Call me Mr Engaged!

Engagement

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

Alhamdulillah.


The Engagement: The Hiccups

Alhamdulillah, everything went quite smoothly on the 26th of October 2011…except one thing.

I FORGOT TO PUT ON MASCARA AND LASHES.

I’m still quite sore about it. Nevermind the lashes, I should’ve at least remembered to put on some mascara. Naked eyelashes are like totally unacceptable.

Before I get into the details of the engagement, I have to blog about the two potential heart attack inducing scares I had the night before!

There was a MAJOR miscommunication between my then boyfriend (now fiancé…chey!) and I. Remember in my previous post I said I was going to collect my outfit and get some things? Well he accompanied me, and while we were browsing at Sephora, he casually told me, “Eh so tomorrow after Asar, right? We’ll probably reach your place at about 4 plus.”

My eyes widened in shock. AFTER ASAR? Wasn’t it supposed to be after Zuhur? I’d already told my parents we could expect his party to arrive at about 2 plus. That’s like a difference of about 2 hours, and our guests would have to be made to wait! For him, after Zuhur was the time he was expecting guests to arrive at his place for the kenduri! Die, how like that?

After a few phonecalls here and there, we managed to come to a compromise. They earliest they could leave their place was 3pm, so we could expect them to arrive at about 3.30pm.

Phew.

Although we managed to come to a resolve, I was left a little shaken. How did we manage to screw up something as basic as the timing? It is, after all, one of the most important factors of an event. All along we just assumed we were on the same page. Initially it was indeed after Zuhur, but because the idea of the kenduri came up, it was apparently pushed to after Asar. I don’t remember him telling me of the change in timing, but the fact that we didn’t go over these details over again doesn’t let me off the hook, either. Lesson learnt there.

Second scare: things ended up with my tailor’s brother having to send my outfit to my doorstep at the stroke of midnight! Well technically he arrived at 11pm, but just to illustrate the sheer last-minuteness of it all, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference had he arrived at midnight.

I still don’t know what happened. Whether they forgot my order, or whether they were so swamped they couldn’t get my outfit done in time, or whether there was an irresponsible staff somewhere along the line who for some reason couldn’t get my outfit to the shop…is anyone’s guess. I’m still pissed that they weren’t transparent about it, and that they didn’t have the decency to at least sound apologetic.

My kaftan’s inner garment could do with a little more alteration. The sleeves fell a little short and the neckline was a little too low. Overall, I just didn’t feel as comfortable in it as I would’ve liked. But obviously it was too late to do anything, so I settled. I shudder to think if it actually needed some real work. If that really were the case, I imagine things would’ve ended up in blood. Seriously.

I don’t know why I ALWAYS have horrible experiences with tailors! If you have a good tailor who charges reasonably, I am literally begging you to save me from this tailoring hell! To think she had wanted to charge a whopping $120 for a simple one piece inner garment. Hell, even the $80 I paid was unjust.

It wouldn’t be quite right if I blogged about the hiccups in the same entry as the happy stuff, so look for the continuation in another entry!

LESSON #04:
Don’t take for granted the small things you think you know, especially nearing the day. Remember to update the relevant parties of any changes. Check every now and then that everyone has the same understanding of what’s happening.


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!

LESSON #03:
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.