Our first blog post for the year is of the wedding of Thomas and Ebony that we shot last weekend in the beautiful Adelaide surrounds of Mount Barker.
As with most traditional Chinese weddings, a tea ceremony is often held. Both bride and groom, traditionally dressed, are expected to serve tea in a gaiwan to both sides of the families, representing an important moment in which members of both families become relatives of each other. It is a significant way to show respect to your elders for all the years of love and care.
But what also traditionally takes place when the groom arrives to the brides house are door games. Think of it as like a mini Olympics event. Traditionally meant for bridesmaids to prevent the groom & his groomsmen from taking the bride away from her home, this part of a Chinese wedding has evolved to a session filled with fun and games, aimed to make the groom prove his love to his future wife. More on this later!
What often makes wedding schedules difficult and tight is when a couple tries to conduct both the traditional and modern weddings on the same day. Often this means that your day is so packed, you barely have the time to really enjoy the day in it’s fullest and you also often end up giving up precious location photography time.
This couple was smart in the way they organised their gorgeous Adelaide wedding. All the traditional tea ceremony events were held the day before rather than on the same day. And the traditional door games ended up being a great and fun start to their reception as you’ll see later in this blog post. From a wedding photographer’s point of view – this was perfect!
Thomas was slightly nervous when we arrived, but didn’t take long to warm to the camera. His super fun groomsmen were made up of a friend whom he had known since kindergarten and two others who he had formed a strong bond with through university studies. The comradery and humour between the four of these guys was evident throughout the day.
As for Ebony, she was super chilled when we arrived. In fact, I think we possibly stressed her mother out when in the middle of her getting her hair and make up done, we said that we wanted to shoot in her parent’s bedroom instead of out in the living room where she had set up all of Ebony’s dresses etc. Her mum and dad leapt off to do a quick tidy up (despite us saying it was way cleaner than most bedrooms we’ve shot in!). What surprises most people is what our photographer’s find as the best room to shoot in isn’t always the best-looking room in the house.
Things to think about in making this decision include:
Whilst there are many factors to consider – the best natural light always trumps.
And in this case, her parent’s room gave just that.
Tom and Ebony had chosen to hold both their wedding ceremony and reception at the gorgeous Ukaria Cultural Centre up at Mount Barker. B Captured has never shot there before but what a gorgeous wedding venue in a beautiful part of Adelaide. Together with Kiera Blanden’s styling and overall vision – the mystical feel of her wedding ceremony room floored us. Tom and Ebony wanted magical and whimsy and wanted to bring the outside in and boy did these guys nail it! Take a look – that’s real grass. Grown specifically long all the way from over in Mt Gambier – shipped to Kiera in 42 degree heat. Imagine the stress of constant watering from the moment of delivery to when it had to be laid to keep this stuff alive so that she’d have an aisle. A real grass aisle. This lady is a true visionary. Along side her were Studio Botanic on the amazing beautiful florals and Blue Bell Studio on the gorgeous signage/stationery. Sooo much work went into this set up. Wedding goals right there guys!
It was truly magical when Ebony walked down that aisle with Flightless Bird, American Mouth being sung beautifully in the background by Ben Gillard of Gospo Enterprises. Ahh…. all the feels!
Following the wedding ceremony and some family photos – we headed off for our location pics. To be honest – where we had planned to go all went out the window as the sunlight was too harsh and like any good wedding photographer out there, there is an absolute skill in winging it when someone’s wedding photos rides on your every decision. Ky’s good like that. He’s great at thinking under pressure and finds beauty out of random locations and isn’t one to continually visit the same cliché Adelaide wedding photo locations week in week out. I often overhear his response to many a wedding car driver saying he’s not sure which locations we’ll be going to after the ceremony – and he’s serious when he responds that way. This time around, when Geoff of Classic Jags asked us this question, I laughed and responded with a bit of cheek and said ‘Does Ky ever know where we’re going? Just follow our car.’ Whilst in the back of Ky’s mind he has locations in mind – on the day various factors can influence a change in decision. Whether we’re running on time or if what the weather and lighting is like at that moment in time plays a huge part. We all know how hot it’s been in Adelaide of late. But not just hot – extremely sunny. A wedding photographer’s nightmare really – sooo bright and random shadows to deal with. But also – Ky’s one of those photographers’ who envisions photos as we’re driving past enroute to somewhere else and gets the bridal car to just follow ours so that random stops are possible.
In the morning Ebony suggested we go to Hanhdorf as the first location for some quirky photos but we knew on a Saturday it’d be packed with tourists exploring South Australia and would be difficult to get the wedding photos she was after. Given the heat, we thought that the bridal party would appreciate a quick pit stop at a café whilst we take some wedding bridal photos at the same time, but after doing a ring around to one venue in Hanhdorf we had in mind which would photograph well and being turned away, we were quickly thinking on our feet to find somewhere else close by. Time is of the essence when it comes to location pics, so if we had a choice we didn’t want to venture too far, given the wedding reception was back at the same venue as the ceremony. Just before the ceremony, we rang ahead to 50sixone at Mt Barker and fortunately were able to make a forward booking but we still took the risk knowing how busy the 50sixone stores generally are. But we were lucky – when we got there it wasn’t overly busy and the staff were great in letting us roam around freely to take some pics whilst we were waiting for their food and shakes to be made.
Following some more location photos in and around Mt Barker we headed back to Ukaria Cultural Centre. In 2 hours – Kiera and her team had turned the ceremony room to a wedding wonderland for the reception. Hand dyed lilac napkins, individual vintage keys for each setting (based on Tom and Ebony’s love for the game Kingdom of Hearts), moss garden beds with flowers literally growing out of the ground on every table, a gorgeous candy buffet framed with the arch from the ceremony, gold cutlery, over 800 candles and look at the gorgeous colour of that table cloth. Seriously – the colour palette chosen by Tom and Ebony was gorgeous.
The reception started with a super funny and memorable entrance by the groomsmen followed by the bridesmaids putting them through the wringer for what is known as traditional Chinese wedding games. Whilst Tom already got the girl – this was his chance, in front of all their friends and family to prove his love and dedication to his wife. Challenges included eating spoonfuls of wasabi, popping balloons without use of limbs, eating donuts off a string, passing paper to each other with just their mouths and serenading Ebony with a love song. What an awesome and fun start to the reception.
Then the speeches followed on immediately. Tom’s father, his bestman and himself all got a little choked up during the speeches and I must admit, behind the lens, so did I.
Later on in the reception we managed to sneak Tom and Ebony out for a quick sunset shot. Adelaide’s had some amazing sunsets of late and the colours in the sky this night were no different. We were super lucky as we almost missed it between all the formalities and the delicious food (catering by Adelaide Oval).
How amazing does Ebony’s traditional Chinese gown look in these pics?
Ebony and Tom – thank you for entrusting us with capturing your amazing mystical garden wedding. We wish you both a lifetime full of good health, success and happiness.
The list of amazing suppliers from this wedding:
Photographer (B Captured by Ky Luu)
Venue (Ukaria Cultural Centre)
Catering (Adelaide Oval)
Car - Royal Daimler (Classic Jags)
Stylist (Kiera Blanden)
Flowers (Studio Botanic)
Stationary (Bluebell studio)
Celebrant (More Than Words Ceremonies)
Musician (Gospo Enterprises)
Cake (Brown Sugared Love)
Bride's nails (Burnside Nails and Spa)
Bride's dress (Ella Rose) - Jenny and Gerry's bridal centre
Bridesmaid dresses (Renz Rags) - Jenny and Gerry's bridal centre
Groom suit (Armani) - Jenny and Gerry's bridal centre
Groomsmen suits (Milano) - Jenny and Gerry's bridal centre
DJ (Lam Bros Dj)
Custom rings (Gerard McCabe)
Photobooth (Entertainment Adelaide)