A fairy-tale wedding
There were four parts to the event, spread across three days, which involved unicorns, a guest list of around 1,200, and a fiery-red sedan chair.
If it seems like something out of a fairy tale, that is not too far from the truth.
These were some of the elements that marked the wedding of Roy Fong and Cheryl Wee, a Singaporean couple, held at the beginning of the month.
Wee is the daughter of high-profile entrepreneurs and socialites Mervin Wee and Jean Yip. Yip’s eponymous group provides services in the areas of hairdressing, beauty and slimming.
But Wee herself is no wallflower either. The 30-year-old former beauty queen has carved a career in entertainment, where she sings, acts and, most recently, started a wellness and weight-management business, Cheryl W.
No surprise then that when she decided to tie the knot, the nuptials were nothing short of grand.
Setting the tone was the proposal. After dating for 11 years, architect Fong went on bended knee in the scenic Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Kyoto, Japan, in January last year to ask his high school sweetheart for her hand in marriage.
Accompanying him was a string quartet, hired from nearby Osaka to play Wouldn’t It Be Nice by The Beach Boys, a song that is special to the couple.
“I didn’t expect it to happen then,” said Wee. “I thought we had gone on the trip to celebrate my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. I was really surprised.”
What ensued next was 18 months of intensive planning. Following appointments in London at some of the world’s most renowned bridal couture brands, Wee settled on gowns by Vera Wang.
“Vera’s right-hand (person) was present at the trunk show that I attended, and offered to customize the gown that I would wear for the dinner,” she said when asked what tipped the balance.
The gown she wore for the church wedding was also from the same label, a white confection cinched at the waist with a pearl-studded belt.
Since she had to travel to Europe for the fittings, the self-professed “very practical” bride decided to book wedding photo shoots in Richmond, a suburban town in southwest London, as well as in Florence, Italy.
“I was charmed by the historical buildings in Richmond. I had also never been to Florence before, so I thought it would be a good chance to see the city and take our photos there.”
When it came to the wedding proper, unlike most Singaporean couples, Fong and Wee decided to split up the traditional tea ceremony from the church service and dinner celebrations.
The former took place on June 25, preceded by the “gatecrash”, where the groom and groomsmen try their best to “persuade” the bridesmaids — typically through a series of fun activities — to enter the bride’s house to whisk her away.
“I didn’t want Roy and his best men to look stupid, so I planned with my bridesmaids to divide the gatecrash into three parts. In each part, we gave him specific roles to play,” revealed Wee.
For instance, Fong was asked to be a master chef, which required him and his friends to prepare a meal consisting of salad, pancakes and tom yum soup — all of which are Wee’s favorites.
“The best men thought the girls had to eat the dishes, so they added a lot of extra condiments. In the end, we told them they had to eat it before they could move on to the next part,” Wee said with a laugh.
After returning from Fong’s home, where the couple served tea to his relatives, Wee was hoisted into her home in a traditional Chinese sedan chair by the groomsmen to repeat the ceremony with her side of the family.
But the main event occurred on July 1. The day began with a service officiated by four priests at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, the oldest Roman Catholic church in Singapore, that had just undergone a S$40 million (US$29 million) restoration.
“Ours was the first wedding held there since the renovation was completed,” said Wee.
In the evening, 620 friends and family of the bridal couple congregated at The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore to celebrate. Set to a blush color theme, the event was run by a team from Bliss Pact, a Singapore-based wedding planner.
At the reception area, a forest “grew” overnight with unicorns, deer, doves and a curtain of crystal. In the center, a rotating platform featured a ballerina performance as guests were arriving.
The ballroom, too, was transformed beyond recognition. On the stage rose a grand staircase flanked by a winged unicorn. In the middle of the room was a raised platform, surrounded by pedestals decked with roses and statues of deer, rabbits, owls and more unicorns.
The evening’s program consisted of three acts — The Origins, Chasing Love and Everlasting Love — marked by videos, performances and speeches.
In the first act, the video of Fong’s proposal was shown, followed by a skit from the couple’s parents.
This was topped off by the surprise appearance of Wee’s aunt, the acclaimed Singapore singer Dawn Yip, who belted out Somewhere Over the Rainbow followed by Ave Maria, as the couple entered the ballroom.
Wee’s father then took the stage to give the welcome address, after which he sang the songs, You Are So Beautiful and What A Wonderful World.
Highlights from the second act included the couple’s duet of a Chinese song by Wee, accompanied by a live band.
Fong also surprised his bride by singing Alicia Keys’ If I Ain’t Got You, while playing on a baby grand piano.
In the third act, more performances followed, including one by Fong and the groomsmen in a dance number. Later, Wee took to the floor accompanied by two dancers.
As a fitting end to the evening, the couple performed their first dance together to the strains of Perfect by Ed Sheeran.
The program was repeated the following evening, attended this time by 600 business associates.
Wee smiled wistfully as she recalled the rousing celebrations. “I really enjoyed the whole preparation process,” she said.
When asked about her honeymoon plans, she said they intend to focus on building their careers for now.
Naturally, the question of children also came up. Wee laughed and replied: “This is really up to God’s will and blessing.”