Cindi and David’s Shanghai Inspired Wedding

by | Australia - Queensland, Bride, Inspired Weddings,


Cindi and David

I’m always enchanted by the melding of cultures together at wedding – the traditions which are centuries old add such a special flavour to a wedding. I love the vibe of Cindi and David’s Shanghai inspired wedding. In Cindi’s words “Our wedding in a sentence? 1920s Shanghai decadence meets cats, bunnies and DRUMS!” Doesn’t that sound like a wedding you want to be at?

Cindi recalls how she and David met. “David and I first met on the “grassy knoll” at the Nathan Campus of Griffith University when we were both students there.  I guess we were attracted to each other initially (in fact, I was hopelessly attracted to him, just ask any of my long suffering friends who had listened to me blathering on about him), but things just seem to conspire against us.  When David left uni to go to America to pursue a career in documentary film making with his uncle, we had lost contact with each other.  Even though in the interim years before we met up again, David had returned to Brisbane, we just never ran into each other.

Weird, when Brisbane is the kind of place that you always run into people you know; even weirder still that he would periodically run into my best friend Jess and we all go to the same clubs and pubs.  Fast forward 13 years from the time we lost contact with each other, Jess had dragged me to a book launch/gig (Pig City at UQ – yay!) because I was going through one of my “blues period”, and she thought I had better go out there and cheer up or else.  David, meanwhile, was supposed to go to a friend’s place for barbecue and backyard cricket, but was invited out to Pig City by his friend’s girlfriend instead.  So he decided to go to the gig (he said that he preferred to go see the bands, after all the Saints were headlining; but I personally think he was trying to impress his mate’s girlfriend’s best friend’s sister).  Anyway, he initially spotted me coming out of the Port-a-loos when he was lining up for the toilets and recognized me.  Then he saw me going over to Jess, so he came over and said hello.  We’ve been together ever since.”

Photos today are by Melbourne photographer Lara Luz who traveled to Brisbane to shoot the wedding. Cindi describes Lara’s style as “organic and journalistic” and I have to agree. I love Lara’s raw captures- the moments, the details, the atmosphere. Cindi and David hired Danielle Manning of White+White to be their wedding planner and Hollie Noonan as their wedding stylist.

Invitation Station created wedding invitations, menus, place cards, table numbers and a wishing tree  rich jewel tones to compliment the “east meets west” theme of the day.

The bridesmaids wore gowns from Shanghai Tan. Cindi wore a George Wu gown for the wedding. She paired it with family jewels. “I wore the diamond necklace my mother wore for her wedding, and also a pair of sapphire and diamond earrings and matching ring (in the same style as Princess Diana’s engagement ring, in your face Kate Middleton!) also borrowed from my mum.” The Powder Room created Cindi’s wedding day look with skin and nails by Tammy from Pebbles Body Salon (07 5591 166).

The day kicked off with traditional Chinese games. Cindi recalls “My sister, Hayli, flying all the way from Paris to organize (flawlessly I might add) the Chinese portion of the celebrations.  The girl did a whole bunch of research prior to coming to Australia, and bought a whole bunch of props from Hong Kong.  Watching David sweating through the tests during the door games was a real hoot for me, especially when he was blind-folded and had to guess when I kissed him.  When his Godmother gave him a particularly sultry kiss on the cheeks, he thought that it was from me!”

The entire day’s festivities were held at Toparies At Beaumont. Cindi explains “It was imperative to us that we celebrate the day in one location, in order to minimize transportation, and to make everything easy and comfortable for all our guests.  We had also wanted to have our ceremony outside and in a natural setting.  We had chosen Topiaries because the setting of the venue is absolutely breath-taking; and we can have our ceremony and our reception at the same place with accommodation on site as well.

All the facilities at Topiaries are just beautiful, elegant and tasteful.  Being able to get ready in and stay both the night before and the wedding night in one of their lovingly appointed, vintage Victorian era rooms was just deliciously luxurious for me (not to mention it had taken a lot of stress away for the bridal party and myself).  Peter and Helen had been nothing but accommodating, considering we had a Chinese tea ceremony and door games before the Western ceremony.  They went out of their way to make sure we had everything we needed and even the smallest detail was looked after.”

Following the traditional tea ceremony, Cindi removed her red jacket to reveal her traditional style wedding gown.

The Bouquet Boutique styled a red bouquet for the bride.

Cindi recalls “One of the funniest moments from the day: I was walking down the aisle with my father to find Sam (our friend Peter’s young boy) standing in the middle of the walkway looking up and down the aisle, and  generally being very excited and confused.  When we got to Sam my father just put his hand on Sam’s head and gently but firmly guided the kid off to the side without missing a beat.”

The couple were married by Sally Evans (0422 656 231)

Cindi explains the theme, look and feel she and David wanted for their wedding day. “We wanted a 1920s vintage Shanghai theme, because the whole East meets West thing makes sense to us; I was born in Hong Kong which is a place that is strongly steeped in Chinese culture with a huge British influence from its colonial days, and now I’m a Chinese lass marrying an Aussie fella, again East meets West.  The colour scheme of the wedding is red, turquoise and black as we wanted something bold and not fussy, and because the colour red is considered auspicious and connotes happiness in the Chinese tradition, therefore the colour of choice for weddings.

We had lots of red lanterns for the same reason, (no self-respecting Chinese wedding will be seen without at least a pair of red lanterns).  The lantern theme extends to the seating chart – Hollie had created a lovely lantern installation with the names of our guests and their corresponding tables printed on cards, hanging beneath the lanterns.

Also, we had a beautiful red traditional Chinese cutout for our tea ceremony, lovely red origami roses for our menus, pin wheels gracing the aisle, cheeky black cats table number signs (the tables were named after streets from the 1920s Shanghai International Settlement district), a stack of drums wedding cake, bunnies cake topper, and pairs of drumsticks as bonbonierre.  This is because we are both cat obsessed, born in the year of the rabbit, and David is a whiz with the drums (I’m learning).”

Cindi remembers the first dance. “I was quite nervous about it because I am absolutely hopeless when I had to dance with someone else (I am just so afraid that he will dance me into a table or a burning pit of lava or something).  But it all turned out really well, and I love that towards the end, everyone just jumped right in and danced with us.  And who could forget all our friends’ little tykes breaking to Nina Simone’s My Baby Just Cares For Me.”

Cindi and David had many beautiful moments throughout the day. “I loved all of our oldest and closest friends and family (many flying from overseas or interstate) making the effort to come and party with us.  I was especially happy meeting Nils, Hayli’s boyfriend, for the first time, and seeing them dance together like something out of a beautiful romantic movie.

David’s father, Peter, who is terribly ill being able to attend the wedding.  It was really wonderful that with the help of quite a few excellent friends, they had managed to get Peter’s vintage Austin Healey (which he had been building in the last 20 years) up and running on the day.  So Peter was able to drive away in the Healey after the celebrations.”

The wedding cake was a nod to David’s love of drumming and made by Cake Star. “I made the bunnies cake topper for the wedding cake, and Holly (the stylist) had helped me with the pin wheels that lined the aisle on the day.  Also David had spray painted our drumsticks (which are the bonboniere) a lovely rustic red and turquoise, and we signed and dated them for our guests (‘cause we’re such rock stars :p).” Eyetopia Sound provided the music for the night.


Of her favourite memories, one was the friendships she made. Cindi says “Meeting really wonderful people like Danielle, George and Lara, who had helped made our vision for the day into reality.  We feel like we had gained some terrific new friends on this crazy wedding planning adventure.”

Congratulations Cindi and David! Thank you for sharing your wedding day with us on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Lara Luz for sharing today’s images.

Photos by Lara Luz


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