that it was beyond salvageable. When it arrived at my house I cried but I also told myself it's going to be okay because what matters is the marriage not this outfit. Focus Asma'. Focus on the bigger picture.
The next day, we had my final fitting for the Kebaya outfit. And that lifted me up because the kebaya outfit and veil looked magical together. Vivy and toots were both there with me. And it was a special hangout fitting session because it was possibly the last time we would be together before toots gave birth.
So just as I came out of the fitting room from that last try, I joined them on the couch and Vivy told me that she spoke to Nurita and she said she would re-do the Pants outfit of my dreams. I had no words to say except but the wedding is in four days. It was Monday, the wedding was the coming Saturday. Nurita said it's okay, we can do it for you. I held back tears. I asked are you sure quite a few times and then decided to not be silly and just thank her and my best friends a gazillion times for making this happen for me. They just know me so so well. They knew if I couldn't have anything for the wedding, all I wanted was to be married in my living room as long as I got to wear this outfit I had dreamt for years.
I can't believe till this day and can't thank Nurita Harith enough for literally getting this done in three days (one of the days was a public holiday - but of course). The outfit wear ready the morning of the wedding. Vivy's husband picked it up and got it to us just in time as we had to change out of the Songket outfit and into the wedding outfit of my dreams. I put it on and it was just.....as I dreamt it to be. Vivy passed me her pearls and white Manolo's to wear with that outfit and we were ready for the rest of the day!
So there you have it. A glimpse into our wedding day. A chill day with no formalities. Lots of food and dessert. Lots of outfit changes. And most importantly, lots of laughter and hugs from people that mattered to me.
I hope that what I've managed to share can give you ideas and help a bride-to-be in anyway possible. As you would've picked up from this post, my wedding was not the picture perfect Pinterest wedding I thought I could one day have. But I swear it was better because I think I managed (with the help of my kind vendors, and amazing family and friends) to create a wedding day that was tailored to Yusuf and I. That was what mattered to us. That the day represented us.
Our wedding day was ours to celebrate with our special people.