Me & My Wedding: A Magical Day in Kew Gardens

From the proposal to the cake, the flowers to the dress, we love hearing what goes into making someone's big day their own. If you're after some inspiration, look no further – we’re shining a spotlight on some of the most stylish weddings out there. For entrepreneur Yina and product designer Dan, their botanical London wedding (which took place before the Covid-19 pandemic) included incredible plants, a fairy-lit tunnel, and all their loved ones. Here, the bride tells us more about their special day…

The Engagement

Dan proposed on April Fool’s day at Boston College – where we first met. I wasn’t expecting a proposal because we had a big brunch planned with his family and friends. In true April Fool’s fashion, he pretended to lose his phone and we went on a mini scavenger hunt to find it. Eventually I discovered it under a pile of leaves, with a lollipop ring on top. When I turned around Dan was on one knee.

The Ring

Dan knew I wanted a specific shape and style of engagement ring. He designed a platinum setting with a radiant diamond centre with emerald baguettes on each side.

The Non-Negotiables

I really wanted to have the wedding in a glasshouse surrounded by plants, so the venue was the most essential part of the planning process. It was also important to us that everyone enjoy the party – which meant having a good DJ and band. We were keen to make sure everyone felt appreciated, especially since they would have travelled from all over the world for our London wedding. We decided to write special notes for all of our guests, as we knew we wouldn’t be able to spend dedicated time with each person.

The Venue

I loved the idea of a botanical wedding. More importantly, we tried to be strategic about maximising sunlight while reducing the risk of bad weather. To find the perfect venue we visited all sorts of glasshouses across Europe – travelling to Switzerland, France, Austria and Ireland – plus, making a few pitstops in the UK, which was really fun.

When we arrived in London, we fell in love with Kew Gardens. Their mission really resonated with us – both as a botanical garden and conservation centre. The team there were a delight to work with. I’d lived in London before New York, so it felt even more special to me as it brought up lots of old memories.

The Planner

Since we were planning a London wedding while based in New York, it was critical for us to have someone on the ground that could help keep an eye out. Our planner, Michelle Kelly at Pocketful Of Dreams, was an absolutely pleasure to work with. She was always patient, considerate, and was phenomenal at executing the details. She also did a great job of making me feel calm – both during the planning process and on the day itself.

The Dress

I’m normally an ‘athleisure’ kind of person and to be honest, I hadn’t put a lot of thought into my dress. I tried on a few at different bridal boutiques and had actually selected one that I liked, but none ever felt completely right. In the end, I discovered my dress by accident – I had put the wrong date in my calendar to visit the boutique and saw my dress on display. It was the Norine by Enzoani. I fell so in love with it that I decided to pay extra to cancel my original dress.

The Accessories

I wore gorgeous, borrowed teardrop earrings from a friend, and opted for ankle-strap embellished sandals from Badgley Mischka.

The Make-Up & Hair

I wanted a subtly glamorous look, and my hair and make-up artist Boe from Botias did a phenomenal job. I didn’t want to look too different from my day-to-day style, and I also wanted my hair up so I could enjoy dancing without it bothering me. I definitely felt like me, just a little more glam than normal.

The Groom

Dan wore a tux for the day, and his groomsmen wore custom-made suits – all from Suit Supply in New York.

The Bridal Party 

My bridal party consisted of my sister and five friends – all of whom were based in different countries. I wanted to give everyone the freedom to pick their own dresses, though I chose the colour which was a blush/dusty rose. They brought their dresses to the hen do and the dresses coordinated really well; we didn’t need to make any changes. Our florist Larry Walshe helped create our beautiful bouquets. I had wanted something wild and organic, and he nailed it.

The Ceremony 

Our florist helped set up an absolutely stunning magnolia tree for us to say our vows under. Our good friend officiated, and Dan's sister Hannah recited a poem – it was a quote from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, the first book that Dan bought me more than a decade ago. When she got to the ‘stand together yet apart’ line, we both started weeping. 

There were a lot of happy tears and laughter throughout the ceremony. Better yet, the sun suddenly broke out and shone through the entire venue. So many of the congregation gasped. It couldn’t have been better timed.

The Photographer 

Both my husband and I are quite camera shy, so we wanted someone that would help us feel natural in front of the lens. That person turned out to be Benjamin Wheeler – he was super-friendly and down to earth.

The Videographer

We chose @EachAndEveryMoment to capture our day on film. They were absolutely delightful to work with and we loved our wedding video.

The Décor & Flowers

We wanted an intimate setting so it would be easy to chat over dinner. Because we didn’t want to risk contamination of the plants, we didn’t have any flowers in the reception space – instead we had an interactive hanging escort card chart at the entrance for people to find their names/tables.

The team then created a fairy-light tunnel down all the open aisles of the Temperate House. It was the perfect way to create an intimate space, despite having such a large group. In the end, our wedding ending up falling during a Chilhuly and Kew Gardens collaboration event. Dining and dancing under his beautiful art sculptures was a once in a lifetime experience.

The Food & Drink

My husband is Korean, so to honour his culture and heritage we had Korean and East Asian-inspired food. Create Food did a fantastic job with the authentic dishes, all of which were beautifully plated and served. Dan also tried to source White Claw and Casa Migos to drink, but it was too expensive to import! So, we just made sure the bar was well stocked. The bartenders did a great job serving traditional cocktails and people definitely enjoyed the open bar… there was quite a bit of crowd surfing going on towards the end!

The DJ & Entertainment

We worked with DJ Matman and Momento Sounds and it was an absolute hit. DJ Matman spun some great music for everyone to dance to, while Momento Sounds created a mini concert of their own music where they did live mixing as well as playing the big hits.

The Day Before The Wedding 

The day before was jam-packed. After a rehearsal lunch we had groomsmen games, then a tea ceremony where we served tea to our parents as a symbolic gesture of moving into the next chapter of our lives. This was very important for us because we were able to thank our parents for raising us and uniting the two families.

Afterwards, everyone hopped on a traditional double-decker London bus to tour the city. It involved plenty of champagne and drinks, and we visited London's key attractions, ending at Buckingham Palace. The bus then dropped everyone off at our welcome party. The venue, Heist Bank, was really industrial, which served as a nice contrast to the ethereal Kew Gardens.

Final Thoughts 

If you’re going for a multi-day wedding, one of the things that helped the most with the stress was being organised. Set up a system that allows for easy search and filing. There are so many moving parts, your brain won’t easily remember everything. 

Because a wedding is such a personal experience, there will be a lot of opinions and preferences you and your partner will need to juggle. It’s important to work towards a solution together – this makes decisions feel less of a compromise and more of a collaboration. Hindsight is a great thing, but it really is true that the stress of wedding planning is worth it. Know that no matter the style wedding you have, the most important thing to remember is that everyone is there because they love and care about you.

Photography by Benjamin Wheeler

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