Real Wedding – Muxuan & Matthew, Melbourne, VIC
The best part of Muxuan and Matt working in the hospitality industry? Having friends with amazing restaurant spaces to party their wedding night away!
After a sweet and sentimental ceremony in the gardens, Lee Ho Fook was the destination for Matt and Muxuan’s inner city celebration. With a hint of DIY and Muxuan dressed in a stunning traditional Chinese dress, they created a unique and non-traditional celebration, inviting It’s Beautiful Here to be by their side and capture all the precious moments.
IN MUXUAN AND MATTHEW’S WORDS…
We are both chefs in Melbourne. We actually ended up working together a few years ago. That definitely tested the limits of the relationship. It can get pretty stressful in the kitchen, especially when you end up spending every waking minute together in a high pressure environment. We wouldn’t do it again, but it did make us a pretty strong team.
Matthew: I basically nailed that.
Muxuan: It was at home in Fitzroy. We were packing for a trip to China the following day, drinking a delicious bottle of champagne. He was acting like a weirdo, but I couldn’t quite pick it. Matthew claims he was planning on proposing at the Summer Palace in Beijing, but he didn’t quite make it that far.
We were engaged just shy of three years. We spent most of last year travelling around the USA, so the wedding was always going to be on the return. One of the many bonuses of working in the hospitality industry is having friends with restaurants! Our close friend Victor Liong, from Lee Ho Fook, was kind enough to make his restaurant available for our reception. It was an amazing venue for our wedding, especially considering the Chinese element to it. We also undertook many DIY projects! I made the candles for the bridesmaid’s gifts, the seating plans and the table numbers. I also made the board for the best man to have the rings on, (mostly so they didn’t lose them!) We made the signs for the lawn, and put together a station at the reception for everybody to take a Polaroid for the signing book.
We didn’t really have a theme as such, and there wasn’t really all that much tradition about it. We decorated the restaurant with “double happiness” candles and signs. We both wanted the ceremony to be outdoors, and close to the city. We took a walk through the gardens one Sunday afternoon and had a picnic on the lawn. It was such a beautiful place, it didn’t take much to settle for that spot.
My Chinese dress was made by a 91-year-old dress maker in Beijing. We found his home randomly, by walking down one of Beijing’s historic laneways on our last trip to China. He only makes one style of traditional dress, and has been doing so for the last 70 years. I had a fitting and decided on the material. The following week we heard news that he had fallen ill and was in hospital. Thankfully he recovered, however, sadly his wife passed away a few weeks later. Even through all of this, he went on to finished my dress. When I picked it up he was particularly overwhelmed. He told me I was receiving the last dress he will ever make. “My eyes are still good, but my knees are sore,” he stated. Fair enough! It was an absolute honor to meet such a man, and to be lucky enough to wear one of his dresses for my wedding.
My white gown was from a bridal shop in Nashua, New Hampshire, USA. We drove past the shop on our second day in the US. I went in, tried on three dresses, picked the one I wanted and ordered it. It took around four months to make, so we just picked it up on the way back to Melbourne. Easy done!
Matt wore a vintage Versace linen suit which he also found in the US.
Everything worked out pretty much perfect. The special thing for us was being together in Melbourne, surrounded by all the people that mean the world to us. Arriving into the gardens was super cool and we drew quite a crowd of spectators for the ceremony. It was very unexpected and quite amusing. It’s hard to pinpoint one moment from our day. The whole experience was amazing. To be honest, after our first dance was over, and everybody was watered and fed, we went outside for a cigar together. That was a nice time, to take a moment and reflect on the day alone, for the first time.
We didn’t include too many traditions as neither of our families are religious. However, it was important for me to wear a traditional Chinese dress for the reception. We also received red envelopes full of cash as opposed to gifts or a registry, which is also a Chinese tradition. This will be put towards our honeymoon, which still hasn’t quite happened. It’s a work in progress.
The meaning of marriage.
We met a couple in the US last year who have been married for over 60 years. When we asked them if they had any advice, they had a pretty simple answer, which was not so much about love or marriage, but it’s something we held onto. “All you need to do is look out for the best interest of each other,” they told us . It made sense, and seems to be working for them!
What does marriage mean to us? So far it means that Matthew appears to be growing a mullet, which may end in a pretty quick divorce….
Funny stories or near disasters.
Nothing that should go to print! I wouldn’t call them funny as such. The car decided to blow up on the way to pick up the dress from the tailor, the invitations were late to arrive, we forgot to go to the dance lessons, twice. Matthew got lost in country Victoria on his bucks party, we both broke out in pimples from stress, and the wedding car had serious issues making it down our street, which so happens to be the narrowest street in Melbourne. Apart from that, nothing else all that funny happened. It was a good time!
Words of wisdom.
Trust the weather! Melbourne has a reputation for being unpredictable. You can’t control this, so it’s not worth the stress and it’s going to be an amazing day either way.
Make time for your family and friends. Neither of us were born in Australia, however it is now our home. This meant that most of our friends and family were travelling to be with us for the day. Don’t take this for granted.
Matthew: Hire It’s Beautiful Here as your photographers. You end up spending more time with the photographers on the day than you do with the bride. It’s an important relationship. Look after each other. Everyone will have an opinion on what is best for you. The only person you should listen to is each other.
The photographers, Kat and Scout from Its Beautiful Here were amazing. We have mentioned it above already, but cannot stress enough the importance of hiring a good photographer. The support these two gave us on the day was incredible. I think we were all quite similar in thought process and had the same sense of humour, so we had fun together. A few weeks later, the photos arrived in the mail, and we were both in awe at what Kat and Scout had captured. They nailed it!
MAXUAN & MATTHEW’S TRIBE
Ceremony venue / location: Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, Victoria.
Reception venue / location: Lee Ho Fook
Celebrant/Officiant: Jon Von Goes
Photography: It’s Beautiful Here
Florist: Lulu Bird
Hair: Two Birds
Makeup: Rosheen Kaul
The Dress: Maggie Sottero
Hair piece: All about romance
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Rings: Tiffany and Co
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Nicolangela
Bridesmaid’s gifts: Hand made candle by Muxuan
Grooms suit: Versace (vintage)
Groom’s shirt: Ted Baker
Groom’s Shoes: Gucci
Socks: Muxuans, they had oranges on them.
Watch: Vivienne Westwood
Barber / grooming: Rockit Barber shop
Groomsmen suits: We choose the pants from Levis and the shirts from Ted Baker. It was a very relaxed affair, but we nailed it #justwentforbeers
Bow ties / ties: Not Knot
Catering: Blakes Feast
Stationery / Signage: www.ilovee.com
Entertainment: Ben Salter
Transport: Always Classic Cars
Tailor (for the suit and both the dresses): Sam’s Clothing Alterations