Happiness is a simple DIY wedding

Eight months ago, I got engaged - or so I think.

My then boyfriend asked my parents for my hand and casually proposed an hour later. No dropping down on one knee and no ring.

He did present a symbolic piece of costume jewellery, a ring that has a long pointy end, which I think is absolutely fantastic for stabbing the eyes of potential attackers.

But no rock, no bling.

"What?!" exclaimed several friends and relatives when they were denied pictures of the said absent ring.

Some thought the proposal must have been a joke.

A few weeks later, I delivered another blow.

I announced I wasn't going to have any guests other than our parents as witnesses at the wedding ceremony - the part where we exchange vows and sign papers that would legally give me access to his property.

Oh, I added, there wouldn't be a big dinner banquet either, just a small lunch I would be planning in a non-air-conditioned section of a restaurant and bar, which I would be decorating myself too.

(A restaurant lunch was already a compromise, my nomination of a home barbecue was swiftly vetoed.)

He and I will also be maintaining our long-distance relationship. He was raised in Canada and has been working in Hong Kong for the last two years.

There will be no purchasing of a cosy shared abode for the time being.

The cries of objection came fast and loud: "You're doing this all wrong!"

I was informed there is a list of unwritten procedures: You BTO first - apparently the acronym for a Built-to-Order Housing Board flat has become a verb for "applying for a government flat together", then purchase the diamond.

This is to be followed by putting together a bridal party and finishing off in a hotel ballroom with a giant elaborate backdrop magicked by wedding stylists and expensive flowers that barely outlive their one night of glory.

Well, to all the people who looked horrified upon hearing my plans, we are not really out of step with the times.

A colleague reported last month that more couples in Singapore are opting for a wedding lunch over the traditional dinner banquet because weddings have become expensive affairs.

The latest Julius Baer Lifestyle Index showed wedding costs at top hotels here have gone up by 14 per cent since last year, with Singapore coming in as the sixth most expensive Asian city for nuptials.

Costs were certainly a factor in our decisions, but we also wanted a simple and intimate wedding.

I now have a ring (still no big diamond, diamonds are way overpriced) and a wedding band.

We just had a small six-person ceremony under a majestic tree in his Canadian hometown, with a $30 faux chandelier (bought online) hanging from a branch.

Thinking of that day makes me break into silly grins. It was all kinds of wonderful and I would give anything to re-live it.

Going small and throwing tradition out of the window has worked out well - so far.

We still have the lunch in Singapore to look forward to and lots of DIY paper flowers and painted chalkboard signs to complete for the restaurant decor.

But to all the other brides- and grooms-to-be mulling over wedding plans, here's my two cents: It's not about the pomp, but the love.

You've already said "yes" to the most important person, don't be afraid to say "no" to others.


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