After the pandemic and travel restrictions scuppered Jacob and Miki’s original plan of getting wed in Singapore; they decided to say their ‘I Do’s” in the UK, planned in only 1.5 months!
Their wedding took place at Hertford College Chapel in Oxford, where they zoom streamed their ceremony to over 300 friends and family across the world, and this was followed by a posh picnic, salted caramel cupcakes and a paddle in the River Thames. Lush!
Over to Miki to tell us more…
Jacob and Miki…
How did you meet and get engaged?
Jacob proposed in Calais, France, where we volunteering for a refugee charity called Refugee Community Kitchen. Before the trip, Jacob mentioned that he wanted to explore some of the countryside around Calais and devised a plan for us to rent bikes so that we could cycle to a scenic spot outside the city called Cap Blanc Nez. I thought it was one of Jacob’s usual mad, romantic ideas. The cycle wasn’t the most romantic experience, however, as it was a very warm day, much farther to this spot than we’d imagined, and I wasn’t really dressed for any strenuous activity. I was starting to get quite grumpy because of the heat! Eventually we decided to walk along the coast while pushing our bikes when Jacob started to reflect (quite poetically) on our relationship. That’s when I knew something was up and I started to get more and more nervous. Eventually, just when I couldn’t take it anymore, Jacob went down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
Was there an overall theme to your day?
Aesthetically, we took a lot of inspiration from Bilbo Baggins’s 111th birthday as portrayed in The Fellowship of the Ring film – bright and summery colours, wildflowers, and good food!
We’d also always envisioned our wedding to be a day where friends and family could meet up and spend time with each other.
How would you describe your day?
Our day was classic, simple, low-key, fun and intimate.
How long were you planning it for?
About a month and a half!
Originally, we planned to get married in Singapore (where I’m from), followed by a party in the UK later. However due the pandemic, we brought everything forward because we just wanted to get married!
We chose to get married in the UK, because Jacob and his family would not be able to enter Singapore. We tentatively started to put plans in place but didn’t really fully commit until the UK government lifted the restrictions, which was about six weeks before the date. It was all system’s go from there.
Where was your wedding / reception venue and why did you pick it?
We got married at Hertford College Chapel in Oxford (which is Jacob’s former college). The chaplain, Mia, was so supportive and so kind in helping us navigate all the uncertainty and the college’s IT department even installed WiFi in the chapel to help facilitate Zoom. About 300 people watched our ceremony via live stream from around the world.
We then set up a gazebo (borrowed from a family friend) by the river in Port Meadow for a low-key, outdoor affair and had a posh picnic catered. We asked our guests to bring their own camping chairs and picnic mats if they were able to. It was quite a hands-on affair for our guests as they had to carry the food from the delivery point to the picnic site! But everyone was really game and the weather held up, so it all worked out.
Did you use a wedding marquees or any tents for your celebrations?
We borrowed a gazebo from a family friend for the reception at Port Meadow
Who was your wedding photographer and why did you chose them?
Our photos were taken by Nathan Walker Photography. We chose him because we loved his bright and natural style. We really appreciated the level of detail and thoughtfulness he put into planning how he would shoot the day. He was very discreet during the service but also a lot of fun to work with. Honestly, I was sort of dreading being photographed on my wedding day as I’m not always the most comfortable in front of a camera, but I very quickly felt comfortable around him. Nathan was up for anything adventurous and spontaneous and we had a lot of fun doing couple shots!
Your outfits! Tell us more about them! Was there any special details, accessories or reasons behind your choices?
I wasn’t able to wear the dress I’d originally picked out as it was in Singapore. The dress I ended up wearing on the day was from Monsoon’s bridal range, which I chose online because shops hadn’t quite opened yet when I started looking.
I liked the slightly vintage and boho feel without looking clichéd and that it was versatile enough to wear to the picnic after the service. I also chose it because it had a universally flattering shape and I was afraid I wouldn’t have time to get any dress altered. In the end, I only had to have simple alterations done by a local tailor in Nottingham, Amy at Chalk Tailors, who was brilliant and had a lot of previous experience with bridal alterations.
My earrings were from John Lewis. I chose pearls because of how timeless they looked and to match a pearl necklace which has a lot of sentimental value to me. My heels were from New Look and, at the picnic, I wore a pair of Sperry sneakers which I’d bought at my favourite Nottingham charity shop called White Rose.
Jacob’s suit was from T.M. Lewin. It was a suit he’d made last year for his brother’s wedding. His outfit was the last thing on his mind as he was so focused on pulling the logistics of our last-minute wedding together! He did get a new white shirt, a new tie, and new cufflinks from Debenham’s literally the day before the wedding. He chose the cufflinks (which said “If found, return to wife”) simply because they made him laugh and he liked the light-hearted touch.
Tell us about your wedding flowers? Was there a particular theme or colour palette?
Our flowers were arranged by the talented Kerry Seaton at Art of Floristry in Nottingham. She did such a great job translating our requests into reality. I think my bouquet was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen!
Which decorations / props did you use on your wedding day? What was the overall look you were trying to achieve?
We kept décor very simple. We asked Kerry (our florist) to create garlands and a floral centrepiece that we could easily take with us to decorate the picnic, which she did! We also re-used some bunting from another family wedding to decorate the gazebo at the picnic.
I completely forgot to plan for a confetti tunnel until Nathan, our photographer, suggested it. It was important to me that any confetti we used should be natural and biodegradable, so I chose to purchase dried floral petals from Shropshire Petals. They smelled amazing!
Let’s talk food! What style of food did you go for and why?
We had a posh picnic with our nearest and dearest on the bank of Port Meadow in Oxford.
Cake! Who created your wedding cake and what theme did you go for?
We didn’t have a cake, but a family friend made us some salted caramel cupcakes, which were a huge hit! I love the photo Nathan got of me tucking into one.
Tell us more about your hair / make-up for your wedding. What kind of look did you want to achieve and was there any particular products/accessories you wanted to use?
I was very lucky to have as one of my bridesmaids do my hair! We went through Pinterest together in the weeks leading up to the wedding and she came over once before the wedding so that she could practice doing my hair.
I did my own make-up and I was given a new Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow palette as a gift. I also bought a lot of new makeup (from Charlotte Tilbury, Fenty, Rimmel, and Maybelline) and some brushes (from EcoTools) to supplement what I didn’t already have. I read and watched a few tutorials and practiced on myself a couple of times before the wedding.
Looking back, what was the stand out moments of your day?
We had a projector and screen set up in the chapel so that we would be able to see all of our Zoom guests in attendance. It was emotional walking down the aisle in the relatively empty chapel to then see over 300 accounts tuning in from all over the world. During the service, when the chaplain invited them to respond with “We will” to a question in the service, a whole stream of responses came through in the chat function that continued for what felt like a good few minutes! We felt so loved and so held.
It also meant a lot to have my parents doing the readings and my sister leading two of the hymns, as they weren’t able to be there with me on the day.
Also, by the end of the day, many of our guests – as well as Jacob and me – had kicked off their shoes and went for a paddle in the river! What a good way to end the day.
Do you have any advice for couples currently planning their wedding, for either the planning or the lead-up?
If you’re streaming your wedding via Zoom, definitely take the time to acknowledge your guests on Zoom and include them in the service! (Jacob and I gave a short speech directed at the camera to thank them for coming.)
I don’t think we’d realised how DIY this wedding was really going to be and, in retrospect, we could’ve done with a bit more help with setting up and taking down. Definitely don’t be afraid to ask for help. “Many hands make light work,” as my grandmother would say.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Figure out your priorities for your wedding and go from there. Traditions and conventions have their value, but I think it’s also important to focus on the big picture: you’re marrying your love!