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.

No comments: