Victor was based between Hong Kong and New Zealand when I quit my corporate job in Canada to travel around the world full time while working as a content creator. Some would say it was fate, but we kept running into each other across three continents. It is cliché to say that when you know you know, but we knew we wanted to create a beautiful life together from the get-go – with the challenge of bringing our lives together from opposite ends of the world. Victor proposed unexpectedly soon after we fell in love, under the sparkling night sky at Mount Victoria in Auckland. We were engaged for more than three years before we were finally able to get married. Throughout our engagement, we were trying to figure out how and where we could have a life together – to find the one place we could call home. Now Victor and I are lucky enough to have several home bases: Auckland, Hong Kong, and Vancouver while travelling around the world for the rest of the time. We visited Waiheke Island on one of our first dates and were captivated by the natural beauty of Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant. From then on we were pretty much set on Mudbrick as the location for our future wedding. It is almost a symbol of our promise to each other in the beginning that we would have a future together. Additionally, Waiheke truly is a world-class destination that embodies the special beauty of New Zealand and would have been perfect for showcasing the country to my friends and family. We originally set our wedding date for the end of March and planned for over 100 guests. Due to the pandemic lockdown and entry restrictions we had to limit our guest list to 10 and push our wedding date to the 20th of May. In Chinese culture, the date ‘520’ means ‘I love you’ so it actually ended up being very meaningful.
I originally had six of my closest friends coming to Auckland to be my bridesmaids and celebrate the big day from all over the world – Canada, China, Greenland, and New Zealand. Though she helped with much of the event planning, my maid of honour and best friend Valentina’s flight from Canada was cancelled as New Zealand shut its borders. She was so sad that she could not be there for us despite her best efforts. My dear friend (and makeup artist) Natascha arrived from Greenland earlier than everyone else to help out with planning the wedding, and the entire country went into lockdown soon after she arrived. After a month in lockdown, we had a little bridal shoot to remember the craziness before she was finally able to return home. She was not able to see much of New Zealand, nor attend the wedding, but I am forever grateful for her friendship and thankful that we went through the experience together. Victor’s cousin Nicole was the only local bridesmaid, and therefore the only one who was actually able to be at our wedding. She was truly amazing! She stood in for and represented the rest of the bridal party who were not able to enter the country. The other girls were still bridesmaids in spirit and in our hearts. Nicole wore a sleek figure-hugging, all white, sleeveless mermaid dress to contrast with my fully embroidered wedding gown with big sleeves. My original vision was for all seven of us to be in all white but, in the end, it was just me and Nicole!
Although it was most definitely a shame that the wedding we had worked so hard for did not happen, we are so glad that our original wedding was cancelled just before our overseas guests got on their flights. We are grateful that our friends and family were safe and that, with the exception of Natascha, they were not stuck in a foreign country during the pandemic. Luckily, with the support and love of Victor’s family, we were able to push forward with our wedding straight out of lockdown. I am so grateful that they welcomed me as part of the family, particularly as my own were not able to be there despite everyone’s best efforts. My mom was especially missed.
It was a crazy planning journey, and our wedding was a surreal experience. At the end of the day, we had a beautiful intimate wedding full of love – and that is what really matters. The crazy experience only adds to the solid foundation of our marriage. We finally made it! Love always wins! We sent out our wedding photos and a very special plaque that we designed ourselves to all of the guests who made plans to be at our original wedding. They were in our thoughts and hearts even though they could not physically be there. For us, it was small wedding, big love!
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