A Beautiful White Wedding in Bali

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Joanna and Amanda are no strangers to globetrotting and traveling the world over.  So it was only fitting this international couple who host a destination wedding with an intimate gathering of friends and loved ones.  Joanna shared not only their big day with us, but a bit about their love story too and how Bali become home to their “I do’s.”

“…No aspect of our wedding or our relationship has been ‘traditional’ in any sense of the word.  Amanda and I met by chance six years ago in a non-descript, after-work bar in the West Village and two weeks later shared our first date and little did I know our lives would be forever changed.  We were engaged six months later while celebrating New Years in Paris and some rumblings of wedding chatter happened but nothing concrete.  Amanda and I wanted to wait until marriage was legalized and for that to happen for a same-sex couple where one bride holds a United States Passport and one a Singapore Passport this would be a challenge and so we waited…and waited.”

 “Four years after getting engaged, Amanda got the news that we would be relocated back to Singapore for her career. We settled into Singapore well and about a year into our time as expats, we finally got the news that DOMA had been overturned thus allowing us to legally marry.”  

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“Our first month in Singapore, I was very homesick and Amanda booked us a trip to Bali where she had gone many times while living and growing up in Singapore.  She kept telling me about this magical island that I would absolutely fall in love with and sure enough, she was right, the second I saw the beaches, interacted with the Balinese people, and traveled around the island, I was hooked.”  

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“Of course choosing Bali was the easy part; coordinating 36 guests to fly to Bali a year later became a full-time job for me as I took on most of the wedding planning.  Amanda and I settled on The W Retreat and Spa which is in the heart of Seminyak because we wanted a modern space that had flares of local culture, the ability for our guests to go into town easily and explore, and easy proximity from the airport.  The overall feel of the romantic and hip venue and of the outdoor setting where it wasn’t directly on the beach but, elevated above so you could see the waves crashing during our sunset ceremony was ideal.”  

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“In terms of decor, I had discussed at length with Rina that I wanted everything to be romantic but always with a modern flare. We wanted our entire ceremony and flowers to be white and different white flowers but the predominant flower being the orchid as that is the National Flower of Singapore.  Guests would also be given a welcome refreshment as they entered the ceremony space, which was mint-iced tea along with a cup of white rose petals to throw as we walked up the aisle after saying ‘I Do’.”  

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“For our bouquets we wanted simple white orchids and for our bridesmaids cream and white roses the more simple and romantic, the better.”  

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“We chose to walk down the aisle to Coldplay’s ‘Reign of Love’, which my Mom helped us choose and fit perfectly with our modern and romantic theme.  Our close friend, Diana Mahmoud, officiated the ceremony and her words had guests in tears. Amanda and I chose to write and say our own vows where again there wasn’t a dry eye even among the two of us.  We exchanged our rings and kissed as the song ‘Sweet Disposition’ by Temper Trap.  We walked up the aisle to the music and guests showering us with white rose petals.”  

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“We decided to employ the help of a local tour guide with whom we have worked with before to assist us in creating events surrounding the actual wedding day for our guests, as all would be arriving early.  I flew to Bali several times to coordinate with plans with our tour guide and on-site event planner and create an itinerary for our guests.”  

“…We decided to host an informal beachside BBQ at the famous Echo Beach House where guests could choose fresh seafood, watch the sunset and listen to music.  The next day was optional for guests and this included a bright and early wake up call and a ‘Tour of Ubud’, which is Bali’s arts and culture hub, guests, were able to visit local Balinese villages and ride elephants.  The same evening, our wedding events manager assisted us in our rehearsal at the ceremony space, which I was surprised went off seamlessly…The bridal party then headed down the road to the famous, Merah Putih Restaurant, for a cocktail hour and formal sit-down rehearsal dinner.”

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“We wanted our table to reflected the venue of Starfish Bloo Restaurant where the predominant colors were turquoise and white so, we decided on centerpieces in tuquoise vases with light green, light blue and white roses and tons of white orchids.  We also wanted the space to feel very romantic so we had lanterns surrounding the venue along with tea lights in blue votives on the dinner tables.”  

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“We settled on a six-course menu that had an Indonesian flare with Asian and Western cuisine incorporated and for dessert as we opted not to do a cake we served plates of four small desserts that had tastes of Indonesia, Singapore, and US tastes, along with cheese plates for the table as I am Italian and cheese is my favorite dessert.”  

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“Overall, we had a dream wedding and there is absolutely no aspect I would change.  I am still in awe and grateful that we had so many family and friends who travelled such a long distance to be with us and being able to stay in the same resort and have impromptu brunches, pop to a boutique with girlfriends, and hang pool-side with our loved ones was the best experience.  Having a destination wedding isn’t easy and I was lucky to employ such amazing vendors along with surround myself with a great team in Bali who were equally invested in creating a special day for all of us.”

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Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Destination Wedding Photographer: Valentino Ruya

Wedding Vendors: Location: The W Retreat and Spa Bali, Event Manager Day Of Wedding: Rina Djajasumadi from The W Retreat and Spa Bali, Tour and Event Manager For Events Surrounding Wedding: Artin Putu, Custom Wedding Dresses: Modern Trousseau, Joanna’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik, Amanda’s Shoes: Prada, Joanna’s Engagement Ring: Tiffany & Co., Custom Wedding Bands: Yuen Tang, Bridesmaids Custom Gowns: Ixora By Rose Pham, Joanna’s After-Party Custom Dress: Ixora By Rose Pham, Amanda’s After-Part Custom Suit: Haute Alteration, Hair and Makeup For Bridal Party: The Bronzer, Videographer: Mata Photography, Place Cards: Beachy Chic Decor, Wedding Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas, Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Merah Putih Restaurant, Rehearsal Dinner Menus: Minted, Rehearsal Dinner and Sunrise Shoot Photographer: Solveig Boergen