Singaporebrides | Real Weddings
Katrina and Naresh’s Sunshine Yellow Wildflower Wedding at The Alkaff Mansion
Kat and Naresh had a total meet-cute involving a squirrel on Valentine’s Day! The happy couple celebrated their union with a garden wedding at The Alkaff Mansion, filled with bright, sunshine-yellow florals and details from their blended cultures.
Katrina Pambid, 33, Senior Software Engineer at MediaCorp, and Naresh Ponnana, 34, Director at Mastercard, met on a Valentine’s Day atop Mount Kinabalu when a squirrel bit Naresh. That meet-cute was the start of a beautiful journey that culminated in a sunny, wildflower wedding in The Alkaff Mansion on 17 December 2022, that celebrated their two cultures.
Tell us a little bit about your story, such as how the two of you met.
Naresh: We serendipitously met on Valentines Day in 2020 on top of Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia, as both of us were hiking alone, in different tour groups. During the hike lunch break, I was trying to feed a squirrel and the squirrel bit me! That is when I noticed Kat, who was giggling after witnessing my situation, and I wondered what a pretty girl was doing hiking alone on February 14th.
We hiked quickly, being the fit (or almost!) folks that we were, and naturally were the first ones to arrive at the dormitory where we would stay for the night before summiting. Since we were famished, we both decided to get our dinner together, and that’s when Kat complained that she didn’t like the bread – it was too hard. I was like, you’re on top of a mountain, duh! It was also the time when I unknowingly became a subject in her Instagram Story as she was capturing all the surroundings. This is the first time that I got to know that she has been living in Singapore for quite a while.
Next morning, we reached the summit and we exchanged Instagram handles before heading down. Once we reached Kota Kinabalu city, we had the evening to kill as our flights were the morning after. I invited myself to a dinner with her at the local market where I faked eating a lot of seafood, just to impress her. I did eat that in the end though! That night we stayed chatting endlessly, and exchanged numbers before heading back to Singapore. We both love coffee and back in sunny Singapore, we went on our first date at Mellower in Middle Road.
What do you love most about your partner?
Naresh: Kat always brings out the best in me. She encourages me to adopt a healthy and fitter lifestyle, always cheers for me no matter the occasion or instance, and loves me unconditionally. When I met her, I used to be a couch potato and often whiled my time away glued to Netflix or just gaming! Kat’s been an avid CrossFitter and she encouraged me to like and now eventually love CrossFit. I fell in love with Kat for all the simplicity that she brings forth as a partner: she’s genuine and down-to-earth at heart, she says and does what she means; she’s trustworthy and I know that she always has our back; and lastly, I love her for not losing her individuality as we got together. Most of all, I think I love her for the fact that being beside her, I feel happier than when I was alone.
Kat: He is the most caring, generous, understanding, and calmest person I know. He makes me forget about my worries. He encourages me to do things, he guides me, and he’s literally always there whenever I need him. I fell in love with him because he made me a better person.
What was the proposal like?
Kat: After 2.5 years of courtship, Naresh decided to take it back to where we first met – a mountain! When we met, we decided to make Mount Bromo our first trip together, but the pandemic had other plans. So, along with his best couple friends in Singapore, we all traveled to Mount Bromo, Indonesia’s most famous active volcano. Unbeknownst to me, he wanted to surprise me at the rim of the crater and little did he know that the tour guide was more excited than him. The tour guide kept throwing hints here and there, but it remained a mystery until we hiked up to the crater. There were far fewer people that day, thankfully, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. He asked and I said yes! I was in shock and my ring was to die for! I could’ve never imagined a better engagement ring yet alone proposal! I loved every second of it and will forever cherish that day!
What was your wedding theme and how did you create it?
We wanted our wedding to be simple and intimate, and at the same time more rewarding and joyous for our attendees. Given that we were bringing together two cultures together – Filipino and Indian–we had to strike a balance for something less pompous and yet showcased our individualities.
We knew from the start that we wanted something pastel in nature as that was a colour palette that we loved. It also worked out best because a brunch wedding often brings out the best colours and lighting in pictures.
We used SingaporeBrides for all the initial exploration of venues, potential vendors, and research. Given we were only were months away from our wedding date (after the proposal), SingaporeBrides was fantastic for us to quickly look through the pictures of the venues, pricing, and shortlist the venues that we wanted to visit. We also drew a lot of inspiration about the colours, mood board, and designs we wanted to explore for our wedding.
We started our search, like everyone else, trying to find a venue. As both of us wanted to get married before the end of 2022, we were in a sticky situation as most venues, photographers, and makeup artists are often booked as early as one year in advance. We did a scout of venues and potential vendors from SingaporeBrides and we reached out to a few that suited to our liking. The Alkaff Mansion was our first choice as it wasn’t too flashy, it had a wonderful colonial feel that would be perfect for pastel colours, the gazebo outside was fantastic for solemnisations, and we both loved it instantly.
Naresh: Kat was always the creative one in our relationship, and she created the mood board, the colours, the florals, placement, and what kind of guestbook and accessories we wanted to have in the wedding.
The team at The Alkaff Mansion and 1-Host were extremely amazing. They were flexible towards accommodating all our requests (some being very adventurous requests), the communications were on point and they ensured that they were always reachable whenever we had a question/query. I’ve to shout out on the flexibility towards food options as we wanted a varied amount of options and the team was kind enough to accommodate our special requests.
What was your wedding day like?
It was the most amazing day! It turned out better than expected. The decorations, the flowers, food, guests having fun, candid photos from our amazing photographers. Everything was just perfect. I’d do the same if I had to get married all over again.
What was the most memorable moment of your wedding?
Kat: Walking down the aisle with my parents and seeing Naresh crying waiting for me, our first kiss as a couple, and our donut smash.
The Size of the Wedding: 101 guests
The Cost of the Wedding: $30,000
The Venue: The Alkaff Mansion
The Wedding Day Photographer: Lydia K Photography
The Gown: Vania Romoff
The Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik
The Suit: Melange Singapore
The Groom’s Shoes: Manyavar
The Engagement Ring: Love & Co.
The Wedding Bands: Cartier
The Hairstylist and Makeup Artist: Monina Monisha
The Caterer: The Alkaff Mansion
The Wedding Cake: Sherramelts
The Florist: The Bloomish Eden
The Wedding Planner: We planned for almost everything
The Pre-Wedding Photographer: Douglas Fun Photography
The Wedding Invitations and Stationery: Mylin Design & Co.
The Wedding Favours: Fossa Chocolate , Ola Lola
The Solemniser: Dr. Shirley Low
The Wedding Car Rental: Bliss Wedding Cars
Hotel Accommodation: The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
Pre-Wedding Shoot Venues: Actualize CrossFit, National Gallery Singapore
Credits: Images by Lydia K Photography
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