Trisha and Ryan met on the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel and wanted a wedding that represented their relationship – “sweet and simple yet full of adventure.” Trisha, the Marketing Manager for One&Only Palmilla, and Ryan, the owner of Advance Green Solutions, decided on Hong Kong and created a wedding that truly shows how much they adore each other. Here are all the details on this chic and adventurous destination wedding…
How they met:
Ryan and I met on a dating app called Coffee Meets Bagel…to this day we’re still trying to figure out who is the coffee and who is the bagel. Our date began over drinks and continued into the evening with an impromptu excursion to find food; meeting for a drink quickly turned into a six-hour encounter, and we both left hopeful for more.
We knew that we wanted to marry abroad in a private ceremony for two; after looking at all the possibilities from Australia to Thailand, we decided on Hong Kong. We knew right away this was the place that truly felt like the right fit for us. From there, the excitement grew and the planning began. We appreciated the ease in planning given that most everyone speaks English there, and we especially liked the idea that our marriage would be legally binding and acknowledged back home in the United States.
We chose Victoria Peak Park for its pretty garden setting; it made for a perfect backdrop to depict a sweet wedding for two, surrounded by fragrant flowers, weeping trees and perfectly placed gazebos; all just steps away from 360 degree scenic city views of the magnificent Hong Kong skyline. Hong Kong had great appeal for its modern, multicultural melting pot, with a global future and storied past. We loved the Chinese signs and shops sprinkled throughout the city streets and wanted to capture that essence in some of our wedding photos. A quick change into a Cheongsam, a traditional red Chinese wedding dress, and we were on our way. We ended up on a side alley street in the neighborhood of Sheung Wan, with its winding paths and outdoor markets, it made was the perfect spot – we happened upon a store called Yu Po Chai Curios Store that perfectly framed the moment.
Our wedding was a true reflection of us and our relationship – sweet and simple yet filled with adventure. We wanted our wedding to be one-of-a-kind and out of the ordinary, to represent our love for one another and our appreciation of travel. We also personally wrote together the vows that our officiant would read aloud as part of the ceremony. They are very meaningful to us and an everlasting commitment to each other.
The special moment:
My favorite memory of the day was during our ceremony when the time came for the ring exchange. We had planned to share a small verse we had found, something about our love forever encircling each other; but because we had not memorized it, we tried reading it from our officiant’s notes and eventually I shouted out “just give me the ring!” – it was quite funny. The moment made for even more amusement when we learned our officiant had secretly video recorded our ceremony, everyone laughed at that part.
I give you this ring, wear it with love and joy.
As this ring encircles your finger from this day forward, year in and year out, so will my love forever encircle you.
This ring I give you as a sign of our constant commitment and everlasting love.
With this ring I marry you and join my life to yours.
I wanted a bouquet that blended some of my favorite flowers with a natural, fresh-picked, hand-tied design. The bridal bouquet was made of Burgundy Garden Roses, White Eustoma, White Rhinaculous, Red Astible, and greenery on the side.
The hair + make-up:
I wanted a natural, soft finish for my make-up. Since I would be wearing the traditional Cheongsam dress with a high neck, I knew I wanted an updo and opted for something simple with a small twist gathering and soft curl strands for the front.
I discovered the work of Aupho, an international photographer based in Hong Kong known for a contemporary and natural style. I saw in his work the romantic natural warmth that I wanted for the sweet garden ceremony and also his ability to beautifully capture the moment. Some of his work really showcased a creative eye, and I knew he had to capture our special day.
We love to travel to Asia, which certainly had an influence on our decision of Hong Kong for our elopement, but also because it would make for the perfect launching pad to our honeymoon in Laos and Vietnam. The honeymoon began in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO world-heritage site; we wanted a quiet reprieve that also provided opportunities for adventure and cultural experiences. Laos remains an undiscovered destination that is beautifully scenic with its green landscape and mountain backdrop, you can do as much or little as you like. We opted to rotate days of exploration and pre-planned tours with down days at the hotel filled with pampering spa experiences, lounging by the pool in our private Villa and traditional Laotian cooking. We choose to stay at the Sofitel, which we would highly recommend. The smallest hotel in the Sofitel collection, with only 25 rooms, lush garden grounds and a striking French colonial design.
From there we ventured to Hanoi, Vietnam, a city we found to have layers of complexity…beauty and chaos merged in a crossroad. The streets are abuzz with food vendors, motorbikes and women selling rice farmer hats. There is a sense of organized chaos there; a craze as you navigate through the busy city, cars and bikes zooming by as pedestrians cautiously cross the street. The people are happy there, family-centric, full of life and community. A four-hour drive away from the bay of three thousand islands…Halong Bay, where moss-laced rock formations jet out of the South China Sea.