Give us the scoop 😉how did you two meet?
T and I met about 14 years ago when I started dating his housemate. I lived across the park from them so we would see each other a few times a week. Of course, nothing happened when I was seeing someone else but we did become friends and it was clear we had lots in common.
We shared a lot of interests and both grew up about 10 minutes from each other and went to nearby schools. There was a choice of two busses that we could each get on to go to school and I got on one and he got on the other. So there was a period of about 7 years in our childhood where we could have met but never did!
When my relationship ended (by being dumped on my birthday!) and my ex moved away but T still lived across the park from me, we just started hanging out and over time it became clear to me that the excitement I would feel when we were making plans to see each other was more than I would feel about other friends.
The more time we spent together, the more it became obvious to all of our friends. T actually approached one of my friends in secret to find out the best way to ask me out. I’m not sure what was said, but he chose the medium of email! The rest is history.
Obviously, y’all put a ring on it 💍tell us your engagement story!
There wasn't a great big romantic gesture and I definitely knew it was coming since we had already paid the deposit for the wedding venue and had shopped for the ring together.
T and I had been together a long time and definitely had some ups and downs, especially around marriage and commitment–I wanted to get married and he didn’t. After 9 years of being together we sadly broke up and I was absolutely devastated. This was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and losing him was horrendous.
We spent a year apart and though I was a mess for most of it, I did manage to do some work on myself, my limiting beliefs and heal from some past traumas that affected our relationship. Basically, after A LOT of therapy, I felt like I was finally in a place where I could move on.
I booked a solo trip around South East Asia to see where I was born and connected with my culture and was about to embark on a spiritual ‘farewell’ ritual to mark the end of my relationship when I received an email from T.
After the email, we spent a lot of time talking. I think we both needed to heal from our previous relationship and really face up to what went wrong and how we could work on getting it right for the future. One of the things we agreed on was that if we were going to get back together then that would mean marriage and a future and all the stuff that we couldn’t agree on in the past.
It’s weird because as a wedding and marriage became more likely I began to realise how unimportant it had become to me personally. I didn’t need a ring or a big party, I just wanted to be with T.
The proposal itself took place on a sunny Sunday night when we were walking our dog, Udon. There’s a big park with views over London and he asked me when we got to the top of the hill and sat down on a bench.
I love that we can visit the place where he proposed every day. I also love that we were able to have an open and honest conversation about what we both wanted for our future together and make a decision as a team to move this forward. As much as I like the idea of a grand gesture or surprise, I prefer the idea of having a say in a decision that affects my future.
You had a vision for your wedding 🔮how did you come up with ideas?
So we actually had three weddings! We visited a venue called the Asylum Chapel in South East London in December 2017 and immediately fell in love with it (if you google the photos it’s easy to see why!) and decided to secure it for September 2019, which would have been our 12th anniversary.
As the months progressed, it became clearer and clearer that although a great big wedding party would be great, we also just wanted to get it done.
There’s a line in When Harry Met Sally that I kept thinking of: “When you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible” and that’s exactly how I felt.
So one day we decided to get legally married in secret at our local registry office. There were 11 people there–I wore a white TopShop suit and we all went for dinner afterwards.
I wouldn’t say we had a vision for any of our weddings–we just wanted to celebrate us, get people drunk and make sure they had a good time! The venue for our public wedding was stunning, full of faded grandeur and had all the trappings of a beautiful ruined church with none of the religion.
It was actually an almshouse for retired pub landlords (i.e. a social housing complex for people who used to run bars and pubs, who would normally have been housed above their pub). We served martinis and oysters on the lawn with canapes from Ottolenghi (our favourite chef).
We didn’t want to have a wedding where anyone was inconvenienced so it was important to have the wedding somewhere local and accessible by public transport. The one thing we did ask people to do was adhere to the black tie dress code. My reasoning was that everyone has one outfit in their wardrobe which they love but can’t wear because it’s too fancy or too formal, and I wanted to give people an excuse to get all dolled up.
The Chinese wedding took place the day before our public wedding and again, was just a small number of close friends and family. We played door games and my friends were really great about putting T through his paces and making sure he proved his love for me. For me, this was a nice way to acknowledge my Chinese heritage and an excuse to wear an awesome cheongsam dress!
Tell us about your backgrounds 👨👩👧👦
We both grew up in a London suburb, T in a fairly traditional white upper working-class family and me with a large Chinese family. My relationship with my family broke down a few years ago and I think that was one of the main reasons why we wanted to have a Chinese wedding–we both wanted to acknowledge that part of me and celebrate it, even if my family wasn't going to be there.
There were a lot of times when I was deep in wedding planning that I suggested we just skip the Chinese part (especially when we were going over budget) but I’m glad T convinced me to persevere. Even though we essentially just played silly door games and went out for a Chinese meal afterwards, it was a great experience for the small number of guests that were present.
It was also important to us to have a local wedding–I couldn’t bear the thought of making our loved ones travel for hours or use up holiday time to come to a wedding in a random part of the country that had no connection to us.
Location, location, location 🎯where did you get married?
We got married in South London which is where we’re both from so it felt natural to have the venue there. Our venues (the Asylum Chapel for the ceremony and the Trafalgar Tavern for the dinner) were so beautiful that they did most of the heavy lifting for us. We didn’t really have to think about decorations or anything like that (thank God!).
Girl meets dress 💃🏻 how did you learn about East Meets Dress (EMD) and why did you choose an EMD cheongsam?
The joys of Google brought me to East Meets Dress and I’m so glad it did. I had been searching for a qipao for awhile and hadn’t found anything suitable. I didn’t really have a network of Chinese people I could ask so felt quite lost and could only find links to dresses on eBay or AliExpress which were either really cheap or were only available in sizes that were far too small for me (or both).
I also didn’t want to look like I was playing dress-up. It was important for me to have something modern and elegant that would be celebrating traditions. That was everything I found with my EMD cheongsam, the Sandra Dress.
Putting your own spin on things 💕How did you make your wedding more unique and personal to you two?
As we did the legal paperwork in secret, our public wedding was able to be as creative as we wanted it. We asked one of our good friends to act as the celebrant, wrote our own vows, picked canapes from our favourite restaurant, served out favourite cocktails and got our friends to DJ.
The big day 👰🏻How did everything go on your wedding day?
Yes! Amazingly it did. Everyone said that something was bound to go wrong and not to sweat it when it does. We spent a lot of the wedding waiting for something to mess up but everything went according to plan. We’re still in shock that we managed to pull it all off.
Seeking your wisdom 🙋🏻♀️do you have any advice for other brides planning a wedding?
It sounds a bit cliche, but just enjoy the day, it goes by really quickly.
- The Bride & Groom: Fong and T.
- Photographer: Michael Newington Gray (@michael_newington_gray) | Website
- Florist: Jar and Fern (@jarandfern) | Website
- Hair and Makeup: Alice Rose Brides (@alicerosebrides) | Website
- Venue: Asylum Chapel (@maverickprojects) | Website