After meeting on New Year’s Eve, Dervla Louli and Alister Musgrave had a whirlwind Hong Kong romance, which culminated in a civil ceremony and intimate dinner in Hong Kong. Dervla, founder of wellness travel portal Compare Retreats, tells us about the 11-person celebration.
How did you and your husband meet?
DL: Our best friends introduced us at Alister’s New Year’s Eve party in London. I was living in Hong Kong and he asked me if he could come over to take me on a date. I said ‘yes’ and the rest is history.
How did you whittle down the guest list to 11?
DL: The private dining room in Café Gray at The Upper House only fits 12 people, so that determined the size of our guest list.The room has one large, round table so our party could all chat easily together, and the view is beautiful, especially in the evening. We invited friends who are like family to us in Hong Kong and who know us both very well.
Why did you choose The Upper House?
DL: I was formerly the editor of Upper House magazine and have great memories. Our first date, engagement dinner and many other events have been celebrated at the hotel and it was a natural choice. The all-star team made it perfect.
How would you describe your wedding aesthetic?
DL :The Upper House has a very chic and symmetrical aesthetic so we didn’t need to do much when it came to decor and ambiance. We wanted everything to be very relaxed and elegant so there was no set menu or drinks list. Everyone ordered whatever they felt like.
How were your personalities reflected?
DL: Great food, music and drinks are all important to Alister when it comes to throwing a party, and they were all there in abundance. The iDecorate brass pineapples on the table reflected a small obsession I have. I fell in love with some Casa Capriz vintage pineapples as I was walking along Aberdeen Street a few years ago, and have collected them ever since.
What else did you do a little differently?
DL: We made sure that waste was kept to a minimum, so guests went home with flowers. In that sense, we tried to keep the aesthetic very natural with lots of flowers. We stayed away from balloons, plastic and props that would have been thrown away after.
Any advice for other couples?
DL: Go with your gut. If you love a venue, book it straight away. The same goes for the dress, cake, florist, photographer, band… Once you start to overthink things, you just end up in a Pinterest spiral.
Glad I spent on: The photography, which I’ll treasure forever.
Glad I saved on: Clothes and shoes. I wore a pair of gold Jimmy Choos and a beautiful SAU Collection crop top and skirt that I had in my wardrobe. Best decision ever.
Who helped them:
Venue: Café Gray Deluxe, The Upper House Hong Kong,
Event Planner: Lauren Roberts, Sweet Soirees,
Photographer: Sam Wong (Sam is Home), www.samishome.com
Cake: Whisk, The Mira, www.themirahotel.com.
Wedding Top and Skirt: SAU Clothing, www.sauclothing.com.