This East meets West wedding combines tea, an amazing outdoor ceremony, and two cultures – so it’s a surefire winner with me! I’m absolutely in awe of Christina and Gangkai’s wedding held at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.
These two said ‘I Do’ with their best friend as their officiant, and the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop – you know this is going to be incredible already right! But it gets better with a beautiful English tea room theme running through their day. I adore all the first-look photographs (do we think that will catch on the UK anytime soon?!) Plus I love how they acknowledged their Indonesian heritage with traditional dancers, but also kept it super modern with orchestral versions of pop songs and hits for entertainment. This wedding is immense and the write up is from the grooms perspective, so you’ll want to have a read…
Photography by Lisa O’Dwyer
How we met
Christina and I met 4 years ago in Boulder, Colorado when we were both college students – we often recollect on how we met because it’s a cute story. We had a common group of friends who had mentioned our names to each other and were trying to pull the strings for both of us. We were at parties and gatherings together, but never really had the opportunity to get to know each other. Then one day, Christina approached me to be her tutor for a standardised exam for medical school and I said yes. It was the best decision of my life. Shortly after, we went on our first date and I knew I’d found my love. I was totally mesmerised by her smile and eyes that I didn’t even eat the chocolate dessert we were supposed to be sharing!
The beautiful dress
Even though I knew that it was breaking the tradition, Christina asked me to come with her dress shopping. She said she didn’t feel right making such a big decision if I wasn’t there. I took that as a compliment, although I knew I was there for her moral support more than anything else. The dress was bought from Dimitra’s Bridal in Chicago, it was a YSA Makino Couture gown and she looked stunning in it.
My suit was from Emporio Armani. Although there was a bit of a mishap with what I wore on the wedding day. I was travelling for a conference before the wedding date and because we were so busy with the wedding until the last minute I didn’t pack my suitcase till the last minute. Only when getting ready for the wedding did I realised I’d forgotten the the shirt and bow tie I was supposed to wear for the ceremony. I ended up having to wear my lucky blue shirt and tie that I’d worn during an important presentation! When Christina and I were doing our “first look” together, I told her that she looked beautiful and I loved her, but she replied back, ‘Hey, that’s not the shirt and tie to go with your suit!’ We still laugh about it!
The bridesmaids dress wore custom made dressed by RenzRags from Etsy.
Christina loves tea so I bought her some special tea as a wedding gift. I chose a TWG Tea called Grand Wedding.
East meets West wedding brunch
To be honest, like most guys, I didn’t do much of the planning. I helped Christina by making appointments and had input on how much we wanted to spend on the wedding. Christina loves weddings and has the creativity for it. She didn’t have an exact theme, but just wanted to create a unique celebration that would create a East meets West wedding celebration – everything else just fell into place. If I had to summarise, our wedding theme or inspiration was an East meets West Elegant Brunch Wedding.
Our wonderful wedding planner, Isabelle Kline, suggested pastel pink with a combination of metallics and white as our main color. The Penrose Room at The Broadmoor Hotel has a very English tea room feel to it.
We actually wanted rap music, but that doesn’t exactly go with an elegant wedding brunch! So instead we found an ensemble group of musician that performs pop songs and top hits.
Lisa O’Dwyer was our photographer. When we had decided that we want to have the wedding in Colorado, we went online to search for a photographer. Christina had compiled a list of wedding photographers and said to me, “Look at the list and imagine which photography do you want to show our kids and grandkids many years later?” This is how we picked Lisa O’Dwyer because we love her work and how she captures beautiful moments of the bride and groom in any wedding she works on.
Isabelle Kline Designs created our flowers. We had a brunch reception in the Penrose Room in The Broadmoor Hotel which has an elegant décor and is very well-lit with the Rocky Mountain as the backdrop. So we decided to go with a flower décor with little flower arrangements around the room and few big ones to compliment the beautiful setting that we have in the Penrose ballroom.
We had a two-flavored strawberry champagne, chocolate Grand Marnier wedding cake made by the Broadmoor Hotel, it was so tasty!
While we were planning, we went to The Lobby restaurant in the Peninsula Hotel Chicago and saw a wonderful live cello performance of modern hip hop songs. Since we had a morning ceremony followed by a brunch reception, we thought nothing could be more perfect than to have that as the entertainment. We also had traditional Indonesian performance to be the Eastern element in the east meets west element. Christina surprised me by writing a song and performed it to the tune of Shake it Off by Taylor Swift!
Our first dance song was Thinking out Loud by Ed Sheeren. We think it’s a beautiful song and the lyrics convey our love for each other perfectly.
We loved to travel and I wanted the favours to be practical, a little souvenir of our day. We custom ordered travel pouches from Fine Souvenirs in Indonesia. They were filled with fortune cookies with hilarious quotes.
I bought Christina’s engagement ring from Tiffany & Co. My mother wasn’t very happy when I didn’t consult her when buying it, so I told her she could be in charge of sourcing the wedding bands. Our wedding bands were made by a private jeweler in Singapore.
What was planning like for you as the groom?
When Christina and I first started to plan for our wedding, I told her to plan the wedding that she had always dreamt of and I will play a supporting role in the planning process. I want her to be happy in the most important moment of her life. As the saying goes, “happy wife, happy life”. Even though we had been dating for three years, I felt that the process of planning a wedding really brought both of us to a new level of understanding each other.
My biggest challenge in the planning process was recognising when Christina was stressed and trying to support her as much as I can. She had to juggle her school work while planning a wedding and of course that’s not an easy thing to do. There were times where she just broke down from stress and I was there to listen to her and help her by being the “brain” and analysing the situation for her.
Words of wisdom
My only advice to couples planning their wedding is to remember why you’re having a wedding – to celebrate your love for one another and the decision to spend the rest of your life together. But I think anyone who has planned their wedding will tell that it can be a difficult and stressful process. Be supportive of each other and after the wedding and you’ll gain a whole new level of understanding and appreciation for your other half. There is no better way to start the new chapter of your life together.
Unfortunately, we haven’t had the chance to go on our honeymoon, as work and med school always get in the way! We think watching the Aurora in a glass Igloo in Finland would be spectacular… Either that or space travel!
This wedding is dreamy and really makes me wish I’d done a ‘first look’ before the ceremony – all those pics are just so lovely. Thank you to Gangkai for his wonderful write-up, it’s so nice to hear from a groom… unfortunatley I don’t imagine it will happen all that often. And of course thank you to Lisa O’Dwyer for sharing these gorgeous images with us.
Christina & Gangkai’s Little Black Book
Photographer – Lisa O’Dwyer
Wedding Planner and florist – Isabelle Kline Designs
Ceremony & Reception venue – The Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs
Brides dress – YSA Makino Couture – Dimitra’s Bridal, Chicago
Brides shoes – Christian Louboutin
Hair & Make Up – Salon Joa
Brides accessories – Macy’s Bridal Salon, Chicago
Bridesmaid dresses – RenzRags, Etsy
Band – Masterful Musicians
Catering – The Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs