Monday, July 10, 2017

choon & phoebe’s big day

When: Saturday, 8 July 2017

This - the gatecrash, the tea-ceremony and the hotel lunch - concludes Choon and Phoebe's matrimonial journey, which has enlivened our lives thoroughly in the past year. It was full-on, not an event(s) to be gotten over with to please the parents, but really, cause for celebration every stage of the way.

Here's the timeline of the big day. I hardly took photos, too busy, but of the few photos I took I decided to use the time stamp feature. The one which tells you exactly what time the photo was taken!

KK and I wake up at 6am and make our way over to my folks. The two of us are part of the groom's party. KK's the driver, I'm the calefare. Here I help Teng to put on suspenders. He is a best man virgin. He's never done it, and he's certainly never worn suspenders in his life so he doesn't quite know how.

Arrival at Phoebe's home where the boys are greeted by the bride's ladies in waiting, for an early round of fun and games in the quiet back alley, as the neighbours rise from slumber and poke their heads out to check out what's going on. 


The trio of best men: Mario (Choon's friend from primary school), Sean (Choon's tenant in Darwin, who flew back for his wedding) and Teng. Phoebe has a network of very close girl friends to play bridesmaids, but for Choon, at the grand old age of 40, and having lived in Australia for over a decade, he was hard-pressed to find people who would be willing to go through the trial of Chinese wedding fun and games. Fortunately he managed to get these three. (Teng was very unwilling but no choice)

The games revolve around the idea of 酸甜苦辣 (sour, sweet, bitter, spicy). Sour starts the day as the boys manouver lemon slices from their foreheads to their mouths without hands. Something like that.

Sweet. They dangle bananas from the waist with raffia string and get another best man to remove the skin with teeth only.

Sporting chaps. KK stands with me at the side and silently gives thanks that he was the designated driver. Although the camera crew note that the fun and games are really quite tame, perhaps because "the couple and their friends are more mature".

Teng: "Ha? Is this never going to end?" Bitter is a drink, and spicy is chilli instant noodles, which they all slurp up with great enthusiasm because hungry...

After Choon and the gang make it through and upstairs, the bride comes down. Phoebe's dad holds a red umbrella over her (auspicious symbol I think) as they get into the bridal car, her Merc, to travel to the site of the morning photo shoot.

Somewhere around Gardens by the Bay East.

Phoebe and her gang of "sisters", beautifully clad in dresses custom-made and ordered online.

KK admiring the Malaysia-based photography and videography team's drone. "I want a drone," he murmured, to my great consternation. 

Choon's party. Comprising Sean, KK, me, Mario, Teng

Group shot against the Singapore skyline.

Upon return home to my folks, everyone in the house yells for Day. "What? What??" he responds. "Get on the bed and jump on it," orders the cameraman and videographer, who are poised with fingers to snap. "Ha? What? Jump?" Yes, everyone says in chorus. So he's the only "little boy" around who can do this. He gamely complies, jumping, lying on the bed, rolling everywhere. Its somewhat fitting as this was the room he used to hang out in as a baby, and he used to jump in exactly the same spot, next to the window, on a single bed (it's been converted into the master bedroom for Choon and Phoebe). Footage of his doing so makes it into the wedding video, its that important a tradition as its supposed to bless the couple with fertility.

Day has to punch his fist to break a barrier of red paper placed over the opening of a potty, which once broken reveals a packet of sweets which Day is supposed to take. Meaning of the ritual? I don't know.

Or thereabouts (no idea of time because I took no photos) was the tea ceremony at the hotel during which I was completely swamped collecting red packets and scrambling to help Choon and Phoebe pack more for a surprisingly large number of kids.

At the reception waiting for guests to arrive. Again, no photos of anything because I was too busy saying hello. This photo was fortuitously taken because David (the guy in the centre), who moves musical instruments for a living and who worked closely with Por Por during her youth orchestra days, insisted on a photo with us. Thank God he did. Por Por custom-made that cheongsam she is wearing, while my dress was gifted to me by Pris who has a sense of style which dwarfs mine. 

Guests waiting for the lunch to start at the St Regis ballroom. Why St Regis? Por Por suggested it way back in December right after Choon made his proposal - she did the homework and got the information - because she thinks the food there is good. They gamely went along with the hotel and all of its luxe pricing.

First march-in, him in checks, she in white. Not bad, the lunch didn't start too late.

Phoebe walks in to the ballroom solo, singing a Cantonese song as she starts tearing, to join her bevy of bridesmaids on stage. While she walks in, choking on the lyrics of the song as she is overtaken by emotion, Choon whispers to me, "I think I better go to her." Ya lah, then? You should cry too! (He didn't...)

Blue for the second march-in.

The couple make their Bombshell announcement during their speech, to cheers and applause: They're expecting a little girl in December! KIDS WILL HAVE ANOTHER LITTLE GIRL COUSIN! Day didn't even have to jump on the bed at 10:29am!

Pa takes to the stage with great gusto, charisma and a whole lot of cheer. He's so thrilled that his eldest son is finally married, and that he'll have another grandchild. He speaks in Chinese (I meant to transcribe but its too cheem) before presenting Choon and Phoebe with the English song, "Only You" at the 2:20 mark. He didn't want to sing but we (Por Por and me) made him.

After all the hands are shaken and goodbyes are said, Day, Lu and I head up to the bridal suite with my folks (KK had to bring Jo to the NDP preview which she is attending with her school mates). It’s all hands on deck as we form a conveyor line to open red packets and count money, as Choon and Phoebe catch up on their meal (I’ve never met a couple who managed to eat properly during their own wedding). What’s the rush? The couple (very efficient) want to bank in the money that very evening.

Day and Lu who were acting terribly fatigued after the long lunch, weren't involved at first but after it becomes clear that counting money can be a tiresome task, they perk up when they get to join in the conveyor belt. Lu to open packets and check that they're empty, Day to count and categorise the notes. They are thrilled to touch all the dollar notes. Finally, Maths makes sense.


CH Lim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CH Lim said...

Your dad is a natural emcee!

Sher said...

prob the first time anyone's said that in his 81 years of life... i think!

Anonymous said...

So joyous! Congratulations to your family! - min

Anonymous said...

Your Dad is so lovable on stage.

Anonymous said...

I concur, your dad's so composed on stage! Congratulations, you're going to be an Aunt soon!

- Long time reader

Sher said...