Singapore's pop prince weds his princess
Malay pop superstar Taufik Batisah wed his bride yesterday.
It was a highly anticipated affair, happening just weeks after the shock announcement that the heart-throb was getting married.
Fans did not know of his girlfriend, much less the fact that they had been going out for years at that point. In the ensuing media frenzy, Taufik, 33, loosened the tight gags around the relationship and posted a photo of Ms Sheena Akbal, 31, on his Instagram feed.
Yesterday, assembled guests were treated to a first-hand view of the blushing bride.
The #AwakKatMane hitmaker had eyes only for his glowing wife on their special day.
He could not help but gush, describing her as "the most beautiful person" inside and out.
Speaking to the media, the newly married singer-songwriter said: "I'm such a difficult, fickle and stubborn person when it comes to my work.
"I'm also a private person, but she knows me inside out. When I find someone who guides me to be a better person, I think she's the one.
"Beauty fades, but she's even more beautiful on the inside and that sealed the deal."
Their relationship-reveal also silenced rumours among his fans that he was dating Malaysian actress Nur Fazura Sharifuddin.
Yesterday morning, the couple solemnised their wedding before hosting a reception for 3,000 people at the rooftop of Luzerne Building on Bendemeer Road. The event was hosted by radio DJ couple Fiza O and KC.
The loving pair donned an all-white traditional Malay ensemble before changing into white traditional Indian costumes for their second walk-in. They were accompanied by a dance-and-percussion troupe as a remix of Taufik's hit song #AwakKatMane played.
"I was calm right up to the point just before her father gave her away. I felt like my heart was about to leap out of my chest," said Taufik, who revealed that he knew his wife before his Singapore Idol days in 2004.
When quizzed on how he proposed, the hitmaker revealed that his romantic move came after the couple first discussed marital plans last year.
He had sung to her a special self-penned English ballad, which hinted at his plans to ask for her hand.
"The chorus goes, 'But there's just one thing I want you to know, Sheena my baby, I wanna marry you.' She still had no clue," he recalled, laughing.
"There was even a part where I told her how amazing she is and how I am not worthy of her. Still, she looked confused.
"I then stopped the car, took out a ring and proposed to her.
"I asked if she would spend the rest of her life with me, take care of me and make me better. I think she said yes."
He also revealed a nugget of information: She is actually the female voice in #AwakKatMane.
Taufik spoke of how his wife played a big role in his music.
She gets to listen first to his songs, as he values her criticism, he said. She also inspired his ballad Hanya Kamu (Only You), which was written for her, and it was the song he chose to serenade her with yesterday during the reception.
A tearful Taufik lovingly sang the song while holding her hand and gazing into her eyes.
BACK TO WORK
Unfortunately, it is back to work for Taufik as soon as the wedding is over.
But he hopes that they will be able to enjoy their honeymoon soon, preferably backpacking in Europe.
As for plans to start a family, Taufik said: "I would love to have three kids because I grew up in a home with my brothers. I feel that's a system that works.
"But Sheena doesn't agree, she says two."
Taufik's legions of fans, called Fiknatics, were initially upset when news of the nuptials emerged but seemed to have come to accept the couple wholeheartedly, with many posting congratulatory messages on social media yesterday.
There is also talk of his wife as being lucky to have snagged him, once the most eligible bachelor in the Malay music industry.
But Taufik begs to differ: "Contrary to what people think, I'm the lucky guy to have Sheena as my wife.
"I don't think I can find someone so chill, who doesn't care about the fame or the limelight. She just wants to be there to support me and be the shoulder that I can lean on."
When I find someone who guides me to be a better person, I think she's the one.
- Taufik Batisah
Bride wants simplicity
Taufik Batisah's bride Sheena Akbal, 31, wanted a sleek and classy look for their wedding.
That explained the all-white theme - from their outfits to the dais and decor.
At their solemnisation ceremony yesterday morning, the bride and groom donned the first of their two outfits specially customised and sponsored by local bridal company Anggun by Mastura.
The company also provided the bridal make-up service and the dais at the highly anticipated wedding.
In March, the then bride-to-be had approached the company under the guise of a wedding planner for a local celebrity, Anggun's make-up artist Aishah Othman, 40, said earlier this week.
"I never thought she meant Taufik.
"Later, she came again with Taufik's manager who revealed that Ms Sheena was actually the bride, and I went, 'Oh, my God!' It was agony keeping it all a secret," said Madam Aishah, laughing.
According to her, the bride was easy-going and open when discussing ideas: There was a mood board of ideas, which included a reference to Malaysian actress Scha Alyahya's solemnisation outfit for her wedding in 2012.
The team at Anggun by Mastura then worked on a tight deadline of two weeks to source for the materials and tailor the outfits.
"Overall, Ms Sheena wanted something classic, simple yet sophisticated and nothing revealing. Her solemnisation ceremony outfit is made of bridal satin with no lace," said Madam Aishah.
The solemnisation outfit was a mermaid gown, with an embellished round-neck collar and full sleeves. Her hair was swept back into a classic updo and covered with a lace-trimmed veil.
The entire look and outfit was kept a secret from Taufik until they were officially husband and wife yesterday morning.
The second outfit, worn during the couple's first walk-in yesterday, was made of "songket" (a type of brocade) and lace, embellished with rhinestones.
This time, she had her hair in another updo, adorned with a jewel-encrusted headpiece. But the make-up was kept to a minimum.
"She prefers simplicity, nothing too gaudy or dramatic. She wants something different but not too bold or over the top," said Madam Aishah, who grew fond of Ms Sheena following their meetings together with Taufik.
"She is bubbly and warm. She has no airs. She is easy to work with and totally cool."
She described Taufik and his wife as "manja" (Malay for loving), fun-loving and "very good for each other".
"When I met them for a fitting last week, Taufik told me, 'Make sure Sheena looks amazing. The spotlight will be all on her that day, not me.'"
'A match made in heaven'
Taufik is very sweet as a boyfriend. He once specially baked Sheena a birthday cake. As for Sheena, she is a cool cat who is supportive of what he does despite his legions of female fans.
- Malay radio DJ Fiza O
They are a match made in heaven because what one lacks, the other makes up for it. Sheena is thoughtful and encouraging... she comes up with creative ways for him to engage with his fans. Her gifts for him are always well thought out.
- Bridesmaid and close friend Ilyana Othman, 35
Sheena is humble, loving and courteous. She is thoughtful and remembers to buy food for me. May they have a blissful marriage, till death do they part.
- The groom's mother, Madam Normainah Bachok, 61
He's a polite and nice boy, he has no airs. I'm happy for them.
- The bride's mother, Madam Hamidah Mustaffa, 57