23 September 2014, by Tan Li Lin
You know you’re reading a good book when you’re down to the last few pages and suddenly, every page turn brings an odd mix of reluctance and anticipation. You slow your reading pace down. The words seem further apart. You relish the spaces between each line. After blazing through hundreds of pages to get to the end, there’s almost a dread that it’s over so fast.
That’s the way I feel now 5 days to the wedding dinner. Over the last few weeks, busying myself with wedding preparations was part of my daily routine. Firming up the program, printing artwork, ordering favors, packaging gifts, coordinating with several parties, mentally walking myself through everything again as I fall asleep at night…
The event always seemed sometime ‘down the road’. Suddenly, I’m off to Bali already. Everything’s planned, except this… slightly uncomfortable mixture of excitement, fear (that things go wrong!) and dread.
Ronald and I arrive in Bali 4 days before the wedding to finalize arrangements. I thought I’ll blog about days leading up to the wedding – firstly to share my experience for those considering a Bali wedding and secondly, to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the process.
Off we go, with Love in the air and butterflies in my stomach.
MONDAY: 5 days to D-DAY
My luggage is loaded with stuff I’m bring over from SG – bottles of wine, wedding favors, stationery (!), decorations and our wedding outfits. Why bring so much stuff over? Alcohol in Bali is expensive due to the alcohol tax, so we checked-in 13 bottles (there are restrictions and the Bali immigration will question) split amongst 9 adults. The wedding planner handles the large item decor but I wanted control of the little touches, which I prepared here in SG.
Spot my wedding dress. Hint: It’s in an orange bag.
TUESDAY: 4 days to D-DAY
The biggest thing on my agenda today was to meet up with our wedding planner Cintya, to run through the details. Some arrangements are not finalized yet, and I’m getting antsy. She’s been busy this month as September and October are peak wedding periods so her delay in communications has been quite unnerving. Weddings are hot this time of the year because the peak Bali travel period ends in August (so prices drop) and the Monsoon season starts in November. I had to be assured that she didn’t get my party details mixed up with another bride’s, or worse still, run away with our deposit. Well, she didn’t – or – couldn’t run very far being now 5 months pregnant. The last I met her in April, she was just getting married. Are these people fast or what! Baby planning in a month! (And here I am stalling for 3 years…)
Having a local wedding planner helped us, ironically, get contacts and low prices easily as compared to going direct to vendors. She could also warn us of sneaky things some locals might do, like villa staff breaking things to ‘earn’ from our villa safety refundable deposit.
I take care of the wedding food, decor, gifts and coordination, so most of my work is done except for overseeing Saturday’s actual event prep. Ronald handles the finance and the drivers (to pick our guests), so he’s hard at work today confirming drivers, prices and schedules.
Today was also Day 1 of Mission ‘GLOW’ – get tanned (that’s easy) and toned (that’s hard) in 4 days. Sunning, jacuzzi, in-villa massage, body scrub and body mask. Damn. This wedding prep thing is quite tedious. Guess it was a good move to get a ‘honeymoon’ package online that covers a villa of our choice, in-villa meals, and a couple spa treatment. It helped not to have to worry about hailing cabs and sitting through jams to get a simple meal.
That said, we couldn’t help but sneak over to Naughty Nuri’s and stuff ourselves silly with BBQ ribs, chicken chop, corn and fries. So much for eating clean pre-wedding. Think I’ll regret this later.
Man-feasting in action: Salty burnt meat, limey fingers, drippings, beer burps. What’s an upcoming wedding when you have comfort food like this?!
WEDNESDAY: 3 days to D-DAY
Day 2 of Mission ‘GLOW’ – more tanning and spa works. Today, we treated ourselves to an amazing 3 hour treatment at the beautiful Prana, where we paid people to scrub the fleas from our backs and left-over BBQ aroma off our skin. Ronald got his first-ever Pedicure; we sat in hot and cold tubs until we were dizzy and flushed. Then, off to a waxing appointment, and back to the Villa for a candlelight dinner.
Dinner was served with outdoor candles placed around the pool, and a cute floating heart made from flower petals.
After handling it several times throughout the night, including taking photos and peering closely at the flower petals, Ronald gave up hoping I’d spot a proposal (yes it’s late) ring he buried under all that and shoved the heart in my face desperately with a loud “Baby do you see something hereeeee???”
Tonight, this lady sleeps happy.
THURSDAY: 2 days to D-DAY
We check out of our honeymoon villa today as it’s finally time to head over to the wedding location (Karang Kembar Estate Villa). My family’s flying in this morning (yipppiiieee!!!!) and I can’t wait to join them at the KK Villa. Wish I could see their reaction to the villa and the view when they first walk in, but Ron and I won’t make it in time to check in with them. Just after breakfast, we happened to decide to make a call to confirm the accommodation for Ronald’s family, only to find that the host cancelled on us there and then due to ‘personal emergencies’. Great. We had to find another house to accommodate 8 adults within the next hour. That meant spending time having to recce the new accommodation and dig into our cash reserve to secure the place before his family starts arriving tomorrow. Once that was settled, I needed to find a good ‘spa’ house to send my mom and sister for some pampering on the day of the wedding. It was frustrating and I was annoyed at myself for assuming that I could find one near our rather ‘ulu’ villa with the same standards as those in Seminyak. By the time we were done, we were tired and further irritated by a lousy lunch in a touristy cafe. I couldn’t wait to head over to join my family.
This view… does amazing things to your mind, body and soul… – and I’m hoping – wedding photos.
All that irritation was gone the moment I reached the villa. The view cleared my mind and the roar of the ocean calmed me down. My sis was glowing from a massage at the pavilion (above) that she just finished, and my parents looked pleased with the place. I was happy to see the Coco and Claire too, although Coco looked disoriented and Claire seemed like she couldn’t recognize me. Ahhh. I felt right at home.
Couldn’t rest and relax much though. The wedding planner was coming soon to discuss the table arrangements and the decor, so Ronald and I had to discuss and confirm the layout we wanted. The moment she left, we rushed – in 2 family cars – to Jimbaran to catch the famous Bali sunset over a seafood dinner.
We missed the sunset, but that was soon forgotten once our BBQ seafood was served.
FRIDAY: 1 day to D-DAY
I woke up feeling the dread again. The week had gone by so fast – what was I doing again the last few days? – and the wedding was tomorrow. TOMORROW. And after that big milestone I had been preparing for the last 6 months (or a lifetime?), we’d be left with 1 day before our holiday ends. THAT’S FAST. Where did the week go?!!!? What do I go home to?!! Dramatic, I know.
By tonight, all our guests would have arrived in Bali. Ronald was kept busy coordinating drivers and meet up schedules for his 15 family guests who trickled in throughout the day. Other than taking care of random guests requests, we spent the day out with my family since they wanted to make a trip to Kuta and have dinner there. We stopped by Carrefour on the way to pick up wedding snacks and Bintang beer. Coordinating 9 adults + 2 squirming kids in Bali isn’t easy. We have to climb into 2 cars, beat horrific jams, experience haphazard communication and various walking paces (2 toddlers, 2 old folks, 2 grandparents who fuss over their grandchildren, and 2 parents who have to carry their 10kg meat sacks while changing diapers along the street…) A simple trip out is tiring, but it was important that everyone had a great wedding getaway.
Watching the sun disappear into the sea, according to Coco.
Ronald and I left my family for Seminyak to meet up some close friends in the evening for dinner, which surprisingly, helped me prepare emotionally for the next day’s wedding. Feeling their excitement and genuine happiness for us, turned my dread into a strange assurance. I left the dinner finally feeling like I was ready for this (!!!) , and for the first time found that I couldn’t wait for tomorrow! 🙂
One last visit later in the night (it was close to midnight by then) to his family’s accommodation to say ‘Hi’ to his mom, and then, back to the Villa for final prep (yes… more prep….):
Thank-you cards bundled with personalized wedding favors – awesome metal luggage tags that double up as seating name placements.
Wrapped special gifts for my family and Mother-in-law, all thoughtfully chosen. Can’t wait for them to open it!
The Groom falls asleep while running through the final plan…
After 6 months of planning and mental rehearsals, I find that now, ironically, I simply can’t fathom how tomorrow will pan out. All the prep work’s been done and the guests are here – I guess it’s left in the hands of the Universe now!
WISH ME LUCK!
Lin Tan is an Entrepreneur and an Executive Coach who dedicates more time to making society a better place over making babies (for now). Follow her blog on ilovechildren.sg/blog and journey with her as she embarks on all things ‘life after 30′.