Poised as one of Kuala Lumpur’s ‘weddings of the year’, the union between Donovan Tho (aka Da Funkie Junkie) and his beautiful bride, Julia Nicholson, was so talked about that it’s been featured in the likes of Harpers Bazaar and (woohoo!) Wedding Guide Asia. With a guest list of the who’s who, celebrity performers and an afterparty with one of the world’s best house DJs, I was more than excited to attend the wedding in November last year!
As a revered house DJ, Donovan called upon some of his friends to sing a song or two at the wedding. Just so happens his ‘friends’ are some of Malaysia’s top soul divas; Ning Baizura, Jaclyn Victor and Camelia! They belted out some awesome love songs that sent the rest of humming and daydreaming of love…
But first things first, where do I begin?
Why with love of course!
Tell us how Judo (Judo = Julia & Donovan) began.
As Don tells it, in a sea of 500 faces, one stood out. He spotted me at Velvet (K.L nightclub), and sent his friend over to talk to me, but didn’t come up to me himself because he was too nervous. He thought I was a tourist and he kicked himself because he didn’t get a phone number nor an email address.
As fate would have it, not too long after that, I turned up in Cynna, where he was spinning. And he still didn’t introduce himself to me! Luckily he knew a friend I was with, and got my number from him later and asked me out.
The rest as they say, is KISStory.
Julia is of Malay heritage & Donovan is Chinese. As a ‘mixed marriage’ did this affect the wedding?
Well, both families were happy that we found each other despite our cultural differences.
When it came to the wedding though, it was a bit of a balancing act.
We wanted to respect both families and cultures, so we decided on a menu that featured both Chinese and Malay dishes.
Thus, we had all the traditions of a Malay wedding with the akad nikah and bersanding with the merenjis (or blessing) ceremony. But we also had the Chinese fetch the bride games and tea ceremony.
Because of this, we felt like Madonna with a hundred outfit changes on our wedding day!
Any tips for guests when attending a mixed marriage wedding?
If it’s a mixed marriage and Malay-styled wedding, do hide the liquor flasks under the table! Also, strictly no “yam sengs” at the end.
In general, try and be more creative with the wedding presents. There are only so many toasters a couple can use.
Right, now to the details. Why the Mandarin Oriental?
Mandarin Oriental was voted the best hotel in Malaysia for the last 10 years running and is one of the best in Asia. And… we only wanted the best for our family and friends on our big day and we got it!
In the end, we had about 750 guests. Our menu was a mélange of classic Malay and Chinese dishes, topped off by a lovely pineapple crumble created by our very good friend, and head chef, especially for us.
Right, now down to the ‘wedding stuff’. Your theme was rather unusual!
We had a 60s “When Astro Boy meets Cosmic Girl” themed wedding.
The theme carried through from our wedding invitations (a mock 1960s 7-inch vinyl) to the décor at the mocktail reception where we set up a living room with iconic 60s furniture including the Eero Arnio “Ball chair”, Verner Panton “Panton” chairs, Eero Saarinen “Tulip” table and a Vespa scooter etc. The Bocca sofa (aka Lips sofa) brought a funky touch to the Pelamin. All the furniture was taken from our home and hence, added a very personal touch. We tried to be as detailed as possible, from the favours to our wedding songs.
“When Astro Boy meets Cosmic Girl…they fall in love” was a line Donovan used throughout our courtship when he would send me flowers or presents.
((( It’s written in the stars )))
Why the 60s theme?
The 60s captured everyone’s imagination. Space travel…first man on the moon…colour TV…birth control pill…the miniskirt…mods…the music…the fashion…
It was a period of heightened creativity and we thought that best suited our personalities.
And the dress…
Bernard Chandran designed both my akad nikah and wedding dinner dresses.
They were a wedding present from him, in exchange for the music collage Donovan had mixed for Bernard’s last three years of fashion shows for London and Paris Fashion weeks. Donovan also mixed the music for a special collection designed for the Queen.
The dinner reception dress was 60s inspired to befit the theme of the wedding. Thank you Bernard, if you’re reading this.
Who did your make-up and hair?
I was actually about to go with another makeup artist, when I found Siew Ching, who was recommended by my wedding planner. She’s fab.
Did you get a wedding planner? If not, how did you handle everything. And if you did – who were they and were they good?
We did have wedding planners, a company called The Occasions (WGA vendor!), fronted by two lovely guys named Alan and Ken G. They were a big help in taking away our stress on the wedding day. Thank you boys!