Something truly exceptional graces the pages of our blog today, all the way from the sun-drenched and forested volcanic mountains of Indonesia. WWW readers Joanne and David celebrated the union of their families with a spectacular wedding inspired by creativity, uniqueness, and freedom of spirit – tied together in a narrative of adventure in the jungles of Bali.
With family roots in South Africa, China, and Australia – and a proposal between Tokyo and Disneyland – the couples wanted to let their globe-exploring backgrounds shine through by permeating the celebrations with exotic and artful visuals, as if the guests had stepped into the colour and surrealism of one of the groom’s oil paintings. The couples’ love for another is nothing short of magical, and everything about this wedding is an echo of that.
The wedding started with a week of adventure and relaxation with their guests in an exclusive villa complex in Ubud, experiencing their surroundings through water rafting, massage and pampering, and an authentic Chinese tea ceremony. This dream-like trip then culminated in an intimate marriage ceremony backed by tunes from old 1950’s jungle movies, and framed by the sublime views of the jungle, dragonflies dancing through the light, and mountains of tropical fruit.
As a designer herself, the bride chose to create her own wedding dress – lightweight, ethereal, and magical like the otherworldly flora and fauna of the valleys surrounding them as they uttered their vows. The couple also designed their own wedding rings, as well as all the groom’s and groomsmens’ attire, with floral linings and colourful patterns – and it doesn’t stop there! The couple hand-painted individual booklets sent to each guest before their trip, filled with maps, animals and intriguing clues about the wedding celebrations. The floral design featured laceleaf, heliconia, bird of paradise, anthurium, and orchid flowers, all entwined in the flower arch, bouquets, and décor.
I’m sure you’ll agree that this all sounds too magical to envision, or even to believe – but thankfully we have the beautiful captures by Cecile Photography in order to see it for ourselves.
THE PROPOSAL | Joanne spent a week in Tokyo travelling around. I (David) knew Joanne’s love for adventure and flew in just for the weekend to propose. We spent the first day having fun at Disneyland. The next day I built up the courage and proposed to Joanne on one knee in an alleyway filled with fairy lights deep within Tokyo city.
THE VISION | David is from South Africa and I (Joanne) am half Chinese, half Australian, we are both dedicated practising artists, and wanted to create an exotic theme which exemplified our varied backgrounds, love for adventure and creativity. David’s paintings are well known in Australia for their colourful tropical settings and surreal qualities, so I wanted to create a whimsical environment that created the same atmosphere that represented him, as if we were inside one of David’s oil paintings. Ultimately David and I wanted a day that would give our guests a magical unforgettable experience that would represent the colour in our faith and our love for one another.
Since the wedding was a destination wedding we had a week before hand of adventure with our guests, we rented out an entire complex of Luxury Villas in Ubud called Agung Khalia Luxury Villas, so that no other strangers would be around. We had water rafting days, massage and pampering days and a Chinese tea ceremony at the Villas. It added so much more to the experience as we enjoyed having all our loved ones with us during this time. The guests all had a week of adventure to get to know one another so by the time it was the wedding everyone was relaxed and having a blast.
We were so pleased with the wedding, we pulled off our jungle adventure theme so well, and many guests said it was the best wedding they have ever attended in their lives.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Joanne did most of the wedding organizing and planning along with the wedding planner, Whidi, from the actual resort at Puri Wulandari. It was so easy because she was one person to interact with from the resort who could organize all the flowers, food, decorations, etc. all together, it was so much more simple this way. She did a very good job at pulling it all together.
THE VENUE | When doing research online for possible locations, we came across the luxury resort of Puri Wulandari in Bali, and immediately knew it was the location that would fulfil our artistic vision of an exotic and tropical masterpiece, the views were sublime and otherworldly. The valleys and mountains of tropical jungle which surrounded the venue were like a dream.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | As a designer myself, I designed my own wedding dress and got it made. I wanted the dress to be lightweight and cool to wear in the tropical weather along with a hint of magic. David and I also designed our wedding bands and got them made by the wonderful Harry Lee Jewelers in Hong Kong. My ring was made with colourful stones carefully embedded in to the wedding band matching our colourful wedding theme. My engagement ring was made from a diamond stone David’s parents specially bought in South Africa from their hometown to make it personal. The groomsmen’s tropical multicoloured bow-ties were custom designed by our friend Ben Birdwell who designs and makes fun and floral ties. He made them for David as a gift.
FINDING THE DRESS | I designed my ethereal white dress which was covered with small white flowers and fine tulle which allowed an air breeze to still flow through it. As it had a small train at the back, I needed an alternative dress I could dance in for the reception. My designer friend, John Nip, generously designed and handmade a dress for me which I absolutely loved, it had all the beautiful graceful features which perfectly matched the first dress and theme.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | The groom and groomsmen attire was all bespoke and designed by myself (David), the suits were made of light weight blue cotton for the warm weather and were inserted with an eccentric many-hued floral lining composed of the colours I use in my own paintings along with our colourful theme.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Our readings were done by our two sisters-in-law who read meaningful exerts from the bible about love and marriage. Our friend Weitse, from the Netherlands, came all the way from Holland to perform Come Thou Fount during the ceremony which was amazing. To complete our tropical adventure theme we played music featured from old 1950’s jungle movies. They were played in the background of our reception which gave the most surreal, otherworldly and jungle adventure atmosphere.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | The bridesmaids wore their own elegant white dresses which suited each of their body types and made them stand out among the lush green foliage of the jungle. The idea was that they looked heavenly with the afternoon light glowing behind them in the exquisite setting. The bridesmaids sourced the dresses themselves from a variety of retailers.
THE FLOWERS | One thing we had no shortage of was flowers. The resort did all the flowers for the day and did a better job than we asked for. We used a huge range of colourful tropical flowers to suit our theme, there were so many we couldn’t believe the amount. The reception table was filled with them as well as tropical fruit such as pineapples and bananas, little hula girls, small palm trees and animal figurines. Our flowers consisted of a true abundance of laceleaf, heliconia, bird of paradise, anthurium, and orchid flowers, all used for the flower arch, the bouquets, the table decorations and the flower buttons.
THE CAKE | To continue the tropical exotic theme we didn’t want an ordinary western cake so we got a local green Pundan Mud Cake, covered in pink icing, flowers and little bird figurines.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Our photographer was Cecile Photography. She is a Dutch photographer, we found her online and immediately knew she was right for our wedding. Her photographs are more artistic than traditional, which was exactly the spirit of our wedding so we hired her. We had two extra photography assistants for the events including Matt Biocich and Ben Birdwell.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | As two artists, we began doing painting after painting to create a magical book that each guest would receive before coming to the wedding in the hope that it would represent the adventure of their exotic wedding awaiting them. It included many pages filled with maps, animals and clever clues about our big day. The reception table was filled with flowers as well as tropical fruit such as pineapples and bananas, little hula girls, small palm trees and animal figurines.
THE HONEYMOON | Our honeymoon was both an extension of our stay in Bali, as well as a trip to Japan a few months after the wedding. We went back to Tokyo as David didn’t get to see all of it when he came to propose.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | The most memorable moments of the day included the moment when my bridesmaids and I were getting ready in our private luxury villa. One of the bridesmaids kindly gave the me a note David had given to her previously to pass on to me before the ceremony. I quietly went outside to be alone and read it by the pool. It was a personal note reminding me about how much he loved me and wanted to be with me the rest of his life, I sat feeling so loved while looking over the most amazing view knowing that this was the day I had been dreaming about. During the ceremony every guest was amazed at the kilometers of tropical forest and mountains surrounding them while the sun beamed down from behind. I remember the beauty of it all and how many dragonflies were flying around in the sun. This created the most spectacular backdrop and was a vision David and I could only have dreamed of as we said our vows under an excessively lush and beautiful tropical flower arch. The reception was full of exotic flowers, African animal figurines and 1950’s jungle music, the experience of this moment was mystical and surreal, I couldn’t believe what we had managed to pull off.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | My advice to other brides is when going through the wedding day always remember to take small moments to step back and think about what this day means to you and absorb those moments. Do not stress about little details, as a perfectionist I stressed so much on small details like the cupcakes for example, for really no reason, because when the day comes, those things are really unimportant. Don’t care if you offend people, I know this sounds harsh, but if you care about every guest you will hate the day trying to please everyone, and trust me no one expects you will be thinking about them on your big day.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Cecile Photography
Assistant Photography | Matt Biocich
Make-up Artist | Elizabeth Grace Makeup Artist
Venue, Flowers, and Wedding Planning | Puri Wulandari Resort and Spa
Accommodation Venue | Agung Khalia
Invitations and Groom and Groomsmen Attire | David George Ledger
Sound and music | Michael Clark
Hair | Nicola Yeung
Rings | Harry Lee
Reception dress | John Nip
Bow Ties and Assistant Photographer | Ben Birdwell
Thank you so much to Joanne and David for sharing their beautiful tropical celebrations with us! Val Xx