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Monday, January 21, 2013

My Best Friend's Wedding

We are back from Penang!

Actually we touched down in Singapore from Los Angeles on 16Jan, Thursday at 4am. I flew into Penang on 17Jan morning and Le bf flew in separately on 18Jan morning. We had lots of fun in USA, spent lots of money and created lots of memorable experiences! Will elaborate more in my later posts.. Today's focus is on My Best Friend -- Tabitha's Wedding!

I've known Tabby since Primary school and we were friends for almost 17 years! She's my longest friend that I am still close with now.. Though she went to Perth and study and is now working there, we still managed to keep in touch and stay best friends. I love her family - dad, mum and little sister Genevieve, and I visit them every Christmas when she's home for the holidays. :)

The past 4 days has been totally awesome!! This is the first time I am involved in the whole aspect of the wedding! From church ceremony, tea ceremony and the wedding dinner cos she asked me to be one of her bridesmaid! It's my first time being a bridesmaid and I was so excited and honoured!

Last year in March, I attended a wedding in Penang with my sister and Le bf. Blogged a long entry about it. Read it here. This time we are back for a wedding again, but it's much more fun!

I am very happy to see her married to Douglas cos he is a very good man. I spent some time with them in Perth a few months ago (oh gosh, haven't blogged about it yet!!) and got to know him better. They complement each other very well and I can see that Doug adores Tabby. He's also a good catch! Pilot! Just like Tabby's father! Captain Parry & Doctor Mok! Their babies are gonna be beautiful AND smart! :) I've seen several of Tabby's ex-boyfriends and I know Doug is the best one out of all and they will be very happy together. 

I sent her my dress measurements more than 6 months ago and she tailor-made bridesmaids dresses for us! Typically in an Ang-moh wedding, the bridesmaids will pay for their own dresses but Tabby refused to take our money! She even sent the dress to me from Perth! Postage was around AUD60!! OMG! I altered it 2 days before I left for USA, cutting it close cos I wanted to lose some weight first before doing the final alteration. The dress was made a bit bigger so we can alter it to our exact measurements. Mama Chew recommended her secondary school friend, who lives in Ang Mo Kio and works from home, to alter it for me and she managed to do it in 1.5hrs. Amazing amazing amazing!

***Day One: 17-Jan-2013***
Arriving in Penang..
Penang Airport recently went through a renovation.. Looks different from the last time I came in March 2012, but they still can't bother to put the missing letters in the signboard.

I flew in on Air Asia and it's the 2nd and most probably the last time I am flying budget.. The price were slashed at the last minute even though I paid in May 2012! I thought buying earlier means cheaper? Bullshit bullshit bullshit. With the money I paid, I could have bought a return ticket on Silkair with baggage allowance and meal! Bah!!

Took a cab from the airport to the hotel. RM69 for a one way ride. Happy to arrive cos the lobby was very cool and it's a great place to cool off. The taxi wasn't very cool and the sunlight was burning me from the airport all the way to the hotel cos there's not much trees around.

I flew in on 17Jan (Thursday), the day after I arrived in Singapore from Los Angeles. The weather is crazy hot! 34 degrees celcius! And just a few days ago I was shivering in sub zero temperatures in USA! 

Le bf was still in Singapore as he has to attend to some work stuff when I flew in on Thursday. He only flew in the next day. I took pics of the room to send him cos it was better than I expected! Well, it's Shangri-la anyway, but it's in Penang lah! I feel ashamed of myself for being so skeptical! Then again, for RM460++ a night, it better be good! And we got special discounts because of Tabby's wedding! Usually the room goes for SGD300++ and up! Crazy expensive place.

I was hungry when I arrived but it was too hot to venture out, so I ordered room service. RM60++ for a bowl of crappy Assam Laksa, weird tasting Inari sushi and fake Haagen Daz icecream. Super disappointing, but bobian. Spent the 1st day just lazing around in the room.. only managed to meet up with Tabby around 9pm when she came back from dinner with her grandparents.. chatted for a short while before going to sleep cos of the huge time difference between Malaysia and USA.

***Day Two: 18-Jan-2013***
Penang City Tour

First time sleeping alone after 2 weeks with le bf. Feeling so lonely cos there's no one to cuddle me to sleep. :( I woke up at 3.30am and couldn't go back to sleep cos of the jet-lag. T_T" Went for the breakfast at 6.30am before going for a short walk at the beach. It was nice to just stroll on the sand and watch the waves..


The pool looks inviting, but I did not bring my swimming costume and the temperature was rising every minute that the sun was rising... so I returned back to my aircon room and watched TV until it's time to go to the lobby to meet the local guide.

Tabby arranged for a half day city tour for her guests and appointed me to be the tourleader cos she and Doug won't be there with them (they have to run errands). There's a professional local guide that brought us around and the funny thing was, he thought I am also a hired professional tourleader when I met him in the lobby yesterday morning. Must be the way I presented myself and the questions I asked.. Haha!

Le bf couldn't join us cos his flight is only departing Singapore at 11.45am and our tour starts at 9.30am and ends at 2pm.. So I was kinda the "forever alone" person cos everyone else was with their family and partners.. Well, just like the old days huh? But the guide and driver were very nice to me and even treat me lunch! :) 

First stop, Fort Cornwallis! This fort is exactly 200 years older than me! 

400 year old canon! Strange how the canon is older than the fort..

This is the "storeroom" for the artillery shells for the canons.

Next, we went to the Peranakan Mansion. Entrance fee is RM10, but the guide told them I was the tourleader and I got in for free! Yay! All sorts of old school stuff.. But you can feel and understand how rich these people were back in the days. I particularly love the couple seat a lot! I want to have this in my future home when Le bf and I are married! It's so cool! We can put computer desks on each side and sit together and do our own stuff yet be close to each other. :)

We also visited the Chew Clan Jetty. This is a UNESCO world heritage site (though honestly I really don't understand what's so unique about this place, just another kelong that's more well-maintained). This is where all the Chews stay, and if Le bf was born during that era, maybe he'll be staying there too! It's also popular cos a movie/film was filmed there. You can rent a room or the entire house from the owners.. rates starting from RM120 to RM480. It's quite expensive though, for a kelong room without aircon.. I rather stay in a hotel, thank you very much. (I stayed in kelongs before cos my dad used to own one.. we spent a lot of weekends fishing and nuaing on the kelong, so maybe that's why I don't see the novelty).

We also visited two temples which I found quite dodgy because of the people in it.. They seem to be scamming people. I don't get the peaceful zen feeling that I usually have when I enter a holy ground (church, mosque, temples) when I visited these two temples. 

Even the collection boxes were dodgy.. Usually it's just one or a few boxes around the major deities and the place where you take the joss sticks.. but this temple had boxes EVERYWHERE and for EVERYTHING! They have boxes to pray for riches, health, wealth, whatever. Boxes for Zodiac signs and even for days of the week! Seriously?!?! The spelling were also atrocious!

Afterwards we went for lunch before heading back to the hotel. The guide brought us to New World Hawker Centre and I had a RM3.50 Assam Laksa that was really nice! 1/10th of the price I paid for the bowl I ate on the first day!

I also had the famous Penang Chendol! Wheeee!

I ta-baoed chicken rice and some fruits for Le bf cos the hotel food is horrible and expensive and I was too tired to travel out with him to find food cos the weather is too hot and 3pm in Penang is 11pm in USA, which is my sleeping time for the past 2 weeks.. Napped a bit before going for the buffet dinner at the hotel with William, le bf's local friend.

OMG I tell you.. the buffet at Spice Market is supposedly THE best buffet in Penang. William said "If this is not up to your standard, no hope liao". It really is not that good.. well, it's Penang after all, and the good food are in the streets, not in the hotels. We only ate there cos William is very keen to try but didn't had the chance to, so we treated him to dinner. The bill for 3 of us came up to RM551! Nearly fainted when I saw the bill.. why so expensive? Exchange rate aside, even if we ate a champagne buffet dinner in Singapore, 3 persons won't even come up to SGD551. I can eat 150 bowls of Assam Laksa with that money. Please don't waste your money if you happen to be there.

***Day Three: 19-Jan-2013***
The actual wedding day!
Woke up at 4am to go for my bridesmaid's hair and makeup

Before & After

Bling bling that Tabby bought for all the bridesmaid! 
Bracelet and necklace! :)

 Bridesmaid Bouquets!

Corsages for the groomsmen and close family members

The beautiful bridesmaids!
Megan, Kiki, Me, Gen, Abigail & Penny!
Genevieve is Tabby's sister and she's the maid of honour!

Thank God I met the bridesmaids (except Abigail, she is Tabby's cousin) in Perth when I visited her in July with Le bf. We had a July Christmas Party together and got off quite well.. so no awkwardness when we met up again in Penang, which is very good since Tabby is not with us most of the time and we need to coordinate with each other. 
The groom and his groomsmen

The groomsmen gave each bridesmaid an angbao because we didn't have time to play any gatecrashing games and Tabby told them to pay up cos they escaped being bullied. Hahahahahaha!

Full length picture of me in my bridesmaid dress! 

Me & Le bf!

He looks kinda scruffy cos he was super jet-lag that day. LOL! Poor boy had to be forced out of bed at 8am cos we are leaving the hotel at 9.30am and I wanted him to be ready and finished his breakfast by 9am cos he's my handyman and cameraman for the day. Funny thing is, after I posted this picture on FB and tagged him, some of his friends messaged him to ask if he proposed to me cos I captioned the picture "With my love". Haiyooo! Can't they see that the photo is linked to "Tabby & Doug's Wedding" album? Also, if he proposed, I would have put in caps lock "HE PUT A RING ON IT!". I'm not subtle, no sir.

With the beautiful maid of honour!
She's the best! Helping Tabby with a lot of stuff! I am so proud of her! She's 2 years younger than us and I remember her when she was much smaller when I went to Tabby's house to play. Our fave memories together was winning all of Tabby's piggybank money through blackjack! LOL!

The coach came and picked us up at 9.30am and together with the bridal party and some of their guests who are staying at the hotel, we went to Cathedral of Immaculate Conception for the church ceremony.

Waiting for Tabby to arrive in her bridal car..

The bridal party went in for a last rehearsal on how to walk and where to stand.

The altar

Taking a short break from walking around in our heels..

The prayer book

Waiting outside while the guests find their seats..

Finally the bridal car is here!

Tabby asking "What's happening? Why so long! Where's Doug!?"
Chill girl, chill!

Tabby's father escorting her.

Decal on the car! Love it!

Time to get into positions!

I'm the only Dodo bird who kept looking down cos I was afraid I'll trip and fall!

Tabby looking gorgeous!
 (I'm still looking down, counting "One, one thousand, Two, one thousand")

Taking their seats for the prayers

Tabby & Doug reading their vows to each other
Tabby's godparents (in pic) are the witnesses who signed on the cert.

Tabby had a veil but decided not to wear it at the last minute..

I heard it from her mother.. Her mum was telling me "Ai Suan, Haiyoooooo.. i tell you ahhh.. So stressful you know! I don't know why but she decided not to wear the veil at the last minute! Why like that? How???". I love her mama! Super cute lah! They all call me by my Chinese name cos they knew me before I chose Jasmine as my English name.

Signing the marriage certificate.. It's official!

This part is super funny & weird!

The priest made the couple bow 3 times to the altar, 3 times to their parents and 1 time to the guests. Each time they bow, the priest will hit the gong! He'll say in Mandarin "Yi Jue Gong!", couple bows then he'll hit the gong once. Cringe-worthy max! And he sprung it on everyone cos it's written as "optional" in the wedding prayer book (yes it's there! Like wtf?!?!) and they did not choose for that but I think the priest wanted to add in some dramatic flair cos there's a lot of Ang Mohs in the crowd. Tsk. The priest is actually quite annoying cos he made things very difficult for the couple from way before the ceremony and even up till the morning of the ceremony. Shall not comment much, but I guess he's either a stickler for rules and details or he is a crazy jealous person of people getting married.

Say hello to Mr & Mrs Douglas Parry!

Bride and groom with the bridal party!

Note the confetti on the floor? Le bf and a few other men were recruited to stand outside to pull the giant party poppers on the couple when they exited the church! I thought we will throw flowers or rice or something..

With Doug's family. Dad, mum & Paul (younger brother)
Paul also happens to be my partner.

With Tabby's family!

Afterwards, we walked over to the hall behind the church for lunch!
It's super old school! Like a school hall from our younger days lah!

Super friendly uncle & auntie serving the food!

Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel and we had a few hours of free time before the tea ceremony at 5.30pm. Wanted to nap but I was worried I will mess up my hair and smudge my makeup.. but in actual fact my hair was already messy and makeup ruined cos I cried a bit during Tabby's church wedding and the false eyelash is falling off.. =__=

Messaged Tabby for help and asked her if the makeup artist is around for me to go and borrow the eyelash glue.. She said to go back to the same place where I did the makeup in the morning for a simple touchup cos the makeup artist is scheduled only to do the makeup for Tabby's aunts and might not have time to do for all the bridesmaids.

But thank God it was still early and the makeup artist is a super perfectionist! She saw how oily our faces were (blame the hot Penang sun) and how our hair were kinda messy and she went "HAIYO! I do for you all!".. She had around 1.5hours of free time before the schedule appointment time to do for Tabby's aunties and instead of resting, she offered to help us with our makeup.. for free! So sweet of her! God bless her please!

Makeup Touchup! Chio boh? ;)

Instead of just adding glue and sticking it back for me, she remove my whole eye makeup and redid it! It's more dramatic and sparkly after she's done! She also redid my hair for me cos it's falling all over the place. Jully (makeup artist) even asked "You went dancing already? Why your hair so messy?". =X She's super fast! Took her 20mins to do everything! She took the longest time with me cos mine was the most cui one. Hahahahahhaa!

I went back to the room, had a quick shower and changed back into my bridesmaid dress and headed over to one of the function room for the tea ceremony!

 Look at the setting! Mad chio please!

 Tea cups!

 Tabby's 2nd uncle is like a rock star yo!

He's explaining the significance and meaning of the stuff in the baskets cos there's a lot of Australians in the crowd who have not attended a Chinese wedding before.

After the tea ceremony to the eldest, it's time for the young and single people in the room to queue up and collect angbaos from the wedding couple! Actually I didn't know about this tradition until Abigail told me. We were sitting together and she asked me "HEY! Why are we not going in front to take angbao?".. I gave her a perplexed look cos I've not attended an actual tea ceremony before so I don't know what she's talking about, until a few mins later Tabby's uncle announced that all singles come forward and both of us jumped up gleefully. Hahahahhaa!

Each of us received 2 angbaos! One from Tabby & one from Doug! :)

Reason why I never attended an actual tea ceremony cos I'm born in the year of the Tiger. Tiger girls are usually considered unlucky and will chong the bride on her wedding day. So I was forbidden from attending  all the gatecrashing and tea ceremony of my cousins.. This also explains why I was never a bridesmaid. Sad but true.

Group picture time! 

Afterwards the bride and groom went off to change and prepare for the dinner which happens in less than 1 hour. We went to the side room to rehearse for a special surprise for the bride. :) Le bf took this picture of us!

Wedding of a lifetime.. Yes indeed!

This way please!

 Swan ice sculptures! 
When was the last time you see these? Old school! Love it!

 Bridal party outside the ballroom ready for our grand entrance!
Tabby's uncle hired drummers to accompany us in! Grand maximum!

 Emcees for the evening!
Oliver (Tabby's cousin) and Gen! Both of them were fabulous!

So cool! Flashing lights on the walls~

 Food was good! :) 

Best part, NO SHARK'S FIN! Love Shangri-la cos they were one of the pioneers to ban shark's fins in their hotels!

 After cutting the cake, time to pop the champagne!
Doug did it on the first try! Very stylish and cool, I must say.. haha!

 Pouring time! Love Tabby's expressions! 

 Toast to a great adventure together!

 Yum Seng time!

Lots of Ang Moh guests so the emcees had to explain the tradition of Yum Seng. They enjoyed it a lot lah! Hahahaha! Yum yum yum yum yummmmmmmmm!!

Surprise for the bride! Ode to Tabby!
My line was "A is for awesome, all-knowing and amazing, cos that's what you are!"

Throw the bouquet!

Before we walked over, Penny yelled "OOH YEAHH! IT'S ON BITCHES! THE BOUQUET IS MINEEE!", then she took out her earring and shoes! That woman means business!! When we were gathered, she said "Out of my way bitches! BWAHAHHAA!". LOL maximum!

Penny & Chardon (best man) dancing Gangnam Style. 
Super happening to the max! They looked good too!

Bridal Party - Table 1

There's 2 tables for the Bridal party, but our table is the most happening one cos of Penny! She's the funniest and most hyper person I know! 

Group picture of the bridal party! Best bridal party everrrrr!
See the backdrop? That's the photobooth backdrop! So Hollywood yo!

You will receive a printout of the photo like this. :)
We took a lot of pictures! Hahahahahhaha!

We didn't want to give Tabby angbao cos we wanted to give her something she can keep, wear and use. Decided to buy her 3 Pandora charms. Didn't buy the bracelet cos I don't know her size, but Le bf said she can wear them as a necklace or get the bracelet from Perth cos it's cheaper there compared to Singspore. The charm in the middle is heart shapes with a gold wedding ring and a diamond! Super super nice! Hope she likes it! We gave Doug a techie gift cos he's a super techie person! They wanted to buy a dog, but haven't got it yet, so we got him an iDog from Japan as training. He loves it lah! Hahahahhahaa! :)

***Day Three: 19-Jan-2013***
Spa massage & last minute eats in Penang!

Tabby and Doug bought a spa massage treatment for Le bf & I! She booked it for us on our last day in Penang cos she said the spa is good and it'll be great to have a massage after a hectic day the day before. Chi, The Spa is so famous that it's was fully booked that day! We were told that they are usually fully booked and appointments have to be made at least 1-2 weeks in advance. Wah!

Pathway in.. so nice!

The sanctuary. This is where the gift shop is and where the reception desk is. They will give you a tray with 5 essential oils to choose the scent for your massage.

 Walkway to our private villa!

 Comfy towels!

 Private bath tub in an "open area" which is private!

I had my massage in a single villa while they led Le bf to the couple villa. Strange why they don't put us together in the couple villa.. my therapist explained that they want both of us to experience both types of villas so we can share our experiences with each other. Umm.. ok lor. Anyway the massage is so good, I totally zen out. I fell into this super relaxed state of mind where I wasn't sleeping yet I wasn't thinking. Felt so good.


Around 1pm we checked out of the hotel and William came to pick us up! He brought us around to eat yummy food again! WOOHOO! Just like last year! :)

 First stop is the famous Penang Assam Laksa!

It's located in a corner coffeeshop called Kedai Kopi Dan Makanan Taman Emas. They won the Best Assam Laksa award in the Hawker competition in 2011! There's also a stall selling Char Kway Teow with Duck Egg! Sooooo gooood!

There's lots of nice street art like this all over Georgetown!

So fun to hunt for them! :) There's no time to find every single one, but William said he'll bring us next time to take picture with all the murals like this one. It's made of metal!

Then, we went around to hunt for Chinese New Year decorations for Mama Chew but couldn't find anything suitable. Bought a few boxes of the local specialty - Tau Sar Piah & Beh Teh Saw.. William brought us to this place called China House. 

From the outside it doesn't look like a cafe/pub lah!
This is where the yuppies hang out.. Super hard to find!

Giant slice of Tiramisu

 Condensed milk icecream

The bill came up to RM27 for the cake and icecream.. 3 of us shared cos we were keeping our tummy space for Bak Kut Teh, unfortunately there's not enough time to go for Bak Kut Teh in the end and we had to settle for Mcdonald's at the airport. :( Well, there's always next time! 

Alright, time to end this super long blog entry! Took me hours to blog this, but I had to do it justice cos I know Tabby will read my blog and I want to have a proper account and memory of her beautiful wedding!

Dear Tabby,
Remember our project we did in Primary 4? "A friend in need is a friend indeed". I am glad and thankful that our paths crossed each other 17 years ago and we have remained such steadfast friends. I wish you a lifetime of happiness with Doug. May God shower His love and blessings on the both of you for now and forever more. I am so happy that you found someone you love and who also love you back unconditionally. I am also very happy that you married the man you can live with and cannot live without. You are very dear to me and will forever be my best friend and always have a special place in my heart. I love you! ~ 
Love, Suany


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