Project Love Nest

Project Love Nest

Text: Cherie Wong Photos: King & King Wong

Building your love nest together as a couple can be one of the most exciting things to do. Sure, it can be stressful when you neither know where to start nor have an eye for interior design goodness. But it is after all a journey of discovery, and perhaps, through the decisions you make together for your precious home, you will come to understand each other more than you already do.

There are different themes that people typically adopt for their homes. Many go for the modern, minimalistic chic look for its simplicity and convenience – these homes are usually decked in blacks, whites and grays, metal furnishing, and clean-cut glass furniture. The bolder amongst us may want to experiment with English Country, or go for a garden atmosphere. In English Country, a lot of fabric is used and the cloths usually contain a lot of floral details and other tiny printed patterns. Rugs with ruffles and crisp white bed sheets are also often the norm in such homes. In a garden-themed home, it is all about being laidback and getting in touch with nature. Potted plants, rattan chairs and even a patio are some of the details that contribute to this look.

You can also decorate your home by color or by room. Pink is making a surprising comeback, but before you think it is only for the girls, explore the other shades, like dusty pink and tea rose pink which can create the mood for that romantic escape you want with your spouse. If you prefer for each part of your home to look unique, the eclectic look will probably be your favorite. Dress up the master bedroom with floral curtains and satin sheets in hues of champagne and beige for a dreamy look, while decking the kitchen with wooden furnishing that screams contemporary. And don’t forget that the toilets and living room can be uniquely different too!

Statement pieces can lend personality to your crib too, so that your home becomes a place for self-expression. You might be pleasantly surprised when you go shopping at local antique shops, and find treasures like gramophones and rickety rocking chairs. They are guaranteed conversation starters when you have guests over for visits.

King & King Wong, which sells home furnishing and décor products, opens this November at the anticipated Nex mega shopping mall at Serangoon Central. Essentially a unique, one-stop lifestyle home furnishing and décor retailer, it boasts an extensive range of products such as curtain fabrics, kitchenware, beddings, carpets, lightings, upholstery, vases and glassware, and artificial flowers. There you will be able to find innovative yet practical items that help to make your home life easier and more convenient, and your living environment a beautiful sight to behold. Some of the products are seasonal and you will only be able to get them while stocks last, yet they are sold at non-premium prices – simply because everyone deserves a nice home. There you will also be able to find statement pieces such as porcelain statues and exotic lightings, as well as items that particularly allow you to recreate various home themes.

Building your own home can be an extremely tedious process, but it is nonetheless exciting and rewarding for the both of you. Get visual inspiration and do thorough research on the best deals in town, but most importantly, have fun in the process by getting involved! We wish you all the best.

10 Tips For a Picture-Perfect Wedding Photo Booth

Winking, blowing a kiss, or wearing a boa — anything goes in photo booths, which is what makes them so addictive. While it’s nice to have shiny, posed, professional photos from your wedding, more and more couples are also including photo booths at receptions to capture silly moments with friends and family. Before you start planning your wedding’s photo booth, take a look at our 10 tips for a flawless photo booth.

  1. Rent a photo booth: The easiest way to add a photo booth at your wedding is to rent one.
  2. Make a DIY photo booth: Homemade photo booths require a little more effort, but you have more control over the details. Check off the essentials first, like the location, camera, printer, and photo paper, before planning the decorations and costumes.
  3. Choose a camera: As a more makeshift yet versatile option, connect a portable photo printer to a DSLR camera, a laptop, or a web cam and let guests do their thing. For a retro touch, track down a Polaroid camera.
  4. Research mobile options: Photo booth apps exist! PopBooth (free) works with an iPhone or iPad, has several filter options, and instantly shares the images on Facebook. Hard copies of the photos can be sent as postcards in the mail for an additional $2.
  5. Check out photo booth software: There are plenty of photo booth software options, such as Sparkbooth ($59), which make it easy to set up a DIY photo booth, customize the templates, and turn on automatic picture taking and printing.
  6. Decorate the background: A big piece of fabric makes the easiest background choice for DIY photo booths. Fabric stores offer the best prices, plus there are tons of funky prints to choose from. You could even give guests the option to swap out the backgrounds for more variety.
  7. Create a costume trunk: Go with a theme like “All Things Geek” and fill a box with superhero masks, capes, comic book hero weapons, mustaches on a stick, goofy glasses, etc. Otherwise, stock random props like feather boas, bright printed top hats, sunglasses of every shape, size, and color, and tiaras.
  8. Design your own template: Make (better) friends with Photoshop and design your own photo template or ask your invitation designer create one for you.
  9. Bring frames or message boards into the mix: If you don’t have a curtained off area for the “booth,” a large empty art frame will instantly focus the subject(s), plus it looks really cute. Another option is leaving white boards and/or chalkboards nearby so each guest can write down a funny, personal message to the couple.
  10. Save a scrapbook: These photos will circulate your social networks, but chances are you’ll want physical copies of the photos, tucked away in a scrapbook. Allow guests to print multiple copies of the images, so the duplicate can be pasted into a guest book.

The Perfect Wedding Speech 101

Text ALLEN LEUNG Illustration DREWSCAPE, www.drewscape.net

The Perfect Wedding Speech 101We hear couples making “thank you” speeches like those at the Oscar’s in wedding dinners more often now. Why are couples finding it hard but necessary to do so? What is the tradition behind them and where can they seek help to make that perfect speech?

When Leslie and Fanny, both young doctors, got married after a six-year-long courtship two years ago, the most difficult task for them at their wedding was making their “thank you” speeches during the church solemnization ceremony and later at the dinner celebration.

Saying ‘xie xie’, or thank you to their friends who helped them organize the wedding was easy. But expressing their gratitude to their parents who brought them up, attended to their needs all the years of their lives was hard to do, especially when they stood before all their friends and relatives.

Recalling that memorable evening at the five-star Marriot Hotel in Orchard Road where they had their wedding banquet, Leslie, now 32, and his wife Fanny, 28, said they spent many sleepless nights agonizing over the words in their “thank you” speech to both their parents, not because they had to, but because they wanted to.

“I think it was important we say so in public to show that we really appreciate all that they had done,” added Leslie.

In the end, they stole the show with their very sincere and emotional speeches, touching the hearts of many, especially both Leslie’s and Fanny’s parents who evidently shed tears of delight.

Like Leslie and Fanny, Daniel, a 40-year-old boss of a film post-production house, said when he got married 10 years ago, he even hired a speech writer to help him pen that “thank you” speech to his parents simply because his father had given him everything he needed, including expenses for his wedding banquet amounting to nearly $100,000.

Besides screening a video showing the newly-weds’ past, how they met and courted, and highlights of the big day’s events, guests at wedding dinners are increasingly hearing more brides and grooms and even their bridesmaids and best men speak.

Gone are the days when the bride was supposed to look pretty and quiet and the groom could do better drinking than talking. Some of them even took the opportunity to present their parents with gifts, from jewelry and overseas holiday packages to just a bouquet of flowers for mum and a shirt or tie for dad.

The Western tradition of making wedding speeches is catching on with the young in Singapore and many other Asian countries as a new generation of better-educated newly-weds becomes more articulate and independent minded.

“Yes, there is an increasing trend of the wedding entourage that gave speeches, including those by the best man, bridesmaids and even the parents,” said Anna Lim, a wedding planner from Spellbound Wedding.

She noted that “the grooms are normally the ones who give the speech, but the bride will also say something too. If it’s bilingual, the groom will speak in one language and the bride in another.”

A survey W&T did to check out how exactly the speeches were made at more than a dozen wedding dinners recently showed couples here were not following the traditional Western style of making wedding speeches to the letter.

In a traditional English wedding for example, the purpose of wedding speeches is to congratulate the couple, wish them well in their future life together and to thank the appropriate people for their efforts in making the wedding a success.

They included the toasts, which occur after the last course of the dinner, followed by the cake-cutting ceremony and then the first dance on the floor led by the newly-wed couple.

The bride’s father who gave his daughter away to the groom is usually the first to speak, giving a story of the bride’s early life and events leading to the wedding before congratulating the groom for taking his daughter’s hand and to ask for their happiness.

It is followed by the bride and groom who will thank the bride’s father for his daughter’s hand and then showing happiness for having such a lovely bride, praise her parents for bringing up their daughter so well at the same time.

In his speech, the groom will also thank his own parents for his upbringing and usually tell an amusing story about how he met the bride or any problems that they have to overcome before the big day. Then, he will go on to thank all those who helped him in the wedding preparations and finally the guests for their presence and gifts before a toast to the “bridesmaids”.

The bride may or may not speak to thank her parents and her husbands’, but the best man’s speech is often the most anticipated so it is generally saved till the last.

As most of the necessary thanks have been said, he has the opportunity to entertain the guests with witty comments and interesting stories, especially those pertaining to the newly-wed couple. Lastly, he will present a toast to both the host and hostess.

The adapted version of wedding speeches practiced in Asian societies and including Singapore’s, is quite different from the traditional Western one.

In Asian weddings, the bride’s father is seldom a speaker. The bride and groom are the centre of attraction. It is the groom’s speech which is often more important, though increasingly the bride’s voice is also heard.

Essentially, it is an occasion for the bride and groom to thank their parents and friends for helping them organize the wedding and guests for their attendance and gifts or Hongbaos.

Unlike in the West, at wedding dinners of Asian couples, especially the Chinese, the toast to the newly-weds, usually by an announcer or the master of ceremony, is offered after the speeches are made during the dinner, usually after the third of a 10-course feast.

The practice is to toast three times consecutively. All the guests are usually requested to stand as they raise their glasses high for each toast yelling the words, “yum seng” – meaning drinking to victory or success.

No book on the Asian or Chinese wedding etiquette and speeches has been written, but there are plenty published on the Western way.

Some of the more popular ones published recently include How To Write Wedding Speeches & Toasts by Barbara Jeffrey and Natasha Reed (Foulsham),One-liners For Wedding Speeches by Mitch Murray (Foulsham) and Making A Wedding Speech by John Bowden (How To Books).

Besides Making A Wedding Speech, John Bowden also wrote and published related titles including Making The Best Man’s Speech, Making The Bride-groom’s Speech and Making The Father of The Bride’s Speech, all published by How To Books.

Author John Bowden in his book, Making A Wedding speech, said the principles behind a good wedding speech are no different from those for other occasions. There must be an opening, a body middle or the main message and a closing. The aim is to communicate with the audience, to establish a dialogue with them and to turn them from just listeners into participants.

How? He explained: “By involving them. By making them laugh. By making them cry. By allowing them not only to hear your speech but also to experience it.”

He asked whoever making the speech, except the one by the bride herself, to remember these three words, KISS THE BRIDE.

Firstly, the word, KISS is simply the abbreviations for Keep It Short and Simple.

He said one shouldn’t be suffering from the illusion that he or she can turn a speech immortal by making it everlasting. After all, he pointed out, the story of the Creation in the Bible is told in just 400 words, or over three minutes.

So his advice is: “Try to say everything you need to in less than 650 words, which is about five minutes.” In wedding speeches, he believed size, or the duration of the speech, does matter. And no speech can be entirely bad if it is short enough.

The second and third words, THE BRIDE, he said, should remind all speaking on the wedding day that it is her big day. So don’t spoil it by embarrassing her or by knocking the institution of marriage.

Kiss the bride and you can’t go wrong.

In Barbara Jeffrey’s and Natasha Reed’s book, How To Write Wedding Speeches & Toasts, they said that unless one is a gifted public speaker, every bride’s father, bride-groom or the best man making a speech should do some research and write out a draft of the speech before making it on the big day.

Here are some quick questions to ask while doing the research, especially for the bride’s father and best man:
•        How long have you known the couple?
•        How did they meet each other?
•        How did he propose and what was her immediate response?
•        How long have they been together?
•        What three words come to mind when you think of the groom/bride?
•        Are there common interests they share?

The book also suggests searching the web or Internet which contains a whole host of information on speech writing. Just typing the words, “writing wedding speeches” into the search engine Google will probably result in over 200,000 hits.

Some great websites the authors recommended include:

www.confetti.co.uk which offers free planning advice for the big day. The wedding speeches section (under Weddings) contains tips, sample speeches, toasts and an A-Z of jokes and one-liners.

www.hitched.co.uk/speeches offers a free advice on every aspect of getting married. Here you can find quotes, readings, delivery tips and example of speeches for the bride’s father, the bride-groom and the best man.

www.presentationhelper.co.uk/wedding_speech.htm offers articles and free advice on writing speeches, as well as model speeches for the whole wedding party including the bride’s.

www.youandyourwedding.co.uk is created by one of UK’s best-read wedding magazines. It offers features, advice, chat rooms and all kinds of up-to-date information on weddings.

While information, tips and advice and even model wedding speeches are now so easily available in this modern age, the important thing is not to be carried away with all the information out there.

You must be selective and choose materials that are appropriate to your own wedding. Don’t just copy speeches wholesale and blindly for they will lack originality and won’t sound either natural or personal. The secrets to good wedding speeches, whether for the bride’s father, the groom and bride and the best man, may be just a click away.

So turn on your computer now and get your mouse ready.

Guide to Various Beauty Procedures

Text SUMMER LEE

Beauty is hard work, especially when it cuts deep under the skin.

Sally (not her real name) is getting married in November this year. Already a head turner, the 32-year-old project manager still finds her three moles – two on her chin and one on the shoulder – a blemishing turnoff.

In May, she visited an aesthetics surgeon to zap away the pesky dots and some small warts on her neck, spending over $500 on a single session of laser treatment.

The enhancements above her shoulders were a success and her skin recovered smoothly within a week; but in place of the mole on her shoulder now is a scar that fails to heal.

Nonetheless the undaunted bride-to-be is ever ready for more refining treatments as long as they are minor and non-invasive.

Some other women want more.

“I had received some interesting requests including hymen repair, tummy tuck, breast lift and surgical tightening of the face,” said Dr JJ Chua of JJ Chua Rejuvenative Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, who once saw an excited bride-to-be and her whole family, who were equally excited, walking into his clinic for cosmetic work.

“Everyone wants to look his or her best before the wedding…remember there is plenty of photo- and video-taking,” he noted.

Dr Donald Ng, medical director at Alaxis Medical Clinic, observes that more women are calling him up at least a year before the Big Day.

“It seems that grooms accept that is just part of the ladies’ need to get ready, just like going for make-up, getting the clothes done – the face and body work is just a part of it,” he said.

And interestingly, Dr Chua noted, some couples underwent the same procedures like liposculpture – a gentler form of liposuction that is supposed to give better shape – and nose implants.

“Many mothers ask for facelifts, and procedures for droopy eyelids and eye bags. On rare occasions, fathers come for Botox and skin growth laser removals,” he reveals.

Based on information supplied by Dr JJ Chua of JJ Chua Rejuvenative Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, these are the greatest peeves of most people:
Problem Treatment Downtime*
Lower eyelids (eye bag, dark circles) Blepharoplasty, or cosmetic eyelid surgery, to remove excessive skin and fat from the lower eyelids Two weeks
Single eyelids Create double eyelids Two weeks
Flat nose Nose refinement (filler or
implant enhancement)
Nil to 10 days
Fatty cheeks; double chin; flabby tummy, arms and thighs Liposculpture reduction Two days
Small breasts Implant augmentation or
filler enhancement
Nil to two weeks
*Subject to individuals and the type of surgery. Does not include full recovery time and time needed to achieve desired results.  

Of the requests Dr Christine Cheng from Simply Aesthetic entertains, most of them revolve around slimming of various parts of the body, and sometimes full-on rejuvenation – involving techniques ranging from laser and light to chemical peels and other non-ablative methods – for more mature brides.

“Slimming takes time. Even facial treatments should be tried out in advance to ensure they provide the desired results,” said Dr Cheng, adding that liposuction may be tempting a week before the big day, but recovery takes many weeks – or even months for certain techniques.

She advises that the brides should seek help at least six months ahead to get the desired results and keep it that way for the wedding day. “(Seeking treatment) three weeks to a month before the wedding day seems to be the panic point!” she warns.

Although nip-and-tuck practitioners are sometimes referred to as “the hands of god”, there are still situations where they are caught with their hands tied.

“I had one bridesmaid who had put on over 10kg in the preceding year while staying in the US,” Dr Cheng recalled. “The dress was made to fit her original size and the bride freaked when she saw the larger version of her best friend.”

To make matters worse, this was a VIP wedding that was to be broadcast on national television.

“Naturally, we were unable to guarantee a 10kg reduction in the one week before the wedding,” she said.

And most of the time, a major overhaul is an overkill, putting the spotlight on the bride for the wrong reason.

“Do not overdo it,” cautions Dr Ng. “Remember that you want to enhance what you have, and not transform yourself as more invasive surgery tends to come with more downtime and adjustments that you may not be prepared for.”

“It is not wise to add to an already stressful event,” he adds.

The popular non-surgery treatments include:  
Treatment What Is It? What does it do?
Botox An injection of the cosmetic form of botulinum toxin Mainly to achieve square jaws, shape eyebrows, and smooth
out wrinkles
Filler enhancement A procedure that gives non-permanent effect, involving an injection of usually gel-like substance or fat. For nose, cheeks, chin, lips (more kissable lips), scars and lines
Laser A cosmetic surgery technique that removes the upper layers of the skin to allow new skin to form For growths, open pores, pigmentation and birthmarks
Pulsed light In this treatment, pulses of light are used to penetrate deep into the skin For skin rejuvenation & whitening
Thermage A non-invasive procedure that uses radio frequency electrical current to stimulate collagen contraction For skin tightening
Others: Skin care to rejuvenate the skin and treat acne and scars; balding medication.

Count Down To The Big Day

text NADIA CHAN

Three months before

Shape Up
Say I-do to a slimmer body. To show off svelte curves in your wedding gown, it’s important to plan an exercise regime that includes aerobic workouts, such as jogging, swimming and cycling, says Dr SM Yuen, medical director of Altas Medical – Laser &Aesthetics Clinic. Engaging in these activities in half-hour sessions thrice a week can lead to overall weight loss.
To target stubborn fat areas impervious to exercise, treatments like the Acoustic Shockwave Therapy can help. Available at Atlas Medical, this uses acoustic shockwaves to make fat cells resonate, vibrate and break down. You can see toning and trimming effects after just one 30-minute session. An inch-loss of up to three inches requires about 12 sessions performed twice weekly.

Bust Cellulite
Banish the orange-peel appearance with the Body Slimulator treatment at the Sloane Clinic. This non-invasive treatment fights localised fat and cellulite. Ultrasound and infrared energies bust fat cells, as radiofrequency waves tone up skin in the treated area. As there is heat involved, you should feel some discomfort but it’s not unbearable. There is no downtime, although the area treated may be tender and red for up to a day after the treatment. You should see a reduction of one to four inches in the treated areas after six sessions, spaced one to two weeks apart. Skin is visibly smoothened, and there is a noticeable reduction in cellulite.

Pearly Whites and Healthy Pinks
You will be smiling a lot before, during and after your wedding, what with all the pictures to take. NEUGLOWDental White Centre at Novena Medical Centre offers a home whitening kit as well as in-clinic whitening system. Pink healthy-looking gums can also do wonders for your smile. If you have dark or black patches on your gums, do consider removing these patches with a laser treatment. “These patches are harmless natural pigmentations. However, they can make your smile look unaesthetic,” says Dr Leonard Tan. “A common complaint from patients is that their gums look ¡®dirty’.” The laser treatment is simple and relatively painless, while results are long-term. However, it takes about two to three sessions to remove the spots.

Volumise Hair
Add life to dull and limp hair with Phyto Hair Spa by Revamp’s Volumising Treatment. Using silicone-free products, this scalp treatment lightens the ends of your hair shafts and adds bounce to hair roots.
For best results, do this weekly for the first month and fortnightly from the second month onwards. After the first three sessions, you should have well-hydrated tresses and a healthier scalp. You will also love the fact that this hair spa is outfitted with massage chairs and LCD screens for individual comfort throughout your treatment.

Two months before

Blast Spots
To treat mild acne marks, Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatment works well for most people. But if you are pain-averse, your best option may be Cosmelan – a depigmenting peel that fades freckles and age spots. Even better – it also mattifies oily skin. Available at TCS at Central Clinic, it involves leaving on a mustard-coloured mask on the face for six to eight hours, followed by the daily application of takehomeskincare  recommended by the doctor. Side effects are minor and these include mild redness, itching and burning, all of which should subside quickly. You will see a clearer and brighter complexion in two weeks, with continuous skin improvement for up to six months.

Two to four weeks before

Minimise Fine Lines
It’s best to lay off harsh aesthetic treatments from now on. Compared to traditionalmicrodermabrasion, SilkPeel Dermal Infusion is gentler on skin. Offered at Atlas Medical – Laser & Aesthetics Clinic, it is a wet abrasion that infuses skin with skin-loving actives. The hydrating formula, in particular, drenches parched skin in moisture to smoothen skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Side effects include temporary redness.

Detox Your Back
Look good in a low-back gown by lavishing some attention on this oft-neglected area. Leonard Drake Skin Care Health Spa’s Detoxifying Back Acne Treatment targets acne on the back withDermalogica’s MediBac Clearing Masque.
This starts with deep cleansing and extraction, and is followed by a detoxifying upper shoulder and neck massage. To prevent further breakouts, a medical mask is applied. It contains sulphur and mineral clay to clear bacteria, reduce excess sebum and soothe irritated skin. Charcoal in the mask also purifies skin by absorbing oils and impurities.
Expect a silky-smooth, acne-free back after treatment.

One week before

Nix Sudden Outbreaks
For that humongous zit which just sprouted days before your big event, there’s always the steroid jab as a last resort. Available at most aesthetic clinics, this subsides inflammation so rapidly it can make your problem go away in 24 to 48 hours. This is a highly effective solution to quell pimples almost instantaneously, but should be used sparingly. Long-term and over-frequent use of steroids can lead to severe side effects such as high blood pressure and strokes. Don’t say you have not been warned.

Fix Chipped Pearlies
Should you unfortunately chip or break a tooth right before the wedding, don’t fret – help is available at NEUGLOW Dental White Centre. Depending on the severity of the damage, the dentist may repair the tooth with dental fillings (for minor chipping), dental crowns or porcelain veneers (for more severe cases), or implants (if the tooth cannot be saved).
Typically, crowns and veneers take a few weeks to be manufactured, while an implant takes about three months. If time is not on your side, your dentist may suggest the use of a temporary cap until your crown, veneer or implant is ready. This is a thin plastic coating that will protect your tooth and improve your smile in the meantime.

Reduce Eyebags
If you suffer from crow’s feet and eye bags, treat yourself to the Eye Contour Treatment at Vedure Mediboutique. Using radiofrequency energy, this improves microcirculation around the eyes to reduce sagging and restores vitality to the area. The gentle massaging movement of the machine used also firms and tightens to eliminate puffiness, fine lines and wrinkles, making eyes look naturally lifted. Results are visible after just one 60-minute session. If the problem is severe, do consider a series of 10 treatments for best results.