Friday, April 20, 2007

The Wedding Planner.

A couple of weeks back, ah chiu, mom's one and only younger brother who allowed us to put up in his home when our home was undergoing a major renovation two Novembers back, had an appointment with the church priest to discuss some details about his long awaited and much anticipated wedding ceremony. Ever since kong kong's death, everybody in the family's pretty much been looking forward to ah chiu's wedding as he was the last sibling of the family yet to fulfill the sacrament of Holy Matrimony and it was kong kong's final wish to see ah chiu and his (then) fiance tie the knot. However, they did the registration not long after kong kong's passing with mom and dad being their official witness (it was in one of those ceremonies held for mass registration). Back to my point. I have not heard a word escape from either ah chiu or his fiance's mouth, announcing about the wedding date or whatsoever but word got out about their little appointment with the church priest and it spread like wildfire afterwards. Shocking to see at what rate these news can travel on - faster than the bridegroom can say HOLD ON.

Before ah chiu could decide to hold an impromptu party to announce the official wedding date, the news have no doubt, traveled far and near, reaching the ears of every relative there is, in one way or another, connected or not. Could almost hear the gleeful clap of hopeful grand-aunties after putting down the phone, in sarongs and clogs while halfway through applying bedak sejuk on their faces delicately, conveying the good news to the husbands lying in bed. Then there are those who just couldn't contain their joy that they feel obligated to pass the news around - even to their neighbors and colleagues! Wouldn't be surprised if the entire (and surprisingly small) town of Balik Pulau knows about it already by now. It didn't take long before speculations of the real date arise as relatives and friends start gossiping about other details like the rightful wedding planner, the church, the reception, the wedding album and other paraphernalia that comes in the way to make a typical Chinese wedding a successful and memorable one. These things just couldn't bear all the excitement in the closet. I mean, it's the least to be expected at occasions like these. What else with 3G and instant messaging nowadays.

I've even heard of relatives from Australia booking their tickets for the flight back already!

Honestly, I've never had any relative as close as ah chiu marry before, apart from that little stint I had as a "cameraman" for Grace, my elder god-sister who got married two Novembers ago also . But that was just as close as I got to any prior
wedding plans at all. I've never experience all the process one needs to get through to get everything in order for that perfect day - the caterer, the invitation list and the invitation cards, just to name a few. Mom, as the appointed wedding planner practically runs the show. Ah chiu knows that he probably couldn't handle everything by himself without breaking down in the process with his tight schedule so he asked mom to help him out instead, which, in return, mom agreed, a little bit too willingly. As her son, I do get quite a load of the action also. Just last week, I followed ah chiu, his fiance (I'm going to have to start addressing here chiu mu!) and mom around the town, entering and coming out of various bridal shops enquiring about wedding albums.

Mom, technically responsible of the smoothness of the entire ceremony, is the one with the YellowPages on her lap, sifting through the pages, enquiring about the various caterers in town, searching for the best price with the best food. She's been also engaging in florists for the church floral arrangements and the restaurant for the reception, including the invitation cards and invitation list. Of course, being the only child in the house that could aid her (in other words, scapegoat), I've been bestowed with a couple of things (against my will, I swear!), like typing out the Order of Service for the service on the wedding day and probably designing the booklet cover for it as well and God knows I'm practically hopeless when it comes to PhotoShop. Currently browsing through sites that offer tutorials related to what I'm trying to design. If I can come up with anything, it'd be for ah chiu to decide to use or not. If I can't come up with anything at all in time for printing, then I don't know what to say.

Of course, mom's work doesn't stop there. Her job as the wedding planner includes updating the other siblings in the family about the progress of the project (as mom gladly termed it) and occasionally seeking advice and opinions from them. Ever s
ince she started, e-mails, phone calls and text messaged have been overflowing in our virtual inbox. If those were carried by owls, my house will probably turn into an owl barn by now, with droppings on the floor and feathers fluttering all over. After all, her siblings consists of 5 sisters and 1 brother and girls being naturally girls, who wouldn't wanna play the wedding planner? I'm sure they all would love the idea of planning the wedding their way (often, mistakingly thinking that it's best for the couple), fulfilling undying dreams of the wedding they never had as the flames of hopes are still flickering. Another walk down the aisle in white, the way they imagined it to be 20 years back, if they had more money, would do the trick. Somehow, waiting for their children's turn would just be too long and they've figured it out that children are going to be stubborn when it comes to their own weddings anyway.

C'mon, who doesn't want their dreams to be materialized?

Unfortunately for some of the siblings who so badly wants a piece of the cake, are unable to do anything besides voicing their opinions and ideas through hours worth of phone calls and emails as there are some living far away from home. Still, anything that's suggested needs the approval of the bride and bridegroom themselves before anyone can agree on anything. I can already see the cat-fights coming among the siblings. And they say sibling rivalry will never end. Amidst all those heated discussions and among the siblings, most of them, as I've heard have been diligently making trips to gyms, slimming centres and eve
n yoga classes to achieve the optimum figure for the big day. Honestly. Ever since they've gotten confirmation about the wedding details, it seems to me, the females of the family couldn't contain themselves but to kick up a storm of revelations ranging from beautifying themselves to shopping for outfits and accessories to talks of having their own line-up of events to surprise the couple - coordinating their own choir with the grandchildren to sing for the service, being one of the many deranged and over-the-top plans from the women.

I've even heard of involving the little children as flower girls and boys!

This family's not missing out either. Mom have suddenly gotten intimidated by her siblings' effort in shedding of a few pounds to look good for the big day (I told you, siblings' rivalry!) that she got the urge to play badminton, as a desperate measure in disguise to lose weight through excessive sweating. Being the scapegoat, once again, she dragged me down with her. I don't suppose this has got anything to do with the duo, Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong of
international fame that ignited her badminton-playing-self. Nonetheless, we've done it as little as twice only this week and the first time really got my body aching - usual post-exercise aches for a couch potato. Though, I can't be sure if this way is going to help either of us burn enough fat by the wedding date as me playing badminton with mom usually includes a lot of blurry dashing, missed shuttlecocks and picking up of shuttlecocks. Plus, we're playing open air and I doubt the wind adds to the little sweat we produce at the end of any game. Still, no harm in chilling with mom. After all, she needs some time off from being the wedding planner, which, in her case, could be really taxing.

So I suppose it's obvious how distracted I am from my studies with all the things happening around me. Been pretty much bogged down with mom's appointments meeting up with caterers and the likes. This Sunday (21/04), we'll be heading down to a bridal shop that ah chiu and soon-to-be chiu mu both agreed on, to a fitting session. Whereas, next Saturday (28/04) will be their photoshoot for the wedding album with a professional photographer, which I've asked the permission of ah chiu to tag along with them, hoping to get
to shoot a few shots of my own, standing behind the real photographer for the shoot. The only reason I think I'm being included in all these is because I'm the eldest nephew of his available. I mean, ah chiu's not really fond of nephews if compared to nieces. He'll probably take Grace along if she was here but seeing that she isn't, I'm replacing her. Speaking of Grace, you can bet she's excited as hell, even more so that she's not in Penang where everything's taking place. Her intrepid (and surprisingly long!) emails insisting for some details clearly shows that she's desperate to be home.

At least, she's got till the next weekend to make it back home for a long, long, long holiday.

For the meantime, I'm still unsure whether ah chiu would like me to be the photographer for the whole event which falls on the 9th of June, 3 days before my birthday, I know. I mean, I'm definitely not volunteering myself as my photography skills are a far cry from being good enough to record a once-in-a-lifetime event like this. I still lack the self-confidence. But if, as what mom says, he isn't going to hire any professional to do the job for him and if he asks me too, I won't refuse. It's a favor. More like a responsibility with tonnes of pressure and tension to perform well. I'll go look for more online tutorials on PhotoShop and photographing weddings.

A really rough design according to ah chiu's requested color, sky blue. Potential poster?

Maybe I should just get myself a copy of The Wedding Planner.

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