Amanda and James travelled back to England from Hong Kong for their beautiful big day. They created a purple wedding day with oriental touches, using their love of travel as inspiration.
How they met
British expats Amanda and James met in Hong Kong after the Rugby Sevens. “We were introduced by a mutual friend,” says Amanda. “It was really easy to talk to James and we had a similar sense of humour.” Their first date was a couple of days after and they went to the cinema followed by drinks.
James surprised his bride-to-be with a helicopter ride for his romantic proposal. “We flew over the South China Sea and coincidentally the fireworks from Disneyland were illuminating the sky,” remembers Amanda. “We celebrated with champagne and called our relatives back home in England to announce the news.”
The bride’s outfit
Amanda found her dream dress in Trinity bridal. The lace Romona Keveza gown featured Irish patterned lace detail on the train, a sweetheart neckline and a dipped back. “I felt incredibly happy when I tried on my dress,” says Amanda. “It was so comfortable too, and after trying on a variety of different dresses and styles, this one really felt like me.” Amanda accessorised with a delicate silver Romona Keveza belt, Carolina Herrera cathedral veil, a vintage-style side tiara from Liberty in Love and purple shoes from Debenhams.
The groom’s outfit
James wore a light grey suit and waistcoat that he had specially tailored in Hong Kong, along with a deep purple tie and pocket square with the couple’s initials and wedding date embroidered on the cuff of his sleeve. “He looked very handsome and dapper,” smiles Amanda.
Amanda was attended by her two younger cousins, Jenna and Ellie who wore tailor-made dresses with a Mandarin collar and Chinese silk knots. Amanda’s sister Gemma was maid of honour and looked stunning in her dress from Debenhams.
The couple’s civil ceremony took place outside at Cripp’s Barn. Amanda’s dad walked her down the aisle and James’ cousin Charlie sung Can You Feel The Love Tonight? to guests. “It was absolutely beautiful,” remembers Amanda.
All the wedding flowers were by Katie Griffiths, who runs Love from Katie. “When we met with her before the wedding she helped us create our own Pinterest board, which helped us choose which flowers we would have on the big day,” says Amanda.
The couple enjoyed humorous speeches before the wedding breakfast. Guests were then treated to pork country paté with chutney and toast followed by rotisserie chicken and chocolate tart with bowls of thick cream for dessert.
Amanda and James decided to include a few touches of the Orient into their day in recognition of where they both met and live. “We also love to travel so had countries that we have visited together as our table names,” says Amanda. “We cut out map hearts for the tables and had a love heart world map with luggage tags for the seating plan.” They chose purple and yellow flower balls hanging in the barn, with flowers on the fireplace.
For the table centrepieces they used birdcages and small vintage-style vases and they hung a red felt heart with the Chinese Double Happiness symbol, which symbolises luck in Chinese culture. The couple also surprised guests with a traditional Chinese lion dance. “We managed to keep this a secret from everyone! Instead of confetti, we used bamboo to make the twirling ribbons for guests to use after the ceremony,” says Amanda.
A friend of the family made the traditional three-tiered wedding cake, which was decorated with fresh flowers.
Guests were given purple and yellow twirling ribbons as well as special ‘lai see’ good luck packets, which were also used as place cards. “We were only allowed a small amount of fresh rose petals, and no confetti, at our venue so we made twirling ribbons for our guests – they looked very colourful and effective,” remembers Amanda.
We hired a Beatles cover band called Meet the Beatles who kept everyone entertained,” says Amanda. The couple also had a photobooth and their younger guests were given colouring books and crayons.
The first dance
Amanda and James chose I Want To Hold Your Hand by The Beatles for their first dance. “We wanted to dance to a live band and the words were very fitting,” says Amanda. “It was so much fun dancing to an upbeat song.”
The couple took a minimoon in Rome after the wedding where they enjoyed great Italian food, visited the Colosseum and the Vatican and watched the opera. They have plans for a trip to Mauritius later in the year.