DIY Your Wedding with MerryLove

Too much has been said about the sheer amount of preparations, stress and jitters before a wedding. For the brave ones who choose to go without a professional planner and not sure where to start, keep calm and read on!

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(Photo Credit: MerryLove)

Started in the year 2012, MerryLove is an online wedding store for colorful decorative items (i.e. big pom poms, quirky photo props) and themed wedding favors. With pretty items sourced from all over the world, this one-of-a-kind preorder site aims to make wedding shopping less stressful and more memorable for couples who opt to go without a wedding planner.

The amazing individual behind this online store is Shuying who was inspired on this startup after facing frustrations during preparations for her own wedding.

“My husband and I knew exactly what we wanted and we wanted to be involved in doing it up so we didn’t hire a planner. I started sourcing for decor items that we can use but it’s almost impossible to find any here in Singapore! Lovely wedding craft items like paper pom poms, burlap banners and photobooth props are so commonly seen in the States but are nowhere to be found here. We could purchase some of these from overseas sites but the shipping rates are really high. We tried making our own pom poms but that’s really costly as well, as materials like crepe paper and ribbons also cost a lot in Singapore.”

Despite these problems, Shuying remained undeterred. She persisted with the planning and would later place shipment orders for paper pom poms, on behalf of herself and few other brides, which incidentally led to the beginning of an unexpected business venture.

To date, MerryLove has served nearly 500 brides and their weddings. A most passionate Shuying confesses that she miss planning for a wedding and likens running of the business to shopping for her own big day all over again! So despite the late nights sourcing for best deals and replying to queries while juggling her day job, Shuying was very much happy and good news for all, she will be focusing on MerryLove full-time from now on!

So, if you are feeling a little tired from all that planning, pop by MerryLove and be inspired by Shuying’s passion and her creatively curated stocks! After all, while preparations might be stressful, one should never forget to enjoy this one and only process of getting ready for the most joyous day of your life.

W&T: Where are your products from?
Shuying: We shop pretty things in from all over! Our paper pom poms and honeycomb balls are from China, bridal hangers are from Israel, wedding guest books are from Romania, wedding banners are from Italy and paper flowers are from USA. Thanks to the internet, we managed to get in touch with quite a number of small crafty businesses from other parts of the world and establish working relationships with them. In this way, MerryLove helps other small businesses reach out to the local market as well. As much as we can, we try to work with small businesses like ourselves, so that the collaborations benefit both parties and go into sustaining families, instead of going into the fat pocket of multimillion corporations.

MerryLove Garden Love Ring Pillow
Garden Love Ring Pillow. (Photo Credit: MerryLove)

W&T: There are handmade items like the Garden Love Ring Pillows, where do you get inspiration for them? Usually how long beforehand do customers need to place an order for these items?
Shuying: We seldom get crafty for selling purposes, as the cost of making something in Singapore is almost just as high as buying one off the rack! The Garden Love Ring Pillow was made for our own wedding, to match our country garden theme. We posted it up on our Facebook page after our wedding and had great response. Some brides really really wanted it for themselves so we decided to offer just a few for sale.

Many of our preorder items are handmade overseas as well, like the Burlap Bloom Ring Pillow and the quirky Photobooth props. For most preorders, we take one month to collect orders. Production and shipping would take another 4 to 6 weeks. The waiting time is not much of a problem for most brides, as many start shopping for their weddings way beforehand. I even have brides purchasing items for their weddings in 2015! The preorder mode of purchasing makes sense for the wedding industry, as it offers brides the chance to customize something of their own instead of buying something that’s mass produced. The wedding guest book for example, is laser engraved with the names of the bride and groom and their wedding date, and makes a great momento after the wedding.

W&T: If you have to recommend on must-get item from your store, what would it be and why?
Shuying: Paper pom poms are our best sellers and the bridal hangers are getting increasingly popular but I really really love our wedding guest books! It’s an item that doesn’t get much photo coverage during the wedding but it’s the one thing that couples keep for life. What better way to add meaning to this lifelong keepsake then having your names and wedding dates cut out of a solid wood cover! It’s my absolute favorite product to deliver to brides. The look on their faces, knowing that they now own something that’s uniquely theirs, is really priceless.

MerryLove Pom Poms
Pom Poms! (Photo Credit: MerryLove)

W&T: You mentioned that you miss planning a wedding, which part of it do you miss most?
Shuying: Yes, I really miss planning for a wedding! It wasn’t all smooth of course, there were definitely nightmarish moments when we realize time was running out and there’s a million things unchecked on the to-do list. But planning the wedding together gave my husband and I something to work on together and that really helped in our relationship.

We brainstormed, planned and created such a pretty wedding together and I really missed that. What we also look back fondly at the happy times when all our family and friends pitched in to work together on the wedding set up. Having something to do together brought everyone even closer than before and I would gladly do it all over again.

W&T: For some couples, wedding planning can be quite a nightmare, do you have any advice for them?
Shuying: My advice would be to surround yourself with happy, supportive people while planning the wedding. It is a joyous occasion but it’s easy to let details and the sheer amount of work drown out the happiness. Working with people you enjoy hanging out with, people who love and care for you, will help to keep the process a joyful one. Good relationships make a wedding truly memorable.

MerryLove: Wedding Things
Go to http://merryloveweddings.com/ or www.facebook.com/shopmerrylove

Fashion: Grace Loves Lace

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Grace Loves Lace
(Photos from Grace Loves Lace)

At W&T we delight in helping you find inspiration for your bridal fashion and introducing you to labels that may be under your radar. This month, we’re excited to feature Grace Loves Lace, an Australian brand that draws inspiration from the free spirit of the Bohemian era, and crafts exquisite pieces that exude the old-world vintage charm.

We love Grace Loves Lace for its whimsical dresses that challenge our everyday notion of what makes a bridal dress. As if an anti-statement to the structured, and overly designed wedding gown, Grace Loves Lace’s dresses are light, ethereal, and most of all, natural. The styling and lookbook that fully embrace the modern bohemian girl who has a romantic side also does a great job in bringing out the essence of a Grace Loves Lace dress.

But make no mistake — despite their unpretentious vibe, Grace Loves Lace’s dresses are crafted from fine French lace and silks for maximum style and comfort. You won’t be able to tell from the price tag though — wedding dresses start from about AU$790 and accessories start from AU$39.

Grace Loves Lace
http://graceloveslace.com.au/

How to be different for your wedding?

Egging for something less of a cookie cutter for your big day?

Well, we think you don’t need something extraordinary to achieve that. Instead, start thinking out of the box from minute details! Here are some small things which we think can make your wedding standout in a big way.

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Silver rings are almost an essential at weddings we know but this is simply too cute to pass. Designed by UK-based designer Clive Roddy who self describes as having a penchant for designing quirky items that induce happiness, these mountain rings made of high quality birch plywood and carefully hand painted with a durable enamel finish. Comes in slightly different sizes and positions so that you can arrange your own mountain portrait as you like!

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In Singapore, it is not uncommon for a video documenting the lovebirds to be shown midway during the wedding dinner. Instead of that, try a different presentation. Have the information written on a chalkboard or flipboard is sweet and attention-grabbing too!

shoes
For females who just don’t love heels, go casual and sporty with those trusty converse shoes! In fact, this trend of pairing formal suits and gowns with fun colorful shoes are on the rise for they make memorable fashion statements and photo moments. Most importantly, they allow the character and interests of the couple to shine through.

These converse shoes can also be part of a sports theme if both of you are sports lovers. Need more ideas? Here’s one bride who did a yoga photo shoot with her bridesmaid! Brilliant we say!

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(Photo Credit: here)

Best Restaurants to Catch the Fireworks

If you’re choosing to stay in town during this long National Day weekend, what other way to celebrate our our nation’s birthday than to rejoice in the actual celebrations? Of course, we don’t mean simply to catch the National Day Parade. Make yourself a reservation at one of these restaurants and enjoy the anticipated fireworks display with a glass of champagne in hand! Here are our top picks.

1. Boathouse Restaurant

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(Picture from Boathouse Restaurant Facebook)

Despite its location right in the heart of Marina Bay, the Boathouse Restaurant offers unparalleled views of the action, minus the noise. The restaurant, with its colonial facade, is quaint and intimate, as if worlds away from what is going on outside. You’ll be delighted to know that the food doesn’t cost a bomb here as well — three-course meals start from S$58, and the restaurant also has a great selection of a-la-carte dishes, notably the fish.

2. Catalunya

598821_409272535794958_827994735_n(Picture from Catalunya Facebook)

Situated at the Fullerton Pavilion, the Catalunya is the equivalent of front-row seats across the many restaurant options that you may be considering. Take in the parade from the restaurant’s 360-degree panoramic view while savouring the restaurant’s contemporary Spanish cuisine, which also takes inspiration from its Asian location. Obviously no stranger to National Day parties (e.g. last year the restaurant bar’s DJ spun to the parachute display of the Red Lions!), you can be sure that it’ll be a night to remember!

3. 1-Altitude

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(Picture from 1-Altitude Facebook)

We always believe that you’ve got to go for the best (or in this case, the top), and that’s why 1-Altitude ranks high on our list for its position as the highest point in Singapore! Those familiar with the party scene in Singapore will know all about 1-Altitude’s reputation for cool parties. The joint’s also offering an attractive National Day package for its customers — cover charge to the bar is S$48/pax (including 3 drinks) from 6pm onwards, and a five-course meal at the 1-Altitude’s restaurant, Stellar, is from S$148/pax.

Have you already secured reservations at your favourite spots? Tell us how our list compares!

Lee Byung Hun & Lee Min Jung’s Wedding Photos

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South Korean heartthrob Lee Byung Hun and actress Lee Min Jung released two wedding photos, ahead of their official wedding ceremony on August-10. The black and white series have created much online buzz and even had netizens commenting the pair “looked like they were shooting for a fashion magazine”.

How to steal the looks of the Lee couple for your own wedding photos? Here are our tips.

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Tip 1: Recreate a natural surrounding.
We all know this is easier said than done, especially for us folks who aren’t accustomed to having a camera before us. So why not do away with posed shots and do what Lee Byung Hun and Lee Min Jung did!

It is said the couple chose “freedom” as their theme and so all they wanted, were just shots of their daily interactions. Be it the indoor scene where the couple held hands or the outdoor shot with Min Jung gazing at her A-lister husband, these photos look so natural that they seem almost spontaneous and candid. It is also said that the couple gathered their families and close friends for the shoot. Having people you are comfortable with around certainly is key to lightening the tension one might have for a studio shoot.

Tip 2: Be friends with your photographer.
For Lee Byung Hun and Lee Min Jung, the couple had engaged the help of a close friend who is also a professional photographer for their wedding photos. So, it definitely helps to be acquainted with the man behind the camera so that he or she will know when you look great.

For those who do not have the luxury of this, allow the photographer to know you and your other half better and vice versa, so that you know what to expect during the shoot.

Tip 3: Go Black & White
Perhaps the quickest way to look high fashion. By taking out the colors, the photos seem to be scenes off old black and white movies with a tinge of raw elegance and perfect for couples who prefer to be more low key.

Like the Lee couple who have been relatively low profile about their on-off relationship (they apparently dated in 2006 and broke off due to work commitments. It is until Lee Byung Hun dreamt of Lee Min Jung that they decided for a reconciliation early last year), these photos are subdued yet eye catching.