Favour Fervour

Wow, I just realised my last wedding prep update was back in June. Six whole months gone — with nary an update! Tsk, tsk.

But fortunately that doesn’t mean we’ve been idling. In these six months, we’ve entrusted Ola Lola to doll up our gift trays, and booked a slot for our marriage preparation course with SuChi Success this coming January. That’s two less things to worry about, yay!

We’ve also been looking for tableware because the package we’re going to take with CJS includes only disposables (which Faz was initially ok with — are you crazy?!). To rent their tableware, it worked out to be $4/pax, which is ridiculous! We’re enquiring with a couple of companies, but until we sign a rental agreement, we think it would be better to hold off the booking for CJS first. And we can afford to do this only due to the fact that CJS is not so popular among Malay couples because it doesn’t cater traditional Malay fare. Many jaws have dropped upon hearing we haven’t secured a caterer yet. Relax, relax.

Another item on the checklist I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time working on is getting quotes for wedding favours.

It was clear we had to take matters into our own hands after looking at the options available in local favour stores online. The favours are all so cookie-cutter meh. While largely acceptable/presentable, they don’t make much of an impression.

Anyway to cut the story short, we’ve narrowed our options down to two items: loose tea leaves or honey.

Either of these would go so well with the theme of our wedding decor, which we decided is something along the lines of “The Enchanted Forest”. For this, Najihah picked out a palette of greens and antique gold, with accompanying pastel colours. I was practically hyperventilating when she presented the proposal to us!


I like this! The wooden dipper really completes the look, doesn’t it?
Source: The Knot

A simpler version with a piece of burlap over the cap with a tag secured to it.
Source: Creative Chatter

Loose Tea Leaves

Not sure about how the loose tea leaves will hold in the muslin bag, exposed to air. You can’t see the contents either. Probably not such a good idea, but does look cute!
Source: ideachic on Etsy

Or you could put them in glass jars like these. Just had to LOL at the tag. Get Teapsy! Hahaha!
Source: Quiet Like Horses

Now, this, is my ultimate favourite! Can’t find a justification for putting loose tea leaves in a test tube…does working in healthcare count? Not everything has to have a rationale right?
Source: The SoHo

This one looks less like a test tube. An alternative we can adopt, perhaps!
Source: HGTV

I’m leaning more towards the loose tea idea because a tube of tea leaves feels more solid in the hand than a small 30g or 40g jar of honey. If we were to pick loose tea, we’re thinking to have fruit tisanes (tea leaves with infusions of dried fruit) because it’s more colourful and looks more appealing.

I’ve gotten a couple of quotes for both the honey and tea. I’ve yet to taste them myself, so I foresee this quest is going to take a while. In the end though, I guess the determining factor will be the price.

While we’re on the topic of favours, I thought I’d just put it out there: although I am largely impartial to the favours I receive as a guest to weddings, let’s admit it: there are some that are a little cringe-worthy.

Although your wedding day is all about you, do spare some thought about the recipients before you go ahead and do something so shamelessly narcissistic like print your names bound in a large heart on, say, the mugs you’re about to give as favours. Or worse — print your photo on them!

Personally, I think it’s creepy to be drinking from a mug with another couple’s names or photos on it. I don’t believe we have that kind of a relationship (even if we’re good friends) for me to be drinking from such a mug. Think about it. What if the recipient is someone you’re not even close to? The names and photos on the mug will be meaningless, and what is he to do with the mug then? Well, he might be compelled to use it if one day by some strange force of nature he woke up to find all his other mugs in pieces on the kitchen floor and yours was the only one that escaped unscathed (if I were him I would be really freaked out at this point, by the way). But until that happens, chances are your mug will be banished to the gallows (read: your store room).

But that’s just me. For some people, a mug is a mug is a mug. I, on the other hand, just find it really weird to be drinking from a mug with another couple’s name on it….IN A HEART! It’s like I’m defiling some sacred temple of love! Or like I’m some psychotic fan of your undying love for each other (think die-hard Edward and Bella fans, and how they would probably slit their wrists if Stephenie Meyer had decided to split them up at the end).

I get that you want to leave your mark, but couldn’t it have been done in a less narcissistic way that adds value to the mug for the recipient? Maybe the mug can have a nice design on it so that people wouldn’t mind actually using it, and your names can still appear but in a less obvious manner — like in smaller font or in a less conspicuous spot on the mug.


To say the least.

No less than five unfinished entries lie restlessly in my drafts since early September.

So we know it’s definitely not a case of having nothing to say — I have too much!

I apologise, I just haven’t had the time.

I apologise again — I lied. I guess to put it simply, I just haven’t felt like thinking on the weekends, after a whole five days of thinking at work. 

A couple are actually ready to be published, but they’re just needing photos. And it’s the photos that I’m lazy about, really. But I’m aware photos are great monotony-breakers for long entries like mine, so I definitely intend to put them up. Hopefully I’ll post something this weekend.

Anyway, I notice people are ending up on my blog quite a bit these days. Whether you found your way here by googling some variant of “dulang hantaran” or “Costa Ris BTO”, do say hello! :)

Call me Mr Engaged!


An engagement or betrothal is a promise to marry, and also the period of time between proposal and marriage – which may be lengthy or trivial. During this period, a couple is said to be betrothed, affianced, engaged to be married, or simply engaged. Future brides and grooms may be called the betrothed, a wife-to-be or husband-to-be, fiancées or fiancés, respectively (from the French word fiancé)

– Source: Wikipedia

Call it what you want. Bottom line is I’m engaged! The date we agreed on was 26th October 2011, which happened to be our 8th year anniversary. Didn’t manage to get a good night’s sleep the night before as I was too busy admiring the diamond ring. <Cue “My prreeciouss” in creepy Gollum voice.> I only managed to fall asleep at about 3am.

Woke up pretty early that morning, did a wee bit of spring cleaning and re-arranging of furniture before the buffet spread came in. Still can’t believe my family spent a whopping 500 buckeroos on food. But it was well worth it because the food was awesomely delicious!

Fazli & Aida's Engagement

Some of the dishes on the day

Fazli & Aida's Engagement

Literally had a feast!

Fazli & Aida's Engagement

My dad also took the liberty to cater berkats (favours) for our guests

Next on my checklist was collecting the cupcakes and picking out flowers for the fruit basket I was going to present her side. My sis recommended me this florist in Bedok who was highly recommended by her colleagues, and the fruit basket turned out damn nice! The flowers I chose were the Eustoma Grandiflorum Lisianthus and the White Rose.

Fazli & Aida's Engagement

Fazli & Aida's Engagement

Check out the cupcakes!

I was quite surprised at how ‘Xiao-on’ my sister was with regards to the preparation of my engagement. I’m blessed to have such a wonderful sister. Guests started to pour in by 1pm. It felt quite awkward initially with the “Wah..Pali dah nak tunang sey!” comments but nevertheless, I just put on my selamba face and smiled sheepishly. One of my aunts wanted to see how my future bride looked like, so I showed her this photo. Wait for it……….

Fazli & Aida's Engagement

Faida (Fazli + Aida)

Initially she was like, “Ooh…” and paused for a while, before looking intently at the photo again. Realisation finally sank in and she shouted, “Eh ni muka Pali lah!” Had a good laugh thereafter! Rounded up the rombongan peeps consisting of my dad and stepmom, Cik Jidin (Dad’s BFF of 50 years), Pak/Mak Utih, Cik Eton, Mak Busu and Mak Ngah and we set out for her place at around 1530hrs. My heart was pounding and I was perspiring like nobody’s business. I was hot as a furnace!

Fazli & Aida's Engagement

Gifts for her <3

As if things couldn’t get any more jialat for me, we met with an unfortunate collision with a taxi. Just a minor scratch on Haizad’s bumper. But no biggie, was reimbursed 70 bucks for the inconvenience caused. We reached her place around 4pm. I had Haizad and Mamat accompany me downstairs while the rest of the party went up for the discussions. This time I was shitting bricks! My A-Hole had a strange mix of constipation and at the same time some anal laxity. Thankfully I had these two guys with me.

Fazli & Aida's Engagement

Two of my bestest buddies

15 minutes later I received a phone call from daddy telling me to come up. Strangely, I felt more composed by then.

Fazli & Aida's Engagement

GULP! MasyaAllah ramai nya orang! Assalamu’alaikum…

Was greeted by a few unknown faces. The only faces I recognised was my future FIL/MIL and Aunt Sapiah. Seeing their faces surprisingly came as a comfort. And there she was, my fiancée. She was GORGEOUS! It felt like everything fell into place the moment I laid my eyes on her. My God, was she beautiful!

Fazli & Aida's Engagement

My beautiful fiancee

Fazli & Aida's Engagement

Alhamdulilah, the “upacara Merisik/Meminang/Bertunang” as Pak Utih puts it was a complete success. Took a some photos with her and introduced her to my relatives. All in all I can honestly say that our vision for the engagement became a reality. Everthing turned out as planned, or should I say even better! It was a small, closeted and classy affair. I would like to thank everyone who made the entire event possible.

The Engagement: Everything I Envisioned

It may not have been the conventional Malay engagement ceremony (whatever that entails), but it was everything I envisioned.

The turnout was just right, allowing me to be completely at ease on that day. My worries about the engagement turning into an open invitation was put to rest, as he managed to keep his party to a minimal 11 persons: his dad and step-mother, his dad’s BFF, his uncle, four aunts, two of his closest friends and last but definitely not the least, himself.

There were 16 people on my side: my parents and sister, my dad’s religious teacher to head prayers, my grandparents, my aunt, my uncle and his wife, my godmother, a husband and wife duo who is friends with my grandmother (they contributed some cupcakes to be given to the guy’s side) and 3 of my closest-est girlfriends. Another 2 of my closest guy friends and 2 family friends came but weren’t present for the actual ceremony itself — bringing the total number on my side to 20.

So in total there was nicely 31 people! We had catered for 40, which would’ve been sufficient, but because my mother had decided to cook her specialty suji and baked black pepper chicken wings and because my grandmother had also brought some mee goreng and fruit jellies, there was sadly some wastage.

I woke up pretty early on the day to make sure my hair was dry and my face all made up before Seri came over to help me with my hair. My girlfriends were so thoughtful — they bought me a bouquet of flowers, which really completed the look. I can’t imagine how much plainer I would’ve looked without it.

Aida & Fazli's Engagement

The girls, together with Sham and Syafiq, who dropped by for a short while

My lovely girlfriends Isra, Su and Seri played a huge role in distracting me from otherwise being a total nervous wreck. Thanks to them, I wasn’t the least bit nervous until my sister uttered to me two words that would put not butterflies, but freaking bats in my tummy: “They’re here.”

Aida & Fazli's Engagement

My guests streaming in

His party arrived at about 4, a little later than what was planned because we were also waiting for my grandparents to arrive. I also got to know from him later that they actually got into a minor accident on their way to my place. It was drizzling and a taxi had scratched the car he was in when it tried to squeeze past them on the road. To this day I thank God that nothing more serious happened.

When they arrived it was kinda awkward slash funny because I had zero clue what was expected of me. Even seemingly little things became an internal dilemma. Like…should I go out and salam them, or would they come to me? Sounds silly but this was exactly what went through my mind.

<Enter sheepish look>

Sidetracking for a bit, I don’t understand tradition. Why is it that the guy cannot be present during the discussions? Why is the girl usually in her bedroom while discussions are underway? It doesn’t make sense not to be present because it’s our future they’re talking about. What if they get some facts wrong? We won’t be there to correct them. Syafiq tells me in the olden days, the girl is often very shy about the whole thing, so she usually retreats back to her room — to coyly bask in the moment, I suppose?

Well if that’s the case, then that makes me one very tak-tahu-malu girl because I insisted on being present to listen in on the discussions.  If I had it my way, I probably would’ve occupied first row seats! But I knew better than to make a fool out of myself, so to the study room I went. Alas, I couldn’t really make out what they were saying. All I could hear was the tone of seriousness in their voices, which made the bats in my tummy flutter even harder.

Aida & Fazli's Engagement

Discussions underway

In my mind I was all like, “Wow is there a need to be that serious? Wait, this IS that serious.” And then I freaked out in my head.

After 8 years of being together, we were finally taking things to the next level! I almost couldn’t believe it.

His Mak Ngah, an adorable little ol’ lady, slipped the engagement ring onto my finger. We took photos (we hadn’t even thought about where we would take photos, so in a hurry we ended up in a rather odd location in the house), ate, mingled, and got to know each other’s families a little better.

Aida & Fazli's Engagement

New relatives

And before I knew it, they were already bidding their goodbyes. Time really flies when you’re having fun. It was truly the simple, classy affair I had envisioned. And I have these people to thank for that:

  • Allah, for making everything smooth sailing
  • My signficant other Muhamad Fazli Bin Muhamad Zaidi, and his family for being such lovely guests
  • My family, for prepping up the house and for being such wonderful hosts
  • My sister, for helping me out with the dulang
  • Nenek, for contributing food
  • My godmother, Aunty Sapiah, who contributed the absolutely essential ‘Selamat Bertunang’ cake to be given to the guy’s side
  • Cik Tipah (Nenek’s friend), who contributed cupcakes and tarts to be given to the guy’s side
  • Isra, Su, Seri, Syafiq and Sham, for keeping me in high spirits
  • Everyone who graced the humble occasion


Aida & Fazli's Engagement

One with the cake

Aida & Fazli's Engagement

The dulang hantaran for the ring I made, accompanied by the last minute gifts his family and relatives presented


A day away from Bridezilla-dom.

Bridezilla in 1 Day

As much as I am excited to wear the ring that he bought me 6 months ago (It’s been 6 months?! Wow we really were that kiasu, weren’t we?), I can’t help but to feel a little tired.

Excitement can be a tire too you know, especially when you’ve waited 6 months. And of course with preparations and all. Cleaning my room, trying out makeup and hairstyles, running errands, doing up the dulang hantaran…

God, the dulang hantaran.

I eagerly took up the task of decorating the one dulang that his side will be presenting me, just so I would feel a stronger sense of involvement in all of this. But let me tell you, I ain’t no eager beaver no more. For the wedding there’s no way I’m gonna subject myself to such unnecessary hard work again. Although it’s just ONE dulang, I can’t even begin to describe the effort that was put into it. Had to buy the tray, the materials to make the cushion from scratch, the tassels and embellishments, the photo frame for the tanda hantaran, and flowers. Best of all, the cost of all the materials combined far exceeds the amount we would have had to pay had we outsourced it.

My dad couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just buy a ready-made dulang hantaran. There were some really tastefully done ones at SSF Home. He was even willing to sponsor me one. Truthfully, I was kinda tempted to take up his offer because I’d realised midway how much work it was. But I’m not a quitter, so with the help of my sister we finally completed it.

My sister and I quite like how it turned out. But bias may be clouding our judgment though, because my parents seem to think it’s nothing fantastic. Maybe the ones they’re used to are those gaudy, glittery, tragically overdone ones. Like I’ve said before, I’m a huge fan of style understated. I like simple, classy designs. Oh well, I suppose you can’t satiate every taste bud.

So anyway, I’ve taken the day off work tomorrow to run some last minute errands, namely to collect my outfit that I sent for alteration, get some cosmetics and then continue spring cleaning at home.

Wish me luck!

25 days away from Bridezilla-dom.

As the ticker on the right of this blog indicates, it’s 25 days to Bridezilla-dom!

I haven’t done much preparation for the engagement, and I’m starting to panic. I’ve so far only bought a kaftan to wear on the day (which still needs to be altered), bought the dulang hantaran and also crafted the bantal hantaran (pics after the engagement!).

There’s still an awful lot to do — but I’ll list that later. Right now I want to talk about how much of a far cry my vision of the engagement is from what it’s turning out to be.

In fact, it was — prior to me having to put a stern stop to it — moving further and further away from the idea of an intimate engagement. Just a week ago I asked him for an update on the numbers and he quoted 20 people! Suddenly this aunt was coming and that aunt, and that aunt. And all this, while I had to politely turn away my aunts and cousins who wanted to come, seeking their kind understanding that it was going to be just a small affair.

I was mortified. Angry, even, that all our initial plans were going out the window. It appeared as though he wasn’t conveying the agreement to his family. Even if he did, he was doing little to make sure it stays to the plan as close as possible.

Thing is, his family will be holding a little kenduri doa selamat with his relatives before his party comes over to my place. Do you see how this can potentially turn into an open invitation? His relatives will already be there at his place on the day — they will want to come. How will you tell them no? If you insist they cannot come, what ideas would they get of my family?

I suggested maybe it would be a better idea to hold the kenduri after the engagement instead. But he’d already told his relatives of the time of the kenduri, and made plans with the caterer that it’d be a hassle to change anything.

He assures me his family will take care of it. But I can’t take his word for it. People will come if they want to come. That said, I’m catering extra just in case.

Let me make myself clear: it is NOT about the cost. It is about our initial agreement, which, if I were to be honest, was based on the fact that I am a private person, who is NOT comfortable with receiving lots of attention unnecessarily (no one said an engagement ceremony was necessary). I agreed to the ceremony on the condition that it would be an intimate one. I accommodated his wishes. I made a compromise. But it’s just sad that no one cares about what I, the supposed star of the event, wants!

My mother says when two people decide to get married, it’s no longer about just these two people. You’re marrying into each other’s family, so it is in my interest to please his family and relatives. And I’m fully aware of that, but this is just the engagement, which I would prefer to be just between us. I have a lifetime to get to know his relatives after we’re married. I don’t see the rush, quite honestly.

Since we’re planning for a combined wedding, I foresee that this problem of not conveying messages and sticking to agreed plans is here to stay. I can only hope that we (and by this, I actually mean “he”) learn(s) from this experience, but there’s no telling if it’ll happen again.

Now that that’s off my chest, let’s switch back to light-hearted mode (not that I’ll be exactly light-hearted after listing the things I have yet to do). Here’s my to-do list, in order of priority:

  • Engage a caterer (thinking of ordering for 40 pax) and decide on menu
  • Get the material for the lining of my kaftan, and tailor it
  • Alter my kaftan
  • Finish off my dulang decor by getting flowers, and tassels for the bantal hantaran (I’m doing the decor for the dulang that he’ll be presenting me, just to have a sense of some physical contribution)

I have to seriously get down on it, no more procrastinating!

Check on the status of things regularly, to make sure both parties are still on the same page. Keep to the plan or discuss with each other in advance, prior to changing it.


After much going back and forth, it has finally been decided that there will be no gifts to be exchanged from either side on top of the engagement ring and tanda hantaran that he’ll be presenting. Read of my dilemma here.

It was after we started to look around for his gifts — we had even shortlisted a few! — that we sat down and really talked about it. I suppose he’d had enough of my rantings and ramblings that he gave in. But really though. Practically thinking, he’s also got a family trip to Beijing coming up, and it would actually help if he didn’t have to get me extra stuff for the engagement.

Although he saw where I was coming from and actually found himself agreeing with me, he was still pretty bummed that this gift exchange thingy isn’t happening. Of course I feel terrible about it because he had wanted it so bad. I, too, secretly feel a bit disappointed because we’d found some really awesome stuff for me to give him that would look good all dolled up on the gift trays.

It’s scary to think how easily things can get blown out of proportion when you’re caught in the moment.

Before these wedding plans even existed, both of us agreed that when the time comes, we would do away with an engagement ceremony because it just wasn’t necessary.

Today, obviously that has changed for him. He wants a ceremony to remember our engagement by. So we agreed on a small affair. But this small affair seemed to be growing in size with the addition of the gift exchange and other seemingly little things. The gifts give the ceremony more feel, he says.

Look at where we started from, and then look at where we are. We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?

So you see, it’s really that easy to lose sight of your objectives — made even easier with people around you throwing extravagant ceremonies. It’s easy to want what other people are having.

Today he lost sight of what we agreed upon. Tomorrow it could be me. Of course, we try as much to accommodate each other’s wishes – no one wants to be rigid. It’s a wedding for god’s sake, not the frickin’ army. But it all has to be within some kind of boundary.

Anyway he let his family in on our decision, and they think it’s a splendid idea. Phew! But then again of course it’s a splendid idea — it was my idea, and had been all along!

It’s easy for things to get blown out of proportion when you’re caught in the moment. Don’t lose sight of your objectives. Keep each other in check.

First sign of trouble ahead.

With just two more months to go to the engagement, the boyfriend and I are ramping it up.

I decided it would be good to gain some hands-on experience with the gubahan of the gift trays in case I would want to go DIY for the wedding. So we’ve started to look for gift trays. We’re thinking to buy the gift trays and sell it off later after the wedding because we haven’t found someone or a vendor who can rent it to us at a price that’s worth us not actually buying it.

Recently the boyfriend was asked by his family how the preparations were going. So he listed the items he’s bought to gift me yada, yada. Then they asked the bonus question: “So what will she be giving you?

Now this is the part that needs explanation.

Remember how I said in this post that I didn’t even want to hold an engagement ceremony? I was, and still am of the opinion that it’s a waste of money. But I later agreed, having in mind that our two families have yet to meet, and on one term: it will be a small affair.

Now different people have different understandings of what a “small affair” is. My understanding is:

  • it’s just between our two families, and perhaps some elder persons to head discussions (my grandfather on my side, his uncle on his)
  • no gifts will be exchanged (just the engagement ring and tanda), and
  • I wouldn’t even have to get an outfit especially for the occasion or hire a makeup artist.

That’s how informal I envisioned it to be. It would be just as informal as say, coming to visit for hari raya.

But he insisted he wanted to present gifts. So we discussed, and our agreement was fine if he wanted to present gifts, but there will be no gift exchange. Meaning I will not be giving any gifts in return. Just a hearty buffet to fill hungry stomachs and satiate taste buds.

I know the tradition is to exchange gifts. But if we were to really follow tradition, there’d be another 101 things we’d have to do. One of the terms of my agreement to the engagement ceremony was that there will be no gift exchange because I didn’t want to spend unnecessarily. If he wanted to get gifts, I shouldn’t be pressured into doing the same, should I? To me, what’s necessary is our families getting to know each other and discussing the wedding.

I totally understand how this might sound to people. Unfair? Stingy? Cheapskate?

Well yes, in fact I AM trying to be “cheap”. To save money for bigger things like the wedding and the house.

I don’t know why this wasn’t communicated to his family earlier — an oversight on our part. Because they were surprised and questioned our decision when the boyfriend informed them that I wouldn’t be presenting gifts.

With proper explanation, I suppose they could see it from my perspective. But the boyfriend felt a little cornered at the time and didn’t do much to help the impression they probably got, sadly.

On one hand if I don’t give in, this whole thing will kick off with them having  a bad impression of me, and it’ll probably nag at me for a while. On the other hand, I hate being pressured into doing something I don’t want to do. And in addition I’ll have to spend on things I didn’t set a budget for.

Some people might suggest getting inexpensive gifts. But just for the sake of satisfying the requirements of tradition? What’s the point, really? I might as well make it worth the while and get stuff he’ll actually appreciate. Don’t get me wrong, I have no qualms getting gifts for the love of my life. He deserves all the gifts in the world! But the real problem here — besides that getting gifts wasn’t even part of the arrangement in the first place — is TIMING.

With this springing up on me just two months from the engagement, I don’t have the budget for it. To be getting everything in two months would be hard on the pocket. Not forgetting that Eid, which is in a month’s time, would also require some spending.

Also, truth be told, I just started saving. Not just for the wedding but my personal savings. I could’ve started saving a year ago after I was done paying for my degree, but I went on a shopping binge instead and found it akin to moving mountains to save. I now wish I would’ve started saving earlier. Well, you live and you learn.

I’m still contemplating if I should get the gifts. I’m kinda leaning more towards getting them, on the basis of making a good first impression, but it’s not final. We’ll see.

Keep family updated on plans, even if you’re planning the event on your own.