A Modern Garden Destination Wedding in Bali
Amy and TQ
Amy Long met TQ Shang at Stanford University in the windowless basement classroom of their 9 a.m. Southeast Asian politics course. (They say the only perk of the early-morning winter class was that they met.)
Many years later, they found themselves around the world -- in Singapore -- working as management consultants and traveling out of the country about five days a week. Taking a cue from their jet-setting lives, they dreamed up a travel-themed wedding -- after all, they'd had many dates in airport lounges, and TQ proposed after Amy landed from a 16-hour flight; it just made sense.
On July 3, 2010, they said "I do" in Bali, with 120 guests, a weekend of festivities, and not an airplane in sight.
Amy and TQ chose the Alila Ubud resort in Indonesia for their destination wedding because it was within a three-hour flight from Singapore. The couple was also familiar with the area, because TQ had been posted to Jakarta as a diplomat and Amy had worked there extensively, too.
The hills and valleys of the jungle village of Payangan offered views of the Ayung River and plenty of wildlife.
Though the wedding date fell within Bali's dry season, it poured for the entire month prior to the big day. The couple worried that their outside event might get rained out, so they sought the assistance of the hotel. The venue helped them hire a "tukang terang" (Balinese rain stopper) to perform ceremonies to push the rain away. The morning of the wedding, it rained everywhere around the village but the resort remained dry. And though the rice terraces were wet 500 meters away, after the couple took postceremony photos there they returned to a rainless reception site.
The Welcome Bag
Guests were welcomed with silk-screened bags filled with goodies, such as a palm-leaf fan, citronella oil, a list of all of the guests and their room numbers, a welcome note, and a program of the weekend's festivities.
The Welcome Bag
The bag also included a CD of the couple's favorite music. The mix, dubbed "Around the World with TQ and Amy" included 19 tracks and liner notes, complete with each song's country of origin, singer, title, and significance. The two compiled the album with help from one of their groomsmen, Billy, and worked with their stationery designer on the packaging. The last song, which was unlisted, was the Singaporean national anthem, composed by their next-door neighbor in Singapore. They placed it at the end of the disc in honor of their return home.
Ellie Snow of Hello Tenfold worked with the couple to create the travel-themed invitation suite. It began with the save-the-date, which was a map that detailed the couple's travels over the years. The text read, "After chasing each other around the world ... Amy and TQ are on their way to getting married."
The invitation itself was formatted like a storybook, outlining the key parts of Amy and TQ's relationship. Packaged with a band that was sealed with an airplane sticker, an insert described logistics and activities for the weekend, such as yoga, volcano tours, elephant rides, and trips to the craft villages. Everything was sent out in a chartreuse envelope with a patterned liner.
Snow also helped design stir sticks for the signature cocktails (a watermelon mojito and an "Alila Fresh" containing soda water, cloves, cinnamon, and other spices).
Amy wore an Anna Maier-Ulla Maija Couture "Regine" dress, which was the first gown she tried on during a whirlwind 24-hour stopover in New York City between Mexico City and Singapore. Amazingly, her return trip to New York coincided with the suggested date for the first fitting.
She accessorized the gown with an "Acacia II" veil by Jenny Packham, Christian Louboutin heels, a pair of diamond earrings borrowed from her friend Jen Lee (who designed the engagement ring and wedding bands), and a J.Crew necklace.
TQ wore a suit by Kingsmen Tailors, a custom shirt by CYC Tailor, a Louis Vuitton tie, and Ferragamo shoes.
A Special Touch
A Perfect Pattern
A batik pattern appeared throughout the wedding's decor, in addition to on the invitation's envelope liners. The traditional hand-printed fabric used in Southeast Asia was near and dear to both of Amy and TQ's hearts, as Amy used to buy bolts of the dyed silk for dresses and linens while staying with TQ when he was studying the Indonesian language in Java. They reproduced the Yogya design on their paper elements; Amy found a similar fabric on an online quilting shop (in Kentucky, of all places) to use for the guys' custom shirts, pocket squares, chair swags, centerpiece vessels, and table runners.
The fabric also wrapped the stems of Amy's white-and-green bouquet of lisianthus, gladiolus, hydrangeas, phalaenopsis orchids, dendrobium orchids, spray roses, and snapdragons. Gloriosa Flower House constructed the bouquet and all of the floral elements of the wedding.
TQ's boutonniere consisted of a green dendrobium orchid.
The Bridal Party
The bridesmaids wore gray Butter by Nadia dresses. "The versatile jersey dresses worked perfectly because all of the girls lived in different cities -- organizing fittings would have been challenging," said Amy.
The groomsmen wore custom shirts, charcoal slacks, ties, and suspenders.
The Bridesmaids' Bouquets
The bridesmaids carried bouquets of mauve 'Cool Water' roses, lilac snapdragons, purple hydrangeas, and green dendrobium orchids with white 'Celesta' aster and 'Xanadu' foliage accents.
Before the Western ceremony, the couple held a Chinese tea ceremony where they served tea to each side of the family, starting with the most senior relatives. In exchange, they received blessings and gifts for their new lives together.
To entertain guests in the interim, an exhibition of childhood photos of the pair was set up by a friend in the hotel's art gallery.
The wedding programs were shaped like luggage tags.
The pages outlined the wedding party, ceremony readings, musical selections, and James Dillet Freeman's "Blessing for a Marriage."
While guests took their seats, Balinese "rindik" and gamelan musicians played. Both the bride and groom walked down the aisle with their parents to songs by the Beatles.
The modern ceremony included selections by John Stuart Mill, Louis de Bernieres, and Robert Fulghum, and were read by three close friends. Everyone recited a blessing found in the program, to help the couple on their way. TQ's uncle, Barry, presided over the ceremony.
When the couple got emotional exchanging the vows they'd written themselves, TQ used a handkerchief made from spare batik fabric.
Amy's maid of honor found airplane-shaped confetti punched from old maps. Cones made from banana leaves were filled and handed out along with the programs.
As the newlyweds walked back up the aisle, they were showered with flower petals and the plane confetti. "All You Need Is Love" by the Beatles played at the conclusion of the ceremony.
After the ceremony, Amy and TQ took photos in the rice terraces with their photographers, Erin and Courtney de Jauregui of Erin Hearts Court.
A Surprise Gift
When the hotel got wind of Amy and TQ's travel theme and saw all of the vintage travel props for the photo booth that were sent over by a friend, they brought in a moped for it, too.
Long tables set with candles were placed by the resort's pool and provided seating to take in the scenic views.
White "umbul umbul" flags hung over the tables (they also decorated the ceremony area), symbolizing the triumph of good.
The Table Names
Each table was named after a city of significance for the couple. Centerpieces of white and lilac snapdragons, lisianthus, spray roses, hydrangeas, green cymbidium orchids, phalaenopsis orchids, mauve 'Cool Water' roses, and green bamboo water added color to the reception.
Guests enjoyed a family-style dinner which fused Indonesian, Balinese, and Western classics.
A chocolate cake covered in white fondant was piped with black icing and decorated with fresh orchids and a base of limes. A dessert buffet provided Indonesian and Western treats, as well as a coffee bar that served espresso martinis and joe from all over Indonesia.
Amy and TQ danced to "Ain't That a Kick in the Head" using moves they'd learned from Amy's boss's wife, who runs a dance studio and gave them lessons.
A Happy Ending
Following the traditional Chinese "yam seng" toast, the couple enjoyed a fireworks display from a platform in the middle of the infinity pool.