Andrea and Tyler’s wedding could easily be a figment of my imagination, because a party that has both a hawk and a heard of camels on hand?! Too good to be true, right?! Nope, it’s really their reality and this darling duo incorporated all that and more for their all things wild celebration. With Rebecca Hollis Photography behind the lens snapping up every second, this is a gallery graced with so much goodness you’ve just got to see it all for yourself. Get started in The Vault!
From Rebecca Hollis Photography… I was fortunate to get to travel to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (a special place to the bride) for a week to photograph Andrea and Tyler’s wedding and the events leading up to it. The wedding party consisted of only immediate family and very close friends. We spent the week leading up to the wedding doing just about everything you can think of to do in the dessert – from camel rides to dune bashing to a saluki and falconry show. The week culminated in the ceremony and quiet candlelit dinner reception on one of the many terraces at Qasr al Sarab.
This couple was the definition of meant for each other. I first got to know them when doing their engagement session in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where the groom is from and it was immediately felt how loved they are by one another and how much they complement one another. They are respectful, warm and very kind. It was truly an honor to spend the week with them and their close friends and family for their wedding.
From the Bride… Our meeting was through pure happenstance. He had just taken a career break from his job in Sydney and decided to move to Beijing on a lark and hoped to improve on his Chinese. It was his first time living overseas by himself. As it turns out, one of his classmates in language school was dating a good friend of mine from university. It was at his dress-up birthday party that we were introduced to each other. We chatted pretty much all night and found out that we were actually neighbours in Sydney for a few years but our paths never crossed until that night.
From the Groom… My initial thought was that she was easily the most beautiful girl at the party, although she did have an angry looking resting face. Whatever. I decided that I wasn’t going to approach to her. However, once I did speak to her, I thought she was sweet and had a great sense of humour. Definitely someone I would like to get to know better.
From the Bride… As we met at a dress-up party, my first impression of Kevin was that his costume was showing a lot of legs! After we were introduced and started taking, I felt he was articulate, well mannered and genuine. So when he asked for my number before he left the party, I thought he was a nice enough guy and wouldn’t mind seeing him again.
About our proposal… It was meant to be a surprise proposal during a romantic candlelit dinner on the beach in Koh Samui. However, the elements conspired against us and created a perfect storm of gale force winds and crashing waves which prevented the on-beach diner. In the end, when we got back to our hotel after dinner, he asked me to watch a short video he had prepared which showed our life together for the past couple of years. The video was sweet and incredibly touching. When I finished watching, he was already bent down on one knee and he asked if I would do him the honour of marrying him.
The entire planning process started when we flew to Bali for a hectic weekend (about a year ahead of our proposed wedding date) of venue inspections, taste-testing and meet wedding planners. After we returned home, we booked the venue and engaged Karen of Cher Ange Weddings. The next ten months was a bit of a blur with endless emails, mood boards, seeking quotes, various selections and Skype sessions with Karen. Although the process of planning a Bali wedding from Australia was always going to be challenging, having Karen’s expertise and local knowledge to guide us was a tremendous help.
The first thing we did when we woke up on the wedding day was to see if it was still raining, checked weather reports and made a panicked phone call to Karen ordering a marquee. Not exactly the ideal start to one’s wedding day but Karen swiftly took care of everything allowing us to just enjoy the day!
We separated into different villas shortly after breakfast so the bridal parties could get ready separately. Having my bridesmaids all together getting ready was actually pretty special because we live in different cities now and it has been several years since we have all been together at the one time. The getting ready process was half long overdue catchup, half getting pampered. The boys got ready much quicker than we did so I think they went and welcomed guests and took photos at the welcome drinks.
After all the guests were seated, the string quartet cued the entrance of the bridesmaids and then it was my turn! Holding onto my dad’s arm as he walked me down the stairs to the flower petaled aisle, I think he was more nervous than I was. I remember telling him to slow down – it’s not easy walking down a steep staircase in wedges and a flowing wedding dress!
The ceremony itself was brief but heartfelt. Kevin and I exchanged our personalised vows and then we signed on the dotted line. The MC actually told us that he was getting “misty” during our vows.
The entrance of the bridal party was to “Sugar” by Maroon 5 which set the party mood for the reception. Dinner was a delicious three course fusion cuisine. The guests also enjoyed a selection of handmade desserts at the gorgeously decorated dessert bar.
After the formalities, I remember there was ample toasting, lots of laughs, plenty of dancing, being pulled into the pool, followed by more dancing….oh and also playing in the photo booth! We wanted a relaxed elegance and classical affair which would complement Khayangan Estate’s stunning cliff-top scenery and character-filled grounds. Soft neutral colours were used throughout our decoration with touches of brass to really stand out in the candle light.
There were also some subtle personal touches throughout, such as the wedding invites were custom hand-drawn illustration of Kevin and I, by Aimee Paints based in the UK. The table name cards were tied to a rustic brass key and then hung on a restored timber door for the guests to individually discover where they were seated, and photos of our travels and lives together were displayed on a couple of strings using mini wooden pegs so guests could get to know our story better!
We chose “I do I do” by Charlie Mars to have our first dance to. It is relaxed and mellow and has simple yet sweet lyrics. It is the type of song that just makes you feel warm and happy. Plus it is also a song from one of our favourite shows, “How I Met Your Mother”!
Towards the end of the night, after all the formalities were done and many of the guests had taken to cooling off in the pool beside the dance floor, the Best Man said to Kevin, “I honestly can’t remember the last time everyone had so much fun!” I think that sentiment perfectly described the mood at the end of the night. Yes, the venue, the decor, the dresses were something out of a movie or magazine, but what truly made our wedding day special were the family, relatives and friends who made the effort to come to Bali to let us simply have fun with the ones we love.
From Sandra Åberg Photography… This is a styled shoot that came out of my “A Touch of Fashion Workshop” in Phuket, Thailand with the incredible wedding planners The Wedding Bliss Thailand. The ceremony at the pool was nothing short of incredible – in the middle of the ceremony a storm started – but the bride and groom were both already soaked and I honestly wished right then and there that this was a real wedding – to embrace the moments like this good or bad and make the absolute most of it is what marriage is all about. Nature can never be controlled, but as luck would have it after the storm the sky opened up and the most incredible light flooded the scene making for some beautiful images.
From The Wedding Bliss Thailand… Creating a dream wedding was a lot of fun to work on! As we’re based on Phuket we always get inspired by its breathtaking views of the infinite sea. There’s always a special joy in being able to create dream weddings for our couples in such surroundings. But when it came to defining what the dream wedding is for us, we suddenly were unanimous in our vision, and decided to create a whimsical, yet classy ceremony in the incredible Ocean’s 11 private villa on Phuket’s east coast. Getting married in the infinity pool overlooking amazing Phang Nga Bay — sounds fascinating, right?
‘Endless Dream’ was the inspiration behind this shoot, and ironically, our gorgeous model happened to be named Dream! A gorgeous island girl meeting her Prince Charming from a far-away land and falls in love — almost a Pocahontas story, that was a part of our inspiration as well. The clean, almost minimalist style of the villa drew us in the direction of fresh, natural tones, so we chose white as a basis of the overall decoration. The choice of flowers was not left to a chance either — we decided to use all local flowers, to draw attention to Thailand culture and its authentic vibe.