This year, I’m bringing a new feature to this blog, to give you insights for your wedding day. This “Up Close” section will bring you interviews, secrets, and tips on organising your big day while looking your polished best, straight from the professionals in the business!
To start us off, I scored an interview with Caroline Tan- Reed, wedding planner and founder of The Wedding Stylist. Also included are photographs of a wedding she had planned, taking us through from conceptualisation to the actual day.
What inspired you to become a wedding planner?
2007, I had a very good friend who asked me to help her with her wedding, and that sparked a passion for it. I got into it full time in 2008.
I did a Wedding Planning Diploma with a school in the UK, which helped me in terms of planning a wedding, such as managing the budget, timeline, and prioritising.
It was more detailed than what I did with friends.
Why the name “The Wedding Stylist”?
I did a focus group with some friends, and we were contemplating on 3 names, “The Wedding Designer”, but it sounded too much like a fashion designer. The other was “Unveil Weddings”, but they thought it was too boring. The Wedding Stylist was a little bit more American, I wanted to bring a western touch to Singapore weddings.
About 80 % of my couples have studied abroad, or are of mixed heritage, or live abroad, or their other halves are not Singaporean.
What are some of the misconceptions of the job?
The most common misconception is that it is a glamorous job, and it is not a glamorous job at all.
On the wedding day, while the bride usually wakes up about 4 or 5am, I wake up at 3am to prepare everything, and am the last to leave.
I also have to throw out the trash – definitely not glamorous.
Some demanding brides also expected me to book their honeymoon.
One of my brides insisted that I book tickets and plan the route through UK for her pre-wedding shoot and travels.
So what exactly is the jobscope?
I am there to only help her manage her wedding.
Part of our jobscope is also to come up with the concept and theme, to present different options for decorations, give them advice on things like dresses, food, and schedules.
We usually do up a storyboard, taking into consideration their personality and what they like. It has a floorplan, pictures and colour palattes of our recommendations.
(Other than that, I’m not there to organise their honeymoon.)
What’s a typical month/week/day leading up to the wedding?
Month: Final details like flowers, alterations of dresses, suits, wedding stationery, design and fonts of the menus, type of music to be played, itenary for the day, car decor & flowers.
Week: Last minute scrambling for changes, forgotten details, picking up bits and pieces.
Day: Surprisingly, it is very smooth because you already know what you have to do, and it’s a long day so you’re so busy that you don’t have time to think of anything else.
But also because you’re there?
I hope so, haha.
How does a bride decide if she needs to have a wedding planner or not?
Usually if the bride is very busy, she will need a planner.
The other reason is that they need some inspiration, because they might not have the resources or knowledge to look for ideas, so they come to us to help them design the wedding and recommend our contact list, like you as the makeup artist for example. (Thanks Caroline!)
Have you had weddings where the couple brings you in to salvage their plans?
I had to plan a wedding in 1.5 months, they had only booked the venue and got the gown and the suit. We had to get everything in place – the food, flowers, band, itenery, Justice of Peace (JP). They didn’t even register at the Registry of Marriages (ROM) yet.
(Usually the ROM booking opens up 3 months before your wedding, and you need to have your JP who has agreed to marry you, and there’s an online form where you sign and pay. )
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Blogs, wedding magazines, friends, people I work with, like photographers. We discuss what weddings we’ve been to, and bounce ideas off each other.
How about when you got married ?
Mine was a very simple ceremony with only 100 people, a church wedding and a small dinner. I wanted something intimate and cosy.
In the morning we had a colour theme of yellow and pale coral, and we used orchids to incorporate some Singapore touches.
The evening was a small dinner at the Raffles.
Would you change anything if you went back to that?
No, as a wedding planner you lives your own dreams through so many weddings, so when it comes to your own, you know what’s really important is the company and that you enjoy yourself and that everyone is there to share it with you.
What’s the strangest thing at a wedding you had planned?
It’s not weird in a bad way, we had a wedding in Chijmes and we brought in some ah kwas (transexuals) to perform, so that was quite a shocker, but the couple wanted something outrageous and fun.
Are Singapore brides and weddings too mellow or regular?
I think because we come from a culture that teaches us to respect and listen to our elders, a lot of the brides cannot have a wedding that they truly want, but what their parents want. That’s really sad because it is their day after all and it is going to happen once in their lifetime.
That’s one bit I feel quite sad about, because I know alot of it is planned by their parents, and they’re doing it for the parents.
Other than that I’ve had some brides who are quite chill, and they just do what they want to do. These brides turn out to be the more fun and happy brides, because they give you alot of imput and they are so involved in the wedding.
Which was your most memorable wedding?
There was a couple who hired me 2 months before the wedding, and the bride had lots of ideas but they just didnt know how to execute it.
They wanted a garden theme for the church and reception.
Since she was on a budget, we went to Ikea and bought small vases, and did the flowers ourselves. It was very DIY and we used ribbon strips on the table and paper dollies to make it more garden feel for her. It was fun.
She had a dessert buffet and she made her own doggy bags where she stamped each of them individually.
There was a vintage typewriter so that people could write their messages to them on it.
Some things were difficult to find in Singapore, like a clay ring pillow where their vows were written on it, which was very cute.
It was very fun working with her because she was very inspirational.
Show us how your ideas became reality!
The Venue : CHIJMES
Photography: Aloysius, 39 East Photography
The professionals are in: Caroline’s Little White Book
Non-hotel ballroom wedding location:
The Marmalade Pantry at The Stables
55 Fairways Drive, Singapore 286846
Burkill Hall at Singapore Botanic Gardens
+65 6471 7374
photo: 39 East Photography
Clifford Restaurant at The Fullerton Bay Hotel
“With full height glass windows, you don’t even need a lot of decorations”
Photo: Fullerton Bay Hotel
Food & Catering:
Asian: Tung Lok
“They’ve got great food and impeccable service”
Wedding Gown Designers (all by appointment only):
Louis from Amor Meus Design Studio
23 Purvis Street, #02-01 Talib Centre
+65 6336 6930
The Prelude Bridal
21A Duxton Hill Singapore 089604
+65 6221 4982
“The Prelude brings in very sleek and modern dresses from the UK and US”
photo: The Prelude Bridal
Wedding Stationary & Cards:
Caroline’s team of graphic designers and printers will whip up beautiful bespoke invitation cards if you have something in mind, but if not, pay a visit to
402 Orchard Road, Delfi Orchard #02-16
+65 6734 1811