20 May, 2015

That Bride: Jasmine Smith

20 May, 2015
We’re not crying-it’s just that the Hong Kong pollution does terrible things to our eyes. Oh, who are we kidding, our That Girl Jasmine Smith’s romantic wedding is enough to make even the hardest heart well up with tears. We talk to her about how she and her now husband, Robert Smith, managed to leap the divide between love and friendship, as well as their incredibly thoughtful wine ceremony to constantly remind themselves of their love for one another. Fashion’s always been Jasmine’s forte (her fashion blog’s a Sassy staple) and so there’s no surprise we were desperate to sneak a peek of her wedding dress. Take a look at our interview with her below about her 2013 Wedding!That Bride - Jasmine Smith 1All love stories have to begin somewhere. How did you two meet?
On the dance floor of a nightclub! However, it was anything but a stereotypical meeting. I was teaching Ceroc dance lessons at the time in various nightclubs around Hong Kong and Rob happened to be one of my students.

Where was your first date?
Our official first date came after a month of coffee catch-ups where we would swap DVDs and music, drink strong coffee and pretend we were just friends. It was actually surprisingly easy to transition from our mid-week coffee club meetings to a more romantic setting.

We went to a restaurant on Gough Street. (Was it French or Italian? I can’t remember.) We could have quite honestly gone anywhere and it wouldn’t have mattered-it was just amazing to be able to be in each other’s company on an official date.

After dinner, we went to a gay club up the road called Volume because we both figured the music would be awesome. I have a secret suspicion Rob thought there would be no competition and if there was any, it’d be because people would probably be hitting on him!

Can you tell us about the first time he said he loved you?
Can you believe that I can’t remember? Perhaps it’s because I think that I’ve always loved him. I always knew that he was the one, so saying ‘I love you’ must have merged seamlessly into that. Ah sorry, I didn’t really answer your question-you don’t have to put that in the interview! (Of course we had to!)

That Bride - Jasmine Smith 2Every bride has a proposal story. What’s yours?
We were in Paris on vacation when Rob suggested we go on a little adventure and take the train out of the city. We packed a picnic of terrine, olives, cheeses and (of course) a baguette from our local boulangerie and spent the day at Marie Antoinette’s Summer Palace in The Versailles Gardens.

Upon arrival, I was constantly ten paces behind Rob with my camera. The place is just so picturesque and I spent so long trying to capture as much of the view and the statues as I could. Rob on the other hand was on a single-minded mission to hire a pushbike. Rob actually made me put away the camera, his intense focus really started to make me wonder! It wasn’t until we found the bike hire quarters that he took a breath and became regular chilled out Rob again.

It felt like we were in a fairytale. The Versailles Gardens are full of sprawling autumn forests and endless cobbled pavements that wind their way around the centralised cross-shaped lake. It was sunny and crisp that day and perfectly suited for a picnic. After half a morning spent peddling the grounds, we found a spot in the sun to set down our bikes and set up our picnic.

Once we’d settled down and set up the picnic set, I noticed that Rob had swapped out the humble red wine I’d bought that morning for a fancy Verve and wanted to have a toast. I exchanged the camera for some bubbly and we were soon clinking glasses (and not the plastic cups as I had packed, he’d swapped those out too!). Then Rob began to describe all the different ways that he loved me, merged into an incredibly long heartfelt speech. We toasted, or at least we tried to until Rob interrupted me mid-sip. I remember the way that he dramatically cut me off by saying, Ahhhhh, I think there might be something in your glass…

After a few tears, giggles and diamonds, I finally realised that he was proposing to me. We also realised that we had no idea how to get the ring out of the champagne glass (oops). An olive fork later, Rob knelt down on one knee with the engagement ring in hand asking me to marry him. Once the flood of tearful yeses ended, we were finally engaged.

That Bride - Jasmine Smith 3Tell us about the ring.
Rob independently designed a stunning princess cut engagement ring that had a central diamond, as well as eight smaller diamonds along each side of the band. The eight diamonds symbolise good fortune in Chinese culture. The ring actually has 17 stones in total, including the centre piece. He deliberately chose a prime number, a number that can never be wholly divided. He’s the only man alive who can make maths romantic!

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What did you do for your hen party? We want the dirty details.
My sister organised an amazing night out with all my favourite ladies, which consisted of Pin-Up Girl Costumes, a tarot card reader, behind-the-bar cocktail sessions, a burlesque lesson and, of course, a stripper. There was also no small shortage of alcohol. It was an epic goodbye to my wild single days!

That Bride - Jasmine Smith 5How did you go about planning your wedding? Did you go the DIY route or did you hire a wedding planner to help you out?
Rob and I decided to take on planning every aspect of the wedding by ourselves and planned to hold our big day the following year. We knew with absolute confidence that we wanted the ceremony to not only represent our love truthfully, but that it should also be an awesome and memorable celebration for all our wedding guests.

We aimed to finish planning a few months before the wedding and actually did it all with three months to spare. It was great because it allowed us to just simply enjoy the anticipation of our big day without any of the stress.

We hosted a week long series of different events for all our guests – junks, dragon-i trips, dim sum outings, barbecue dinners, classic LKF nights out on the town. The big finale was naturally our wedding, which we held on Easter Sunday at The Space. It’s an art gallery on Hollywood Road with a fantastic urban chic vibe that balances the quirky with the traditional.

We stuck to a monochromatic colour theme of black, white and silver. We kept the surroundings minimal but elegant, including orchids and crystal drops to add serious amounts of sophisticated glam. We were really more focused on creating the right atmosphere via the drinks we served (‘Old Fashions’ and ‘Lychee Martinis’), the music we played (DJ Roger ReFlex De Leon played that evening for us) and the food that we served.

We asked Lori from Magnolia (check our review of Magnolia) to cater a family sit-down style dinner, where all the food was served at once and guests were encouraged to serve each other. Everyone had to pass plates around and actually communicate with one another, the same way you would if you sat down for a dinner party in our house. We wanted to create an intimacy that lent itself to good conversation and shared memories-we felt the best way to do that was by breaking the formalities of a three-course meal!

That Bride - Jasmine Smith 6Tell us about the dress.
My Jim Hjelm gown was a stunning fusion of modern and classic bridal styles. It was literally the first dress I saw at my first wedding dress appointment and thankfully it was also within budget!

The bodice was heavily appliquéd with lace and fit my body perfectly.  The lace also created a traditional sweetheart neckline, accompanied by soft tulle straps for an extremely subtle yet flattering effect.  The straps flowed over the shoulders into a plunging back as the elongated bodice then slowly melted into a modern two-tiered tulle and lace skirt with a chapel train. The detailing on the dress looks wonderfully soft, but it was actually structured enough to fit me to perfection. I bought it in Hong Kong and absolutely adored wearing it. It was a stunning variation on the traditional and superbly feminine, especially at the same time.

I also wore an incredibly long veil (double the usual chapel length veil) that billowed out behind me like angel wings. I carried a white rose and peony bouquet of flowers. I finished it all off with my five inch ivory white Christian Louboutins and mermaid hair waves, feeling like the bride I’d always wanted to be.

After my ceremony and photos, I changed into a silk sheath designed my local dressmaker Ines Klim of SENSES. It was a divine transition from traditional to party appropriate, but I still looked every inch a bride. As much as I loved my wedding dress however, I do want to sell it so that I can buy a fantastic piece of jewellery that encapsulates the perfection of the day. It’s something that I’d want to give to my own daughter on her wedding day.

That Bride - Jasmine Smith 7What was the wedding like?
It rained on our wedding day, so we had to move our ceremony location and wedding photos inside The Space for the entire day. This actually worked in our favour, since our wedding ceremony worked wonderfully in a smaller space. We had our families lead most of our ceremonies, which made everything super emotional. My brother hosted a wine ceremony, which included all our family members from both our sides. We used white wine from New Zealand, where I was born, and red wine from Rob’s country. Each family member poured part of the wine into an empty decanter, ending with my Dad who presented the mixture to Rob for a toast. After Rob had finished, he then took a sip and passed it to me so I could do the same. I actually couldn’t do it, I was too teary to talk at that stage!

The ceremony was a representation of our separate lives being combined, like the two wines, into a single shared life. It signified the commitment we made to live our lives as one family.

We then continued into a love letter and wine box ceremony. My brother gave us a beautiful wooden wine box, which contained a bottle of wine as well as two love letters that Rob and I had written to one another. The letters we wrote actually described the good qualities that we saw in one another, the reasons we fell in love, and our hopes for our future together. They were sealed in individual envelopes and neither of us were allowed to see the letters addressed to us. The reasoning behind this is that if we ever find our marriage facing hardships, we can crack open the box, drink the wine together and then read the letters we wrote to one another to remind ourselves why we chose one another.

I hope that we will never have a reason to open our box. We’ve agreed that if we don’t, we’ll open our box and enjoy it on our fifth wedding anniversary. After that, we’ll replenish it and open it again on our 10th anniversary, and so on…

The ceremony finished with words from my Dad and an open ceremony where we invited all guests to reflect on everything in silence. If anyone wanted to, they could get up and say something to bless our marriage, or tell a story and share words of encouragement. We were blessed with some of the most amazing words that day! It was so important that we married one another knowing that we had the love and support of our community, friends and family.

That Bride - Jasmine Smith 8Everyone remembers their first dance. What song did you choose?
‘You’ve Got The Love’ by Florence and the Machine.

That Bride - Jasmine Smith 9What’s the most valuable thing you learned while wedding planning?
That I have a husband that trusts my taste, but that he’s also not afraid to pursue his own creative vision.

That Bride - Jasmine Smith 10Have any tips and tricks for brides-to-be?
Delegate when you have to! Focus on the overall impression you’re creating rather than the details, people will only remember the first and forget the other.

What do you remember most about the entire experience?
Our happiness throughout the week, as well as the happiness of those who came to support us. It was an epic week of love, laughter and unfortunately a lot of rain, but it was still seriously a great time!

That Bride - Jasmine Smith 11Is there anything you would have liked to do differently?
There are, but they’re details that would really have made no difference to the wedding. They’re honestly only things that I would have noticed anyways.

And that brings us naturally to your honeymoon. Where did you end up going?
We went to a Sri Lankan tea plantation, which has since then become one of our favourite countries to travel to! We loved it so much that we went back a month later for a more adventurous second honeymoon spent kite surfing.

That Bride - Jasmine Smith 12You absolutely glowed on your big day. Can you share any of your beauty secrets?
We were lucky enough to have Re:Flex working as our DJ on the night, he worked the vibe of the room so well!  He’s also just an awesome guy and was an absolute treat to have involved.

Photos were one of the most important aspects of our wedding day and I can’t sing Darren LeBeuf’s praises enough! (Neither can we, he’s one of our top five wedding photographers in Hong Kong!) His photos are so incredibly intimate, raw and emotional and have created an amazing journey for us to relive every time my husband and I look at them.

Our caterer, Lori from Magnolia, was AMAZING. She synced with our vision immediately and produced a perfect feast for our guests. She not only created a spectacular (and delish!) family-style feast, but did all our canapés for guests to nibble on while the wedding party were having photos taken. She also served our fave drinks – lychee martinis and Old Fashioneds – during this time. She not only helped organise all of this, but she also did the wedding table settings and alcohol throughout the night! She has a seamless working style and had such a fabulous attitude throughout. She also provided all the serving and kitchen staff.

Sophie Flemming & Candice Michel Wu from Quintessentially Weddings helped me with the set up on the day of my wedding.  It was something I couldn’t do myself and I didn’t want to have to ask family to do. Since we stayed in the same venue and swapped the decor around for the reception, it was quite a complicated job and these girls had it all under control. It looked every inch how I had planned it throughout the entire event. It’s always fab to be surrounded by amazing professionals who take away all the potential drama and mishaps!

Our wedding was actually the first one ever to be held at The Space and Emma (one of our That Girls) was so helpful with the whole organisation process.

The night before the wedding, I stayed at The Upper House so I could get ready in the morning. It’s divine-I’m always looking for an excuse to go back. (So are we, we actually tried it out). I also hired cars from them to help me and my bridesmaids get to The Space the morning of the wedding. Oh, and big tip! If you’re worried about sleeping the night before (like I was, I’m a bad sleeper at the best of time!) then have someone on hand to ensure you get your beauty sleep.

In all honesty, flowers weren’t hugely important to me so I used someone who understood the simplicity of what I wanted and at a price that suited what I had budgeted. Eva Ip Florist has an awesome little local store in Wan Chai market and she helped me source literally hundreds of orchids to line the aisle with. She also created exactly what I wanted for the bouquets and men’s floral pins. Working with someone who can produce EXACTLY what is requested is hugely important for me and Eva did this to a tee! She was amazingly accommodating with our last-minute venue change as well and helped ensure my day went well regardless of the showers.

There was no way I was going to wear mascara and ruin my face-I totally recommend extensions! Iconic Beauty in Causeway Bay are amazingly affordable and have the best quality eyelash extensions. My favourite team from QG Private i prepped my hair for my big day-definitely ask for one of their hairdressers, Teddy, and Andy Wong if you’re looking for a colourist. My go-to for nails has always been a girl named Winnie who has her own little store in TST, I’ve been going to her for years and can always rely on her!

That Bride - Jasmine Smith 13

Can you think of anybody who helped you get fit and healthy in time for your big day?
My bridesmaids and I hit up the Four Seasons Spa the day before with a lush pampering session. We were so relaxed! I HIGHLY recommend scheduling in some girlie time and a serious amount of beauty therapy the day before.

I was using my apartment building gym to get fit in time for the wedding and used the Nike Training Club App’s daily workouts, it seriously makes your body burn! I also went on the Cambridge Weight Plan about six months before my wedding for three weeks.  It helped me lose the few kilos I couldn’t seem to get rid of, but more importantly, helped me retune my eating habits and approach to food so that I could easily maintain my ideal weight for months in the lead-up to my wedding.

Have we mentioned Jasmine’s designing a lingerie collection? You won’t want to buy your wedding intimates anywhere other than Raven and Rose


Loved Jasmine’s interview? Well, we’ve got a few other brides we’d like you to meet in our That Bride interviews – check them out and try not to swoon too hard, ladies!

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