Kristy and Chris tied the knot in a heartfelt and laidback wedding in picturesque Bali.
Kristy Campbell, 29, Freelance Director of Photography, and her husband, Christopher Kong, 31, Chef, met through a mutual friend five years ago. Wooed by his genuine and personable self, and passion for his profession, Kristy fell in love, as did Christopher, with her independence, intelligence and strength. After their intimate, at-home proposal, the pair knew at once that they wanted a destination wedding and found the perfect venue at Jeeva Saba in Bali.
How did the two of you meet?
Kristy: We were introduced by our tattoo artist and mutual friend, Val. Chris is from the US and had just arrived to Singapore back in 2013. He wanted to make some new friends in Singapore which is how we got introduced. Both of us had recently gotten tattoos from Val. On our first date, we had dinner and drinks and talked for about 8 hours. Neither of us were looking for anything romantic so it wasn’t even a proper “date” or anything. We were both just stoked to meet someone whom we got along so easily with.
What drew you to each other? What is it about your partner that you love the most?
Kristy: Chris is one of the most interesting people I know. That’s saying a lot because I film documentaries for a living and meet very interesting people all the time. He has such a passion for his work and I love that a Californian born, Seattle raised ABC (American Born Chinese) would buy himself a one way ticket to Asia the moment he graduated university to “find out where he came from”.
His passion for learning about food holds no judgement. It doesn’t matter which cuisine it is or what “standard” the world sees it as. He’s gone from working in an open air seafood hawker centre in Kuala Lumpur, to working for Daniel Humm in New York City – the current number #1 chef in the world. From working at a bento box factory in Osaka to 2 Michelin star Waku Ghin in Singapore. There still isn’t a cuisine in the world that he would turn his nose up to. I mean, he eats my cooking!
This extends to every other aspect of his life. He can have a conversation with anyone. Find things in common with anybody even if they don’t speak the same language. He’s the most genuine person I know.
Chris: The first thing that struck me about Kristy was that she’s fiercely independent and intelligent. She’s got an opinion about absolutely everything and she’s super passionate about her work. Before all the lovey dovey stuff, we have a mutual respect for each other and each other’s work. I think that’s so important since we both have jobs that take up so much of our individual time and brain space. She gives me the confidence to feel like I can achieve anything.
The thing I love most about Kristy is her strength. As protective as I am over her, she would kick anyone’s a** who she thinks is messing with me! It’s pretty awesome.
What was the proposal like?
Kristy: I am such a feminist at heart. I’m not one to sit around and wait to get proposed to. I mean, this is one of the most important decisions in our lives and I just never believed that it should be a question and answer sort of thing. I’m so happy that Chris knew that so we made the decision to get married together. We picked the ring out together and everything! He still wanted the chance to give me a proposal so we resized the ring but I didn’t know when he collected it or when it would be ready.
Chris: Kristy hates being the centre of attention. She’s made a living out of being behind the camera so I knew that anything in public would be out of the question. Since grand romantic gestures out in public were out, I made sure she didn’t see it coming. One day that had no significance whatsoever, she had come back from a particularly tough day on shoot and just as she was falling asleep, I pulled out a box of her favourite chocolate with the ring in it and asked her to marry me. I had a whole speech prepared and even though I knew the answer was “yes” I was still so nervous! I ended up forgetting everything and just blurted out “Will you marry me?”
Kristy: It was hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing because it was one of those boxes of Royce chocolates that are covered in cocoa and the ring was just caked in chocolate. Chocolate on the ring, chocolate on the bed. I could barely stop laughing to answer him. It sure was a surprise.
What was your wedding planning journey like? Did you face any challenges and if so, how did you overcome it?
Kristy: The wedding planning journey was actually very straight forward. We knew we had to have a destination wedding since we’re from two opposite sides of the world. We needed to make everyone travel so it would be fair to everyone. Once we got the guest list together, got in touch with our wedding planner and chose the venue, it was really very simple from there. I should mention that this was 2 years in advance of the wedding so we had lots of time to slowly plan the different elements. But mostly, our wedding planner, Pande, was a complete rockstar. He made sure I didn’t have to worry about anything. We pretty much just showed up and got married.
All the other details weren’t too important to me. I’m not one to cry over a dress so I just bought a white one online from one of my favourite online shops and used some heels I already had. Easy! I was marrying my best friend.. I really wasn’t too concerned about what dress I was wearing.
Where was your wedding venue? Was there a reason for choosing it as the place to wed?
Chris: We got married in Bali on a property called Jeeva Saba. A couple of year earlier, Kristy had been on shoot in Bali on a volcanic black sand beach called Keramas. I had always thought that it was such a cool beach and when Pande sent through some options for venues in Bali, we fell in love with Jeeva Saba straight away. Many of the other properties were stunning but we felt that they were way too fancy for us – as weird as that sounds. Jeeva Saba felt like a home and we loved that it was far away from the touristy parts of Bali.
Did you have a wedding theme? How did you go about creating it?
Kristy: Our colour theme was white and green but we weren’t very particular about anything else specific. I left it all to Pande because I knew that he had great taste. He was able to actualise brilliantly the fragmented vision we had in our heads. For example, we hate creating excessive waste. So instead of elaborate floral centerpieces for the table, Pande suggested flowers and leaves in water with floating candles on the top. Simple and gorgeous.
I really wanted little handmade elements scattered throughout the day. We made hand fans with the wedding details on the back for the ceremony. They were all well used and I think guests really appreciated that for an outdoor wedding. We didn’t have a seating chart either. Just 2 people seated behind the sign “Ask me where your table is”. All the tables had very non specific answers to that question like “Over there” or “With Michael”…. We’ve both got a pretty lame sense of humour and thought it was hilarious.
Chris: We wanted something that was timeless and elegant, but mostly simple and heartfelt. You don’t make 90 people travel from all over the world and not let them know how incredibly grateful you are for them being there. I have to give Kristy credit for all the handmade elements at the wedding. I think it made all the difference. We had a really cool sign at the front of the ceremony that said “Today two families become one. We ask that you pick a seat and not a side”. that set the tone for the whole wedding. We wanted people to mingle and get to know each other because each of them had made such a difference in our lives. Since it was a pretty small wedding, we even wrote different thank you notes at each table for guests to read when they sat down.
Take us back to your wedding day. What was the day like and how were you feeling?
Kristy: We had the ceremony at 5pm and rolled straight into dinner. The day started with both families having breakfast together and then we all went back to our rooms to get ready for the day.
I did my own make up and hair for a couple of reasons. One, I didn’t have time to do a trial with a make up artist before the day. Two, I didn’t want to risk not looking like me on my wedding day (I have friends with horror stories about their wedding make up!!). Three, wedding make up artists in Bali are expensive! I figured, I know how to do my make up… I’ll just do it myself! It worked out pretty great. All the ladies in my family (my mum, grandma, sisters) gathered in my room and we all got ready together and helped each other.
We did the first look, bridal party shots and family formals before everyone arrived because we wanted to maximise our time with our guests instead spending it taking photos. Walking down the aisle was such an amazing feeling. We have friends and family from all over the world and seeing all their faces when I walked out was extremely emotional. There’s probably never going to be another moment in our lives when we will have all our people together in one place at one time.
Chris: The day was beautiful. The weather was perfect and I was there to marry my best friend. Since we had gotten the legalities out of the way in Singapore, we were lucky to have my dad’s best friend, Uncle Rich, officiate the wedding. That was very special. But! It turns out I flub lines when I’m nervous. I said “With this ring, I de-wed” instead of “I thee wed” by accident! Not to be outdone, Uncle Rich proceeded to say to Kristy “Repeat after me: With this wing…”. I don’t know who was more nervous: Me, or Uncle Rich! Needless to say, the day was filled with many laughs.
Kristy: During the ceremony, my childhood friend and spoken word poet, Deborah Emmanuel, recited an original poem she had written for us. It spoke about the metaphorical mountain of Marriage and how we are just travellers in search of someone to climb that mountain with, drawing inspiration from the experience that Chris and I shared climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
What did your family/friends have to say about your wedding day?
Chris: #bestweddingever (laughs)
Kristy: I think everyone had such a great time because, even amongst the groups of friends, some of them hadn’t seen each other in a while and it was an opportunity for friends and family to spend time together and reconnect. Many guests extended their stay or came earlier to have a joint friends or couples holiday. Since we had told everyone 2 years in advance the date and location of the wedding, there was a lot of anticipation. We wanted to give people enough time to plan their finances and time off work. As a result, most people actually made it, no matter where they were living. The day was extremely casual and there was a lot of love all around.
What was the most memorable moment of your wedding?
Kristy: It’s hard to pick just one! I think looking out into the crowd of all our people who had gathered there for us was pretty special. I haven’t cried so much in one day. The love we felt amongst everyone that day was so overwhelming.
Chris: When the dinner was over, and the dancing started.. The sky just opened up but no-one even flinched and we danced in the torrential rain with all our favourite people. The DJ continued spinning until one of his speakers blew and by that stage, everyone was so wet that was wasn’t much of a stretch to jump in the pool. So that’s how our Bali wedding ended up looking like a Vegas pool party. There must have been about 40 people in the pool. Shame we don’t have any photos since the camera’s would have drowned but we do have some pretty funny videos that our friends took on their phones.
Kristy: Yeah the rain at the end was pretty amazing. I just remember looking up at the sky, putting my hands out and shouting over the music.. “It’s like a movie!!!!!”
What is one lesson you’ve learnt from your wedding planning that you’d like to share with other couples?
Kristy: Don’t sweat the small stuff! Hire a great wedding planner and trust in their abilities. They are professionals for a reason and know much better than you what makes a good wedding. Give them a good idea of what you want and let them do what they do best! There’s plenty of things that will go wrong but you shouldn’t worry about it. Everything will work itself out and if not, that’s why you have your bridal party and wedding planner! Be completely present and savour every moment. The day will go by far too quickly.
Chris: Don’t skimp on the photography/videography. At the end of the day, the only thing you will have left when the dust settles are your photos. We were lucky to have our good friends, Starling and Sage, take our photos. They are fine art destination photographers who shoot almost exclusively on film. The first time I looked at the photos I was completely blown away. The photos weren’t about showing off an amazing location or flashy diamonds or whatever, nor was it about them showing off their own camera skills with strange artistic shots which may look great but are so unnatural. The photos were timeless, romantic, intimate and completely about us.
The Size of Wedding: 90 guests
The Venue: Jeeva Saba, Bali
The Photographer: Starling and Sage
The Videographer: Salmon Studios Bali
The Wedding Gown: Lulus
The Wedding Shoes: Charles and Keith
The Groom’s Suit: J.Crew
The Groom’s Shoes: J.Crew
The Bridesmaids’ Outfits: ASOS
The Groomsmen’s Suits: Groomsmen’s own, J.Crew (suspenders)
The Hair and Makeup Artist: DIY by Kristy
The Caterer: Amazing Bali Catering
The Wedding Cake: The Cake Botanist
The Florist: TuberRose Bali
The Event Stylist: Bali Event Hire
The Wedding Planner: Pande Wyasa
The Wedding Favours: Nutteree
The Solemniser: Richard Troiani (Groom’s father’s best friend)
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