Gloria & Pete's low-budget, fun, Chinese & Western culture fusion wedding

January 21 |

The offbeat bride: Gloria, Event Co-ordinator

Her offbeat partner: Pete, Self Employed

Location & date of wedding: Favorite picnic spot in Sydney Australia — 22nd November 2009 (Hottest day of the year!)

What made our wedding offbeat: One of the things that made the wedding offbeat was that I had two dresses! A traditional white dress which I got form my friend's aunty who was a dress maker. And a beautiful red evening grown, which I wore for the tea ceremony and most of the reception, it is traditional for Chinese brides to wear red.

We designed and printed our own wedding invitations and sent them as post cards. I glued on little felt flowers and buttons to each card to made it unique.

We knew we didn't want flowers, as I always feel bad at the end of weddings, all the flowers goes to waste. I did some research and found Offbeat Bride with all the non-floral wedding suggestions! Thanks ladies! I ended up making my bouquet with buttons and my bridesmaids with felt flowers. (I threw the felt flower bouquet, not the button one as I didn't want to kill anyone. Lol!)

IMG_0508We brought red lanterns from IKEA and use them as centre pieces with tea light candles and pebbles we found on the beach. For the cake, we had a homemade brownie stack (which everyone loved) top with rubber duckies dress in a wedding dress and suit (I got the ducks from Target and cut the gown/suit from craft felt and suck them on, I also made the top hat for the boy ducky as my husband really wanted a top hat which we could not find in time for the wedding).

Our biggest challenge: Being both from Asian backgrounds, we wanted to incorporate our roots in our "Western" style wedding. We wanted both our friends and family to have a good time and really see who we were as a couple. It was a real challenge to stand up to our parents and explain that we perfer a dance floor than a banquet, or only want to invite sixty people not the 200 aunties and their families whom we may have only met once ten years or so ago.

We did a vote with the family and identified the most important things to our parents. One of the thing that was really important to our mothers was that I change into a red dress for the tea ceremony (we added the tea ceremony at the reception which was an eye opener to our not Chinese friends). I tried on millions of different traditional dresses only to realize that I don't fit the "normal" Asian sizing chart. In the end, my trusty friend order me a red evening gown from overseas and had a friend bring it back just before the wedding!

Another challenge was that we had a very limited budget, so we did a shout out to our friends and family and they were just amazing! My dress was made by a friend's aunty who only charged me for the material and taught me to bead. A friend volunteered to sign for us at the wedding. Lots of things were homemade, which suited us just fine as it echo our beliefs and the way we live our lives

My favorite moment: On the day it was HOT, with record hitting heat waves (49° Celicius [that's about 120° Fahrenheit! -Ed] when I stepped out of the car)! Our ceremony was at our favorite picnic spot, outdoors of course — a five minutes drive from our house (saved on transport).

In a way the heat wave was good as there wasn't anyone around the park so it was like to had exclusive use! By the time we started the ceremony, I was so overwhelmed by the heat, and the day that I forgot to find my dad to walk me down the aisle. My dad ended up hovering behind me while I walked down the aisles with my sister. Our friend played the piano and sang "Truly Deeply Madly," by Savage Garden, whilst the three of us awkwardly made our way to my awaiting husband to be.

Even though it was a bit of a mess, and definetly not the way I had always invisioned it, it was still a perfect moment for me as we said our "I do's." It was so great to see all our friend and family braving the heat to be there for us!

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My offbeat advice: Don't leave everything last minute. As we had a limited budget, a lot of things were homemade or complimentary from a friend, it is only polite to give them plenty of time.

Don't be afraid to ask for help, we were amazed by the awesome talents of some of our friends and not to mention some fabulous contacts they had which help us save some serious cash.

Don't be afraid to speak up, if there is something you want voice your mind. For our wedding I didn't want flowers and feel strongly about it, even though my mother always wanted roses for my wedding. Turns out that it was a great idea that I had a button bouquet as the heat on the day would have destroyed the flowers for sure!

Finally, your wedding is to celebrate your love to each other so don't let those little things get in the way. Pete and I did up a list, as we started planning with things, that was really imporatant to us, and things that are not so important. This really helps with the budgeting and keeping us sane with all the wedding razzle dazzles.

Remember in the end it will be well worth the hassle as you will end up with memories unique to you and your other half. As Pete always says to me, "keep you eye on the prize!"

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn:

  1. Ahhh, Truly Madly Deeply! That Savage Garden album was the first CD I ever bought. LOVE that you walked down the aisle to that!

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  2. I used to be obsessed with Savage Garden. Awesome. :)

    this is a gorgeous wedding

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    • Thanks! We danced to "i knew I loved you" as our first dance…

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  3. This wedding is so beautiful. I love the tradition of the red dress but the untraditional silhouette of the evening gown you chose.

    Also LOVE the little red lanterns as centerpieces. So much more unique than all the flowers you see at a lot of weddings.

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  4. I am so in awe of this bride and her crew! I can assure you that if it was 120 degrees out every single picture of me would be my face covered with a thick layer of sweat. She is GORGEOUS!!!!! 2 beautiful dresses!

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  5. Love the brownie stack & the red dress! Also, I agree with this:
    "as I always feel bad at the end of weddings, all the flowers goes to waste."

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    • Thanks so much, I loved it, I actually asked friends and family overseas who couldn’t make it to the wedding to send me the buttons, so I can carry their well wishes with me on the day… and I really enjoyed making it! I’m looking at selling custom made bouquet over at Etsy…

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  6. Wow you are soo lucky to have someone to teach you to bead. Alas I've been trying to find a local teacher but have been trying to learn from the archived books at the library and a few tutorials I can find online. Gloria do you have any tips? Gorgeous wedding and perfect details (especially the beading).

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    • Thanks!! Yeah, I got really lucky, my friend’s aunty is a retired dress maker specializing in wedding attire. The beading took forever… I had beading parties (maybe more than one…)with a bunch of girlfriends to help out…
      You can contact local women’s groups and look at community college leisure courses (I learnt to make jewelry after work… and if you ask your teachers, they normally know somebody…) you can visit craft shops too, I found a lady when I was looking at ribbons and asked her what she was making, I ended up buying her a coffee and she taught meal these tricks on making ribbon flowers..
      where are you located?

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    • Thanks! i was really lucky, My friend’s aunty is actually a retired dress maker and she made wedding dress all her life. The beading took forever…I held beading parties with a bunch of friends who help with the beading… I would suggest for you talk to people from community college, they normally have course teaching beading on weekends and after work. Also at craft shops, once I met a old lady when I was looking at ribbons and I ended up having coffee with her and she taught me all these nifty tricks on making ribbon flowers!
      Where are you located?

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  7. OOO your pictures are BEAUTIFUL! Love the dresses, love the tea, love the buttons and love how you seemed to have a blast dancing!

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  8. I live in Sydney – and luckily for me, I was in the US visiting family on Nov 22! Thank god, I would have died…

    You and your partner look absolutely gorgeous. ^_^ Congrats!

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  9. you are a true survivor to get married that day! I saw Pearl Jam at the football stadium that day and it was still hovering around 40C at when we left at 10pm! ugh… hope the heat didn't spoil the day too much! (and lucky you didn't go for real flowers, they wouldn't have survived the morning!)

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  10. I love the bracelets you wore with the red dress. Are they gold? Where did you get them?

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    • Hi Wliza, thanks! Yeah, they are real gold,its traditional for Chinese brides to wear gold bangles for their wedding, my parents got them from Hong Kong.

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