Our latest “That Bride” takes us behind the scenes of her Danish hygge wedding.
Like all great modern love stories, it started with Tinder. Recently single and new to Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific pilot Katrine Friis Olsen signed up to the online dating app at the urging of her well-meaning colleagues. In an almost serendipitous string of events, Katrine shortly thereafter found herself texting away with Hong Kong local Thor (Danish name, check!), an artist and actor at Viu TV. This eventually led to a coffee date and the rest, as you might have guessed already, is history…
Now, some seven years later, Katrine is taking us behind the scenes of the couple’s hygge wedding. Held in her home country of Denmark late last year, the nuptials brought together the very best of Danish and Chinese tradition. Keep reading for more!
Every bride has a proposal story. What’s yours?
As we’d already had “the talk” and decided on the wedding date, Thor didn’t have an easy task making the proposal a surprise. Neither of us had time for a holiday – work and a recent move to Sai Kung had kept us busy with renovation. Alas, there was no time for fancy dinners, get-aways or other ideal proposal opportunities. So instead, he elected to do the exact opposite by choosing the most ordinary and unlikely night of all.
I had just showered and was getting ready for bed as we had to wake up at 5am to pick up my sister and her boyfriend at the airport. I was completely confused when I came out of the bathroom and the entire living room was lit by candlelight. Thor was standing there in the way-too-tiny shirt he had worn the first time we met. He then got on his knees and said a lot of sweet things I honestly can’t remember as my brain went completely blank – I was so overwhelmed and surprised! He’d even handwritten all of our Tinder conversations into two small notebooks.
In love and full of excitement, neither of us could go to bed after that. We went to our local Honeymoon Dessert instead and talked about the old days, enjoying the feeling of finally being engaged. We then went straight to the airport, low on sleep but high on love!
Tell us about the ring.
My wise husband knew better than to surprise me with this one, so he asked me. And I’m so happy he did! I’ve always admired the LA designer Polly Wales for her beautiful organic and playful designs, hoping that one day I would wear one of her atrium rings, so we actually ended up designing it together with her. From sourcing and choosing the stones, deciding on the design and seeing the ring transform from a blue wax mould into its finished rose-gold setting, it was fascinating! We took a vacation to LA for a week and picked it up together at her workshop.
Later, we decided on her confetti rings for our wedding bands too – mine with watermelon-coloured sapphires in green and pink ombre, his similar, but without stones. That was his one wish throughout our wedding planning – that our rings would look alike. He’s truly a romantic!
Read more: Where To Buy An Engagement Ring In Hong Kong
What did you do for your hen party?
My sister and bridesmaid told me to leave some days open when I went back to Denmark for the final face-to-face meetings about the wedding – so I had an inkling that a surprise hen party might be in store. However, I did not expect to be woken up with pink Champagne in bed, be dressed up as a unicorn and taken out sailing through the canals of Copenhagen (as a unicorn in a pink tutu, you certainly get a lot of smiles and waves!). The day also included bridal bouquet throwing practice in the town centre, high tea (with more Champagne) for lunch and a visit to an escape room. I felt so overwhelmed seeing how much energy and work they had put into it.
Tell us about the dress. How many did you try on?
Two! The two I wore on my wedding day. And my search was certainly not done in the usual order – I started with a hat! A vintage Yohji Yamamoto bridal hat from the 90s to be exact, and an absolute dream. For a long time I’d been in doubt about where to begin; I knew I wasn’t a ballgown kind of girl, nor a mermaid either. The vision I had was of old French charm. All I dreamt about was a vintage Yohji Yamamoto dress from his Spring 1999 collection, but seeing as those pieces are in an exhibition at the MET in New York, the chances of scoring one was unlikely!
As luck would have it, I came across one of his bridal hats instead. This was without doubt the best decision I ever made in regards to my outfit. Now all I needed was a simple and classic dress. “The Harper” dress from Kamperett fitted this bill, and both dress and hat turned out to be made for each other.
Read more: Where To Buy Your Wedding Dress In Hong Kong
What was the wedding like?
In one word, “hygge”. As we’d agreed on celebrating our wedding in Denmark where I was born and grew up, it was only natural to show our Hong Kong family and friends a classic Danish wedding. “Hygge” is a rather famous Danish word encapsulating everything cosy and laidback about Danish culture. This meant our wedding had a warm and relaxing atmosphere, with lots of nature elements including wild flowers, beautiful Nordic food from the local farmers, an intimate guest list and, of course, lots of candlelight.
Do you have a favourite memory of the day?
I loved that we took a detour in our old London taxi to a nearby bakery for a cup of coffee and a “tebirkes” (a Danish poppy seed pastry) after the church service. Time goes by so fast on your wedding day, so I really treasured this in-between time to let the marriage sink in and have a quiet moment with my new husband.
How did you incorporate little pieces of Hong Kong into your overseas wedding?
As my husband is born and raised in Hong Kong, I really wanted to wear something traditionally red as a nod to his Chinese roots. I loved the idea of walking down the aisle in bright red. Unfortunately for my wallet, I had only one dress on my mind; a classic red Valentino. As luck often follows the brave (and foolish!), one of his dresses suddenly became available – a classic A-line with a deep V-neck in that classic bold red hue, the same red used for Chinese weddings. Having bought the dress online, I was very nervous trying it on for the first time. But if I ever had something like “a bridal moment”, this was it.
Read more: Alternative Wedding Venues In Hong Kong
What was the most fun element of planning your wedding?
There were so many fun moments, but the evening we created our wedding playlist is the one I remember the most. Listening to all our favourite love songs – the cheesy ones, the classic ones, the old school ones – as we both love music and had a long list of songs, it ended up being quite a party sorting through them all.
And the most stressful moment?
There were definitely a few days during the last month where things piled up as deadlines approached. But the single most stressful moment was getting stuck in Friday traffic on our way to the dining venue. It was particularly bad as this was the Friday leading up to the school holidays – none of us had thought of this when we planned the timeline. Hence we were almost an hour late to the venue and had to make some quick arrangements so we still had time for wedding photos outside while the light was good.
What about the best decision you made in the planning process?
I’ll pick two things; my wedding planner and my bridal hat. Without our wedding planner, we would never have got so many amazing vendors on board. Sofie from Brink Bryllup quickly got an idea of our vision and suggested vendors based on our wedding style – all of whom went above and beyond to make our wedding wishes come true. As for the hat – it almost got more compliments than me that day!
Any tips and tricks for brides-to-be?
It sounds so cheesy, but don’t be afraid to be you and do your wedding your way. Trends are seasonal and for commercials and magazines, your wedding is forever and no other couple has been exactly like you. There is so much information out there, which is fantastic if you have no idea where to start. But also know that there will always be something more you can plan, order, arrange and do, so try not to get FOMO! Do what feels “you”. Trust your decisions and skip the rest – your skin, your mood and your fiancé will thank you for this.
All images courtesy of Storybook Studio via Katrine Friis Olsen.