Hitched in Hong Kong
Sometimes simple is best, and beautiful bride, Kristen Armstrong’s understated (and enviable!) ceremony in Victoria Peak Gardens is prime example. Walking down the aisle the day after she said yes, Kristen reveals how liberating it was to forgo tradition and celebrate with just a dozen of close guests, with plenty of cupcakes and champagne along the way…
All love stories have to begin somewhere. How did you two meet?
We met in Canada in the summer of 2005. Brook was just starting off as a pilot, building his flight hours by dropping skydivers out of a small airplane at a tiny airport in the middle of nowhere. I was 18 years old and had joined the military that summer. My basic training was at a Base near the drop zone, and one weekend a friend of mine convinced me to try skydiving. So that’s how I met Brook – I jumped out of his plane! That night we all had a bonfire and stayed up watching shooting stars. The rest is history.
Every bride has a proposal story. What’s yours?
It came about naturally. We are both really active, and hike the peak a lot. While we hike we often talk about our life together, what our next steps might be etc., and it was on these hikes that we began talking about marriage. We considered running away, and looked at where we could elope, but in the end we wanted something that was meaningful for us so we decided on a tiny wedding here in Hong Kong.
We didn’t end up getting our rings until the week of the wedding, when everything was already planned! So the morning before the big day we hiked High West, and Brook asked me to marry him… The very next day I walked down the aisle.
Read more: Celebrating Your Engagement in Hong Kong
Tell us about the ring.
We went to Ryder Diamonds for the ring. It is classic, a six pronged single solitaire on a white gold band, with a very thin eternity diamond wedding band.
Tell us about the dress. How many did you try on?
I loved my dress! It was long, backless, and very minimal. I ordered it online from thereformation.com and it was the first and only dress that I tried on. I had a friend come over with a bottle of bubbly, and we called my mum and a friend from home on skype. I knew as soon as I slipped it on that it was the one, but I was so happy to have them all share the moment.
What was the wedding like?
Magical. We got married at Victoria Peak Gardens, here in Hong Kong. It was a very intimate ceremony, with only about a dozen of us in total. The gardens were very lush and made for a beautiful backdrop. We said our vows in a little pergola, and then celebrated with copious amounts of champagne and Sift cupcakes. Afterwards, we all went down to Aberdeen Street Social for dinner.
Read more: Your Guide to Wedding Catering in Hong Kong
What was the most fun element of planning your wedding?
Honestly, the whole process was a lot of fun. The biggest benefit of a having a tiny wedding is that it was very easy to organise, which gave me the freedom to enjoy and be excited about each step in the planning process. It can all be very romantic when there is no fuss.
Most stressful moment?
When our officiant was late! It was a long 15 minutes, but it did allow me to talk to my parents before walking down the steps to get married, so in the end it was a blessing.
One planning app you used religiously?
Skype. It was very important for us to keep our family and friends back home involved. There were plenty of calls home to go over wedding dress options, hash out the dinner menu, and generally just share the excitement.
The song for your first dance?
We hadn’t planned a first dance, but we did put some time into putting together our playlist for the day. Brook ended up reaching for my hand when ‘At Last’ by Etta James came on. I’m not sure if it was intentional on his part, but it was perfect in my eyes. I remember singing that song as a little girl, thinking that one day it could be my wedding song!
What were the wedding favours?
Full bellies! We wanted to focus on simply enjoying the experience with our closest friends. It was liberating to forgo some traditions, and also, much more environmentally friendly!
Is there anything you would have liked to have done differently?
Absolutely nothing. We had a fantastic day, and ultimately, the most important thing isn’t the wedding… it’s the relationship. The wedding is such a beautiful gesture of love and commitment which definitely deserves celebration, but it is just one exciting page in your story as a couple.
And that brings us naturally to your honeymoon. Where did you end up going?
We rented a car and spent two weeks touring the Isle of Skye in Scotland. We hiked Ben Nevis, saw a lot of castles, and ate way too much.
Have any tips and tricks for brides-to-be?
Don’t be afraid to defy convention and do what makes you and your partner happy! If you are having a small wedding away from home, invest in a good photographer so that you can share your special day with your loved ones. It will mean a lot to you, but even more to them. Relax, and have fun! The day goes by so fast, try to soak it all in and enjoy every moment!
All the beautiful images above were taken by Jamie Ousby