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Vibrant Hong Kong Engagement Session

This adorable international couple (he from London; she from California) wanted their engagement session to fully represent where they met and fell in love, and if this stunningly vibrant gallery of images from Ann-Kathrin Koch, set in the multi-cultural epicenter of Hong Kong, doesn’t inspire some serious wanderlust in you, then I don’t know what will.


From The Bride…Tim and I met in Hong Kong where only a vibrant, multi-cultural city like Hong Kong could bring together an English-Malaysian boy and a Taiwanese-American girl. We had both moved to Hong Kong for the same company, although Tim from London and I from California. Sparks didn’t fly until a year later when we went on an accidental date (a group dinner where everyone else canceled. Really!) and realized we had so much in common despite growing up in very different places. Not long after, I knew that Tim was “the one” as we just clicked and our lives intertwined so seamlessly together. Three years later, Tim proposed on a sunrise hot air balloon ride in Myanmar and I have been floating on cloud nine ever since.

Although we are planning a destination wedding, I wanted to take our engagement photos in the place we met and fell in love, and I could not have asked for a more incredible backdrop than Hong Kong. As cliche as it is to say, Hong Kong really is a unique fusion of the East and West and old and new, which translates to countless photo opportunities! To take advantage of the city’s visually stunning juxtapositions, I chose places like Man Mo Temple, a vibrant red temple tucked in between towering skyscrapers, and the Star Ferry, a cross-harbor ferry that offers beautiful harbor and skyline views and has been operating since 1888. These places are also special to us as they are either within walking distance of our home or somewhere we frequent.

The right photographer was very important to us as we wanted to avoid cheesy engagement photos (otherwise Tim wouldn’t have agreed to take the portraits!). After much wedding blog-researching, I immediately knew Ann-Kathrin Koch was also “the one” as soon as I saw her work. She has a keen ability to capture natural and candid but still well-crafted portraits, complimented by her incredible use of light. We also really appreciated Ann’s laidback style that helped put us at ease during a process that can feel very awkward! We are so grateful to Ann for so elegantly capturing our love story on film, which I know we will look back on fondly in our old age and hopefully living somewhere less hectic.

Photography: Ann-Kathrin Koch

Whimsical Bali Wedding Inspiration

I have yet to experience Bali firsthand, but one look at the poetic editorial photojournalism from Le Secret D’Audrey and I’m instantly transported. Polished, refined, romantic and luxurious, every detail Paper Diamonds orchestrated is an ode to the beautiful island and you can see them all in the gallery!

From Paper Diamonds… Shooting with Audrey was a dream come true. Her ability to cross high fashion editorial with poetic, romantic photojournalism is so unique and definitely dictated my direction for decor. I wanted something polished, refined, romantic and luxurious, and ode to her images.

The ghost chairs became the centre point of the theme, using that as a base to build on I then stuck to a neutral palette with pastel greys accented with deep greens. I tried to play with multiple textures that complement each other gently such as the tulle overlay with cotton paper stationery. I used items from our growing inventory of unique, authentically vintage one-off pieces such as the silver platters and our new gold cutlery set for that pop of colour. But oh, those ghost chairs. J’adore.

The Ali Charisma gown is a one-of-a-kind and I loved how he used the flower detailing on top of that netting in all the right places. Ashley fit perfectly in it and she seemed to effortlessly showcase the details. A dress for the wild at heart.

The stationery is also, custom handwritten/drawn pieces from Emily in Perth, Australia. Her geometric patterns could have seemed lost amongst all the straight lights but it added just the perfect amount of whimsy.

Gita from butter had free reign with design on this one, I told her the mood, showed her a few references and she created such a beautiful two tier cake with contrasting layers. Similarly to my table decor, the layers were different textures yet they seemed to just belong with one another.

Yeanne’s team member on hair & make-up. The brief was simple, give me “runway”. She is a brave bride. She is confident and she can definitely work a strong pouf.

Balion provided us with the perfect Bali setting. Nothing is more luxury Bali then a manicured tropical garden right next to the beach. Villa Shalimar’s gardens can host the perfect wedding setting under a Bali sky and the black volcanic sand beach is a unique and special part of the North-West Canggu coastline.

I am so grateful and so truly proud to have been able to work with such an amazing photographer and I am grateful to have exercised my wings on a new and beautiful style. I hope you like.

Photography: Le Secret D'Audrey | Wedding Dress: Ali Charisma | Cake: Butter | Stationery: The Little Press | Venue: Villa Shalimar | Décor, Styling & Flower: Paper Diamonds | Film Lab: CarmencitaLab | Hair & Make-up: Yeanne | Model Ashley : Balistarz

Tropical Beachside Thailand Wedding

Before you dive head first into the stunning flowers or the gorgeous beach behind today’s wedding, take a look at this picture. Where the bride and groom are smiling so big, you just know that they could have been married in paper bags and still be thrilled. Okay, now go on to all of the crazy beautiful details because if the couple had you at hello, the rest – photographed by CJK Visuals – will melt your heart. More here!








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From CJK VisualsI had never met Brian and Elaine, but we were connected through their wedding planner, Nanya. I knew that I would be traveling to Thailand from late March to mid April, so I reached out to Nanya in hopes that I could photograph an amazing couple while on my backpacking trip around the beautiful country. Luckily, she had booked Elaine and Brian and they were in need of a photographer!

Fast forward a few months later, and I’m meeting Nanya, Brian, and Elaine the day before the wedding at the gorgeous beachside reception. The next morning, the skies were a bit cloudy but the day was GORGEOUS. A precautionary tent was put up with calls for rain, but thankfully, the ceremony was still able to be out in the open underneath the tall palm trees! It did downpour for a bit during the reception, but everyone was too busy celebrating and dancing inside the tent to care

Elaine and Brian currently live in Hong Kong, but have family from Wales, Australia, several Asian countries, and more that all flew to Phuket for this gorgeous wedding! It just goes to show how loved and amazing they are! I had such an amazing time with these two, their friends, family, and incredible vendors!

From The Bride… I met Brian back in 2011, having relocated from London to Hong Kong for work. Not knowing anyone in this new shiny city, mutual friends from London played cupid and put us in touch. What can I say? That was nearly 4 years ago, a proposal, a ring and now a wedding!

Both being beach lovers, we knew instantly a destination wedding was for us. With Brian being from the UK and myself from Australia via Malaysia, Phuket seemed the perfect location, accessible for all the guests travelling in from across the globe. We viewed several resorts but when we set foot into Jivana Villa, on Natai Beach, it was an immediate YES! The private villa is a true piece of Thai paradise with a large, coconut tree lined lawn with a gorgeous secluded beach as the backdrop.

For the wedding theme and décor, I’m a great lover of jazz and all things vintage. I ran with a Great Gatsby theme so the vision was filled with colours of gold, silver, sparkles, and touches of black & white. One of my favourite parts of planning the wedding was creating a mood board to help pull together the look I wanted to achieve. Our wedding planners, Wedding Bliss, were absolutely amazing with the execution. They really delivered on every meticulous detail, combining their expertise with our bits and pieces of DIY, from the beautiful pictures frames that my dear sister managed to source and the spray-glued gold glitter votive holders completed the night before!

We were lucky enough to find Caitlin, our photographer from Maryland US, who happened to be in Phuket at the same time. A high recommendation from Wedding Bliss, Caitlin’s natural talent captured so many beautiful moments.

Finally, my wedding gown was created by a Hong Kong designer, Noel Chu. Not only does she have an exceptional design eye, but she is incredibly warm and professional and made me feel like a true part of the design process. The lace and feathery details on the dress were flawless and it truly was the wedding gown of my dreams.

What made the wedding truly special was the presence of our families and friends. We are incredibly lucky to have shared our special day with each and every one of our guests, who traveled far and wide. This is what a destination wedding is about!

Photography: CJK Visuals | Planner: Wedding Bliss By Nanya | Florist: Peony | Wedding Dress: Noel Chu Atelier | Wedding Cake: Les Anges | Reception Venue: Jivana Villas | Shoes: Manolo Blaknik | Bridesmaid Dresses: Adrianna Papell | Caterer: Two Chefs | Makeup: Gloria Chan | Grooms Suit: Hugo Boss | Hair + Makeup: Bridal Makeup And Hair | Head Piece: Jennifer Behr | Light + Sound: Final Cut

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Abby Capalbo

Design, Styling, Parties
Cambodian Destination Wedding

When this bride and groom decided to have their wedding in Cambodia, they knew they wanted to make it extra special. After spending two weeks traveling, the wedding party ended their trip with a traditional, awe-inspiring wedding. Captured by Brighter Lights Media, this video not only highlights the true beauty of Cambodia, but the unique cultural traditions that make this video so special.

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From the Bride and Groom… This event was about much more than just our wedding – it was about bringing together family, friends and loved ones to experience a new place, culture and set of traditions together. We currently live in New York City (and Matt is originally from Boston), so while Ratavy’s family is Cambodian, many of the people who traveled with us on this trip were from the US. And for many of them, this was their first trip to Asia. We knew that this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for many of the people coming, so we wanted to organize a trip around Southeast Asia, and ensure that it would be a memorable journey from start to finish.

The two weeks before the wedding ceremonies, me, Ratavy, & our closest friends and family traveled to Bangkok, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, exploring all of the unique things those places had to offer. From navigating Bangkok’s incredible rooftop bar scene, to taking in the beauty of a sunrise over Angkor Wat, to charting a boat down a Cambodian river and riding elephants to the top of a mountain for a breathtaking sunset, everyone on the trip got to experience something totally new, and they did so together. It is impossible to capture everything that happened over those two weeks in a short video clip, but this teaser beautifully captures the essence of the journey, the sentiment of the group, and the epic proportion of the events that transgressed.

The actual wedding festivities took place over a day and a half period, which was reduced from the typical three-day traditional Cambodian ceremony. This was the first exposure to a traditional Cambodian wedding for both Ratavy and I, so we were learning on the fly, showing gratitude and respect at each step along the way, and focused on ensuring that we didn’t make a total fool of ourselves. The ceremonies ranged from the Melymuka family presenting a plethora of fruit as a gift to Ratavy’s family, to a “hair cutting” event where friends and family symbolically snipped away the past to prepare us for our future together, to a ritual with a line of nine monks positioned directly in front of us, chanting in unison. The ceremonies were a huge success, involved plenty of bowing, and provided great exposure to a new and different set of cultural traditions for everyone.

Cinematography: Brighter Lights Media | Floral Design: Sofitel Phnom Penh | Catering: Sofitel Phnom Penh | Hotel: Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra

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Cultural Nepali Wedding Inspiration

While we strive to keep this blog a true place of positivity and pretty, our hearts weigh heavy for those effected by the recent natural disasters in Nepal. It’s a tragedy we couldn’t overlook, which is why when Nina & Wes Photography reached out with images from their latest workshop, it felt like the perfect time to share. Take a glimpse at their time in this beautiful country with more info on how to help relief efforts below.

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From Nina & Wes PhotographyThis bridal session was born out of our time spent in Nepal. We wanted people to be able to experience Nepal through the different elements of the session. We had a spread of spices that are found throughout Nepal and used in many of their cuisines. Bits of copper and brass can be seen with those elements, which were found and purchased in the streets of Kathmandu. Marigolds were central to the shoot, as you can see marigolds on any given street in Nepal. We loved seeing them draped over the bride who is wearing a stunning Carol Hannah dress that seemed to sparkle in the Nepali sunlight.

Just before Wes and I married, I lived in Kathmandu, Nepal for four months, doing volunteer work with street children and elderly women. I grew to love Nepal greatly, and have ached to return ever since. As a wedding photographer, it is easy to get swept away into all the pretty details and amazing people we meet as we capture one of the most special days of their lives on film. But my heart has always been happiest when working to make a difference in the lives of others, which always seems to do the same in my own life when I work towards that goal.

About 20 months ago, I woke up with an idea about a special kind of photography workshop. I wanted to do something more with our business. I wanted to go beyond business, and do something more in the world…something that would have lasting impact. Most photography workshops focus mainly on building your portfolio and growing your business, which is great and needed. But it can get competitive, and can cause you to lose focus on what is really important in this world…loving others, and giving back what we have been given. The Beyond Workshop focuses not only on encouraging photographers to be successful in their businesses, but to take their success and give back to those in need. We are asking the question…What is the meaning of success? Is it more money, bookings, and bigger houses? Or is it doing your absolute best in what you do, and taking that and giving back to the world that has given so much to you.

100% of the profits from this workshop go to orphan care and human trafficking interception in Nepal. None of the vendors take any pay, and this year we were able to give almost $8,000 to those in need in Nepal! The first half of the workshop is spent in classroom sessions revolving around business, and the second half of the workshop is spent doing volunteer work in Nepal. We had an amazing group of people this year, that gave everything they could to help this workshop succeed. Each attendee had their own part to play, and as the days unfolded, it was a joy to see each one of them fall in love with the country of Nepal.

The earthquake that occurred on April 25th in Nepal has shaken all of us. So many of the beautiful places we visited, and historical landmarks that we marveled at, are now piles of rubble. As far as we can tell, though, our loved ones and the people at the organizations we volunteered at, are all safe. Some of them have lost homes, but they have escaped the earthquake without injury. For that we are thankful. 

This workshop is meant to inspire photographers to go beyond themselves and give back to the world in need. And through sharing images of this beautiful bridal session, we hope to remind people of the beauty of Nepal, not the poverty. Nepal is a country rich in history, and the people of Nepal are full of warmth and kindness. Walk down any given street in this enchanting country and have a conversation with someone…you may just find that you are invited in for some milk tea.

Some of the industry vendors that donated time or goods to help make our not-for-profit workshop succeed include: Magnolia Rouge, Jose Villa, Wildgrace Workshop, Paper Birch Designs, Julie Song Ink, Brown Linen Design, Kraft & Jute, Mrs. Box, Frou Frou Chic, Type A Society, Richard Photo Lab, State Film Lab, Goodman Film Lab, Carol Hannah, Gossamer Vintage, and Jacob Cecil.

A special thanks to Gautam Rai, our Nepali brother who made this workshop truly possible by arranging all of our lodging, meals, and volunteer opportunities. He was our translator throughout our time there, and he also helped our attendees see the importance of documenting the joy and warmth of the people of Nepal, over the poverty of Nepal. He and his wife, Rekha, along with 3 biological children, have adopted 11 beautiful girls, and have devoted their lives to orphan care, and are daily meeting the needs of others with what little they have. Since the earthquake, Gautam has been out in the streets from morning til night helping others. He and his family are a beautiful example of love in action.

If you are interested in helping the relief efforts that are occurring on the ground in Nepal, there are many amazing organizations that work tirelessly with the people there, not only providing aid right now, but long-term care after many other relief groups have returned back home. 

HOW TO HELP

PS: Info on next year’s Nina & Wes Photography Nepal workshop, March 15-27, 2016 right here.

Photography: Nina & Wes Photography | Cinematography: Colletta Films | Event Design: Abany Bauer | Floral Design: Type A Society | Wedding Dress: Carol Hannah | Jewelry: Mickey Lynn | Hair & Makeup: Heather Smith | Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic | Shoot Location: The Fort Resort | Styling & Design: Abany Bauer

Romantic Thailand Destination Wedding

This wedding right here, this unbelievably romantic and glamorous bash, is something out of a movie. That’s all I could think of as I went through Sandra Aberg’s beautiful photos, over and over again. The Wedding Bliss and IAMFLOWER worked magic, creating a wedding wonderland for these two lovebirds to say “I do” and we’re the lucky ones who get to obsess over these photos all day long.

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From Sandra Aberg… The story of how Bo and Nat met is like a fairytale. Their first meeting was 13 years ago. Bo was studying architecture at Cornell University and returned to Thailand for a short visit. During her time back she attended a university presentation with her best friend, and the professor giving the talk was Nat. They both remember each other from that first encounter. Nat remembers a skinny young girl that was not his student and Bo remembers the handsome architect. That was their first meeting but they did not see each other again until 10 years later on an airplane to Singapore.

Bo was going to see the World Architecture Festival and Nat was going to be a judge at the competition, and they recognised each other right away. They ended up spending the next four days together with their common friends and quickly realised how many common interests they had like design, arts, and architecture.

Bo had just moved back to Thailand after spending four years working in Shanghai, so Nat offered to show her around Bangkok for upcoming special arts events and exhibitions and they both grew very fond of each other. There was just one problem…

Bo’s father, a Chairman of Central Group, one of Thailand’s biggest conglomerates, had asked his daughter to sign a contract when she was 14 years old and before she was sent to study abroad. The contract stated that she should not have a boyfriend until she graduated!

Bo was confident and knew that Nat was the right one for her so she ran to her mother and asked for advice on how to make her father accept Nat as her boyfriend. Her mother arranged a meeting between Nat and Bo’s father. Bo’s father agreed to meet Nat but not for a general lunch or dinner. Instead, he requested to have an official one-on-one interview with Nat with the purpose of finding out if Nat would be the right one for Bo. He didn’t want the billionaire son-in-law but instead wanted to see the guy who was smart and had a good heart with great ambition, a guy who could take care of his daughter in life’s best and worst situations. After the first meeting, Nat passed the first round but was asked for more interviews with Bo’s family. After many interviews and tests Nat finally got approved by all members. Nat then surprised Bo with a proposal at The Siam Hotel Bangkok, the place where they had their first official date.

After a big celebration in Bangkok, Bo and Nat decided to have a destination wedding to celebrate with only their close friends and family, which was about 250 people from all over the world. They chose Phuket as the destination due to the beauty of the beach and scenery. Also, they fell in love with the brand new hotel, Point Yamu by Como, situated at the tip of a peninsula with a stunning panoramic view. As architects they fell in love with the design and structure of the building and it just felt right from the first time they walked in there. To help them plan this amazing event they had the wedding planners from The Wedding Bliss take care of all the details and decor.

From The Wedding BlissThis wedding was the wedding of the year in Thailand and had to be treated that way. Nothing was left to chance and every detail of the day was carefully planned. Bo and Nat wanted a pure romantic western styled wedding at Point Yamu by Como and wanted to begin with a Christian wedding ceremony followed by a sunset cocktail reception and dinner.

Inspired by the already stunning scenery and amazing design, we created a beautiful outdoor venue on the main lawn of the hotel with a view of the ocean as a backdrop for both the ceremony and the dinner. The location was decorated with chandeliers and hanging flowers to create a complete luxury dream fairytale wedding. The colours were rustic gold mixed with blush pink, white and greens.

To enhance their common interest in architecture, the registration table was decorated with the couples favourite architect books and the wedding favour was an architect ruler with the tag written “The Measure of Love is to Love without Measure.” We also created a gallery with images from their engagement session hanging from the outdoor roof with jars with flowers and ivy to enhance the couples love for art. In the pool area we put up a big Bo & Nat structure to create a nice backdrop for pictures and fun.

The overall feel was inspired by Bo’s unique character and style – a beautiful feminine woman with both elegance and class. We came up with the idea of transforming the whole lawn into a European flower garden. We used all imported flowers such as Pink David Austin Rose, Soft Pink Cymbidium, Ivory Rose, Soft pink Ranunculus and grey leaf. Both the ceremony and the reception was held in this amazing setting and was changed from ceremony to dinner in under two hours to great delight and surprise for all the guests that in the meantime were enjoying the sunset reception at the pool.

Photography: Sandra Aberg Photography | Cinematography: Narakorn Photography | Floral Design: IAMFLOWER | Wedding Dress: Oscar de la Renta | Invitations: Rabbit on the Moon | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Jewelry: Anyallerie | Groom's Attire: Button Up | Wedding Venue: Point Yamu By COMO | Graphic Design: Farmgroup | Groom’s Bow Tie: Lanvin | Lighting & Sound: Final Cut AV Phuket | Makeup & Hair Day 1: Kanakorn Kamjatpai | Makeup Day 2: Nontapat Amornchai | Ribbon: Sling Ribbon & bow | Second Wedding Dress: Reem Acra | Veil: Oscar de la Renta | Wedding Planning: The Wedding Bliss By Nanya

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here