A Cheshire wedding with Chinese traditions

03 Oct 2019

Featuring a Chinese tea ceremony and several other traditions, Sadie Han and Jonny Pinkney's Cheshire wedding was the perfect day

How did you meet?

We met through friends while at university.

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Tell us about the proposal.

We were on holiday to Singapore and Malaysia. While in Singapore, we went to Marina Bay Sands Hotel and had dinner at the Ce La Vi restaurant on the roof. We had just watched the supertree light show and the view was incredible; Jonny had requested for us to have a table close to the edge so we had the best view overlooking the bay.

I was staring out to the Bay and noticed Jonny looking a bit nervous as he gave a little speech about how much he loved me and then he got down on one knee! It was so special that Jonny proposed during this holiday as my father is from Malaysia and I had spent a lot of my childhood in Singapore. The next day Jonny and I travelled to Malaysia to see my grandma and she was incredibly happy with the news and very excited for the wedding.

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What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?

The colour scheme was gold, rose gold and champagne.

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What venue did you choose and why did you choose it? 

Delamere Manor, Cheshire. We booked the venue less than two years after our engagement as we just knew it was the one the first time we visited and we didn’t want to leave. We wanted our ceremony to be outdoors and we chose Delamere Manor not only because it was beautiful but it has such stunning grounds, including a six-acre lake.

We were so lucky with the weather on the wedding day, the sun was shining and we had our ceremony outside on the canapés. We got some beautiful photos of Jonny and I outside with the sun shining.

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When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?

I tried on seven dresses at Liverpool Bridal Boutique. It was the first bridal shop I went to so I wasn’t expecting to buy my dress that day and we still had 20 months to go until the wedding. But when I put my dress on it took my breath away and I didn’t want to take it off... that's how I knew it was the one.

I went for the complete opposite style of dress to what I thought I wanted. I initially thought I wanted a high neck lace dress with sleeves and no detail. The dress I chose was full of detail. It was an Allure Couture dress embroidered with Swarovski crystals and pearls. It was backless with a waterfall pearl back necklace which looked incredible in the photos. The dress was above my budget but I fell in love with it. I also wore a cathedral length one tier veil.

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What did the bridesmaids wear?

I had six bridesmaids: four best friends from school, one best friend from university and my sister (my maid of honour). They wore long rose gold bridesmaids' dresses.

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What did the mother of the bride wear?

A grey long waterfall dress with rose pink hat.

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Where did you find your suits?

Attire Menswear, Liverpool.

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Tell us about your floral arrangements.

My bouquet was a loose, slightly draping, medium sized bouquet with blush posies, pink and cream peonies, cream roses, pink astilbe, nude berries, cream lizzy and seeded eucalyptus. My bridesmaids' bouquets were a smaller version of my bridal bouquet but with no pink, all cream. The groomsmen and parents' buttonholes featured a cream rose, seeded eucalyptus and pink astilbe. Jonny also had his best friend Holly as a groomswoman, she wore a navy sequin dress with a magnetic buttonhole to match the groomsmen.

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Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day. 

  • Our favours were flower seeds which were inside rose gold personalised little packets that said 'Let love grow: Sadie and Jonny 2019'. We had seeds because of Jonny’s passion for gardening. We also put little bubbles on the tables which got some great photos.
  • We both have a love of travelling and decided to have our table names as places where we have been together. The top table was Singapore as this is where Jonny proposed. Other places included: New York, Iceland, Langkawi and Maldives. The seating plan was a canvas of the world map with the quote 'Not all those who wander are lost' by J.R.R Tolkien (Jonny's favourite author).
  • Instead of having a guest book, we had a guest globe and the guests signed it with metallic marker pens, we now have the globe on display in our home.

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  • There is a piano in the hallway entrance to Delamere Manor, so my little brother and Jonny's brother played the piano as guests walked in. There was also a little piano sing-song by my Malaysian family; they sang Chinese songs while my aunty played the piano.
  • We had a traditional Chinese tea ceremony after the wedding breakfast. This was organised by my dad and involves the bride and groom serving Chinese tea to our elderly family. In return, our family gave us Chinese red envelopes to symbolise good fortune in our marriage and symbolise their blessing.
  • Jonny stayed in our home with his groomsmen the night before the wedding. Jonny thought his best man Ray was going to drive them to the wedding in his Toyota Yaris. I knew he was going to be nervous the morning of the wedding so as a surprise I rented a chauffeur driven Aston Martin to take him and his best men. They all loved the car and we took great photos with it when they arrived. We also followed another Chinese tradition where my little brother opened the car door as Jonny arrived as a symbol to welcome him in to our family and in return Jonny gave him a Chinese red envelope.
  • We had an ice cream cart during the canapés, as the weather was so hot the guests loved it. We had four different flavours: the bride’s choice, gin and tonic sorbet; the groom’s choice, chocolate fudge brownie; the bridesmaid’s choice, Eton mess; and the groomsmen’s choice, salted caramel.
  • For my 'something old', my mum got me a photo keyring of my grandparents who passed away and I put the keyring in my bridal bouquet so they were with me as I walked down the aisle.

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How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?

Jonny had been learning to play the piano in the few months before the wedding and his favourite song to play was I Giorni by Ludovico Einaudi. I decided to walk down to this song and I kept this a secret from Jonny. When I walked down the aisle the first thing I saw was his bottom lip quivering as he was so emotional when he heard the song and this made me start to well up. I walked down the aisle holding my dad's arm and didn’t look away from Jonny once. I didn’t even notice any of the guests as I was so focused on Jonny.

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How did you make the ceremony personal to you?

We wrote our own vows and wrote them in vow books which I ordered from Etsy. I asked my mum to look after them and she brought them up to the aisle when the registrar was ready, this was a great way to include her in the ceremony. We had two readings: one from Jonny’s aunty Esther and the other one from our friend Claire. Both were beautiful, personalised readings.

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What was your most memorable moment? 

It is so hard to choose as we have so many wonderful memories. The ceremony and reading the vows we wrote were particularly special. There was also a funny moment when I couldn’t get Jonny's wedding ring on because his hands were so swollen from the heat. It took about five minutes but eventually we got the ring on in the end and we got some great photos of us laughing and celebrating afterwards. 

The speeches were also very memorable. Jonny had two best men - his brother, Ben, and Ray, his best friend from university. Jonny studied physiotherapy and Ray told the story of how they first met in class when Jonny had to massage Ray’s groin. Ray also told the story of when Jonny and I decided to move in together and it took Jonny over three weeks to break the news to Ray that he was moving out of their lad pad.

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What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?

The guest list was really difficult as I have a lot of family members and we both have a lot of friends, of course we wanted to invite everyone but we couldn’t due to our budget. Learning our first dance routine was also pretty challenging, luckily all of the hours of practice and private lessons paid off. 

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What was the most important investment for you?

There were two important things we wanted for our wedding day, good food and good music. The food was incredible, our caterers Cheeky Chilli did an excellent job and all of our guests loved the food. One uncle even said it was the best he had ever had.

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What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?

Our first dance song was Came Here For Love - acoustic version by Sigala and Ella Eyre. We had been having ballroom dance lessons in the run up to the wedding and decided to have private lessons for the first dance. We did a slow foxtrot dance and we practised every day for three months before the wedding. On the day, the dance went so well and we didn’t get any steps wrong. 

I wore a second wedding dress in the evening, this was so that I could do our first dance without worrying about tripping over. My second dress was very different to the first, it was a simplistic, elegant satin halterneck. I didn’t tell anyone about my second dress and all of my guests were very surprised when I walked in to do the first dance. 

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Did you have any evening entertainment?

We hired a six-piece band (female vocalist, male vocalist and guitar, drums, sax and pianist), Toni James Band. The band played in the nightclub (formerly Gary Barlow’s old recording studio). We had a DJ - Neil Walsh, in the orangery.

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Tell us about your wedding cake.

The cake was semi-naked with lemon and elderflower in the buttercream and sponge. The cake was decorated with fresh flowers which matched my bouquet.

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Where did you go on honeymoon?

Our wedding was on the Friday and we went on honeymoon on the Monday. We wanted to wait a few days so we could spend time with our family, especially as a lot of family had travelled from far away such as America, Canada and Malaysia. We went for a walk in Delamere Forest the morning after the wedding with family.

For our honeymoon we went to Dubai and the Maldives for two weeks. It was the most amazing holiday. We had a water villa with a private pool in the Maldives and we saw baby sharks swimming underneath our villa every morning. In Dubai we went on a desert safari with a camel ride, we also saw a bellydancer show and we tried sandboarding.

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Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?

We had 20 minutes alone together in the bridal suite, we had our canapés and sat on our balcony to overlook our guests on the terrace enjoying our wedding. I would really recommend spending some time together alone and taking time to have a breather away from the chaos and just absorb the moment. It also meant we got to enjoy the canapés without being interrupted.

Get the look:

Photography: Ollie Gyte 
Videography: Tom Harrington
Band: Toni James Band 
DJ: Neil Walsh
Catering: Cheeky Chilli
Floristry: Flowerbug Florist
Cake: Rachel Moss (friend) 
Invites, save the dates and wedding hangers: Hannah Northover on Etsy 
Wedding dress: Liverpool Bridal Boutique 
Make-up: Leyla and Vicky 
Guest globe: Selah Grace Designs on Etsy 
Ice cream: Fellici’s Ice Cream
Aston Martin car hire: Keyhole Studios

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