Tell us your love story!
We met online over 16 years ago. Regan was living in Bangkok, Thailand at the time and was going to New York City for a short vacation. He reached out via an online gay website for recommendations on what to do in NYC. Eric responded, and while Regan was in NYC he offered to take him out for dinner. We hit it off really well from the beginning and a casual Japanese dinner in Soho, led to deserts in West Village followed by dancing at Splash!
After Regan returned to Bangkok, we stayed in touch and exactly a year later Eric went to visit Regan in Thailand. Regan had planned a couple days at a beach side resort and we enjoyed each other’s company so much we ended up extending our stay. Six months later, we both moved to Hong Kong together for work and to start our life together.
What about the proposal?
Gay Marriage is still not legal in Asia (except in Taiwan where it was recently legalized) so it wasn’t necessarily something that was at the forefront of our minds. Over New Year’s Eve while on vacation in the US, we were traveling by train from Boston to New York City. We were discussing what we wanted to do the following year. Regan suggested, jokingly, we should do something fun and crazy like get married. Eric immediately proposed on the train. As soon as we arrived in NYC, we headed to Tiffany’s to buy our wedding rings.
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
The year apart allowed us to spend time getting to know each other, to share our personal beliefs, values and aspirations. I (Regan) think it was the beach vacation a year later that affirmed Eric was the life partner I wanted for me. It just felt so right to be with Eric.
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
We wanted the wedding to represent our heritage and our journey together. We knew we wanted to have our ceremony in NYC and have the celebration in Thailand, representing the two places we were living in when we first met. We wanted an outdoor intimate spring wedding in a park with close friends and family who have supported our journey together and wanted to incorporate some traditional Chinese elements into our wedding (e.g. Chinese tea ceremony). We also wanted a Christian wedding officiated by a Christian pastor.
What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?
Because we only planned for a small wedding, we didn’t engage a wedding planner. There are many tools, apps and websites with tips, suggestions and checklists to help plan the wedding. The most difficult part was finding a venue. We started planning in January for a June wedding and didn’t realize how far out people book their wedding venues. We lucked out with the perfect venue on the date that we wanted. We were also planning the wedding from Hong Kong which meant we had to deal with the 12-hour time difference and not being able to meet many of our vendors in person.
We were surprised how many of our friends wanted to be at the wedding when they found out. We planned for 40 guests and ended up having 80 which is truly a blessing! Another surprise is how expensive a wedding can be in New York City unless you’re planning to elope!
Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?
Start as early as you can, especially if you are not flexible with dates, locations and venue. If you’re not using a wedding planner (which we didn’t), try to keep things simple. We opted not to do wedding invitations and used e-invites instead which made things a lot simpler since our guests were coming from all over the world. We picked a venue where we could have our outdoor ceremony, followed by a reception and lunch afterwards in the same area so we didn’t have to deal with logistics of moving guests around. The venue also catered the food, beverages, furniture set-up and table setting so we didn’t have to deal with multiple vendors. Plan ahead as much as you can so you’re not stressed out closer to the date and can really enjoy the day. Be prepared that certain things will not go as planned and just enjoy the moment.
Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently or anything you’d like to add?
Have fun planning the wedding. Talk openly about what is important to each other about the wedding, and what you’re indifferent about. Discuss who will do what, and what decisions you’d like to do together. We used one of the checklists from the wedding sites, and only included activities that was important to us. The beauty of a same-sex marriage is you can come up with your own rules, incorporating certain traditional wedding components if you’d like. We splurged on doing a video of our wedding which was the best decision as it allowed us to relive the memories of the day and also see parts of the wedding that we didn’t see. We didn’t do a video of our celebration in Thailand and wish we did. We created a “run sheet” for the big day of the sequence of activities from the time we woke up to after the party was over and shared it with the vendors and our family members, so everyone knew what they had to do and when. We then left it in their good hands and enjoyed the day!
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
Our favorite part of the wedding was having the perfect weather and getting to celebrate with all our close friends and relatives who flew in from all over the world. We were touched by the toasts and speeches, and there was not a dry eye in the room when they were all over!