Singaporebrides | Photography

November 2020

Celia and Ivan’s Tropical Garden Wedding at The Summerhouse

After a decade of knowing each other, Celia and Ivan tied the knot in a laid-back garden wedding with a tropical theme at The Summerhouse.

Love flourishes with the right person at the right time, and for Celia and Ivan, their love took a decade to blossom into the adoration and commitment they have for one another. After a private proposal at the top of Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, the young lovebirds decided to take their relationship to the next phase and tie the knot in an intimate and laid-back tropical garden wedding with their family, friends and precious furkids!

How did you and Ivan meet?

Celia: Ivan and I met when we were in the polytechnic. He was a Year 3 student and I was still a freshman back then. We were in the same school club and took part in many camp activities together.

As time went by, we became close friends, spending much of our time chit-chatting, having meals together and playing Facebook games.

Ivan: And just like that, we’ve been together for a decade and have moved on to our next phase of life to becoming lifetime partners! We spent much of our time together going for walks and picnics, with our two precious furkids (Bobo & Bobby), and with our new friends from the dog club.

What made you fall in love with Celia?

Ivan: Celia is really hardworking and have always taken good care of both of our furkids and myself. We are like the dogs’ pawrents (parents) and us being together is like a small family. Through all these years, that is when I know Celia is the one I have been looking for. Our love journey of 10 years made me understand that it does not matter what others think of you, as long as you believe it is the right thing to do, you should pursue it and stand tall because it is the right decision or at least a choice that you will not regret.

What was the proposal like?

Celia: The proposal took place at one of the summits in our favourite country (Australia)! It was at Tasmania (Cradle Mountain), a beautiful place that we definitely want to visit again. The entire proposal was a surprise to me as I did not see it coming at all. Ivan was smart enough in the planning process and even gifted me an expensive pair of earrings prior to our trip which made everything less suspicious – I guess his surprise within another surprise works perfectly! Honestly, my heart dropped when he took out the earring box which looked somewhat like a ring box. For a moment, I thought I might be getting a proposal at home instead. I must say, he did a good job in the entire proposal.

Ivan: There was no specific plan on when or where to propose to her. I was just finding the right time for the proposal. I hid the ring within three layers of socks, hoping that she would not find out about it. We went on a hiking trip which took us a couple of hours to get to the summit of Cradle Mountain. It was really beautiful from there and Celia was just busy with taking photos of the scenery. I knew that was the right time, so I quickly took out the ring and knelt down, ready to pop the question anytime! However, she took longer than I expected and a huge fat crow landed right next to me which made me panic as I thought it might snatch the ring box from me. That was when I quickly prompted her not to get a shock when she turned around (I wanted to warn her about the big fat crow nearby, haha!). She turned around, laughing and giggling non-stop at me, asking what am I doing at that time and eventually said ‘yes’!

What was the wedding planning journey like? Were there any challenging/favourite moments during that planning period?

Both: We definitely had more challenges than fun during our planning journey. Our venue was confirmed more than a year prior to our big day and we were looking forward to this day, having a picture perfect moment in our minds. While the wedding venue being two levels is rather hard to manage, we decided to bring in the live video streaming team who helped ease the problem (especially for elderly folks who were not able to move about conveniently).

Just a few months leading up to our wedding, we started having to deal with many battles from the merciless COVID-19 situation and even up until our actual day – the shipment delays on our wedding items, the precautionary measures we have to take into consideration for our guests’ well-being during this hard period, the ever changing travel advisory which caused many of our guests to be unable to attend our wedding with no refunds that can be made to us, the sudden implementation of safe distancing rules which almost made me (Celia) give up on this wedding just the night before our big day, after being informed by the venue manager that our seating arrangement and layout will have to be changed.

Needless to say, we had an endless number of guests dropouts even a few hours prior to our solemnisation ceremony. Just a few weeks before our wedding, our selected live band singer/emcee was also down with vocal cord infection and we had to go through another round of shortlisting (yet again). We were thankful to have found MXGX as our live band, and a friend of Ivan’s who offered to help us as our bilingual emcee (he definitely did a great job on that night)! The challenges were endless but we were glad to overcome the challenges as a pair, keeping one another sane and constantly reminding ourselves to be positive all the time.

Nonetheless, we had our favourite moments too! The time we spent selecting our wedding favours was unimaginable but we had fun during the process! After attending a number of weddings and bringing home wedding favours only to throw it away after some time, we wanted to provide our guests with gifts that would be useful to them. So, we ended up having three types of wedding favours – customised wooden coasters, tote bags and drawstring pouches with our furkids’ illustration. We had lots of fun with our bridal squad while DIY-wrapping the favours for our guests! Plus, we can’t discount all the fun we had during our pre-wedding photoshoots, video shoots and the selection of our bridal party’s outfits (to fit our tropical wedding theme).

Where was your wedding venue and why did you choose it?

Both: We knew we wanted to move away from the mainstream hotel banquet options and set up a casual wedding atmosphere for our furkids, families and friends to be with us on our special day. We selected The Summerhouse and in fact, this was the one and only place we went down to check out. The venue is pet-friendly which was actually our top most priority when it comes to shortlisting the venues. They were able to host our estimated number of guests, and also had a beautiful garden space for solemnisation.

What was your wedding day like?

Our wedding day started pretty early even before the sun rose and lasted almost 24 hours! We were deadbeat and literally crashed on our bed right after everything. The both of us truly lacked sleep having dealt with many issues related to COVID-19 just right before our big day. The day was full of mixed feelings containing excitement, nervousness (more for Ivan), sadness and happiness. We were glad that everything fell into place naturally on the day itself despite all the hiccups that occurred!

The selection of tropical-chic theme came about because we wanted something more casual for our guests and a wedding set-up that looks more vibrant and fun, especially so that we can incorporate our favourite colours of flowers alongside with huge monstera leaves. We imagined our wedding to be really colourful with everyone dressed up in casual tropical outfits. We did not want our bridesmaids and groomsmen team to go through the hassle of dressing up formally as well, thus all of them were in summer shirts for the day! We truly wanted to ensure that our guests had enough food as well and decided to forgo a photobooth and spend the money on a variety of food booths to cater some of our favourite foods such as seafood paella, roasted poultry, tutu kueh, muah chee and even bubble tea (how could we do without these on our big day!) for our guests to enjoy.

What did your friends and family say about your wedding?

Both: Prior to our wedding day, most of our friends and family were really excited to attend our wedding as it was the first time attending a Western style wedding for most of them. To be honest, we hadn’t attended one ourselves too! 

In fact, many of them were cracking their heads on what to wear to match our tropical themed wedding, searching around for suitable outfits and some even texted us to check on whether the selected outfit matched our theme before purchasing it. It was really heart-warming to see them putting in effort just for us, and being more than just excited to attend our wedding.

During and after the wedding, we are really happy to hear how much they enjoyed themselves, especially with the food and drinks, which they helped themselves to generously because they were all so delicious! We were also told that the entire tropical wedding setup was done up beautifully and we had a cool wedding car too – it was a land rover which we thought looked rather apt for our theme. Many of our guests were also happy with the wedding favours and some even came asking if we had any extra pieces of the customised tote bags left to be given out!

We were also delighted to receive compliments from our friends and family on how funny, meaningful and sweet our pre-wedding video (done by Back Button Media) was.

Share with us the most memorable moment of your wedding.

Celia: I would say, there were a lot of equally memorable moments for me! Having our two adorable furkids being part of our special day (from day to night) was definitely one of the most memorable moments for me. That aside, dealing with the entire wedding planning journey by ourselves also made the whole wedding process really memorable and personal to us as a couple.

Ivan: The mixed feelings prior to our garden themed solemnisation was indeed the most memorable for me. I remembered it was pouring heavily and our wedding styling team were still working hard under the heavy rain on the set-up. Just half an hour prior to our solemnisation ceremony, while it was still pouring heavily, I was asked by the event coordinator if we would like to shift our solemnisation indoors instead, but I went ahead with the decision and took the risk of having it outdoors despite the gloomy weather.

I was checking the sky constantly, fervently praying for a miracle to happen and comforting my wife-to-be who broke down over all the unnecessary stress back then, as being able to march in with our furkids and exchange our vows in front of everyone in the beautiful garden meant so much to us. Thankfully, the sky cleared up as the time for our ceremony drew close, and we were beyond happy that all proceeded as planned!

What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with other couples who are also in the midst of planning their wedding?

Both: You can never be truly ready for this special day of yours! As with all couples, it is a norm wanting to be a perfectionist and always asking for more. Just ensure you follow the basic checklist and everything will naturally fall into place on your big day. Do not fret over how you can please everyone; just do what you prefer as a couple, never be afraid to ask for help from friends and family, and speak to your wedding vendors for advice when you need to. 

The Venue: The Summerhouse
Cost of Wedding: $60,000
Size of Wedding: 210 guests
The Gown: The Gown Connoisseur
The Bride’s Shoes: Fred Perry
The Suit: Assemble Singapore
The Groom’s Shoes: Fred Perry
The Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands: Goldheart
The Wedding Photographer: Knotties Frame
The Hairstylist and Makeup Artist: Makeup Maestro (Chin Sien)
The Bridesmaid’s Dress: Ragstock
The Groomsmen’s Suit: Ragstock
The Flower Girls’ Dresses: Etsy
The Page Boys’ Suits: Etsy
The Nail Artist: Nailmachine (Kimberlyn)
The Wedding Stylist: Amperian
The Wedding Cake: Yume Patisserie
The Wedding Invitations and Stationery: Taobao
The Wedding Favours: Taobao (exclusively designed by Adorblines)
The Wedding Band: A Little Dream Live Music – Moxi & Guanxian (MXGX)
The Floral Crown Florist: Florals by Benita
The Solemniser: JP Teo Chong Tee
The Wedding Car: Carousell
The Tutu Kueh & Muah Chee Booth: Queensway Lau Tan Tutu Kueh (via Ameperian)
The Bubble Tea Booth: Sober by Bober
The Illustrator: Adorblines
The Emcee: Tan Wei Xiong (Ivan’s Friend)
The Wedding Resource: SingaporeBrides

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Celia and Ivan’s Tropical Garden Wedding at The Summerhouse