My goodness, I have such a lovely wedding to share with you today!
Welcome Joyce and Jordan. This stylish British couple with rich cultural blend of Hong Kong, Jamaica and Ireland had the most beautiful union and wanted a fusion wedding that honoured both their cultural and western heritage in a heartfelt and joyful celebration.
Joyce and Jordan have an adorable ‘how we met’ story straight out of a romcom. They bumped into one another in a homeware store and Jordan pluckily asked for Joyce’s number and went on a date. Their futures were indeed destined to be entwined – it turned out they had two friends who had met a couple of weeks earlier, and were trying to set Jordan and Joyce up on a double date, as they thought they would get on! The rest, as they say, is history!
After ten happy years together, they decided to make it official. They started their wedding day by honouring a traditional Chinese tea ceremony in the morning and then went onto celebrate their western wedding at Shustoke Barns, in Warwickshire
Their wedding day was full of love, tradition, and fun! You just need to take a peek at their wedding hashtag (#wedojpt2017) to see the smiles and laughter from behind the scenes.
With beautiful images from Kate Hollingsworth, it’s over to Joyce to share the lovely details!
We were in Cape Verde in 2016. We went for a walk on the beach – Jordan had something planned but it was too hot and I insisted we turn back! One of ‘our things’ when we are on holiday is to watch the sunset, so we asked for recommendations and had been told about a beautiful location with sand dunes. We were about to go out, and Jordan wanted to take a bag and I was saying: “But I already have a bag!” (typical couple discussion!). He then said it had a camera in it so I let him bring it – little did I know he had something planned!
When we got to the top of the hill, he presented me with a book of our ten years together that he had made, with pictures of us – him with his little afro, me with my hair in a bob as it was back then! It was all about the things we had done and then, on the last page, it said: “Jordan got down on one knee and asked Joyce to marry him”. I looked up and there he was on one knee with a ring! He had got it a month before – I loved it!
The main thing for us was that
we wanted our wedding to represent us and our cultures, with the Chinese wedding in the morning, and the western in the evening. We accommodated both wherever we could.
We didn’t want too many Chinese decorations at the venue, as we wanted it to speak for itself. Shustoke is so beautiful and rustic, and we wanted to keep that simplicity, so we kept the Chinese bits to the house.
In my culture, depending on the birth dates of the bride and groom, there are certain auspicious dates that couples should think about. The 22nd was a lucky day for our pairing and marriage. Our venue was booked up for a number of dates, so we found out which days they had free and worked backwards. Once we had a prospective date, my family went to a temple in Hong Kong and fortunately were told that it was a good day to pick.
To make sure our marriage would be blessed with good fortune the ceremonies also needed to fall at certain times of the day, based on our birth dates. Mindful that we had to fit in everyone’s hair, makeup, an outfit change, and a second ceremony, we had to start the day at 6.30 am! (Nu Bride: Standard lol)
We chose Kate Hollingsworth was our photographer and she did a brilliant job. We have had so much fantastic feedback from our guests too. She put everyone at ease, took lovely natural shots, and captured all the candid moments that we wanted.
We chose Steve Mitchell was our cinematographer. Ellis Ryan from the venue was also brilliant. She was very helpful and kept in touch with us, making sure we felt like we were her only booking that summer.
The Flower Exchange were brilliant and worth a special mention – they made all the bouquets and buttonholes and filled eleven lanterns for the venue with a mini water holder and flowers. I also want to mention our DJ, Richard McEntee who was great.
My first dress was a traditional Chinese wedding outfit, all hand sewn, a classic outfit. It came from a traditional outfitter in Hong Kong, Koon Nam Wah.
My second, western wedding dress was by Zac Posen from David’s Bridal in Birmingham.
I tried on between 10–15 dresses at different stores and nothing fitted. I don’t think I knew what I wanted to be honest. When I saw my dress I wasn’t that bothered in fact. I thought it was too plain, but decided to try it and when I put it on – it sounds corny, but I knew! It was perfect.
The other important factors were that it was new and it fitted! We only had seven months before the big day, which sounds a lot, but most dresses you try on are samples and your actual dress has to be ordered, made and then altered, so seven months was almost not long enough! I still had to have lots of alterations, which we managed to fit in!
Suits were hard to find – the men bought lots and kept exchanging them! We tried Next and a few other shops. They wanted something smart, sharp but on-trend. In the end, we found the ones we wanted in Moss Bros. The shoes were very special and came from Shoe Embassy.
Nu Bride: Check out Jordan and his gents enjoying these traditional Chinese / Hong Kong door games – challenges set by Joyce’s bridesmaids at Joyce’s family home on the morning of their wedding ceremony. These cheeky challenges are set for Jordan to demonstrate his love for their Joyce, by doing whatever that is asked of them!
Firstly, Jordan had to gain entry to the house. It was tied up with a red ribbon and he had to do whatever the bridesmaids asked of him and his ushers to get his wife. The groom needs to win over the girls and the bride’s family, and do whatever he is asked to get in! Jordan knew what to expect, but the lads didn’t!
They played games including Chinese whispers (asking him to say certain things in Chinese and pass messages between them), Mr and Mrs type questions, and passing sheets of seaweed down the line mouth to mouth. There were forfeits like eating sushi with wasabi or plucking nose hairs!
Once the games were over, he had to pass over money in a little lucky red envelope. His last test was a game of hide and seek, to find his bride and her red wedding shoes. Jordan had to find them and put them on my feet, and then we reappeared as a couple!
The Tea Ceremony
We honoured the custom of a tea ceremony as a sign of respect to our parents. It’s a long-standing joke that your elders are constantly saying: “When are you going to serve me tea/when am I going to have your cup of tea?” Basically saying: “When are you getting married or when are you going to invite me to your wedding!” It’s a ceremony that we really wanted to include to say thank you to our relatives and family friends.
You tend to start at the bride’s house, where the groom collects her. He is asking for the daughter from the family household and promising that he will take care of her. Then, once he has his bride, they must serve tea to her relatives. He then takes her from her family home over to the ‘new’ family – his parents’ home – and they serve tea there too. Bringing the bride from one family to join her new one.
My family are from a fishing village, so historically the bride would have been picked up and rowed to the other village, as everything was done by boat in years gone by. So even now, back in my parents’ home village, at weddings the guests will have sticks and oars and ‘row’ the bridal party down the road, even if they are not going on the water in boats anymore. My family sang traditional songs and pretended they were rowing down the path to Jordan’s family’s house.
There we had to step over the threshold of the house with an exaggerated step – there is supposed to be a metal pot with flames in it, to signify burning anything bad and a new beginning in a new house and family.
Another Chinese tradition we observed was hair brushing, which was done once my hair and makeup was complete. It’s a special event to say goodbye to your old life as a single female and herald in your new life as a married woman. It must be carried out by a family member, a female, they must be married (not widowed or divorced), and they need to have children. It’s all an effort to ensure that, like them, your future will be blessed with a long marriage and children. There is a Chinese rhyme that they say whilst brushing your hair that means one stroke until the end.
Our Western Ceremony
My favourite moment of the day was walking towards Jordan and seeing him at the end of the aisle.
We choose our colours by looking at bridesmaid dresses. I picked dusty colours of peach and lilac and loved them, so we worked our colour scheme around that. I don’t like if things are too matchy-matchy, so we went with similar tones. We also included peonies as they are my favourites – my bouquet had white peonies and peach roses and lots of greenery and gypsophila. We collected glass jars from friends and found peach ribbon and tied it around them to tie the look together.
For the favours, the girls had bath bombs and the men had mini Lego soaps. The Lego looked like sweets and two people put them in their mouths!
Our first dance was to “Adorn” by Miguel. Neither of us are very good at being the centre of attention so we kept it short and asked guests to join us as soon as possible.
Challenges and Triumphs
One of the biggest challenges was that I had to have major back surgery before the wedding. I couldn’t have the Oscar Tiye Minnie shoes I wanted (I treated myself to them after the wedding though!) and dress fittings were tricky, as I couldn’t drive and getting in and out of a car was really difficult. I needed support from my friends, family and bridesmaids to get to and from appointments (my seamstress Helen was brilliant and I want to thank her for all her help with the alterations!)
For the first dance, I was also very restricted in movement and felt awkward, but one of my favourite moments was when my mum joined the dance-floor and then dancing with Jordan’s dad and then my dad as they came on and danced!
Another challenge was that the schedule was really tight, but it was a triumph to get so much done. There was a lot of adrenalin and stuff happening!
Enjoy the planning, don’t get stressed, and enjoy the day. Be in the moment – you can get overwhelmed with making sure everyone is happy and getting it all done!
Photographer: Kate Hollingsworth Photography
Cinematographer: Steve Mitchell
Venue: Shustoke Barns, Coleshill, Warwickshire
Dresses: Koon Nam Wah, Zac Posen from David’s Bridal
Alterations and Veil: Helen Jupp of Sew Chic
Accessories: Koon Nam Wah, Debenhams
Makeup: Rebecca Frances
Suit: Moss Bros
Shoes: Shoe Embassy
Bridesmaid Outfits: TFNC
Flower Girls Outfit: M&S
Groomsmen Suits: Moss Bros
Pageboy Outfit: H&M
Cake: Café Concerto