Your Wedding – The Day You Potentially Start The Rest Of Your Life Wrong

21 06 2009

I never thought I would be blogging in a “Wedding Jitters” topic again, but this one I thought I couldn’t let up, so…

… so I was at this wedding dinner tonight hosted by one of my wife’s closer cousins. I shan’t go into specifics about the goings on, but throughout the course of the dinner I had a number of revelations that I thought I’d share, along with a handful of good advice handed down to me by my own groomsmen and maids-of-honour, one of whom was a wedding planner herself at one stage in her very colourful life.

1. This has to be number one: Always choose your groomsmen and maids-of-honour wisely. You need responsible people who are able to do their jobs, are constantly conscious of the people attending the wedding from the moment bride and groom wake up to the moment AFTER the last guest has left the wedding dinner venue, and most importantly, respect you and your partner for who they are. Your parents might know what you are like, and they might know what your friends are like, but your in-laws, extended relatives and other acquaintances you are inviting to celebrate your special day sure as hell don’t. So when your maids-of-honour run through their morning “bargaining” ritual with the groom by picking on his poor English language skills and subsequently embarrass him in front of a whole ballroom with a video clip of him struggling through an English passage, or when your designated Masters of Ceremony conveniently forget to invite the groom’s VIP table up to the stage for the ritual toasting, or when your groomsmen start putting cigarettes in their mouths and light up in the ballroom of your wedding dinner only just after the last course is served, and they’re sitting only 2 tables away from VIP Table No. 1, not to mention the tables surrounding them that have kids ages 5 and below (including my own son), it says a lot about your social circle, and that (unfortunately) reflects really badly on you, however much of a nice person you may be.

2. Wedding affairs may be the most exhausting to plan and execute, but you need to stick it to the very end with your brightest smile and your best manners. Meet your friends and family and greet them with all sincerity (even the ones you don’t particularly like). Never, ever, miss out on anyone. See them all off at the door when they’re done dining – all of them. Show them a level of respect above and beyond any respect you’ve ever given or received. Because as much as this is your day, it’s not. Wedding days are really a big-ass extravagant announcement to the world you live in that you’re getting married, and the people you invite, whether it be for solemnisation, tea ceremony, lunch, dinner, karaoke or mahjong session, are the people you are doing it for, no matter what people tell you. Face it, the bride will always dream of the perfect white wedding, the groom will always dream of the smallest bills, but based on experience, the wedding day done right is the wedding day done with the people in your lives in mind – not you. You want to do something for yourselves, you got the rest of your lives to go sort it out (starting with your honeymoon; now that is where your married life really begins). Your wedding day goes to your guests (who are, by the way, the same people you are trying to get to pay for the whole thing anyway, so do right by your sponsors).

3. Choose your venues carefully. If you’re cost-conscious, going for a cheaper restaurant is all fine and dandy, but you got to at least make sure service standards and venue facilities are up to par with the standard expectations. People can forgive the leaking ceiling in the lift lobby, or the dingy car park with a post-dinner car queue extending 3 basement storeys because there’s only one single-lane exit point. But banquet staff who don’t bring you your drink after 4 consecutive requests, or usurp your personal space to serve food without so much as a glance or an “excuse me”, or try to clear your dish before you even touched the food on it just leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Look at it this way; the two of you are getting married because you’re committing your heart and soul into your relationship for the rest of your lives. Shouldn’t the people you’re engaging to help you on your wedding day at least put in their heart and soul, just for this one day, to making your wedding go right?

4. You have to play politics. As much as you don’t like it, politics plays a big part in this kind of event. I haven’t met a couple whose extended family doesn’t have a grouchy uncle or a troublemaker cousin or a bitchy grandauntie twice removed or any other kind of colourful character that seeks to make life interesting. That being said, you still got to invite them all for the sake of common courtesy and prevention of wagging tongues. I personally found myself receiving RSVPs from my more complicated relations, including people I thought were long estranged from my mother and had problems with my dad, but careful planning of seating arrangements and an unorthodox programme involving a trishaw and 1930’s Shanghai music ensured the enmities were kept to a minimum and the old folk were suitably distracted to forget about family warmongering for just that one night. In fact, it actually got my family closer to my mother’s estranged side, who invited us to another grand dinner event in order to try to patch things up.

5. Think through the red packets you’re giving out carefully. When you involve your friends and family in the groomsmen/maids-of-honour/flower girls/ring-bearers/drivers/door-openers/runners/odd-job labourers, this is the one time you have to communicate their worth in monetary value directly to them, so you can’t afford to be stingy, and you got to give it to anyone and everyone who’s helped you, however small the job; it’s not only customary, it’s expected of you. I made the mistake of asking my mother to help me divvy up the red packets I was to give out, and she ended up giving a paltry amount to my brother-in-law (who was my driver), who subsequently never looked at me the same way again. And let’s not forget the third-party providers that are actually billing you for their services (your matchmaker lady, photographer/videographer, restaurant manager, etc.). Wedding events for them are pretty much the only time they can earn tips in Singapore, so you gotta indulge them too.

Having said this, I am in no way a wedding expert, nor do I claim this to be an exhaustive list (although after writing this over the span of one late night and a morning, it is exhausting), but I have seen and heard enough from people at my own wedding and others to know some of the things where people get things right or where things can go wrong without you knowing. Feel free to add on your experiences in the comments. I will add points in this post when I see good points being made.





Are You Lonesome Today?

12 12 2008

My wife’s been on maternity leave for a week now. It takes some getting used to, even though I still get to see her when I go home.

Our life at work is a little different form other couples working together in the same office. I first introduced her into the company before I even joined a year later, and that may have contributed to the (mostly) smoothsailing working relationship we have. Also, we set down some rules for ourselves as well as the people around us early on so boundaries are not overstepped, yet we are still very comfortable talking about our jobs both at work and outside of it.

Now that she’s on maternity leave though, I find myself a little more isolated from the rest of the office. Her absence has made me realise how dependent I am on her for social fulfillment. This whole time, I’ve been hving lunch with her, or buying lunch in for her. We crack jokes with each other, and even when I’m engaging in small talk or idle conversation with other people, she’s always involved one way or another, which is a great comfort to me, becaus eI wouldn’t really know how to hold my own with the people in the office.

I think the thing I’m missing the most is doing everything with her around. I’d be sitting in my cubicle, comfortable with the fact that she’s just a few cubicles from me. I’d look forward to sitting in the car with her, riding to and from work, and planning the rest of the evening with her, whether it be for dinner, or shopping, or family visits, or just which channel to idle in front of the TV with.

I’m now looking at about 3-4 months of not being able to do all these things with her while she is resting at home waiting for Xander to appear. Thanks to the new enhanced baby bonus scheme, she now has more time to spend with the kid and recuperate from the delivery, while I work off the payments I have to make for my various new purchases in anticipation for the biggest change in our lives (the unapproved $1000 bike included). Maybe it might not have felt so bad if we were working in separate corporations; maybe I wouldn’t have been so dependent on her for my emotional fulfillment at work. But if you ask me, working with my wife in the same office has been what’s keeping me happy (and what’s kept me i this job) since I started work here, and  I wouldn’t have had it any other way. There is no doubt we keep each other out of trouble, and we keep an eye out for one another when we’re together.

Now that she’s on maternity leave for the next few months, I wonder what kind of trouble I’m going to get into. That damn bike might just be the beginning.





Remember when… ?

10 12 2008

I remember a time when my first thought after buying a $500 Ibanez electric guitar was how to break the purchase to my parents.

Nowadays my first thought after buying a $1000 folding bike was how to break the purchase to my wife.

The more some things change, the more they remain the same.





Cleaning House

8 12 2008

Weekends are almost always for sleeping in, shoppping, and late night TV… unless you have a place of your own. Then you have to add cleaning house into the mix, which can be fun. If you’re a sadist.

But clean house we did. Particularly since Xander’s so close to exiting the Mothership, it means we can no longer use the guest room as a store room and have to clear out the 15-20 boxes of Idunnowhatodowiththatstuff.

Honestly, I don’t know how maids do it. I know how my mother does it, but she doesn’t count. To clean 2 bathrooms, vacuum the floor, do the laundry (7 loads total, including our bedding, a kiddie bolster, a child car seat cover which almost disintegrated, some bathmats and my clothes for the week) and change new bedsheets took me a whole day, while my wife tried to sort out her half of the stuff in the guest room (she’s pregnant, so she’s got concession for taking the whole day).

I’m planning a sort-of-minor renovation when my wife’s in confinement; we’re hoping to outfit new cabinets, curtain rails, window grilles and balcony windows as well as buy a new fridge, install a ceiling fan and clean up some mistakes made during our last renovation. Hopefully this second phase is going to make things just a little more like home. Even more hopefully, it won’t cost me my total income for next year.

Ah, the price of parenthood. I am beginning to think our technical depression was caused by August’s announcement of the enhanced baby bonus scheme.





Any Time Now…

31 10 2008

My wife’s been feeling a little under the weather lately. I figure it’s third trimester jitters, which should be normal. The truth is, we’re expecting Xander to pop out anytime between now and December (though frankly, December might be a better time). He’s been getting rougher in my wife’s womb too. It used to be little bumps here and there, but now her reactions and my own personal experiences feeling Xander’s full-bodied elbowing, kicking, somersaulting and frequent Hadouken practice sessions in her womb with my hand are making me wonder if Tae Bo is ingrained into a foetus’ instincts.

***

There’s been a lot of news and opinions about how the economy is doing and how best to approach it, varying from spending all the money you got in order to keep the economy running to start planning and saving as much financial reserves as you can possibkly get your hands on in order to weather the upcoming storm.

I’ve been told by my family I’ll be getting my own rescue package for my birthday to help me alleviate my debts. As much as I welcome the gesture, I also realise financial management is not a lesson to be taken lightly, but if handouts were readily available, it may not serve to teach anyone anything but the easiest way out and why it probably won’t work; when I was 16 years old, my dad signed me up for a supplementary credit card. when I was 16 years old and 6 months, he canceled it.

I’ve since signed up credit cards of my own, but of course, with a family of my own, the lessons that come with earning and spending have hit much closer to the heart (and the backside, where I usually put my wallet). My family has my interests at heart when they find out about my financial situation and offer their help, but I’ve told them all, “Sure, I’ll be more than happy to take your money, what what do you think I will learn out of it?”

Since I got married, I find myself having to work harder to prove to people that I’m not this kid that gets into financial trouble and has to get his family to bail him out, even though my first 20 years of life I’ve been trying to prove the exact opposite. I’m coming to realise though, that I’m trying to prove I’m financially stable to myself more than anyone else.

Damn recession isn’t making things easier though. Even if my paycheck’s still coming in and my expenses have been consistent, the daily headlines are making people really nervous, because nobody at my level, the level of the layman, knows what’s going to happen. My only hope is that Xander and my wife live through their days with me comfortably despite all of this.





Still In One Piece

15 09 2008

Those of you in the know, we’re okay now. The past 2 weeks has been an important lesson in dealing with marital issues and a pregnant wife, and I have gotten advice from every marker of the spectrum from friends and family alike. I got everything from “You guys need to talk.” to “You better stop talking for a while.” to “Did you find out why she’s pissed?” to “Why do you stupidly persist in asking why she’s angry?”. Took me 2 weeks to recover from all that confusion.

But I do want to thank those people who cared enough to ask, and tried their best to help out. At the end of the day, the problems a couple face in the course of their marital bliss may be issues only they can really handle, but a listening ear doesn’t hurt.

I’m hoping to start blogging full-swing again, as soon as I can find the right things to say.





Fight Night

4 09 2008

I have a wife who is smart, has a great sense of humour, is always on top of things when it comes to important stuff, and is always behind me when I need her the most.

You may have figured out by now that I got into troube with the missus. And you would be right. We haven’t spoken in 2 days.

But instead of going on a tirade of whys and woes, I’m opting not to talk about the issue that started it all in the first place, only how I’ve been coping with it all.

I feel terrible.

Cold wars are like cold turkey to me. Times like this make me realise how dependent on my wife I am. The sharing, the hugging, the baby talk before the baby’s even come out, the laughter and the jokes,… cold wars mean I don’t get any of the warmth a loving couple shares.

Cold wars also mean hours, days, or even weeks of feeling insecure. Because that’s basically why it’s called a cold war. It leaves you in the cold, with nothing. Nothing that will reassure you that everything will be okay. Nothing that will allow you the luxury of knowing the person you love loves you back.

I don’t deal with this kind of thing well at all. I never have. Instead, I end up making things worse, because nobody ever taught me how to make things right. And so, much like Thailand right now, my life is in a state of emergency, and like incumbent Prime Minister Samak, I don’t quite know how to proceed from here.

The biggest problem we have, I suppose, is an inability to come to a compromise when it comes to handling arguments. She prefers to be left alone; I prefer to talk. She needs time to calm down; I need a solution. She needs space; I need reassurance. And you know what? Nobody’s right, and nobody’s wrong.

I have no doubt we are both happy with each other when we are both happy together. I get unhappy only when she gets angry, and particularly when gets angry with me. I lose all my faculties; I even lose feeling in my limbs, I find myself breathing shallowly, and I get lost in the void of my own mind when she is no longer in the mood to be happy with me, when she no longer wants to share her space with me. I get scared, to put it simply. I get scared that I will lose the one person I love most, because I am afraid that she has stopped loving me.

The worst thing is, it’s her birthday today, and I don’t know what to do. Even if I did, would she reciprocate? I don’t know anything.

I love my wife very much. I just wish I knew what she is thinking right now.