We didn’t have a big wedding, in fact, it was modest by Singapore standards (then, and even more so now.) We got engaged in May 2003 over sushi-- at a restaurant that no longer exists in its original location-- and we would go on to set a record for shortest engagement and longest honeymoon among our friends, I believe. My grandfather wanted to make sure we got married on an auspicious date and between the approaching Ghost Month in July and the fact that we were leaving for grad school in August, that actually narrowed our wedding date to just one-- 27 June, a Friday. We were worried that we wouldn’t be able to pull off a wedding in two months and even more worried that people wouldn’t attend a weekday wedding. But that-- together with many other anxieties-- became greatly unfounded, thanks in no small part to our family and friends.
From Day One, our wedding was a labor of love-- the wedding reception and dinner, our rings, all the flowers for the ceremony, my sisters’ bridesmaids dresses, my hair and make-up, the wedding invitations, and the wedding photography- almost every aspect of the wedding-- both tangible or not-- was taken on by someone we love and who loves us. And in many cases, our friends and family members volunteered their help and refused payment in any way, sometimes not even for raw material. We were awash with gratitude.
And on the day itself, everyone who mattered to us turned up. It didn’t matter that it was a Friday morning-- people took time off work and even travelled as far as Australia and Finland to help us celebrate our wedding. It was not a stressful affair at all-- I was marrying the man I love, surrounded by people whom we love and love us. There was a lot of smiling, some happy crying, and a lot of laughing. That day-- together with the day Sophie was born-- will always be one of the happiest days of my life.
People say a wedding doesn’t make a marriage but I think the spirit of our wedding did set the tone for our marriage-- there is always lots of laughter and love. Lots of love. Good music and great food. Family and friends are important. Always. And I think pulling off a wedding under budget and in eight weeks (plus seven years of being a grad student) also taught us that a good life can be had at low cost. We like “things” just as much as the next person-- as shopping for our new home attests-- but these things don’t have to be new. In fact, some of the best things you can own are pre-love-- inherited from family, gifted by friends.
Seven weeks after we got married, Jude and I set off for Ann Arbor for what would be a 9-year honeymoon. The rest, as they say, is history.