In celebration of The Red Issue, we’re honouring all the ways the colour of love, red shows up on a big day, and the beauty of a Chinese Tea Ceremony is often the way that vibrant, bright shades of our favourite scarlet colour show up. So today we’re sharing the Chinese tea ceremony, for  Annie & Denis as captured by Mavis C Photography. It has all the trimmings, all the tradition and of course, all the red (starting with Annie’s amazing red Bec and Bridge) gown.

It was the first step in plenty of celebration for Annie and Denis’ tying of the knot, and the first step towards celebrating a duo who fell in love in a way that can only be described as a ‘slow burn’. Says Annie “We met through friends and but didn’t start dating until a trip to America with friends a few years later. Definitely wasn’t love at first sight but we grew closer and eventually started dating!”

Denis managed to completely surprise his bride to be with the proposal, and it wasn’t an easy feat, laughs Annie. “We got engaged at Jervis Bay a day after my birthday at the Botanic gardens. I’m always the one that usually organises everything so he knew if he planned anything, I would immediately be suspicious, so he had to squeeze it in with my birthday trip. Even then, I was being nosy and shaking the bag he brought with him to celebrate after, that had wine and glasses. He got so nervous he had to do it a few minutes after we walked into the Botanic Gardens.”

The tea ceremony took place at the bride’s family home. She shares “My parents and sister helped a lot with decorating the house and organising the catering. I hadn’t planned too much because we weren’t sure how it was going to go work with covid and the guest restrictions in the home. We were not even sure if we could invite anyone. Two weeks before the tea ceremony, we were able to get an exemption to have more people as it was part of our wedding celebrations so a lot of things we planned were last minute and DIY in terms of styling the house.”

As is tradition, the groom and his groomsmen partook in the traditional games. Says the bride “Looking back at the photos, the games looked really fun as well but unfortunately being the bride, I wasn’t able to watch it so I’m glad we had Mavis there to capture those moments.”

Of their photographer, Annie says “Mavis was amazing. We had not booked a photographer because we thought we would be having an intimate tea ceremony with just our direct family and it was going to be super casual. However, a couple of weeks prior we found out we were able to have more guests, so we got in contact with Mavis who was more than happy to capture our special day. She was able to capture all the moments of the tea ceremony as well as take some portrait photos of us and our family. We couldn’t be happier with how the photos turned out. They were beautiful and we were so happy we reached out to her and that she was available at such short notice.”

“We loved the tradition of the tea ceremony and being able to pay our respects to our elders. Apart from that, the food was delicious and being able to have all our family and close friends there to celebrate especially during that time. We had the formalities of the tea ceremony in the morning and after it was a party! Lots of food and drinks! ”

“We loved being able to celebrate with our family and close friends during a difficult year for weddings!” says Annie. “It was quite stressful leading up to it not knowing what we could and couldn’t do and who we could invite but to have everyone we wanted to celebrate with us made it a super special day.”

“Take a breath and enjoy the day because it only happens once” advises Annie. “We did ours on a different day to our wedding so we were able to enjoy it and make it a whole day thing but we know most soon-to-be marrieds would have it all on one day and it can be quite full on so make sure to take it all in and feel the love of being surrounded by all your closest family and friends.”