Newly engaged Beatrice Tan, 30, founder/creative director of Klarra, shares how she and her fiance, Dean Krstevski, 32, COO for a fintech company, work hard at their relationship.
How did you both meet?
We met at an e-commerce/logistics seminar. I was sent there to learn more about operations for my business and Dean (who was based in Bangkok at that time) attended the seminar on behalf of his company. We were grouped together for one of the roundtable talks and it was probably then that we first laid eyes on each other. After the session, everyone proceeded to the exhibition hall where we had to tap our cards to enter. Dean entered first, but he turned back and smiled; that was when we started talking.
What were your first impressions of each other?
My first impression of him: cute, serious and sincere. His impression of me? Ambitious, smart and not interested in him!
How did the relationship start?
We added each other on Facebook after the seminar. We wanted to meet up and go to the next workshop together since we had each attended the seminar on our own. He returned to Bangkok the next day. We started chatting on Facebook Messenger after that. The next weekend, he flew to Singapore just to have lunch with me, which was a surprise. I didn’t think the lunch date was the actual reason he flew here; I assumed he had other reasons for the trip. But we hung out from the time he arrived here till he left for the airport to take his flight back to Bangkok. So that was how our relationship started.
When did you know he is the one?
I suppose I knew when we had discussions on deep topics like our values, lifestyle choices and marriage. I found that our views, values and opinions were quite aligned. I was initially concerned that we wouldn’t be suited to each other as I am quite a traditional Asian and I thought he would be quite different as he is from south-east Europe. But it turned out that we are quite similar in many aspects, except maybe for our taste in food and movies. We felt really comfortable together and our lifestyles are quite similar too. In time, I gradually realised that he is the one for me.
What was the proposal like?
We talked about marriage from time to time. And even though ours has been a long-distance relationship from the start and we meet about twice a month, we knew we were ready to be together for good. But I didn’t know when, if and how Dean would propose. We usually have one to two long trips a year and Dean proposed while we were in Melbourne last November. We went for a drive and stopped at a vineyard for a walk. During our stroll, he suddenly slowed down and smiled nervously. That was when I knew he had something up his sleeve. Then he knelt down and proposed. We both don’t like crowds, so he kept the proposal simple and private – it was really nice.
How do you maintain your longdistance relationship?
It hasn’t exactly been easy. From the beginning, we have been going out about once or twice a month and each time, we could only spend a weekend together due to our work commitments. We dated for six months and went through a difficult period in which both of us were bogged down with work and could not see each other for three months. That was challenging because we wanted to meet often to get to know each other better. We had to manage our expectations and accept that we
could not see each other as frequently as we would like. But we both made a determined effort to stay in touch and keep the relationship going. When we officially got together, we made it a point to have “bedtime chats” every night, even if it was just for five minutes. We still try and chat every night unless one of us is out late. We would then let the other person know in advance. These quality chats help us to keep our bond intact.
You’ve mentioned before that you’re a very pragmatic person. Are you the same in this relationship?
I would say we are both quite the same in the way we deal with issues. We are both quite vocal about issues in the relationship and we usually thrash things out quite logically to try and resolve our differences.
Relationships are all about managing issues and compromise. How do you both work through problems if they crop up?
With time, we formed our own dynamic in handling problems. We know how to cheer each other up, when not to cross the line and give each other space. We make it a point to solve issues and problems before bedtime and not to let them simmer overnight.
What do you love most about each other? And what irritates you most?
(Laughs) Well, I really like that Dean has a very kind, compassionate heart and yet he’s also very driven, persistent, focused and disciplined regarding his goals. He is very understanding, responsible and respectful. There is nothing much about him that irritates me. But maybe the longdistance relationship irritates me! So I am hoping it will end soon.
How do you see your future married life together?
Quite similar to our lives now. I see us both working passionately for something we enjoy and believe in, and ensuring that we balance our lifestyles with quality time together after work. We will go for date nights when we can, spend time with our parents and family, and have gatherings with dear friends. We definitely want kids. We both love children and he has told me before he wants four kids!
How important is family in your relationship?
Very. I would say as much as our career or slightly above. We both know that we want a family and would like to give the best to our children if we have any. Our careers are very important to us now because when we eventually have kids, we want them to have comfortable lives and be able to spoil them without any financial worries.
What does marriage mean to you now that you’re planning for your wedding?
Marriage is a life-long commitment and about accepting that this person I am with is someone I will commit to for the rest of my life. And vice versa. We have to always put effort into maintaining the relationship, be patient and work out every challenge we face, keep the communication and trust going, and try and make each other happy. We have to care deeply for each other and for the family we are building together.
What are your priorities in planning for the big day?
To not get stressed and just enjoy the wedding planning journey!
What are your wedding plans and celebrations like?
We want the wedding to be very enjoyable and comfortable for our guests. Our plan is to have one wedding celebration instead of separate day and night events so that our guests really enjoy themselves. It will be a simple and intimate gathering where our guests can get to know each other better.
What is the most stressful thing about wedding planning?
Sourcing for the perfect venue as we love nature and the outdoors, and our weather is a challenge. The gowns too!
What advice would you give couples planning for their big day?
Keep in mind that the wedding celebration usually lasts a day or two while marriage is for life. Remind yourself to enjoy the planning journey and compromise on any differences in needs or wants.