By Charlene Chua
Photos: Zzen Chong, Click on thumbnails to view
THEY wanted a change from the traditional eight-course dinner that Chinese weddings usually have.
So last Friday, when MediaCorp actor Zzen Chong, 33, married his sweetheart of nine years, Ms Geline See, 30, their guests enjoyed hearty Western cuisine at a classy Italian restaurant instead.
But at the dinner, the couple just couldn't resist doing one thing according to tradition - they toasted the traditional "Chinese" way.
Chong, best known for his villainous role as Robert Zhang in local mega-drama The Little Nyonya, told The New Paper: "What was hilarious was when we 'yam-senged' (toasted) very loudly.
"I did it on purpose and all the waiters and waitresses were staring at us, because that was such a 'Chinese' thing to do in an Italian restaurant."
Chong also recounted how his wedding dinner, held at Le Cantina In Venezia restaurant in Changi Village Hotel, was almost ruined by bad weather.
The solemnisation ceremony was to be held at 6pm at the outdoor deck of the restaurant, facing the sea, but dark clouds started looming in the early evening.
Chong admitted that he panicked when he felt the first few drops of rain.
"I felt so cold then. It was like everything went wrong all at once. Even the sound system didn't work properly. I think I was having an anxiety attack.
"I wanted so much for my wedding to be perfect. My wife was calmer and told me to breathe and relax," he said.
His hopes that the weather would hold were eventually dashed by the subsequent relentless downpour.
His good friends and groomsmen, fellow actors Alan Tern and Nick Shen, quickly ushered the 50-plus guests indoors.
They also helped re-arrange the furniture so that the ceremony could be held indoors.
Thankfully, things went on smoothly for the rest of the night.
Chong revealed that the drama from the rain tired him out so much that when he and his wife retired to their hotel room at Changi Village Hotel after the festivities ended at 2am, he fell asleep straight away.
He said with a laugh: "I was waiting for my wife to finish her bath... I just lay down on the bed for a while and closed my eyes.
"The next thing I knew, when I opened my eyes, it was 9 in the morning!"
When asked about children, Chong said that he would like to have two - a girl, then a boy - but he and Ms See would consider parenthood only after they have a home to call their own.
They are currently living in a rented apartment.
Due to property prices rising over the last year, they have yet to buy a house.
Both are Singapore Permanent Residents and do not own any property in Malaysia, where they are from.
However, as a result of the government's latest property cooling measures that were announced last Thursday, on the eve of their wedding, this could all change.
And that may well be their best wedding present.
Chong said: "I was so happy when I heard about the new measures.
"My biggest wish is to buy our marital home and we've been looking for ages for a house in Upper Thomson or Bishan.
"So, for now, we're adopting a wait-and-see attitude. Hopefully, property prices will go down in the next two months."
This article was first published in The New Paper.