As the huge ball of fire crept slowly away in the horizon and the stars came out to play, David Leong, 31, and April Tan, 24, held their wedding celebration in perfect tranquillity. Lester J Wan joined them by the sea.
When & Where
Sunday, 18 May 2003. Most guests arrived early at Fisherman's Village in Elias Park, Pasir Ris to catch a glimpse of the amazing sunset and bask in its warm glow. On this evening, an outdoor marquee was erected right by the sea. Friends and relatives dressed down to match the theme of the beach. Smart casual attire such as short-sleeved shirts and jeans were the order of the day.
David reveals the main reason for holding it there. "April and I used to frequent this place. We would come here with our friends, have a few drinks and chill. After some time, we got to know each other and we became friends," he says. Their feelings rapidly developed.
"One Christmas Eve, we were here for the countdown. Once it hit midnight, they cleared the dance floor. She was wondering what was going on. I proposed to her there and then."
In the cool and dreamy ambience, everyone had a great time. The sound of waves crashing upon the shore added to the mood of the celebration.
"We didn't have to do much. Our planner did everything from A to Z," says David. All they needed was two months, an incredibly short time compared to most other couples.
"We did the guest list, got the gowns and the photos done. That's all. After that we could sit back and relax," says April.
David adds, "Friends always tell us it's very stressful. I've even heard of some couples quarrelling over this. But for us, it was a breeze."
Who needs a car when you've got a boat? The small vessel was a free loan from the restaurant. A little jetty was specially built for the occasion. April was stationed at a nearby kelong. It was a half-hour wait before the boat picked her up. Another additional benefit was, the bride got a free ride around the coastal areas of the sea. April was more than happy to be, in her own words, "a seaside bride".
Suit & Gown
Originally, David and April were toying with the idea of getting married in beachwear, that is, bermudas, floral print shirts, beach sandals and so on. However, their parents were firmly against the idea. They felt it was way too casual for a proper wedding. In the end, they played it safe and wore a classic suit and gown.
"Golden Horse Awards specially designed the gown to my requirements. They designed it short in front and with a long back so that it would be easier for me to walk, especially when I got off the boat. The evening gown was also from Golden Horse. They designed it to suit the theme too; it wasn't so formal and had less frills and all," says April.
The restaurant arranged for a DJ to entertain guests with a blend of classic love songs, both new and old. Every now and then, you could catch one or two guests mouthing the words to the songs.
"That was really nice of them," says David, referring to the complimentary DJ. The mood for romance wafted in the gentle sea breeze the whole night through.
For the opening course of the dinner, Axel F, the theme from the hit film Beverly Hills Cop, was played to dramatic effect, signalling the beginning of a new and exciting adventure for the couple and their guests.
"For me, her arrival by boat was the best part. Not many get to experience that, with the line of people waiting, the spotlight on her, the cheers and the clapping, the wind and the beach around us," says David. It certainly was an experience.
Another highlight was when David and April slow danced to I Like Chopin by Gazebo. The audience was captivated. The song actually bears a special meaning for them.
"It's our favourite song. We used to chill out here over drinks. That song would always be the last song at closing time so we always remember it," says David.
Words of Wisdom
"A wedding is once in a lifetime. You should make it as unique as possible. It should be unconventional," says David. He was very pleased with the outcome of their own wedding.
"Do what you want; most friends don't get to because of their family. Luckily our parents were pretty understanding and open-minded. Except that one time... " laughs April, referring to their wedding attire.
No. of guests: 250
Rough Cost Breakdown:
Tables - $12,500
Suit, gown and photos - $6,000
Flowers, lights, sound system, marquee, carbon dioxide jets, confetti cannons - $6,000
Total - $24,500
"The restaurant allowed us to party till morning. At 5 a.m. we were still in our gown and suit," smiles David