Unlike most couples, Damian Xiao met his in-laws even before he first laid eyes on his wife. He had known her parents from Mini Cooper events, and it was at one of the dinners that he finally spoke to their daughter. Florence Lee was outgoing and charismatic, while he was slightly reserved; like yin and yang they immediately hit it off.
No doubt, their relationship saw challenges. They had to endure time apart when Damian served two years of National Service, and when he spent another two years at university in Melbourne, Australia. Whenever they were together, however, they made the most of every minute. Whether they were having long intimate conversations over a good meal or enjoying scenic road trips, being able to enjoy each other’s company after all that time apart brought them closer.
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After nine years of dating, it was a matter of time before Damian popped the question. “I knew she was the one because she always has the best intentions at heart despite our different opinions,” he says. “Also, she makes me laugh and she laughs at my jokes.”
Knowing that Christmas was her favourite holiday, Damian gave Florence the best Christmas gift by going down on bended knee at a tranquil French restaurant by the sea.
Theme & Concept
Having a clear vision of what they wanted for the theme of their wedding made planning their two-part event a breeze. Florence’s heart was set on a church ceremony, so the couple instinctively decided to hold it at The White Rabbit, a beautifully restored 1930s Ebenezer chapel, without scouting for alternative venues. The high ceilings and abundance of natural light set up the perfect backdrop for an intimate solemnisation ceremony and luncheon. Entertainment was provided by Live Conclusions.
Their dinner reception a week later at Capella Singapore was just as well planned, and consequently, just as stunning. Again, picking the venue was an easy choice. “The Grand Ballroom—the only round ballroom in Singapore—is unique,” says Florence. “We felt it represented going full circle in our relationship; we were right where we started—choosing to embark on our next journey together.”
In stark contrast to the pastel colour palette at their church ceremony, the couple went with a darker, more sensual theme for the evening event, even decking the ballroom out in black tablecloths, and deep purple and pink blooms from Boenga. Florence attributes the successful ambience and decor—which received praises from friends and family—to the florist. Artistes from Compass Entertainment kept the mood buoyant throughout.
The pair also had it easy with the menu planning. In fact, they didn’t have to plan anything, because the groom’s father Steven Seow, a discerning gourmand, took it upon himself to lend his astute palate for the selection. He worked not just with the chef at Capella, but also Möet Hennessy and Rémy Cointreau to ensure the drinks paired perfectly with the dishes. Guests were treated to exquisite tipple such as Ruinart Blanc de Blanc, Hennessy Paradis Impérial and Domaine Du Grollet. “We recognised the importance of showing our respect to our friends and family with fine food and drinks to accompany them throughout the evening’s events,” says Damian.
While the couple says they could not have pulled off their hiccup-free celebrations without the help of their wedding planner Our Fairytale Wedding and the various professionals, it was, as with most weddings, the involvement of family as well as close friends that made their big day that much more memorable.
One particular individual who went all out for the event was, again, the groom’s father. A month before the big day, the car enthusiast took delivery of a Rolls-Royce Dawn convertible—the first one in Singapore—because he had insisted the couple tie the knot with a white car.
And it seems his fellow car aficionados were just as dedicated to the occasion. Midway through their annual Ferrari drive from Singapore to Phuket, several of Steven’s friends paused their trip just to fly home to Singapore for the wedding banquet. The next day, they were back at their wheels and cruising through Phuket.
As joyous as weddings should be, they would not be complete without a few tears shed. During the day celebration, Florence’s best friend made a heartfelt speech, which moved the bride. “I was aware that she would be making a speech, but I was not ready for the touching words of blessings and insights she had brought,” she recalls. “That was truly memorable for me.”