How did you meet?
“We met at A*STAR ( Agency for Science, Technology and Research ), while I was doing my research attachment for nine months before flying to Oxford for my PhD, while he was doing his PhD at NUS/A*STAR,” says Jacqueline.
“I was performing in a Christmas play at the church, and I invited him to come and watch. It was his first time at a church, so I was quite touched. He said he fell in love with me at that time.”
Shi Jun adds, “Our first date was at the science museum and she was looking intently at a wall of equations. I took a piece of paper and started solving/explaining an equation to her. That was when I knew I had solved the equation to unlock her heart. Geeky much?”
Tell us about the proposal!
“He proposed on the frozen Lake Bled in Ljubljana, Slovenia during winter. It had completely iced over,” Jacqueline tells us. “I was actually more concerned about slipping and falling on the ice – the lake and diamond ring were also both really glaring in the sunlight.”
“When the sun shone on it, it reflected like a diamond, and I said, ‘A diamond upon a diamond’, when I held out the ring,” Shi Jun adds.
What was the wedding ceremony and reception like?
“Because we were both away for the past few years (I was doing my PhD in Oxford and he was doing his postdoc in the USA), we couldn’t actually plan anything elaborate, so we wanted something simple and sweet.
Also, as we had been in a long distance relationship for about four years, we wanted to celebrate it in the slides we played for our guests and to also spur some couples on.
Being away from Singapore for so long also meant that we made a lot more foreign friends than Singaporeans, so nearly a third of our guests were foreigners. Given that they expected a ‘Crazy Rich Asians’-style wedding, we tried to combine the hyped-up and glossy nature of Asian weddings with the usually more relaxed and natural style of Western weddings.
I knew from the start that I wanted a chemistry-themed wedding, because it was literally and figuratively chemistry that brought us together. So all our numbers were replaced with periodic table symbols, and all the ‘gatecrash’ games were geeky. Our wedding colours were mainly gold and champagne.
‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ tags were replaced with hormone molecules – the symbol for testosterone for ‘Mr.’ and oestrogen for ‘Mrs.’, and the molecule that causes happiness – endorphin was drawn for ‘happily ever after’. I am especially thankful for my florist Phyllis and her family who did my church decor as they helped to incorporate my geeky ideas with the pretty floral arrangements. We’d also like to thank our photographer Kelvin from Klick Culture for accommodating us, finding different angles for photos and (literally and figuratively) including elements of our geekiness. His friends who own a photobooth company Capche also worked with us to add scientific symbols and artwork to the photobooth,” says Jacqueline.
Tips: Plan way ahead. And it’s good to have a theme in your head; that way everything can be consistent. I wanted a lot of chemistry-related accents, so all my slides, wedding favors and decor had elements in them. I started thinking about these wedding ideas when I was still doing my PhD in Oxford. By preparing ahead, I actually got all these premium goods (only the best for my guests) at a very affordable price (ahem, boxing day sales).
If you have a budget, consider DIY-ing some items – wedding favours can be handmade, for instance, and invites can be self-printed. I was very blessed as my vendors were either my friends or recommended by a friend, so not did they only did they offer special rates, they threw in extras as well! So be kind to your vendors and help them to help you!
When we first met, I was drawn to you like how the sun warps space-time, and fell in love with your curvature (because space time is curved – and yes because she’s curvy too) so quickly it was like 2.998 x 10 8 ms -1.
“For our church wedding, our wedding favours were test tubes (to tie in with the theme) with bath salts in them as well as handwash from Penhaligon’s and blowing bubbles that said ‘Blow us a Kiss’. I wanted my guests to bring home something memorable and sweet so it’s like a blessing to and from us.”
“Memorable parts of the wedding included having guests come up to tell me that they learnt something from the wedding – either long distance relationships can work out, or that the molecule that causes happiness is endorphin, or that oxygen has the atomic number 8. I think the best part was to see everyone enjoying themselves as much as we did.”
Klick Culture by Kelvin Chua
Listoria Floral by Phyllis,
Cake and desserts and catering
Capche by YaoZong and Weiting
All our bridesmaids and groomsmen for trying their very best and working hard to make sure our wedding went smoothly! And for both of our families for understanding and loving us despite us being so far away from them. All in all, we also thank God for all that has happened and for blessing us with so much.