Thursday, November 8, 2007

IN Magazine: Nov 07 issue - spread

(photos: Edmon Leong, text: Jenn Chan Lyman)

IN Magazine: Nov 07 issue - text

Jenn and Levi

Weddings often conjure images of solemn vows and traditional rites of passage, pronouncing you man and wife. In other words, there are things you expect, and things you don’t. In Jenn and Levi’s case, the road to getting married was full of the unexpected. Levi and Jenn met over Christmas holidays in 2005 in Kona, Hawaii. Neither expected to find such a perfect match of silliness and sincerity, and in less than four months, the two were married in a private ceremony in Oakland, California. That’s when they started to plan their wedding.

From the beginning, Jenn and Levi wanted their wedding to be more fun than fancy. Kona was the perfect meeting ground for the Shanghai-based couple and their friends and family along the Pacific Rim. The Fairmont Orchid’s Turtle Pointe, an outdoor venue where black volcanic rocks and white-washed sands met cerulean skies, was the perfect setting. Jenn’s first maid of honor designed a wedding motif for the couple: a pair of sea turtles with Chinese characters etched on their backs, along with all of the wedding stationery. The invite was written in the form of a movie trailer starring the happy couple. The other maid of honor hand-made chocolate tulips as table favors. Levi, a music engineer and DJ, pre-mixed a seven-hour play list for the entire occasion.

Exactly a year from the date of their first wedding day, Levi patiently awaited his bride in the company of his groomsmen and Jenn’s 'bridesman'. The men all sported linen pants and classic Tommy Bahama shirts. Walking in to the lilting theme of Il Postino, family members were followed by bridesmaids in tea-length gowns of bright coral. The bride entered with both mother and father, resplendent in a slender silk gown with a cathedral train. A handmade mantilla veil framed her face and flowed behind her with a scattering of embroidered flowers. Both bride and groom beamed in the afternoon light.

The officiant, a friend of the couple, smiled at the ensemble of friends and family who had traveled far to be with Jenn and Levi in Kona, and began with a passage from The Princess Bride: “Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us together today.” And brought together they surely were.

Jenna and Jacques

Jenna and Jacques found each other one summer’s evening in late August 2005 at a chic lounge in the heart of Hong Kong, aptly named FINDS. A little over a year later, the couple welcomed family and friends from around the world to one of the most refined luxury hotels in Seoul, to participate in a wedding ceremony that paid homage to Jenna’s Korean heritage and also embraced the Western traditions of Jacques’ Parisian upbringing.

Traditional Korean ceremonies address key themes that are meant to bring fortune to the lucky couple. The bride and groom dressed in sumptuous garments representing prosperity and respect to the sacrosanct commitment of marriage. Three red circles were painted on Jenna’s face to protect her from malicious spirits. Both bride and groom wore silk caps representing nobility and rank as they bowed with respect to their elders. Dates and jujubes were offered to Jenna’s new in-laws and later these symbols of children to come were tossed towards the new couple, who caught as many as they could in the bride’s wide skirt.

Following these Korean traditions, the couple held a quaint outdoor ceremony followed by dinner. Jenna exchanged her colorful traditional garments for a strapless designer gown, with a sweetheart neckline and a layered skirt of silk tulle. Orange and cream bouquets and white candle pillars lined the aisle at intermittent spots. The bride smiled shyly behind her blusher veil, clasping a bouquet of long-stemmed calla lilies. Jacques grinned as she came up the aisle, all decked out and looking dapper in his black tuxedo with tails.

After the ceremony, bride and groom greeted their guests and showed off their brand new matching wedding bands. An orange, cream and chocolate palette formed a delicious backdrop indoors and out. At nightfall, Jenna stepped away to change into an off-white mermaid-cut evening dress with a gathered waist. Guests dined on succulent Western cuisine matched with carefully selected wines. Jenna and Jacques stole away to share a few quiet moments as their photographers captured the chemistry between them in the lounge areas around the hotel. The hotel’s décor focused on the play of lights upon form and structure, creating the perfect highlights to the glow they shared at the end of an unforgettable day.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

IN Magazine: Oct 07 issue

(photos: Edmon Leong, text: Jenn Chan Lyman)

Friday, October 5, 2007

IN Magazine: Oct 07 issue - text

Cindy and James

If the story of Cindy and James were to be written into a movie script, it would definitely be a romantic comedy. It all began with a chance meeting at a mutual friend’s wedding, after which the bedazzled couple parted ways, one to Shanghai, China and the other to Barnstaple, U.K. Reams of phone bills and many long-haul flights later, the two finally set up shop in Barnstaple, James’ hometown. The comedy side comes naturally with the couple’s good-natured and goofy personalities. Cindy, an insightful, adventure-seeking Seattle native living in Shanghai, has a laugh that could disarm you in a second. And James, a thoughtful chap running a family business that his father built over decades of hard work, has a smile that could just as easily win you over.

On 19 June, 2006, the couple invited their families and friends to Bovey Castle for their wedding day, the very same castle where James asked for Cindy’s hand a year before. The day began with a bow to their Chinese heritage in an afternoon tea ceremony. Cindy’s cheongsam, designed by her and tailor-made in Shanghai, was traditionally cut in the bodice but fanned out into a long phoenix’s tail of silk that sashayed fluidly behind her as she entered the room. James knelt beside her, smartly outfitted in a three piece tuxedo in tune with the early 20th century décor of the venue. The couple presented tea to their elders and accepted words of wisdom and red pockets of good luck money, traditional gifts for a couple’s new start.

After the tea ceremony, James hosted the cocktails while the bride excused herself to prepare for the wedding ceremony. Dressed in a stunning cream wedding gown with an elbow-length veil of silk tulle, Cindy glowed as she proceeded towards the ceremony with her bridal party. Her off-the-shoulder gown, detailed with pearls and champagne beading, was adorned at the waist with a rich cream sash. Fuschia and red Chinese umbrellas, matching the fuschia knee-length gowns of her three bridesmaids, shielded them from the light sprinkle of afternoon rain. The congregation stood as Cindy began coming down the aisle on the arm of her father. After the couple was pronounced husband and wife, champagne glasses were raised to the newlyweds, toasts to a new chapter in the story of Cindy and James.

Laurette and Mark

Born and raised on opposite sides of the world, Laurette from Deux-Sevre, France and Mark from Te Awamutu, New Zealand, they met in London where Laurette happened to share a flat with Mark’s university mate. Their courtship spanned years of living in different cities, until Laurette finally moved to New Zealand. Two years later, while swimming in a lagoon in the remote Yasawa Islands in Fiji, Mark popped the question.

The couple chose to marry close to Laurette’s hometown and after browsing through an abundance of chateaus near the area, the couple chose Château de la Flocellière in the Loire Valley, a castle first built in the early 11th century and carefully maintained throughout the ages.

The wedding day on 15 July, 2006, began with an indoor ceremony held in a church a short distance from La Flocellière. The bride was exquisite in a strapless A-line gown with a sheer long-sleeved sheath that she donned for the formal ceremony. Her long hair was swept to one side, braided and accentuated with white satin ribbons. The final touch was a necklace of pearl strands knotted together to form a waterfall of pearl droplets. Mark was radiant in a smart three-button summer suit and matching champagne tie. After their exchange of vows, the congregation followed the newlyweds to the chateau for cocktails in the manicured gardens.

That night, the grounds of La Flocellière sparkled not only with old French charm, but also with the mirth and exuberance of the entire wedding party. The mix of New Zealand and French customs, both of which encouraged much singing and dancing to begin with, progressed to festivities that carried on until the early morning. Guests sang and swung their napkins vigorously above their heads upon the arrival of the new bride and groom. New Zealanders performed the haka dance with their shirts off. Adhering to French tradition, guests doused the couple with streamers and confetti as they hid beneath a multi-colored umbrella for their first dance. A huge brioche and French onion soup repast was served around 3am before everyone retired to bed, exhausted and happy for the newlyweds. All in all, the wedding was the perfect manifestation of Laurette and Mark, a mix of lively cultures, wholehearted laughter and down-to-earth good fun.