Co-founder of Two Halves Skincare Ashley Yong, 28, and Business Development Executive Darius Xiao, 29, have been dating since they were in university.
Last November, they tied the knot at Capella, with a guest list of 350. Here are the details of their jewel-themed wedding.
A: We met during our uni days while studying at the University of Manchester. It wasn’t love at first sight for either of us (he didn’t even remember our first encounter!) but a very gradual and comfortable process transitioning from friends to partners.
Darius was my first boyfriend, so I don’t think I knew he was the one from the get-go, since I had nothing to benchmark on. I did know that he always makes me laugh and I loved being around him so that was enough.
D: She’s always brought me joy, especially during the days in Manchester since it was always so gloomy there. Though at times annoying, her company was always welcomed and she makes me happy.
A: I always knew I wanted a quiet and private proposal so I made sure to let Darius know of my preferences. We have both been very vocal about our expectations with regards to our future and marriage so that we could align our interests. Because the ring box wasn’t pocket-friendly for Darius, I kept it in my clutch to dinner, so no surprises for me there!
D: Luckily, Ashley didn’t have very high expectations so there wasn’t much stress on my end. Because she wanted it to be a quiet and cosy event, I booked a private room at a Japanese restaurant and proposed over dinner.
D: We had good reviews that the food and drinks were good so it was nice knowing that our guests had enjoyed themselves.
A: Despite listing it as a black tie event, we also wanted it to be a fun experience for everyone. We engaged a photobooth, band and emcee to lighten the atmosphere and entertain guests but I think it was really the drinks that helped the night come alive. We were told that all 60 bottles of champagne was finished, something our alcohol supplier told us it would unlikely be possible for a 350 people event but we did!
A: We started with the customary bridal pick up in the morning, followed by a solemnisation and tea ceremony in the evening before the wedding dinner.
A: I enjoyed the after-dinner drinks the most because it was only then I could slip out of my heels and relax over a couple of drinks with some friends who stayed back.
D: The walk-ins and the end of the night were one of the more memorable moments. Everything went by like a flash and it was only after the dinner could we take a breather and enjoy catching up with our friends over drinks.
A: I was so excited that I could hardly sleep so I got up even before my alarm at 3am. I was mostly relieved when I saw him because I was worried about him driving with the huge floral decor on the car! Thankfully, he made it safely to pick me up! I remember feeling extremely happy and giggly when he finally appeared at my door.
D: Mostly excited even though I was very exhausted! I was worried about the traffic conditions as the florist told me to keep my speed limit to 60km/h if I wanted the floral decor on the cars to survive. I kept bugging the planner to let us head off but Ash wasn’t done with her make up so it was a bit of a torturous wait. We had a tiny squabble the night before so I was worried if Ash was going to let me in! When I finally got to see her, I felt great and at peace knowing that she’s going to be my wife!
D: You added colour to my life and continue to do so everyday. Bit by bit, you’ve become my world as you filled my world with love and joy.
A: I promise to cheer you on sunny days and support you on gloomy days. And even on the days we don’t see eye to eye, I promise to love you, and will keep loving you as we work towards a home together, side by side.
A: A little bit sad it happened so quickly after we spent one-and-a-half years preparing. At the same time, we were glad there were no major hiccups and the day went by quite smoothly.
D: Mostly glad it was over! We spent a lot of time preparing for the wedding and it was honestly quite stressful and tiring. The wedding day went by so quickly but I was most relieved that it was a successful event.
A: I would have liked to split the events into two, perhaps one for our friends and one for the family. Or really just make it a smaller and cosy event because I felt bad I couldn’t spend more time interacting with the guests that came for us. I’d also probably not want to focus so much on my attires because it was really time consuming with the various outfit and make up changes.
A: Focus on what you and your partner want, that should be the priority. It will most likely be just another wedding to an attending guest, but not for you. So make it to what the both of you want so that there will have fond memories to look back upon.
My bouquet matched our jewel theme. Boenga did miss out on including my favourite flowers, which were alliums. However, I only realised it when I looked at the photos after the event so I guess I did not bother too much about it. Because the bouquet was so heavy, I also did not carry it much unless I was taking photos because it made my arm ache. It was really a beautiful and grand piece though.
A: Darius and I met in Manchester and it is a place we look back and have fond memories of. To commemorate that, we tried to incorporate as many ‘bee’ elements that we could such as having honeycomb designs in decor and stationery. We also gave honey made by MINDS as wedding favours.
(*The Manchester worker bee is one of the best-known symbols of Manchester and has been an emblem for the city for over 150 years.)
Number of guests who attended the solemnisation / reception
Amongst all the wedding favour options that Capella provided, we went with having bakes made by MINDS because we liked the idea of being able to do some good with our wedding event. It was not only a meaningful gift but a tasty one, as guests feedbacked that they were very delicious as well.
A: I should have listened to my mother who advised me on lesser outfits due to time constraints but I ended up with three wedding gowns!
I knew I wanted something light and easy to move about in the morning because of the travelling required. I went with Alex Perry’s Madeleine because I liked its minimalistic floral detailing and because it was made of tulle, it was also light enough for me to move around freely.
I wanted my dinner gowns to look more formal and have a manageable train. My first piece was from Oscar de la Renta Spring 2019 Look 9. This was a cut I did not expect myself to choose because both Darius and myself did not like most mermaid cuts on me. This was strongly recommended by the bridal stylist because she felt a trumpet style would compliment my physique and I was glad to have given it a shot because we loved how it looked. I also really liked the signature bow on the back of the gown. Because the material was very sturdy, there were no creases and I did not have to bother much about its train. The only downside was that it was very heavy and I felt the weight of the gown on my shoulders. I did change out of it quickly, so it was not too strenuous.
My second dinner piece is the Glisten gown by Monique Lhullier. This was the only gown that I had already set my heart on before even trying it. I knew I wanted something slightly more grand for the final piece and it really ticked all the boxes I was looking for such as an invisible neckline, long sleeves and a full a-line skirt. It was an added bonus that it was embellished with crystals which I really loved.
A: I didn’t want to devote so much time and effort to fly to Europe for a couture gown, especially since Darius has to travel a lot for work and it would be hard for me to take that much time off. Hence, I chose to get some gowns from Seoul instead because they had a large variety of brands and I was glad I did, because the gown-shopping experience there was really eye opening and special. I ended up getting the Alex Perry gown from Atelier Ku and the Oscar de la Renta gown from SoYoo Bridal.
With a crowd of discerning gourmets and drinkers, we had the bar supplied by Möet Hennessy and Rémy Cointreau opened for after dinner entertainment. Capella very kindly moved down some lounge chairs and tables from Bob’s bar so that guests could also adjourn to the outdoor space outside the ballroom for a quiet catch up over drinks.
A: It can be difficult to stick to a budget so the easier way is to decide what to splurge and save on. For us, we decided to splurge on things that we can get to enjoy personally like our attires, as well as the food and drinks for the event. We chose to allocate a smaller budget to our decor and entertainment because we did not find it as important to us.
A: Other than delays and an underestimation of time needed, I don’t remember having many mishaps during the wedding. We were glad to have Clare and the rest of Bliss Pact to oversee and coordinate everything. They ran the event so smoothly that Darius and I, along with our entourage, could enjoy the day.
Venue (solemnisation, lunch/dinner reception etc): Capella Singapore
Wardrobe (gown/s and suit):
Bride – Alex Perry, Cinobi Cinobi, Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhullier
Groom – Joe’s Tailoring
Hair and makeup artist: The Makeup Entourage, Zhou Aiyi
Photographer/videographer: Superpanda Presents, Joseph
Decor (includes ribbons, flowers etc): Boenga, Steven
Wedding planner: Bliss Pact, Clare Yuru