A match made in the stars
With attention to detail and fine-tuned planning, Kenneth Cheong and Samantha Lim realised their dream of a secret garden wedding among family and friends beneath a glittering sky.
Fire and ice would be one way to describe Samantha Lim and Kenneth Cheong when they first met at a club event six years ago. She was a social butterfly who enjoyed nights out on the town with her girlfriends while he appeared to be the cool and aloof sort. The pair caught each other’s eye on the dance floor, and after an introduction by a friend, Kenneth, who is a familiar face in the local streetwear fashion scene, quickly shed his layers and showed his caring, sensitive side. A few drinks together turned into lunch dates, then romantic dinners. Their courtship lasted for about four years before Kenneth made a surprise proposal in front of close family and friends during Samantha’s 26th birthday party at a WoW suite at W Hotel Sentosa last year. “I happily posed for the camera beside the birthday cake without realising that instead of ‘Happy Birthday’, the words on it read ‘Will you marry me?’” she recalls. It was only when Kenneth got down on one knee and presented her with the diamond encrusted ruby ring she had always wanted that Samantha realised he was asking for her hand in marriage. “To the people who always ask me why I got married so young, I’d say that if you really love someone so dearly, you wouldn’t want to spend another day without them by your side,” the 27-year-old new bride says.
The Theme & Concept
Samantha had always envisioned a romantic outdoor wedding for her big day, so being the doting man in her life, Kenneth wanted nothing more than to make her dream come true. With the help of wedding planners Olivia and Vivian from Our Fairytale Wedding, they orchestrated a “Secret Garden” themed evening celebration at The Lawn, the lush outdoor function venue at heritage hotel, Raffles Singapore.
Guests were given a stately welcome as they entered the historic property and its charming compound. Nestled inside, The Lawn was a picture of vintage romance: candelabras hung under a white marquee, white bird cages decorated the area and pearls and lace adorned tables. Flowers played a big part in the decor too. In addition to a stunning floral arch and swing, pretty bouquets in fuchsia, soft pink and ivory dramatically livened up the hotel’s imposing colonial facade.
While the bride went for a dainty long-sleeved lace creation by Digio Bridal for her church wedding (“I wanted an elegant royal English feel for my church wedding,” she says), her evening gown was a more sultry mermaid design. The bride wasn’t the only one who paid extra attention to the wardrobe department. Being in the fashion business, Kenneth was just as impressively turned out in a smart suit, also from Digio Bridal, which he paired with Valentino’s Rockstud Derby shoes, hinting at his edgy style.
During the pre-dinner cocktail event, guests imbibed the hotel’s famed tipple, the Singapore Sling, a classy prelude to an evening of sophistication and fine dining. Departing from the typical Chinese wedding dinner, the couple indulged guests with a four-course Western gourmet meal that included smoked duck, lobster bisque, and a choice of fillet mignon with foie gras and cod with salmon caviar for their main course. Even the table settings had a charming vintage feel, with carefully arranged pearls, butterflies and ribbons. Taking the evening’s gastronomic indulgence a few notches higher was a live band that entertained guests throughout the evening under the stars.
Usually a man of few words, the groom held the attention of all his guests when he “poured his heart out” during his speech at the dinner. A number of ladies among the guests were even spotted nudging their boyfriends to listen, shares Samantha. The live band entertainment by local musicians Jack and Rai was a pleasant surprise arranged by Samantha’s cousin as a gift for the newlyweds. Two friends also serenaded the couple with their favourite songs during the course of the evening.
A beautiful photo booth designed to look like a scene out of The Secret Garden movie offered guests plenty of fun snapshot opportunities as they posed with the swing decorated with flowers. The photos made special souvenirs of their own secret garden moment, but that wasn’t the only thoughtful wedding favour left for guests. Lace fans, which the couple imported for each guest, served as an elegant way to stay cool in the outdoors and to remember this romantic vintage-inspired evening.
Looking back on her wedding celebration, Samantha says, “We are really grateful to our wedding planner for helping to conceptualise and plan our big day. All the elements, from the invitation card to the wedding favours, wedding decorations and photo booth came together nicely to create the romantic garden wedding I had always had in mind.”
COUPLE’S outfits Digio Bridal; Valentino
PHOTOGRAPHY Kai Lian/Lightedpixels Pixies; Gabriel Mandes (pre-wedding)
VIDEOGRAPHY Eugene Ong
MAKE-UP ARTIST & HAIRSTYLIST Amanda Cheong/Digio Bridal
FLOWERS Sir Charles; Astoria Floral Design & Landscape
PLANNER Our Fairytale Wedding
CAKE Raffles Singapore