As all the curtains have been drawn, Belinda and I still bask in the euphoria of celebrating our love for one another on the 30th of December 2017 and we thank all who have been here to share the joy with us. As we step into the year of 2018, I would like to reflect on our journey towards this momentous occasion.
As you know, Belinda and I got legally married under the solemnising hands of Professor Low Cheng Hock on 6th July 2016 – also my birthday (smart wife!) – under the witness of direct family members. But even before that, Belinda had already been hard at work preparing for this day and I would like to dedicate my first blog post to her as I reflect and remember all she has done to make this day such a successful one.
Pre Wedding preparations
- Sourcing for wedding venue. Even when I was in Boulder, Colorado from May 2015 to July 2016 training for Olympic Qualification, Belinda had already started looking for possible wedding venues around Singapore. Despite my absence, she went about attending many wedding shows, compared prices, speaking to friends to source for the best possible venue for our wedding celebrations. Such commitment and dedication to making our special day truly special is nothing but remarkable. – I saw her dedication!
- The past year since I have returned have been nothing short of hectic – First year residency (after a year of full time running) and training for the SEA Games in August 2017 made it difficult for me to contribute whatever little time I had to wedding preparations. However, Belinda took up the responsibility gracefully and continued liaising with the wedding coordinators, went down for meetings, corresponded over emails. Once in a while she expresses her frustration for my lack of involvement but still persists on to make this day a successful one and I am eternally grateful for that. – I saw her selflessness!
- What made the above more amazing was that all this while, she was pretty much the chief contractor watching over the housing renovations. She and her mother would come down regularly to track the progress of the renovations. The discipline and hardwork to see these 2 major projects going through concurrent is a testament to her commitment to us. – I saw diligence!
- A year ago, Belinda has started bugging me to pick up dancing so that our wedding would be a special one. I was rather reluctant and often hoped she would drop the idea. However, as stairs aligned, it was by chance that she met Aunty Rosa to have a sports massage at her home and she asked her to be our teacher. Thanks to her determination, we survived 10 X 1.5 hour long sessions to put up a beautiful performance to be remembered for our lifetime. – I saw persistence!
- Belinda is one who treasures memories though she doesn’t often show it. In October, Bel and I went to Kona, Hawaii to support Ben, her brother at the Ironman World Championships. Prior to that she had planned and looked for a photographer to help us do a pre wedding photoshoot. She scoured through social media to find one that suits our styles and emailed multiple photographers and enquired them for their availability. It turned out to be one of our best shoots and the results spoke for themselves. Due to her foresight, her dress that she bought at a huge sale in Macy’s 2 years ago was also finally put to good use! – I saw resourcefulness and foresight!
- Due to my schedule, it was difficult for me to go down with Bel for some of her fitting sessions at the wedding boutique and test make up session. I am fortunate that she had good friends who were there for her during these periods. (Shoutout: To all these friends that have supported us in our journey! Thank you!) I remembered how she went for the test make up and the makeup artist commented to her “Wa. First time I see Husband not here…” That must have made her feel lousy but not once did she put the blame on me. Upset yes, but blame no and that speaks volumes of her harmonious nature. – I saw understanding!
- 2 months before the Wedding, Belinda put her itinerary-writing skills (she comes up with crazy detailed travel itineraries!) to good use by coming up with a 10-page wedding day itinerary. Credits should be given to Jenna and Clement whose recent wedding itinerary we used as a template. But she made it 5 x more detailed and it was used as a basis for discussion at subsequent meetings. I was impressed how the itinerary was planned to the minute and took into account travelling times and points of expected delay. – I saw meticulousness!
- The guest list was another challenge for me as I struggled to keep the number within 250 – a number that we both agreed that was neither too big or small. She went through the wedding guest list countless times to make it perfect. I can only imagine how looking for hours at a spreadsheet of numbers can cause nausea and vomiting. – I saw patience!
- Seating arrangement was the most difficult task for us nearing to d-day. Last minute withdrawals, partners not coming, seating requests meant we had to constantly swap people around to meet stringent criteria set out by the hotel (E.g. There must be a minimum of 10 people eating normal Chinese should there be someone eating halal at the same table). Bel’s harmonious nature and the strong urge to make sure each and every guest enjoyed themselves made this task more difficult for herself. She spent hours putting guests in different permutations and put special focus on friends who may have come alone or from overseas. For Brian, my masseuse from Boulder, Colorado who was coming alone and would not have known anyone, Belinda made the effort to contact her friend, inform him that we are seating Brian next to him and to kindly please entertain him. The result? Brian ended up having a really good time and made new friends. She did the same for another good Friend, Zhou Yang who is a water player but she could not fit him further into the waterpolo table as it had maxed out. She placed him with her group of physiotherapist friends and informed them before hand of this arrangement. Zhou Yang came back thanking her to have placed him in that table as he ended up “learning a lot”. Her consideration for friends and family is absolutely commendable. – I saw empathy!
- Her consideration for people around her did not just come from seating them down appropriately. We had 3 overseas friends who have specially flown in for our wedding. Annabelle, her Friend from University of Sydney, Brian, my Sports Therapist from Boulder Colorado and Tsukasa my running buddy from Japan. She compiled everyone’s flight details, set up a table and word document with our schedule and guest’s schedules and shared with everyone few weeks before their flight. It made it so easy for me to convey the plans to Brian (who was coming here for 2 weeks to make his 24-hour journey worth it from USA) so that he felt purposeful throughout the trip. She also came up with a really cute Airbnb-like introduction to our house that tells everyone about the directions to the house and instructions from wifi to laundry use. Her strength of being detailed really shone through. Her aim was to make everyone comfortable with the home, our humble nest. – I saw nurture-ness!
- Belinda is a perfectionist when it comes to things she wants to be perfect! She initiated 2 meet ups with our brothers and sisters to ensure everyone was on the same page and gone through the wedding itinerary 3 times with everyone such that every single item was thought through by the entire team and everyone was sure what is going to happen at every single minute of the the day. – I saw perfection!
- Belinda loves good food (it can be cheap and from the hawker) but she doesn’t like to waste her calories on lousy food. On the first meeting, Bel got Ben, her Brother, to cook us a sumptuous lamb steak which left everyone craving for more. In the next meeting, She bought the “LHL chicken wings” (because they used a picture of our PM Lee Hsien Loong queueing up as their marketing gimmick) and ordered pizza for everyone. In addition, she made salad to add some balance to the healthiness of the meal. She has always explained to me that she wants to be a good host and make sure everyone gets enough food. Again, another sign of kindness and showing much consideration to people around her. – I saw provision!
- We had a couple of photo montages of our childhood and friends. Bel played a critical role in arranging the photos and decorating each slide with photo frames. Granted, I gave her the directions on how the slides should be but I am impressed how she was committed to her responsibilities. Everyday, while she took the 1 hour train ride to work, she would whip out the laptop and start doing them. This is so that when she is home she can continue doing other areas of the wedding planning. – i saw focus!
- Just one week before the wedding, Belinda arranged a facial session (already booked in 3 months before and she blocked my calendar) for me to ensure I looked good. She also reminded me to have my eyebrows neatened and my black heads removed (rather strange typing this on a public blog!) but it worked out really well and many friends noticed the difference in my complexion! – i saw tenderness!
- Belinda really had everything in control. She knew where every small item was in the house such as our wedding tattoo. She knew what I had to bring and gave me timely reminders to bring them despite having her own worries. I am thankful for that. Like clockwork, she got me to put on my face masks to ensure i look fresh and radiant on D-Day (teehee). – i saw thoughtfulness!
- After the wedding, we would be staying in the hotel for a night. She activated her luggage packing skills – you should see her pack for her travels. Systematic and thorough and so she did for us even though it was for a night. She got the essentials like swimming trunks, goggles, toothbrush and toothpaste and so on before I added on my basic clothes. These small things made me feel lucky! – i saw service!
- It was evident that despite her being the princess of the day, she could not help letting her strengths of discipline shine through by ensuring everyone is keeping to the time even while enjoying herself in the photoshoot at Botanic Gardens. She could immerse herself in the atmosphere but somehow seemingly had a clock ticking in her head, knowing how much time has lapsed. I had been most worried about the the time management from gate crash to the wedding lunch as we had to fit in a dance rehearsal before the opening of reception. But it turned out that there was nothing to be worried about – despite the possibilities of many hiccups, everything was according to plan, of course this would not have been possible with our overall wedding coordinator Ghislaine having a hawk eye on the time but indeed, Bel had a part to play in this. – i saw skill!
- Belinda is not well versed in dialect or Chinese (unlike me hehe) but we still had to go through the Tea ceremony. Days before, she already expressed her uneasiness in calling relatives by Cantonese names – which is entirely normal and expected. It wasn’t easy for me to start calling her parents in different ways either. However, I was very encouraged by how she still did it anyway, overcoming her fears and uneasiness. – i saw adaptability!
- We had a final dance rehearsal with Aunty Rosa and Michael at 9:45am after arrival to the hotel. I was rather nervous because honestly it was the first time we will be practicing at the ballroom and we had to make sure we got our steps and timings right in order to finish gracefully with the music. Our first few tries were totally off and I was getting a little panicky. But I was impressed how she kept her cool and remained focus on the task. She got me to practice certain aspects of the dance such that both of us knew exactly what to expect especially in the last segment where we twirled around on the dance floor. Thankfully, it went so well for the actual dance as we showcased our best ever dance to everyone. – i saw beauty!
- Whilst I was panicking about getting Bel upstairs to change into her second gown for the next item, Bel was as calm as a dove, probably because she knows the itinerary at the back of her hands. She told me that we could afford time to walk around the ballroom to talk to our guests before needing to head up to change. It again revealed to me how much Bel likes to be around family and Friends. – i saw gentleness!
- Belinda really has very good friends. We will be expanding on this in Part 2 of this blog series. But when the official wedding lunch went underway, she knew that it was time to let go and let her friends run the show. She was confident that her friends would pull of a flawless wedding for her, especially Ghislaine, the overall wedding coordinator, Joelle who was overall incharge of AV and Jenna who was her personal assistant helping her with her gown changes. Seeing that she has such good friends was really encouraging as it must mean she must be a special person! – i saw friendship!
- We had 274 guests, out of which, more than two thirds were my family and friends from all walks of life – running, triathlon, sports medicine, orthopaedic surgery, Doctor friends, Teachers and classmates. Anyone else would have been intimidated by being in the presence of strangers. However, I was very amazed by how Belinda carried herself, putting on a smile, and gamely picked up conversations with my guests. I also realised how much I actually do share with her about my life. Out of the 200 + guests, I found myself tell Bel “Oh this is Dr Ngiam…”, and she would know exactly who I am talking about. I felt an immense sense of closeness emotionally and mentally when I realised how much she actually is involved in my life. – i saw one-ness!
- Honestly, Belinda is no Dancer. And neither am I. Before the wedding, I was unsure about the open dance floor concept at the end. I was worried that it may become a wet blanket should no one turn up on the floor. I had pre-arranged with several of my sporty Nurses and friends to be there when the dance floor was opened. However, It was still not easy. I am impressed how Belinda played by ear, supported whatever ideas I had and went with the flow. She trusted me in my decisions to sway to the music, to twirl in the middle of the stage all alone. It wasn’t easy for me, but thankfully with her supporting me, it all turned out well. – i saw trust!
Dedication, Selflessness, Diligence, Persistence, Resourcefulness, Foresight, Understanding, Meticulousness, Patience, empathy, Nurture-ness, Perfection, Provision, Focus, Tenderness, Thoughtfulness, Service, Skill, Adaptability, Beauty, Gentleness, Friendship, One-ness, Trust, and with all that, faith, hope and love for our future!
She is not a better half that completes me. She is whole herself, supporting and maximising this lucky me!
Thank you and Love you dar!