Singaporebrides | Fine Dining
Young and Free
It’s rare to find a young couple sure enough of their love to commit to a lifetime together.
At 21 and 23, Celeste Koh, Preschool Teacher, and Chua Wei Jie, Ethan, Military (Air Force), were sure that they had found their partners in each other, and got married in a beautiful wedding where they were not the youngest members in the wedding party! Read on for details of their beautiful wedding on 11 December 2013, filled with blue touches, butterflies, and the smiles of happy four-year-olds in their adorable processional.
You got married at such a young age, most people would think you were childhood sweethearts, but you actually met a few years ago, didn’t you?
Celeste: We met on the Good Friday of 2011 at a mutual friend’s place for a few games of poker. According to him, we had apparently met the year before at that friend’s birthday party and exchanged a few sentences, but I couldn’t remember him at all. I didn’t believe him until we looked through pictures of that event, haha! We started talking from then because he was looking for someone to bring him to church while I was looking for someone to go to church with me as I had stopped attending for a long while.
It’s rare and beautiful to see a couple so sure of their relationship, and while still so young! How did you know you were ready to get married?
Wei Jie: I always tell people, it’s because of what we believed in.We shared a lot of common goals about what we want in our future, the kind of family we would want to have, the lifestyle we would like to lead and so on. We felt that we were on the same ‘frequency’. God made it all happen for us and honestly, it was tough, but when things got tough, it became clearer to me that we were ready.
Celeste: It started when we were talking about where we see ourselves as individuals (or perhaps as a couple) in the next 5-10 years’ time. We were surprised that both of us felt that we would have many advantages if we could manage to settle young. That way we would not have to rush to achieve other big milestones in life.
We always agree that in life, it is important to experience the hardships before savoring the sweetness of your fruits of labour which is derived from the phrase “先苦后甜.”
Lastly, and most importantly, as we are Christians, we prayed about it and told God that if this was meant for us, He will provide us with everything that we need and we will not have to compromise on the things that we wanted for our dream wedding. As time went on, doors just kept opening and that was a major factor in making us sure getting married was right for us and that we were ready.
So was the proposal a surprise at all?
Wei Jie: We always have double dates with another couple who will be getting married next year, and the guy, who is my best man, was interested in taking a couple photoshoot for us. So i took the chance and collaborated with them on the idea of using the photoshoot as an excuse for a proposal that I wanted to be captured from the beginning till the end. I even made her choose the bouquet of flowers and balloons that we needed for the ‘photoshoot’! The proposal, as my best man said, “the perfect moment.”
I had the ring in my left hand, and before I said anything, we were looking into each other’s eyes and I saw her eyes filling up with tears. Then I knew, ‘the perfect moment’ couldn’t get any better. I started mumbling away about how much I’ve been waiting for this moment and how long I’ve let her wait for it, and I can’t remember what else I said. When I asked, “Will you marry me?” She asked me to repeat it like three times! Each time it got louder and louder, and she burst out in tears of joy. I’ll never forget that day, that ‘perfect moment’ and the laughter we shared after she said, “Yes.”
Celeste: He proposed to me on 22/12/12 as 2 is my favorite number. Haha, and it was just all about the right moment. He told me that we were going out for a couple shoot because our friend wanted to try out his photography skills. From time to time, I felt that something wasn’t exactly right but I didn’t probe into it. For the flowers, I chose ivory roses around 1 blue rose as I love the colour blue. During a certain point of the photoshoot, I was looking into his eyes and I saw that one blue rose that felt as if there would only be me in his eyes amongst the rest of the bouquet and started to tear because I felt so loved by him. Next thing I know, he started mumbling a whole lot of words which till today I don’t recall at all because I was too busy crying. Haha! Then he pulled out the ring, went down on one knee asked me to marry him! Funny thing is that I was so surprised that I kept going “huh?!”
What a cute surprise! We heard that there were no surprises in the wedding finance department. Tell us how you managed to stay debt free.
Wei Jie: We actually started planning around 2 years in advance. We only knew each other for 6 months before everything just came into place like a jigsaw puzzle. We started saving really hard, putting a huge chunk of our salaries each month into a joint account that we started even before we started to plan. Our first Chinese New Year together, we sold about $3000 worth of honey cornflakes with the help of both of our mothers as festive goodies. People say, weddings are so expensive, but actually, planning well really makes it less taxing and less scary.
Celeste: The wedding preparation went well as we just tried to get as many things done as soon as possible so that we would not have to rush later when it was nearer to date. Along the way, it was also an emotional roller coaster to a certain extent for me too. It wasn’t easy to be working full time, studying part time and giving tuition part time and to top it up be working on wedding preparations. We also sourced as much as we could and look for whatever that would fit within the budget that we had set aside. As we had planned our whole wedding ourselves, we were extremely glad that we had given ourselves so much buffer time. Couldn’t have imagined how things would be like if we had to rush everything! The time also allowed us to do a lot DIY things such as the coloring books that I had prepared to keep my young guests entertained. It was not easy but it was indeed a good experience as a whole. Very exciting and we were just looking forward to THE DAY.
Some asked if we were pregnant, others even tried ‘talking us out of it’ saying we can won’t be able to afford it or that we are just too young but we just kept pressing on and worked towards our goals.
Well, I won’t deny the fact that in the initial phase, even our own parents were skeptical about what we were saying. We even tried sharing with them how we intend to save and our ‘action plan’ haha! It took a while to convince them but once they saw that we were putting our words into actions, they started giving us much encouragement and support.
Every month on payday, we would also save a huge portion of our salary before spending on anything so that we know that we have saved and are covered for that month. God also constantly favored us and blessed us with many things that we thought we could never have.
Our wedding coordinator, Samantha from Marriott hotel also made things much easier for us. She provided us with a lot of information and always helped us with the nitty gritty things. Haha! She was also very accommodating to the requests that we had such as like when we wanted our dinner menu and electronic signboard to be personalized. All we had to do was send her what I had designed and she settled the rest for us. I am also very thankful for how she helped me with all the kids’ meals that I had ordered for my younger guests.
What was your wedding theme?
Wei Jie: It was pretty simple! We knew we are pretty young, so anything too serious or complicated will definitely not suit us. We wanted it to be.. us! Whatever that makes us happy when we are in it. So our theme was mainly white and mixed with her favourite blue. Even our room now is 80% white and 20% blue. Marriott wedding planner Samantha made it very easy, carefree and fantastic for us throughout.
Celeste: We wanted something young and fun (since we’re both so young) which portrays our personalities as both of us are pretty adventurous people. We didn’t want it to be too formal either even though it’s a wedding. Also as I love blue, we decided to add a touch of that to it therefore we ended up moving towards the blue and white theme. I also like butterflies; moreover it amazes me how a little caterpillar can turn into something so beautiful. We felt that we were able to relate our wedding to the metamorphosis of a butterfly too therefore we added lots of butterflies in our little details!
How did everything turn out on your wedding day?
Wei Jie: We hardly slept the night before but we knew the adrenaline the next day would definitely keep us awake throughout. I don’t remember a tiny bit of tiredness at all. We didn’t had to follow to time strictly as both our parents were easy on that, so I remember my parents thought they woke up earlier than me, so came to wake me up but I was already showering! I was excited and waiting for my brothers to come. We set off once my photographer was here. Did the usual morning tradition of gatecrash, tea ceremony and actual day short photoshoot at MacRitchie.
Despite all the events happening, I remembered the best moments for the morning were when we were in our two-seater wedding car, just the two of us, laughing and chatting away. It was those moments that made us feel so carefree on a day that everyone says is so stressful! We released a cage of butterflies that we bought through her friend from a butterfly farm. One butterfly refused to fly away once the cage was opened but instead climbed unto my finger for a really beautiful shot!
We coordinated with our emcees to give our guests a little scare during the dinner. Darren and Angels walked in via the aisle pretending to be guests ‘checking out’ the ballroom. Thereafter, they introduced themselves as the emcees for the night. Angels then pretended to receive a phone call on stage saying that due to certain circumstances, the couple had decided to cancel the wedding but since they were all there already, they might as well just stay on for the dinner just that this wedding would have no bridal couple.
Celeste: We had fun with the scare that we gave our guest but I loved our first march in after pulling the legs of our guests where I had 13 of my 4 year olds enter before us.
As I loved butterflies and we believe that a wedding also signifies the change of marital status from being a single to someone married. We decided to release butterflies on our wedding day. We felt that it is something different and something that signifies a lot to us.
I must say that I am very thankful our bridal party who were there for us the whole day especially my bridesmaids. Our actual day coordinator Liz from Le Seine Bridal who also happens to be an old friend of ours helped to ease our minds very much as well. We were blessed to have her sponsor my actual day coordination and the beautiful gown that I wore for my holy matrimony. A month prior to the wedding, we shared with her how the day’s schedule is going to be like and the things that we would require for the day. Without her, our first march in which had the children holding balloons would not ha been possible because she was the one who went to get them to ensure that the balloons were not deflated and just nice so that it would look good in photos.
For our second march in we had another one of my children, Shay, ‘drive’ his red Mini Cooper in to help us with our entrance. I was so happy because it matched my red gown and he did such a great job. I chose a red gown for my second march in because with my guests knowing that I like blue and that the wedding theme is blue and white, they would have expected me to enter in a blue gown so we decided that we would like to surprise them a little.
You had a charmingly sweet processional of little children. Who were they?
Wei Jie: Our march-ins were formed up by her lovely children, 4year olds, from work, she had such good relationships with the parents that they were more than just work. We had the children holding balloons on one hand, and holding each other hands on the other. The main lead was Sera, cycling her bicycle in and second march in was Shay, driving his mini-cooper in. What made it so special was that the children were so comfortable because they were so excited ever since the day they knew they were marching in with us. The parents said they even rehearsed at home and asked them to get ready their clothes much earlier in advance. Usually kids would be so shy and hesitant when facing such a large crowd, but the photos from both our photographers are beautiful evidence of how happy they were! Their smiles and laughter really made our day even brighter!
I had a surprise from my wife. She marched in with Marco, carrying a camera that I always wanted, singing along to a video, but in the video, it was me holding each alphabet with funny faces as she told me it was for her kids to learn. As all the kids knew me, I thought it would be funny if they saw my face and learned the alphabet at the same time. It was such a beautiful day for us!
What did your family and friends have to say about your wedding?
They were so full of praises of how the wedding was planned. At our age, it was simply magnificent. We received words like Grand, Beautiful, “set the standard up so high, next time people after you will be very stressed at planning wedding!”
They used words like ‘grand’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘amazing’ to describe it. Some even commented that we had set the bench mark really high for those who would be getting married after us because our wedding was so well planned and so well done. Most importantly, they shared that they felt our love for each other and the union of 2 becoming 1 could be felt in the atmosphere throughout.
Were there any moments that were particularly special to you?
Wei Jie: The solemnization was one of the most significant moments of my life as it signifies to my family, relatives and friends that I believe God made it all happen for me and my wife. As my family and relatives were mostly Buddhists, it was a huge concern for us, but I was delighted when it happened, and that moment, to me, was huge.
Out of the many beautiful moments we had throughout the day, the most special moment was during solemnisation when she marched in towards me.. it still gives me the goosebumps now!
Celeste: I think it would have been when my mother gave me a hug when I was leaving my place for his place, when I served tea to my parents in law and when I did the surprise for Ethan.
I felt very touched and thankful for my mother when she gave me a big hug before I left my place. I also felt that she was happy to know that this daughter of hers had grown up and was getting married.
My mother in law and I didn’t have it easy and it was only as the wedding got nearer that we started to show each other how much we cared for each other. Before I served tea to my in laws, I thanked them for looking after my husband for all these years, for raising him to be the fine man that he is and for welcoming me with open arms into the family. My mother in law is a pretty tough woman but it was an emotional moment for both of us because we knew how much we had been through to get here. As I said my words she started to tear and cried. It was definitely a very special moment for my mother in law and me.
I planned this surprise for him sometime before the wedding and he was some sort of an unsuspecting victim. I told him I was going to use pictures of holding alphabets for a child of mine at work who knows him too. Never did he know that these pictures were going to be there on screen on our wedding day! After he watched the video of him holding the alphabets (which had been edited with meanings of each alphabet: A- you’ll always be Adorable to me no matter how old you grow, B- the Beauty of your love never fails to make me smile, C- you’re definitely a Cutie full of Charms to me, D- you’re a darling, E- life will always be Exciting with you around etc.), I walked in singing the same song (occupational hazard lah. Haha!) with Marco holding his wedding gift. Although I sing this song often, it was really a different feeling singing it in those few moments. All eyes were on me and my eyes were on him. It was an amazing moment for me.
Her gowns: Rico-A-Mona Bridal Studio, Holy Matrimony gown sponsored by Le Seine Bridal Boutique; qun kwa from House of Etiquette
His suits: Rico-A-Mona Bridal Studio, tang jacket by Janet of The Red Wedding
The venue: Singapore Marriott Hotel
The caterer: Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant
The florist: Fluer, Reception, children’s and additional flowers sponsored by Ji Mei Flower Pte Ltd
The makeup artist: Miki from Rico-A-Mona Bridal Studio
The hair stylist: Miki from Rico-A-Mona Bridal Studio, Janet from The Red Wedding Actual day coordinator: Liz sponsored by Le Seine Bridal Boutique
The photographer: Tiong Jin from Cream Pictures, Paul Chew from Pauche Photography
The videographer: Han Thon of Cream Pictures
The photobooth: Justin from One Eye Click Live
The roving band: Los Pintos (Rosli and partner)
The emcees: Darren Wee of 98.7FM and Angels Yueng of 88.3FM
Credits: Photography by Cream Pictures, Pauche Photography, and couple’s guests.