Knowing that a wedding during the yuletide season is twice the reason to party, university pals turned sweethearts Donovan and Victoria tied the knot on Boxing Day in an intimate church ceremony and then upped the ante with a ballroom bash at Shangri-La Singapore, where guests bopped to music and let loose on the dance floor. Doing away with the traditional gatecrashing, Donovan saw his beautiful bride for the first time that day as she walked down the aisle, while he crooned Train's "Marry Me" – how romantic! Over at Shangri-La Singapore's island ballroom, guests were greeted with an eclectic array of rustic decor – a typewriter guestbook, paper doilies, baby's breath in bottles and more – made and arranged by Victoria's crafty bridesmaids. Read on as the bride shares all the details below...
How they met:
We were university mates at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, and got to know each other through a mutual friend, Samantha. We continued being MSN/random supper buddies for the two years in university. Strangely, we didn't keep in touch after we graduated, until we reconnected on Facebook and decided to finally meet up for dinner one day. That led to a spontaneous movie right after dinner the same evening... and that led to another date just two days later. He proposed 1.5 years later, during sunrise on a boardwalk in Maldives. It was just the two of us out there, so it was very sweet.
The bride's outfit:
I didn't have a particular style in mind, as I didn't know what would look good on myself. I just knew I wanted something elegant and simple – nothing too princess-y or over-the-top. Silhouette The Atelier was the only studio I visited, as I preferred a first-hand rental (brand new gowns). Rebecca from the studio was really helpful in picking out something that was 'me'. I tried not more than five dresses before Rebecca pulled out a mermaid gown with intricate beading and lace that she was still working on. The fact that it wasn't finished was advantageous to me, as Rebecca and I could work together and decide how the final gown would turn out.
The bride's hair and make-up:
I went for a natural, minimal, nude face, because I wanted my husband to recognise me when I walked down the aisle! For the evening, I literally just let my hair down and went fuss-free.
The groom's outfit:
It had to be simple. And blue!
The wedding party's style:
The flower girls had their own style in mind, and they loved their tutu dresses. The bridesmaids' maxi dresses and groomsmen's ties were lavender, to match our wedding's overall colour palette.
We chose a small, intimate church for the ceremony. The Shangri-La was our first choice for the reception all along, as we wanted somewhere with high ceilings and the capacity to fit 450 people, plus a dance floor.
The colour scheme was lavender, my favourite colour, and we also wanted an overall rustic feel.
For the buffet lunch after our solemnisation (held on the church grounds), we went for Christmassy western cuisine. For dinner, we chose Cantonese fare and customised the menu ourselves, with the help of our parents and the chefs from Shangri-La. We came up with eight dessert items, all sticking to the lavender/purple theme – including a purple ang ku kueh (glutinous rice cake) – as a special treat for our guests at the end of the night. We didn't go with house wines, and bought our own alcohol from Cornerstone Wines. The owner, Mr Clinton Ang, gifted us a double magnum champagne bottle that Donovan unsuccessfully tried to 'pop' for over five minutes – only to end up breaking the cork.
Catherine Ong and her band has never disappointed – they also performed at both of Donovan's sisters' weddings. They know how to engage a crowd, and are industry professionals who we trusted to come up with a playlist they deemed fit. We enjoyed having them as part of our wedding and they certainly lifted the mood of the evening! Our friend, Andrew, also put together a video of us being quizzed on how well we know each other (I won).
We wanted two photographers – one to focus more on us and our immediate families, and the other to go around the ballroom capturing our guests' candid moments.We wanted a romantic and sweet vibe without cheesiness. We also didn't want to end up with overly posed and photoshopped shots. We chose KC because we were comfortable with him, and his photos had a natural, organic feel. When we saw his portfolio, his photos were simple yet told us stories.
The wedding favours:
The hotel provided wedding favours. We chose oriental teacups.
Our fathers were the emcees in the earlier part of the evening and this, along with their speeches, were very special to us. Throughout the 10 months of planning, our parents supported and guided us patiently and lovingly without imposing their wishes, which allowed us to enjoy the planning process.
Victoria's advice for brides-to-be:
The importance of the bridesmaids and groomsmen shouldn't be understated – they will be your biggest source of help and support throughout the planning process and on the day itself. Plan early and remember to enjoy every moment of your big day. It goes past in a flash!
Bridal gown: Silhouette The Atelier
Jewellery: The bride's mum gave her four jewellery items – something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
Shoes: Nude peep-toe heels from Salvatore Ferragamo
Veil & hair accessories: Silhouette The Atelier and 86 Creation Florist
Groom's suit: Tuxedo from Silhouette The Atelier, shirts from Dick's Beaumonde
Groom's shoes: Clarks
Groomsmen's outfits: Dick's Beaumonde
Venue: Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace and Island Ballroom, Shangri-La Singapore
Florist: Jennifer Tsing from 86 Creation Florist (day), CC Lee (night)
Decor: Handmade lovingly by the bridesmaids (Elizabeth, Monica, Christine, Athene, Sheryl and Kimberly)
Food & drinks: Lunch buffet by Lavish Dine, dinner by Shangri-La Singapore
Cake: Shangri-La Singapore
Stationery: Paper sourced from Fancy Papers; wedding invitations designed by Cui from Cui Creates.
Entertainment: Catherine Ong and band. The groom's own band provided entertainment as well!
Photographers: KC Wong and Gabriele Mendes (actual day); and Ivan Tan (pre-wedding shoot in Brisbane)
Videographer: Ami Lee from The Wedding Paparazzi