“We knew we wanted a big wedding because Ben has a very large family and we are lucky to have a lot of great friends. We wanted a summer wedding with an outdoor ceremony and plenty of flowers everywhere,” say Jasmine and Ben.
A traditional Chinese tea ceremony with Jasmine’s mother and grandmother added a unique and very personal touch.
Jasmine says “We didn’t have a clear idea about a venue at first, and looked at several options without finding quite the right one. The Milk Station at Otaki wasn’t originally on our list because other friends had been married there, but when we visited together and talked with Norbert the manager, we saw it would work well for us.
“Italy is one of our favourite places in the world, and the Tuscan vibe of The Milk Station brought back special memories of a recent trip to Tuscany,” she smiled.
“Leaning in to The Milk Station’s style, I just followed my taste rather than having a particular theme. I don’t like round tables or tablecloths, so we hired wooden trestle tables from Arch Hire and soft French linen napkins from Tbl.Linen. The flowers by Twig & Arrow followed a colour theme of white, green and peach with a touch a burgundy and turned out beautifully.
“Obviously the food is hugely important at a wedding. We consider ourselves ‘foodies’ and knew our food had to be no less than incredible!
“We explored a few caterers and even did a tasting with one, but left feeling under-whelmed. So we chose Ruth Pretty Catering knowing the food would be delicious and the wedding would be a well-run event. It was the best decision we made!
“My mum is from Singapore so I am half-Chinese. It was important to me to acknowledge my Chinese heritage as part of the wedding, and Mum suggested we do a tea ceremony.
“This is one of the most significant events in a traditional Chinese wedding and it's about showing respect and gratitude to parents. The bride and groom present the parents with tea, and in return the parents present gifts to the bride and groom.
“Traditionally, there are two tea ceremonies, one from the bride’s family and one from the groom’s family, but we decided to just have one ceremony at the reception with Mum and my grandmother.
“It was very special having my grandmother at the wedding. She came over from Singapore especially, for her first visit to New Zealand since I was born. It was great to involve her in the tea ceremony with Mum, it meant a lot to them.
“I was a bit nervous about it as we had no rehearsal, but it went beautifully and our guests and family appreciated it. Special thanks to Ruth’s staff members Nadine (our wedding co-ordinator) and Cordelia (our function manager on the day) for helping us pull it off perfectly.
“I have a very sweet tooth, so I was very excited about the proposal for a five-tier cake as part of the dessert buffet. The cake was amazing -- and exceeded all my expectations. In fact, even after the ‘day after’ gathering at home we had plenty left over. We froze it, and are still working our way through the layers.
“Although difficult to make decisions, we had a lot of fun choosing the menu from so many delicious options. We were clear we wanted a family-style menu, with big bowls on each table for guests to help themselves. I always prefer this at weddings because it means everyone can have a bit of everything and usually there's something for everyone. We ended up just choosing the food that we would most like to eat ourselves.
“Dietary requirements for some guests were easily taken care of, although some of the ‘main menu’ food was suitable for most.
“My Chinese family don't eat beef because they are Buddhists and traditionally Buddhists don't eat beef – but apparently my uncle took the night off and indulged in a couple of helpings of the beef fillet!
“We had people getting out of their seats in the middle of dinner just to tell us how good the food was and three months on we still have people telling us how much they loved it,” they commented.
The other “big thing” about a wedding is of course The Dress. Again, Jasmine didn’t want anything “too bridal” – no lace, sequins, tulle or embroidery.
“My style tends to be quite simple and minimalist, so I wanted plain silk. I’d seen a dress on IG by British designer Charlie Brear and found a stockist near Melbourne. One of my bridesmaids lives in Melbourne so that was the perfect excuse to go dress shopping!” Jasmine explained.
“They ordered a sample for me to try and I knew immediately it was The One. Every other dress I tried on was just for fun! A follow-up trip to Melbourne before the wedding took care of any final adjustments … and I found a pair of beautiful satin Manolo Blahnik heels for my one super-bridal touch!
“My bridesmaids also wore simple silk, in a champagne gold, and each in a different style to suit them best,” she concluded.
Asked to sum up, Jasmine and Ben replied “We said it all in this email to Ruth and her team. It was a great day and a wonderful start to our married life.”
Photographer and full album courtesy of Chris Turner Photography