Alicia and Ryan's Heartwarming Cross Cultural Wedding at Tamarind Hill and Villa Samadhi - SingaporeBrides
Singaporebrides | Real Weddings

November 2019

Alicia and Ryan’s Heartwarming Cross Cultural Wedding at Tamarind Hill and Villa Samadhi

Alicia and Ryan pledged their love for one another in a beautiful ceremony at Tamarind Hill Singapore.

Alicia and Ryan met in the Singapore Institute of Technology four years ago. They started out as friends and as time went by, they discovered that they shared similar values, beliefs and goals in life. Their attraction for one another blossomed into love when they realised what a great team they made after a friendly frisbee match. Today, the lovebirds are happily married after they pledged their love in a Humanist ceremony at Tamarind Hill, where they celebrated their nuptials in a heartwarming wedding celebration that honoured both their cultures.

What attracted you to your partner?

Alicia: We are both self-improvement junkies and optimists. In the beginning, we hung out more often as friends and we realised that we shared similar values, beliefs and goals in life in terms of our relationship, career and family. Ryan wears his heart on his sleeves, and I am an open book, so the attraction for each other escalated when he taught me frisbee for the first time. We had the chemistry to play in a friendly frisbee match, and we knew we made a great team as a pair.

What is it about your partner that you love the most?

Ryan: Her passion and hard work that she puts in for her work. She holds herself to high standards whenever she is dedicated to one thing. She takes good care of me and both of our families. Her warmth, kindness and laughter make my day every time.

Alicia: His honesty towards me and our relationship, his willpower and discipline to strive towards his goals, regardless of in health, fitness and work. His passion in sharing his knowledge and his patience in explaining the intricacies to people who are genuinely interested, his love for his Dad and his relentless support for my dreams.

What was the proposal like?

Alicia: Ryan proposed in 2017 when we returned back home to Scotland for Christmas. My friends and colleagues were assuming that Ryan would definitely propose during that trip. I tried not to think about it to keep my expectations low. Then, on 19 December 2017, when we returned from our afternoon walk, Ryan suggested to head up to his father’s balcony to watch the sunset together. I really thought it was odd, because I have always been admiring the view at the balcony on my own. So we headed up, and before I opened the door towards the balcony, Ryan stopped me by calling out “Alicia”. Whenever he calls me “Alicia”, it meant something serious.

He was bent on one knee, and his hands were trembling slightly, but he still kept his confident demeanour to mouth out the words in his short speech. He said, “I love you, and we will always be a team, and go on to explore adventures together”. Those are the words he says to me almost every day, but this time he finished it off with “Will you marry me?”. It was a very personal and intimate moment for us to remember. No one and no hidden cameras were around. It remains as a vivid memory in our heads when we reminisce about that moment.

Tell us about your wedding.

We chose to host our wedding party at Tamarind Hill Singapore because we agreed that the vegetarian food served in hotels and Chinese restaurants does not provide a variety good enough for a handful of our friends, who are vegetarian/vegan. So, we decided on serving Thai cuisine as it is familiar, highly acceptable and liked by most individuals, and a great bridge between our Western and Chinese guests. Plus, Tamarind Hill offers the option of serving vegetarian Thai cuisine, so our vegetarian guests would have the opportunity to enjoy similar dishes as those who picked the standard choice, which was the best of two worlds.

We also came to a mutual conclusion at the beginning of our wedding planning that we will only invite 160 guests combined, and we wanted to host our wedding in a cosy, urban location that makes us feel like we are out of Singapore for a day. After researching a few restaurants, Tamarind Hill was able to accommodate our requests and our families could stay at Villa Samadhi the night before the wedding, making it convenient and time saving for everyone.

Ryan: Alicia did most of the planning and coordinating while I focused on planning an itinerary to host my family and relatives in Singapore after the wedding. You can say that she was the planner pre-wedding and I was the planner for post-wedding activities.

To be very honest, Alicia came in between her family and me to coordinate and mediate a cross nationality wedding. There were several customs that I could not understand, and sometimes Alicia was speechless to explain why certain Chinese traditions ought to be practiced. I remembered a year ago when Alicia’s sister was getting married, her husband delivered a whole roasted pig to her family. Back then I was vegetarian/almost vegan, and I was appalled. I told Alicia, “Please tell me that I do not have to deliver a pig, when I told you that pigs have the intelligence to understand suffering and pain”. Thereafter, Alicia managed to explain my concerns to her parents, and this entire wedding planning was very much simplified and summarised with an Ang Bao. Her family also understood that I am here alone, and they wanted to make it a less stressful journey for us.

Did you have a wedding theme?

We love the beauty of two individuals from different cultures and nationalities crossed paths, and committing to a union. We both wanted to practice both Scottish and Chinese cultures, and also a Humanist wedding ceremony (where no religion is involved).

Alicia: The colour palette mainly derived from the key colours from Ryan’s kilt. The colours represented the House of Fraser, which was where his late mother came from. Essentially, we are paying homage to his mother’s culture with a touch of nude pink for a feminine touch.

Our vision for the wedding was for it to be a simple, intimate and heartwarming day for everyone, so even the flowers and styling for our outdoor wedding resembled the winter walks we had with his family by the vast naked fields alongside the Deeside every Christmas and New Year.

Share with us the story behind your two dresses.

Alicia: I wanted my dresses to be sustainable, statement pieces. As Ryan and I are living in a rented condo at the moment, space is a challenge for us and I never wanted to store more things that we already had at home after the wedding. Therefore, I went ahead with a simple, white sweetheart gown that I planned to repurpose after the wedding, and rented a nudish-pink cheongsam from Amanda Lee Weddings.

I prefer classic, timeless pieces, even for my everyday wear. So, my first dress was a white gown and hand-sewn cape that gave off a free-spirited, empowering and modern bride vibe that I had envisioned for my wedding day. My second dress in the evening, was a cheongsam from Amanda Lee Weddings. When I first tried it on, it was a two-piece dress. However, it was not the most flattering cut for me given my body shape. So, I requested for them to be pieced together into a dress, and Pearlyn from Amanda Lee Weddings made that happen. On top of that, she also stitched on beautiful floral laces with gold hues on the dress. The length of the train on the dress and the overall fitting was very comfortable for me to move around freely so I could entertain our guests throughout the night.

What was your wedding day like?

We were both so nervous about the speech we had to give to our family and guests that we couldn’t sleep the night before! Other than that, we were exhilarated to see all the familiar faces who turned up for our wedding. It filled us with that warm fuzzy feeling we wanted to feel for our big day. We loved and embraced every single moment and conversation we had with everyone.

Did your family and guests have a blast?

Although the Humanist wedding ceremony was something very unusual and foreign to our guests in Singapore, all of them found it meaningful and touching for us to share our vows and stories about one another. Of course, they loved the food and our wedding cake! Our page boys and girls also had a good time playing with each other.

Share with us the most memorable moment of your wedding?

Ryan: The most memorable part was the speech we both gave to our parents. Alicia teared during that part where she thanked my parents for being so welcoming and loving towards her when they first met. All the qualms she had prior to meeting them went away. And when I thanked my dad for being my role model in life and being the tough one to hold the family together when my late mum was sick, he was touched, and I could see his eye water. Most importantly, we got on really well with both of our families, and they enjoyed every single experience throughout this wedding.

Any advice for couples who are planning their wedding?

I think wedding planning is like a project that you work with with your other half and his/her family. Communication is key and regardless of how challenging it is to negotiate and manage everyone’s expectations, the couple has to stay strong together and communicate any concerns or feelings they have throughout the wedding planning.

It is also about compromise and sometimes disagreements. Conflicts are inevitable but we felt that they are integral so you get to learn more about your other half, and this is only one of the many challenges ahead that a couple has to deal with in a marriage.

For brides, I would suggest limiting yourself with three choices on every single thing you have to make a decision on, work towards a timeline, and ask a friend who really knows who you are to tell you the truth when certain options just do not shout “you”. Oh, and try to limit your time on Pinterest as well, because if there is no control, it might lead you down a rabbit hole full of options that will make it really difficult to make a decision, which is a waste of time.

Most importantly, work with a realistic budget both of you can afford. Your wedding is only for a day; some things may seem essential at first, but if you were to think about it again, they won’t seem to matter as much.

The Venue: Tamarind Hill Singapore, Villa Samadhi
The Size of Wedding: 160 guests
The Cost of Wedding: Approximately $38,000
The Wedding Photographer: Bloc Memoire Photography
The Wedding Gown: BHLDN (White Gown), Hand-sewn Cape by Alicia’s aunt, Amanda Lee Weddings (Cheongsam)
The Bride’s Shoes: Aldo
The Groom’s Suit: Kilt custom made in the UK
The Wedding Bands: Fonder Diamond
The Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Forever New
The Groomsmen’s Suits: Own
The Flower Girls’ Dresses: Own
The Page Boys’ Suits: Own
The Hair and Makeup Artist: Iheartblooms
The Wedding Videographer: FreshfromKenneth
The Event Stylist: FLOUR
The Florist: FLOUR (outdoor flower and styling, boutounniere, bride and bridesmaids’ hand bouquets and baby wagon) // O’hara Weddings (table garden centerpieces and preserved rose for mothers’ bouquet)
The Wedding Cake: Ollela Desserts
The Wedding Invitations and Stationery: Bride’s design, printed and assisted by Dora Prints and Paper Goods
The Wedding Favours: Tamarind Hill Singapore
The Solemniser: Tat See, The Humanist Society Singapore
The Wedding Resource: SingaporeBrides


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