It was important for Keith, a Singaporean, and Knox, a Filipina, to honor both their cultures on their wedding day. So, they decided on having a two-day celebration to do just that! The first day was dedicated to family: Peranakans (the Chinese ethnic group Keith is from) have great respect for their elders so they made sure to plan every detail to suit them. The second night was a gala for the couple’s entourage and other guests. Knox chose mostly Filipino suppliers to represent her culture and her favorite piece was her paper bouquet made by a Filipina artist, which had secret messages from the couple’s old chat conversations printed on the petals! How sweet is that? Knox’s beautiful wedding gown was also from the Philippines and she wore it in two different ways: First as a sleeveless gown during the ceremony, then with long, flowy sleeves at the dinner. Gorgeous, indeed! I can go on and on about how stunning this wedding is, but you should see it for yourself with these shots by Flipmax Photography below!
Why did you opt for an Art Deco theme? How was this theme incorporated in your wedding?
Keith is Singaporean. I am Filipino. We were both as different as could be, but we both knew we wanted our wedding in Singapore to be modern and glamorous. We imagined an open space with no big tables so that our guests would be able to walk around and mingle freely, chat, and dance on the spot.
When we stepped into Atlas Bar, it all just clicked. We instantly knew this was where we wanted to have our big night. We walked in and we were just stunned by the impressively high ceilings and the intricate golden interiors. It was distinctly art deco with geometric motifs, curvilinear forms, sharply defined outlines. It set the stage for the rest of the details and the theme of Great Gatsby in Singapore flowed from there.
But our favorite thing about Atlas Bar is that it is a bar. In fact, it was hailed 4th in the World’s 50 Best Bars so it had a reputation for deliciously potent cocktails that our guests would just lap up. We definitely had fun getting tipsy trying out their menu months before the wedding!
In what specific ways were you able to incorporate Filipino culture at your wedding?
We had a full wedding entourage. Keith didn’t understand why we had to have such a large entourage that included not just parents but friends, ninongs and ninangs, and even a mini entourage. I told him that Filipinos love weddings and close family and friends want to play a significant part in it! He said it was quite different from a Singaporean wedding which is very much focused on the bride and the groom and the guests are just onlookers.
We chose mostly Filipino suppliers. I wanted to have my culture present in our wedding so I chose almost all my suppliers from the Philippines. My bridal dress was designed by Vania Romoff, my mom’s dress by Richie Ortega, and the rest of the entourage dresses were made by Mara Chua. Last but not least, I even flew in a videography team from Manila and a makeup artist from Bacolod–it was his first overseas job. I did this because I noticed while canvassing wedding suppliers that the Filipino ones were extremely talented with an attention to detail beyond compare–Pinoys just love weddings and it shows in the work produced. I believe in our creative industry and this was my way of supporting the Philippine wedding industry even though I wasn’t getting married back home.
What can you tell us about Peranakan culture? What specific traditions did you follow to honor Keith’s heritage?
We got married on an auspicious date. We asked Keith’s mom to look for the perfect date for our Chinese zodiac signs (goat and pig) to get married. She found November 30 to be ideal for us and I think it was indeed a lucky day. It had been raining heavily the week before our wedding but on our day, it was sunny with just light rains.
Peranakans have great respect for their elders. We had to make sure that the church ceremony, the Chinese banquet, and even the time of day suited them. Keith had a lot of relatives over 70 years-old on his side of the family so we couldn’t do anything too rambunctious or loud. That’s why we decided to split our wedding into two days. The first day was dedicated to family and that’s when we had our church wedding followed by an intimate lunch banquet at Peach Blossoms, a Chinese restaurant loved by Keith’s family.
The tea ceremony: This is probably the most important tradition for Keith’s family and is usually a big part of a Peranakan wedding. It is a very formal introduction of the bride and groom and it expresses respect to both families, especially the elders. Since a tea tree cannot be transplanted and it only sprouts and grows from a seed, it symbolizes the passing on from generation to generation as well as the start of a fruitful and happy union.
Both of us served the tea while bowing to our elders. The elders then respond by presenting us with an ang bao (red envelope) containing a gift of money or gold. It is a way for both our families to formally unite and to for them to wish us luck on our journey as a couple.
What were some of the most unique elements at your wedding?
Keith’s favorite was this clay replica of me and him. It was a surprise gift from a friend who flew in from Pampanga. She had it made by Whila Rose Creations and it looked exactly like us!
My favorite was my handmade paper bouquet made by artist, Victoria Velasco. She had gotten married before me and I saw her beautiful paper flowers on Instagram and I was smitten. I knew that I wanted my whole entourage to have it too but I included Filipiniana fans for the two matrons of honor.
My bouquet had flowers with finely printed secret messages (old Facebook chats which included inside jokes and cheesy lines). I loved this detail because we were both advertising writers and we met at work. Our relationship was built around our witty exchanges online so I wanted an accessory that honored the power of words in our love story. It’s something I will get to cherish until we are old and grey because paper flowers are fresh forever.