Chris & Bailan by Lara Hotz

The beautiful wedding of Chris & Bailan as featured in Issue 15 …

Bailan — I grew up in China before moving to Sydney in 2008, where I work as a customer strategy consultant. I met Brisbane-born management consultant Chris in 2015 after he invited himself to my 1930s Shanghai-themed party at the Royal Hotel Paddington.

In preparation, Chris had bought himself a $25 bow tie from David Jones. Between jobs at the time, he considered the purchase extravagant and had to return it a couple of days later to recover the cost! Luckily, however, he’d made a great first impression that night and was referred to work with me. The rest is history. We designed my engagement ring together, so I knew a proposal was coming.

It was difficult for Chris to make it a surprise as any suggestion of a fancy dinner would result in immediate excitement, but when I organised an afternoon of ice skating in front of St Mary’s Cathedral for our friend’s birthday, he saw his opportunity. Our friend was ecstatic about the idea. He planned to get down on one knee towards the end of the session but hadn’t counted on me trying to get off the ice too soon!

He eventually convinced me to do one more lap, where he proposed. One of the rink employees thought he had fallen over and nearly attempted to help him up! We wanted our Sydney wedding to be grand yet subtle and reflective of our personalities and the harmony between two cultures, and we set out to DIY as much as possible.

I wanted to impress our guests with my creative side, so I was heavily involved with the concept, styling and décor, creating a mood board, purchasing decorations, designing the invitations, service booklet, signage and floor plan. The first day of our two-day event included a beautiful relaxing tea ceremony to show appreciation for our parents and older generations.

Then the following day, we had a traditional church ceremony and reception. It was so romantic, elegant and enchanting, with a dreamy ambience that made it feel like a summer party in a fairies’ garden. My 90-year-old grandmother flew in to walk me down the aisle; it was her first overseas trip. I spent most of my childhood with her, so it meant everything to have her by my side. Another special moment was when Chris and I tangoed to Ed Shereen and Beyoncé’s ‘Perfect’ for our first dance. Being married is a commitment to grow together and support each other through thick and thin. This is just the start of an exciting journey.

Photography: Lara Hotz Videography: In A Maze Wedding gown: Corston Couture Reception dress & Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Halston Heritage Groom’s suit: Herringbone Celebrant: Father Lex Keys Flora: Pia & Jade Lighting: Roger Hind at Theatrics Ceremony venue: St Mary’s Cathedral Crypt Reception venue & Catering: Ovolo Woolloomooloo Rings: Affinity Diamonds Makeup: Helen Samaryan Hair: Rhiannon Dimaria Earrings: Ben-Amun Bride’s shoes: Nine West Groom’s shoes: Sergio Rossi Fragrance: Amouage Set-up: Upside Down Events Cake: Ivy & Stone Cake Design Entertainment: XYDJ Photo booth: Social Playground Special songs: ‘Perfect’ by Ed Shereen and Beyoncé, and ‘You Are The Reason’ by Calum Scott