A designer’s wedding is always going to be captivating and this collaboration between the bride’s design studio and her own wedding spilled with unexpected beauty. East met West as Ruth and Levin were wed high in Hong Kong’s countryside mountains at a modern private villa. Created by Blooms and Blossoms, cloud-like formations of delicate white flowers were hypnotic against the expanse of emerald trees for the ceremony. The reception was held on the lush green lawn overlooking the mountains. With a dramatic vista, three long tables were elegantly draped with linen and layered with florals, candles and fruit accents.
This Hong Kong wedding was artfully captured by Spanish photographers Dos Mas en la Mesa.
Names / Ruth Chao & Levin von Gehren
Location / Hong Kong, China
Wedding Date / December 3rd, 2023
Guest Numbers / 75
How We Met
Levin: The night we met started out as a spontaneous get-together at my new flat, when Covid rules had closed bars and restaurants early. Across the big dinner table with champagne and ice cream, I noticed this charming girl with a hat sitting at the end of the table. I immediately felt at-home and comfortable just looking at her, so actually my first words were, “Do I know you from somewhere?” Since this slightly clumsy sentence did not result in a longer conversation, I used each opportunity when my seat neighbours were moving around the room or heading for the bathroom, to work my way closer to her. Once we started talking, an overwhelming feeling of ease and happiness overcame me, and somehow I felt a deep connection to this girl I just met.
We laughed, joked, talked and I remember trying to find her new food in the fridge as the night went by. Luckily ice cream is her favourite, therefore, I always handed her a new glass every time she would place her old one on the table and forget which one was hers. My heart jumped when she lightly touched my hand one moment. Indeed, my words back then were, “I can’t believe this is happening”. It felt like we were in a different place, a different universe, a different moment, just the two of us.
Consequently, we continued our dreamy evening, danced on the sofa together, hid in the closet and had an unforgettable time. Requests of her phone number were however denied and replaced by the task to “come and find me” with the hint of her street only. This was the first night I met her. And this is how we found each other.
Our Engagement Story
Ruth: After Levin and I first met, we actually did not exchange our phone numbers for more than a year later. It began as a wild idea to get to know each other in a different way, partly because I am so bad at texing, but also because I believe romance back in the days, without technology, was so much more romantic. No phones, no texts, our next date is then and there, and you have the space to miss each other in between.
So for about a year or more, this was how we were, we saw each other on days or nights, and in between. We would drop each other little messages (which we call our ‘pigeon mail’). Some of them would have little riddles to the next date spot. It helped that we lived just minutes apart, which made all of this logistically possible!
One Friday, I was just at my studio getting ready for what I thought to be one of our date nights, when suddenly our beloved doggy Clover came to me a cute flower collar and an envelope around his neck. Levin is quite a romantic himself, so I thought this was one of our ‘pigeon mails’. Little did I know, this was the first clue to a little treasure hunt around our neighbourhood. Each stop had an envelope with flowers, and words with small drawings of clues to the next stop. Amelie is one of my favourite movies, so I was loving every second of it. The final clue was placed on the bridge across Levin’s place, and on it was the name of the restaurant where I was the night we met, and an invitation to the party that was at Levin’s.
I walked into the apartment that was glowing from the candlelights and was filled with ikebana flowers. Just like the night we met, there was champagne glasses and ice cream all over the table. Before I knew it, Levin was on his knees, and started mixing up all the words but was somehow still continuing on. It then, finally, clicked to me. He was proposing! We both broke into tears, and I was the happiest girl alive when I said ‘yes’.
What we love most about each other…
Levin: I love Ruth’s big heart and her strong empathy for others, her intelligence, creativity and sense of justice. She has a great passion for life and she gives me the feeling that everything in this world is possible together. I love her love for animals and for nature, the way she speaks and smiles, every time it makes me melt.
Ruth: Levin is one of the kindest people I have ever known, and the most wonderful mix of opposites. A cerebral romantic, a creative logician, messy in space but organised in time, and in all ways, he is what I dreamt of, in how he is and how we are together. He helps me believe in a happy constant, in a love that feels beyond the current.
The wedding ceremony and dinner was at Villa 52, an idyllic house in the countryside of Hong Kong.
The aesthetic was studio work with clients from different industries. My team usually brings elements like venues, jewelry designers, florists and cake shops together to create a specific branding. It is often a very intimate process together. Likewise, it was extra beautiful to be able to bring everyone we have worked with before to create something together, this time for our own wedding. Thanks to my amazing team we were able to create this modern private villa wedding in the mountains of Hong Kong.
The ceremony was all about a beautiful balance – elegant yet warm, understated but with a flourish, east and west mixed.
The decor was made of things that gave meaning beyond our wedding day. The big neon sign became a light at our home, the throw blankets were gifts to the guests, the chairs were given to a church, the extra food was donated to the homeless, and the chopsticks were intimate gifts to each family member.
Food & Beverages
We had an East-West menu, beginning with a dim sum basket that held the starter. Then, continuing into other courses like a wabi-sabi stone dish that held the main course. The desserts were a chocolate crunch that contained a fortune message – a unique quote that we love. All wines were biological and hangover-free, made by Levin’s brother Hegge at Microbio.
Fashion & Beauty Notes
Bride’s Dress & Shoes
Bridesmaids Dresses & Shoe’s
The dusk pink bridemaids’ gowns were custom-made by the talented team of Moiselle.
Wedding Rings, Jewelry & Accessories
We spent our honeymoon in the African safaris of Masai Mara, and dolphin swimming in Zanzibar.
With the help of Songfinch, I wrote a song for Levin that was played at our wedding. Meanwhile, the goal of waterworks was successfully accomplished.
We met DJ Harvey at The Lawn in Bali just months before our wedding. Ultimately, his sunny house vibe got everyone going and got us into the modern private villa wedding in the mountains feels.
Levin found us our wonderful celebrant, Paul Firman. His warmth, equally, set the tone for our big day.
If I could give other bride’s one piece of advice..
The wedding is one day out of the whole storybook. In conclusion, the details matter, but never let that override the story and the love you have together.
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