Well, just some background for you, my friendship with Ning started 16 years ago. I was an emerging dancing queen whereas she, was a rising star. We've come a long way... but it's a wonderful rare thing to have - this chance to be around an old friend who's about to embark on her new life journey, to be right beside her when she's given away to the man of her life and to celebrate this sort of happiness with both of them in the most extraordinary way. Ning's wedding is therefore something very close to my heart...more so when she asked me to be her maid of honor.
Now unfortunately I didn't get the chance to snap pix coz I was constantly at 'work' plus at times, battery died. But Sasha has tons of beautiful pix especially the Nikah, so please go look there as well. I'll start with the MALAM BERINAI on Jan29. Didn't really know what to expect coz I've never been to a 'malam berinai' but I imagined it to be more like a bridal shower, you know a girls' thang...
Everyone got their chance to get 'painted'. Meanwhile there was food, damn good food that night...
Ning's plams - before and after
The night was PERFECT. It didn't rain a drop! It was magical. Maureen was in tears during the exchanging of vows, so was Ning and Omar and Sarimah and even Omar's brother, Mark.
Chris, you’ve found yourself a highly adaptive tropical creature with incredible compassion. She will morph into what it takes to create happiness, this I know.
Her big heart will help you champion any challenges in life and I know you’ll appreciate and love with all your soul, this very easy-going, fun-loving, forgiving beautiful human being you now call wife.
Well, before we send our feet for defence, we went for a face fix here at our secret place....
We were running slightly behind time but were happy anyway that we got to do everything we planned to do for the day. Strangely, things had been unbelievably smooth for us - I didn't feel anxious at all which was nice coz I could really enjoy my time with my darling Ning.
On the way to Matrade, we had one more thing to pick up - the extra posey Datin had requested to match this outfit which Ning's wearing for the first march-in. Smooth like I said, the florist so happened to be in the area! Hmmm....must be Aunty Stella's meditation that morning...
If you remember correctly, when Ning & Omar got engaged, all had thought it was the actual wedding. So what would you call that night's extravaganza? T'was more than a wedding. It was an experience... a feast for the senses.
The BERSANDING night was really the reception for the people of Malaysia. Matrade went through a metamorphorsis - convention center turned Kampung Nekmat - Ning & Omar's ideal place of bliss. The back to basics 'kampung melayu' theme was truly a brilliant idea. Not only was it aptly refreshing compared to the usual wedding scenes we see, what can possibly be more authentic than displaying culture and demonstrating traditions in a 'real' robust and charming kampung atmosphere?! Omar's family (including himself!) and foreign friends were really in for a holistic treat!
Of course, a good idea is nothing if not properly executed. So, the entire makeshift village was brought to life like a movie set; complete with live animals, a wooden jetty, a river, a balai, the groom's house, wide verandahs for common gatherings - elements one would find in a typical kampung, we brought it to town that night! Quintessentially kampung. It was perfect!
The brain behind this imaginative set was none other than Ning's surrogate sister and close friend, Datin Seri Farida. It takes a dynamic being with vision and powerful imagination to think this and pull force to execute it. Really. She worked not only her brains but her hands tirelessly too - from the grand dulangs for the nikah to the pretty favors and grand flower arrangements with NingClix for the night's reception.
What I found too cool to be true was these old-school bottled sodas which many have not seen in years (perhaps forgotten)....
....plus the sweets and candies you could buy only from a village kedai runcit (grocer), the village cuisine served, plastic chairs + vinyl table cloth and the communal seating style, flanked by goats and chickens and people dressed like typical kampung folks....and then the procession with the entourage accompanied by sounds of kompang. There was this sense of innocence - something so simple can be so beautiful. It's a way of life many may have easily forgetton, which is why the night was even more so meaningful.
Both Ning's & Omar's designer outfits, however promised iminent surprises - they were anything but typical...
We may have many many friends in a lifetime, but Ning you're one true friend. Humility is your greatest virtue. I see where it comes from – your remarkable mother Aunty Stella... you’ve kept your feet on the ground all through your stardom. And because of this you have such a big capacity to love and care for others genuinely. For that I love you Ning, and you know there's nothing I wouldn't do for you. I'll always be there for you, this I promise.
Chris, 2 beautiful human beings belong together. From the way Ning talked about you, I liked you already even before I met you! You deserve each other.
Federico and I, we love every moment we've spent with you. We'll be in your lives forever.
Vernon – the dedicated partner, commited manager and great friend who had spent sleepless nights thinking, planning, pulling resources together and strategizing for the most awe-inspiring wedding to ever take place in Malaysia. Must be karma to have a business partner who'd walk through fire for you.
Datin Farida – the penghulu, the omnipresent, like oxygen; although she had preferred a role behind the scene, didin't wanna be seen but she was all around, influencing everything. Like Ning had said at the end of the night when MC Mahathir Lokman handed her the mic:
What have we (Omar & I) done to deserve all of this... to deserve you.
If you don't already know, a coffee table book which consists of stories, writings and many many more pictures from their preparation, pre-wedding shoot (which I haven't even seen) to the kampong night and beyond will be published. So go get yourself a copy for keepsake... or better, buy now to sell in the future for triple the price - again, just kidding.
Also watch out for the BERSANDING which RIA will air (if i'm not wrong) on Feb7 whereas the exclusive coverage on wedding preparations done by NONA will be aired on Feb17.
A sigh of relief from me, it's finally over. Ning, for you, this is just the beginning jeng jeng jeng!!