A #SeLebration to remember.
My friends, wedding prep year is not real life because you do things that you don't normally do, and spend money that you don't normally spend. But rightfully so! It's a once-in-a-lifetime event after all. My wedding was awesome in my eyes. It was beautiful. It was serene. It was everything I've ever wanted. But to be honest I didn't really remember the little details, like what type of flowers I had on the table, or what kind of wine was served.
If you're currently planning a wedding, I just want to let you know that at the end of the day, a wedding is not really about the fancy dresses and the truck load of flowers. It's an opportunity to reconnect and make new friends, it's an excuse for families to have a long-awaited reunion. The problem is sometimes the wedding industry makes you feel like you need to have it all in order to have a "proper" wedding - whatever that means right? Especially in Asia, where your social status oftentimes means a lot more than your mental health and your financial well-being. You have to have this shoe brand, you have to use this designer, who is setting these rules anyway?
If you're getting married, I just wanted to tell you that you do not have to use the most well-known vendor just to top your friend's likes on Instagram. Really. In the words of Rachel Joy Barehl, a local Columbus photographer, "all that really matters is that you are present, with the one you love, among people you love (not even a requirement), and committing yourselves to each other. If you can find some amazing vendors that will help you feel your best, take some stress away, feed you tasty food, and help you capture what you're feeling through photos, great. Anything else is just icing on the wedding cake". The most well said statement I've read about wedding vendors. I do think that choosing the right vendors is crucial in the success of any big event.
So how should you choose your vendors, then? How do you determine whether or not a vendor is right for you? In my opinion, the key to choosing your vendors is to find people that you feel like you can trust in a day where you don't have the capacity to control things. You need to pick people whose work you appreciate, people who aren't just insta-famous but rather people who value their customers and are just as invested as you are in your wedding. I can't say that all of my wedding vendors have been those kind of people. I have met some amazingly dedicated and talented people throughout my wedding planning process, and I will specifically mention them below, but I have also met some that are the polar opposite.
As a bride, the last thing you need is more stress leading up to your wedding day; there's already enough stress as it is. So choose your vendors wisely. Choose those who love what they do. Make an effort to get to know them if time and distance allows. And remember that you don't have to use the same vendor that everyone else uses. With that said I just wanted to put a disclaimer by saying that is my very personal opinion, so please take my advice with a grain of salt.
But anyway.. I just wanted to highlight some of my favorite vendors; people who have worked so hard to make this wedding smooth and memorable. Here we go!
Next we would like to thank our Wedding Organizer team from Vara Wedding (@varawedding). We actually have never met our WO before and we only communicated via Whatsapp (thus the dark circles under my eyes for staying up so late for a whole year). I tried to adjust to Bali time and not disturb my vendors outside of business hours as much as possible, and there's a 12-13 hour difference between Chicago and Bali (depending on daylight savings time). Vara Wedding had a team of 12 people, Sean and I each had an assistant, our families each had an assistant, and there were people who were in charge of things like transportation, etc. The Vara team even stayed back until we finished our after party at Rock Bar! We had to take care of billings and things like that (yes, at 2 AM), and our assistants waited until we finished, walked us to our golf cart and made sure that we were all set.
Seriously, our wedding would be a mess without a wedding organizer. I didn't have a single worry that day about my wedding processions and I was able to enjoy my day to the fullest. Special thanks to our personal assistants Susi and Angga who were always running around making sure that we are fed, that we are not dehydrated, that we are not sweating, and many more!
Vara wedding team : @asti_vara @verena.banu @susi.phang @anggasitako @katherin @salllyy_tan @ishiiaiko @faizalpohan @magna @rendra @anggie @yoga (not everyone is in the picture below)
I have been following Axioo since my middle school days - almost 10 years now, just as old as Axioo itself. I knew from day 1 that I wanted them to take my wedding pictures. Adi was our photographer and we loved how easy going this guy is. I also love that he has a taste for fine and classic things! We're blown away by all the pictures Adi (@jonihobiholiday) and Emanuel (@emanuel_ak) took for us.
I am amazed at how beautiful our wedding video is. Yusuf and the @balimetro team did such a great job. A couple days before the wedding we went to Tegalalang Rice Fields in Ubud to shoot our pre-wedding shots. I will let this video speak for the rest of this team's hardwork and dedication!
Our decorations blew us away. I requested an all white chapel for the ceremony and warm tones for the reception and I think Nicky from Sweet Bella (@sweetbellaproject) executed it very well. Like all our other vendors, we have never met Nicky in person and I had to communicate through countless PDFs and pictures. I am very picky about my decorations and I tend to micromanage AND change my mind at the same time. Nicky probably rolled her eyes everytime I whatsapp-ed her with new updates LOL. But my worries turned out to be baseless because we had such beautiful decorations!
MAKEUP AND HAIR
We had some hiccups with our previous makeup artist but we finally settled on Ruth (@ruthdstmakeup) from the Felicia Sasongko team based in Surabaya and I was not disappointed. I really, seriously, felt beautiful that day! My eyebrows too, like DANG they're on point. Thank you also to @miminhairdo who flew together with Ruth to do my hair <3 The pictures can speak for themselves..
VENUE : AYANA RESORT AND SPA BALI
Goodness. We only have good things to say about Ayana. One paragraph is not enough. See here for more pictures of Rock Bar, Ayana's famous bar that we used for our post-reception hangout place.
MASTER OF CEREMONY (MC)
@arnoldwarm is seriously our favorite MC ever! So professional and so fun. We wanted a bilingual MC because we had both Indonesians and Foreigners at our wedding, and Arnold really nailed it. He was spontaneous and had he definitely set the tone for our reception. We didn't realize how important it is to have a good MC at events!
@Madebythebride - For making our bridal party pouches and our Tea Ceremony towel favors (See below for pics) and @zilialeather - Groomsmen gifts and @wit_wearittoo for the cute bowties.
INVITATION AND ILLUSTRATION
@hellogode - Our invitation vendors who went through a lot because we changed our venue and had to change our invitation suite hahahhahaha and @kellysandco for the beautiful vintage illustration on the back.
@kaminari.id - Did such an excellent job with our wedding favors!! We even brought a bunch back to the US with us because they are so pretty
PHOTOBOOTH & TEAPAI GIFT
@Baliphotobooth - for the "Photo Ayam" booth LOL Such a genius and funny concept, and also great pictures and easy communication! The pretty custom gold towels were made by @madebythebride
@Cynthiatan__ - For making my beautiful white dress and Tea Ceremony dress that was super rushed! I actually made this dress a year ago, it's been tough trying to keep the dress a secret from sean
@gv_gabrielavania - For making my evening gown with only ONE fitting! hahahaha I didn't even have time to be a bridezilla because the fitting was over within a blink and we didn't have time for alterations, thank God the dress fit! I didn't get to see the materials either, I only mentioned that I wanted it to be nude with gold accents, and ci Gaby and ci Vania used 3D flower applications and Elie Saab lace (because I love flowers, duh) to decorate the body and parts of the skirt.
Glo Band Bali (@globandbali) and Sara Excellent (@saraexcellent)
Glo Band did such an amazing job in playing all the songs that we requested. We wanted an acoustic session, and we had a lot of throwback songs and songs that we really enjoy together as a couple. Everybody told us that the music was so enjoyable, we were definitely able to sing along all night!I didn't get a chance to meet each of them in person but I was surely dancing to the music in the background all night long. We chose an acoustic, 5 people setting and we were not disappointed. I will hunt down their video and share on a separate post.
Sara, on the other hand, is one of those people that's a stranger-turned-friend kind of vendor. We first asked her to sing at our wedding because of her amaaazingly unique voice. She turns out to be Sean's childhood schoolmate! Too bad they didn't have childhood pictures together. Sara sang our favorite song for our first dance "At Last", and "To Make You Feel My Love" for our grand entrance.
@lenovelle_jakarta_bali for our cake!! I was so picky about the cake too, i didn't want it too extravagant, I didn't want it to be too girly, I wanted it to be classic. Thus this cake came into fruition..
@Ks_nailart - for the insanely pretty nail art that I'm still wearing now because I always get compliments from everywhere! The nails stayed on for over 3 weeks time too :)
Angpaos are basically money envelopes; we use this to give monetary gifts to our younger family members during the Tea Pai ceremony. I designed my own angpao and needed someone to print it out for me. i found @ggpartydesigner through instagram and entrusted our angpao to them. So pretty!
They say it takes a village to make a wedding happen.. they weren't kidding!! Many, many, many thanks to those who have somehow taken part in this very special day. To you guys this might only be another wedding, we might only be another client, but to us you will forever be a part of our most special day. Choose your vendors wisely, my friends.
Michelle Aurelia Sanchie Tan (yes my name is super long now)