A Tropical Disco Wedding in Bali With Wanderlust Vibes
If one word comes to mind when we think of Tim and Mindy’s tropical disco wedding in Canggu, Bali, it’s captivating. From the wanderlust vibes to the earthy palette of terra cotta, turmeric and egg shell with pops of peony pink for good measure, this 3-day destination wedding planned by Wonderland Bali and Cin Cin Bali was bursting with storytelling, energy and adventure at every turn. Just wait til you see the meaning behind every little detail (after all, the bride’s planning binder was over 300 pages long!). Creativity abounds in everything from the fashion and place settings to the wedding website and exotic bohemian florals from Wonderland Bali. So get ready to be whisked away into a Bali dreamscape, because these images from Terralogical and Black Fox Photography will have you looking at this destination wedding on repeat!
From the Bride, Mindy: Our relationship started on opposite coasts. I was based in Los Angeles working as an Art Director and Tim working as a Strategist in New York, both working at the same advertising agency, at different offices, over 2,000 miles away.
My copywriter Stephania Hines introduced us in passing while Tim was visiting the LA office. Then months, later out of the blue, she suggested we go on what seemed to be an innocent “coffee date” while I was going to the east coast for work. She kept on going on and on about how he couldn’t stop thinking about me, and so the least I could do would be to meet him for a drink while I was in town. “You’d make his day” she said, so I obliged.
Little did I know, Stephania had been telling Tim the same love struck lies, pulling a Jedi mind trick on both of us. We both entered the date beaming with confidence, grinning with a smugness across both of our faces. And as designed, we hit it off immediately.
After a year of 50+ LA to NY flights, thousands of g-chats and countless hours on the phone, I bit the bullet and moved to NY. We moved in together and a few months later Tim proposed in the San Jacinto mountains that overlooked Palm Springs, during a picnic at the exact same spot we had one of our first weekend away trips, it was magic.
Growing up in San Diego, my friends and family were all from California, Tim’s family and friends were from London and we both lived in New York – so there was no easy choice on where to get married.
Being half Chinese-Indonesian, with over 50 first cousins, I could say that I have quite a large Asian side of the family, which despite being on the other side of the world, I’m incredibly close with. I grew up visiting different parts of Asia and Bali has always been a special place. Tim was the first person that I let into that world, and on our first visit our shared love for the island, the culture and the people grew. If our relationship has been about one thing, it’s an adventure. Being from different continents, with families spread across the world, Bali was the place that we shared.
The wedding business is booming in Bali, with amazing weather, and pristine beaches, it’s no wonder millions of couples flock to get married at this dream destination. We knew going in, and as a Creative Director for Conde Nast with a particular eye for design, it was important for us to do this our way, not to get a cookie cutter tropical packaged wedding but to really create something special with our unique take on it.
Located in the small surf town of Canggu a few miles north of Seminyak, La Brisa Beach Club is some kind of wonderful mix of a secret James Bond villain hideaway meets tropical ewok village that overlooks the Indian Ocean. We fell in love with the space on our first trip to the island years ago and we instantly reached out to when we got engaged. Having never done a wedding, at first they said no, but after a few persistent emails and another in person visit, they finally said yes – and we locked in our dream wedding venue!
Lush tropical flora with laid back breezy boho vibes, the aesthetics of the venue matched our taste perfectly, and became the inspiration for the theme of the wedding, which we called ‘Tropical Disco’.
Armed with a google doc of over 300 reference slides encompassing everything from the venue, the dress, florals, decor and more we searched for an indie wedding planner with a discerning eye to be our partner in planning. We worked with a Russian born, Bali based wedding planner, Anastasia Urchukova from Wonderland Bali who understood our aesthetic and knew how to make it happen on an island far away from the conveniences of the big cities of the world.
Never ones to choose the easy option, Wonderland helped us curate a three day wedding experience. With over 100 guests coming in from different parts of the world: London, New York, Los Angeles, Australia, and Asia we wanted to make sure they had an opportunity to get to know one another, so that the big day felt like a close group of our friends rather than a group of awkward strangers.
We wanted to make sure our guests would have a truly unforgettable experience, and a true representation of Bali so we picked three of our favorite places across the island to curate the perfect wedding experience to surround the big day itself.
We welcomed our immediate family and wedding party members to the island with a Welcome Dinner at Meriah Putiah, Bali’s famed Michelin starred Indonesian restaurant offering traditional Balinese cuisine.
The official Welcome Drinks were held at sunset in the beach bar of Seminyak’s premier beachfront hotel, Alilia. Where guests mingled into the night with cocktails and canapes overlooking the ocean as a live jazz saxophone player belted out Sinatra tunes.
Then we invited guests to a recovery lounge by the pool, held the day after the wedding at Mrs. Sippy – a Mediterranean pool club with the largest natural saltwater pool.
Planning a single day wedding from the other side of the world is an insane undertaking, let alone a three-day event, and with a 12 hour time difference from NY to Bali, we spent many nights on video calls with our wedding planner that lasted into the early morning hours. It turned out every minute was worth it and we got the wedding of our wildest dreams.
The Big Day Details
I was never a girl who had dreams about my perfect wedding, and so when it came to planning our big day, both Tim and I knew more about the things we didn’t want, than what we were really looking for.
We knew we wanted to create something that really represented us, a mash-up of different cultures, a true mix of modern and traditional, a wedding that would please our Chinese elders and our English party lovers.
The one traditional element I did want to keep however, was the Chinese Tea Ceremony. Being half Chinese, I felt like it was important for me to keep that part of my heritage alive.
A Chinese Tea Ceremony is a very formal ceremony involving traditional Chinese dress. The bride and groom pour tea to each married family member one couple at a time, in return for marriage advice and lucky red envelopes (ang bao).
When it came to choosing what I was going to wear, I remember back to when I saw photos of my mom’s 1970’s Chinese tea ceremony outfit and how lavish it was, with huge embroidered patterns and bold colors – and I channeled just that.
Fun and colorful I found a traditionally inspired red two piece Qun Kwa dress, with a floor length skirt and mandarine collar jacket decorated in ornate, head to toe Phoenix embroidery in vibrant gold, silver, blue and peach colorways. I paired it with gold metallic Penny Knot slides by Loeffler Randall to give it a bit of a modern edge and pulled by hair back into a neat yet elegant updo.
The finishing touch was an elaborate gold phoenix headpiece that balanced atop my head, studded with jade and ruby stones with golden chains drawn down from each side. I’ve never been shy when it comes to fashion but calling this a “statement piece” would just have not been enough.
Tim wore a traditional red Tang suit, with a floor length skirt and mandarine collared jacket with stunning gold and blue dragon embroidery along with brown leather oxfords that completed his look. Traditionally the bride wears the phoenix to symbolize beauty and good luck while the groom dons the dragon, a tradition that dates back to the Ming Dynasty.
With so much involved in the ceremony we kept the decore to a minimum, introducing pops of our wedding day colors against a bamboo screen with a custom marigold “double happiness”
Floral arrangement – the chinese symbol for marriage and love. Dried pampas grass and palm frond arrangements offset the stage.
The tea ceremony goes back thousands of years and is steeped in tradition, but we still managed to bring our modern edge to it, even if totally by accident. Unknown to Tim and I, the dry cleaners mixed up our skirts, but it wasn’t until we walked out, and our families saw us and immediately burst into laughter, that we realized there was a mix up. It only took us three times for us to get it right, (on the second try my skirt was on backwards) and while I kept on reminding everyone that I was only half Chinese, it turned into a memory we’ll both treasure for the rest of our lives.
Once we locked down our venue the hunt for the dress was on. I entertained what felt like a 100 options, trying on dresses in NY, New Jersey, LA and even hunted down a discontinued Rue De Seine dress in Poland and overnighted it to Portugal when I was there on a shoot for work.
I wanted something that I hadn’t seen before, something that felt a little tropical – with lightweight materials, that felt organic, flowing and free vs. structured, and a bit of glam, with a fun and flirty feel to it with a statement vibe.
When I tried on my Inbal Dror I immediately fell in love. It was both modern and retro, with these amazing floor length sleeves that had this 70’s disco vibe.
The sparkling hand beading made it elegant enough for a formal affair but the cut made it feel cool and laid back with a bit of a rockstar, red carpet feel and together it just made me want to dance!
For the afterparty I changed into a white, off the shoulder, ruffled pleated mini dress from Zimmerman that had a bit of a Spanish flair. Something that I could move around freely in and get hot and sweaty in without ruining it.
Bridal Necklace and Shoes
When it comes to accessories I’m usually a gold girl, but I really wanted to play with mixed metals, and loved the idea of layered silver and gold and crystal necklaces from Child of Wild, Gorjana and a local Balinese jewelry designer La Folie to finish off my wedding day look.
I love Loeffler Randall’s shoes and their Coco metallic silver, opened toed heel just brought the look to life.
My bridesmates wore a range of pinks from magenta to peony in various textures and styles from Love and Lemons, Jay Godfrey and vintage finds. I wanted to let each of them express their own personality and pick a look they really loved. The morning of the wedding when we were all getting ready, I gave each of them matching gold chains from Gorjana that we all wore down the aisle.
My two nieces Gisele and Chloe were my flower girls, with a huge family like mine, they kind of have a monopoly on this role. They walked down the aisle scattering a trail of pink and orange petals wearing matching blush pink dresses, fresh handmade flower crowns, and a gold and crystal Gorjana bracelet that matched mine.
If there’s one thing Tim knows about me it’s that I have particular taste and he wanted to involve me in the ring decision that I’d wear for the rest of my life. Like my mom (who merged her engagement and wedding rings together), I only wanted to wear one ring. I don’t wear a ton of jewelry but the pieces I did have were unique takes from indie designers. We worked with Jessica Seaton, a Los Angeles based designer to create just that. Her pieces have a bold confidence and elegance to them. She created a cushion cut floating diamond ring, offset on a gold band – a modern take on a classic cut, that felt absolutely me.
For Tim’s ring, we worked with Alishan – a bespoke jewelry designer and family friend, known for his old world finishes, who created the perfect gold band with a rustic brushed texture finish.
Tim’s suit was a bespoke Paul Smith made from scratch in London. Being a picky English boy, he was struggling to find the right fit, cut, style and color he wanted in New York and on a trip home discovered that Paul Smith was exactly what he was looking for. The suit was a classically cut ivory two piece made of ultra fine wool that looked the part but was still cool enough for Bali’s tropical climate. In keeping with family tradition, the overall look was inspired by the suit that Eric Clapton married Tim’s aunt (Pattie Boyd) in, which was also the same suit that Tim’s dad got married in a few years later. A white Sandro shirt, a Saint Lauren white satin bow tie and brown leather Oxfords completed the look.
We wanted to make sure our Groomsmen outfits were light and airy and above all comfortable. We loved this simple look of burned orange chinos, paired with brown Oxfords shoes and no socks. Top the look off with a white long sleeve shirt, sans jacket.
Our Celebrant, Will
One of our best friends Will Flood acted as our celebrant and officiated our wedding. With a lot of stage time we wanted him to stand out from the crowd. We wanted a nondenominational wedding and so Will was going to be our guide through this rite of passage. We were in white and we wanted the person that was unifying us to be in white too. We found a beautiful white linen, hand stitched kaftan from Biasa, one of our favorite local boutiques on the island, that felt just right.
He asked us three simple but deep questions about love, what this union means to us and what we meant to each other and he crafted an incredibly intimate ceremony that we will never forget.
Color palette, Style and Vision
The location was our guiding light when it came to design. La Brisa’s dreamy atmosphere is a beautiful mix of secret James Bond villain island hideaway, meets tropical ewok village that overlooks the Indian Ocean. And it’s lush tropical flora, and cool, carefree vibe and inspired the theme of our wedding which we called Tropical Disco.
I wanted to fill our space with tropical colors that would pop against La Brisa’s green palms so I picked a range of Peony Pink, Terracotta, Turmeric, and Egg Shell as a neutral base to play on the venue’s natural accents. As a sustainable venue I wanted to make sure our palette felt raw, earthy and organic.
A giant disco ball hangs over La Brisa’s lagoon pool and lights up the entire place with a dazzling blanket of sparkles at night creating a truly magical feel – when we saw it for the first time, we had to incorporate it into our vision. It fell perfectly inline with our love of glam, my love of all things 70’s and was an ode to our days spent dancing in night clubs to eclectic sounds under disco balls.
From there I started looking at creating all the elements for the wedding design system. We wanted something that felt organic, minimal and fun and became inspired by the abstract forms from Henri Matisse’s Cut Outs. We knew we wanted our wedding to feel more like a party and a celebration and this system set the tone and expectation perfectly.
You can’t have a destination wedding in Bali without leveraging the island’s lush tropical floral landscape. But we wanted to do it our way adding in a bit of California desert into it, almost as an ode to our engagement in Palm Springs.
I wanted to create a mix of local florals and tropical fruits (like pink dragon fruit and orange coconuts), together with desert neutrals like dried palm fronds and pampas grass to create a bohemian desert tropics vibe.
We worked with Wonderland Bali’s in-house florist to create our custom floral look leveraging as many native species in our color palette, and finding island alternatives like rice stalks mixed with dried palm fronds to create our neutrals.
But to really amp up the color we took a little artistic license and hand painted palm fronds, fruits and florals with water based paints that left a soft powdery finish, creating a modern tropical look that I absolutely loved!
Entrance: Welcome Sign and Photo Point
We extended our tropical Matisse theme into all of our signage, setting the tone of the day with a fun, cheeky welcome sign that read: Welcome, with an arrow pointing to “Tindy’s Big Day” one way, and another arrow pointing to “Killer Monkeys” if they went off course.
We created a grand entrance with tropical red ginger and painted palm fronds and pampas grass circling fruit crate displays overflowing with pink dragon fruits, young orange coconuts, island papaya and mini powder pink pineapples to greet our guests as they walked in.
Continuing down the wooden path, guests would then come to a “Tindy for Life” polaroid photopoint set against the lagoon pool. We wanted guests to come in and explore the space, and loved the idea of creating little moments for them to take photos and meet and mingle while sipping on welcome drinks.
I created the art for the neon sign and Wonderland Bali and The Isle Co. Bali turned it into an amazing focal point suspended in a brass ring, decorated with overgrown florals and a sparkling disco ball. The pink velvet chair and vintage rug were the final touches that made it complete and one of my favorite things at the wedding! We almost cut the neon sign but I’m glad we didn’t because we ended up shipping it back home with us to Brooklyn!
Altar and Wedding Ceremony
The ceremony took place on the sunset deck with a panoramic ocean view overlooking the rolling waves of Echo Beach. Guests were seated under swaying palm trees and given raffia hand fans and flower petals before the ceremony got underway.
With an amazing view behind us we didn’t want an altar that obscured the natural beauty of the place, we wanted to make sure everyone felt like they got the best seat in the house.
Our florist and Bali Event Hire worked together to create a beautiful wooden open aired triangle alter bookended with dried palm fronds, pampas grass, young coconuts, pink anthuriums, orchids, king proteas, red ginger and orange nutan soleils, that stood on top of a vintage bohemian rug overlooking the Indian Ocean.
My dad always used to say that the best piece of advice he ever received on marriage was from a geometry teacher who said a happy marriage is like a triangle. There is his angle, and there is her angle and a successful marriage is when the two angles meet overhead in the middle to form our angle and our alter was an ode to that.
We wrote our own vows independently but arrived at similar themes, to inspire and challenge each other to reach our fullest potentials, to have as much fun as humanly possible, and to keep on exploring.
Tim walked down to David Bowie’s “Starman” while I walked down the aisle to The Flamingos: “I only have eyes for you” a song that was playing at an art gallery in Los Angeles on one of our early dates.
We wanted to build on the natural beauty of La Brisa while bringing a little touch of New York to the evening. White table cloths settings were effortlessly complemented with a canopy of sparkling fairy lights, disco balls, and raffia shades and rattan chandeliers.
The band (Soulfeggio) were a highlight, playing a mixture of classic big band and 1920s swing bringing an air of big city sophistication to this dream-like atmosphere.
With six speeches we set up a center stage and sat our guest in round, family-styled tables all along the reception deck, and had a long rectangle table for the wedding party that sat our bridesmates, groomsmen and our parents alongside us.
Dinner menus and name cards were created in abstract forms in gold penned calligraphy. The settings were a combination of handmade ceramic tableware, rose gold flatware and natural rattan chargers, lit with pink candles in glass hurricanes. Orange triangle folded napkins complemented the floral centerpieces, of tropical pink lilies, red ginger blooms, powder pink mini pineapples and painted palm fronds with table numbers hand drawn on island coconuts.
Over the evening our guests enjoyed four Mediterranean inspired dishes all locally sourced, with fresh seasonal ingredients from the island itself. The strawberry and tomato gazpacho was decorated with an edible array of flowers that looked far too pretty to eat. The psychedelic swirls of mango and basil oil for the base of the red snapper dish was art itself. I know everyone says you never eat at your wedding but we ate everything!
Dinner was served with hand crafted cocktails designed around our relationship, the most notable being the ‘Desert Facial’, a cucumber, pineapple and mint ACE hotel favorite, which reminded us of our engagement in Palm Springs.
The cake was a custom made 3 tier sugar miracle by Butter Bali. On the outside it was decorated with vanilla rose icing and edible flowers that matched the scheme of the wedding. On the inside, each layer of the cake was made of a different flavor that represented something we loved about Bali. The whole thing was delicious, especially as it was the first carb we’d had for over 6 months!
After the cake my oldest family member, uncle Eka, gave a traditional ‘Yum Seng’ toast. The phrase literally translates to ‘drink to success’, and the toast requires everyone to shout “Yum Seeennnggggggggggg”, extending the last word for as long as their breath will hold before finishing their drink.
The transition from dinner to the dancefloor held one last big surprise for our guests. We wanted to give people an unforgettable experience and when we heard that local fire dancers were available we couldn’t resist. The fire dancers delivered, taking a magical night into the extraordinary.
After the fire dancer spectacular we began the tropical disco, a suspended disco ball above the dance floor reflected the lights across the beach and the sea while the disco tunes got everyone moving. Towards the end of the night the inevitable happened, the dance party became a pool party as half the guests stripped down and jumped in, some guests even engaged in an impromptu synchronized swimming routine which was actually quite impressive. I remember Tim and hand in hand, lying face up in the pool looking at the night sky and palm trees swaying to the music it was so surreal. Before we knew it the night was over but the memories that will last a lifetime.
Our Wedding Website: Tindyforlife.com
With so many of our guests from different parts of the world we decided to create the ultimate wedding website that would act like a central hub where you could find all things TINDY (Tim+Mindy) tindyforlife.com
This would be a first time trip to Indonesia for many of our guests and especially Tim’s family and so we wanted to make sure they experienced everything we loved about the island.
We created a comprehensive adventure guide with all of our favorite spots on the island, giving our guest a little history on everything from amazing boutiques, restaurants, beaches, and things to do, all with photos of us when we visited each one.
And to get our guests excited about their far off island adventures we created a Spotify playlist called “Tindy Tunes” to get them in the spirit – with some of the songs we fell in love to.
With everyone traveling so far to come to our wedding we wanted to give people a gift they would like and actually use during the wedding and beyond. We designed and created a custom canvas tote bag featuring our tropical Matisse motif. Inside the tote bag we gifted our guests a Turkish towel perfect for lounging in the Bali sun. The final touch was a custom enamel pin personalised with a T&M logo. We designed, created and sourced all of these elements ourselves which meant we could keep these gifts under our budget. Months later we still see friends and family with their tote bags all over instagram in different parts of the world so I guess we got it right!
One of our favorite moments actually came towards the end of the night, after the ceremony, the dinner, the speeches and the fire dancers. During the tropical disco itself there was a moment when the lights hit the disco that was suspended in the canopy just right, the beams bounced around the venue, reflecting off the pool and then the sea which was only a few feet away. The sound of the waves meshed perfectly with disco beats that had everyone moving with joyus smiles on their faces. I looked around and saw at least four generations of family and friends from around the world dancing with us and I knew I’d never forget that magical moment.
One piece of advice
Have the wedding you want, not the wedding your parents, relatives or everyone else thinks you should have. This is your day, and the one time you’re going to spend a small fortune, so it better be on something you love and that expresses who you two are, because it would be a waste not to. This was our vision and we realized it our way, it wasn’t easy but we loved every minute of it.
Now go watch all these unforgettable moments in action in the wedding film from Axioo Bali below!
Tim and Mindy’s tropical disco wedding is literal GOALS. As is their hype playlist they dropped for their guests on their wedding website before the big weekend to get everyone in the mood and also share a peek inside their love story. Don’t miss this colorful disco wedding in Southern California next. The party don’t start ’til you walk in 😉
Styling and Florals: Wonderland Bali
Planning: Cin Cin Bali
Wedding Dress: Inbal Dror
Wedding Dress Boutique: Mark Ingram Atelier
Bridal Shoes: Loeffler Randall
Groom’s Suit: Paul Smith
Bride’s Ring: Jessica Seaton
Groom’s Ring: Alishan Halebean Studio
Makeup: Bali Make Up Artist
Hair: Alla Stylist + Yeanne and Team
Bridal Nails: Jet Black Ginger Nails
Bridal Jewelry: Child of Wild
Venue + Catering: La Brisa Bali
Wedding Photography: Terralogical
Details Photography: Black Fox Photography
Video: Axioo Bali
Cake: Butter Bali
Ice Cream: KYND Community
Furniture Rentals: Bali Event Hire
Arch Rentals: Wonderland Bali Rentals
Tableware: The Host Table, Semeja and The Isle Co. Bali
Handmade Candles: Candle Bali
Paper Goods & Calligraphy: My Peony Designs
Creative Direction + Design: Mindy Benner
Neon Sign: Alpatra
Cocktail + Reception DJ: Vasilina Moroz
Reception Dinner Music: Soulfeggio
Technical Team: Alpatra Productions
Fire Dancers: Evascolaro Entertainment Bali