This Couple Flew 20 Hours in Order to Tie the Knot in the English Countryside
Though Sophie and Chris met in Singapore, where they both live, their hearts—and childhood homes—are in the United Kingdom. So, it was an all-too-easy decision to host their September 15, 2018, celebration in the U.K.'s southwestern county, Devon, home to picture-perfect medieval towns, fossil cliffs, and idyllic, sandy beaches.
About half of the couple's 85 guests flew in to join them for the big day. Sophie and Chris flew, too—it took them 20-some hours in a plane to reach their dream destination. But the long trek from Singapore was well worth it for the couple, they say. "We both always wanted a traditional English wedding, and that aesthetic was always at the front of our mind when we looked at venues and chose suppliers," says Sophie.
From the many medieval options, the couple chose Killerton Chapel—a beautiful stone church—and Pynes House for their reception, a romantic country house that epitomized the simple-yet-stunning wedding the bride and groom envisioned. Sophie says that "our wedding at Pynes House was a dream come true," highlighting its tree-lined driveway, rose garden, and carefully restored rooms as just a few of the features the couple fell in love with—and that lent a timeless element to the celebration.
With the help of event planner Lily & Sage and floral designer The Rose Shed, Sophie and Chris created a wedding color and floral palette that focused on white flowers and soft green foliage, accented with dove grays. "We loved the simplicity of this color palette," says Sophie, "which also let the surroundings sing."
Chris asked Sophie to marry him while the couple was away in Langkawi, Malaysia, but his plans to pop the question first thing in the morning—so the couple could have the whole day to celebrate—were thwarted by Sophie's intense love of buffet breakfasts. He had to wait until after breakfast—an agonizing few hours, he admits. "I was feeling very nervous for a few more hours than I had initially intended," Chris says now. "It all worked out in the end though, and it was an extremely happy day."
Chris asked a friend to make the ring—an oval diamond haloed with more stones on a band encrusted with sparkle. But his friend lived in the United Arab Emirates, making it quite difficult for Chris to pick up the ring in person. "I had to make up a reason for a business trip to Dubai," he says. "A quick turnaround, but well worth it!"
Because the couple feared guests might have a difficult time finding their ceremony and reception, they also offered custom maps of the area featuring the church and venue.
Sophie admits she found the search for the perfect wedding dress overwhelming. "There are so many lovely options out there and I really didn't know which way to go," she says. Rather than find herself conflicted in dress shops, Sophie worked with a designer in Singapore, Danny L., to create the gown of her dreams.
"The dress ended up being a very simple silhouette that I felt was timeless and elegant," Sophie describes. "There were lovely lace details everywhere, but especially [on] the cap sleeves and the back … with lace panels and the buttons."
Sophie's bouquet, created by The Rose Shed, showed off the couple's wedding color palette. "The flowers were one of the largest parts of our investment, as we felt it would really contribute to the magic of the event," Sophie explains.
Chris chose a wool Suit Supply suit, which he loved because its rougher texture "contrasted well against the smoother cotton of the waistcoat and shirt," he says.
"One more personal element was the addition of white orchids to Chris' and the groomsmen's buttonholes to represent my family history in Singapore," adds Sophie.
Sophie recognized that one dress might not work for her four bridesmaids and maid of honor, so while she asked for some consistency—the women needed to wear long dresses on the blush pink spectrum, she says—they were each allowed to choose their own gown. "I wanted the girls to feel fantastic on the day," Sophie explains. "I really loved how each dress was slightly different yet they all looked so stunning together."
Bridesmaids carried slightly smaller versions of the bride's own bouquet, which included ivory roses and seeded eucalyptus.
Wedding programs featured a drawing of Killerton Chapel and were bound with twine.
The Rose Shed created floral crowns for the flower girls, who wore white dresses.
Making an Entrance
Sophie describes the floral arch on Killerton Chapel's doorway as "breathtaking"—and we completely agree.
The bride arrived at the chapel in a vintage black car, which she and Chris later took to the reception, too.
A Special Blessing
In place of a traditional religious ceremony, Sophie and Chris had a blessing in front of their friends and family. "There are requirements you have to meet in order to have an official ceremony, and since Chris and I do not have any link with the chapel or the area, we were not able to be officially married by the vicar," the bride explains.
Their official ceremony took place at Marylebone Town Hall in London days before.
A Stunning Sight
Chris says that the moment Sophie walked through the chapel's doors was "quite overwhelming! She looked incredible, and seeing her walk down the aisle in her beautiful dress was a dream. It really is something I'll never forget. I'm very lucky."
But Chris' favorite memory from the day, he says, "was walking out of the church into confetti and sunshine. All our friends and family were cheering and taking pictures, and the whole moment was very special." After being showered with confetti, the couple slipped into their vintage car, where they each enjoyed a glass Prosecco as they were driven to the evening reception. "As we went through the country, other cars were beeping their horns in congratulations," Chris recalls.
Sophie and Chris both valued the time they had alone in the car and at Pynes House before their guests arrived. "It was just the two of us and a moment to catch up, talk about the day so far, and be together again," Sophie says.
The couple hosted welcome cocktails in the rose garden outside the country house, serving two signature cocktails: One for the groom—a gin and tonic garnished with grapefruit and juniper berries—and one for the bride, an Aperol spritz.
Inside the reception, the couple's white and green theme continued: Tables were topped with crisp white table cloths and napkins, round floral arrangements, and candles.
The venue's main staircase became another focal point of the celebration, thanks to its lush wrapped greenery garlands.
Sophie and Chris took their first dance to "At Last" by Etta James. "It's a song that feels like it was written for us, and it fit perfectly with the style of song we wanted for the first dance," says the bride.
Photography, Andrew & Ada
Location, Pynes House
Event planning, Lily & Sage
Flowers, The Rose Shed
Stationery, Minted and Katie & Nancy
Cake, Edible Essence
Bride's gown, Danny L.
Hair and makeup, Faye O'Connell
Groom's suit, Suit Supply
Transportation, Classic Wedding Cars