Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Zhi Wei & Huimin’s Wedding at the Lawn, Raffles Hotel

Can you recall the details from all the past weddings you’ve been to?

Yeah, we doubt so too.

But imagine with us now, you’re invited to a destination wedding with a 3-days itinerary. On day one, you are treated to a “Welcome Lunch & Wine Pairing”. Then on the second day, you witnessed the wedding ceremony being held atop a hill overlooking a vineyard, Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps before you danced the night away in a ‘bedroom slippers-only’ after party. And finally, to seal off the celebration, you’re invited to an unofficial Day 3 itinerary to skydive with the couple!

Wheww~ now THAT is surely going to give you the time of your life, not to mention how it will be THE celebration of a lifetime for the couple themselves! That was Wedding Plan Ver 1.0 for Zhi Wei and Hui Min, an adventurous duo who has always been big on parties. Their wedding as they said, “was the perfect excuse to have our loved ones join us for an epic trip to Wanaka, New Zealand!

We wouldn’t have doubted a single bit that the wedding would turn out to be quite the adventure for them. But you know, it was 2020, so what can we say? Even when all odds seemed against them, the creative pair took it upon themselves to make their local wedding an adventure that was still very much their own. If you’re keen to join in the ride, then buckle up and read on!

Wedding (Re)planning Adventure, Literally


Zhi Wei and Huimin tied the knot on 20th February 2021 at The Lawn of Raffles Hotel, in the presence of 100 guests. In the most unconventional way we’ve ever seen, they then celebrated their newly minted title as Mr and Mrs by hosting an intimate group to an afternoon after-party at Tess Bar so that “the 10.30pm restriction on alcohol consumption would not be a killjoy.”

That sure was a drastic change in plans (and a very novel one at that)! So how was the couple able to forgo NZ for a much simpler nuptial?

I had become a professional events planner by the time we planned for this final version. Haha just kidding. We were a tad disappointed that we had to push back our plans for NZ but we agreed that most importantly, this day was to be a union and commitment of our love.

Huimin

As it turns out, the process itself became quite an experience for them with the added “Pandemic-Only” component of muddling through the rules with their wedding vendors.

wedding at Raffles Hotel
Photo courtesy of Zhi Wei & Huimin, taken by Bloc Memoire Photography
wedding at Raffles Hotel
Photo courtesy of Zhi Wei & Huimin, taken by Bloc Memoire Photography

We started planning our wedding in March 2020. It was in the thick of COVID-19 and we did not think the pandemic would have lasted for so long, but we went into it with both eyes open. That allowed us to be more prudent in our discussions with vendors and looking out for relevant T&Cs.

With that being said, we were very blessed because the vendors fully understood how difficult it was to commit and hence there was no pressure to pay a deposit, or a deadline to hold our wedding etc. There was also like this sense of camaraderie where we were all figuring out what the new restrictions meant.

Zhi Wei and Huimin

And were they glad they went ahead with Wedding Plan Ver. Final eventually? (FYI, they had sieved through countless options – from holding their wedding in a colonial black and white house, to a rooftop garden, an empty warehouse…before unexpectedly falling in love with the quiet old-world charm of the Grand Dame that is Raffles Hotel.)

Definitely! As much as it had inconvenienced us, we had loads of fun preparing for our wedding. I think this was the best wedding we could have given the restrictions and circumstances.

Zhi Wei and Huimin

It may sound like the wedding prep was an easy feat for Huimin but in truth, she had rushed through the wedding (re)planning in just 3 months! Even so, the couple never lost sight of what was important to them from the get-go – for guests to have a good and memorable time. Make a guess how they did that?

But first, Coffee

By making sure everyone started the day right! Most of us may not appreciate being sent an invitation card. But what came with Zhi Wei and Huimin’s wedding invite was also a surprise treat to a morning cup of Joe! This, by the way, was also a charming way to work through some of the tricky parts in a pandemic wedding.

For couples holding a solemnisation-only ceremony, it would be useful to give a heads-up to the guests that there is a no food and drinks policy due to government restrictions. Do not assume guests would familiarise themselves on the current rules.To avoid this potential awkward situation, we worked out a partnership with the coffee houses at Raffles Hotel to provide our guests with a morning fix and included a ‘coffee card’ in our invitations. This helped to pre-empt the guests.

Zhi Wei and Huimin

Maya Angelou used to say, “people will never forget how you made them feel”, surely Zhi Wei and Huimin had made everyone felt important and cherished. We can see how much they had taken their guests’ interest and experience into consideration while not compromising on what resonated with them. They were all in to make this the wedding of their dreams and their guiding principle was simple.

Go With What Speaks to You and Enjoy the Process

To make the wedding truly theirs, Zhi Wei and Huimin were thorough in their plans and execution. They selected vendors they trusted and whom they felt “understood” their style. They also got themselves involved in DIY projects creating their own wedding program through Etsy and painting the wedding umbrellas they got from Taobao.  Each component of the wedding was meticulously looked into and executed with intentionality. We can only imagine the excitement they must have felt when all the pieces come together on the Big Day.

wedding at Raffles Hotel
Photo courtesy of Zhi Wei & Huimin, taken by Bloc Memoire Photography
wedding at Raffles Hotel
Photo courtesy of Zhi Wei & Huimin, taken by Bloc Memoire Photography

We customised almost every aspect of the wedding – from the Chinese embroidery on the groomsmen shirts, to partnering with Gather/Singapore Coffee for the guests’ morning fix to customised cocktails for our guests. Just seeing our ideas come to live on our special day was particularly meaningful, that is what we both loved about it.


We had an amazing team of vendors and we are not saying this because it sounds good, but each functioned so well in their respective roles and went above and beyond their scope of duty which allowed us to thoroughly enjoy the process.

Zhi Wei and Huimin
wedding at Raffles Hotel
Photo courtesy of Zhi Wei & Huimin, taken by Bloc Memoire Photography

And their vendors love them too! Elaine of @thefloweringyear had described them as the perfect clients –

They knew what they want and have great taste. They value bespoke and personalisation, and do not wish to replicate something that’s done elsewhere. They also trusted me completely with the execution, overall, it was a very fulfilling experience for me.

Elaine, The Flowering Year

You would think the couple had a complete vision of how their wedding would look like, but as Huimin shared, there wasn’t a theme per se. While there was the official flower – orchids, everything else came about because they looked good and spoke to them. How the wedding turned out eventually was a collaborative process with Elaine, who drew most of her inspiration from the couple themselves.

Min had a very specific vision of a naturalistic and lush outdoor ceremony, yet not a run of the mill garden style wedding. I drew inspiration from their personalities – they are a stylish couple, but deep down, very sentimental and hold meaningful events close to their heart. Through little stories they’ve shared during our planning journey, I’ve learnt that they value memories, and have mentioned several times how important it is to them to document beautiful moments to share with their future generation.


I also saw how Min worked with Time Taken to Make a Dress to design her gowns – the details were so ethereal and unexpected, and I was inspired to apply similar aesthetics to her florals too. My eventual goal then, was to create an experience through an unconventional colour palette, use of surprising textures (and surprise additions to their bridal car florals) and scaling the installation as much as the budget allows.

Elaine, The Flowering Year

Make It Your Own

As far as budget goes, the floral set up came up to about $7000. To capture all that beauty and the very special moments of the celebration, Huimin had Alena (of @mysquiggles) to paint the sights and scenes of the ceremony as it is being carried out. Isn’t that such a lovely way to remember the day by?

Don’t take it from us when we say you can truly do whatever you want to scale your wedding up or down. It is after all your celebration! Perhaps hearing from the couple themselves would encourage you to make your wedding your very own kind of adventure.

wedding at Raffles Hotel
Photo courtesy of Zhi Wei & Huimin, taken by Bloc Memoire Photography
wedding at Raffles Hotel
Photo courtesy of Zhi Wei & Huimin, taken by Bloc Memoire Photography

Don’t be afraid to steer away from the all-familiar wedding banquets and bridal studio and have a go at it on your own! There are loads of resources locally and internationally to help you tailor your wedding accordingly – however simple or OTT (over the top)! You’ll end up with a wedding that is truly yours.

Huimin

And perhaps what’s wisest is to hear only from a select few and always let the one and only make all the decisions :p

Do not try to cater to too many opinions or desires. Go for something that is truly you.
and most importantly, let your wife make all the decisions.

Zhi Wei

We’re beginning to think everyone loves a good adventure because they create the sweetest and fondest of memories. For Zhi Wei and Huimin, while NZ may not happen for now, they still had created a one-of-a-kind experience that we think could rival that of their NZ 3-day wedding itinerary. Afterall, who would forget drinking custom cocktails non-stop in the afternoon and being treated to good coffee before the start of a wedding? We would have wished we had received the invitation card ourselves!

To Zhi Wei and Huimin, thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding with us. Even writing about it is a memorable experience! We wish you both a blissful marriage and that the epic NZ wedding adventure can come true sooner!

Professionals engaged for the wedding:

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