Singaporebrides | Real Weddings

February 2020

Tina and Jacen’s Intimate Wedding at Emily Hill

Tina and Jacen said “I do” under the stars with a night to remember in the company of their family and friends at Emily Hill.

When Tina, 32, Educator, and Jacen, 33, UI Designer, first met each other online, they did not think that they would meet the one… but they did! They found the perfect significant other in each other. They celebrated their union with friends and family at Emily Hill on 7 September 2019 with an intimate, unique, and special day as they highlighted the love story and journey together as a couple thus far.

How did the two of you meet?

Jacen: We met via the dating app, Paktor, and didn’t think we would be able to find our life-long partners like this. Tina always joked that her ideal way of meeting would be in a bookstore but I said that our being able to sieve through the numerous accounts, exchanges, meet-ups and finally get together had more odds to it. We are really very lucky and blessed to find each other like this.

We texted for almost a month before meeting for the first time for prata and ice cream, both of our self-declared favourite foods. She actually brought along her work and asked me to help her cut out some 3D solid templates for her math lesson right there in Udders. I was very amused but had to show my gallantness and, of course, helped her out. We chatted and spent a comfortable four hours together that afternoon, and that started off our adventure together.

What drew you to each other? What made you fall in love with your partner?

Tina: Jacen is very patient. He’s laidback but self-determined. He is hardworking and disciplined. He also self-studies by taking up e-learning courses beyond work and reads non-fiction books to further his career prospects. He never once rushed me for replies when we first started texting, gave me space to get back to him at my own time, and was very gentleman-ly throughout the courtship.

He also has a quiet confidence and was mature and sincere in talking me through my various reservations when he first confessed to me. I was attracted to him but was worried if we were able to work out given the differences between us and did not want to risk another heartbreak. But his gentleness and genuineness touched me and we agreed to give it a try.

Jacen: Her megawatt smile, twinkling eyes, and laughter really attracted me from the first meet-up. She is very genuine and kind, and always gave her best to the people around her – be it her family, friends, or students. I knew I could not miss a chance with this girl after spending that first four hours with her.

What is it about your partner that you love the most?

Tina: His love for his dog and kindness towards animals in general. Jacen is a gentle soul despite his “cool guy” image he portrays.

Jacen: Her genuineness towards everyone around her.

Was there a moment when you knew that he or she was the one?

Tina: There were too many frankly, haha! He was there through my ups and downs these past few years together, standing by me without complain through my hectic work and study schedules, supporting me when I went through pretty crippling setbacks, and offering love and support without my asking. He would deliver food and drinks to me at school or home after crazy long days, knowing I am drained and miserable and need a hug.

He even came to pick me up that one day when I was really devastated having not been selected for the team and let down by my teammates of four years. He has been consistent in how he treated me from day one till now, and that takes intentional effort to remember and keep up with all the little things. I really cherish and appreciate him for being so dependable and loving and honestly can’t ask for a better partner to walk through life together with me, but him.

Jacen: There wasn’t really a moment per se. It was simply the way that she made me feel and how I can be myself around her. Her cheerful persona is also one of the reasons why I was attracted to her. I knew she was the one when all I could think about was how to make her happy.

What was the proposal like?

Jacen: Nerve-wrecking. I had planned for the proposal almost a year ahead, getting in touch with Xue Min of LivLov Jewellery after seeing it on Tina’s instagram feed to design the proposal ring. Thereafter, I kept the ring for a good few months without Tina’s knowledge. I took up ukelele lessons on the side and was all hyped up to proceed on our second year anniversary date, but at the last minute, Tina requested to postpone the date as she had to meet some deadlines for work. Nonetheless, we met a week later and I would say that things went smoothly as planned and I felt like I was the happiest man in the world, haha.

Tina: He took me to Singapore Botanic Gardens for a picnic and I did not suspect a thing as I thought it was to celebrate our second year anniversary. We brought along some homecooked snacks I had prepared and he brought a ukelele, which I didn’t even know he could play until that day. After settling down on the greens before the symphony stage, he told me to close my eyes as he had prepared a song for me. I asked if I could video him but he said no as he was very nervous and didn’t think he could sing well – so I had to leave my eyes closed.

Thinking that was his anniversary gift for me, I respected his request and sat there listening with my eyes closed and a grin so wide. He had learnt to play the chords for “Just The Way You Are” by Bruno Mars, his go-to song for me. He sang it with so much heart and feeling as always that I genuinely was not expecting him to be on his knees with the ring and bouquet when I opened my eyes, hence blurting the words, “Huh, so fast ah?” without hearing his question proper haha. Anyhow, when a man makes you feel blessed beyond words in the everyday and little things, the only answer is “Yes”!

What was the wedding planning journey like? Were there any challenging/favourite moments during that planning period?

Tina: We set out without a clue about how to start planning for it, so we attended some wedding shows to get some ideas. I also created a Pinterest board and began to put together images of the various elements I saw online that stood out to me. Jacen and I also discussed our expectations for the wedding, our parents’ expectations, and the budget we were comfortable with spending and that laid the ground for the next few decisions on the big items like venue, bridal needs, photography etc.

Next, we started to reach out and speak to vendors whose works spoke out to us, finding the winning combination of Hanzhi of The Joy Troopers and Eliz of Fleur Boutique at one of the wedding shows. They were very kind and patient, listening to our preferences and offered a lot of friendly advice in spite of our not committing to anything at that point of time. This also led us to find Kenneth and Xiaojing of Five Twenty Library, who were a really down-to-earth couple. They were steadfast in their pursuit for quality and had a personable approach, ensuring we were comfortable before committing to the bridal and photography package.

Jacen: At the same time, we were also looking at alternative venues for the wedding as we were not keen on the banquet idea. We also didn’t want to spend an exorbitant amount on hotel ballrooms and ten-course meals which to us, seemed like a cookie-cutter wedding. Nonetheless, we still had to consider our parents and elderly relatives who would prefer Asian cuisine instead of the Western menu served at most of these alternative venues we were looking at.

Thus, we started to consider the option of non-standard venues and brought in caterers who were able to fit our need for both a space and decent food to feed our guests. It took a while to find Emily Hill but when we did, Tina was very excited at the potential of the space with its two-storey colonial building and front yard.

I had some reservations because the building was relatively old and was not entirely well-maintained. Furthermore, we were only going to have the space which meant that we would really need a lot of help to have the entire place set up and running on the actual day of our wedding. We decided to take the chance, agreeing that we will make it work and keep it within our means. Seeing the final product on our actual day was very fulfilling, like a huge project accomplished, and we could not be more pleased that we had proceeded with Emily Hill.

What was your wedding day like?

Tina: I could not stop smiling the whole day! It was truly a dream come true to see everything finally come together after all the planning and coordination. We sailed through the day at ease as our schedule was fairly spread out and the option of having buffet lines instead of a full sit-down banquet allowed everyone to move freely and gave us time catch up with our guests, enjoy the food, and even sneaked in some photoshoot time.

Jacen: Firstly, I was super pleased to have escaped gatecrashing as Tina was not keen on the idea as well. I did have to take care of some matters with the vendors and bridal help, so did feel a bit of pressure there. Otherwise, I was very happy (though numb from plastering a smile on my face) throughout the day.

I’m glad that our plans for the venue came together and worked out well. Tina looked splendid in her gowns, my vows were unique and on point with my favourite Marvel references, and we were surrounded by all our loved ones. It was really the best day of our lives!

How did you create and decide on your wedding theme?

Tina: We did not have a specific theme but worked with the venue and our love story in mind. As our guests would be housed indoors across the two levels of the air-conditioned building to avoid the risk of rainy and hot weather, we were not able to show a video montage. Instead, we worked with Hanzhi to create two feature walls: one displaying our childhood years and time with our family, and another showcasing our dating journey and time with our friends to brighten the indoor halls.

We also put together a convening ground on the front yard where our guests could witness our solemnisation and come together at a later part of the evening for toasting and cake-cutting. The unique floral arch with our wedding hashtag “当我们彤在一棋” (with Chinese characters from our names that sound like the phrase “the more we get together”) served as a focal point for us to share our vows and as a backdrop for photo-taking with our guests.

We wanted everyone to have a good time too so we also incorporated elements like ‘live’ stations, good music, visual installations and lighting, vibrant colours and surprises like having Jacen’s family dog, Kiwi, to be our ring bearer. I also did a special song dedication to my husband while everyone held sparklers as the sun began to set.

What did your friends/family have to say about your wedding?

Tina: Everyone thought that the venue was really beautiful with its fairy lights and colourful floral arch on the front yard. My parents thought the wedding turned out to be very cosy and dreamy, like out of an idol drama! They shared that the relatives enjoyed themselves in spite of it not being a usual wedding banquet and the food selection was good and yummy. Our friends told us that the wedding was lovely and unique with the various elements like the feature walls, ice cream and prata booths, gaming stations, and sparklers too.

Jacen: I think Tina’s friends also really appreciated the individual photos and notes she had written to each of them as part of the wedding favours. She really puts in the effort to let the people who matter know that we really appreciate them in our lives and present to share our joy.

Share with us the most memorable moment of your wedding?

Jacen: That first look when I entered the room to receive Tina and see her looking so beautiful in her gown. At that moment, it really hit me that I am going to marry the love of my life.

Tina: Listening to Jacen’s vows during solemnisation. He had really put in effort and made it entirely his own with those Marvel references haha. I love you 10,000 too.

What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with other couples who are also in the midst of planning their wedding?

Jacen: Always learn to give and take. Weddings are joyous occasions. Do not let little differences lead to arguments and always communicate with each other and resolve these disagreements amicably.

Tina: Be equally involved in the planning and preparations. It helps to build the relationship and also gives ownership to both bride and groom to recognise that the wedding is but a first step towards a life-long partnership as we journey through marriage so it’s good to learn to make the best of each step.

The Size of the Wedding: No. of guests – 150
The Cost of the Wedding: ~$30k
The Venue: Emily Hill
The Wedding Day Photographer: Kenneth of Five Twenty Library
The Gown: Five Twenty Library
The Bride’s Shoes: Anna Nuchi
The Suit: The Old Fashion House
The Groom’s Shoes: Pedro
The Engagement Ring: LivLov Jewellery
The Wedding Bands: LivLov Jewellery
The Hairstylist and Makeup Artist: Xiaojing of Five Twenty Library
The Nail Artist: Kimberlyn of Nail Machine Services
The Caterer: Elsie’s Kitchen
The Dessert: TNC Gelato
The Wedding Cake: Sarah’s Loft
The Florist: Eliz of Fleur Boutique Singapore
The Wedding Stylist: Hanzhi of The Joy Troopers
The Set-up (Tentages + Lights): Nanyang Inc
The Wedding Invitations and Stationery: Elsie’s Kitchen + Jacen
The Wedding Favours: Self-sourced Tubes of M&M Minis and Photobook 4R photos
The Solemniser: JP Wee Pang Kiat
The Wedding Car Rental: Bran120 (Carousell)
The Wedding Resource: SingaporeBrides

Credits: Images by Five Twenty Library

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Tina and Jacen’s Intimate Wedding at Emily Hill