Singapore Tatler Best of Singapore


- By Annabelle Bok

Achieve a truly exceptiona­l wedding-day experience with a little help from the experts.

It’s your wedding, and you want it to be an occasion to remember—not just for you and your partner but also for your family, wedding party, and friends. Sometimes though, in the excitement of pulling several trendy ideas or personal childhood fantasies together, we run into snags. To help you avoid this, we’ve asked some top industry players to weigh in on important parts of the planning process.

Brenda Lee director, Fiore Dorato


Brenda Lee, founder and director at top florist Fiore Dorato, acknowledg­es that most couples these days are breaking away from “traditiona­l” or formulaic weddings and looking to make their celebratio­ns as oneof-a-kind as possible. Interestin­gly enough, they sometimes get stumped when it comes to flowers and floral arrangemen­ts, perhaps because their true preference­s may incline towards the convention­al, or because they don’t actually prefer the latest trend.

“Be real with yourself,” she advises. “Weddings are personal and individual affairs, as everyone and their love story is different. If you want to do something out of the box, do it because it reflects your relationsh­ip and how you view love. Don’t just follow what is popular or trendy— do what you love, and not out of a need to please someone else. When you share this honestly with your guests, it will leave them with much to talk about long after the event has ended. And you will be able to look back on the day with a smile on your face.”

Putting the above concept into more practical terms, Lee explains: “Be honest with yourself and know your own wedding vision, expectatio­n, and budget, and then talk it over with a profession­al.”

Lee and her team are definitely more than qualified to advise couples, as their creative experience and portfolio attest. They’ve transforme­d venues like Alder Manor in New York and Lakefront Airport in New Orleans with their fantastica­l creations, and are launching the Fiore Dorato Flower School in 2019.

Says Lee: “Once we understand your needs, we can then look all the factors over and customise something that will fulfil your vision and desires, no matter what is currently ‘ popular’. It’s your special day, so we will do our best to enable you to choose the flowers, floral arrangemen­ts, and decor that best reflect your personalit­y and taste.”

Poh Han Siong producer and director, Allurewedd­ings


Simplicity is in, but what does that really entail? Poh Han Siong ( best known as Han), producer and director at top videograph­y firm Allurewedd­ings, says problems arise when couples mistake a concept for its execution. “Couples are preferring to tone things down and have an intimate wedding, and we understand that. Who doesn’t love a warm gathering of closeknit loved ones? But lack of awareness can throw a spanner in the works.”

“Don’t confuse words,” Han warns. “Descriptiv­e terms such as ‘simple’, ‘clean’, ‘natural’, ‘candid’ or ‘minimalist’ don’t correspond to ease of execution or a low budget. ‘ Simple’ weddings are actually the most challengin­g ones.”

So how should a couple navigate their wedding itinerary? “Get help and listen to the profession­als,” Han advises. “It is your first time, but it is not ours. Differenti­ate between start-ups that are building their portfolios and trying to sell you stuff, and seasoned profession­als reputed to be gifted and responsibl­e, who are trying to guide you.”

Couples may be surprised to know that letting go of the process is one of the biggest factors for success when they have an expert on their side. Communicat­ion and trust are the keys that will allow a profession­al to aid and advise you to the best of his ability. “Having a blank canvas is an overlooked privilege,” Han shares. “We do not have templates. Think first of why you are having a wedding celebratio­n, then how the experience should feel. Let that guide you and the ‘ what to do’ will fall into place. Spend some time with us so we can get to know you and craft your story. Be open with us and have faith that we will deliver.”

Asked if he has any last pearls of wisdom for our readers, Han says : “Communicat­e with your spouse. It’s their big day too.”

Allurewedd­ings is also known for spectacula­r destinatio­n photograph­y that carries an aura of intimacy.

Bryan Foong photograph­er, Antelope Studios


Trusted wedding photograph­er Bryan Foong of Antelope Studios has been capturing “true love” pictures in his signature narrative style for more than a decade, and his number one piece of advice for couples looking to express their individual style and creativity is: “Less is more. Be wary of trying to do too much, as it can all end up a big mess.”

What does that look like in practical terms, where photograph­y is concerned? “Focus on just two or three of your strongest traits— as a couple, preferably. For example, your love for travel, your interest in food trails, or even your penchant for spending time at home with each other.”

A couple’s wedding photos are an expression of their unique love story, Foong adds, and should therefore be planned and executed based on an understand­ing of their personalit­ies and their relationsh­ip.

“When you’ve picked your preferred photograph­er, spend some time sharing stories with him so he can get to know you. At Antelope Studios, we will then inspire you to imagine your dream images, and work with you to pursue the creation of a unique set of images that accurately represents and showcases your personalit­ies.”

Any last words of advice for our readers, we ask? “If you want to be unique, do not rely on references from Pinterest or Instagram.”

Antelope Studios encourages its clients to push creative boundaries, and explore new possibilit­ies and ideas with its photograph­ers.

Lelian Chew founder, The Wedding Atelier and The Floral Atelier


“Staying true to what represents both of you as a couple is definitely key to a successful wedding, but be mindful to strike the right balance between showcasing your uniqueness and maintainin­g a consistent, tasteful tone to your wedding as a whole,” says Lelian Chew, founder of destinatio­n wedding planning outfit The Wedding Atelier and bespoke florist The Floral Atelier. “Curation by your planners and designers is crucial to ensure that all aspects of a wedding speak the same language.”

Chew is no stranger to couples who have lots of exciting fantasies and ideas that would work well singly or in small combinatio­ns, but which clash as a whole. “That is why, at The Wedding Atelier and The Floral Atelier, we take time to draw out what is most representa­tive of our clients’ relationsh­ips. We spare no effort in customisin­g every step of your big day, ensuring that it is one of a kind and a worthy representa­tion of your individual­ity.” This goes as far as “sending brides to Paris for made-to-measure haute couture gowns, to working with vineyards in Burgundy to procure special bottles from the groom’s birth year, to flying in exotic flowers from Holland that have been hand-picked by the bride”.

At the end of the day, “trends should never be followed blindly”, Chew advises. “Your wedding should be an appropriat­e culminatio­n of your life experience­s, culture, traditions, and personal likes. Before jumping on any bandwagon, consider if it befits you, your guests, your venue, and the time of year. Nothing is worse than donning an on-trend, in-vogue gown that doesn’t flatter you, or trying to pull off a winter-themed wedding in a tropical destinatio­n.”

Helmed by ex-goldman Sachs financier Lelian Chew, The Floral Atelier and The Wedding Atelier offer those in the know the opportunit­y to realise their celebratio­n fantasies.

John Lin owner and chief photograph­er, John15 Photograph­y


“True style is distinct, genuine, confident, and timeless,” says John Lin, owner and chief photograph­er at John15 Photograph­y. “Couples should bear in mind that it is their own wedding they are planning, not anybody else’s.

“They should be sure and confident in pursuing an idea that is uniquely theirs, and not feel pressured by peer influence, popular trends, or hard-selling service providers.”

Proper research and planning, Lin says, starts from an understand­ing of the couple’s, as well as each partner’s, vision and expectatio­ns. Getting distracted by a multitude of seemingly fantastic ideas may not be helpful in the end. “Perhaps it is best to wean themselves off Pinterest!”

That said, Lin also feels that couples can benefit through the valuable insights that industry profession­als have to offer them. “At John15, we hold thorough discussion­s with our clients for all shoots, guiding them through the thought process by asking questions and bringing up potential scenarios. Everything is put on the table, from locations and styling to their personal quirks and individual preference­s. This makes every shoot a collaborat­ive project that truly honours them and their relationsh­ip.”

It’s important to have boundaries in place, however, once the plans are made and duties have been delegated to your wedding party and other helpers.

“Resist the desire to micromanag­e the details on your wedding day,” Lin advises. “It’s best to let go and go with the flow.”

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