When Rosalind Pho got hitched in an intimate wedding on Aug 4, she was in the company of family, friends, fishes, stingrays, sharks and other ocean inhabitants. The 36-year-old Tanglin actress said “I Do” to her Japanese boyfriend of 16 years, Yohei Ueno, also 36, at the Ocean Gallery in S.E.A Aquarium. But while things went swimmingly well at the intimate shindig (they had a whale of a time, for shore), the same cannot be said for the wedding prep. And it had to do with a dress. We speak to Roz, who’s currently in Bali for part two of her wedding celebrations.
8 DAYS: Congrats on your Singapore wedding! And now you’re in Bali for your second wedding. Why did you decide to hold two weddings?
ROZ PHO: So we can party hard with friends and do whatever we want at the Bali one. (Laughs) Our Singapore wedding was attended by families and friends with kids. But for the Bali one, it’s friends only. I told all my friends who were invited, “Sorry, you can’t bring your kids.” I thought our Singapore wedding was going to be really boring ’cos it’s a bit more formal. But it turned out amazing and very personal. So now my husband and I are just thinking, “Can our Bali wedding match up?” (Laughs)
How much of a blast was your Singapore wedding?
I asked my friend [local singer-songwriter] Jill-Marie Thomas to sing and it was really nice to have her voice as part of the wedding band. And Yohei’s dad, who is the only master shakuhachi player living outside of Japan, also played for us. When we first asked him [to play for us], he said no ’cos shakuhachi is a very serious art form and a wedding is like a happy celebration where people are drinking. But he changed his mind after that. And it was really beautiful and amazing to have the fishes swimming behind him while everyone was watching him lah. (Laughs)
Speaking of fishes, your wedding was held at the Ocean Gallery in S.E.A. Aquarium. That’s a very unique place to hold a wedding.
That’s ’cos Yohei and I love scuba-diving and we’re avid divers. We go for at least one big scuba-diving trip a year where we’d live on a boat and dive every day for a whole week. So we thought that the Ocean Gallery is perfect! We saw quite a few hotel venues but both of us are not the formal kind. So none of the places spoke out to us, until we saw the Ocean Gallery in RWS. But the problem was we could only start setting up when the place closes at 6.30pm. So that was a challenge. Dinner would have to start late at 8.30pm [which isn’t ideal ’cos] there are a lot of old folks. And the wedding package came with nothing, just dinner. So we had to decorate the venue ourselves, and bring in our own band and sound equipment. It was a bit troublesome but I’m glad we did it ’cos everyone loved it. My friend Kayly Loh was my decorator and she did an amazing job. Even the hotel staff said they’ve never seen the place done up so nicely before.
What was the theme for your Singapore wedding?
I didn’t really have a theme. I didn’t tell anyone to dress up or whatever. But ’cos Yohei’s Japanese, so we had a sake barrel cracking ceremony. The round lid of the barrel symbolises harmony and opening the lid represents opening the door to harmony and good fortune. Kayly also got artificial sakura trees to be placed all over the venue. And we put passport holders — ’cos we love to travel — on the table as party favours. We also custom-made masu cups — which are for sake drinking — with our cartoon caricatures printed on them. At first, I thought it’d look so lame. But a lot of people took pictures of it so that was cool.
What was the most memorable moment?
The best thing about the wedding was that everything was personal. We kept the wedding small — we only had 195 guests. When my brother got married two years ago, he had like 700 people at his wedding. I told my mum, “I don’t want it like that ’cos he doesn’t even remember who showed up.” (Laughs) During the wedding, I took only a bite of the food. And then, I decided instead of sitting at my table, I was going to walk around and say hi to everyone. So I went up to my friends and drank their beer. And they were like, “Oh, is this photo-taking time?” I said, “No, this is just me coming to chill with you ’cos I don’t want to be like, ‘Hi, thanks for coming, bye.'” Throughout the whole wedding, I was walking around, which was why I didn’t get to eat at all. The wedding was really nice ’cos it was mostly family and I’m very, very close to my family. I only had one table that was for people from work, which is my Tanglin family. And Yohei had three people from work.
Although the wedding went well, there were some BTS drama as well. You posted this IG photo of you having a meltdown from pre-wedding jitters.
(Laughs) That was over my wedding dress. I’m really lazy so Yohei and my bridesmaids did most of the wedding prep work. I only had one thing to do — make my dresses for both my Singapore and Bali weddings. I went to two bridal shops, Jessicacindy and Truly Enamoured. But I couldn’t find a dress that I loved. So I decided to make them in KL ’cos it’s a little cheaper than in Singapore. But in the end, I didn’t really like them. And ’cos my dresses didn’t turn out well, I went back to Truly Enamoured. The moment I tried on this couture gown, I said, “This is the one. I have to rent it.” When I went to collect my dresses from KL, I left one there and took one back, even though I didn’t like it. And it turned out that the dress, which was for my Bali wedding, couldn’t even stay closed. It would just pop open after I buttoned it. I was with Yohei, and I went, “Oh my god, the dress can’t stay closed.” And he was like, “Oh, then how?” And I went, (mock sobs) “MYYYYYYYYYY DRESSSSSSS!” And he just laughed. My meltdown was literally two minutes. And in that two minutes, he managed to capture that photo and send it to his sister to ask for help ’cos she used to be a Club 21 designer. Yohei wrote to so many designers and asked if they could make a dress in five days, and all of them said the timing was too tight. So his sister found a dress online which I felt was quite me. And we went to a tailor to make the dress, then took it home to sew on the beads and embroidery on it. His other sister also helped out, so they managed to finish the dress in four days. Of course, it’s not as amazing as I would have wanted it to be. But I do like it. And it’s more special ’cos his sisters made it for me.
We’re glad things turned out well in the end.
It’s a blessing in disguise ’cos if my dress had turned out okay, I wouldn’t have gone and rented that Truly Enamoured dress for my Singapore wedding. You know, I told Yohei, “I don’t care about the wedding. You can do whatever you want. I just want a nice dress.” (Laughs)
Are you guys planning to have kids soon?
Yeah, we’ll start right away! (Laughs) I’m 36 this year, so I’ve to get cracking!
Scroll through the photo gallery above to see pictures of Roz’s wedding and photoshoot.
(ALL PHOTO CREDITS: ANDROIDSINBOOTS)