Some­thing Old, Some­thing New...

And if CH­ERYL WEE AND ROY FONG could fin­ish the old wed­ding rhyme, it would be with “… some­thing very true to us”, which was ex­actly how their moder­nity-meets-tra­di­tional union turned out

Singapore Tatler Wedding - - CONTENTS -

Jean Yip Group scion and ac­tress Ch­eryl Wee weds her col­lege sweet­heart Roy Fong in a very per­sonal cel­e­bra­tion

Shortly af­ter news of their en­gage­ment broke early this year, ac­tress and owner of Ch­eryl W Wellness & Weight Man­age­ment Ch­eryl Wee and ar­chi­tect Roy Fong were ap­proached by var­i­ous pub­li­ca­tions for in­ter­views. Pro­fes­sion­ally styled photo spreads of them pos­ing in fash­ion­able threads painted a trendy im­age of the col­lege sweet­hearts. But it was at their much-an­tic­i­pated wed­ding in July that it be­came ap­par­ent that these mil­len­ni­als are re­ally old souls at heart.

“On the out­side, we’re mod­ern and we have a mod­ern out­look on things, but we ac­tu­ally hold tra­di­tions very close to our hearts,” says Ch­eryl, scion of the Jean Yip beauty em­pire, a month af­ter her wed­ding. “Un­like many young cou­ples today, we did not live to­gether or go on hol­i­days alone to­gether un­til we got mar­ried. So, get­ting mar­ried, not so much the wed­ding cel­e­bra­tion, then liv­ing to­gether and go­ing on a mini-moon, means so much. It’s how cou­ples used to be.”

Planned around a mod­ern ori­en­tal jewel theme, their nup­tials were sim­i­larly fresh in over­all ex­e­cu­tion yet with an ob­vi­ous nod to cen­turies-old cus­toms, a con­cept ex­pressed in ev­ery­thing from their wardrobe to the wed­ding events. We look at how their cel­e­bra­tion brought tra­di­tion alive while mir­ror­ing their val­ues.

THE GUO DA LI AND TEA CER­E­MONY

Cel­e­bra­tions kicked off in June with the guo da li, a tra­di­tional be­trothal cer­e­mony, and a grand Chi­nese tea cer­e­mony. “Roy and I re­spect tra­di­tion and we knew we wanted to do things the tra­di­tional way be­cause my late grand­mother, who passed away six months be­fore our tea cer­e­mony, would have wanted it that way,” says Ch­eryl, adding that she went through all the wed­ding cus­toms, from the hair comb­ing cer­e­mony the day be­fore the wed­ding to the set­ting of the mat­ri­mo­nial bed.

Like a scene out of an old Chi­nese movie, the cer­e­mony started with a pro­ces­sion where the bride was car­ried in a sedan by the groomsmen, then in Roy’s arms, to their new home. Cer­tainly this added nov­elty to the cel­e­bra­tion and many In­sta­gram-wor­thy mo­ments, but what was im­por­tant to the cou­ple was do­ing things that were mean­ing­ful to their loved ones, friends and them­selves.

THE OUT­FITS

Ch­eryl’s wardrobe com­prised the elab­o­rately em­broi­dered kua her mother Jean Yip had worn at her own wed­ding 32 years ago, topped with a head­dress. The groom wore a chang­shan paired with a fe­dora and rounded dark glasses for a look straight out of the 1930s. Mod­ern style took over dur­ing the vow ex­change cer­e­mony in church, where Ch­eryl was re­s­plen­dent in the el­e­gant threads of Vera Wang as she walked down the aisle on the arm of her fa­ther, Mervin Wee.

She ad­mits she used to love the magic of Dis­ney­land, com­plete with fire­works, but she was never one to dream about her wed­ding day: “Some peo­ple are very me­thod­i­cal—they set a date, then book a venue and a plan­ner, be­fore go­ing gown shop­ping and so on. But to me, that kills the ro­mance. I like things to flow or­gan­i­cally. I just dreamed of get­ting mar­ried in a church but never down to the specifics of the type of flow­ers, gown de­signer or how big the di­a­mond on my en­gage­ment ring should be. So, the en­tire wed­ding is more than any­thing I’ve ever dreamed of.”

While Ch­eryl picked out two Vera Wang gowns in London and paired her out­fits with shoes from Jimmy Choo, Roger Vivier and Louboutin, Roy’s wardrobe was no less ex­quis­ite with pieces from Sar­to­ria Rossi and Gior­gio Ar­mani. He por­trayed a gen­tle­man in a sleek tail­coat dur­ing the church cer­e­mony, and looked debonair in a black-and-gold pat­terned blazer for his evening suit.

THE JEW­ELLERY

Ch­eryl’s dot­ing mother gifted her el­dest child four sets of jew­ellery. What touched her was the fact that her mum hand­picked the di­a­monds and pre­cious stones her­self. She then de­signed a ruby set her­self, while a sap­phire set was de­signed by her sis­ter Dawn Yip. “Hand-se­lect­ing and slowly col­lect­ing the stones be­fore de­sign­ing them took an en­tire year!” shares Ch­eryl. “That ef­fort meant a lot to me, it’s some­thing you can’t buy in a store.”

Per­haps the most special piece to her was the one from her late grand­mother. “When my aunt pre­sented the gold pen­dant my grand­mother had wanted to give me dur­ing the tea cer­e­mony, I could feel her pres­ence in the room,” she re­calls, eyes welling up. “I re­ally wanted her to be there. She raised me and we shared a special bond.”

THE DE­SIGN

The pre-din­ner cock­tail ses­sion at The Ritz-Carl­ton, Mil­lenia Sin­ga­pore was shrouded in an air of clas­si­cal re­fine­ment with bal­leri­nas pranc­ing about as par­ents of the bride and groom, Jean Yip and Mervin Wee along with Geral­dine and Michael Fong, wel­comed fam­ily and friends. The ball­room was a mag­nif­i­cent sight that evoked an en­chanted for­est with fig­urines of unicorns, horses, rab­bits and owls. “We chose unicorns be­cause they signify pu­rity and strength in the Bi­ble. They are also sym­bols of suc­cess in busi­ness,” says Ch­eryl.

Mag­lu­mi­nes­cent light dis­plays and lush flo­ral ar­range­ments in vivid jewel tones by Bo­enga dec­o­rated the ball­room. In be­tween video screen­ings where the cou­ple shared in­ti­mate thoughts about love and hap­pi­ness, both sets of par­ents de­liv­ered mov­ing speeches and per­for­mances. Dawn Yip also per­formed while Mervin sang Joe Cocker’s You Are So Beau­ti­ful to his daugh­ter. As a sur­prise post-din­ner per­for­mance, the bride and groom did a beau­ti­ful dance, chore­ographed by STEP Stu­dio.

THE FOOD

When it came to the menus for the var­i­ous events, clas­sics were paired with the un­ex­pected. For the tea cer­e­mony at their house, there were siew mai burg­ers, Korean fried chicken nibbles and Pek­ing duck. Many of the cakes were spon­sored by Crème Mai­son, an ar­ti­sanal bak­ery that in­cor­po­rates tra­di­tional ele­ments with mod­ern patis­series, owned by Ch­eryl’s friend. “There were mod­ern flavours like ly­chee rose, but also clas­sics, like ba­nana choco­late,” she says.

As Ch­eryl has a weak­ness for her mum’s home­made tra­di­tional desserts, a va­ri­ety of lo­cal-flavoured de­lights was cre­ated for her wed­ding. Ar­tic­u­lat­ing the mod­ern ori­en­tal jewel theme, ac­cents of elec­tric blue, ruby red and sap­phire were used for these desserts which in­cluded pan­dan on­deh on­deh shoot­ers with Bel­gium choco­late gems as well as ban­dung rasp­berry, and Caffe Gula Melaka mac­arons.

The din­ner ban­quet com­prised a six-course menu with tra­di­tional wed­ding del­i­ca­cies such as abalone. An­other fa­mil­iar item on Chi­nese wed­ding menus, the fish dish was given a Ja­panese in­ter­pre­ta­tion while the noo­dles were done as a yuzu somen. The wed­ding cake was a six-tier con­fec­tion by the

founder of Ben­gawan Solo, Anas­ta­sia Liew her­self, and re­flect­ing the event’s ro­man­tic mod­ern-day fairy tale mood, light blush and cham­pagne colours dom­i­nated the Crème Mai­son dessert ta­ble.

THE HIGHLIGHTS

Among the many heart­felt per­for­mances dur­ing the din­ner re­cep­tion, one in par­tic­u­lar, took Ch­eryl by sur­prise: Roy tin­ker­ing on the ivories as he ser­e­naded her with Ali­cia Keys’ If I Ain’t Got You. She shares, “He’s al­ways told me he wanted to learn to play the piano since he was a kid but I did not know that he had se­cretly bought a key­board and learnt to play on it. I was very touched!”

Like ev­ery bride-to-be, Ch­eryl had her lit­tle wor­ries, one be­ing that there would be too few guests at the church cer­e­mony. “With its huge seat­ing ca­pac­ity of about 700, I thought it would be good enough if it were half-full.” How­ever, she stepped in to find it over­flow­ing with well-wish­ers. “I told my mum, ‘This must be what feel­ing high on drugs is like.’ I never knew one could feel so happy in life. In Chi­nese, we de­scribe it as xing fu, mean­ing con­tent­ment and feel­ing blessed. And if there’s one thing we want peo­ple to re­mem­ber about the wed­ding, it’s this abun­dance of love all around, not the flow­ers or the grandios­ity of it all. There will al­ways be an­other wed­ding that’s big­ger, bet­ter or more beau­ti­ful. But these mem­o­ries, the love and the feel­ings you get, the friend­ships you have, and feel­ing so blessed are things you can’t put a price on. You can’t for­get that.”

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