PHOTOGRAPHY BY PEPPER & LIGHT
Eastern and western design trends seamlessly blend to celebrate the beauty of the Lunar New Year
Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, is a holiday celebrated annually and lasting for 15 days until the Spring or Lantern Festival. With approximately one sixth of the world's population taking part in celebrations, Lunar New Year is recognized by not only the Chinese population, but Vietnamese, Malaysian and more.
This year, the Chinese Zodiac symbol is the Dog. "Naturally, I knew we were going to incorporate dogs with an Asian pedigree in this shoot," explains Wendy Lee, lead wedding designer and planner from Asian Fusion Weddings. "The dog breed Chow Chow originates from northern China. They look like puffy lions; and their Chinese name reflects their look."
"The overarching goal of the shoot was to weave eastern and western design threads together, forming a modern interpretation of the Lunar New Year. We featured high-end, designer, luxury items in juxtaposition to mainstream ones and highlighted traditional elements with a fresh modern twist. We showcased custom-designed pieces with prefabricated ones. Our two designs were complementary and interconnected; a duality that referenced the yin and yang philosophy. However, they could also stand alone and be appreciated for their own individual merits."
"Although the Lunar New Year is not necessarily the most popular time to get married, it would make a very practical choice. Many who celebrate this festive occasion—especially in parts of Asia—already have this time scheduled off, making attendance at a wedding celebration much easier. It would also be widely acceptable for a bride to wear a white wedding dress during this wedding. Natural looking makeup with the perfect shade of pink lipstick and an effortless hairstyle would be a wonderful look for a bride getting married over the Lunar New Year period. If you were hosting a Lunar New Year dinner event, think about how much fun it would be to colour coordinate with the theme colour of your event. A host may decide to don a custom bow tie while a hostess may choose a fabulous cocktail dress for a splendid party. Even canine guests could wear custom attire as well."
"Thinking about personal Lunar New Year dinners over the years, I was ultimately inspired by two specific things. First, Pantone's colour of year for 2017, greenery. This was the reason green was selected in the colour palette. Second, would it be possible to have a Chinese-inspired shoot without featuring traditional red? The second table showcased a more modern interpretation of Asian decor and styling, combining feminine touches with an abundance of flowers in shades of soft pinks and purples."
"With every editorial shoot I have led, there has always been an initial design concept that is then built, layer by layer. This initial concept serves as the foundation, the vision and the focus. Early on, the initial colour palette was selected. We drew upon 'fresh' green as one of the feature colours, partly because Greenery was the Pantone colour for 2017 but also because Jade is a precious, prized stone in the Chinese culture. Since the Lunar calendar overlaps the Gregorian calendar, Green was the perfect choice and springboard for the colour palette. The other feature colour was gold. This is often associated with the Lunar New Year as a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Showcasing mixed metallic colours is very on-point with current wedding design trends."
"The green and gold tabletop features Bonsai trees; which are miniature ornamental trees/shrubs grown in a pot. They are artificially prevented from reaching normal size, restricted by ancient pruning and shaping techniques as well as cultivating routines. These are not dwarfed trees/shrubs which are obtained through genetics or selective breeding. Although some households may have these decorative trees on display, what a beautiful centrepiece they make on a dining table! At the end of the day, the host can even give these away as gifts to departing guests."
"This particular tabletop showcases rental items: glassware, stemware and flatware. The textured black charger plates were meant to mimic flagstone, like a garden path. The bonsai trees were interspersed with moss and rocks. They lined the centre of the table to give a 'walk in the park' feel. Instead of using a table linen, we opted to have a jade image printed on vinyl. Although this material is commonly used for backdrops and dance floors, our team has presented it in a new manner. This particular set up can be easily done in any dining space... in or outside of the home. It really transforms any space."
"Often times, further attention needs to be paid to the stationery component. For this shoot, an exquisite custom-made, multi-layered, laser-cut invitation was created. It was then encased in an acrylic box. The level of intricacy would make any invited guest swoon in anticipation. The initial invitation to any event provides a 'sneak peak' or a quick glimpse at what the event will look like. Peering into this magnificent invitation box provides something that is truly representative of the occasion.\
Other details for any tabletop include place cards and menu cards. The beautiful octagon laser-cut menu details the dining selections, and encircle the lantern place cards. Each place setting was accentuated with this stylish combination. As an additional decorative element, custom, green chopstick holders housed wooden chopsticks that rested on canine figurines."
"At the conclusion of any dinner service, many guests look forward to a bite of sweets with coffee and tea. These stunning cake sets embody various elements of Asian-influenced design, from delicately hand-painted chinoiserie scenes of bonsai trees and gazebos, to gold-accented ornaments that mimicked door locks on ancient palaces. These are fabulous presentations of modern, Asian-inspired cakes. The sweets table also displayed fortune cookie towers instead of the macaroons you might typically find at weddings. Other sweets included moulded moon cakes that any guest—young or old—would be tempted to taste."
PINK & PURPLE THEME
"Pink and green are complementary on the colour wheel. Therefore, pink was the obvious choice for the second tabletop design, featuring pinks, plums and purples, since Ultra Violet is the Pantone colour for 2018. Generally pink is referenced as a 'feminine' colour. So, again, this was the interplay of the two tables. One was more masculine in terms of colour palette and the other more feminine. Again, yin and yang."
"The pink and purple tabletop showcases an abundance of pretty florals. Blooms are significant over the Lunar New Year, representing the start of another life cycle. Usually blooms on trees signify the ability to bear fruit and abundance for the new year.
This table represents a more traditional design style. The flatware, china and charger plates were from Bed, Bath and Beyond while the glassware was from Ikea. Again, this table was meant to demonstrate what you can do with existing items that a bride might receive at a shower or as wedding gifts. Decorating does not mean that you necessarily need to rent all of your items. You can mix and match what you already own."
Creative Direction & Photography: Pepper and Light
Videography: Images Life Media
Creative Direction & Producer/Planning (Green Theme): Asian Fusion Weddings
Creative Direction & Producer/Planning (Pink & Purple Theme): Formosa Events
Venue: Aga Khan Museum, Shangri-La Hotel - Toronto
Floral & Decor: Jackie O Floral Events Affair
Table Top Rentals: Chairman Mills
Table & Chair Rentals: Detailz Couture
Paper Lanterns: Toronto Paper Lanterns
Bonsai Trees: Tropical Expressions
Cake & Sweets Table: Nadia and Co.
Stationery Design & Flat Lay Stylist: Maison Maquette
Backdrop & Table Vinyl: Designer Dance Floor | Exotik Wrapz
Hair Stylist: Medulla & Co.
Make-up Artist: Vinny Artistry & Co.
Gowns: Dina Alonzi
Jewellery: H & F Jewellery
Men's Bowtie & Male Model Stylist: TYTAN Ties
Men’s Ties (Pink & Purple Theme): Classica Imports
Men’s Shoes (Pink & Purple Theme): JAY + DEE
Female and Male Models: Elite Model (Crystal and Gabriel)
Canine Models: Merlin's Hope Rescue
Canine Couture: El Cachorrocouture
Lion Dancers: Wushu Project