Sunday, September 27, 2015

Wedding bells (part 7) / Musical journey (62)

In this last entry in the wedding series (1 2 3 4 5 6 7) which is also this month's musical post, I present the song I wrote specially for Ision and our special day. It was my first attempt at jazz so please be kind! I have included both the live version and the home-recorded version. I personally quite like the piece and how well I’ve tackled it that afternoon. How about you?

[Sure Thing]

You stole my heart and I fell so hard
In love we've braved sun and rain, sand and mud
I got so sick and tired of the wrong ones
Thank God you came and two became one

There in your arms, it's so warm and so calm
I never ever wanna be apart

Do you know it's your eyes
Brighter than the stars they shine
That led me to you
I'm so glad that now you're all mine

When you put on that smile
I know it's gonna be all right
I'll keep you close
Not gonna let you out of my sight

How can this be?
Is this really happening?
I love you, that's a sure thing

We play using silly words
That give more than just comfort
They are why we have grown
So fond of each other

In our one-room heaven
Dreams are made, never broken
Where on earth have you been all my life, oh my dear?

I take your hand and call you my man
Now you've got a soulmate
And I've got a best friend

Live version:

Home-recorded version:

This post concludes the wedding series. Although this whole event burnt a small hole in my pocket, I still find it totally worthwhile. How often do you get the chance to catch up with all your closest friends and family under one roof? The reception was especially sweet because I expressed my deep love for Ision in front of everyone I care about. To get their blessing was just the icing on the cake! I hope you have enjoyed this series. I know I will revisit these posts often for many years to come.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Wedding bells (part 6)

What is a wedding without a toast and what is a wedding without some form of announcement to the world that your love for your partner is greater than everything else in it? I started to organise the wedding program with the emcee (my best pal Phoebee) about two months before the event and the essence I was looking for was simplicity i.e. none of the rowdy shindigs typical of other traditional weddings. So we simply took turns to address the guests and then the emcee initiated a single civilised toast. However I did not leave things there–how could I as a singer/songwriter not write something new for the special day and sing it to the person I love so much? I had this planned all along but it was meant to be a surprise for Ision. The song I wrote for him is called “Sure Thing” and I sang it straight after the toast. My performance garnered rave reviews and I was so glad everything turned out well (especially when my voice gradually gave way to alcohol and talking as the afternoon progressed).

In this penultimate post, I will share the pictures from the toast and leave the clip of the jazzy piece for the concluding entry. The entire wedding series can be found here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7.

Ision and I had a moment to ourselves before the guests arrived. Boy did we look great that day!
Here is another happy shot of us. We actually didn’t take many pictures of just us as we were too occupied with entertaining our friends and family.
Here is me addressing the guests and thanking them for coming to our wedding. As we already did our vows at the British Consulate when we had the civil union (here is what I said on that day), Ision didn’t think my idea of exchanging vows at the wedding reception was a good idea (he termed that “play-acting” much to my irritation). I later agreed with him and struck that out of the program.
Then it was Ision’s turn to speak. He snatched the microphone from me when I started rambling–my hero to my rescue!
Before the toast was made, I took a snap of everyone to capture that moment when all eyes were on both of us. To pre-empt any objection I said “it’s my day and I can do whatever I like!”
The toast from the perspective of the guests. This was snapped at the precise moment when everyone started drinking.
Then I delivered the surprise to boo. He said he kind of saw that coming but I don’t believe him–he was pleasantly surprised indeed. When I started singing, on went the phone video cameras. I can’t say I dislike the attention. Haha.
I really like this shot of me singing to my boo especially the way he’s looking at me. I could almost make out the rays of love shooting out of his eyes all the way into mine.

Stay tuned for the last post when all will be unveiled.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Wedding bells (part 5)

In this fifth post of the wedding series (1 2 3 4 5 6 7), there will be pictures Ision and I took with our guests. How can there not be a post dedicated to the people who made the day extra special?

I know it is the way the photos have been edited but we absolutely glowed that day. I guess love was the source of that radiance.
We termed the background of this shot “the wall with character” and it was featured in many pictures. This is one of us with my family (plus sister-in-law sans brother) and is one of my favourites.
This is another wall of the restaurant made to be stood in front of when taking pictures. This shot not only features the stunning mural, Ision’s friends are in it as well.
Us and the singers. Unfortunately one of the girls had to leave early due to work commitments. I hope she had a ball!
The guy in the picture is my high school friend (with his wife beside him) and though very different in nature and interests, we somehow kept in contact all these years. Coincidentally, Ision and I attended their wedding banquet five days later!
This girl is my university friend and is yet another of those characters that you wouldn’t think you would ever become close friends with due to differences in personalities and interests but strong bonds can develop in the strangest of places and circumstances. On my right is her husband.
Us with the cute couple with the matching outfits. Many people asked if we were going to be in tuxedos and I thought they were out of their minds as we wanted something as easy and casual as possible. My shirt was actually a gift from Ision–Burberry no less!
Here is another group shot of Ision with his friends who had over the years become mine too.
This is the amateur photographer of the day with his trademark pose and is my good friend. Many thanks to him for helping me out! By the way can you tell that I have make-up on?

We are coming towards the end of the series but I have two more posts and I have saved the best for last, so watch this space.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Wedding bells (part 4)

Food glorious food! This is the direction this fourth wedding post is going to take (the entire series is here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7). Because the entire restaurant had to be closed for the event, there was a fixed cost that needed to be covered. As we had only 30 guests (maximum occupancy for the top floor of the restaurant is 60), the person in charge of the food a.k.a. my friend Ivan had to choose the best and most expensive ingredients for the menu to match this fixed cost (the menu can be found here). I only gave Ivan the instructions not to have beef and lamb on the menu as Ision doesn’t consume those kinds of red meat and left the rest to his imagination and expertise. All I can say is I was not disappointed at all and with free-flow beer, wine, champagne and cocktails, the guests weren’t either. I got so much positive feedback from them after the event and some even said they will come to the restaurant next time to sample other items on the menu. I will let you decide for yourselves whether or not we are exaggerating when we sing all these praises (I always get so hungry looking at these pictures!).

Pre-lunch mingling needed open-faced sandwiches of both the sweet and savoury variety and so there they were. I told the guests not to fill up on those regardless of how delectable they were as there were much better main courses to come (shown below in the order they were served).
Caesar salad with caviar on Belgian spears. The leafy greens were imported from Australia and thus were ultra-expensive (how ironic), and the caviar elevated the decadence to a whole new level.

Garden herbed mushroom bruschetta and foie gras. How often do you have foie gras on a wedding menu? This is why I love this non-traditional wedding of mine. Ision was initially against this product of animal cruelty being served on our special day but I managed to veto his veto!

Baked ravioli with marinara sauce. The filling was seafood and I thought it would have been better to have included that detail on the menu so that people could know what was in the ravioli but when I got to taste it, nothing else mattered.

Hokkaido scallop B.L.T. This was yet another creative course which the guests thoroughly enjoyed. They would have liked it even more if this course were all-you-can-eat i.e. like the others. Unfortunately scallops are much too expensive and everyone (bar the VIPs a.k.a. family members) had only one serving.
Balsamic honey pulled pork burger sliders. I always like my food to be on the sweet side instead of sour or savoury so these mini burgers were just the way I like it. I had two but could have had so much more if there weren’t more food coming.

Brown sugar bourbon pork tenderloin and saffron rice. My favourite meat is pork so I had absolutely nothing to complain about, not to mention real saffron was used which added so much more class.

Spicy aglio olio in chilli crab gravy. There were just so many reasons why I love this course! It was really spicy and the portion was really generous. I had this dish on its own once at the restaurant before and was really glad it was featured on our wedding menu. Unfortunately at that point I was totally stuffed so I had only two servings.

Citrus tartlets of two kinds–with raspberry pearls and with frozen blueberry and orange zest. I was told the pearls didn’t turn out successfully due to issues with the gelatine so the mandarin slices were only soaked in raspberry juice. These tartlets were of the perfect size to not make you feel guilty when you down one after another although they so should!

The waiter serving us the food was not too bad to look at as well!

So do the pictures tempt you enough to pay the restaurant a visit yourself? Well you really should make that trip down and I know you will leave impressed. In the meantime, look out for my next post in three days’ time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Wedding bells (part 3)

A lot of people would agree with me when I say that one significant reason for having a wedding is so that friends and family can share the joy. What is also important is to make sure that they enjoy themselves on that day and from the shots in this third wedding post, I think we managed to achieve that. The entire wedding series is here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7.

Donning the best pieces from her diamond-arsenal with some worn for the first time, here is the prettiest lady that day. She would have never thought her youngest baby would one day grow up to marry another man. Here’s to the coolest mum: I love you!
With smiles from ear to ear and waving the customised “Kim & Ision” skewer/flag thingies, I can only assume this couple who came all the way from Kuala Lumpur specially for us were having maximum fun.
The women of my family. From left to right: eldest sister, mum, second elder sister, sister-in-law and niece.
The pair with the bear. This cute couple never leaves home without their favourite Winnie the Pooh. I knew both of them individually before they got together and boy was that long ago.
Another shot of beautiful ladies in the house.
Two other happy friends showing off their pearly whites. One of them is quite a famous food blogger so I really hope he liked the food that day. I love this shot because another couple were caught perfectly in this selfie as well by pure chance.
My second elder sister has just moved back to Singapore from Texas with her family and I have not caught up with her for a long time. Beside my mum is one of my sister’s adorable sons. At the wedding I also caught up with my brother-in-law whom I have not spoken with at length for years (if ever).
A really floral shot of my mum with the singers I got to know way back when I started gigging. Second from the right is my best pal Phoebee who was also the emcee for the day. Emceeing for weddings is one of her main jobs and so there couldn’t be a better candidate for this important role.
If you are dying to have a “taste” of the excellent menu, you are in luck because food will be the topic of my next post which will be up very soon. Save up your saliva till then!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Wedding bells (part 2)

In this second wedding reception post in my wedding series (1 2 3 4 5 6 7), you’ll get a feel of the atmosphere on that day. In this age of sharing pictures on social media, you don’t really need an event photographer because all you need to do is to ask for the pictures taken by all your guests and voila you would have obtained more pictures that you will ever need. What is even better about this is you’ll get pictures from different vantage points, often impossible for a single photographer to capture no matter how professional he or she is. However I still had my dear friend Roy taking up the role of the roving photographer snapping both candid and posed shots. As a gay activist who likes to document events, it didn’t take any effort at all on my part before he agreed to do me this favour.

The three earliest people on the scene (us and mum) chilling over coffee and drinks. If you think this corner of the restaurant looks familiar, that is because I had a photo shoot there earlier this year and have posted a preview here.
Pre-lunch mingling when cocktails and open-faced sandwiches were served. Much alcohol were consumed and selfies were taken while waiting for all the guests to arrive.

Ladies enjoying themselves before the wedding toast took place.
Us seated at the VIP table with mum beside me. Needless to say Ision and I were both busy sharing freshly taken pictures on Facebook. This is the sign of the times so there is only one thing I want to say to people who frown upon this–DEAL WITH IT!
Another shot of us pre-occupied with a smartphone, oblivious to everything else. Expectedly the waiting staff also had to double up as part-time photographers.
All seated enjoying the first course of the day. 40 people were invited but only 30 or so could make it. We wouldn’t want the event to be any bigger, given that we are both really quite anti-social people (i.e. we have no energy to deal with acquaintances, just close friends and family).
 What do good hosts do in between courses? Chat with the guests of course. This is Ision doing it (albeit in an uncomfortable squatting position due to his height)…
…while this is me doing it at one end of the long table. Suffice to say I totally lost my voice due to how much I drank and talked on that day (I have actually not fully recovered yet).
Still want some more? You’d have to wait for a few days for my next post!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wedding bells (part 1)

On 28th June 2015, a very special event took place and it was our wedding reception (something I have alluded to vaguely on purpose several times on this blog). It was originally going to be only a Singapore trip by myself but the fact that my mum decided to celebrate her 70th birthday gave Ision the purpose to come with me (strangely he only travels when there is a clear reason to). Also we converted our civil union into a full-fledged marriage at the Melbourne British consulate on our 8th anniversary a month before that. Once the location was decided, all the required elements were then in place and we knew we had to add this wedding reception to our itinerary. Preparations ensued with the sending of invites, planning for the menu and program and so on. We wanted it to be a small intimate affair so it was not too difficult to get it organised–most of the work if not all of it was done by me. As a person with OCD, this couldn’t be done any other way!

In seven posts (1 2 3 4 5 6 7), I will share with you the pictures from that day, including a clip of something that was meant to be a surprise for boo. In this first entry, the day’s décor will be featured.

I must admit when my friend Ivan opened his restaurant, I didn’t think it could be the venue for our special day but since I made the decision to do it there, I couldn’t think of a better place.
The décor is what I call “rustic-urban with a retro twist”. I left the theme totally in Ivan’s hands other than to remove anything too feminine (because it is not a man/woman wedding) and to make sure we don’t wear the same colour as the wait staff.
 One of the main features of this top floor of the restaurant where the reception took place is the fabulous mural on the wall. Many pictures were taken in front of it that day.
 Another very warm shot before the guests arrived. I was told the restaurant staff stayed till 2am the night before to set everything up. Great work people!
This was the centrepiece on the VIP table (reserved for family members). I didn’t expect this as I thought it was free-seating but it was really a nice touch.
 Two views of the customised menu which I personally approved. I have dined there before and had so much confidence in Ivan’s team that I didn’t require a taste test (not that it was possible with me being in Australia). The “Kim & Ision” stamp on the menu made us feel so special and it really brought the whole theme together.
 An unassuming shop house by the street on the exterior but what a gem of a location once you step inside. I certainly recommend this restaurant to all my friends who are looking for places to hold their special events.

In the next post, candid shots will be featured. In my opinion these are the moments that really deserve capturing, so stay tuned.