the how (part 1)

Dearest ______,

Previously, on the why.

In Architecture and Design, we’ve long realised that a building or a room is merely an end product; an output. And one that evolves from a three or four year- long grind of design presentations, meetings, arguments, compromise, science, law, and what not.

Both of us being exposed to this kind of work, Jawo and I instinctively applied an almost systematic approach to our own wedding- planning (the wedding being another form of major output in our lives after all; its completion, only 10 months after the project proposal).


In the same manner one tries to leave office work inside the office, we’d decided earlier on that we would keep work on our upcoming nuptials at bay. Simply put, we didn’t want one wedding day (even if it is ours) to take over our daily lives for the next 10 months.

Through Internet research and our friends’ words of mouth, we narrowed down the things we needed to do (and those we opted not to), prior to the wedding. We started with the very basic parameters, not unlike how one would approach a Design 101 assignment:

I. Philosophy

Intimate. No fuss. Minimal.


Where “intimate” is tantamount to social suicide in as far as huge and elaborate Filipino weddings are concerned. Between the hundreds of people Filipino brides and grooms may call “family and friends” though, a line has to be drawn.

This line is most certainly etched in a little guilt, a little stress, and lots of pressure:

“Thank you so much for your excitement for us.

But we don’t want this to be such a big deal.

No pre-nuptial photo shoots… No big wedding gown… No bridesmaids or flower girls… No videographer. Really.

We simply don’t want a big wedding. And so if we can’t invite X, Y, Z… we simply cannot invite You.

We hope you understand.”

Easier said and said and said and said again… than done. Ultimately though, if people truly cared about you, they would understand and they would genuinely wish you all the best anyway.

II. Concept

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the great Modernist Architect who we both studied in college.

“Like the Modernist movement of the 1920’s, our wedding has to be timeless”, we agreed. So when we show the grand children our photographs in the future, the “look” would endure in its simplicity and nudity.

Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House (1951) and Barcelona Chair (1929).
Photos from Wikimedia.

III. Process

A Civil Wedding.

Quite luckily, while our parents are practicing Catholics and Muslims, they didn’t mind at all. (Thank God for supportive parents! or Alhamdulillah for supportive parents!)

IV. Budget

a) Right after the engagement, we opened a joint bank account which is presently called the “Wedding Fund”. For 10 months until our wedding day, we require ourselves to each deposit a certain amount every month. The total figure after 10 months should be enough to cover an intimate affair such as the wedding we had in mind.

b) Since Day 1, we’d both been adamant and resolute: we set a limited budget and we meet it. No if’s, no but’s.

We’d painstakingly done the math beforehand, mind you. While some things may be cheaper in the Philippines, we came to realise that for tasteful weddings in general, things pretty much cost the same here in Singapore. So why add inconvenience and extra cost by flying back and forth at least 4 times in a year?

c) What we save, we put into our joint savings account and/or spend on a truly awesome honeymoon.


V. Site


sg 2007

… where we have pretty much made a nice life (together and individually) for ourselves these past 6 years;
… where it is most convenient to proceed with our normal lives, while performing wedding errands on the side;
… where legalities and bureaucracies are at their most efficient;
… where our parents can come over from their peaceful retirements for a proper vacation. And a wedding.

VI. Date

28 September, a Saturday.
… which also happens to be my birthday! It’s going to be a happy birthday forever then.

At this point, it all looks quite easy so far, right? Let’s see how it goes as the wedding- planning progresses!

I’ll write to you again soon. Next time, it’ll be about the more intricate details on how we try to pull off an intimate wedding here in Singapore.



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Photography and text by Author unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.

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