Singaporebrides | Real Weddings
Cleo and Paul’s Minimalist and Ethereal Art Gallery Wedding
When COVID-19 derailed their Bali wedding plans, Cleo and Paul tied the knot in an ethereal and intimate art gallery wedding at Visual Arts Centre, where their dog played an important part in the ceremony.
Cleo Chang, 35, Makeup & Hair Artist, and Paul Yow, 31, Doctor, first encountered each other at the wedding of one of Cleo’s bridal makeup clients, but didn’t get to know each other until a year later on a blind date! After falling in love with Bali during a successful surprise proposal, the couple had planned for a destination wedding on the island. With the advent of COVID-19, however, they had to change their plans and managed to pull off a beautiful and intimate wedding celebration planned in under one month. The best part? Their beloved dog got to be their ring bearer at their art gallery wedding on 7 August 2020.
How did you first meet?
Cleo: Paul was the best man for the husband of one of my brides back in 2017 but nothing happened then. In 2018, out of fun, I posted on my work Instagram account that I was single and going on blind dates. That bride texted me directly to ask if I was keen to meet up with her very eligible friend and I was too shy to reject her kindness. A blind date was set up and yes, I’m in debt to her and social media!
Paul: I met Cleo when my best friend’s wife engaged her to be their makeup artist in 2017. I was the best man for my friend and I had popped by the hotel room to make sure they were all settled. Cleo was doing the makeup for Xinyi (the bride) at the time but she was so focused she didn’t register my presence. I remember asking my friends if she was single then but we soon got caught up in the wedding activities and forgot about it. A year later they told me that Cleo was now single and asked if I wanted an introduction. I jumped at the chance and we have never looked back since!
What made you fall in love with your partner?
Paul: The time and effort Cleo invests into us and our relationship. My work schedule involves fairly long hours and it would have been a struggle to set aside time for us if Cleo hadn’t been so accommodating. I think the moment came for me when we had just finished dinner on our second date and I was trying to arrange (with baited breath) a third date with her. She surprised me by saying that she had already cleared her schedule to coincide with the midweek off-days I had for the next several weeks. I knew then that she was definitely a keeper.
Cleo: It was the fact that he took time to give me lengthy replies on Whatsapp about my questions and concerns even when he was busy at work. Then he stole my heart when my dog fell in love with him through his food bribes and constant belly scratching. I can’t say no to my dog; he clearly knows best.
What was the proposal like?
Paul: We decided to visit Bali for a short getaway and to celebrate our first anniversary. Aside from the usual plans for food, relaxation, and sightseeing, we also made plans for a mini styled shoot to commemorate the milestone in our relationship. By this time, I already had the ring for her for a while and sensing an opportunity, proceeded to rope in our photographer and a videographer on the plan.
On the day of the shoot, we were down by Uluwatu beach and after a few couple shots, the photographer made an excuse to have Cleo down by the surf alone whilst the videographer prepared the necessary equipment. At their signal I walked towards her, knelt down, and started my proposal speech. It really was a picturesque day with beautiful weather, pristine sands, blue seas, and the majestic Uluwatu cliffs, and one that we both will remember fondly for many years to come.
Did COVID-19 affect your wedding plans?
After falling in love with Bali during our short trip there in 2019, we decided on an intimate garden-themed wedding In Bali. We had originally scheduled it for July this year and had already booked our venue and all our vendors when COVID-19 hit. Whilst we were discussing plans to postpone the Bali wedding to 2021 with our vendors, we were unfortunately hit with unforeseen family circumstances that meant we had to change our plans yet again.
We decided to do our ROM via zoom on our original wedding date and planned for our Holy Matrimony to be done locally 3 weeks later. As it was a last-minute decision, we only had a month to plan for the Holy Matrimony so decisions were made pretty fast. We downloaded the SingaporeBrides wedding checklist to ensure that we kept on track of things! We wanted a clean white space large enough to hold our ceremony while giving our vendors and us plenty of room for creativity. We managed to find an art gallery space that fulfilled our vision for a minimalistic and ethereal look, with the bonus that our dog Castle was able to be present and act as our ring bearer.
Cleo, you’ve been a part of a lot of weddings! What was it like being the bride for your own wedding day?
Cleo: After seeing brides getting married for 12 years, I really had a “It’s finally my turn!” kind of feeling. Honestly, having been part of so many weddings, I conscientiously tried to avoid following the textbook format because I knew I would end up commandeering the whole situation. I was a bridezilla before the wedding but on the day itself, I was pretty zen because I have seen too many brides stressing over small details (i.e., the weather, decorations, memorising their speeches while doing their makeup etc.).
What was your wedding day like?
We were lucky that regulations relaxed just a week before our wedding so we could have 30 guests with a full reception. I did my own makeup and hair in our matrimonial home before driving back to my parents’ place to wait for Paul to pick me up. As we chose a venue that doesn’t offer food and drinks and buffet catering was not allowed, we had to rely on food delivery services to have our food and desserts sent to our venue. This contributed to some logistical stress but it did make our wedding memorable.
Even though it was a small wedding, we loved that it was intimate and we managed to have our dear families and friends with us. It was a very hands-on wedding as well as we were trying to reduce head count and our friends helped by taking on multiple roles from styling the place, emceeing, and even as a Facebook live-streamer. Yes – we managed a live-streaming of our Holy Matrimony ceremony for our friends and overseas relatives so everyone could witness our union.
What was the most memorable moment of your wedding?
We were very lucky our venue allowed us to have our dog in the venue. We both agree that the most memorable moment was when our dog Castle, who was standing with Paul in the front during the bridal march in, ran towards Cleo once he saw her walking down the aisle and helped escort her to the front. He remained quietly by our pastor’s side during the ceremony and only got up for us to get our rings off his collar. It was a very precious moment.
The Size of the Wedding: 30 guests
The Venue: Visual Arts Centre
The Wedding Day Photographer: Iki Company
The Gown: JessicaCindy
The Bride’s Shoes: Gianvitto Rossi
The Suit: Joe’s Tailoring
The Groom’s Shoes: Pedro
The Wedding Bands: JannPaul
The Hairstylist and Makeup Artist: Cleo Chang
The Nail Artist: Calli Nails by Tasha Chen
The Caterer: Boruto for tapas, Keyaki Japanese Restaurant for bentos, Ahanbakes for dessert
The Florist: Floral Magic
The Videographer: Fresh From Kenneth
The Wedding Invitations and Stationery: Grace and Truly
The Solemniser: Pastor Aries
Credits: Images by Iki Company
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