Singaporebrides | Real Weddings

November 2022

Nissiel and Paolo’s Magical and Touching Wedding at Chijmes Hall Singapore

Nissiel and Paolo’s dream church wedding came to life the second they visited Chijmes Hall Singapore.

Nissiel and Paolo were childhood friends who grew up and frequented at the same church. After years of spending time together, the sweethearts finally realised that they were perfect for each other! They decided to celebrate their love and move on to the next phase in their relationship on their seventh anniversary, at Chijmes Hall Singapore, where their dream church wedding came to life as they said “I do!” under the blessings of their family and friends.

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

Nissiel: We met in church a long, long time ago when we were kids as young as four years old! Our circle of friends started to merge later in life during our poly-university days. We mainly spent a lot of time together serving in our church community and “third-fourth wheeling” coupled friends! Unknowingly, we were double-dating! Then, one day, Paolo asked me if I wanted to grab chicken rice after work (because he knew that both our commute home would intersect in Yishun.) That was the first time we hung out alone and the start of a lot of food trips! We would lose track of time, talk and laugh all the way until closing time! Who’d have thought that sharing a chicken rice meal would lead to a 7-year relationship!

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What drew you to each other?

Paolo: Her eyes and her laugh! I really enjoyed her company! We’d always be laughing at silly things, discussing movies and TV show theories! We could spar intellectually and she was there for me emotionally. I kept wanting to spend time with her! We got so close that our friends were the first to notice we weren’t “just friends” anymore. It was seamless!

Nissiel: He made me laugh! He is witty, has a great sense of music and fashion! Paolo is incredibly charming and handsome! He made me feel safe and respected my emotions when I would confide in him. Honestly, he was and is one of my closest friends! Getting together was so smooth that it snuck up on me! Those who are falling in-love are often the last to know, and that was me!

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

Paolo: Her thoughtfulness and care for me, everyone she loves and even her clients. She has a fervor in everything she sets her mind on. It comes from a love that overflows! Plus she’s funny, in her own way!

Nissiel: What I love most about Paolo is that he is loving and faithful in every aspect of his life. At work, when he plans for his clients, for church responsibilities and in the small things of our daily lives!

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What was the proposal like?

Paolo: Nissiel had a strong suspicion. First of all, we had just applied for a BTO in November 2020 so a proposal was definitely going to happen. It was just a matter of when! The project was to find a ring that gave me the value for my money and a ring that represented our personalities. I knew she said wanted something simple but she was not a simple girl! So, I dove into a research rabbit hole, visited shops and finally found the ring! So, as I was saying, Nissiel had a strong suspicion, the trick was to surprise her. After many fancy-dressed dates later, I decided it was time to use our discovery voucher at Universal Studios (and get engaged in Tanjong beach at sunset!). I told her to clear one of her weekends in October so we could head to USS to “clear our discovery vouchers” and then a fancy dinner on Saturday (to make her think that this date was the actual proposal date).

Nissiel: I trusted his taste when it came to the ring and I definitely did not expect the proposal! I left the house on friday in the most casual outfit because we were going to be walking around in the hot sun and we might be in some splash zones! So your girl was definitely focused on having a great time in USS! However, I did prepare a change of clothes for the drinks at the beach.

Paolo: It was perfect! I took a chance on the weather and had faith! The sky was incredible! Sunset was happening and it was time! I had a tripod which was hidden in my back pocket and we took some nice silhouettes as per normal and she did not suspect a thing!

Nissiel: I was a little buzzed from the drinks, I was completely in awe of the purple and pink sky! I turned to Paolo and I giggled and jokingly said, “This would have been the perfect time to propose! But it’s okay, tomorrow is good too!”.

Paolo: It was then I revealed my plans. I knelt down and surprised her with a proposal there and then. Niseiel was surprised and teary eyed. The best part was, there was an Australian couple in the background who started to play endless love which was super random but it just so happened to be one of our favourite love songs!

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Share more about your pre-wedding shoot with us. Were there any funny moments or obstacles during your shoot?

We wanted to do the shoot with our dear friend, Titus Lemuel, who is a photographer! We chose him because we admire his editing style, his color grading and eye for composition! He had something unique in mind for the shoot – he wanted to approach our shoot in a cinematic way, as if you paused and had screenshot a scene from a Korean drama! We were absolutely for it! As you can see from the shoot on the beach, it gave us an Aquaman meets Nicholas Sparks vibe! My cousin Anne and our good friend Steve, who was our pre-wedding videographer, had that great idea to shoot on the beach where we got engaged, which was quite poetic! We were in their movie-making hands!

We decided to shoot at Tanjong beach on the weekend, which was a bad idea to begin with, because half of Singapore was on the beach as well. So, we had to walk to the literal end of Tanjong beach before we had a spot with less people to do the shoot. We couldn’t move too much around the area as well, so we had to improvise different scenes all in the same area.

Nissiel: This is cheesy but while we were shooting in the water, I saw Paolo in slowmotion, skin glistening gold, hair flowing in the wind. My eyes were laser-focused, and I didn’t realise that I had lost my footing in the waves and sand. He caught me before I fell into the water! It was literally like a movie scene and I remembered thinking to myself “Wow, he’s gonna be my husband!” I live for the cheese!

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Tell us about your wedding. What was your wedding theme?

Paolo: I knew right off the bat I wanted a church wedding. I envisioned Nissiel walking through a double door entrance, bright rays of light bursting from the doors as my angelic bride appears! It had spiritual significance to us as well. There are only a few public churches to get married in. We initially decided on the Armenian church at first. It was so lovely and intimate! We had quite a bit to consider because of the COVID-19 restrictions at the time. We were not allowed to eat or drink on the grounds and there was the social-distancing in the pews. So, we could only fit 50-60 guests at that time.

We gave into our curiosity and we visited Chijmes Hall Singapore! On the day we went down for a visit, there was a wedding going on and it was love at first sight! The decorations were beautiful, everything was so symmetrical, the double doors were big and epic and I was trying to hold in my excitement the whole time while speaking with Watabe Wedding’s wedding coordinator, Serene. My mind was pretty much made up! After we said our goodbyes, I turned to Nissiel and my face was lit up. It checked all the major boxes for me, especially fitting in 100 people based on the measures at the time. We immediately got to work on planning and working out the finances! Their wedding package was more than sufficient and even included a hotel stay! We met Serene again to discuss the plan and approach. We loved how accommodating and patient Watabe Wedding and Serene were to us. As restrictions lifted closer to the event, we could then add a band, which was the only thing left missing for the wedding!

Nissiel: Chijmes Hall Singapore is magical on its own, built in an anglo-french gothic style, so we could only elevate the elegance of the restored church! We carefully selected a colour palette that will soften the ivory columns and complement the burnt-sienna terrazzo flooring! We settled on the colours powder blue, cream and gold. For this, we worked closely with Sam from Elite Flora to turn the hall into something out of a Bridgerton scene! White roses, blue hydrangeas and deep green foliages accented the columns and framed the stage!

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Take us back to your wedding day. What was the day like and how were you feeling?

Paolo: I was really excited and nervous! For some context, Nissiel and I would organise and run productions in church and for this wedding, we took it as our own production! We are usually hands-on, behind the scenes pulling the strings, not usually front and center. However, on the wedding day, we were not there during the set-up and we had no idea how the past six months of planning would look like! We could only prepare in the hotel in anticipation and pray that there were no hiccups or problems! We had nothing to worry, however, because of how blessed we were to have Anne, Jezreel, Jirel, Ricardo, Issa and a couple more from our entourage to run the show. We had absolute faith and trust in our team and they came through for us, far and beyond our expectations!

When I arrived at Chijmes Hall Singapore first, I remember feeling so nervous and thinking, “If only Nissiel was here so we could experience this together, the first look of our six months of planning finally manifested.” But when the ceremony started and the double doors opened to reveal Nissiel in her absolute beauty, I could not help but cry because I knew at that moment, I had made the right choice and that I could not wait to spend my life with her!

Nissiel: We had a morning wedding! It was a total rush, we were finally going to see it through! Everything was going according to plan which we accredited to my closest family and friends who knew the happenings of the day by heart! I was avoiding Instagram and Facebook because I wanted to be surprised! Indeed I was, everything was more than I expected! Funny thing, right as the doors opened and I walked in, I gazed upwards expecting to see my future husband, sharp and handsome at the end of the aisle and teary eyed, but it was not the sight I saw! A whole row of our uncles and god-fathers darted out into the aisle trying to get the epic entrance for their wives! It was so amusing! I did eventually find Paolo, he sweetly waved at me and then my eyes welled up and it hit me then and there that I was finally marrying my best friend on our 7th anniversary!

We were overwhelmed and felt so loved, especially to see both our parents standing tall and happy to accept us as their children-in-law! We had carefully curated our small guest lists to those who were present in our years together, who facilitated, guided and inspired our relationship. There was this sense of pride in the celebration because everyone present was genuinely a part of our lives!

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

Raw, heartwarming, sincere and elegant were most of the feedback we got, which was so encouraging to hear. We were quite moved by some of their reactions and revelations. One of our god-parents said that he felt it was awe-inspiring and grand, not just because of the styling but the content. It was so inclusive for the guests and he loved that the tables were dedicated to our parents and couples married for longer than 20 years. We framed their original wedding photos with a write-up of their inspiring marital advice! One of them even said the secret to their 30 years was to have two separate blankets!

Also, they enjoyed a surprise lucky draw. Guests wrote marriage advice on ticket stubs which were picked and read aloud! The most memorable one was “make love in the laundry room!” The hall erupted with laughter. We prepared seven different items as prizes to celebrate seven years together. We prepared vouchers of things we loved, which ranged from Signature Koi, Golden Village, Bacha and Natureland spa, being the top prize.

One of our groomsmen remarked, “It was such an authentic occasion, funny and a perfect depiction of the couple in their essence; Paolo was so sweet, he cheekily waved at Nissiel because she couldn’t see him when she walked down the aisle. Nissiel’s vows were misplaced and her mom had to find her book! Great fun! It was such a great honor to be apart of it”.

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Share with us the most memorable moment of your wedding?

Paolo: Right before we marched in, Serene whispered to me and asked me to help quiet down the people involved in the wedding march at the back. After getting everyone’s attention for her, it hit me there and then that I was surrounded by everyone who loved and cared for us. Not even counting ¾ of the guests inside. I was standing there alongside the people who knew me as young as 4 years olds, who’ve watched Nissiel and I become the woman and man we are today. Another was the father-daughter dance! It was an incredibly touching moment to see Nissiel and her father in a slow dance, both in tears. And when I had to take over from her dad during the dance, I cried as well. It signified the transition of her dad taking care of her to me taking care of her and that was such a big responsibility that I’m so grateful to be the man to take over that responsibility! Everyone got to feel and be part of that vulnerable moment with us.

Nissiel: We picked the song You’ll be in my heart from the Disney animated movie Tarzan for the Father-daughter dance. The moment the lyrics “Come, stop your crying it’ll be alright” was sung, I burst into tears. I am tearing up just thinking about it now. We had planned it to be symbolic of the day my father and I would dance until the second part of the bridge where Paolo would then tap on his shoulder to take over. What was most memorable was seeing my parents in an embrace over Paolo’s shoulder. They looked so proud; I mouthed the words “I love you” to both of them. I remember thinking how grateful I was to be their daughter. The whole hall was in a chorus of awe and tears. It was bittersweet indeed!

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What is one lesson you’ve learned from your wedding planning that you’d like to share with other couples?

Paolo: Reach out to your community first, you’ll never know how many people are willing to help and support you out of love! We saw our wedding journey as an opportunity to engage our friend’s talents and support local businesses. You know the phrase, “it takes a village to raise a child”. It is the same village present on your wedding day! Oh, and enjoy the process, you need to have fun!

Nissiel: Planning an event this big will put your relationship through a stress test. We highly encourage marriage counseling because it helps us lovingly communicate and understand one another better in our decision making, reactions, expectations, and so on. We were able to apply it immediately in the months of planning. In fact, we felt that it was so short we sought out other successful marriages and had an open dialogue with them. It was so enriching. Be open to those who have gone before! Internalise that the wedding is a merger of two houses and their cultures. Share the load with your family because they will be involved (of course, to a certain extent you both are the final say). Then after, the marriage is about the two of you! This is more than a party, it is a symbol of your affection and appreciation. What a beautiful way to honor God, family and the friends who facilitated our relationship.

The Pre-Wedding Shoot Photographer: Titus Lemuel
The Bride’s Pre-Wedding Outfit: Zoo Label PH and ASOS
The Groom’s Pre-Wedding Outfit: Zara and Uniqlo
The Venue: Chijmes Hall Singapore
Cost of Wedding: $30,000
Size of Wedding: 130 persons
The Bride’s Gown: Richie Ortega Torres
The Bride’s Shoes: ASOS
The Groom’s Suit: Piccadilly Custom Tailors
The Groom’s Shoes: Earnest & Collective
The Engagement Ring: Michael Trio
The Wedding Bands: Cartier
The Wedding Day Photographer: Rylz Photography
The Wedding Videographer: Deetee Films
The Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Birdy Grey
The Groomsmen’s Suits: Benjamin Barker
The Page Boys’ Suits: H&M
The Hair and Makeup Artist: Monina Monisha (for both pre-wedding shoot and wedding day)
The Florist: Elite Flora, The Folks Co. (Bouquet, corsages, boutonnières)
The Stylist: Elite Flora
The Caterer: PAUL
The Wedding Planner: Bride and Groom, Anne, Jez and guidance from Serene Chew from Watabe Wedding
The Wedding Invitations: Jem Magbanua
The Wedding Favours: macarons from PAUL
The Band: Pianist Joseph Togonon, Guitarist Ricardo Peralta, Cajon Haniel Yu, Singers: Joy Rivera & Sergio Pino
The Solemniser: Elder Mark Lee Tee Sin, Church of Singapore
The Wedding Resource: SingaporeBrides

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Nissiel and Paolo’s Magical and Touching Wedding at Chijmes Hall Singapore