15 January 2014, by Tan Li Lin
Over with our fab, cosy, garden-themed Solemnization last year in November, Ronald and I are on to planning our wedding party. We’re taking the less traditional approach and doing away with the Chinese wedding dinner.
I personally don’t find much excitement in attending cookie-cutter dinners, and I’ll relieve my guests of having to go through the same formalities when it comes to our dinner. This, together with wonderful parents who leave us to our devices, determined our choice of holding our dinner party overseas.
I must say, the ‘fun’ in the process lasted about the first 3 hours. Mesmerizing beautiful photos of villas have a mind control effect that brainwashes you into considering ridiculously expensive places and packages. This little escapism activity lulled my logic and before long, my tripping had to come to an end, with these things knocking at my door:
Ideal vs. Reality
Fell in love with The Naka Island back in 2012 and really wanted our wedding here. But alas…
If money rains every time we sneeze, we (and our guests) wouldn’t have a problem enjoying a 5* villa garden party over looking the sun setting on the majestic cliffs of Uluwatu, or the serene seas off The Naka Island. To be honest, we’re still struggling with our ‘Ideal vs. Reality’ as we strive to consider the (financial) comfort of our guests. It takes a very conscious effort to make a choice to get off the daydream. End of the day, if our guests can’t possibly make it, we can forget about making our party possible.
Inviting Everyone vs. Inviting Some
Who to invite isn’t a problem, it’s who not to invite.
We’re looking at only 40 – 50 guests in all. Why so few? I cannot fathom the idea (in today’s time) of inviting a ballroom full of guests, telling them “I’ll be delighted to have you there” and then spend 5 seconds with each guest in the midst of running between dress changes and tables. For a friend to pay $150 to spend 3 (unproductive) hours sitting through 8 courses of predictable food standards and risk running into people they don’t want to meet… all for 5 seconds to honor my big day… isn’t exactly our idea of what a celebration means. Ronald and I are determined to do what’s meaningful to us.
With family already adding up to 30 people, shortlisting for 20 friend slots to be shared between Ronald and myself is a huge challenge. Every time I find myself wandering off into “ohhh but (person x) would have even more fun if (person y) is there!“, I have to remind myself that this isn’t about bringing everyone together to have fun. There are always social gatherings for that.
I also have to force self-proclaimed forgiveness upon myself from imaginary hate and disappointment from friends who wont’ be receiving an invitation, but given that not everyone gets along at the same level, it’s in my interest to remove as much awkwardness as possible by trimming the guest list down to what works for all. I’d rather have a smart guest list that’s designed to reduce as much ‘social sensitivities’ as possible.
“I don’t want HIM there” vs. “I’ll accept that YOU want him there”
There are some guests on Ronald’s list whom I’m not very comfortable with – and it irks me to have to give them a priority above the friends I’ve to painfully leave out. But after some reflection and some heavy grilling, I found that it’s important to Ronald to have them attend. It would be utterly selfish of me to throw a tantrum and insist my way. I needed to accept them as how Ronald sees them, and be happy if they are there. This has given me a new perspective to how ‘mutual respect’ extends beyond my husband into the things (or people) he considers important to him.
We’re barely into the 2nd week of our wedding project when a forced break has provided us a chance to step back and release some of the pressure that was starting to build up. In the midst of consulting a Feng Shui Master for auspicious dates for our tea ceremony, all planning now is on hold. Apart from auspicious dates to contend with, there is the infamous Bali rainy season that we’re trying to avoid as much as I’d love to hold the wedding year end.
Trivial issues aside, a much bigger challenge engulfs us. Even if it’s common – and I’m sure most couples face this – financial concerns loom over a much desired easy path to our newly married life. We’ve got a wedding lined up, housing loans to finance, a 3-week Europe trip with friends planned since last year, and our second-hand car to replace early next year. All this while kick-starting a new business this year, and a potential career change Ronald is considering.
I don’t want to give in to feeling burdened, and I tend to rely on conviction a lot (at this point, Ronald the Realist typically rolls his eyes). I don’t know how I’m going to make it through, but adversity builds character, and opportunity builds resourcefulness. I’m just lucky that I have skills to make money with, and a husband who’s just as determined to see us through. After all, whoever said Marriage was all about bliss and happy endings?
(Note to self: Read
Fairy tales Financial literature to the kids next time)
Lin Tan is an Entrepreneur and an Executive Coach who dedicates more time to making society a better place over making babies. Follow her blog on ilovechildren.sg/blog and journey with her as she embarks on all things ‘life after 30′.