Roxanne Aquino-Balfour & Fergus Balfour, Manila & Singapore

November 2009

roxanneAfter attending a beautiful wedding in Bali in 2006, I dreamed of my own sometime in the future.  Soon after I found myself contacting Karen who had organized that wedding and we were talking about villas, flower arrangements, caterers etc for our wedding in Dec 2008.

I described Karen to my friends – Western competence, French style and Balinese insider knowledge – precisely what Fergus and I needed, having lived in Indonesia many years ago when we experienced how things could go wrong despite the best plans, recognizing we needed someone on the ground as we created our dream wedding remotely from our residence in Singapore.

Karen is organized, meticulous with a great attention to detail.  I have been described with those same characteristics but Karen was ahead of me on all aspects of the wedding.  She handled couple disagreements delicately (Fergus and I disagreed on the choice of the villa and she gave objective views), she anticipated possible issues (to avoid last minute changes in seating arrangements she suggested a very flexible table assignment scheme), she suggested ways to cut costs (“if you have already been married and just want a blessing then what you need is a mere renewal of vows”), she exercised good judgment (“the caterer counted on taking the ceremony chairs from the dining table set up; this would have been chaotic while the cocktails were going on so I asked the florist to provide the ceremony chairs at a minimal fee”) and she kept tabs of currency fluctuations separating out vendors who charged in US dollars vs vendors who charged in Indonesian rupiah.

The result was a dream wedding, the type we read about but never thought it could happen to us : a wonderfully relaxed 3 day event with a dinner the previous evening and brunch the following day.  Friends who flew in from the US, Europe and elsewhere in Asia were treated to the magic of the island of the gods, the rains took a pause for a majestic sunset and everyone was in good spirits as the evening elevated us all to a heightened experience where we were our most beautiful, generous, friendly, glamorous selves.

Two days before the wedding when friends asked us how we were feeling we agreed – “All the planning we could do has been done and now we relax and surrender to what will be.” Of course we could also say that confidently as Karen was at the peak of her work.

ROXANNE AQUINO & FERGUS BALFOUR, Manila , Philippines & Singapore, Singapore

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