Singaporebrides | Real Weddings
Amanda and Eng Leong’s Fairytale Wedding at Alcove at Caldwell House
Despite the challenges that were awaiting them, Amanda and Eng Leong pushed ahead and tied the knot in an intimate wedding at Alcove at Caldwell House.
Although Amanda and Eng Leong studied at the same university, they only got to know each other during a train ride home from a group outing that a mutual friend invited them to. The pair enjoyed their conversation so much that they became an item. Their wedding planning journey was fraught with the challenges that COVID-19 brought about, but they pushed through and succeeded in tying the knot on the wedding date they had chosen, surrounded by their nearest and dearest in a fairytale wedding that they had always dreamed of.
Share with us your story. How did the two of you meet?
Eng Leong: Amanda and I were university schoolmates at the National University of Singapore, studying for our Pharmacy degrees. I got to know her after my lab partner, who was a friend of hers, invited me to join one of their group outings. Although we didn’t interact during the activity itself, we took the train back to the East together. It was during that eventful 45-minute train ride that I found myself enjoying our conversations. She made me laugh with her jokes and I wanted to get to know her better.
What drew you to each other?
Eng Leong: I love her caring and empathetic nature. She cares deeply for everyone around her and is always considerate and thoughtful of their feelings. She is also always there for me when I need her, makes me laugh with her jokes and teases, and makes me feel like I can be myself around her, and she will accept me as I am. I really enjoy being around her.
Amanda: I love how he prioritises his loved ones above all else and his readiness to help them with their needs, no matter how tired or busy he might be. I also admire his perseverance and how he always does what he thinks is right, without worrying about how others might judge him. He works hard for what he believes in, and keeps himself constantly optimistic and motivated.
What was the proposal like?
Eng Leong: I brought her for cable car dining at Mount Faber, with a special pre-arranged set-up in our car. I popped the question later in a private area, surrounded by fairy lights, and with the ring hidden in a handmade explosion box filled with our most meaningful memories.
Tell us about your wedding. Did COVID-19 affect your original wedding plans? How did you cope with the ever-changing regulations surrounding weddings during COVID-19?
We tied the knot at Alcove at the Caldwell House. Initially we were uncertain about the venue because of the pillars in the room. However, after we visited the place, we changed our minds. As we were walking into the room, slow, classical music was playing softly from the speakers and the dome area was bathed in the afternoon sunlight. In that moment, we both felt the magic in that instant, as if we were already walking down the aisle, and that’s when we decided we wanted to have our wedding there.
Before COVID-19 struck, our original plan was to invite 100 people to the wedding. However, we were forced to reduce our guest list to 50 persons due to the restrictions, so we had to apologise to the guests who were initially invited but did not make it to the final guest list. Thankfully, they were all very understanding of our situation, which was a great relief.
We also had to cope with the prevailing restrictions then that disallowed the playing of live music or instruments or intermingling between tables. Thankfully, our very versatile and talented emcee, Linus, adapted to the situation by pre-recording his performances and playing them during the wedding. He also suggested that we take a wide selfie from the front of the room, with everyone seated at their own tables, which allowed us to take a photo of everyone together.
It was pretty stressful keeping up with the ever-changing regulations back then as they kept changing up until the very last minute and they were often not very clear cut. We had to toy with the idea of postponing our wedding to a year later according to the grace period given by our venue, but we weren’t certain if the situation would get better then. We were also quite reluctant to postpone because we had wanted and selected our wedding day even before the pandemic struck. Thankfully, two months before our wedding date, the restrictions relaxed slightly, and we were able to proceed with our chosen date with a smaller guest list.
Aside from the restrictions themselves, we were also constantly worried about the risk of exposing our loved ones to the virus during the wedding. In the end, we decided it would be safer not to have the more elderly members of our family present, so as not to expose them to such a risk. We also followed all precautions recommended to minimise the risk for all our guests, such as not being able to yum seng (which is something our parents usually enjoy doing), or having live music, and also masking up for most of the event. These measures definitely did mute down the mood of the wedding, but it was still a precious, amazing celebration which we, along with everyone present, enjoyed.
Did you have a wedding theme? If yes, what was it and how did you achieve it?
Our wedding theme was ‘A Fairytale Romance’, with our emcee Linus coming up with a music playlist of Disney songs that matched the theme. For our second march-in, he also helped us to choreograph an original couple dance to the tune of “Beauty and the Beast”. The venue was also decorated in sweet, soft pink and white florals that suited our fairytale wedding theme perfectly.
Take us back to your wedding day. What was the day like and how were you feeling?
Eng Leong: I remember I couldn’t sleep the night before, because I was so excited about taking this next step towards our future together. However, the sudden morning downpour was a great shock, because I had not expected it to rain when I parked the rental wedding car in the open air carpark the day before. My brother and I rushed down to wipe down the car and rearranged the decorations as soon as we could. Thankfully, the clear weather held after the rain ended, and everything went smoothly for us. It was a wonderful feeling to finally be officially married to the one I love, and to begin the rest of our lives together.
Amanda: In the days leading up to the wedding, I was very nervous about taking such a big step in my life, and it all felt very surreal to me. But on the day itself, because we were so busy trying to get everything done well and trying to keep to our timings, I didn’t really have time to stop and worry and panic – which was probably a good thing! I remember the nervousness coming back in full swing before the first march-in – because everyone’s attention would be on me as I walked down the aisle. I was so worried I would trip halfway or have a weird expression on my face – I’m quite socially awkward! There was also the worry of blanking out and forgetting the vows that I had memorised, especially in front of a big crowd of people that I know. Thankfully, everything went pretty smoothly, so I’m really thankful for that.
What did your family/friends have to say about your wedding day?
They thought that the location of Alcove at Caldwell House was a refreshing and interesting change from the usual hotel banquet setting that most people are familiar with. This was something that we felt very strongly about, to have something other than the typical (though, of course, still wonderful) hotel wedding. The ambience was more of a more westernised, floral dreamy vibe, with the bright sunlight reflecting off the white walls of the heritage hall and the clear Tiffany chairs, along with the serving of a four-course Western meal. We were really pleased with how it all turned out.
Share with us the most memorable moment of your wedding?
Eng Leong: For me, it was when I saw her and her father walking down the aisle towards me. As I saw her smiling at me, countless emotions and memories of our past few years ran through my mind. At that moment, I felt very blessed and thankful to be able to marry the girl I loved.
Amanda: For me, it was when we were playing our pre-recorded thank-you speeches, and my mother, followed later by my father, started to tear up as they watched. Before that moment, I hadn’t really felt like there would be a big change from being attached or engaged to being married. But seeing my strong mother, who hardly ever shows vulnerability, tearing up made me feel the significance of this moment from their point of view, and it made me tear up with emotion as well.
What is one lesson you’ve learned from your wedding planning that you’d like to share with other couples?
We would like to advise other couples to enjoy the entire wedding process and not to get too stressed out by the planning. Marriage is a huge milestone in your life, and it is so much more than just the wedding itself, so make sure not to get too caught up in the details and the expectations of others. Remember, that at the end of the day, what really matters is the two of you, and building a wonderful future together. Have a fun and interesting journey as you head towards your wedding, and good luck!
The Venue: Alcove at Caldwell House
Size of Wedding: 50 persons
Cost of Wedding: $13,000
The Bride’s Gown: Digio Bridal
The Bride’s Shoes: DMK
The Groom’s Suit: Digio Bridal
The Groom’s Shoes: Hush Puppies
The Wedding Bands: eClarity Diamonds
The Wedding Photographer: Shane Chua
The Wedding Videographer: BeyondPictures Cinematography
The Wedding Bands: LeCaine Gems
The Groomsmen’s Suits: G2000
The Hairstylist and Makeup Artist: Charmaine Lin
The Florist: Digio Bridal
The Caterer: The Connoisseur Concerto (TCC)
The Wedding Planner: Serene from Watabe Singapore Pte Ltd
The Wedding Favours: A Love Knot
The Solemniser: Teo Chong Tee
The Wedding Car: Audi A3 Cabriolet
The Wedding Resource: SingaporeBrides
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