Weddings, Arts and Fashion 2015 – A Bridal Showcase @ The Zebra Square, KL

We were privileged to be invited to showcase as one of the designers at Weddings, Arts and Fashion 2015 held at Zebra Square.

Technically, it wasn’t my first stint there, showcasing my designs. Several years back, when I was still rather new in the business, I had actually gotten a slot in the MIFA 2011 event and it was a blast (see some videos of it here)! Not exactly my debut, nonetheless, you can imagine the nostalgic pangs I experienced when setting up shop there again after so long.

But enough of my ramblings. The Weddings, Art and Fashion show (or WAF to make it easier on the tongue and keyboard) is a glamorous affair that sees the latest and trendiest wedding inspirations gathered in a single place. In a collaborative effort by leading vendors in the wedding industry, the event was brought together by Wong Chai Yen and Andros Xavier Chan of The Wedding Notebook, and Elaine Yuen and Iz Mady of Funkydali. With these minds behind the scenes, one can safely repeat their catchphrase, “Not your regular wedding event.” In attendance during those 2 days were some noteworthy names like Monique Lhuillier and Jenny Packham, heavyweights in the wedding industry, as well as Alia Bastamam, Singapore-based Jessica Cindy and Innai Red! No shortage of celebrities here!

We were invited to join WAF and we took this opportunity to launch our Ready-to-wear bridesmaids collection – Entourage, as part of my foray into expanding my service line. Now, not only can the bride don one of my pieces, the whole gang of close friends and loved ones can share in the fun! It was really interesting to move away from my standard whites and beiges, and work with pastels and other solids.

It was also during my 4.00 p.m. slot on Saturday that I made an exclusive reveal of my embellishments that I had been working on for quite a while, together in collaboration with Swarovski Crystals. As they say, once you take the stage, stay as long as you can on it!

For those of you who prefer to see some moving pictures, instead of the gallery above, here’s a short video that perfectly encapsulates my day over there!

And it’s a wrap! Certainly an amazing experience and opportunity to get out there and meet and greet new people, all the while exchanging thoughts and ideas. Many many thanks to those who have so supportive throughout all these years!

With love,
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A Golden Glow at Lancome’s 50th Anniversary Do

The hour was rather late when I was browsing through my emails at the end of the day (I’ve made it a habit to attend to correspondence once the family is more or less asleep). I was almost about to call it a day when an interesting email title caught my eye – “Lancome Absolue – 50th Anniversary Celebration’.’

Intrigued, I continued to plough through the email, picking up bits and pieces of the content (it was an ungodly hour, after all, and my mind isn’t as sharp as it used to be).After much digestion, I got the gist of the request. It was an invitation to be part of Lancome’s 50th Anniversary, as well as to be featured as an inspiring woman in their ‘Golden Glow’ category, a subsection of their Golden Standard Project.(see link here)

Its not all fun and games though – there was a task involved! They had requested that I design a ‘Golden Gown’, a dress to commemorate and pay tribute to the occassion. As always, whenever I receive a challenge of that sort, I immediately forget that I need to get up early the next morning, and instead of going to bed, begin to sketch on my ever-present drawing pad.

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Here is the product of my sleep deprivation.

The event itself was a romantic affair at the Centre Court of the Pavilion, KL, where the theme of the day was cream and white. Walking around the area, I immediately felt like a Hobbit as tall beautiful models were gracefully gliding around, performing their social duties, while I minced about trying to do the same.

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Local beauties Joanne Yew and Thanuja Ananthan adorned in some of my pieces (you’ll remember Joanne from the movie ‘The Journey’, and Thanuja as Miss World/Malaysia).

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Heads and shoulders taller!

A free flow of champagne and canapes quickly set the mood/ambience to the classy yet lighthearted event, and before long, the attendees were casually mingling and performing the social dances. The first event of the day was a live painting event (yes, a painting was painted on the spot) by the talented Haze Long, accompanied by instrumental violin music performed by Rohnie Tan.

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Both artists were on fire (figuratively)

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Yes, this was drawn right there on stage. With hundreds of people watching. Talk about talent!

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Some stage time with Joanne.

After the inspiring show, there was no shortage of entertainment, with make-up booths, hand-massage booths, and a vintage lounge photography booth set up for the guests. Subsequently, the day ended with a live demo from the Lancome make-up artist.

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Handing out tokens of appreciation…

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Selfies are a must, at any place and time.

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And here’s the final product – a glamour photo op. And with my sketch in there too!

Many thanks to the good people at Lancome, for the invitation and for a wonderful experience! Not only do you offer amazing products, you sure know how to throw a party too!

Time to pamper my skin a bit.

Much love,
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Blessed Good Friday!

There is this saying that it always rains on Good Friday, just two days before Easter Sunday. I can imagine the havoc that would wreak on the busy Kuala Lumpur traffic, so let’s see if this holds true today!

Regardless of whether it pours or not, we wish all you readers a very Blessed Good Friday!

“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”

With love,
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Wedding Dresses Galore at The 2015 Sample Sale!

Dear readers,

Here’s a quick questionnaire for you to take;

Are you;

a) About to get married, and hunting high and low for that elusive wedding gown?

b) Happily married, but looking for a suitable wedding design to take a photoshoot to celebrate your 10th anniversary?

c) Just keeping an eye out for good deals on wedding items (i.e. shoes, dresses, veils, etc)

If you’ve answered ‘Yes’ to any of the above, you are definitely in luck.

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We’ll be having a Sample Sale from the 3rd to 6th of February, where you’ll get a chance to browse through the wares and have a good feel of how the dress will look like on you on that very special day! Furthermore, our designs will be on a discounted price, with some items going as much as an 80% cut off the regular tag! There’ll be a range of items on display besides my dresses, from shoes to ring pillows.

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So, whether you’re out dress-hunting for your upcoming wedding ceremony, or looking for something to celebrate your 10th anniversary in, do drop by our place at B2-1-1, Publika, Solaris Dutamas (above iStore). Here’ a Google map for you to refer to if you’re unfamiliar with the Solaris area.

Oh, and for the gentlemen, not to worry, there’s a couch for you to lounge on while other half is browsing. No more sore feet!

Looking forward to seeing you there! If you have anyone in mind that will benefit from this, do feel free to spread the news!

Much love,
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Rimowa Bags Galore

IMG-20141128-WA0001As a frequent traveller, I always had a particular requirement that my luggage be of a certain quality. After all, when I’m disembarking on foreign shore, the last thing i want is to find my belongings scattered due to a snapped lock or torn zip. Furthermore, while dragging a trundling suitcase full of my client’s dresses and accessories, I certainly cannot afford to lose any of them along the way!

The simple solution? Rimowa. At this juncture, I can’t remember where or when I came to start using it, but its been around for awhile now like a trusted friend whom I’ve grown so used to but never really analysed how smart she actually is. It was only when Rimowa contacted me to take part in their campaign that I took a closer look at my luggage. When the Campaign Manager asked if I had ever used/owned Rimowa products, I sheepishly admitted that I did, but had no idea what the model was.

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Sometimes, they serve as play pens for precocious daughters.

The photoshoot for the campaign actually took place in my humble Publika studio. Once again, the cameras and shades were brought in, and lo and behold! the Rimowa bags were rolled in as well (and in my favourite shade too!) It didn’t take all that long for the makeup team to work their magic, and for the light and sound crew to set up their equipment.

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A crew of camera/light/sound and makeup artist replacing the usually excited bride and proud parents in my humble studio.

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I was thinking, “Hmmm, what should I have at Mikey’s Pizza?”.

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Fabrics – my preciousss fabrics.

And so, after all the hard work put in by the crew, here’s the final finished product! (that you may have spotted while walking around shopping malls, etc)

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I absolutely love the colour contrast. Well done Rimowa!

Of course, after the campaign shots were done, there’s always a grand do to celebrate the inaugural moment that the campaign kicks off, and in my case, I was invited to Pavillion, to witness it. An undeniably glitzy affair, the event took place in the Centre Court of Pavillion, where a curious crowd of onlookers wondered what it was all about. As always, my family were there to enjoy the occassion with me. Nothing beats having family around!

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My kids and I.

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My Rock.

There were other campaign participants as well, movers and shakers in their own respective industries.

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Yoon Li of Royal Selangor Pewter – one of the most humble and nicest people around.

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Group Selfie~! A must at every occasion.

All said and done, Rimowa is a very reliable travel companion. From all aspects, it delivers, and it’s certainly a relief to know my belongings are safe in their hands (or compartments in this Case).
And, even when not in use it serves as a temporary playground for my kids. Works well for me!

Love,
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“Thank You, Dita”

I still remember when I first started this label, a feeling of both excitement and fear hung over like a cloudy day. So many things could’ve gone wrong. What if I can’t pay my suppliers / utilities / rent? What if I don’t even have a single client in a month? What if I can’t get back into the employment of a safe corporation if this business fails? There were so many ‘what ifs’ standing between me and the future road to happiness.

All these questions became very real when business was slow. However, (and this is the most important point) I discovered what truly made me happy when I had my first few clients: seeing the smile and tears of joy of the beautiful Bride. Her expression is simply priceless.

Fortunately, the years have been kind and recently one of my very first clients reminded me of why I love what I do. Dear Meredith was one of my earliest Brides. She recently posted one of the most memorable Instagram postings I will ever see. Her little darling Dita gleefully says that she wants to wear the gown her mother wore once she’s grown up!

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Say hello to Meredith and her precocious daughter Dita.

I want to thank everyone who gave me the courage during those doubtful years. You are all special people. There are too many to mention but you know who you are. (I’ll sneak in a few names anyway: Eleanor (Purdy), Steph, Deborah, Nadia, Ms Chu, Yen Yen, Elaine, Rachel,…and the list goes on)

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To Dita and Meredith, thank you for refuelling my passion. I wish you both a blessed and wonderful life ahead!

With love,
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The Designer & The Seamstress – A Beautiful Partnership

Architect and builder. Shoe designer and cobbler. Bonnie and Clyde. Salesmen and their support staff. The Designer and the Seamstress.

In any industry, there is always the creative mind and the skilled hands that produces the final product. Most people would see me as the person who knits and stitches every dress together, with most of my time spent having a needle in hand and a spool of thread in the other. The image of a seamstress, busily unravelling out dresses like a production line would be the first one that comes to mind.

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Yes, something like this, but with more needles and thread.

When I first started in the business, I had to juggle between the hats of designer, seamstress, customer relations and public relations all at the same time. Admittedly, I’ve done my fair of sewing and stitching over the years. Something that I still enjoy. Over time, I’ve been blessed with more brides-to-be who entrust me with their big day which means I’ve had to focus more on the designing and engage seamstresses. But what then, is the difference between the seamstress and the designer?

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Fabric selection – an integral part of the designer’s duties.

Imagine, an architect and a builder. In the setting up of a structure, be it a multi-storied megaoffice, or a small cottage, one needs to have both the architect and the builder (I’ve left out the engineer for simplicity – my apologies, engineers). Before work begins, the architect would sit down, take a deep breath, and put pen to paper. His/her hand will move over the parchment, the scritchy sounds of the graphite emanating from the tip of the paper. Slowly, ever so slowly, the image of the building begins to form. As the architect draws the shape, he is already beginning to think of what material will go into making the building. The exterior, perhaps, would be white paint over sandstone, while the pillars would be reinforced steel. Glowbulbs and lights will decorate the laticework, and glass panel windows would sheath the outer layer of the structure.

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Here I am, hiding underneath a cap while I build up the basics of a dress.

The builder now takes his place on the stage. Holding the design that the architect has produced in his hands, the builder will carry over the bricks, and stage piecing them together. Brick by brick, layer by layer, the builder forms the structure and eventually, the building stands tall and proud. Two very different yet very important roles.

I play the part of designer more these days and ensure the quality of work produced by the seamstress is of quality.

As a designer, my work is that of the architect. Like a building, the design of a dress begins first. The cloth, lace, beads, crystals or sequins are all carefully selected to converge into an entire work of art. After the design is done, I work very closely with the seamstress, like the builder, the skilled hands begin working by pulling the thread through the needle.

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It takes a lot of effort!

I feel blessed that over the years, I’ve worked with wonderful artisans who share the same expectation for quality. They are often overlooked and shy away from the glitz and glamour of the industry. I feel that they are often undervalued as there are now less people who have the skillsets developed over many years of hard work. Thank you to all of you, the unsung heroes of fashion.

Much love,
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A Very Happy Father’s Day!!

It has once again come to that time of the year where the under-appreciated men in our lives get their due recognition. Sure, they may be all gaga about the World Cup right now, and their attention span may have dropped to non-existent levels (until the match is over) but we know of their ongoing efforts and tireless attempts to be the father figure in the household.

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The loving husband and father!
(although he looks calm and composed, you can tell by his eyes that he’s waiting to skedaddle and watch Ivory Coast v Japan)

 

 

With that, here’s a loud congratulations to all the fathers out there. Young and old alike, from those who either have just started holding their baby’s hands as they take their first steps, to those who are walking down the aisle to give their daughter’s hand away in marriage, your commitment and dedication to the family and children will always be cherished.

Happy Father’s Day!

Ok, you can go back to your World Cup match now.

Love,
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The Artists’ Classroom – A Short Course in Europe!

Travelling has always been one of the preferred perks in my line of work. More often than not, as a designer, my job takes me to different places to learn, absorb, and redefine my way of thinking every now and then, so that I can hone my creative edge and remain artistically different. Although it wasn’t all fun and games, nonetheless, every minute spent was certainly a memorable one!

My most recent educational trip to London was no exception.

It began with a venture into the University of the Arts, London, at Central Saint Martins (or, CSM, if the full name is too much of a tongue twister). A public tertiary art school, it offers a series of courses, ranging from full-time affairs, to short stints/summer courses. For me, it was an entirely different learning experience, in and out of the classroom! Of course, when one is in Rome, ones does as the Romans do. And when one is in CSM, one does what EVERYONE does… enjoy the scenery!

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Joint learning session – it’s like school all over again!

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A picture with my lecturer

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The alternative classroom.

After the heavy dose of artistic influence, it was time for a stopover at the Victoria and Albert museum, one of the world’s largest museums of decorative arts and design. (and also conveniently located in London). Founded in 1852, it has enjoyed over 160 years of art appreciation… and most recently, my small feet tramping up and down it’s hallowed halls!

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Serious looking bust sculptures.

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Right outside the V&A.

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Sketching photos of bust sculptures is a popular hobby.

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I felt like I needed to sketch.

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I found a nice, cosy spot, and got right at it.

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Before long, my view was blocked by a gaggle of onlookers.

Not satisfied with tonnes (literally tonnes.. over 4.5 million different objects!) of archaic design material, the very next day, I made my way to the Paul Smith Design Museum for more contemporary art. Sir Paul Smith, the legendary English fashion designer was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000, no mean feat indeed! The design museum, like the man himself, is a symbol of creativity and inspiration, built to commemorate these values. Walking about the museum, I could easily see how the museum’s creed – good design makes life better for everyone – was applied.

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No doubt about the name.

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If it wasn’t grey, and if there weren’t multiple replicas behind him, it could almost pass off as the real thing!

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A funky car with PS iconic stripes and colours.

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A series of clipboards.

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I chose another spot to sit and sketch.

During my entire course, I had the pleasure of an extremely fun bunch of classmates from all around the world. Japanese, Russian, Polish and Dutch, language and race was no barrier when it came to art – after all, it transcends all boundaries!

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Looking forward to visiting again!

Love,
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4 Ways To Avoid Overspending on Your Wedding

A wedding is a defining moment in a person’s life and it is common to hear couples parting with huge sums of money to ensure that the special day is as memorable as the Mona Lisa. This is all good and fine if the couple is sitting on a gold mine and wouldn’t mind doling out a little extra to have a better Kodak moment, but more often than not, newly wedded couples have a tendency to shake their heads after the wedding ceremony, and ask themselves, “Where did all that money go to?”

Being part of the wedding industry, I have witnessed the craziness that couples sometimes lose themselves in when deciding on their wedding photoshoot or choosing their gowns. While I certainly agree with paying for quality, I definitely do not condone wastage and vendors ripping off their clients.

Here are some tips on how to avoid wastage based on the stories I’ve heard:

1. Research, Shortlist and Meet

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When deciding on your wedding professional, make sure that you put in enough research! By research, I don’t mean going around haggling like a fishwife for the cheapest deal, or who can give the lowest prices. Instead, carefully study which professional can provide you with the style and quality that you want.   As a starting point, go to resources  like Signature Weddings and Wedding Guide Asia because they have a team of talented writers producing good articles with useful advise…

Follow up with coffee/tea with your girlfriends asking about their experiences because nothing beats first-hand advice. Then you’ve got to put in the leg work and meet your shortlisted professionals. Don’t be lazy and meet just one or two! But don’t over-do it either or your decision tree will look like a bowl of spaghetti.

2. Stay firm on what you want

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Imagine this: you’re in a bridal houseand you’re happily choosing the 50 photos included in your package  out of the multitude of shots that the trigger happy cameraman took during the day-long session out in the hot sun. You’ve just reached your fiftieth photo, when suddenly, you notice an amazing shot that you missed selecting. How ’bout adding just one more photo? Ooh, we look great in that one as well! Another two shouldn’t be too pricey right? Before you know it, your actual bill is higher than budgeted.

Bridal houses know that most couples succumb to their emotions, and will purchase more shots beyond the number included in the package  My advice is to stand firm on the planned total number of photos, and have no regrets later on, when it comes to tallying your total expenses for your wedding. Alternatively, find a professional with transparent pricing and avoid bill shocks!

As for renting a bridal gown, make sure that the gown you’ve selected was not collected from another bride a few days before…and it hasn’t been dry-cleaned yet! Ask the designer/assistant when will the gown be rented out before your wedding. If the timing is too tight and they ask you to select another design, stay firm…unless you’re ok to repeat the entire gown selection process again or choose the next best thing (which, in my opinion, should never be an option). Give yourself enough time to go for alternative choices with THAT gown.

3. Communication is a 2 way street

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There is a common misconception that throwing loads of cash at a photographer will somehow guarantee amazing shots worthy of framing up, and in a similar manner, paying bucketloads to a designer will instantly lead to a gown that even celebrities would be envious. Frequently, people are disappointed when seeing the final results (photos or otherwise) because it didn’t turn out exactly the way they wanted, even after paying its weight in gold. This is simply because not every glove fits the hand, and no matter how much you’re willing to pay, that glove isn’t going to miraculously reshape itself.

To get the best out of your designer/professional,  share your ideas, concepts and vision.  A good designer/professional should always listen and understand the client first before providing a proposal.  But if it’s overly difficult to communicate your ideas to him/her, you may want to reconsider your choices.

4.  “Great value” does not equal “cheap deals”

As I earlier mentioned, there is a tendency to haggle when it comes to bargaining for goods. Sure, there’ll be the occasional request for a discount or perhaps a closed eye when it comes to that extra pillow ring. But if you start arguing with your designer/ photographer till the last dollar, chances are he/she won’t even be in the mood to do a proper job for you anymore.

On the other end of the spectrum, certain vendors exist offering prices that are so low it’s almost unbelievable, and immediately, you find yourself making a booking for their services. Be wary, however, of such vendors  because low prices are paid at the expense of quality, and always keep in mind that the cheapest deal in town may be so for a reason. (Also notice how I used the word ‘vendor’ rather than the words ‘designer’ or ‘professional’.)

It’s always better to shop with a planned budget, and get what you want from there, rather than gunning for extra savings but end up with heartache and disappointment.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with topping up your costs to enjoy a little exclusivity. After all, it IS a very special occasion, and it’s worthwhile to ensure you’ll look back with happy memories. But if you sense that the unscrupulous sharks are circling, just to prey on your emotional vulnerability at this juncture of your wedding, it pays to keep an eye out on both the waters, and on how watertight your own boat is.

Cheers!
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