Singaporebrides | Fashion

June 2020

Claire and Darryl’s Blissful Wedding at Tamarind Hill

Claire and Darryl met at a hotel restaurant where they were both working at. It was Darryl’s smile and confidence that attracted Claire to him, and years later, the two celebrate their love at Tamarind Hill on the leap day of 2020.

When Claire was interning as a chef at a hotel restaurant, she was introduced to Darryl, and the two quickly fell in love. After a romantic proposal under the blooming cherry blossoms in Japan, the two began their journey to plan the wedding of their dreams. Despite the challenges of COVID-19 and Claire not being able to find the perfect gown, the duo celebrated their union with a beautiful and simple wedding at Tamarind Hill on the leap day of 2020.

Share with us your story. How did the two of you meet?

Claire: I met Darryl at a hotel restaurant that I was interning at. He was working there. One day, I went there for dinner with my family and saw him laughing in the kitchen. His smile and the way he carried himself with confidence caught my attention. I asked my colleague who was working that day. We got introduced to each other and the rest was history!

Darryl said that he liked my smile and thought that I was really attractive. From that day, I would find excuses to go to the restaurant just to see if he was working and he would keep an eye out for me when I did.

We clicked really well and had many common topics of interest between us. We even have the same opinions and beliefs in various aspects of life. The fact that we are both chefs help a lot because we understand the ups and downs of this profession, especially the hectic schedules and erratic hours. As such, we also got the opportunity to have many supper dates and long talks under the stars together.

What I love most about Darryl is his self-confidence, independence, and humour. He knows what he wants and is not afraid to chase his dreams. At the same time, he is really practical and cares a lot about me. I really feel incredibly lucky and blessed.

I knew he was “the one” when I mentioned in passing how good the a particular dish looked on a popular anime, Food Wars. The next time I went over to his place, he surprised me with an exact replica of the dish! I was really shocked because I didn’t expect him to take my passing comment to heart. That’s when I knew that he has been always looking out for me.

Another moment was when I saw him around cats. He usually has a very cool and charming demeanour, but when we went to a cat café, he became a totally different man! He was cooing over the sleeping cats and getting excited when one of them jumped on his lap. He was on the brink of holding his breath in elation hoping that the cat will fall asleep. I loved it so much!

What was the proposal like?

Claire: We went to Japan for a two-week vacation to catch the cherry blossoms. We were so lucky because we were there during the exact period – the flowers bloomed on our very first day there and started falling on our last day. Halfway through the trip, we went for a night stroll under the sakura and I was sharing with him how happy I was that we were there. Sakura has always been my favourite flower and it has been a childhood dream of mine to see them in person.

It was at that point that he told me that he was cold and I handed him a heat pack. I joked and said, “See, I have everything prepared! I’m such good wife material, right?” Suddenly, there was a ring in his hand and he was smiling at me casually and said, “Yes, you are! Do you want to be my wife?”

I was completely shocked because being “good wife material” has been a running joke between us for a year. For a good ten seconds, I was thinking where he had found such a beautiful ring on the road and that we needed to return it ASAP. But soon, I realised that it was a real ring and that he was proposing. I sat down in shock and started laughing. It was definitely a very memorable proposal for the both of us!

What was the wedding planning journey like?

Claire: It was actually surprisingly easy because we were working with Chère as our wedding planners. They provided a tailor-made website with a checklist, programme planning, tracking of guests, and seating guides. Closer to the date, they organised meetings and briefings for us – they even kept us up to date on the tasks and updates. It was actually all a breeze especially since we started planning about a year and a half in advance.

A favourite moment was when Darryl surprised me with a pair of customised Pusheen plush toys, dressed like us! The theme for the wedding was cats and I love the Pusheen series so it tied in really nicely and I love them so much!

I would say the most stressful part of the wedding planning was the looming threat of COVID-19. In early February, the Dorscon Orange alert was not announced yet and we were worried that the situation would get worse. If so, we would then need to cancel or postpone after a year and a half of planning the wedding. Additionally, the date we wanted, 29th February, would not come again for another four years. We really wanted that date because we officially got together on 29th February 2016.

Eventually, we were able to hold the wedding but with a handful of cancellations. Looking at the situation now, I am grateful that we could hold our wedding then with not much changes. We were so worried the wedding could cause a cluster too so we gave bottles of hand sanitisers as door gifts, placed anti-bacterial wipes on every table, and took everyone’s temperature. We also checked in with all our guests one week after the wedding to make sure they were all doing fine. We were truly incredibly lucky and blessed!

How was the experience like working with Divine Couture on your bridal gown? What made you decide to work with them?

Claire: My experience working with Kim and her team from Divine Couture was the best. I chose to go with Divine Couture for my bridal gown after six full months of gown shopping. I think shopping with me can be trying. I tire myself out shopping alone because I know exactly what I want and that helps me be really decisive. But when I can’t find what I want, the process takes a much longer time.

From the start, I already knew the type of wedding dress I wanted: fitted, minimal lace detailing at the skirt, no bejewelling or beading, no ballgown. It also has to have a long train but still be comfortable to walk and eat in.

Initially, I was hopeful but the more gown boutiques I explored, the harder it was to find a dress that fit my vision. I tried on ballgown and beaded dresses but really found that they weren’t my style. It does not help that many bridal boutiques in Singapore catered to that princess style. Many gowns in Singapore are shiny, poofy, and heavy. The detailing work are often not perfect too. I later found out that many of these dresses are usually mass produced overseas, then altered again and again for each customer.

At this point, I began to consider making a bespoke gown. It was really my last choice because I was more keen to rent. I did not like the idea of custom-making a gorgeous dress for a one-time event (however important the event is), and just leaving the dress as a white elephant in my home.

That’s when I found Divine Couture. Kim and her creations were a breath of fresh air. When I walked into the store, I told her my vision and she pulled out not one, but three gowns off the rack that was exactly what I wanted but in varying styles. She even picked additional gowns out for me after evaluating my body type. I was so happy with her work, the details, the cut, and the colour. Everything was perfect! She even added an additional train to my shoulder for the flair.

In a land of endless ballgowns and crinoline, her detailed simplicity and skills stood out above the competition. Truly a life saver!

What was your wedding day like? How did you feel throughout the day?

Claire: Our wedding day was very chill and we had so much fun. A large part of it was because we had Chère as our wedding planners so that literally took all the burden off our shoulders. From the beginning to the end of the day, both of us were not stressed at all. We could freely walk around to host our guests, drink, and eat all the courses on the menu! It was just a very relaxed and fun time, and we enjoyed ourselves to the fullest.

We held our wedding at Tamarind Hill because we love their food and the layout of the place. It is a restaurant with a garden and ethereal feel, and they offered an individually-plated dessert buffet so that guests could get up and mingle instead of sitting down the entire time. Overall, we were looking for something that was the juxtaposition of a traditional Chinese wedding, and we were really happy with the outcome.

Our wedding theme was “All About Cats” because the both of us absolutely adore cats. Our colour palette was navy and maroon because navy is Darryl’s favourite colour and maroon is mine. Early on in our relationship, I had weaved us a couple bracelet with those exact colours and they have been our default go-to colours ever since.

What did your friends and family say about your wedding?

Claire: Everyone enjoyed themselves! The main feedback that we got was that it was an unconventional wedding which was much more relaxed and casual. We were glad to hear it because that was exactly the vibe we were going for!

Share with us the most memorable moment of your wedding?

Claire: The most memorable moment was when I was exchanging my vows with Darryl and when I was finally able to put a ring on him! He is usually shy about his emotions but he memorised his vows and said it in front of everyone. I was extremely touched by his effort and sincerity.

I also really enjoyed walking around and talking to our guests. I felt really thankful to everyone who took time to join us in our celebrations and the gathering of both sides of our families made me really happy. Darryl’s family welcomed me with open arms and my family were more than happy to interact with all of them too. It was truly heartwarming to see strangers become family!

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

Claire: Please get a wedding planner! It will do wonders for your stress level and good wedding planners are worth every cent. They know what they are doing with their years of experience, and they handle every hiccup along the way so that you are able to fully enjoy your special day.

We also used SingaporeBrides as our wedding resource to browse through gowns and search for possible locations to hold the wedding. I also used to see brides’ testimonials on the services and vendors they chose. It was incredibly helpful and directed me steadily along the path towards wedding planning, especially when I got sidetracked occasionally.

The Size of the Wedding: No. of guests – 130pax
The Cost of the Wedding: ~$50,000
The Venue: Tamarind Hill
The Wedding Day Photographer: Kevin from Dapper Pictures
The Gown: Divine Couture
The Bride’s Shoes: The White Atelier
The Suit: Bespoke from overseas
The Groom’s Shoes: Benjamin Barker
The Engagement Ring: A family heirloom
The Wedding Bands: Michael Trio
The Groomsmen’s Suits: Bespoke from overseas
The Hairstylist and Makeup Artist: Cadee from Makeup Maestro
The Nail Artist: 365nails
The Florist: Arthur of Aces of Vase
The Wedding Planner: Chère
The Photobooth: Arthur from Aces of Vase
The Wedding Invitations and Stationery: Designed by Annabelle and printed by my parents-in-law from Crystalight Printcraft
The Wedding Favours: Mini hand sanitiser and cookies from Folks&Stories
The Solemniser: Mdm Koh

Credits: Images by Dapper Pictures

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Claire and Darryl’s Blissful Wedding at Tamarind Hill