What comes to mind when you hear the word tradition? Boring? Uncreative? Obligatory? It doesn’t have to be any of that. When planning a wedding, […]
Oh boy you’re in for a treat today.
Say hello to the gorgeous Shan of Chinese heritage and dapper English gentleman Timothy!
This wonderful duo were married in a wedding that bridged East and West, as well as perfectly walking the line between elegance and fun. Held in the majestic surroundings of Hartsfield Manor, their wedding paid tribute to their different cultural backgrounds as well as their shared faith. As well as a Christian ceremony, they also included a traditional tea ceremony, which honoured their parents while also welcoming Timothy into Shan’s family.
Discover more from their happy day via these images from one of our favourites – the talented London-based MIKI Studios . But first, over to the lovely Shan to give you the low-down!
How Did You Meet?
We met through a mutual friend (who might begin with the letter T) back when we were still young.
It was supposed to be a surprise birthday celebration for Tim. I had the day planned out with brunch at the Shard then dinner at Ronnie Scott’s with live jazz music, and his best friend, Rich, was supposed to join us. However, Tim had other plans in mind. After bugging me the whole week about wanting to go to Greenwich, I managed to squeeze in a boat trip to Greenwich after brunch, and before dinner. Once we arrived there, Tim insisted that we go up the hill where the Observatory is. I was dressed in a party-ready outfit and inappropriate footwear, and the rain had only just stopped as we got off the boat. I was not impressed, but off we walked up the hill.
I personally hated the idea of any public attention. As we arrived at the hill, Tim was in full anxious mode, because there were heaps of people. I impatiently asked what he wanted to do. Tim said he wanted to find somewhere to sit down but refused to sit anywhere right in front of the Observatory. By then I had lost all patience and just pointed at some really random but quiet spot. After all that fuss, Tim took out a letter that he had prepared, tied with pink ribbon. As I was reading it, he went down on one knee. We had a perfect rest-of-the-day (because I basically planned it myself!).
We didn’t have a theme as such, but as I am Chinese and Tim is English, we wanted to try keeping traditions from both cultures alive. So we tried to add little touches to celebrate our cultures while planning the wedding.
Finding a Chinese dress or anything to do with the Chinese part of the decor was actually pretty hard. Thank goodness for the Internet, as I managed to source most of the Chinese wedding details from there.
Our photographer was the amazing Ash from MIKI Studios, and we cannot (like literally CANNOT!) recommend him enough.
For my wedding dress, I knew early on that I didn’t want an expensive dress. Don’t pay for something that is not worth it! So I took my mum to Wed2Be in Surbiton. The initial idea was just to try on some dresses for style and fit. It was all meant to be a bit of fun, but I ended up with my dress and at an affordable price. I would definitely recommend trying on as many different styles as you can, because I never would have thought I would have gone for one like mine!
Tim had his suit made at Dapper (in Surbiton), a supplier we met at the wedding fair in Hartsfield Manor. He chose a three-piece suit with a different waistcoat and cravat.
We are devoted Christians, so our wedding ceremony was a non-negotiable Christian service.
However, we have a lot of friends who aren’t Christian, so we opted for a more chill, personal service that still honoured God and was held outside in the rose garden at the manor.
Our pastor from church and different leaders who meant the world to us took part in the service.
We also had a Chinese Tea Ceremony, which took place after the wedding. Tim and I are the classic East meet West in terms of culture. Tim is your typical Englishman who finds my Asian culture fascinating. The idea of ‘respect your elders’ really doesn’t come naturally to many of our friends or to Tim – I think most of my friends treat their parents like friends as we all get older. However, the tea ceremony captured the essence of a Chinese family. The gratitude that was demonstrated in the tea ceremony is often what we forget as we are busy growing up and adult-ing. Sometimes we forget just how much our parents sacrificed to bring us up. As Tim and I began our family, the tea ceremony really humbled us when we kneeled in front of our parents and asked them to take the tea as a sign of blessing. There is just so much more to the ceremony than just simply drinking tea, and I think the symbolism of the ceremony truly brought Tim into the culture that I grew up in.
I just love a simple but elegant look when it comes to flowers. I didn’t want too much on the flowers, so I chose something simple like hydrangeas.
My maiden surname is Tong, and Tim’s surname is Box. So we wanted to do something about that as a wedding favour, since Tong literally is the kitchen Tong! We managed to find sugar TONGs in a BOX from eBay!
Another fun detail was the cake topper (‘shit just got real’). We’ve had such mixed feedback with that – both our mothers thought it was highly inappropriate, but it was literally so ‘us’!
Our first dance was to ‘True Companion’ by Marc Cohn.
Challenges and Triumphs
Tim and I were a classic chill-for-three-months-and-panic-for-a-month type of couple when it comes to wedding planning. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it did get very stressful when it came towards the end. We made it!
Top Tip For Other Couples
Don’t stress about the small things. When it comes to the day, no-one will ever notice!
Photographer: MIKI Studios
Venue: Hartsfield Manor
Bride’s Dress: Wed2Be, Surbiton
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Hair and Makeup: Linda Conran Hair and MUA
Groom’s Suit: Dapper Surbiton
Groom’s Shoes: Loake
Bridesmaid Outfits: Marks & Spencer
Flower Girl Outfit: John Lewis
Groomsmen Suits: Dapper Surbiton
Cake: Simply Cake by Saira
Flowers and Décor: Love & Light
Food: Hartsfield Manor
Entertainment: Steven Boys