Romantic Recollections: Natalie Chan

Most women only have the chance to marry the man of their dreams once, but fashion designer Natalie Chan and husband Ray wed three times in the space of six months

    Most women only have the chance to marry the man of their dreams once, but fashion designer Natalie Chan and husband Ray wed three times in the space of six months


    Ray and I met through one of my best friends. I knew right away he was the one, so I bought a cheongsam – a traditional Chinese wedding dress – on a trip to Beijing a few months after we met. We got engaged a year later while visiting Paris. Everyone saw it coming! Our families and friends are scattered all over the world, so having three weddings meant we could celebrate with everyone we love.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010
    Our first celebration was a late-afternoon civil ceremony with an intimate party of 10. We held it beside a fountain in the Parnell Rose Gardens – it reminded us of the Jardin du Luxembourg, where Ray proposed. It was by far the least-stressful wedding to organise, and afterwards we dined at one of our favourite Chinese restaurants. I wore a classic silk chiffon dress with a pleated empire bodice and silk satin rosettes in my hair.

    Saturday, January 16, 2010
    Pohutukawa trees and a bright blue sky were a stunning backdrop for our second wedding at Pinot in Remuera. It was a large affair, with more than 150 guests from Ray’s side of the family. The day began with a late-morning ceremony, and I wore a couture gown which had taken me almost seven months to make – it had a beaded bodice, tulle skirt and detachable train. Later, I changed into the cheongsam for a traditional Chinese tea ceremony to pay our respects to our elders.

    Saturday, May 22, 2010
    French ‘belle époque’ décor took centre stage at our final venue, Spago in Britomart, where we celebrated with 90 friends and family members. Oversized martini and champagne glasses filled with orchids, willow branches, white butterflies and moss adorned the room. Each table was named after a place in France that was special to us. Gilded mirrors set on top of vintage wine barrels decorated the dance floor, and our buffet of sweets included pink macarons, chocolates and sugared grapes. I wore the dress from my second wedding, and asked all of my female guests to complete their look with a headpiece – it was so beautiful to see.

    A WORD OF ADVICE
    Organising one, let alone three, weddings is overwhelming. Be prepared to put in the time to plan the event. Enlist the help of professionals, family members and close friends throughout the process to create memories that will last a lifetime.


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