Our Wedding Day

September 8, 2019:

The night before the wedding, I was still getting ready.  Mom was helping us with the packaging of the cookies, Susan came at 8 and then pushed to 8:30 p.m. to help me set up the decorations.  I still had the vows and end-of-night speech to finalize and write and print out.  I also had the photos for the two slideshows and looping photos to do as well.  The house was not clean just yet.  I decided to forego the night-before-wedding dinner with Amelia and Doris and mom just so we could have more time to do everything.

When Susan arrived at 8:30 p.m., I was just finishing my shower.  I had to finish showering and washing my hair before Amelia and Doris came to do the hair brushing ceremony at 10 p.m.-ish, which meant I also needed some time for it to be dry.  Thus, while I was just finishing drying my hair, I heard the doorbell rang and Susan arrived.

Susan helped me to put up all the red Chinese wedding decorations around the house.  I knew she had a good eye for things and completely trusted her taste and opinion.  The dollar store poster stickies that mom and I had bought were really handy and stuck the items on easily.  We hung red decorations around the stair banister, the walls in the dining and living rooms, along the wall up the stairs, the front of the bedroom doors, along the ceilings, and in the bedroom as well.

When A, D, and Raymond arrived, Raymond helped us to put up the finishing touches of the decorations that were too high for us to hang up, and then Susan was on her way.  I gave Susan all the packaged cookies (all 210 of them which fit into three large boxes), the two bins of items that were to be put in the reception sign-in desk (guest sign-in book, two photo albums, two photo prints to be displayed, markers, reception game items, decorative pieces, wedding programs, wedding menus, table centrepiece airplanes), as well as the place cards so that she could help me organize all the names according to the tables.  The place cards were supposed to be something I should have done for myself and I could have, but if I really did that, it might have taken me another 30 minutes to an hour that night, time which I really didn’t have.  I’m so glad that Susan was able to take it on for me.

When we began the hair brushing ceremony at 10 p.m.-ish — this was after Ken had finished his portion of the hair brushing ceremony at his house — we did it in the bedroom with the windows open facing the moon.  There’s something about doing the Chinese tradition with me under the moonlight.

We had two candles burning in a mug with rice.  I was already in my red attire, and soon A helped me to brush my hair and said those infamous traditional words as she brushed my hair three times.  She was the most jolly, positive, and happy smiling one in the room as she gave me words of wedding advice and lovely messages.  We had some videos taken and some photos before we headed downstairs for the sweets.

They had prepared some mochi dumplings in sweet soup for us to eat to finish off the Chinese hair brushing tradition.

Soon after this, they left our house as my mom and I still had the rest of the wedding things to take care of.

I don’t remember if my mom slept much that night, but I ended up not sleeping at all.  I anticipated maybe getting an hour of sleep at the least, but because of the number of things I had to do, I needed all available hours until 6 a.m.  I hadn’t pulled an all-nighter in a while, but this was one that I had to do out of necessity.  Ken had already done his part in the slideshows, so the rest was up to me.

During that night into the wee hours of the morning, I finished my vows, the end-of-night speech, printed them, finalized the two photo slideshows (growing up and special tribute to parents) — these took forever.  I really don’t like the Animoto program.  It was really difficult to move photos around on each slide, as in I couldn’t easily change the layout of one frame from one photo to two or more.  It was a drag (literally) and took me at least three hours to do both slideshows, but I did it.

The last thing on my list was the looping photos for the cocktail hour and during reception.  I had so many photos with friends and family that I’ve taken through the course of my youth and adulthood that I wanted to share, but there was no time to go through every folder and inbox meticulously as I had wanted to and planned to do ever knew I wanted to share a photo slideshow.  I only did what I could.  Luckily, I had previously spent an hour or so the week before the wedding going through some old photos when Grace asked me about finding a specific Halloween photo that I did save some photos from Facebook then, but the situation was still not ideal for my perfectionist tendencies.

In the end, I ended up with about 300 to 400 photos of lifestyle photos to share for the looping reception slideshow.  There were 70 photos from our photoshoot with Dan and Andrew, engagement shoot with Mark, engagement shoot with Kelvin, and pre-wedding photoshoot with Justin that I put in for the cocktail hour looping slideshow.

By then, it was already 5 a.m.  The makeup and hair team were going to be here at 6 a.m. to begin the day.  I was feeling okay with no sleep.  Luckily, I had some decent sleep on the Friday and Saturday.  Going without sleep is okay for me if I have had some good sleep in my “reserve”.

Angel called me to ask if I wanted anything from Tim’s.  She got a plain bagel for me and a sandwich for my mom.  I didn’t even end up eating those nor did my mom.  There was no time once she and the girls arrived.  Prior to that, I had some egg noodles at 5 a.m.

Once the makeup team of three arrived, they set up in the dining room table and I was worked on right away.  I had told Jenny that I needed the makeup and hair to be done at 8 a.m.  That’s why two people worked on me; one for makeup and one for hair.  Jenny did my hair while Alison did my makeup.  I’m so glad it worked out this way as it was originally supposed to be the other way around.

In the meantime, Angel and the others got their makeup and hair done as well.  My mom was among the last even though she really should have been one of the first.

Time sped by.  The videographers started showing up soon.  We had three videographers that day.  One was Wilson, the main guy.  We were only supposed to have two in total but Wilson brought Chris and Van, one of whom was an intern.

By 8 a.m., we had started to move upstairs for my hair portion.  I don’t recall all the exact time frames for this, but I know Kelvin the photographer had arrived as did Susan.  Susan still had to tape up the decorations on the front door (we didn’t do it last night because it was still raining a little bit) and she had to take my laptop and external hard drive for where I had saved all my hard work the previous night.  Thank goodness she was sharp and on top of things to know what to do.

Jenny helped me put on the Chinese style hair accessory as the final touch-up, and by this point I had heard the boys were already arrived and already started to play the Chinese door games outside.

In a flash, I was handed someone’s cell phone where I could watch the boys perform the challenges outside.  The last part was for me to get into my Chinese kwa.  I pulled this on as I was trying to watch on the phone the boys in the front yard giving each other piggy back rides and then waxing their leg hairs in the house.  It was happening so fast.  I don’t know who was holding the cell phone for me to watch as this was being live streamed, but they did a really good job to make sure that I saw everything in a close range.  The only thing was that the connection wasn’t the greatest and so the images were a bit lagged at times.

Before I knew it, they were up the stairs (I had only told Angel the night before that Susan suggested that it be best for the door games to be broken up into parts so that the boys had to be challenged in front of the house before entering, inside the house, up the stairs, and then another game before entering my room.  Good thing she was able to make this happen).  By this point, I muted the sound on the phone as I could hear them right outside my door.

Right before they entered though, they paused to let the videographers and photographers in the room so that they could capture our reactions and take photos.

I sat on a chair in front of the bed as Ken came in with the rest of the boys.  It was beginning and happening.

He took me downstairs where all of my relatives had already arrived prior to the boys.  It was like a mega crowd of people with their phones taking photos of us.  We felt like the targets of the paparazzi in the best way.  It was heart-warming but a little chaotic as we neared our spot in the living room where the tea ceremony for my side of the family would begin.

We had several couples of relatives to give tea to and we had a strict schedule for that day.  We had to leave my house by 9:20/9:30 a.m. to get to Ken’s place before 10 a.m.  We were scheduled to start the tea ceremony by 8:45 in order to make sure this happened.

My 98-year-old grandma was naturally the first one to give us her blessings and for us to give her tea.  My uncle assisted her with the jewelry giving.

Then it was my mom’s turn.  I definitely teared up as I “called” her to receive the tea.  The moment was happening so fast though that I don’t think she even knew exactly what to say except I know she was beaming from ear to ear.

We kneeled on the red cushions as we gave tea to each relative.  Angel helped to bring the tea tray forward and indicate which cups were new or drunk already while Doris said all the lucky and prosperous sayings to each couple and as direction to us.  The next sets of relatives came up and we did the same.  There were a lot of jewelry and red pockets given.

When it came time for our married cousins to take our tea, I realized that I had forgot to include them in the count when mentioning to Susan in the itinerary.  I momentarily was afraid that we might have gone over time.

When we were finally done, we left quickly and briskly to Ken’s place.  Surprisingly, Susan said we were right on time.

Demps drove me, Ken, and Kelvin in the rented Benz (beautifully decorated with the teddy bears in the front) to Ken’s place.  We made sure to take a different route from the one that had the boys had used when they came to pick me up.  It’s a Chinese wedding tradition.

We arrived to Ken’s place at about 9:50 a.m. surprisingly.  I thought we were earlier than that but we were not (I guess there was some traffic).  We had to wait for the girls to arrive too.  Angel had to hold the red umbrella for me as I entered the house.  Luckily, they arrived in time and we quickly entered the house even though the photographers wanted to move the cars that were in front of the house (this is something that could have been discussed and prevented prior).  There was no time for us to wait for that to happen, so we entered the house before it was 10 a.m.

In Ken’s house, all of his relatives had gathered to greet us for the tea ceremony.  I don’t remember why but there was some delay as we waited for the tables to be moved or something to be shuffled.  While we were waiting, some of Ken’s relatives quickly took advantage of the delay and took individual photos with us.  Thank goodness because we really didn’t have much time for photos afterwards.

One by one, we gave tea to Ken’s family and received their blessings as well.  There were many tears shed on Ken’s part and I teared up a lot when Angela gave us her heartfelt blessings as well.  We also received a lot of jewelry and red pockets here.

One thing I wish we did is that we took a photo with each family member and what they presented to us as gifts before I put them on.  It’s really difficult to remember without photos what each family member gave me..  Or we could have had a bridesmaid help me document what was given by each family member.  Hopefully our photos and videos after the fact will show these.

After the tea ceremony, we had a big space of time in order to unwind for a little bit and eat lunch.  Ken’s family had prepared some finger food and snacks like a fruit tray, vegetable platter, crackers and dip, and drinks.  Later on, we had some fried rice, noodles, and other hot foods as well.

By this part of the day, I was still in a very calm and zen-like mood.  I don’t know what it was but I wasn’t that nervous or anxious at all.  The tea ceremony was all with family.  There was nothing to be nervous about at all.  I was surprisingly mild and zen for the better part of the day.

During the latter part of the lunch hour, this was when Ken got his prep shots taken in the living room.  It was nice to be in the background to watch.

When the clock struck noon, we prepared to leave.  Susan had already started to go to the venue to help us set up but I also remembered that I forgot to give her the envelope with the cake money for the baker so she returned to get that from me.  She also went to get the flowers and bouquets for us from the florist.  Honestly if we didn’t hire a wedding coordinator, I don’t know who would have helped us to do those things.  There’s only so much that you can ask your bridal party or close family to do.  Everyone is part of the big day, so hired help was absolutely crucial for us.

We couldn’t return to my house until after 12 p.m. as per the Chinese “lucky time”.  My mom had advised us to leave Ken’s place right at 12 in order to get back to our house by 12:15 or 12:20 but along the way, we fell a little late.

When we arrived back at my place, it took a bit of time for Bryan and Sinto to get the roasted pig.  The pig was big and oily, so someone quickly thought of using a piece of cardboard as a “stretcher” to carry it into the house to prevent any oil dripping.  Jenny was already back at my house too waiting for me to help me transition my hairstyle for the wedding dress.

But before the makeup, my mom said we had to have some pork and rice as part of the “returning home ceremony”.  We waited for the photos and pig to be cut, and then we fed each other a little bit of the pork and rice.  I knew that Jenny was waiting and I kept rushing them to finish up, but it was what it was.

As I sat there in the bathroom with Jenny again as she disassembled the Chinese wedding accessories and put on the bridal one and touched up my makeup, this was the only second time in the day for me to sit there and relax and rest.  These little moments in the day helped me to make sense of the whole day as it was rushing past me.

After the hair and makeup was done, Angel and my mom helped me into my wedding dress.  This was honestly a bit of a small fiasco — the dress took a much longer time than we all anticipated.  It was not easy to tie up and make sure all the straps in the back were laced up properly.  Even though it only took the girl at the boutique a few minutes to lace me up, when it comes to inexperienced or unfamiliar ones doing it at home, it’s a total different ballgame.  (I suggest perhaps if there’s time in your schedule that you practise lacing up and getting into your wedding dress a week before the ceremony so that some time can be saved.)

We were supposed to be done all of this and on our way to the park to take photos by 1 p.m., but obviously we were falling way behind.  When I was finally laced up and secure and about to leave the house, I shouted, “Wait!  I haven’t read the letter from Ken yet!”  (Ken had already read the letter that I wrote to him in the bedroom at the same time when I was getting my makeup and hair redone.  We simply closed the bathroom door as he did this.)  But I didn’t do mine yet.

Quickly, Angel alerted the others and the videographer Wilson came back to film me as I opened the letter and read it.  Before I did, he told me that there was something underneath the layer inside of the box, which was the letter.  Ken had told him this in order to tell me.

As I read the small slip of paper, I already started to cry and laugh.  It was a really short letter, one that Ken later told me he had only written up that morning, but it was so sweet and it made all the waterworks start already.

Underneath the first layer, there was a customized box with our names engraved on the side filled with individual cards and photos all handpicked from Ken.  They represented different stages or special events of our relationship.  He had already got this made ahead of time!  Behind each photo and card, there was a heartfelt message.  Everything was so dear to our relationship and I honestly didn’t think I could have cried more during those few minutes.  The messages were long and thorough.  This was definitely a special moment.

When I was finally done and Angel helped me to clear up my tear-stained face, we rushed to the car and to the local park where Ken was already waiting for me for the “first look” reveal.

I knew the place I was going to.  It was the place where I occasionally visit when walking in the park to look at the geese.  Wilson had me brush my hands up against the ferns as I walked down the road.  [This man was a genius.  We only had to do a few movements during the day as he instructed and he ended up filming the best moments with little to no repeat shots.  One shot was all it took.  I was in awe.]

I approached Ken (whose back was facing me) as I held my wedding dress down the grainy path.  I went up to him and tapped him on his shoulder as he turned around from the left and saw me in my wedding dress.  This was honestly my favourite part of the day.  It was unrushed.  We had all the time in the world as we chatted a little bit and enjoyed our midday on our wedding day.  It was so special.  All the photographers and videographers around us were snapping away as we revelled in this moment.

Then as we walked back down the path, it was time to leave.  We were running behind schedule very severely by this point, and I’m so glad that we nixed having two photo locations.

We headed up to Wilcox Lake Park.  Neither of us had been there before.

It took about 30 or 40 minutes driving there, and this meant that we only had 20 minutes left to shoot photos.  (We had to get back to the venue at 4 p.m. to get ready for the 5 p.m. ceremony.)

When we arrived at the park, it was difficult to find a parking location as well.  I was still very calm that day (maybe because the sleeplessness actually helped with us) and thought in my mind that the worst-case scenario would have been to shoot some photos at the venue if we didn’t get a parking spot to shoot at the park.  However, we saw that Kelvin had got a parking spot and so quickly, we were able to scooch into a handicapped spot.  Demps wasn’t comfortable with taking a handicapped parking spot, so he dropped us off and then parked at the nearby lot where the library was and walked over.  The girls had to do the same as well.  Kelvin quickly helped us to take some photos.  He also told us that we didn’t have to be back at the venue by 4 p.m. but that we should leave the park by 4 p.m.  This gave us a good 45 minutes of shooting.  (Looking back, I think Kelvin purposely did this to ensure we got more shooting time; 20 minutes would have been dismal.)

Eventually, everyone got a parking spot and we took some photos and video shots.  The park was very nice with a water park, some sandy area with some blue beach benches, and walkable path with trees and structures near the lake too.

We received lots of “congratulations” as we strolled through the park from strangers that day.  It was really sweet.  People would stop and look at and watch us.  Finally, we were one of “those” couples in the park in a wedding dress that others would stop and stare for.

My feet was starting to hurt, but I had to stick it through.

It was also when we were taking photos on the stairs that I realized that Wilson had actually brought in his drone as well.  At first, I thought someone else’s drone, but it was his!  He was getting drone footage for us as well.  This was so exciting.  (We initially didn’t buy the drone add-on footage, but I guess he snuck it in for us since we were allowing him to bring an intern that day — or so I gather).

By 4 p.m., we had to leave.  I think we actually left at 4:10 p.m. or so too.  Susan called/texted us urgently asking what our ETA was.  We were on the way.  Demps took the 407 to cut down on a few minutes, but in reality we still needed the rest of the bridal party to arrive on time too.

I remember thinking:  the thing though is that because we were the “star” of the day, even if we were late, everyone had to wait for us.  But if we were late to the ceremony, it also meant that everything for the rest of the evening would be pushed back and I really didn’t want that either.

When we got back into the car, the ETA back to the venue was 4:50 p.m.-ish.  Good thing I didn’t have to do any makeup or hair touch-up by then; we simply wouldn’t have had time.

We arrived at the venue at 4:50 p.m., and I was surprised to see that my mom wasn’t back to the venue yet from her hair and makeup touch-up.  I was instantly worried.  There was no way that if she started her hair at 2:45 p.m.-ish that she was still not done and at the venue yet.  I was really scared for a moment that something bad had happened, but also there was nothing I could do except wait.

Luckily, it turned out that her makeup artist did a slow job and she only arrived at 4:50 p.m.-ish as well.  Susan and my mom quickly distributed the boutonnieres and corsages to the family members to wear for the ceremony.

And when I spotted Susan, I quickly asked if she knew how to put my veil on.  I had forgotten to ask Jenny in the morning to show one of my girls to do it.  Susan is the best and she quickly inserted it into my bun with no problem.  I was ready.  (Moments before that, when the girls hadn’t arrived yet, I had to pee and since Ken was the only one inside of the bridal suite, he was actually the one who helped me pick up my dress to pee.  Lol.  That isn’t supposed to be the groom’s job, but we did it easily.  Yay teamwork.)

And just like that, it was almost 5 p.m.  We all walked out of the bridal suite and to the area where we were supposed to walk down to the garden.  The boys were lined up by this point too.  We walked past them to the other side of the yard (the side for the girls to enter that didn’t face the audience).  I shouted at Ken not to look as me as I walked past lol.

Everything happened so fast.  There were a few family friends who just arrived at this point and I hurriedly told them to get seated.  I hope didn’t come off as rude. XD

From where we were standing behind the bushes, I couldn’t see the boys but I was shocked to see that all the seats had completely filled up.  We had 206 guests attending and when Carmela had asked us how many chairs we wanted to set up for the garden ceremony at the finalization appointment, we had said 200.  I didn’t think that all 206 people would show up for the ceremony, so I thought 200 was enough (we could also set up 240 too as the max).  All the white chairs were full all the way to the last row.  I was so shocked but happy to see this.

Very, very quickly, the bridesmaids started walking down the aisle to the tune of Megan’s violin playing.  There was no time to think or stop.  Susan then gestured for me and my mom to start walking.

It was more difficult walking in my dress as the day wore on.  I don’t know what it was.  All the guests had stood up and awaited me and mom’s walk down the aisle.  There were so many guests.  I tried to look around at everyone as I walked down.  I wanted to see where all my friends were sitting.

We arrived at the altar.  Michael was there in a red tie and then I gave my bouquet to Angel to hold.  I don’t remember a lot of what Michael said except I knew I was just looking into Ken’s eyes and we were smiling at each other.  Michael’s speech was a tad longer than I expected, but I guess I just was ready to get into our vows and finish them.  Ken and I wrote our own vows.

Ken had put his vows printed/written in a nice little note while mine was printed straight off of the printer that morning in an 8 by 11 letter size paper.  XD  Even though Susan had suggested for us to practise reading our vows out loud, I didn’t even have time to do that.  Surprisingly, I didn’t stutter or trip over my words.  I hadn’t even practised.  We actually weren’t that nervous either.  I think it was because all of the audience were our dear friends and family.  There’s no need to be nervous around friends or family.  It’s not like a public speech in front of strangers.  I was so comfortable.

I didn’t cry at Ken’s vows, but the moment I started to say mine, I bawled.  Michael had reminded us before our vows to try to look into each other’s eyes when reading the vows.  I only remembered to look up a few sentences into my vows.  It was not easy.

After the vows, we had our rings exchanged and also our first kiss.  We held our kisses as we did during the rest of the night.

Then it was time to sign the wedding register.  My mom and Ken’s dad were the witnesses.

Then it was time to walk back down the aisle.  Again, I had trouble walking with my dress but thankfully it didn’t show in the photos or videos.

When we got to the end with our bridal party behind us, including the flower girls, we returned back up the aisle.  It was time for the group photos.  Our wedding program had indicated the order of the group photo order and we were in an extreme time crunch of 30 minutes in order to take photos with every group.  We had 30 groups, give or take, in total.

Although the big group photo was supposed to be the last, Kelvin said the best idea was to do this first and that way not to lose anyone.  We did this easily.

Then we did the individual groups.  It was photos with the officiant, bridal party, my side, Ken’s side, both sides together, then my extended family side, Ken’s extended family side, then my friends from different stages of life, and then Ken’s friends from different stages of life.  We surprisingly got through every group in 30 minutes by 6 p.m. plus some standalones.  (Some friends had to leave early as they were only attending the ceremony portion.  I had to make sure I got a photo with these friends before they left too.)  It was another shocker but amazing that it worked out.

I loved how all of our friends knew to stand up and get ready once they knew that they were next to take photos.  (Sometimes, it’s frustrating when people know they’re next in line but yet still feign “shyness” and take forever to walk up for the photos.  Everyone was quick here, which was amazing.)

I was back in the bridal suite by 6 p.m. where Jenny helped me to get into the final look of the day.  As I sat there by myself in the chair with her doing her thing, I was alone again and it was another quiet moment to reflect on the day so far.  I was still feeling very mild and calm but reflecting on how fast the day was going already.  Outside, the cocktail hour was happening.  Angel brought me a plate of assorted appetizers.

I wish I had told more friends to help me take photos of the lobby and appetizer stations as I never saw these with my own eyes.  Thank goodness some friends took photos, but we were in such a rush that there was no time for me to do this stuff.  No wonder there is a washroom inside the bridal suite.  Technically speaking, if the washroom wasn’t in there, the bride wouldn’t even have time to trek to the public washroom.  I didn’t even have any shots that night.

When it was almost 7 p.m., it was time to enter the hall.  We lined up accordingly, and Ken and I did a quick practice of our entrance dance before we went in.  I had the bridal bouquet in my hand by this time and so it was different than when we had practised at home.

Again, it happened so fast.  Our parents and then the bridal party walked in.  I could see the guests from between when the door would open and also through the open window part of the bar.

We walked in to the tune of Jay Z and Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”.  I had told Ken to face me (with his back facing the stage) so that our guests could see our “handshake dance” clearly from both sides.  I had to physically maneuver him for a second because he didn’t get it lol.

We did our dance and luckily we didn’t mess up at all.  Yay!  When watching the video afterwards, our exchanging hands part actually synced up with the music really well.  Yay again.

Immediately, we had our first dance.  It was to the tune of Luther Vandross’ “Here & Now”.  I couldn’t help smiling and looking into Ken’s eyes during our dance.  I know a lot of others were watching us too, but I really couldn’t pay attention to them.

We did three spins/twirls in total and luckily the very last one was right when the song ended.  We didn’t know at all or planned that, but it was perfect.  Yay.

Then it was the cake cutting.  It was difficult to cut an actual piece of the cake so we actually got mostly frosting in our chunk lol.  We fed each other.  Then we did the champagne glass toast as well.

It was finally time to sit down!  On our sweetheart table, someone had helped us gather some of the appetizers from the cocktail stations and put them on our table.  Thank goodness.  Everything was lined up on the table and I admired my place cards.  (By “everything”, I meant the red and white wines, salt and pepper shakers, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, utensils, plates, napkins, our turtle cookie wedding favours, centrepiece with the hand-folded airplane, etc.).  It was quite the view to be up there with all of our family and friends at the tables before us.

We had brought Tupperware to hold our food.  We already knew that we weren’t going to be able to finish any of it that night.  We packed some of the appetizers into one box.  (Tip for other couples on their wedding night to do the same because you won’t have any time to eat that night — and won’t even feel hungry much.)

The first course was the Chinese roasted pig.  We received a bigger portion than the others because we were the bride and groom.  (The roasted pig dish was not part of the venue’s usual menu pickings but we had the whole roasted pig catered specifically to the venue and served because we wanted to maintain some Chinese wedding tradition at our reception dinner.  The rest of the dishes that night were all Italian.)

Someone started clinking the glasses really soon into the reception.  We already knew from other weddings that this was a hint for the bride and groom to kiss in front of the guests.  The MC acknowledged this clinking of the glasses and announced it, upon which we gladly obliged.  Again, we held our kiss which I think the audience didn’t expect.  Needless to say, we didn’t hear any more clinking the rest of the night.  XD.

(Traditionally in Asian weddings, the newlyweds are supposedly so shy and afraid of public displays of affection that the audience needs to clink the silverware in order for the newlyweds to share some “entertainment” for fun.  But when you have a couple that is so willing to kiss, it makes the whole thing unfun.. which is what happened here, I gather haha.)

The rest of the night was a bit of a blur and rush so the sequencing of the night may be slightly incorrect:

We had a first game that was a mix between a scavenger hunt and musical chairs.  Instead of each table picking one of their members to participate though, Thomas only put out seven chairs or so.  I was a little disappointed about this because this meant that there were only seven rounds of games to play.

I was also a little dismayed to see that nearly all of our bridal party came out to play instead of our guests.  There were only two or three actual guests playing.  I would have wanted the guests to participate, especially since it wasn’t even all the tables participating but only seven.  The bridal party was already playing games the full day… they didn’t need to be part of the games too!  But oh, well..

Since there were only seven people playing, the rounds went by too quickly.  I so loved this game when we first saw at at Kent and Lynda’s wedding last year when everyone was so involved and excited to play.  I mean the excitement was present here as well but seven rounds was just not enough.  I guess timing was an issue though that if we had more rounds than ten, we wouldn’t have been able to fit the rest of the programming in.

I liked seeing the happy faces of my relatives as they watched the participants of the game scurry around the room trying to gather items like a lipstick, cell phone battery pack (barely anyone had this; how?!), baby diapers, etc.  It was fun to watch.

We had the bouquet toss right after the scavenger game to keep up with the high spirit and energy that was in the room (so that the single girls wouldn’t have a reason to not come out on the floor!).  I loved choosing the Chinese pageant song for it haha.

Surprisingly, I have so many single female friends.  There must have been like 20 or so out there.  I’m glad I didn’t have to drag them out after all.  I love how Cyn brought her five-month-old baby girl out there too.  It was the cutest and I definitely noticed.

Either Kelvin or Thomas instructed me to throw the bouquet straight and out and not straight into the ceiling/chandelier lights.  Oh, I was suddenly afraid.  I’ve never been good at throwing things.  I also thought about how I should have practised throwing a bouquet.  Nevertheless, when I was instructed to, I threw it straight backwards.  It ended up being a straight shot, woohoo.  It went straight into the crowd of girls and bumped someone in the head.  Carmen, my youngest cousin, was the one who picked it up and caught it.  Surprise!  🙂

We had a first speech by Ken’s mom.  She was happy and spoke a lot; much more than at Ken’s sister’s wedding the previous year.  Her speech was very meaningful and alternated in both English and Cantonese.

We had our Caldeverde soup, which I finished completely because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to pack soup home.  This was the only dish I finished in the entire night.

The second speech was Grace’s.  This was a problematic speech, and I’m going to be honest.  I knew ahead of time that she was going to incorporate the “bee” story of how we met because she had asked me for a specific photo ahead of time — of which we still didn’t even find the one she was looking for.  It was a cute little story of me dressing up as a bee the night which met at a Halloween house party.

But then when it came to talking about my blog and how Grace was “watching” Ken through what I had written in my blog posts, Ken later told me that was weird.  It’s not like I write about Ken in my blog posts.  I simply blog about restaurants and experiences that I have, only some of which involve Ken.  How do those even give anyone any indication of how Ken is like as a person or what our relationship is like?  It was a little odd and she shouldn’t have talked about that in front of all of our close friends and family, and especially Ken’s co-workers and bosses.  It’s awkward.

The biggest issue was I didn’t know Grace was going to share my blog URL in big font on the PowerPoint screen.  Um, what the F.  No one needs to know what my blog is at my wedding like that.  I’m not promoting myself here.  But fine, it was done.  The next part was how she talked about her own blog and put HER blog URL up on the screen.  What the F even more.  This was tacky as hell.

(The day of my wedding and afterwards, my blog stats instantly shot up.  :/  Great.  Now all my relatives and people who weren’t supposed to know about my blog know and will stalk me.  The privacy of my blog is something I can never get back, which is what I have the most problem with once she shared my blog URL to the audience.)

We had a mushroom risotto dish served French style.  I think I only had a bite of this.

We had a second game, which was the shoe game.  On Thomas’s request, we had previously asked our bridal party and some of our close friends to send Thomas some of the shoe game questions.  I didn’t want the typical boring questions to be asked.  So we actually did in fact get a lot of the more interesting questions; questions like “who is more superstitious,” “who uses social media more,” etc.  They were definitely interesting.  I found it a bit embarrassing though when Thomas followed up with some of the answers with each of us because it painted us in a certain light in my opinion.  I got what I asked for though in terms of an interesting shoe game, so I actually can’t complain about that.  Other questions I remember were “who usually takes the window seat on a flight,” “who tips more generously at restaurants”, “who made the first move”.  Ken and I only matched answers on a few questions, but ultimately I just didn’t want to be so transparent.  I hesitated on a few questions.

The third speech was Demps’ speech.  His was a very nice growing up speech about how he knew Ken since the first day of high school and their growing up together.  It was a very nice and sweet bromance speech, and they had the biggest bromance hug after that.  It was so heart-warming to see.

We showed a growing up slideshow.  Gosh, I spent so much time on it but still wish I had spent even more time to perfect it.  Again, I knew up growing that I wanted a slideshow like this at my wedding but the final product wasn’t perfect in my eyes.  Ah, well.

The final speech was Angel’s matron of honour speech.  Hers was very structured and she was very nervous about it.  I loved how she had prepped hers with cue cards.  It was a safe speech.

Nearing the middle of the night (getting my timelines all mixed up here) when the main course was served or after the centrepiece game was done was when I changed into the red Chinese qipao dress (I would have wanted to see the centrepiece game incorporate more tidbits about us as the couple to test the crowd, but I think Thomas didn’t have time for that and never consulted us about — it was a generic game with an interesting twist because the person who gave out the $5 bill as the item being passed around turned out to be the person keeping the centrepiece).  The red dress was simple enough to get into, but I also had to wait for my mom to change as well.

As I was being helped into taking off the wedding dress, I realized how sad it was that I barely got to take any photos with my friends in a casual manner in my wedding dress.  We had spent so much time getting into the dress and I was already taking it off.  I wish we had more photos with my wedding dress with my friends and family in the lobby or photobooth or basically anywhere else in the venue.

The only time I took photos with friends during reception that night was if they came up to our sweetheart table.  We literally didn’t have a spare moment the whole evening to run off to say hi or take a visit to the photobooth or do anything else.  Our reception schedule was jam packed.   This is the reason why we barely ate.  We either were playing games with the guests or listening to speeches (which would have been rude to be chewing) or taking photos with friends when they came up to us.

We re-entered the hall and now it was time for the traditional Chinese table toasting.  My red dress had fit me snugly just three days before the wedding on the Thursday when I got it from the store re-fitted and everything (I had visited the dress shop nearly every day the prior week so they could do fittings to make it perfect.  The owner was so persistent to help me look good).  But when I wore it that night, it was once again loose on me.  I hadn’t had any real dinner the night before and I was losing weight consistently that whole week.  It was honestly a bit terrifying.  It was all the stress and lack of time to eat and just every second trying to do something related to the wedding.  I couldn’t believe how loose the dress was.

This became an issue because not only was the dress loose but also the bottom of the dress became longer as I had nothing to hold it up; my butt wasn’t holding it up.  I had trouble walking around the tables as I didn’t hold the tail end of it in the right place with my right hand.  I asked Angel to help me find the right spot but she wasn’t able to do it in the rush of time.  I kind of hated this part because my dress interfered with me enjoying the table toasting.

Despite that, it was really really nice to go around to all the tables and table toast our guests.  It was the only time of the night where we could see all our guests and take a group photo with them — albeit rushed.  My side of the family and Ken’s immediate family came out with us too as we visited all the 20 tables.

The end of the night was our speech.  Again, my part was folded and printed just that morning on an 8 by 11 piece of paper.  XD  After Ken said his speech, I did mine.  I cried as expected.  It was a very emotional day and I had never expressed myself like that before, but it was also the only day of my life where I could do so.

I had to thank my mom for raising me, for giving me life, and for giving me basically everything she has.  She is the toughest fighter who has unconditional love and support for me always, all the time, and is never selfish because of it.  Then I had to mention my dad too.

Following this, we had to be prompted by Thomas to present the parents’ tribute video.  I totally forgot how to transition into it because of all the emotions.  When we had the parents’ tribute photo slideshow, the room was dead quiet.  You could hear a pin drop on the floor for the first time the whole night.  The reason being is that I’ve never talked about my dad before — and actually the majority of my friends don’t even know much about my dad because I never talk about it.  So this was the very first time that they heard about it from me.  Everyone just watched the slideshow in silence.

Then Thomas came to us with four roses, which I didn’t expect.  Ken said that he had got them for our parents and so we gave them out to them in appreciation of their love.

By this point, some guests had already left because it was getting late — our fault for choosing a Sunday wedding.  We anticipated this but by that point of time, it seemed sad that not everyone had stayed.

(By 10 p.m., the late night stations also had opened up:  The Sweet Boutique table which included 12 types of desserts, our wedding cake, and a poutine station.  Again, I never saw any of these with my bare eyes.  -_- )

The very last thing was the presentation of the same day edit video.  I was honestly waiting to watch this video the whole day.  I really wanted to see how we looked like and how the video turned out.  Unfortunately though as the MC was announcing the video, we noticed that some family members were leaving so we went out to the dance floor to take a photo with them.  As we were taking the photo with them, I kept a corner of my eye on the screen.  Once the photo was done, Ken and I just stood on the dance floor holding each other and watching the video being played on the screen.  Wow, it was an amazing video (truly beautifully edited with all the best highlights of the whole day up until the reception entrance).  We smiled and laughed as we watched it.  I also noticed our photographers on the side taking our candid photos as we did this.  I can’t wait to see all the photos and videos of the day eventually.

In the end, the dance floor was open but barely anyone was on it.  We planned for the dance floor to close at 11 p.m. anyway so people didn’t stay.

The photobooth was still open so we snuck in some shots with friends, but I didn’t even take any with Ken that night as a couple.  I was sad not to have seen the reception area all decorated with my own eyes as Susan had already packed everything up.  It was a good gesture on her part of course.

At the end of the night, I went back to collect our things from our sweetheart table and stuck in a last bite from the dessert, the lemon gelatini that we never had (Ken didn’t even get to try it at all).  I’m so glad that the staff didn’t clear our table yet.  I packed up all of our main courses into the Tupperware and then we left (I literally only had one bite of the steak and salmon and that was it — didn’t even try any of the chicken).  I was a little sad to see not everyone had taken home the place cards that I put so much time into making.  C’est la vie.

At the end, I also really appreciated how the venue staff had packed up all of the leftover food and desserts into large tin foil containers for us to take home.  This was a Godsend.  I don’t think any other venue hall does this.  The main supervisor who was overseeing us saw how we packed our food into the Tupperware boxes, and perhaps that’s why they took the extra move to do this for us.  I loved it.  We had so much fruit and desserts and mushroom risotto!

We sorted everything out and as we said our goodbyes, we left away in our car back to the hotel that we had booked for the night.  It was finally time for me and Ken to relax.

When we got back to the hotel though, Ken realized that he had forgotten his glasses or contact lens container so we did drove back to his place to get it.

Back at the hotel, I struggled to remove the hairpieces.  It was only an hour later that I figured out that one of the fake hair pieces was a clip-on.  It was nice to remove all of the makeup I had and shower and crawl into bed with my new husband.

The next day, we sorted out all of our wedding gifts and returned a lot of the stuff we had rented.  The hotel room had a microwave and utensils so we enjoyed the food that we didn’t get to eat the night before.  Again, all newlyweds should do this too.  There was a Jacuzzi in the hotel room as well.

We realized that we had left the rented flower vase pedestals at the venue and went back to retrieve it.  Good thing we did because we also took back the flower vases as well as a stroller that one of our families had left behind.  Some things we could have taken a note of more, but we had enough to do that day already.

We returned the rental tablecloths, the king and queen chairs were taken care of themselves thankfully (another story about that but so glad it worked out), my wedding dress and the kwa (stupid money grab $50 extra for the dry cleaning because I got powder on the neck area), and the rental car.  Ken’s car also needed a sudden battery boost.  The next day after that, Ken returned the flower pedestals to the florist too.

We were so busy the two days after the wedding doing post-wedding stuff, it was a bit unbelievable.  Our flight was the third day.  It was only leaving on the flight (after finishing my final 2-hour transcript!!!! and packing at the last minute) that I could finally relax.

Even on the honeymoon, I still had dreams at night about the wedding and prep process.  My brain is still processing everything.  It took 11 months for us to plan this wedding.  It’ll probably take another 11 months for us to finally conclude it (at least for me).

Thank you everyone for joining part in our wedding and we appreciated all the guests who arrived and were there.  If you read through this 9,200-word essay, you’re a trooper too.

The wedding day was honestly amazing and we couldn’t have been more happy with how everything worked out.  The way the tea ceremonies and ceremony group photos worked out on time were truly miraculous.  There were of course a few minor things like how we could have had more time at the photoshoot in the park or had more individual time with friends and family at the reception, but the overall feeling was it was a very successful and happy wedding.  We accomplished so much and finally the biggest party of our lives is now in the books.  We’re part of the married club now!

Below is the link to the same day edit video that we had.  I am so glad that we had a videographer (honestly, in this day and age of easy video and constant photos, how can you not?).

Wilson, Chris, and Van did an incredible job, and so many people complimented the video.  Some people were shocked at how fast a video like this could be produced, but it’s been a standard in the wedding industry for a long time already.  My mom, when she got married, also had a same day edit video that was played at their wedding reception.  I guess some people just aren’t aware of this product at weddings.


About stenoodie

I'm a stenographer, foodie, avid traveller, and new mom who loves to share her experiences with the world.
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