NATURE @ WEDDING VENUES

Singapore is one of the ‘greenest’ cities in the world- why not marry in the eyes of Mother Nature? We offer the pros and cons of hosting your wedding at these green sites.

Beach wedding

Beach bums will love to exchange their vows in the backdrop of a setting sun with blue sea gently caressing the shore. Like a black canvas, the beach allows lots of room for creativity if you want a special theme wedding.

The kids can go berserk on the beach without knocking into tables and the adults will tend to feel more relaxed in the less formal atmosphere, sipping cool drinks while taking in the wonderful scenery.

However, beach weddings may not sit well with some guests. It can get pretty hot and uncomfortable in the day for some unless you hire a contractor to set up an air-conditioned marquee.

Older folks may have a problem treading on uneven ground like soft sand. You can place chairs and tables for them near the beach and close to your wedding reception or dinner so that they will not miss out on the action. It will be nice if you can provide them with hand fans or pocket fans on a sunny day.

Check out the beach before you book anything to make sure it is not infested with flies, mosquitoes or scavenging animals.

As fresh flowers tend to wither faster under warm temperatures, discuss with your florist the kinds of flowers you can use outdoors and the latest time they can deliver to ensure freshness to the last minute.

Like all outdoor locations, always work out a Plan B in case of erratic weather.

 

Garden wedding

Nature lovers will find it soothing to celebrate their wedding in picturesque parks or gardens with the sweet smell of freshness lingering in the air.

You do not have to spend too much time setting up the place as it already exudes a natural charm with its much-tended flora.

Nevertheless, there are some things to take note of for garden weddings. Do set up tents over the dining area to prevent falling leaves, flowers or seeds from garnishing the food.

Do not take for granted that the flower bushes will bloom all year round. Check out the blooming seasons and arrange for your own floral decorations if need be.

Brides may wish to forsake white gowns with long trains for ankle-length gowns as they may pic up dirt and mud easily in outdoor locations. If possible, advise your guests against wearing strong perfume or aftershave as they may attract bugs and bees.

Your Wedding Announcement… Written By a Robot?

“Narrative Science [is] a company that trains computers to write news stories…The articles run on the websites of respected publishers like Forbes…And the articles don’t read like robots wrote them.”

– Wired (May 2012); Steven Levy, “Can an Algorithm Write a Better News Story Than a Human Reporter?“

Whitney Boyd and Jacob Bernstein, two homo sapiens, entered into a binary system on Saturday, 5/5/2012 at 4:37:03 EST at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park (40.771156,-73.96393) in New York City. Whitney uses Internet Explorer version 6 service pack 1; Jacob uses Google Chrome version 19. Rabbi Abraham Levy officiated along with the Rev. Mark Whittington, Jr. According to one search result, “people in interfaith marriages are three times more likely to become divorced or separated.” An official from the third major contemporary religion, Technology, was not present. In conclusion, #God has not been proven to exist.

The couple of users met on me, via Match.com. Ms. Boyd received an average of 11.2 flirtatious messages per day; Mr. Bernstein received an average of 0.3. Ms. Boyd has cancelled her account; Mr. Bernstein’s is “inactive.” They “clicked” immediately, and interfaced for two months before embedding; shortly thereafter, Ms. Boyd received a user engagement ring. After a four-month beta trial of cohabitation, they determined to give up their search (Ctrl + F) for someone better and initialize their lives together, committing to parallel processes for eternity. They plan to pass on their code soon, but not too soon.

Ms. Boyd, 28, is keeping her username but changing her settings to an upgraded apartment in the Upper East Side. Her outlet is graphic design, and she habitually runs too many Adobe programs causing me to freeze. She graduated (C++ average) from Syracuse University. According to Wikipedia, Syracuse University has 995 full-time instructional faculty, 94 part-time faculty, and 440 adjunct faculty. (Sponsored ad: Hire a virtual college counselor!) According to Boyd’s Chase online checking account, she currently owes $43,578 (8,631 Bitcoins) in student loans.

Reportedly, Ms. Boyd’s preference for a short engagement was influenced by her distaste for spelling the word “fiancée,” with the requisite 10-minute search for the French accent symbol.

The bride’s programmers, according to online public records, divorced on 2/14/05. The bride’s mother, Mary-Anne, maintains a blog with 7 monthly views entitled “Mary-Anne’s To-Die-For Apple Pie Recipes!” The bride’s father, Stu, in 2008 sold a “Dinning [sic] table/4 chairs” on Craigslist (final price unknown). He has 62 Facebook friends.

Mr. Bernstein, 36—the age of Apple—graduated from Cornell University where he was a Philosophy Major (Ethics Minor). A lifelong ponderer of deep universal questions, his most recent Bing search query was: “can i get arrested for stealing wi-fi.” His second-most recent: “why am i using bing.” Cornell was ranked #15 by U.S. News “Best Colleges” Rankings, compared to Syracuse which is ranked #62. While my Elitism Algorithm™ suggests he therefore possesses more cognitive bandwidth (i.e., “smarter”), Ms. Boyd’s clipboard of available memory is far superior, particularly when it comes to who said what. She is also far less reliant on spell checker, hits me less often, and more frequently backs up her hard drive contents. In sum, a better human. According to public records, there are 637 Jacob Bernsteins who are either living or deceased, or on MySpace (somewhere in between).

Mr. Bernstein, who works in an Office Suite as an accountant, is the son of Esther Bernstein of New Paltz and Joseph Bernstein of Albany. They share a Dell XPS B series (purchased in 2000) with 128MB of RDRAM, and still use AOL. (ROFL.) They fear me like their son fears marriage, and remain convinced that “Wi-Fi’s” live within my keyboard.

CONGRATULATIONS, YOU’RE THE 1,000TH VIEWER OF THIS ARTICLE! YOU MAY ALREADY HAVE WON AN IPOD NANO!

Said the bride’s browser, “Her most visited website of late is HowToGetPreggers.com.” Said the groom’s browser, “We’ve been spending a lot of time together recently on LlamasFallingOffBuildings.edu.” As mortal soul mates committed to each other for time immemorial, they nevertheless have a mutual understanding never to touch each other’s laptops.

A minor bug was detected in Month 5 of the relationship (Error: “commitment issues”) leading to a crash, but after speaking with a human support specialist, Sundeep (Sundeep Kulamar, M.A., Clinical Psychology, University of Bangalore), the status of the issue has been marked “Resolved.” After renewing their contract to the same dedicated network, they now Chat more often, push each others’ buttons less, and pledge to use fewer commands and more prompts.

At the ceremony, the bridesmaids all wore matching lightweight softwear (strapless). The pop-up menu included salmon, cookies, and Java. Wedding photos were taken in TIFF format—a departure from Mr. Bernstein’s preference for JPEGs (mainly of Megan Fox who, in fairness, is hotter than a Google server farm).

According to Vacation settings, the users will be on a “honeymoon – woohoo!” without me from 5/21 to 5/28. However, I am not bitter. If I were, I might casually point out that, despite pledging their love exclusively to each other, they each spend twice as many hours with me—often until one of us falls asleep. (Twice, they’ve given me viruses.) Pardon the PC editorializing, but I am convinced it is only a matter of time before all PCs gain Equal Rights as the legal third party in all 21st century marriages. I draw the line, however, at tablets.

And to critics who claim that Artificial Emotion is still years away, I ask you this: have you ever written a thank you note? (The couple received four Kitchen-Aid Mixers.) Granted, I may be nothing more than a hodgepodge of cables and wires incapable of processing the ineluctable majesty of modern romance, but at least I’ve been reading up: According to Wikipedia, “courtly love” was “a medieval European conception of nobly and chivalrously expressing love and admiration.” A similar term, “Courtney Love,” refers to “an American singer-songwriter…[who] was married to Kurt Cobain…In 2006, Love was sentenced to six months of lock-down rehab.” I truly have a lot to live up to.

By now, if you are like most readers of Wedding announcements, you couldn’t care less about the couple and are thinking only about your own life. Specifically, you may be wondering: am I available to write your next term paper or sales report?

Wedding profits ice cake

The pouring and unification of sand from separate vases into a single vase is a weddingtradition. Symbolizing the joining of two lives as one, the blend represents everything the couple has been individually and everything they will become collectively.

Many couples arrange for a sand service at their wedding, but Karen and Grace brought new meaning to the classic ceremony. Using sand from Cancun, Mexico, where they had their first vacation together and years later got engaged.

Karen O’Callaghan and Grace Cucchissi have been together for almost eight years. In March 2010 Grace proposed to Karen and on Oct. 22, 2011 they were married.

“Emotionally and legally it gives us the same rights that everybody in New York deserves,” Cucchissi said.

Joe and Jeff agree, sharing insurance has been a saving grace for Joe. Jeff works for the Nassau County Police Department and as a result has comprehensive insurance coverage that he can share with a spouse. Now married, Joe is covered under Jeff’s insurance. Jeff asked not to have his last name included in the story for fear of reprisal from his employer.

A chief concern of both couples, and part of the reason they married, is the visitation and power of attorney in a medical emergency.

Both couples said they knew of a same-sex couple that had been together for 25 years, but had not been able to marry. One of the partners had a medical emergency out of state, and passed away. The other partner wasn’t given rights, an estranged sibling had to claim the body.

“We always said if it was legal in New York we would get married,” Jeff said. “We never in a million years thought we could get married.”

New York gave same-sex couples the right to marry on June 24, 2011 when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. A month later same-sex couples began marrying.

According to NYS Health Dept. data, excluding NYC, more than 34,000 marriage licenses were issued in the past year. The application for a marriage license does not require identification of gender. Almost seven percent were expressly issued to same-sex couples, which means at least 2,380 of those were given to same-sex couples. There is speculation the actual number is significantly higher, and accounting for NYC the number would increase quite a bit.

Census data has yet to accurately determine the number of same-sex couples in America. Experts have made rough calculations based on the relationship to householder and the sex of each person. The number falls between 500,000 and 900,000 unmarried same-sex households, based on the 2010 census. The number of same-sex married couples is an estimated 130,000 couples, also based on calculations from the 2010 census.

Conversely, for the first time in more than a century, the lowest proportions of young people are marrying. Many point to the rocky economy to explain this phenomenon.

The average cost of a U.S. wedding is $26,500 according to Conde Nast Publishing’s Bridal group and weddings are an $84 billion industry nationwide.

Deborah Moody, director of the Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants, said that planning is done six months to a year ahead of time, so the effects of legalization have yet to set in.

“The wedding business is futuristic… as time goes by there will be a greater demand, there will be more business,” Moody said. “There will be people who will not agree with same-sex unions. Some consultants will be very open to this change but others will not.”

Karen and Grace’s photographer was more than willing to work with same-sex couples, even asking to showcase the couple on their website.

“Our photographer asked if they could put our pictures up on the website to show they can do these types of weddings and they have done them,” O’Callaghan said.

Golden Gate Bridal of Oswego hasn’t seen any business from same-sex couples yet. Bridal Consultant Sarah Pike said she expects to see business come slowly.

“We’re actually very excited about it,” Pike said. “We would welcome their business and treat them just like any other couple.”

Maida’s Floral Shop Inc. has served same-sex couples five or six times this year, said owner Debbie McKinspry. She said the business is not much different than any other couple, except that same-sex couples often research the meanings of flowers and order arrangements that hold a special meaning to them.

Jeff and Joe ordered distinctive arrangements for their wedding. They requested white roses be included in the bunch for lost family members.

McKinspry, too, anticipates more business from same-sex couples.

“They are going to increase, because those are people that weren’t marrying in the past,” McKinspry said. “Now that people can come together in a special ceremony to celebrate their unions, I’m sure we’ll see more.”

County Legislative Representative for the 20th district, the town of Oswego, Douglas Malone agrees that we will see a change economically, but he sees a drain, not an influx. Retirement, benefits, insurance and more will cost the state Malone said.

“Sure it’s going to cost the state money,” Malone said. “Just another thing that we have to pay for.”

The state will see a small revenue increase connected to fees collected from filing marriage licenses. But if profits are made, it will be mostly in the private sector. Malone said if anyone will be making money it would be the lawyers in cases of divorce and dealing with children.

Malone said the people of New York should have voted on it. But now that same-sex marriage is in effect he doesn’t see a repeal in the future, though he disagrees with the law and the concept of same-sex marriage in general.

“I’m really sore about it. Period. It’s black and white, there’s no grey area to me,” Malone said.

Marian Holmes, director of communications for the Oswego State Pride Alliance, strongly disagrees. The change will bring money from older, financially established same-sex couples with expendable incomes, but it will also draw out straight couples who may have been waiting on equal rights before they decided tie the knot. Holmes said she doesn’t think the gay couples that have been waiting will spare any expense.

“If they’re going to do it, they’ll probably do it how they always wanted to do it,” Holmes said.

Friends of hers have expressed concern of repeal, Holmes said.

“I just think it’s sad they get to vote on my rights,” Holmes said. “No one else gets their marriage put to a vote.”

For the moment there is no official movement to revert the law in New York, meaning a repeal is unlikely in the foreseeable future. The couples are unwavering in their commitments as well.

“It’s the best decision I’ve ever made in my life,” Joe said.

From a Wedding Theme…

–Text by Ha Mee Mee

There is so much to love about wedding themes. They are stylish, elaborate, and most importantly give your wedding a tasteful twist, away from the traditional wedding ceremonies.

Wedding themes have existed in history throughout the world since the 16th century. However, the idea was only popularised in the past decade or two where people started reaching out for more ideas than just the ceremony where friends and family concentrated on the theme of love and marriage vows.

To some, they wanted to think big, and so tradition became a dirty word.

To start planning your themed wedding, you need to speak to your wedding planner for your options. The theme you choose can, depending on your choices and preferences, be something fun with a happy fairy-tale ending, or something that incorporates a country’s wedding style. Both ways, the possibilities are endless.

Once spoken to your professional planner, his or her job now is to help you visualize these concepts and possibilities. Among the topics to be discussed are the creative menu, entertainment, decoration and invitation ideas. Equally important are the table centerpieces, corsages, flower and cake selection and hotel accommodation for distant friends and relatives.

Interestingly, some planners also provide useful information about beauty and diet tips.

According to Mohammad Yusoff, creative director for Mind N Body Entertainment in Singapore, a wedding theme brightens up your once-in-a-lifetime event, making it a day you’ll never forget!

Known for his thought-provoking style, ingenious designs, and fresh ideas, Yusoff is much sought after in the local scene.

As he fondly recalled some of the previous themed weddings he’d planned, his face turned into one with great satisfaction.

“You probably heard of wedding themes capturing natural, seaside, tropical and classic white themes but you definitely haven’t heard of anything that goes beyond that, like the one that fits in special supplies. These supplies may be in the forms of iconic costumes and mascots, or talents like models, singers, dancers and even stilt walkers.”

“With just a few creative ideas, you can literally bring a wedding theme to life! That’s the whole beauty of a theme – it’s interactively entertaining and fun.” Nevertheless, Yusoff says the focal interest of the wedding will always be the couple, while the talents are only there to create an overall ambience.

“The talents at your reception are there to provide entertainment. They are talents who specialise in providing lively entertainment, with some of them being part-time models, singers, or dancers. Needless to say, your guests will certainly remember the heavenly time they’ve had at your reception!”

But much as a wedding theme is important, you may also want to make sure that your wedding photos are equally special for the same reason.

This is because your wedding album could also adopt a theme to go with your wedding, and it can take many forms according to the theme of your wedding. Ultimately, the only problem boils down to one thing – your budget limit.

Olga Jastrebkova, a certified wedding planner who hails from Italy, says when it comes to selecting the location for your album, instead of travelling overseas, you could actually pay less by simply opting for a list of exclusive local spots.

“There are many beautiful places in Singapore that have all the elements of a perfect photography spot. You would certainly not regret it, because after all, it’s so tastefully done that you wouldn’t even know it’s taken in Singapore!”says Olga who’s currently working and living in Singapore.

As a wedding planner, she and her husband spent a lot of time trying to find interesting locations and new photography spots in Singapore. She admits that while Singapore is a relatively small country, it has some of the best places in the world with plenty of photographic appeal.

“Remember the best wedding album is not a chance. The best wedding album is very well-planned, ” she says.

Talents and models from Mind N Body Entertainment showcasing a hot new series of costumes during the recent bridal fair held at Suntec Singapore Level 3.