London-based lawyers, Vanessa Lim, 29, and James Kilner, 28, took their celebrations from a dreamy island affair to a funky formal banquet.
She tells us about the proposal and their big day celebrations:
The couple: Vanessa Lim and James Kilner
“James and I met while working in the same law firm. Like any 21st century love story, we were friends first before getting together a year and a half later.
He proposed on a cold, stormy winter night in London. James had planned a weekend getaway to a secret destination, which turned out to be a lovely luxury hotel in the city. While I was getting ready for dinner in our room, James suddenly got down on one knee, poured his heart out, and popped the question. I was overcome with emotion and, of course, I said yes immediately.
We wanted something fun and relaxed, so we threw a seaside party on Bintan’s Nikoi Island for 40 close friends and family members. Our celebration doubled as a mini vacation that lasted three days and two nights, complete with activities like a bonfire barbecue and water sports.
We had our solemnisation in the late afternoon on the second day. We had multicoloured ribbons and paper garlands decorating the benches, walkway and solemnisation canopy. It was delightfully whimsical.
Vanessa and James’ destination wedding at Bintan
I walked down the aisle in a beautiful David Fielden creation with a full tulle skirt. It had enough pouf to feel like a wedding dress yet I could still move around easily. James also looked stylishly beach-ready in baby blue trousers and a white shirt.
We dined on a simple and sumptuous meal of scallops, prawn linguine and cake in an airy open hut. Afterwards, we headed back to the beach for a breathtaking fireworks show and danced the night away.
We gave guests rattan fans, flags embossed with fun quips and small bags of airplane-shaped confetti that we cut out of old maps to represent our destination wedding.
We also used Kilner jars (those with a clip-lock on the lid) engraved with the word “Kilner” as part of the decor and as favours. The name was a play on both the jar’s and our name.
Back in Singapore, We held a grand dinner for 300 guests at the St. Regis Singapore John Jacob Ballroom because we liked the elegant 1920s-style interiors. We thought the site looked regal and magical with purple and white flower garlands, tea lights, black Tiffany chairs, and rich bronze drapes.
We changed a couple of traditions, like opting for a long table for immediate family members and giving our speeches on the dance floor instead of on the stage. We kept the fake cake though. It amused our English guests who’d never seen one before!
We treated our guests to a well-stocked candy counter and a cupcake-frosting bar with a choice of base and frosting flavours and toppings, so that they could create their own cupcake.
The couple’s cupcake frosting bar at St. Regis
We also designed a fun crossword puzzle about us for guests and our parents’ friends to have fun with. The first person to correctly complete the crossword won a bottle of champagne.
It was a fun and intimate evening with my younger siblings chipping in as emcees. They had everyone in stitches with their quips and anecdotes. The atmosphere made the wedding dinner feel that much more personal.
We had the tea ceremony earlier on the same day as the banquet. It was also a chance for me to showcase my heritage to our foreign guests. We even distributed little cards that detailed the purpose of the event as well as the significance of each of the ingredients.
I highly recommend wedding planners. Without mine, I wouldn’t have been able to successfully plan my events or have them run smoothly on the actual day. I also managed to thoroughly enjoy every minute without worries.”
WHERE THEY GOT IT
Ceremony: Nikoi Island, Bintan, Indonesia (+65 31582119; firstname.lastname@example.org); Reception: The St. Regis Singapore (29 Tanglin Road, 6506-6888)
Gown: David Fielden (241 Fulham Road, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 7351 0002); Qipao: Amor Meus (#02-01 Talib Centre, 36 Purvis Street, 6336-6930); Dinner reception gown: Jenny Packham (75 Elizabeth Street, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 7730 4883). Suit: Trousers and chinos: Kingsmen Shop (#02-56/57/76/77 Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road, 6733-3581); Shirt: Eton (Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 8479 5100); Reception suit and shirt: Hugo Boss (The Willett Building, 35-38 Sloane Square, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 7259 1240)
HAIR & MAKEUP
Joanna Koh (email@example.com)
C.C. Lee (24 Verdun Road, 9789-2927)
The Wedding Stylist (Caroline Tan-Reed, 9128-9561)
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY
39 East Photography (84 Joo Chiat Place, 6299-0348); Photo cards: Live Studios (52 Niven Road, 6250-0791)
Band: The Next Movement (9389-9318; firstname.lastname@example.org); Harpist: Gulnara Mashurova (email@example.com)
Plain Vanilla (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wonderland For Detailed Planners (#05-02, 29 Hillview Terrace; email@example.com)
This article was originally published in Her World Brides March 2013.