The Wedding: All the Bells and Whistles
Well, what a year! In 2014, I embarked on the biggest new adventure of my life – Getting Hitched. I’ve also been re-looking at strategy for the blog as it’s always been a labour of love and I’ve always struggled with how much of real life should go on here, since the advent of the internet, privacy pretty much no longer exists with the social networks. However, while planning and researching for the wedding, I couldn’t be more grateful for people baring their personal lives, heart and ideas to the public to inspire how to even begin planning a wedding. Unlike some people I’ve met, I didn’t have the dress, venue, whole day planned out before they are even engaged. To me, it was daunting, frightening and stressful I’m not one for the whole she-bang of a crazy wedding. Neither did I dream of Vera Wang gowns and whatever comes with dream weddings. I am practical and down to earth and actually would have been happy with signing papers and drinking champagne with family and close friends. Growing up with parents who never celebrated anything, birthdays or anniversaries, naturally I wasn’t used to the ego-plying fan fare of being a bride. In fact, I felt awkward being the ‘centre of attention’. My parents don’t even wear wedding bands! I didn’t want a big extravagant party… but we met halfway for an excuse to celebrate with great food and wine with family and our closest and dearest. I am eternally grateful for all the amazing people in our lives, who helped, cheered us on and took time off their demanding schedules to make the expensive trip to Hong Kong to celebrate with us.
While planning, researching and reading a ton of forum threads and bridal magazines, swinging between dreading the additional stress of wedding planning while working long hours to being super excited to see all my closest and dearest all in the same space. So, for our wedding in Hong Kong, we secured the amazing garden Marque at the USRC Hong Kong, where Ken the catering manager and his amazing team took care of all the details. We had a spread of fresh seafood, a whole roast hog and lamb and variety of Asian food from Indian to Chinese. Anyhow, finding an outdoor venue for a Wedding in Hong Kong isn’t the easiest thing to do and we settled on USRC, which requires a member’s referral, so you’d need to know someone who can make a recommendation for you to hold your event there.
Apart from the beautiful venue, there’s also no service charge, which also amounts to fair savings in the grand scheme of things. We had a (naturally) food themed wedding and since it was held in Hong Kong, we brought the dim sum idea to life. I had found and commissioned the illustrations from American illustrator Julia Kuo and had a professional printers in Hong Kong print and mount them on foam boards at A3 size. I found Pinterest a great resource for DIY inspiration for those on low budgets, we did the cards, feathers, table decor and flowers ourselves – thank god for great friends cheerleading the way, especially my best friend and maid of honour, who pulled everything together in times of last minute panic and changes!
Hong Kong Make up artist Cicy, and her team were uber professional make up artists who managed to make everyone look amazing and managed well with both Caucasian and Asian make up. Cicy also worked her magic with Airbrush foundation for me since I was breaking out from all that stressful planning! If you live in Hong Kong and are buying foreign magazines regularly, the bookstore at Fenwick Pier carries them much cheaper than if you were to get them at the bookstore. So go crazy with those bridal magazines!
Some Wedding hairdo inspiration here and for florals, we stuck with baby breaths because it was volumous, simple rustic and best of all cost effective! Some more Pinterest ideas of flowers here. My two gorgeous dresses – the champagne gown and white dress designed by our friend Caroline Deleens of Mushi.I didn’t have any idea what it would look like till 3 months before the wedding as the dresses arrived via DHL. All good because I wasn’t bridezilla fussing about it, I love her designs, and we had several conversations and I let her work her magic.
The red tea ceremony dress I made in Shenzhen, as were my bridesmaid dresses. We picked the fabric, agreed on the designs inspired by Pinterest and we had them tailor made. As for shoes, I also did my fair share of research and happy to report that you will survive more than 6 hours on your feet in Jimmy Choos before they start hurting… it could also be because I was running on adrenaline!
We had two photoshoots, one at the event itself… by Ball Collections who also made great videos and our wedding gift from our in-laws included another shoot at Chateau Villandry by French Photographer Alison. Here’s a moodboard I was working on and I wrote about our shoot with Alison a few months back.
I found this free wedding budget app really useful alongside lots of templates you can download from The Knot and the Wedding Bee is also a great resource. I found the most time efficient way was working off templates and someone else’s plans even though you are not planning the same wedding. We were clear from the start that everything will go towards the food and drinks, which left very little room for anything else, which meant alot of creative fun DIY and making things up along the way!
As for flowers, they are so incredibly expensive and I was never one of those who had any talent or special appreciation for florals. I much prefer potted plants. I wanted something simple, inexpensive and not fragile. For this, baby breath was perfect as we could create a volumous bridal bouquet with lavender and kept the baby breath theme through out from buttonieres to bridesmaids floral. I chose Orchids for my hair – Singapore’s national flower and one of my favourite potted plants, the florist delivered a potted plant for us.
Flowers, plenty of options. I went first to Ellermann as they were reputed to be the best in town and I thought to give it to the experts instead of attempting flowers myself. However, there is little to no service and absolutely no creativity from Joyce (it must have been my modest budget, even then she was giving me back Pinterest samples I had showed her. No thanks). I chanced upon Peanuts, a local florist in Wanchai and the team was super helpful and kind, sorted everything out.
Our croquembouche with our respective country flags, we ordered from the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong. Soooo good.
Loving this shot because it’s so typically hotel PR shots which reminds me of my previous job! Huge thanks to the team at EAST Hong Kong where most of our guests and ourselves stayed.