Our First Singaporean Wedding

On July 30th, John Tay and Hui Yi took their relationship to the next level and became one in a traditional, Catholic wedding followed by a low-key reception. Since this was our first, Singaporean wedding, we had no idea what to expect. The only thing we gathered was it would be a day filled with AM to PM events. The gorgeous invitation was two sided; the picture on the left shed light on the ceremony and provided lunch afterwards, while the photo on the right directed us to the evening reception.

…and away we go! Taxi selfie to the church


We talked to friends (especially Singaporeans) to gather tips in preparation. The gift, sequence of events, how to dress for the reception, and what to expect overall. We thought we had covered everything! Well, that is until we arrived at the church. You could say someone was a little over-dressed…

The shoes made me laugh more than anything else. Corny, I know…but you could easily tell John’s colleagues with the Adidas footwear.

The ceremony was gorgeous! Everything from the church, service, and especially the blushing bride.

May I present, the stunning couple?! Congrats, you guys!


Now, for lunch! It was provided for us in the back of the church. I almost felt like I was in Weaverville for a wedding reception 🙂 The reception area was open air but with fans. Oh, thank goodness for the fans. I’ve mostly adjusted to the Singapore humidity, but it still gets to me sometimes- especially wearing a long, thick dress. The tasty food had a local flair and cake was served for dessert…not the real cake though. That cake was cut at the formal reception after dinner!

Once we stuffed our faces, snapped some photos, and slung a few congratulatory remarks, we cabbed back to the house to play with the boys until dinner.

Or better yet, some quality reading time with pops 🙂

   We geared up for round two and headed back downstairs to snag a taxi to the formal reception, but not before someone decided to flounder in my jewelry.


Both the bride and groom are Singaporean, but have roots in Chinese and Malay. I was intrigued by “the red packet” we had to prepare for the gift. This is a Chinese tradition and contains money for the newlyweds. There is no gift registry like we have back home, nor do folks buy a Hallmark card and drop a check to place their congratulations. On my hunt to find out how much money is appropriate for Singaporean weddings, I also discovered more about Chinese superstition- 8 is always good luck, 9 is good luck for weddings, and 4 & 7 are bad luck. Good to know! Our little packet contained an 8 and 9 in there somewhere (maybe in the change??) and obviously no 4s or 7s.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the infamous red packet.


(for inquisitive minds, UOB is our local bank in SG)

Another fun part of the red packet tradition is how the newlyweds receive it from guests. Most place theirs in a box on a table that houses the guest book. Important family members, especially elders, assimilate for the tea ceremony where they present their packets to the couple in exchange for a cup of hot goodness. Here is a link which explains the time-honored tradition much better than I can.


Tamarind Hill, where the reception was held, is a gorgeous Thai venue.


No Singaporean wedding isn’t complete without a “No-Mozzie” station. It doesn’t matter if you get hitched in January or July, it’s 100 degrees with 90% humidity every day of the year. Those suckers (literally) will find you!

As you can see from the menu, the food was delish! Although, someone forgot to RSVP for Josh’s wife…haha.


The champagne pour by the bride and groom was followed by toasts! In Chinese culture, three toasts are performed at the wedding and “Yum Seng” is spoken. It is customary for the speaker to say it as loud and for as long as they possibly can. The longer it is, the more bountiful the blessed luck will be bestowed upon the couple. It pretty much sounds like, “Yuuuuuuuuuummmmmmm SENG!” Everyone joins in on the SENG part, and the toast usually happens three times.

*The first toast will wish the happy couple an everlasting and blissful marriage.
*The second will wish them eternal love for each other.
*And lastly, the third toast will wish the bride and groom to have a baby, so that they can enjoy the fat baby bonus!

Yes, you heard me correctly. The government will PAY you to have children if you are Singaporean! Read about it here:


Cheers to love, laughter, and BABIES!

I had previously met a few of Josh’s co-workers, but never had the chance to have a genuine conversation with them. A few made it to the wedding and not the reception, and vice versa. One of the things I love about Singapore is the diversity. Every single day, I interact with people from all over the world. Josh’s team isn’t any different. The people pictured below represent: Germany, Thailand, Britain, UAE, Hong Kong, Singapore, and of course our American selves. I also love that Andrew is slinging three stripes. IMG_0447

Simon had a fantastic, German toast for the happy couple’s three week honeymoon in Iceland!! Congrats, y’all!


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