The Wedding Tribe 2018
~a social subset of people who are linked by the common culture of bespoke and handcrafted wedding beauty.
3 weeks after it ended, I still think it’s so surreal. I have many thoughts on this event and the industry, while I am looking for myself in London these days I will gather my thoughts and start writing on these forgotten-thoughts.
The Wedding Tribe was started in 2017 when I rented my first ever warehouse. It was a year of coming out, my first year of full-timing while both kids went to school. I remembered my excitement and so I planned for a party, I reckoned if everyone can come for a party then we should do a wedding showcase. The idea was really raw, I knew I wanted something cohesive and complementary. Whenever I passed by those wedding fairs in a mall, they always had those tacky red carpet, one mannequin with a princess-cut dress on, fake flowers stringing over the booth and imagine it replicated 5 times, because 5 different vendors. I knew for sure my show will never be like that, I want it to be a real wedding, I want it to be REAL. If you have ever been to my warehouse, you will know that it is in a heavy industrial space where no wedding should be held. But, if the show can be done so well a wedding could be done then this A-team could transform a dumpsite into a wedding venue. This is the idea behind the show.
Like I said, TWT’17 was experimental. Because it was never done cohesively before, I do not know what will the response be. It was jittery to say for sure. The worst was the heat! I didn’t have air-con at that point of time and I remembered Mr. Treadwell had to go get ice for the cooler machine a few times a day.
The Wedding Tribe 2018 was scheduled for April like the year before, but it was so hard for all the vendors to find time to come together. Curating the tribe was crucial. I had the mood set and so getting the correct vendors to translate the mood is important. But when I got the team together, I got word from Mr. Treadwell that we might be moving. The show must go on after all the time invested, but it will be a farewell party for myself I thought.
I reinvented my thought, I IMAGINED MYSELF TO BE THE BRIDE.
Curating The Vendors
As a bride, (after the venue is sorted) the second most important would be the Photographers and then Gown. Both I have very good ideas who to go to, I dashed to Bloc Memoire, Super Panda, Smitten Pixels and AIB. These are the photographers I shortlisted because they are always dramatic with flair. I like posey shots and with the mood I had in mind, they will be perfect.
Gown, oh my gown. A mistake I have made once, I was so afraid of being drown in the crowd on my wedding day that I chose a gown that required me to wear a can-can underneath to make me look big. If I could do it all over again, no doubt this time I will ask my yoga sister Mel from Caramel & Co. to do my gown. She does subtle silhouettes with an unassuming peek-a-boo somewhere. She always manages to find a twist to something so classy.
Third, would be none other than a Stylist. Lucky me, if this is my real wedding I really would be in luck. A stylist would be able to pull all the aesthetics together and make it cohesive, and I trust none other than MerryLove Weddings (MLW). She is one of the pioneer in this wedding revolution, one of the most resourceful and aesthetically astute person I have met. She ponders on the littlest meaning and translate them beautifully into props and landscapes. I simply gave her my mood and she translated them into a mood board fit for interpretation for all other vendors. Apart from doing the logistics of curating the team, finding sponsors and a bit of knick knacks here and there. I really have to give credit to Team MLW for doing the rest of the work.
Depending on how much you want to control your own wedding, if you think you have done enough this is when you want to get a Wedding Planner involved. A modern Wedding Planner is what I call it, Chelsea from Holy Moly is not only good for liaisons between vendors, plan timelines, coordinate all those suffocating emails between people and managing your budget but she is also inclined to help on your aesthetics.
The next important thing (to me) would be florals, as a florist and leaving the wedding scene who will be my next go-to? I considered hard and long as I really did approach a few other florists friends. But in the end, Floral Magic my beloved idols for the longest time is my ultimate choice. I need to be assured that my florals are in good hands, literally. I am anal af when it comes to flowers being fresh and exotic enough, yah! I am a flower snob and to be able to deliver. From personal to large scale arrangements, I need to make sure the human resource and the quality suffice my floral greed. Floral Magic would again be my only choice if I could do this all over again.
Makeup, seriously guys, let’s talk about this. I go to yoga, wet-market and swimming without makeup. THAT’S IT. The last time I went to the wet market without makeup baby-wearing my daughter I was asked: “where is your madam?” WHUTTTTTDAF! Hence, I cannot highlight the importance of covering all your uneven tones ( unless you are Meghan Markle ) during your wedding, or the 10000 eye bags. Makeup Maestro is a group of girls trained traditionally with a knack for trends. I gloated at their Instagram before approaching them to be part of TWT’18. Must I say their eyeliner skills are always on fleek?
You all know how I feel about florals on cake, real florals that is. Nope, I do not agree. Flowers are grown with copious amount of pesticides not only on the stems, most of the time their buds or blooms are dipped in chemicals before they go on that long haul flight bound to Singapore so they can keep their shape and freshness. Ask any decent florists they will tell you that these flowers are dirty af and shouldn’t be put on food. They are definitely inedible as well. Here comes Winifred from Winifred Kristé Cake to the rescue, her sugar flowers are as good or even better than real ones. Made entirely from scratch, petal by petal moulded together to form a gorgeous bloom. The craft, the patience and the skill is unrivalled. I went to her class once, can I say I am done after doing one leaf. Cant even do that petal without her help. Needless to say, her cakes are always such a treat. My kids call her Macaron Aunty, cos they remember the macarons not the girl who made it. Says it all, lol.
After all these been done, time to send out your invites ladies. May I propose the most up and coming talent in the industry? The dreamy handwriting, the strokes, the curves and the flair. Charis from Gifts of Grace Design has magic hands. Everything she touches turn into gold. She is definitely one to look out for, she’s going to get so big one day. ( my god, do I sound turned on here or what….. )
Another client turned friendor ( vendor + friends ) is Nigel from Common Hands. Can I also add that our posters, banners and insta stories board are all made from scratch collaboratively by Nigel & Charis ( Common Hands + Gift of Grace Design ). They both have great background on graphic designing and the outcome is just so balanced. Common Hands specialises ( I love saying this) in wooden oddities. Ang pow box being laser cut beautifully, no need for nails just like a puzzle that fits nicely. Check out their work, the possibilities are endless. Huge thanks for all the contribution really!
To me these are my ideal vendors for my board and I couldn’t be happier how it turned out. Oh, don’t think it’s so easy typing this out. I had many choices and there are so many more I would love to include in the show but due to space constraint and maximising attendees and vendors experience, I kept it manageable.
The most important factors when I ( as a bride ) curate these vendors are based on
- originality ( these vendors take pride in their work, they produce results as true to themselves as they could )
- how well they work with each other?
- price point against each other ( imagine a $1500 MUA and then your flowers only budgeted $1000??? )
- style ( black and white photographer and a festival event don’t go u know what I mean?)
- availability ( able to take in extended work hours and extended job scope, let’s say personal flowers to venue / large scale arrangements )
- professionalism ( personable yet deliver professional results )
The objective of The Wedding Tribe 2018 is the same as the first, to showcase how a group of like minded individuals can come together to bring up the standard of a wedding. Because we are friends beneath it all, we know each other quirks and strength and that enable us to work better with each other. The best way to do therefore is to come together to do a pseudo wedding. Complete with tablescape, dessert table, chuppah, backdrop and a communal display.
Let me show you how I planned for my (pseudo) wedding.
After discussing with my girl gang what kind of wedding I wanna have, Mel said lets just go for something happy lah! I was thinking of Coachella and she said Wonderfruit! She reads minds. And so it is, Coachella vibe. But the boho, rustic, neutral toned, rattan chairs and teepee is overused. So I opted for a colourful Coachella. Something like a fiesta kinda feel. And that was how I told Shuying from MLW.
She drew up this mood board, I told her what I need and how I felt about it and we went about doing our own things. Yup, I didn’t even know how and what it will be like until my wedding day ( just like other brides ). We even did a site recce too. Really as if I was getting married to my own event. Team MLW in turn liaised with the rest of the vendors on the aesthetic aspect including Floral Magic on the colours and varietals of flowers being used while Chill Bride over here talked to Holy Moly on the boring administrative work to be taken care of. Chelsea took immaculate care about the attendees, putting their names into spreadsheets and whatever thing in columns and rows which I cannot be bothered with. Best wedding planning ever.
Again, the same thing with the poster ( my invite in this case ), I used to tell my clients that your wedding started when you sent out your invites. Your invite is a prelude of the wedding feel you wanna bring on, the colour is the most basic thing but having a great wedding font brings it to another level. In this case, I approached Nigel and Charis ( because TWT is about working well together right? ) to do up the poster. Nigel gave the draft passed on to Charis for a touch up and voila! Seriously, I was so wow-ed at their collaboration I was like a proud mama. I cannot thank and praise them enough for doing this.
This lazy bride didn’t even turn up for the rehearsal cos she was so drunk on her hen’s night ( I went partying with Styled Story, Super Panda, SmittenPixels and Caramel. literally got home at like 3am cos I need to send MELion home ). Team MLW and Floral Magic magically transformed the space while I was nursing that bad hangover. Isn’t this people how you want your wedding to be? LOL, being smug about it.
How the day went?
Blardy well I must say! The bride was properly surprised! ( Getting all my British accents right already. ) At one point, all of us got swarmed as people starting to come at the same time. It was honestly my biggest fear when I was organising the event ( that’s why I had a cap limit ). But we got inundated by honest and sincere questions, the vibe was drippin’ people! Chelsea ( Holy Moly ) and I played host by greeting and introducing everyone when attendees came in, I must have sounded like a broken record. In fact, I was a broken record, I was nursing a flu, cough and slight fever from the hangover the day before I dragged my sorry ass to my own farewell party. The vibe really made it all up, everyone felt great even though we were so exhausted after the event. But what touched my heart was some couples came up and gave me their blessings, said good luck, bade farewell and took photos even ( warrao, I really should have put on a gown).
The turn out was spectacular, I woke up to a sold out event and I was both excited and flustered. I added more spaces and it got grabbed up so fast, I had to close the walk-in option. I felt really blessed that Singaporeans are beginning to appreciate hand made weddings, but honestly can u all be a bit faster not? Wait till I leave the scene, tsk.
the biggest thank you to the sponsors. As I wanted The Wedding Tribe 2018 to be a casual event, I seek for sponsors who are able to fill the needs. We had Candlesoflight to fill the spaces with aromatic scents, Nineteen95sg to provide the much needed caffeine fix and Gold Gild ice cream for the creamiest ice cream for that day.
Attendees are also treated to a special discount on that day. I say special means really special ok? Do u ever see LV, Chanel or Hermes doing discount? No right? But these vendors gave me a lot of face and I really beh-hiao-bai asked them to give me discounts. Honestly, its a turn off people so I asked in your stead. As a creative and producer of hard work myself, I value not only my time invested but also my skills hence its almost insulting when people asked me for a discount. And in true honesty, we don’t earn enough. And in kampung spirit, they have also decided to give discounts to attendees who take up 2 or more vendors from TWT’18. Super ons I must say my friendors.
People, may I open the floodgate of Communal Wedding fairs. Going forth, I am sure you will see more events alike. After TWT’17 I have seen people going in the same direction. Let’s celebrate this good change in the industry, but remember you saw TWT first. Its a good push in the industry if it’s done correctly, if it’s done beautifully and if it’s done ethically. I welcome vendors to do the same, but do it for the sake of pushing the wedding boundaries, to better your skills, to make more friends, to satisfy that creative ego but never do it on the expanse of another vendor or your clienteles. Remember, it takes a tribe to do a wedding. Burgeoning scene can also stifles creativity, ( me set a reminder) it’s a topic I will address another day.
Below are some snapshots of the day contributed by Smitten Pandas or the SPs ( Smitten Pixels + Super Pandas ).
That’s all for now folks. I hope this post will be of some use to brides and vendors alike.