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.

Herworld Brides (Singapore) - - Cover Story - TEXT STEVE THIO

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.

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