wedding preparations: the #azrulia2014 case study

Generally, for Malay weddings, you could have many or very little events right from the time the dude goes to ask the bride’s parents for merisik (permission to marry her) to the pertunangan (engagement) to mandi bunga (bathing with flowers), mehndi night (where the girl puts henna on her fingers) and the akad nikah and the receptions (the actual wedding events themselves). There also is the issue of how exuberant or grand you would like it to be, or if you would like certain parts short and simple and there are overlaps between the Malay and some other cultures (referring to Indian culture and mehndi night in particular).

First, let me start by saying that some of the things done for #azrulia2014 (aka Mr Grumpy and my wedding) may be somewhat different than it is for other Malay couples in Malaysia. I shall save the romantic details of how we met etc for another sappy post on another day, but this post is more of what I remember from the preparations.

1. Get your documents in order. You would each have to go to register for your intent to get married and then to a mosque in your area to declare this intent. If the dude and girl are from different states, this makes it slightly more complicated but seriously, try getting the ‘big picture’ of what you need to do first. As in understand the flow of what you need to do and it makes things a lot easier. It’s quite likely you will miss some small details or whatnot so make sure you set aside enough time to sort this out. You may need a letter from your employer to say ”Hey, she/he’s single so we are good to go”. 

2. Attend the wedding course. This one, you can go anytime actually and not necessarily just when you want to get married. For Mr Grumpy, his university offered them to go so I had to go alone (they probably thought I went to fish for a man) for this weekend course. I’ve heard of mixed experiences by people who have went, like some having the ustaz being quite extreme and then those who were pretty chilled. I attended the one at Masjid Negara (National Mosque) and I quite liked it since they were funny and moderate, yet got their points across eloquently. I also heard that some places if you sleep or do not show up for the second day, you will not get the certificate. I saw some sleeping with their heads propped backwards, mouths open in all its galore but yeah…no need for such risks if you are already there. Get the cert!

3. Manage expectations with your families. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!! If you want smooth wedding planning, have this bit taken care of. The couple may normally have a different impression of how they want the wedding to be compared to the parents on both sides so it really is important to discuss this. In our case, our parents and we were alright with a combined event (rather than having a reception for the guy’s side, and then one for the girl’s side) and so far, my Singaporean cousins have done the same.

We had had an informal engagement (2 months before the wedding) and mehndi night (night before the wedding). Some parents may have longer guest lists than others or want the wedding to be of a different scale.

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Also, remember that communication is really important, honest and REAL communication.

We had our akad nikah (where the vow is made) in the morning and then the reception till late afternoon and we were done!

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We had committee meetings at the start (decorator, photographer, family) so everyone was on the same page to rock and roll. We also had the wedding at home (my daddy’s quite sentimental) and I really liked the relaxed feel to it on the day itself. Smiles were in abundance!

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4.Girls, keep calm. It’s normal for girls to plan their dream wedding for years before they meet their future spouse. As such, some get very fixated on tiny details (the dawn of Bridezillas) but trust me, your getting married is way bigger than that. There will be some disagreements and disappointments because some things may not go your way so limit your battles to the really important things (no, it would not be the color of your invitations. I was however a bit fixed on the wedding’s color scheme of tiffany blue and white… makes everything look so clean, fresh and fly!). I remember getting really frustrated and venting to my brother only for him to give it back to me and say ”It’s just one day, before the rest of your life…and when you think about it, would you really want to start your marriage with so much tension etc?”. It made absolute sense actually… I mean, have you seen those stressed out brides with plastic smiles on their faces for their wedding days? It’s a shame, when you should be happy and relaxed in those photos.

Moreover, on the day itself, you will not really remember everyone who comes or the tiny details of what does go wrong. Not each and every one anyway, so you might as well keep calm and enjoy it. Let your family members (or floor manager) do the freaking out for you hahaha.

5. Do your research and pick a good team. I had no idea about these different designers/decorators/photographers but there was this girl I knew who was nice in letting me know of different and good options. Even if it is against your nature (like my lazy self), you do need to shop about to see what works or not. Pictures can be deceiving when it comes to dresses so go to the shop and see the real deal before you commit yourself to the designer. Surprisingly some of the difficulty came when about the make up artists… Our initial choice turned out to be quite the diva, as in was known to show up late (or not at all). Even if her make up is fantastic, it is YOUR day and they should respect YOUR time especially if you are going to pay a high price.

Our photographers (The whiteroomkl), make up artists (Nurul Shukor, Kak Su and friends), the caterer, designer (Jovian Mandagie) and decorators (Rekateemor) were awesome, and you find that when they are professional, it is that much easier to deal with. You also have to trust in the fact that yours is not the only wedding they have planned (so they know what they are doing) but you should be clear in what you want so they can plan to the best of their abilities.

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We were very blessed to be surrounded by such caring family and friends and during the planning, this really showed. Everyone was very giving and cooperative and hopefully we will be given the chance to return the favors in our own ways. A lot of thanks would have to be given to my mum and sister (at least from my side) because they were really brilliant in coordinating things and wanted the best for me. Think they also lost a lot of sleep… >.<

Group dynamics are important because then you can see perspectives or insights you may not have previously thought about. It really is not a one-man show when it comes to planning this sort of thing and if you do not set unrealistic expectations, you’re very likely to have a much better time than you would have anticipated.

Hopefully these tips will be helpful! 🙂

“Life, weddings, relationships, road trips, gardening, making out, haircuts: few of the fun things in life always go as expected.” ― Ariel Meadow Stallings