Friday, January 31, 2014

23.12.2013 R.O.M.

I'm seriously lagging behind with my wedding posts...just got the wedding day photos last week and that means I've got lots more to blog about. =P Before that, here's a quick update of our marriage registration ceremony on 23 December 2013 (P.S. Daniel...please rmb this date). =P

After completing all the tedious procedures that I've blogged about previously, we went back to JPN on the date that we've selected to get hitched legally. We're done the troublesome part so this last part was simple and quick. We're glad that everything worked out smoothly and we managed to complete our solemnization of marriage with the presence of both our families...perfect!! =)

Started by taking the oath and all we had to say was...'YES', 'NO', and 'YES, I DO'...told ya it's simple!! & I wore pretty authentic Malaysian+Chinese outfit. =P

Then sign the papers.

Lastly, exchange our rings and we're DONE!! =)

Officially Mr & Mrs Clements...hahaha!!

And a group photo to wrap it up!! =D

"Today, two lives and two families come together as one. We put aside our differences and celebrate love. You both showed us that when two people are meant for each other, no distance is too far and no time is too long. Congratulations to my dear brother and sister - Daniel and Khai Shing! May you both have a blessed marriage and wonderful times ahead." ~ Khai Sheng 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pre-Wedding Photo Shoot in Penang

Pre-wedding photo shoot...since when did this trend started and why has it become a 'must-have' for most couples getting married these days? The amount of money that couples are willing to spend on bridal photo shoots are so exorbitant (usually the 2nd largest expense after the reception) that pre-wedding shoots are now a seriously big business in the wedding industry. Honestly, I wasn't keen on spending so much money on a photo shoot but our main purpose of doing this wedding was to celebrate our love with our families and a nice wedding photo album would be a good keepsake for our families coz we know that either of us would move far away from home eventually.

Bridal house or freelance photographer?
Right after confirming our wedding date, we started researching online for pre-wedding photo shoots. Initially, I was thinking of just getting a freelance photographer to do some casual photo shoots, more like the ang-moh version of 'Engagement Shoot' whereby couples dress up more casually and do it at outdoor grassy places coz I thought it would be cheaper and easier than taking a bridal house package and dress up in wedding gowns. However, after comparing the prices and what they offer, we decided on the bridal house package which turned out to be cheaper and less hassle. Even though freelance photographers may seem cheaper at first, they usually don't include make-up/hairdo, wedding gowns and anything on your wedding day. Of the many bridal houses in Penang, it wasn't easy deciding which bridal house to use. Based on bro and SIL's experience with their pre-wedding photo shoot, I've learned that if you get a package that's much cheaper than others, then most probably there'll be all sorts of hidden costs.

The 'pao-ka-liao' package?
I was lucky that the first bridal house that I approached (KYBC) gave me a pretty good impression and I liked the fact that they were pretty flexible. The first thing I asked was whether they are able to get the photo shoot and album done within 3 weeks coz that's all the time we had. Since it was still 10 months away from the wedding, they are able to work around their resources to ensure that it's done before our wedding day. Instead of pushing me to book their packages as it is, the boss asked what I wanted and my budget then she worked out a price for me and gave me few days to consider. At the end of the day, we settled with a 'pao-ka-liao' package that includes 4 locations, 3 sets of gowns and suits for the photo shoot, make-up & hairdo, 2 gowns and suits for the wedding day, flower bouquet, car ribbon, 2 photo albums, and a slideshow DVD at a pretty reasonable price. Best of all, there were no hidden cost. =) P.S. I don't get anything for promoting them but I just wanna say that good customer service makes a whole world of difference. 

Photoshoot = PDA?
Since there weren't much that we could do before Daniel got here in December, he helped to do some research on the internet and shortlisted some poses from others' photo shoots. The funny thing about pre-wedding shoot is that you are forced to do stuff that's not really 'you'. It's pretty obvious that we're not professional models but we had to act and pose like we were, and be natural about it. Worse still, we had to do it in public, this is really some serious public display of affection (PDA)!! Believe it or not, we actually practiced some poses before the photo shoot day just so that we didn't look too awkward coz no matter how fancy or beautiful the dress is, if our pose is awkward then it's gonna ruin the photos and our few thousand bucks will go to waste.

Aight enough of words, time for some photos. Most of the time you'll only get to see the nicely Photoshop-ed pre-wedding photos of the couples but thanks to my awesome family who followed us and helped out during the photo shoot session, I've got some behind-the-scenes photos to share here. =)

Dec 10 (Tues): Photo Shoot Session - Part 1  

Make-up/hairdo by the professional. The boss was nice enough to arrange this make-up artist who had 10 years of experience for me. =)

All ready to get started! This dress can only be used in their studio, that's why we decided to do one set in the studio. No cameras allowed so no b-t-s photos for this set. =P We started around 11.30am and the first set went pretty well so we were done in an hour.

Our next location - Peranakan Museum. This place collects a fee of RM50 for wedding photo shoot but we still picked this location coz these landmarks are unique in Penang and it fits our East meets West story. Gotta have some oriental element for our wedding photos. Btw, guess how much I spent for this cheongsam? I bought it when I traveled to Suzhou for business trip and it fitted perfectly on me. =)

Our photographer (Ah Hooi) and his assistant (Jason) was really skillful and helpful. We showed them some photos that we shortlisted online and they tried their best to accommodate our requests and made us feel comfortable posing in public...haha!! 

Another location done within an hour. Time to change into the next dress and change my hairdo for the next location. 

Another uniquely-Penang location - Blue Mansion. This place collects a fee of RM250 for photo shoot but Daniel loves this place a lot so we didn't mind paying for it. Outdoor locations are definitely much better for photos because of the natural light. 

The very long and troublesome dress but it looks perfect in photos. =)

My awesome b-t-s helpers and photographers. =D

Dec 13 (Fri): Photo Shoot Session - Part 2
We were supposed to be done with our photo shoot in a day but thanks to the rain, we couldn't complete our final set of photo shoot at the botanical gardens so we decided to do the last set on a different day at a different location.

More helpers and photographers for this photo shoot session. =) #happyfamily 

 The photographers suggested this foresty place in Nibong Tebal. Never heard about this Bukit Panchor State Park but it's a nice place for photos, with a lot of!! This was the most tiring location for Daniel coz he had to do all the stunt moves here. =P

Thanks to big bro and SIL for taking all these b-t-s videos during the photo shoot and bro for putting them all together in this video clip together with the R.O.M.

Now that you've seen what went on behind-the-scenes, it's time to see the end products. We're both very satisfied with how the photos turned out and it seems like we've got some talent in!! Basically all we did were...look at each other, look away in the distance, eye-to-eye, nose-to-nose and kiss...hahaha!! Anyway, full credits to KuangYee's photographers (Ah Hooi & Jason) and make-up artist (Ivy) for the job well done. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

D' December with Daniel

After returning from our mini-moon in KL, we were left with only 20 days before the wedding day. This is Daniel's 3rd trip to Penang and he's pretty much done with all the sightseeing in Penang already so we could focus solely on wedding prep this time around. Glad that we got to spend some busy but quality time together for the entire 3 weeks. =)

If you haven't noticed, I prefer to blog things chronologically but since my photos are all over the place, here's a summary of our 3 weeks in Penang:
Dec 7 (Sat): Flew back to Penang from KL.
Dec 8 (Sun): Daniel's suit fitting for the photo shoot.
Dec 10 (Tues): Pre-wedding photo shoot at the studio, Peranakan Museum & Blue Mansion.
Dec 11 (Wed): Went to various government offices for marriage registration procedures. 
Dec 12 (Thurs): Met up with the band to discuss about the wedding dinner itinerary.
Dec 13 (Fri): Pre-wedding photo shoot part 2 at Bukit Panchor State Park & photo selection for wedding album.
Dec 19 (Thurs): Daniel's family (Donny, Donna & Anna) arrived from the US.
Dec 20 (Fri): Lunch with our families at Nandos and had seafood dinner at Tambun.
Dec 21 (Sat): His family checked-in to The Cove condo at Tanjung Bungah.
Dec 22 (Sun): Cycling tour around Georgetown with Donna, Anna, big bro, SIL & bro.
Dec 23 (Mon): Marriage registration ceremony at the National Registration Dept office.
Dec 24 (Tues): Final round of spring cleaning at Tambun to prepare for the wedding.
Dec 26 (Thurs): Kedar (his best man) arrived from Bombay. Sheng brought 'em around Pg.
Dec 27 (Fri): Test run wedding slideshow at the restaurant, attached wedding car ribbon and collected our gowns and suits from the bridal house.
Dec 28 (Sat): The BIG day. I'll save this for another post.
Dec 29 (Sun): Brought Lou and DingDing (who flew all the way from Shanghai to attend our wedding) for sightseeing around Penang. 
Dec 30 (Mon): Time to say goodbye to him and his family.

Conclusion, I put aside my job as an auditor and turned into a wedding planner, driver, tour guide, model, slideshow producer and bride for the month of December 2013. =P 

Coming to Penang means food, food, and more food. =P

His favorite treat in Malaysia...$0.30 McD sundae cone. =)

Groceries shopping may be ordinary but we only get to do it together once a year.

Perfect example of how Asian sized bed don't fit Americans. =P

Crazy boy trying to look cool in these female!!

Arrival of his family. Donny and Anna's first trip to Asia. 

Seafood galore at Tambun. Bro brilliantly ordered octopus to give them some 'exotic' experience.

They rented this condo at The Cove...'atas' place by the beach with good facilities and a lot of expats.

忙里偷闲...utilized the condo's facilities to sweat it out.

Cyling tour around Georgetown.

His buddy, Kedar, purposely flew over from US and Bombay to attend our wedding. It was great having him around, thanks man!! =)

They were very excited to try the 'Prosperity'!!

The tourists trying out the very 'fresh' coconut drink.

The fiance helping out with some house chores to prep for the wedding day. He even helped me to prepare the props for the games...hahaha!! =P

Time to say goodbye and back to LDR for again. =( Some people asked me where are we going for our honeymoon but unfortunately we had no time for it coz he had to fly back 2 days after the wedding and we both had to get back to work after taking off for one month. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Guide to Marrying a Foreigner in Malaysia

This post is to provide an overview of the marriage registration procedures for a foreigner to marry a local Malaysian. We were lucky to find a useful blog while we were doing our research few months back providing the step-by-step procedures and it really came in handy and saved us a lot of hassle. Thanks to them, the process was so much easier for us. So for those planning to marry a foreigner in Malaysia, hope this post helps. =)

This was for Daniel (the foreigner). He asked about this document from the marriage license office in Huntsville but since he has never been married before, they had no records for him. He then emailed the US Embassy in KL to ask about this and was informed that he could get it at the embassy when he gets to Malaysia.

We went to US Embassy in KL and it was quick coz Americans didn't have wait in line. He filled up the 'Single Status Affidavit' form, had it notarized, and paid a fee of USD50. All done within an hour. We then headed straight to Putrajaya for the next procedures. 

We knew that the office was closed between 12pm-2pm so we got there around 2.30pm. We registered at the guardhouse with our ID (IC/passport etc.) and went to the counter to get the endorsement. We waited for about 1 hour before the document was endorsed and made the payment of RM20.

We were lucky that there was nobody there so we did not need to wait at all. We filled up a form and submitted copies of Daniel's passport, birth certificate, my IC, and the Single Status Affidavit. They didn't ask us any questions and after checking through all our documents, they issued us with a letter enclosed in a sealed envelope which we will have to submit to the Penang JPN office. We were done with everything by 4.30pm. So that's it for all the procedures that we had to complete in KL. All these procedures just to get him authorized to get married in Malaysia. The actual marriage registration procedures will have to be completed in Penang.

We couldn't start the application process in Penang until Daniel has resided in Malaysia for at least 7 days. He arrived on Monday and the soonest we could start the process was the next Tuesday. I've already gotten the marriage registration form in Putrajaya and filled up all our information before hand. We could have just gone straight to the High Court to take our oath but we weren't sure exactly what the procedure was so we went over to JPN first to find out what to do next.

After the officer looked through our documents briefly, he told us that we had to go to the High Court to take our oath. I was trying to finish as many things as possible before the government offices close for lunch break so we were driving around town as if we were on the amazing race. =P We went to the counter, waited for our turn to make the payment of RM4 then went up to 2nd floor to see the translator. Basically the translator just 'translated' the content of the marriage registration form and ensured that Daniel understands that he's gonna sign a paper to get married in Malaysia. She then signed, dated, and stamped on the form. This was done in half an hour.

The officer checked through the completed marriage registration form (with the translator's stamp), copies of all our documents and attached each of our passport size photos. As we needed an 'express service' coz Daniel was gonna fly back to US in less than 21 days, the JPN officer gave us an 'express service' form that we had to fill up. 

We went to the 3rd floor of Komtar, asked one of the officers about the 'express service' for marriage and was directed to the payment counter. After paying the 'express fee' of RM100, we were told to go to the CM's office at 25th floor. The secretary came out to get our forms and told us that she would call me after the form is signed by the CM. I thought it could be done on the same day but she told us that it would only be done the next day. That means we were done for the day, another successful morning for us: 10.45am JPN - 11.15am High Court - 12pm JPN - 12.45pm Komtar - 1pm Done. Once again, I was impressed by our government offices' efficiency.

We went back to Komtar on Dec 13 to collect our forms that has been signed by the CM and took the forms back to Penang's JPN. After checking all our documents again, we finally got to select the dates for our marriage registration ceremony. There are only 3 slots available per day between 9am-11am and the earliest date possible we could select was 23 Dec 2013 so we reserved our slot. 

Both our families arrived JPN at 9.30am and waited for our turn for the solemnization ceremony. We paid RM20 for the marriage certificate and another RM10 for the endorsed copy for Daniel to bring back to the States. The entire ceremony took less than 20 minutes and all we had to say was 'YES', 'NO', and 'YES, I DO'!! 

All in all, this whole process took us 1 day in KL and 1.5 days in Penang with visits to 6 different offices. Glad that everything went smoothly and best of all, we had both our families present to celebrate our 'big' day. =)