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A Quick Life Update

Almost 10 months and nary an entry!

So much has happened, and I thought I’d do a quick update, since the year is coming to a close:

  1. We completed our home renovations and moved in last April
  2. Our home was featured in the November issue of Manja magazine
  3. I went to Krabi twice — once in April and recently in December
  4. I officially became a statistic on the NEA website — not that it was a good thing. I got dengue in September and it was horrible. HORRIBLE
  5. Faz and I have been married for 2 years, Alhamdulillah!
  6. We went to Japan to celebrate our second wedding anniversary, and we both LOVED JAPAN LIKE CRAZY
  7. I picked up swimming and am damn proud to be able to swim now, considering the fact that I had a phobia of water

There’ve been some months that I was incredibly busy, but I think I’ve mostly kind of fallen into this comfortable routine of going to work everyday and then coming home and doing some chores or watch some TV with Faz before we go to bed. On some evenings, we’d go swim at the public pool.

Before Faz recently started doing office hours, he was doing shift work — and sometimes if he’d be home when I returned home from work, we’d cook and have dinner together. But then he started doing office hours and found it too tiring to cook, so we don’t cook as often any more. In fact I can’t remember the last time we cooked — must’ve been 2-3 months ago!

On weekends I’d have my swimming lessons, after which Faz and I will visit my parents. Sundays are my rest days — I’ll normally want to stay home, unless I have some compelling reason to go out.

Somehow, blogging just never makes it to the to-do list. Although it seems like a gargantuan task now, I do actually want to blog about our reno and trips before I forget all the details.

Soon, Insyaallah!


Old Out, New In

Two weeks ago, I officially moved out of my parents’ place in Woodlands and into my in-laws’ in Pasir Ris to make way for my now married brother and his wife — Alhamdulillah they were safely solemnised last Saturday!

I didn’t take leave from work to pack, so I had to do it gradually in the weeks leading up to the move. At the same time my brother was also moving in his stuff bit by bit, slowly transforming my room of 16 years into his. I had already started to feel a bit sad and sentimental then, but nothing could prepare me for the actual move. Seeing the movers take away my stuff from the house, I felt helpless. I didn’t want to move, but it was something that simply had to be done — a rite of passage, if you will.

All too soon, the movers were done packing my stuff into the vehicle and it was time to say goodbye (God, I’m getting teary-eyed recounting this!). I sat on the sofa, asked my mother to sit down beside me, and rested my head on her shoulder like I always do when we watch TV. I hadn’t even spoken a complete sentence when the floodgates burst. I took her hand in mine and in between sobs, thanked her for everything. I asked for forgiveness and asked her to make halal everything that I’ve ever taken from her and from the house. After hugging her long and hard, I sat down and did the same with my dad, followed by my sister and brother. I went to find my cats Meow and Ashley to stroke and hug them, and cried even harder upon seeing their cute faces. Oh, how I was going to miss each and every one of them!

My sister told me not to cry, that Singapore is small and that I can visit any time, and I know this to be true but the point was that I was no longer a member of the household — my 28-year membership was over. The point was that I would no longer see or be around my immediate family everyday, and that was probably the thing that made me the saddest. The point was that the move was overwhelmingly symbolic of the events to come in my life — a big looming monster of both challenge and opportunity, for which I had to close this door in order to open a new one. The point was it was all scary as much as it was exciting.

Taking a final wefie at the door before I leave

Taking a final wefie at the door before I leave. Doesn’t look like I just cried here, but believe me, my heart was breaking. :(

For the next  few days I felt displaced and empty, like a huge chunk was missing from my life. I cried on the way back to my in-laws’. I cried myself to sleep. I cried the next morning. I cried again at night.  It felt like my time with my family was a person who had died and I was mourning her death. It was literally one of the saddest days of my life.

Thankfully my in-laws and husband have been nothing short of accommodating, and have been so kind, making sure I’m settled in well. Also, I  had my brother’s wedding to take my mind off things, so fortunately the sadness didn’t last all that long. I don’t have a room at my parents’ place anymore, but I’ll still try to sleep over whenever I can so that I don’t give myself a chance to miss them and fall into another bout of melancholy.

/SNIFFS

Anyway, on to happy stuff! Some pics of my brother’s wedding at An-Nahdhah mosque in Bishan:

Performing the tahiyatul masjid

Performing the tahiyatul masjid.

Can't believe my little brother is now someone's husband!

Can’t believe my little brother is now someone’s husband!

Zul and his lovely wife, Huda

Zul and his lovely wife, Huda. Like Faz and I, I think they can pass off as siblings.

Pengantin dah basi dan bulat

Pengantin yang dah basi dan bulat

Their entire wedding, from the Nikah to the reception was held at An-Nahdhah, and it was simple and fuss-free. The combined wedding of about 900 guests — which the mosque was able to accommodate comfortably — was split into two areas: the area outside the musollah on Level 1, and a room on Level 3. A venue to consider if you’re looking for a mosque wedding!

Zul and Huda, I wish you all the best as you embark on your journey as husband and wife. I’ve only been married for a year, so I don’t think I’m in a position to dish out marriage advice, but hey, we can learn together!

May your marriage and love last till Jannah, insyaAllah.


Why do we gain weight after marriage?

There could be a multitude of varying reasons but I think I can attribute my obscene weight gain to the misguided pressure I put on myself to be able to fit in with the husband’s family.

See, food is a HUGE part of the husband’s family culture. Every now and then there’ll be a big breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner where we gather to celebrate someone’s birthday — or actually for no reason at all sometimes. So I eat to fit in. And while I’m not exactly a foodie who will travel for food, once good food is in front of me, I find it really hard to resist!

I’m now also eating more times a day than I used to. For most of my adult life, I’ve only been eating two meals a day. But when I’m over at his place, I’m eating three meals and the household stock of sweets and junk food in between! Doesn’t help that I have a sweet tooth.

And that’s really a stark contrast from the food culture at my parents’. You’d be hard pressed to find food because my mother works on weekdays and doesn’t cook. Most of the time you’re responsible for your own stomach — if you’re hungry you go whip up something or find your own food. But sometimes we’d be too lazy to do anything about it, and so we’d go without food till someone is about to drop dead.

We share food a lot. If there are 5 people at home, we usually only buy 3 or 4 packs of food. Also, half the household is trying to lose weight so we’re constantly surrounded by weight-related comments, whether it’s going onto the weighing scale and then wailing about the number, or telling someone they shouldn’t eat because it’s already late at night — things like that that deter us from junk food or over-eating. We do indulge in unhealthy food from time to time but there are more people in my household so it’s not that bad once the calories’ve been divided.

So that’s the story.

I won’t say how much I’ve gained but it is OBSCENE, considering it’s only been 5 months since the wedding. I’ve still been running and going to the gym but at one time input grossly outweighed output, so I wasn’t losing any weight whatsoever. Now that I feel more or less accepted in the family, I’ve started to eat less. Lesser need to seek approval equals lesser need to plonk more rice onto my plate to please my father-in-law. In actuality, no one ever said I had to eat to be a part of the family, so I don’t know why I put myself through all those dreadful nights of bloatedness and feeling like a pig. I guess I was over-eager to integrate and simply didn’t want to come off as a wet blanket who didn’t like to eat and be merry.

Anyway, to further help with the weight loss, I recently bought a mountain bike for myself. After seeing my brother’s tummy go down shortly after he took up cycling, I couldn’t possibly not get a bike myself! I thought it would take a bit of work to convince Faz to get one as well, but I was pleasantly surprised when he said he’d been wanting one. He ended up with a road bike. Last weekend we went for our first spin together with my brother (he owns a road bike as well) and they totally outran me. Road bikes are lighter and faster, but the structure of a road bike puts the weight of your body on your hands holding the handlebar, which just didn’t work for my arthritic wrists. I also found that I was very scared of going too fast! Somehow as we get older we tend to be more afraid of things, I think.

We’re cycling again this weekend from Woodlands to Sungei Buloh and back. So happy to be incorporating something new into my exercise regime. I haven’t been this excited about exercise in a long time!

Hope to see some results soon!


2014: The most exciting year yet!

2014 is going to be a really exciting year for Faz and I!

Apart from forging closer knit relationships with each other and our families, we’re going to be planning for our first home, which is the next big project for us. We’re expecting to receive our keys somewhere in Q3 2014, but whether we’ll get them earlier is really anyone’s guess.

I know I should have already moved on to “house” mode, but I’m still stuck in “wedding” mode. I feel like I need to be done with all wedding-related matters like publishing all wedding- and honeymoon-related entries and getting our wedding photos printed before I can open a new chapter, y’know what I mean?

Some of the other things I’m looking forward to in 2014:

  • Whipping myself (and Faz) back into good shape! The rate at which we’ve ballooned these two months post-wedding is ALARMING, and it’s got to STOP. Time to participate in some races!
  • Spending our first Ramadhan and Eid as husband and wife.
  • A wedding in the family.
  • Parenting classes. I’ve no desire for kids at the moment, but I think we should be prepared for when it happens. And besides, it’ll give us something interesting to do instead of our usual movie and dinner dates.
  • Travelling. I don’t know how much travelling we can do with the house coming along but I’m hoping for at least ONE destination — not too much to ask, is it?
  • I really let myself loose these two months, but it’s now time to save like there’s no tomorrow.
  • Starting a daily gratitude blog to record the things I feel happy or grateful for as they come so that I can look back in life and remember only the good things. Case in point: I can only remember two things in 2013 — our wedding and the stress of wedding planning.
  • Work on my spirituality.

May this year be even better than the last for you, me and everybody! <3


How it feels to be married.

Faz and I have been married for two months now, can you believe it? It feels like our wedding was just like, last weekend or something. At the rate time is passing us by, we’ll be old and wrinkly in the blink of an eye!

Back when I was still a singleton, something annoying I’d admittedly ask my newly-wed friends despite knowing they probably get asked this a million times is: “How does it feel to be married?”

Now that I’m married, I finally get to answer my own question and I’m going to start off by saying IT FEELS GREAT!

I hope it’s not just the honeymoon period talking, but there’s just so much love!

And the love is just different. The moment our nikah was pronounced sah, I could already feel that it was different. It felt so much bigger and pure, now that we were bound Islamically. And that love gives you a kind of joy you’ve never experienced.

We’re still getting used to the new status, or rather, to being labelled “husband and wife”, though. Just the other day when we were buying food, a friendly makcik next to us in the queue asked if we were “suami isteri” and guess what….for a moment we were dumbfounded! It was only after two seconds that I managed to grasp her question and tell her, albeit shyly, that we were indeed “suami isteri”!

I’m quite amused though — prior to marriage, no one ever thought we were a married couple. Was the makcik just being random? Did she have some sort of sixth sense? Or was she just observant enough to notice the fading henna on my fingernails? (Beli makan pun sempat tengok kuku orang, eh makcik…..)

Anyway.

Our living arrangement has worked perfectly so far — it’s allowed us to explore and understand each other’s deeper idiosyncrasies and family culture, as well as transition into our new roles as husband and wife at our own comfortable pace. Nothing feels forced, and I think perhaps that’s one of the main reasons why we’re enjoying it so much.

At first it was pretty troublesome, having to lug big bags of clothes and toiletries to each others’ places, but we now have the necessities and extra clothing in place to survive a spontaneous sleepover (there is no schedule because Faz works shifts and has a new roster every two weeks). Once I went to work in new clothes from head to toe — which I of course didn’t mind the slightest bit — just because of this spontaneous decision!

I know it sounds cliché, but one of the things I really enjoy since entering marriage is waking up to find him next to me. Anyone who knows me knows I’m really not the mushy type — and in fact as someone who values her personal space, at first I was even worried that I’d find it stifling to share my bed with another person! But I’ve come to discover that it is the most comforting feeling to be unconscious the entire night and then in the morning opening your eyes to find that the person you love is still there, right by your side. And it gives you sort of a zest to start off your day — something I definitely didn’t get waking up alone.

I also love that we’re delving deeper into each other, discovering things we wouldn’t have otherwise known about each other if we hadn’t gotten married. I look forward even to the less desirable discoveries (like bad habits, which I shamefully have more of as it turns out, by the way) because all these discoveries, whether positive or negative, will help us manage each others’ expectations prior to moving in together.

Speaking of bad habits, the pressure of having “someone new” in the house has managed to eliminate some of them — permanently, I hope! Although I say nothing feels forced, there’s still a natural pressure that will make you think twice before committing the crime. It’s the same pressure you get when inviting someone over for the first time — you want to make a good impression and give them an experience.

Usually the governing thought for me would be “Do you want him to regret marrying you?” and then if I feel it’s not worth him leaving me, I’ll try not to do it. LOL. But really, I’m just trying to make a conscious effort to keep him happy.

And I think realising this may be making me a better daughter as well. How, you ask?

Well, my conscience starts questioning me why I haven’t made the same efforts to please my parents, whom I also love dearly. I’ve strived to become a better daughter many times in my life, but nothing has given me the quite the same perspective on this as my new experience as a wife has, and I hope it’s more effective as well! It’s probably still not apparent to them yet, but I do find myself trying to please them more (by doing little things like helping out more around the house or by simply keeping bad habits in check).

And I hope to keep this up because I realise I’ll have increasingly lesser opportunities to please them after I leave the nest.


Our wedding in motion.

Aaaaand here are the videos!

The Nikah

The Orchidville Reception

So much love! <3


A Decade of Love (Part 2: Orchidville Reception)

Just how overdue is this post?

Been very, very occupied with work, mainly and correspondence with Fadzil of Rolling Frames for our wedding video, as well as Fadly for our photos — which I’m happy to say are all now in our hands! I couldn’t be happier with they way they turned out and the fact that I didn’t have to wait like a year or something, unlike some of the horror stories I hear about other vendors.

So hooray, I get to use some of the photos here in my post! And I’ll post the videos in my next entry!

Continuing from where I left off, now that the serious and most important part of the wedding was over (phew!), true to my Mak Andam’s words, the next day’s reception was all about having fun.

That afternoon, while I was getting dolled up, my siblings and friends who were helping run some last minute errands at Orchidville texted me pictures of the decor which shot me straight up to cloud nine:

No words can describe the joy I felt when I saw the decor. Years of planning and seeing it on paper, and I finally get to see it in the flesh!

I knew from first sight that this hall in Orchidville would be the venue. I saw its permanent installation of rustic branches and traditional lamps set within birdnest-like fixtures and I was sold. TWC softened the look by draping soft chiffon in dusty pink from the branches.

I was a little alarmed though when I saw the dais (it wasn’t this green hedge backdrop that we fell in love with and requested), but upon explanation I had to agree with the last minute switch to a subtle white glitter tulle. The green hedge we wanted would’ve simply looked too crude in its soft surroundings. Well, sometimes plans change due to unforeseen circumstances, and I totally understand that. In fact, I came to LOVE our new dais. It was simple because it needed to be, but definitely classy! Kudos again to TWC for knowing design and applying it instead of blindly following requests.

Just how gorgeous is this outdoor seating area?! Love love love all the greenery! The vines hanging from the creepers gave a dreamy garden ambience and the parasols TWC added really completed the look!

Remember I had mentioned that one of my biggest worries was the weather? Despite my constant conversation with Him throughout my journey to Orchidville, the skies darkened and drizzled. I had begun to feel upset because I felt my prayers were in vain but I kept up my conversation with Him and although He didn’t give me sunshine, He did make me feel better about it.

By the time I reached Orchidville, it was pouring but any feeling of dissatisfaction completely vanished when I saw just how many people were present to celebrate us despite the rain. It was truly a heartwarming moment. In fact, the weather actually lended somewhat of a cosy feel to our wedding — but that’s probably because everyone was huddled together. I can’t speak for my poor guests who had a hard time making their way to Orchidville in the rain, though….

I don’t do so well in the spotlight so I felt pretty awkward sitting there all alone. But once I had the company of guests who started coming up to the dais for photos, I started to loosen up.

This was the pastel blue peplum songket I so fell in love with! Very Scha Alyahya. I have to thank Fatimah Mohsin for letting me be the first bride to wear this. My nikah outfit was brand new as well! I was ready to plunge into depression because I didn’t connect with any of the other dresses, but man, these two brand new pieces were screaming my name when she took them out to show me.

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I arrive and the drama starts! Rainwater was creating a reservoir on the overhead netting that pushed against the metal structure, causing the metal to bend in precariously. So here Orchidville staff were trying to push the water over the edge. Kak Ros also had to shift the tables to make way for Faz’s alternate entrance. The plan if it hadn’t rained was to have the kompang accompany the groom from the carpark, about 100 metres away.
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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After what seemed like an eternity, the groom finally arrives! I waited up on the dais alone for so long lor!
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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This type of picture is the reason why I had asked him to go for a mani-pedi just before the wedding. He scoffed at me at first but now look who’s thankful I made him go (and alone at that because I wasn’t free to accompany him)!
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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Faz and his best men and close friends, with Andika Prak Bing Bing following closely behind. My heart was beating fast in excitement when the kompang started. I’ve always loved this part of malay weddings, and it was just surreal that it was finally happening to me, at my wedding!
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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First gantry: My godmother and cousins
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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Some serious negotiation going on here!
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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Second gantry: My girlfriends. Clearly, they were not impressed.
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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So they asked him to sing a Jamal Abdillah song because he does a mean imitation. But as usual, he couldn’t remember lyrics to save his life, and only lasted three(!!) words! Lucky for him my girlfriends were feeling kind that day.
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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Third and unintentional gantry: my grandaunts from Malaysia. They were so cute — they saw that we still had this “hadang” culture going on (they say it’s a culture fast fading in Malaysia), and automatically just formed a line to join in the fun! Faz tells me they got the best of the money stack — they had reserved bigger notes for last!
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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Finally together on the dais!
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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Andika Prak Bing Bing gave us a really superb performance!
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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There’s just something very ethereal about the branches and soft hanging chiffon.
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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Oh, the best thing about twin settees like this? You get to be close and have conversations, and not feel so isolated in individual chairs!
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

It’s entirely true what they say about not having the time to eat at all, because guests just keep coming up to you to take photos! We got to taste a bit of the food, and CJS truly didn’t disappoint. I wish we had instructed our family to put aside a bit of everything for us to eat later at home, because everyone was RAVING about the food — how it was a nice change from the usual malay wedding fare, and more importantly how good it tasted! In fact, I did make a mental note to ask my sister to put aside food for us, but the days leading up to the wedding got so busy that it completely slipped my mind. Anyway more on CJS later in my vendor review post!

At about 6.30pm, we retreated back to the changing room to change into our eveningwear.

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Photo credit: An Analog Affair

And at about 7pm, we waltzed back in to the hall to The Piano Guys’ epic Titanium piano and cello cover.

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Faz was so bummed he forgot to unbutton that last coat button!
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

We were welcomed in by our close friends standing on either sides of the aisle — something that wasn’t initially in the programme. We found out later that Fadly was the one who thoughtfully orchestrated it. I did think to do something like this for our entrance but I didn’t want to ASK that we be welcomed, y’know what I mean? So to have another person plan it was great!

That’s also the made-to-measure dress that I had done with Fatimah Mohsin. I found a pic of a dress I loved and asked her to replicate it, with some tweaks. I love it so because 1) it wasn’t a white wedding gown and 2) it was glamorous without being over-the-top. I had the option to top-up a couple of hundreds to keep the dress but I quickly decided against it because, really, when else am I ever going to wear it? But then just two weeks after the wedding I see Farisha Ishak wearing it during her Sinaran Hati performance on Suria and it pained me a little, well, because I’d put my heart and soul into looking for the right dress, and paid for the bulk of it — only for it to be worn by other people, at no extra cost. My heart says the dress should be mine, but the brain knows I’ll never wear it again and tells me we have no space for it in our new home. It hurts a little, but I know it was the right decision.

Anyway, moving on before things get depressing here…

By evening the rain had let up, and it was really just a relaxed and cool evening for everyone. We came in, fed each other delicious macarons from our pretty macaron tower, gave our speeches (which I really regret not preparing, especially taking into consideration how petrifying taking centre stage is to me — my speech could’ve meant so much more if I had actually been prepared!), and took more photos.

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Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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Thank God enough macarons were put aside for me to enjoy later at home because not only did my coral macarons look good, they tasted good too!
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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Giving the speech that I regretfully didn’t prepare.
Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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Photo credit: An Analog Affair

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Photo credit: An Analog Affair

After a while we just got tired of sitting, so we proceeded to our photobooth to get a couple of shots, and ventured out of the hall for a mini shoot, allowing Fadly to conjure his magic:

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Photo credit: An Analog Affair

Orchidville had put up their orchids for sale outside the wedding hall — a win-win situation because they wanted sales and we didn’t want guests hogging tables. It was the perfect idea to get people out of their seats, and true enough once the rain stopped, they got up and checked out the orchids. I saw guests leaving with orchids in their hands, looking quite happy. And why would they not be? Orchidville’s orchids are CHEAP! Even Kak Najihah of TWC who deals with a lot of flowers said so!

As the day came to a close, I remember feeling two things: thankful and contented. After a decade together, I was just so thankful that Allah had allowed us to continue being together and loving each other but only better — this time as husband and wife. And I see now in retrospect that every time Allah met us with a roadblock, it was to lead us to even greater things.  Classic examples would be our venue and outfit selection woes.

I also remember my heart swelling with content. The day had gone exceptionally well despite the weather, it was almost unreal.

Wedding reception DIY projects

Ahh, my DIY projects. They were my babies, and I’m so proud of them!

Canvas tote wedding favours

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Canvas tote favours — our hard work.

The totes arrived only a week and a half before the wedding, which was pretty last minute but that’s because I took such a long time deciding on and designing the artwork. They didn’t arrive all bundled up and tagged like this, so there was no time to waste! I enlisted the help of my entire family, cousins and friends — whoever was available — and we’d form a production line. I think it took about five days to complete everything, inclusive of prep time for the printing and cutting of the thank you cards and jute twine. We did everything ourselves!

But the end product was worth all the trouble. Many guests complimented our totes and you wouldn’t believe how ridiculously happy I get when I see them in use!

Kids’ flower candy favours

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Photo credit: An Analog Affair

I can’t say they were exclusively kids’ favours because even the adults were asking for them too! The idea was to create a flower bed of these bangle candy flowers (yes, it’s marketed as ‘bangle candies’ — though I think only the wrist of a baby would be small enough to go through).

A super inexpensive idea if you don’t mind the trouble of putting it together. We had to cut and sand the edges of the ice cream sticks to make them more child-friendly, gluegun it to the back of the bangle candy and tie ribbons around the stick to act as leaves.

Super cute, how it turned out!

Directional signage

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Photo credit: An Analog Affair

My brother did an awesome job with this. He’s quite the handyman — the go-to person in the house to assemble any Ikea furniture we buy. But it was just unfortunate though because whilst the signage looked big at home, once placed at the roadside, it was drowned out by the surroundings. The heavy rain must’ve also affected its visibility. Nevertheless, I hope it did at least help those who saw it get to Orchidville.

And that’s it! I loved my wedding so much that I just wasn’t able to do anything much after the honeymoon except go over the photos in our wedding instagram hashtag over and over…and over again.

#kemarukweddingsendiri


Like pillars to a building

I thought I’d share my main takeaways from the marriage preparation course as well:

  1. Start your marriage with a clean slate.
    You ended up marrying each other, so forget your spouse’s history with Mr X or Miss X. Also try to erase prior negative perceptions or stereotypes you may have had about husbands or wives in general.

    Now this second point is going to be a challenge for me. I’ve seen women suffer at the hands of oppressive husbands, and as a result I’ve become very defensive, swearing never to let myself be bullied in my own marriage in future. No one can deny that this is an excellent principle to hold, but the inadvertent problem with being prepared is that you’re expecting it to happen, even if just a little. And this will affect the way you act in your marriage.

    Will I allow myself to do things (e.g. cooking or cleaning) for my husband out of sheer love, if at the back of my mind I’m constantly worrying that he will eventually identify with my acts of generosity and kindness as an obligation on my part?

    This is an area in which I have to moderate myself. I have to establish boundaries, yet I cannot let my defensiveness be a hindrance to doing good for my husband because as we all know, marriage is an edifice of rewards. I need to let him prove himself first as opposed to going into the marriage with my stereotypes and punishing him with them, because not only will it be unfair to him, he may also turn out to be absolutely nothing like them.

  2. Protect your marriage like a fortress.
    How? Stay away from anything that might jeopardise or weaken it. And on top of that, fortify it by doing the things that keep each other happy.

  3. It takes work to make a marriage/family work.
    This may seem like the stupidest thing to say because everyone knows that. But why is it then that couples stop working once they get off from work? The work has to continue, even at home! It’s an irony, really. When asked who, in essence, they’re working for, they answer “Family”. But isn’t it ironic that they reach home understandably tired but in a foul mood, firing at the very people they work for to provide a comfortable living — the ones they supposedly love?

    Where’s the “work” in that? 

  4. Method is just as, if not more important than outcome.
    Naturally we want the best for our families — the best in values and morals, and a spot in Jannah. But sometimes we’re so focused on the outcome that we neglect the method. Our thoughts are only as good as our actions. So if our intentions are noble, our methods should also be noble. 

    If we impose caustic methods to fulfill a noble intention, isn’t our purpose defeated?

The Certificate of Entitlement

So thrilled that we now have in our hands an important marriage pre-requisite document: the mandatory marriage preparation course certificate!

We attended the course recently (19 & 20 Jan) and I had this post written just a few days after….but as usual the pitfalls of being a perfectionist prevents me from ever publishing a timely post. It’s a long shot, but I’ll try to get Faz to blog about it as well to provide a guy’s perspective of the course as well as document the thoughts that went through his mind during the course.

We didn’t do a comparison between the different course providers, but since we came across good reviews about one in particular, SuChi Success, we decided to just go with them.

What I think of the course

On the whole, I’m really glad the course is made mandatory for Muslim couples to attend before marriage because it is indeed useful. The general theory aspect of the course may be quite blah for those of us who already know it, but I suppose it’s better to err on the side of caution to cater to those who don’t know, and those who think they know.

Fortunately our trainers who were tasked with these potentially mundane sections, Mr Mohd Khair and his wife Mdm Suriati, did a commendable job in making them more enjoyable by injecting humour into their presentations. However I found myself listening the most intently to the religious sections covered by Ustaz Abdul Jalil, because it’s an area I’m lacking in. He was entertaining as well, which helped a great deal!

All three trainers, having an abundance of experience in their respective areas of profession (Ustaz Abdul Jalil is a divorce mediator at the Syar’iah Court), gave lots of case examples for participants to relate to.

However what I think couples enjoyed the most (myself included) and found useful were the note exchanges between them. In between topics, each of us was made to list our thoughts, expectations and aspirations pertaining to those topics. We were then made to exchange them with our partner, who would in return pen their comments.

It was a process of discovery. There were a good number of things I discovered about Faz!

For example, we were on the topic ‘The Language of Love’ and were asked to write down what we thought was our partner’s preferred mode of affection. Feeling quite confident, I penned my answer. It turned out that he values words of affirmation the most! Who would’ve known?

How many of us actually do ask our partners how they would like to be loved? Most of the time we just make assumptions about it based on the obvious but sometimes it’s really the unspoken that has more bearing. If we weren’t forced to come face-to-face with this grey area, I probably wouldn’t have known that about Faz at all. And this is after close to 10 years of knowing each other!

And trust me, there are so many other grey areas that need to be addressed in order to manage each other’s expectations in terms of finances, family, kids, jobs, duties, etc. This course really helped to do just that.

Aww moments

Aside from discoveries, there’ll also be a lot of “AWWW” moments as you retrieve your notebooks from your partners and read their comments.

It was endearing to see all the husbands-to-be taking the exercises seriously. Once in a while I’d steal a glance at Faz and see him penning away, engrossed in his thoughts.

There was this part that was quite cute as well. Ustaz Jalil was going through the motions of the nikah process, starting right from the groom’s house. When it got to the akad part, I stole a glance at the guys and my god, were their faces ever so cuak! It was hilarious!

At the end of the course you’ll also be penning a love note for each other. This is the part of the course that’s infamous for making people cry.

I didn’t really know what to expect from him because 1) he doesn’t like writing 2) anything sweet he tries to come up with faces a risk of sounding cheesy 3) there’s also a risk of him plagiarising content from songs 4) even then he always messes up the lyrics!

But all my worries were put to rest because his note was the sincerest piece of literature I’d ever received from him. I had already felt like crying when I was crafting my own note, so imagine how I felt when I read his!

My review of SuChi Success

I would recommend for anyone to attend their marriage preparation course. As I’ve said, the trainers are experienced and their delivery, engaging. Course content is relevant, although I think they could’ve just skimmed through briefly some of the points which we could’ve read on our own.

But there were several shortcomings as well. We attended the course at their training centre but I think it may be wise for anyone who hasn’t registered yet to attend the course at a participating mosque instead because their facilities are not that great. The chairs in our room were not ergonomic at all, considering the fact that participants were going to spend two full days there (9am – 6pm). They were rigid, and there were no desks attached, forcing us to hunch forward to write in our notebooks.

And the aircon wasn’t fully working those two days! It got really stuffy, which affected my concentration. Participants were seen fanning themselves.

Lastly, improvement also needs to be made to the administration process and customer service. Poor Faz — I don’t know why but in our wedding planning, he almost always gets tasked with liaising with people who end up making his blood boil.

We had already paid for the course via internet banking and sent the transaction reference number to them via email. No response although we had indicated a preference of an acknowledgement of receipt. After a while, I ask Faz to follow-up with them regarding this. They said they would check and get back to us. A week passes and still no response. Faz calls again. Same response. Faz waits a couple more days and calls again. SAME RESPONSE! Faz runs out of patience and expresses his disappointment in their inefficiency. They finally scramble to their feet and get back to him the same day.

A week or two afterwards, the SAME PERSON calls him again….to ask him to send over proof of payment if we’ve already made payment!

#BADMOVE #FACEPALM #TAKTAHUAPANAKCAKAPLAGI

One of our couple friends who attended the course the same day we did also faced the same thing, although others we checked with didn’t face any such problems.

So in conclusion, yes, I would recommend SuChi Success based on course content and delivery but they don’t fare so well in the facilities and admin areas. It’s indeed an overwhelming two-day course but if you go with an open mind and a sincerity to learn then you’ll get a lot out of it, for sure!

Some friends have suggested that it’s better to attend the course nearer to your wedding day so that you’ll remember the du’as and it apparently will be “lagi feel”. But from a practical point of view, you’ll be busy tying up the loose ends nearing the day. Plus, if you really wanted to memorise the du’as, you can always just whip out your notebook and refresh your memory a few days prior to your nikah. But to each his own, I suppose.

Anyway good luck to you couples who will be attending the course soon!