Jordan and Tyler’s Tropical Themed Botanical Garden Wedding in Florida by Juliana Montane Photography
Happy Friday everyone, how is it nearly the weekend already? this week has flown by!...
Yesterday I shared with you the 5 part engagement shoot of Swan and Jacky, and it was quite an engagement shoot, spread over 2 months. Today as promised I am bringing you their wedding which comes in 3 parts and with 8 different dresses……yes 8!
Swan is one of my Lovely and very dedicated readers and she lives in Hong Kong, so I was delighted when she submitted her wedding to me. The day was a real spectacle starting off with the traditional Chinese tea ceremony, moving onto the smaller afternoon wedding ceremony and then the evening banquet. It was in the evening ceremony that Swan and Jacky performed a song that they wrote especially for the evening, as well as a medley of duet love songs, and Swan changed outfits quite a number of times!
Swan and Jacky describe their day as “crazily exhausting yet full of love, happiness and unexpected excitements”
How They met
We met in the university where we were having teacher training course. The professor randomly arranged us into the same group for a group assignment and that was how we started to know more about each other. Since then we frequently dated each other out for dinners after lessons. Many of my friends said the professor did a great job in pulling me and my husband together!
There wasn’t any formal proposal. What I remember was, on the second day after we had accepted each other as girlfriend and boyfriend; he told me straight away that he’s saving up money for the wedding. I was a bit shocked for his quick decision, anyway he told me afterwards that he’s been noticing me for a long time and he’s quite sure that I am the one. Well, I think he had just seen through my weakness and supposed I would marry him anyway :-).
The Venues, Food and order of the Day.
Morning: I reserved a large hotel room for the morning ceremony and games. Traditionally the games (to test the groom’s perseverance and sincerity) and tea ceremony should take place at the bride’s family but first I don’t live with my parents and second I wanted a bigger area for games. After all the above rituals, the groom was permitted to take the bride home (The groom’s family)
Afternoon: A simple yet elegant venue that I have selected, with decorations and a cocktail lunch for 50 guests included as a package. Choices of food include salad, steaks, spaghetti and chicken wings, etc.
Evening: My husband selected a venue with a T-Shaped runway so we can sing and walk on the platform. The venue was still under construction when we paid for it, we had only seen the illustration, yet it turned out to be marvellous and we both think that we have selected a right place for our singing purpose :-). The food provided there includes 12 courses in Cantonese style, with BBQ pork as the first course, the steamed fish came in the middle and the last course was red bean sweet soup as dessert.
A brief rundown for the Morning Chinese wedding ceremony
1. The groom and groomsmen arrived at the hotel entrance and the groom gave red pockets to the groomsmen
2. The groom’s team met the bridesmaids. The groom gave red pockets to bridesmaids
3. Bridesmaids gave instructions of the games
4. The groom’s team started to do as required and parents+ relatives of the bride gave scores for each sub-team.
5. The last test for the groom: to write a Chinese love poem for the bride (the groom is not good at written Chinese :-) ）
6. The bride accepted the poem. The bride’s dad accompanied her to walk out from the small room. Bride’s dad entrusted the groom to take care of his little girl from then on
7. Tea ceremony (parents and relatives of the bride’s side) + Gift presentation (the golden necklace and bangles)
8. The groom took the bride home for tea ceremony and gift presentation (parents and relatives of the groom’s side)
We started planning our wedding around ten months before the wedding, after confirming with the venues for the registry and banquet, there were still tons of things ahead to prepare. My husband was busy on counting the number of guests and transportation arrangement while I was spending my time on choosing dresses and accessories for the two moms, my grandma, the bridesmaids and of course myself. Fortunately! There were altogether 7 bridesmaids + 2 (guys), and, 7 groomsmen + 2 grooms mates (girls), so, quite a large crowd of people offering helps for us!
Chinese Wedding Costume
As a Chinese girl, I always think that it is a must to wear a traditional Chinese wedding costume on my big day. Honestly, my husband doesn’t really like red, but I have persuaded him that I would choose one with more golden and silver threads rather than a red based one. I would very much love to see him wearing Chinese costume too but he’s so insistent in wearing his tuxedo suit :-). I love my Chinese wedding costume very much, the sleeves are intentionally short so as to allow the bride to show her golden accessories; I rented the costume from a shop and I was told the costume can only be worn once on the big day, or else it might symbolize a re-marriage, which is a taboo to the Chinese. That was why I had just put on the top when I tried the size. Luckily the skirt fitted me well on my big day! For the pattern of the costume, traditionally, the more the golden and silver threads on it, the wealthier the bride’s family is. Of course this no longer applies in the modern world, brides nowadays just pick the styles and colours according to their preferences.
I bought my lace wedding gown from Etsy a few months before my wedding. It is a vintage dress with sleeves and the seller said it is from the 70s. I always think long sleeves and laces are elements for a more formal image, and at the same time satisfying my wish for a retro look. Originally the gown came with satin sleeves which look good on the model but not on me. A very creative and experienced local tailor helped me replace the robotic sleeves with mesh cloth ones and the entire dress looks more stunning than before!
Another wedding dress of mine, which I wore after the wedding vows, bears the two colours I love, purple and white, while the purple matched exactly the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses.
For my prom dresses, they were either tailored made by online shops or rented from local shops. I also ordered dresses for bridesmaids, flower girls and boys from online shops. The quality of the dresses was great and the prices were cheap! But the most important thing is you have to be very clear about the measurements before you place the orders.
Purple is the colour for my wedding. I applied purple in many aspects, from the outfits for bridesmaids, groomsmen and flower boys & girls, to the flower bouquets, the invitation cards and even my grandma’s blazer! However, for the Chinese ceremony in the morning it was traditionally red in theme.
Both my husband and I love singing and we’ve planned long time ago to write a song for our wedding. When there were only three months left before wedding, I suddenly get inspired while taking a shower and I immediately recorded the melody using my iPhone. I then quickly finished writing the lyrics and asked my husband to compose it at once. He’s a music teacher while I don’t know anything about music scores. There were times that we felt frustrated when time was running out while we previously expected to have better music arrangements. Due to the size of the banquet venue we gave up hiring a live band for accompaniment, instead, we went the computer software route. We’ve eventually recorded our own song and we performed it in the banquet together with a few duet love songs that we adore. Each guest had received a CD of our song as a gift. There had been worries in our minds that the guests might not buy the “wedding banquet” concept, but when we hear the hands clapping we realized that our hard work was not in vain! The ‘show’ was well received and many guests told us afterwards that they had never expected a traditional Chinese wedding banquet can be arranged like ours! I was so happy after receiving all the positive comments!
I use artificial flowers instead of real ones, coz they are easier to handle and for sure can stay nice for the whole day. My aunt, who is experienced in flower arrangement and has been helping the church for this area for years, made the core bouquet for me ( the cascading one I used in the afternoon) while my mom and I made the red one for the morning and those for the bridesmaids.
We haven’t applied a lot of decorations for our wedding coz the venue providers had offered abundance of decorations for us within the packages. I did pay a little effort in decorating the morning hotel room with auspicious large removable stickers which I bought from online shops at bargain prices ;-). I do have to express my special thanks to my colleague, Liu, for writing the Chinese wedding couplets for me (the nice Chinese calligraphy adhered on the sides of the door).
I was so happy when I saw all the flower boys and girls, the bridesmaids and groomsmen lining up in a perfect array waiting for the wedding registry to start. Thank you my husband for planning this.
During the banquet, I cried after singing the first song when I talked about how my grandma brought me up.
1. Plan your big day as you wish. Don’t do something that you are not comfortable with otherwise you will feel regretful.
2. Respect your counterpart. You may crazily fond on some ideas yet your counterpart may not like them at all. Be open minded and talk to each other more on the preparation. Make compromises if necessary; coz after all a wedding day is to celebrate the love of two people, not to create hatred.
3. Confirm the venues first. Once you get the venues confirmed, you can start building your ideas about decoration and other stuff bit by bit. It is easier to think of the venue first so your creative ideas can have a place to settle on.
4. Allow your bridesmaids with more choices. I didn’t force my bridesmaids to wear the same style of dress. I let them choose from different styles as long as the dresses are in purple. My maid of honour picked the deep purple tone for the dress and she also decided the colour for the scarf. I think the most important thing is to make sure the friends who are helping you out feel happy and comfortable on your wedding, so both parties can have a memorable day in their life.
Photographer – www.fotop.net/faifaidias