Singaporebrides | Photography

June 2020

Rachel and Aaron’s Intimate and Unplugged Wedding at Maison Miaja

Planning a wedding is difficult, but planning a wedding during the COVID-19 pandemic is a whole other story. Rachel Eng and Aaron Loo weathered through the storms of the world-wide pandemic and planned an intimate wedding for family and friends at Maison Miaja.

When Rachel, 29, and Aaron, 30, first embarked on their wedding planning journey together, they would not have thought that they would be one of the “lucky” couples to be hit by such a unique problem: the COVID-19 pandemic. While many other couples began postponing their wedding plans, Rachel and Aaron decided to push on through and focus on what matters the most – who they are marrying and the marriage itself. They invited their friends and family to do the same; without the worries of the pandemic or the distractions of mobile devices and cameras, the couple celebrated their love with an intimate and “unplugged” wedding at Maison Miaja.

Share with us your love story. How did you meet each other?

Rachel: We were orientation group leaders in our junior college. My friend and I had to teach Aaron and his friend our mass dance as they didn’t turn up for our practice session. He caught my attention because his uniform was super baggy, but I won’t say it drew me to him. There wasn’t exactly a moment… we were hanging out almost every day for two weeks and it just happened. Yes, we got together after just two weeks!

Aaron: Picture this. The first time you meet an attractive girl and she’s sitting rather unglamorously on the floor, and you exchange greetings. The first words that she says to you are: “Hi! I’m Rachel, remember me can already.” That was pretty much how she caught my attention. One thing I love about her the most is her candour.

The both of you go way back! Was there a moment when you knew that he/she was the one?

Rachel: It’s quite funny because I was determined to concentrate on my studies in JC. But after getting to know Aaron and realising he’s such a family person, I knew that he was too good a catch to miss!

Aaron: After getting to know her for about a week or so, I decided to meet her in school earlier as her dad usually sends her there early. I saw her with her head down on her duffle bag on the canteen table that one morning and I tried to sit down opposite her quietly, but she lifted her head. She gave me a smile – one that was cool like her attitude on the outside, but also warm and genuine. It was the most genuine and warm smile I’ve ever felt back then. That was the moment that sealed the deal for me.

What was the proposal like?

Rachel: Proposals are not really my kind of thing so I told Aaron to just ask for my parents’ approval. I did specifically mention that I did not need a ring, but knowing him, I knew that he’d still want to get me one. And so, I gave him a couple of options.

Aaron: We were visiting my godparents in Amphawa, Thailand, where their business was. I kind of knew that she’d see the proposal coming since she had already given me options for the engagement ring at that point, so I decided to keep it simple. My godparents helped to arrange a boat ride down a river for firefly watching.

The setting, in my opinion, was perfect and that was when I asked her to marry me. Her reply was “I knew it!” Who says that?! That, however, was hilariously Rachel. Definitely a keeper! And yes, I can never surprise her.

You planned your wedding amidst COVID-19 and its many changes and restrictions. What was the wedding planning journey like for you?

Both: We were quite lucky, I must say. The situation then wasn’t as serious. We know there were couples postponing their weddings, but that had never crossed our minds. It was a lot of monitoring with the lead up to our wedding and confirming with guests on the week before the actual day.

It helped that our wedding was an intimate affair, and that all our vendors were quite flexible. We were able to confirm the final number of guests just one week before – hotels would not have allowed for such flexibility!

What was the wedding like?

Rachel: It was exactly how I envisioned it to be! Aaron and I were aligned from the start – we didn’t want a hotel wedding and should we not have been able to find a venue that we fancy, we would have just done a simple solemnisation. I chanced upon Maison Miaja and after our first visit, we made up our mind. We love how empty the gallery is and it suited us perfectly. To us, less is more. We’re both into sustainability as well so it is very important to us that every decision we make minimises wastage.

Aaron: Initially, I was quite worried that there will be hiccups throughout the day that will affect what was meant to be a perfect day. True enough, even with careful checks and double-checking, there were hiccups even at the start of the day. All these, however, didn’t seem to bother me as soon as I saw her at the other end of the aisle. The day just felt natural and perfect as everything slowly fell into place.

What did your friends and family say about the wedding?

Both: They all mentioned that it was unconventional. Again, we’re lucky to have parents that sat out the entire wedding planning. We’re truly grateful for that. We didn’t have any program, but most enjoyed themselves and we’re glad that we got to mingle with every one of our guests!

Share with us the most memorable moment of your wedding!

Rachel: Walking down the aisle with the quartet playing Canon in D (it’s a childhood dream of mine!). The only regret was that I started tearing even before the start. Throughout the walk-in, I was just staring at the ground instead of looking up at Aaron or at the guests.

Aaron: It was definitely when I first saw her face as she appeared at the opposite end of the aisle. Many have told me that grooms will typically get emotional at that moment, but knowing that I had the emotional bandwidth of a rock, I didn’t believe them. Well, they were right.

What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with other couples who are also in the midst of planning their wedding during this COVID-19 period, or for any couples in general?

Both: Planning a wedding is already difficult, and it is more difficult with the additional stress and uncertainties. But at the end of the day, it is who you’re marrying that truly matters. I know it’s easy for us to say (with supportive parents and all), but we believe that couples who brave through this will be closer than ever.

Imagine the stories to tell in the future: surviving a pandemic, having planned and gotten married during the tough times. We hold the philosophy of “everything happens for a reason” very closely. Maybe this is a reminder for all the other couples out there to remember the moments that are fleeting and hold on to those that are eternal.

The Size of the Wedding: No of guests – 105 pax
The Cost of the Wedding: $43,000
The Venue: Maison Miaja
The Wedding Day Photographer: Andri Tei Photography
The Gown: Caramel & Co.
The Bride’s Shoes: Reike Nen
The Suit: ln Personam CC
The Groom’s Shoes: THEY New York
The Engagement Ring: Oore
The Wedding Bands: BVLGARI
The Hairstylist and Makeup Artist: Kat Zhang
The Nail Artist: Calli Nails
The Caterer: Tim’s Fine Catering
The Wedding Cake: Sarah’s Loft
The Wedding Stylist: 8dec
The Wedding Planner: Rachel Eng
The Illustration: Branches and Strokes
The Tables and Chairs: Tiffany Chairs Rental
The Videographer: JH Pix
The Wedding Invitations and Stationery: Rachel Eng
The Wedding Favours: Kindred Teas
The Band: VETTA
The Solemniser: Ms Joanna Portilla

Credits: Images by Andri Tei Photography

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Rachel and Aaron’s Intimate and Unplugged Wedding at Maison Miaja