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4 Expert Tips on Choosing Your Blooms from a Wedding Florist

Behind a wedding invite is a huge and tangled mess of decisions to do with the wedding dress, bridesmaids’ dresses, groomsmen outfits, the venue, the menu, the guest list and more. With the stress of such copious decision-making, it’s no wonder that those involved in wedding planning often see the sweetest of lovebirds tearing their own and each other’s hair out prior to the day of matrimony.

When a wedding budget dictates these choices, couples might just only be able to leave a small amount for décor and flowers – which could also be another source of conflict for those who still have high expectations for their big day.

Now don’t get anymore stressed though! We speak to Alyona Yakovleva, florist and founder of Gathered+Styled for tips and to get at the common mistakes couples make when choosing their blooms:

Tips on choosing your blooms from a wedding florist

#1: Put a hold on those Pinterest pins

Ah, technology has certainly made realizing your dream wedding easier… or has it? Pretty pictures of gargantuan floral arches can help inspire the look of your very own big day but Pinterest and wedding blogs can also lift expectations to an unrealistic degree.

In addition, those top-rated Instagram photos of someone else’s wedding are surely swoon-worthy, but the truth is many Internet-browsing couples here have probably already stumbled on the same as well.

“Most of the time, the choice brides make here are pretty standard— they choose the same Pinterest pictures and very few are actually open to try something really different and unusually, though I try and suggest things that are a little out of the ordinary,” says Alyona. “You can get some ideas from Pinterest, but don’t go for the most popular pin; be different. Ask your florist what ideas he or she has, I’m sure you’ll be surprised!”

#2: There’s more than just peony fever

Another issue that comes with browsing the Internet for floral décor inspiration is that these weddings you want to replicate can be halfway across the globe. Sure, love conquers all, including distance, but the blooms of some nameless bride in a photo culled from the Internet may not survive the number of kilometers it has to travel to get to you. You will just end up paying a pretty penny for a bunch of listless flowers – hardly auspicious or cheery for this merry matrimonial occasion.

“People here tend to go for the ‘European style’ in flowers, which means those they end up choosing are imported and most of the time, expensive,” says Alyona. “Every bride dreams of peonies. No, really, every single bride! They are the most beautiful but also one of the most expensive flowers here! I understand this trend, I love peonies myself, but sometimes it’s just too expensive, and for me, very often not worth the money.”

#3: Go regional and seasonal

If you’re still keen on tapping into the trend of exotic blooms, the most ideal and cost-effective arrangement is one that uses seasonal flowers. “Don’t ask for winter flowers in summer and vice versa. You’ll end up paying quite a lot of money for a few small, not really lasting blooms,” says Alyona.

Given the perpetual summer heat in Singapore, taking climate into consideration can make your décor last through the late hours of the party and cut down on your floral budget too. That doesn’t mean you have to stick to traditional choices like baby’s breath or gerberas.

“A lot of flowers and foliage come from Holland, Australia, South America, New Zealand, Taiwan, China, India, Malaysia. Nothing is actually grown here in Singapore,” points out Alyona. “But using plants and foliage suited to this climate can help you save, or will allow you to get more or something bigger even if you keep to the same budget,” she offers.

#4: Go green instead of the standard blooms

It doesn’t help when hotels offer similar blooms to couples in the name of economy. “The more I attend weddings here, the more I realise they are all the same,” says Alyona. “Hotel packages often include flowers, but really, everyone has the same few arrangements. Moreover, they don’t look good at all.”

Going green and tropical is not only more value for money but makes the setting stand out among the other wedding ballrooms and venues that others have used. Sure, cascading flower curtains certainly make a fairy-tale sight but a massive plant chandelier made out of ferns is an equal conversation-starter.

“Your guests might not remember if the scallop was good at the dinner but they will definitely remember and take pictures with a hanging monstera chandelier installation or a flower backdrop full of artichokes!” offers Alyona. “Moreover this year’s Pantone colour of the year is Greenery, so you can save and be trendy at the same time!”

This story first appeared on the BankBazaar Blog, a leading online marketplace in Singapore that helps consumers compare and apply for the best offers across all financial products: personal loans, home loans, car loans, credit cards & investment.



The initial romantic attraction, or so called Love at First Sight, took Daniel and Kelly down the aisle in elegance and style.


Love at first sight. That was how Daniel met Kelly. He laid his eyes on her during a New Year’s party at a café in Jakarta three years ago and followed her all night long. His persistence won him the attractive girl, who is now his wife.

“He wouldn’t stop following me. It drove me nuts, but, oh well, he was cute.” Kelly quipped. “He convinced me it was love at first sight. For me, the feeling grew over the years.”

In September 2011, Daniel proposed with the ring he prepared months in advance on Brooklyn Bridge in New York. “I got proposed from the man I love in my dream city. Imagine how I felt!” exclaimed Kelly. “Daniel teared and I joined in.”

Three years on, that first gaze of love blossomed. “When we looked at each other in the eyes after the blessing from the priest, the feeling was indescribable – we are husband and wife now,” Kelly recalled the moment they were pronounced married.

Cupid certainly deserved a pat on the back.

The couple tied the knot on 9 June 2012 and held their holy matrimony at Jakarta Cathedral, the oldest and most magnificent church in Jakarta. Witnessed by close friends and family members, the matrimony was a classic wedding affair.

Vintage was the theme for the church wedding. Kelly looked elegant and graceful in her European laced vintage gown designed by Chenny Han, one of the most sought after wedding designers in Jakarta. Her hand bouquet of calla lilies, arranged by Inge Florist fitted perfectly with the alluring theme. Daniel’s suit was tailored by Pizzaro. Kelly’s bridesmaids’ dresses of brocade fabric and silk were sewn by her neighbour.

After the church wedding, they had their reception at The Hall Senayan City to host close to 1,000 guests. Strategically located with a huge hall, The Hall Senayan City was the ideal venue for their grand reception. It also had a room for their traditional Chinese tea ceremony before the reception began.

The hall was decorated with fresh roses and peonies, arranged by Grasida Decoration. According to the couple, they spent the most on the decoration for the hall.  Nevertheless, they wished they had included a Sakura tree to the Garden Theme.

The couple, their bridesmaids and groomsmen danced into the reception hall to the guests’ delight as it was uncommon in Indonesia. They were inspired after attending their aunt’s wedding in the United States in 2011.

Guests savoured food catered by Adhika Cater, and grooved to jazz and pop music by a well-known band in Jakarta. Kelly’s uncle is the lead vocalist in the band and dedicated their performance as a gift to the newlyweds.

Rio Photography took the couple’s wedding photos and did Kelly’s hair and makeup. “Rio is a dear friend. We engaged him as Kelly already had many photo sessions with him,” said the couple. “He is very professional, full of creative ideas and his crew was fantastic. Everyone loved the way they directed the poses.”

The planning of the approximately S$63,000.00 wedding took them eight months. The couple planned the wedding themselves to fulfil their dream wedding. To ensure the smooth execution of the wedding, Kelly and Daniel engaged a wedding planner to coordinate the events on the day itself. Time was their biggest challenge but they had help from people around them.

Very much in love, the couple felt like they were still dating but with more focus and commitment to living together. “He is a keeper. I wouldn’t trade him for the world,” Kelly said, thinking back to the initial romantic attraction three years ago.


Au Naturel at Villa Anugrah, Bali


Speaking to Kris and Victoria Emerton-Jones about their destination wedding at Villa Anugrah, Uluwatu, Bali, there leaves little doubt that the intimate event, attended by 78 of the couple’s closest family members and friends, was a perfect reflection of what the couple was – affable, natural and utterly heartfelt.

With a breathtaking view set against the majestic ocean, there is little surprise that Villa Anugrah captured Kris and Victoria’s hearts once they set their eyes on it. Rather than setting a theme for the wedding, the couple chose to keep things timeless and let the venue’s wow factor shine through.


“The natural beauty of the outdoor setting meant that we didn’t have to go over the top with decorations,” Victoria recalled fondly. “We just really wanted to keep things classic and romantic.”


Kris and Victoria’s first encounter with each other was likewise filled with easy charm, with everything falling into place naturally as love blossomed.

“I actually spotted Victoria on a picture that was on my colleague’s computer screen at work when we were still living in the UK! I then arranged to meet her through the colleague and we hit it off straightaway,” Kris laughed. Their first year of dating saw Victoria relocating to Singapore with a new job, and Kris following suit within the next six months. With eight years of dating under their belt since, marriage was a natural next step for the couple.

“There wasn’t any turning point in deciding to get married,” Victoria affirmed, “We wanted everything to be perfect so we took out time – we’re both delighted that we did!”


Following the beautiful ceremony at sunset, nightfall saw the wedding take a more groovy turn, as the couple and their guests in loosening inhibitions and dancing up a storm. The night was not without its fair bit of laughs – one of the photographers was so engrossed that he fell into the pool with his camera. Thankfully, the SD card survived the dip, though the same couldn’t be said for the camera lens. The night ended on a high note with a spectacular fireworks display that left everyone enthralled.


Sharing that they would change absolutely nothing about their big day, Kris and Victoria were quick to point out that the wedding could not have run so smoothly without the professional assistance of their wedding planner, Vara Wedding. Over the span of 18 months, Vara Wedding helped the couple to work down to the details and visualise what their wedding would look like despite not being physically present in Bali.

“There wasn’t any major challenge that could not be overcome by speaking with the planning team at Vara Wedding. The biggest ‘stress’ for us was to decide what food we wanted because everything was so good!” Victoria gave her thumbs up to Vara Wedding.

When asked about their best piece of advice for couples who are currently planning their nuptials, Kris strongly recommended engaging a wedding planner, especially for destination weddings. “This is very important as you can’t see everything physically and meet every single vendor in person. Having someone to coordinate all these for you would leave you feeling relaxed so that you can enjoy your big day.”


Vendors List:

Vara Wedding – Wedding Planner
Bali Metro – Videography
Terralogical – Photography
Lumbung Catering – Food & Drink
Aisle Project – Decoration
Bali Floating Stage – LED flooring and video drone
Yeanne Make-Up – Bridal Party make-up
British Consulate Bali
KLM – Business class flights
Villa Anugrah – Venue
Azimuth – Sound and lighting
Balloon Bunga – Fireworks & Sparklers
LED Balloon Release
Wiracana – Hand Fan
Sofitel Nusa Dua – Pre-wedding party
Bespoke Brides – Wedding dress (Chester, UK)
Shoes of Prey – Brides shoes designed herself
Light in the box – bridemaids dresses
Rossi – Grooms Suit & Hand Made Shoes (Singapore)
Next – Groomsman suits
AppyCouple – Website/app
Luxe Singapore – Invites

Home Sweet Home

Brides are usually the centre of attraction at any wedding, but Sisca Oktaviani, 23, a public relations officer, decided to give the honour to her husband-to-be by naming the most significant milestone of their lives after him.

“I wanted a formal wedding banquet and was not interested in a special theme due to budget considerations,” admitted Faray Teddy, a 33-year-old SAP consultant, who met Sisca in 2008 at a friend’s Christmas party in Jakarta.

“However she managed to work on a budget and came up with the brilliant idea of having a homey decoration revolving around the theme Teddy’s Home,” he said.

The wedding held at the Mercantile Club, Jakarta, in March 2011 took on a cosy, romantic and white ambience adorned with more than 50 pairs of teddy bears, intricate ornaments and bold dollops of rouge flowers with the help of Butterfly Event Styling Boutique.

A makeshift mini-studio was set up for guest photos simply with the use of English floral wallpaper in a corner. The photos were instantly printed and given to their guests in envelopes specially designed by the newlyweds for the occasion as souvenirs.

“We took a lot of photos on our wedding day, even during our break time after lunch when we were supposed to rest,” said the couple.

But instead of resting, they climbed four floors up to the rooftop of the Mercantile Club to pose on the helipad.

“And when we opened the door at the rooftop, the alarm went off and deafened us on the spot. But we pressed on and took some pictures, laughing at the company of the wailing siren,” they said.

Even their pre-wedding portraits proved to be quite an adventure for this snap-happy couple.

They were supposed to spend the morning working on the indoor photo-shoot and the later part of the day on the outdoor shoot. But as they sailed towards the idyllic Bidadari Island after lunch to take photos, they ran into a storm.

“We were in the middle of the sea. The boat was not moving due to the big waves that were moving against our direction. Then it all started getting wet,” they recounted. They managed to steer back to the shore safely and decided to reschedule the outdoor session.

“Which was a blessing in disguise because when we rescheduled it, we got a full-day outdoor session instead of half-day,” they added. “It means more photos, and more time to relax and enjoy the island getaway.”

Despite their 10-year age gap, Sisca and Faray have never felt apart in their relationship.

Said Faray: “She has always been understanding and supportive even when things are going wrong, which shows that maturity has nothing to do with age, considering that she is much younger than me.”

“I love him because he is loyal, honest and intelligent,” said Sisca. “I can be ‘myself’ every time when I am with him. He can create ‘us’ and offer a future without destroying the ‘me’.”

When it comes to love, age is just a number.

Kelly Lin and Chris Young to hold wedding in Maldives

Beautiful model and Taiwan actress Kelly Lin and American born business man Chris Young had their wedding ceremony in Maldives on 28 March 2011. The pictures taken show the couple posing on a romantic small boat in Maldives. The bride, Kelly, dressed in white, low-cut wedding gown and the groom, Chris, wore a simple white shirt and pants. They exchanged their vows in a 30-minuties ceremony on the beach with their 30 guests invited from Los Angles, Taipei, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The guests arrived at the Maldives 3 days before the wedding day. The groom, Chris, gave his beautiful bride a sparkling 3 carat diamond.

“Dad don’t look from the sidelines, he is nervous!” the bride said to his dad when they were taking their wedding pictures. The bride, Kelly, changed to red, bareback dress later that evening.
Guess who was the bridesmaid? Taiwan-born Hong Kong actress Shu Qi. “I hope that she will be happy. We can still be best sisters forever” Shu Qi said on the wedding day.
Wedding and Travel wish the beautiful bride and the groom a happy life together.

Down A Green Aisle on White Sands

If it’s a beach wedding you have always been dreaming of, you are definitely staying in the right region. Perennial sunshine, sparkling seas, fine white sands… just name it and you’ve got it. Southeast Asia has the best selection of islands in the world, so make use of the salubrious climate, pick your island and hold the wedding in the tropics you have always been dreaming of.

Just 45 minutes away from Singapore, Bintan Island is one strong contender for your consideration. Other than meeting all the necessary requirements for a tropical island backdrop, exclusivity and privacy is a plus.

With a host of resorts catering to various budgets, you can be sure to find one that suits your needs. For beach and sun lovers, check out Nirwana Gardens and Mana Mana, which offer plenty of sea sports, sun and affordable accommodation. However, if you are bringing the elderly, you might have to consider other resorts around. If you are all for luxury and exclusivity, then Banyan Tree and Angsana are your best bets. At the pinnacle of luxury, check out the spa villas of Banyan Tree!

If you are a typical Singaporean foodie, you would be glad to know that an array of wedding reception choices awaits you. Excellent Thai food is served at Baan Aarya near the Indra Maya villas and seafood is a must at the Kelong Seafood Restaurant. The resorts’ in-house restaurants also offer their own choices. Just talk to the chefs or hotels to create your dream reception!

A Wedding Made For The Gods

Most of us are no stranger to the beauty of Bali and her popularity as one of the most visited destinations in Southeast Asia. Besides the alluring beaches, spas and relaxing resorts, there is something else that makes Bali an irresistible tourist magnet. Well, if you ask those from Japan, Australia, Europe and even USA, Bali has long been regarded as the dream wedding destination.

For these people who come from such rich landscapes with vast diversities, what draw does Bali hold that makes them travel all the way just to get married there? Apart from the sun, the sand, the sea and the tropical winds, Bali also has Tirtha Uluwatu, a wedding complex best known for its magnificent glass wedding chapel and the answer to what all marrying couples are looking for, the ideal venue.

Barely into its second year of operation, Tirtha Uluwatu has already gained a steadfast reputation as one of the hottest and most beautiful wedding locations in Bali. Its owners, a husband and wife team originally from Japan, have had more than ten years of experience coordinating weddings in Bali. This latest effort sees them take a great leap in widening their base and further establishing their name on the island and in the wedding industry.

The result of this endeavour is phenomenal. First-time visitors to this wedding complex located in Uluwatu never fail to marvel at the delight of this extraordinary property. Hidden from sight by tall grass and wild bushes, Tirtha Uluwatu is a piece of haven that seems to appear from out of nowhere, just like a magical kingdom in a fairytale.

The first thing that draws every guest’s attention is the legendary glass chapel against the backdrop of the clear blue Indian Ocean. Since it is perched on a hilltop in Jimbaran, Tirtha Uluwatu offers a superb view of the sea and the untainted white sandy beach 50 metres below from where the complex sits. As the locals are fiercely protective of this stretch of beach, tourists are totally out-of-bounds, hence preserving the beach’s pristine beauty. Constructed almost completely out of glass, the chapel provides a full view of the ocean from every corner of the room. The calm blue of the sea against the bright blue of the sky creates an instant postcard picture. It certainly generates the thought that anyone who gets married here must be the happiest souls on earth and will enjoy a happily ever after ending.

Taking into consideration that most wedding couples at Tirtha Uluwatu come from all corners of the earth, the owners have provided all the necessary facilities to make their guests feel comfortable and at home. Not only that, their clients’ guests are just as important too.

One of the amenities here is a large locker room inside the huge bathroom where guests can deposit their belongings and change into their formal attire (if they brought along any). In order to provide absolute comfort for these guests who might be recovering from jet lag, there is a spacious guest lounge where they will be served welcome drinks while waiting for the bride and groom to get ready.

In the midst of all these, the couple would be in their own private suite where there is a lounge area, a changing room and a bathroom. If there is time to spare, they can even watch some TV to combat the pre-marriage jitters or listen to soothing music from a collection of CDs available. Or, if they like, there is also some wine in the cooler where they can enjoy an early celebratory toast.

As tradition has it, no celebration, especially a joyous occasion like a wedding, is complete without a feast. At Tirtha Uluwatu, guests can sit down to an intimate reception just for two or for the entire wedding entourage. Adding another “A” to this marvellous venue is a mouth-watering selection of French and Asian cuisine prepared especially for all distinguished guests to Tirtha Uluwatu. Bon appetit!

Now, the event doesn’t end here with the reception. In fact, it has just begun. With the most hectic part of the itinerary over, what’s left is all the time in the world where you can truly let your hair down and enjoy each other’s company on this Island Of The Gods!

Destination Dream Wedding

These days, there are all sorts of celebrity weddings attended by hundreds, or even thousands. Perhaps held in the heart of a metropolitan like New York City, or some hidden treasure of a castle in the Pyrenees. Weddings meant to outshine other weddings. Weddings clamouring to be “Wedding of the Year”, the talk of the town, the Affair of the Century.

Then there are intimate weddings – an occasion designed only for the bride and groom. Guests may include wedding planners and photographers, no more.

And that’s exactly how Dr. and Mrs. Gary Fishman from New York City, realised their vision of a “romantic dreamy, fairytale” wedding on June 8, 2012.

No, not in the hustle and bustle of exciting, boisterous New York City. But on the cosy, private shores of Elbow Beach in Bermuda.

Gary, 60, who is an ear, nose and throat surgeon, and Wendy, 44, an NYC model, met in the summer of 2009 at a charity fundraiser held at a mutual friend’s home. Like in the movies, both had reached for the last glass of champagne, and “we both laughed at the obvious humour of the moment and that broke the ice”, Wendy shared with Wedding&Travel, adding that “there was an instant physical attraction for both of us but also a definite feeling of ease and comfort we felt immediately for one another”.

That probably marked the beginning of their relationship, especially since they spoke for hours that first day, and practically spent everyday together after that.

On top of the many common interests the couple shared was also a shared experience – both were “in the midst of complicated divorces” which really meant they found the comfort and support they needed in each other.

Fast forward to 2011. It was Christmas Eve in NYC. It was a romantic time of the year.

Gary prompted Wendy to open a gift from under their tree – one which she thought was a camera. Well, the gift turned out to be a series of large boxes leading, yes, to a small one. One that held a “magnificent emerald cut diamond ring”. Wendy broke down in tears and easily said “yes” to Gary’s proposal.

The first thing the couple desired for their wedding was that it should be intimate – just the two of them, and entirely organised their way. The goal: A wedding for two in a setting without any distractions where they could focus entirely on one another.

It really wasn’t difficult for them to decide to be “purely self-indulgent”. After all, both lead busy lives and Gary’s profession requires long hours, which means time alone together is highly limited on an everyday basis.

Besides, both Gary and Wendy had had a difficult few years in their previous marriages, which also meant family and friends understood and respected their wishes to do things their way.

The wedding of their desires was put together within six months – no small feat, considering they were planning for a destination wedding, something they both always wanted and never had in the past.

So while many couples would swoon with delight with a wedding in NYC, Gary and Wendy (who happen to be madly in love with their city!) was deeply attracted to the idea of being married on a beach.

A little research soon revealed that Bermuda was really the destination they had in mind. According to the couple, Bermuda was “not only beautiful but also elegant for a wedding. The Bermudian style and British charm is very appealing to us … it is a bit more formal and proper than perhaps another beach destination [like the] Caribbean, for example”.

Couples interested in a beach “destination” wedding should look at many wedding photographs already captured on the destination of their dreams. Gary and Wendy did, and the effort was paid off because they realised just how much they loved to have Bermuda in their wedding photographs.

And so that led them to settle on gorgeous Elbow Beach at Bermuda, with its magnificent pink beaches and the gentle, turquoise lapping waves of the Atlantic Ocean, the perfect stunning backdrop for the intimate, romantic fairytale themed wedding of their vision.

Wendy’s wedding gown, designed by Ines De Santo, was a flowing Gazar gown with romantic Chantilly Lace and a silk organza flower at the shoulder, that set the tone for the wedding. Gary wore a Zegna suit in a light sandy color that brought elegance to a relaxed mood.

Add to that, a simple chuppah oceanfront adorned with sheer flowy fabric and rose petals in the sand – the very image of the sort of beach wedding the couple had envisioned – and the wedding was almost complete.

Almost, because a little bit of drama never hurts anyone. For Gary and Wendy, that came in the weather hiccup – it rained just as the photographer arrived. Like any bride, Wendy was initially upset by the prospect of their perfect vision being ruined. Gary however, calm and optimistic as ever, reassured her that it would pass.

Working with the right partners always help too, especially when their wedding planner and photographer were great sports in delaying things a bit, allowing for the weather to clear up.

Here’s a piece of sound advice from Wendy to beach brides: Don’t waste negative energy on things you cannot control. Your wedding will always be a day to remember forever, so enjoy every single moment – just as they did.

The evening ended with a lavish five-course dinner in a private oceanfront cabana complete with candles, champagne and a private butler. Without having to tend to guests or manage others’ expectations, the couple was able to enjoy many hours just sitting there, dining, talking, and reflecting back on the most amazing day of their lives.

Life in a snapshot

Documenting emotive milestones in life has been the dream of Edmund Tung since he first picked up the camera in 1998.

Eight years later, his dream came true when he started Life View, a photography studio that helps couples remember some of their most wonderful times together.

“Ever since I joined this line, I’m glad that I’ve never disappointed anyone who gave me the privilege to record the most important day of their lives on my camera,” said Edmund. “I insist on producing the best results, and it gives me great gratification to see my clients pleased and appreciative of my work.”

Before every shoot, Edmund would lighten the mood to help the couple feel relaxed.
“They are after all not professional models. Shooting in a jovial and harmonious ambience has always been a rule of mine,” he noted, and quipped, “Then I would ‘show off’ the ‘professional poses’ that I had picked up from everywhere for their reference.”

One of his clients, Janelle Lee, was impressed by his organised working style and his determination to create a unique pre-wedding video concept for her. The 28-year-old editorial executive also invited him to be her wedding photographer in Bali in September.

“I guess the most important part about being a wedding photographer and videographer is to inject jokes at the right moment,” she said. “There was a scene where I needed to express bliss in my smile, but I couldn’t.”

“But at that very moment, he said something that cracked me up. And voila! We got the shot!” Janelle added that Edmund, who is based in Malaysia, even showed her and her husband how he edited their video. “It was definitely an eye-opening experience for us!” she marvelled.

phone: +60127089848
email:  lifeview33@gmail.com
website: www.facebook.com/lifeview