I love love stories. I love hearing how two sweethearts met, courted and fell head over heels – and I could listen to adorable “how it began” tales all.day.long. So, when I first read this darling duo’s sweet, sweet romance, well… my heart literally burst with joy. A friendship turned Parisian crush, a first date in Venice, a gondola proposal and a devastatingly gorgeous wedding on an 18-acre organic farm. This, my friends, is a fairytale brought to life in picture perfect details, heartwarming moments and the amazing images of Yvonne Wong. Click here for more.
From the Bride… Sam and I met during my sophomore year in high school near Seattle when he tutored me in math after I missed a few weeks of school with a particularly nasty case of whooping cough. For several years, our friendship remained platonic. In the summer of 2004, we decided to take a backpacking trip through Europe with a mutual friend. One night in Paris we left our friend and went out for a walk together around the city … and got extremely lost. While trying to find our way back to our hotel in the wee hours of the morning, the city worked its magic, and I realized I was smitten. We had our first real date on a gondola in Venice, Italy just over a week later and have been together ever since. In 2008, we moved from Seattle to Los Angeles, where we both started grad school at UCLA (law school for Sam and a PhD in sociology for me). My research often takes me abroad for extended periods of time. In 2009, immediately after I returned from a grueling stint of fieldwork in Rwanda, Sam whisked me off to a romantic hotel in Santa Monica for a weekend escape. That night (as I struggled to keep my jetlagged eyes open), he proposed on a gondola in Venice, California — paying homage to our first real date.
Right away, we knew that we wanted to get married near our hometown of Bainbridge Island, Washington, since most of our family and friends still lived up in the Pacific Northwest. Planning a wedding from another state (and on grad student budgets!) was a challenge. We choose the Farm Kitchen, an 18-acre organic farm located in Poulsbo, Washington, for our venue because of its simplicity, natural beauty and active farming mission. All of our decorations were made by people in our families. My father built our huppah from bamboo that grew in the yard of my childhood home, and he assembled it with Sam’s dad on our wedding day. My sister made our chalkboard menus from vintage mirrors and worked wooden branches into the heart that hung from the huppah, and my sister-in-law wrapped dozens of bud vases in antique sheet music from the 19th century, which she filled with flowers from her yard. My grandmother made hundreds of WindWishes, a tradition in our family, which we hung above the ceremony site and slipped into each place setting. Each WindWish is calligraphed with a blessing on it (love, family, happiness, success and so on), and each guest was encouraged to take a few WindWishes home and hang them in a place where the wind would blow the wish into their lives.
While getting married was certainly our foremost goal of the day, throwing a fun party was a very close second. Our fabulous group of vendors — led by the incomparable Alison Lum — made sure the day itself went incredibly smoothly. Perhaps the most stressful moment was when I put on my dress and realized that my “something blue” Hanky Panky underwear showed through (note to other brides: try your underwear and dress on before!). In a panic, my bridesmaids found the nearest pair of (thankfully clean) tan underwear around – a pair of large beige booty shorts. It definitely wasn’t the underwear I imagined wearing on my wedding day, but in retrospect, the story is hilarious.
After the ceremony, our bridal party was introduced, sport-announcer style, by our fabulous MC, who is one of my best friends. Sam and I entered immediately after attempting to “dougie,” which got the party started and resulted in arguably my favorite photo of the day. Later in the night, as we sat down for the horah, we were shocked as a random song came on and one by one our guests donned masks of our faces (totally creepy but hysterical) and began moving around us in a choreographed dance. It took me a few minutes before I realized that there was a flash mob happening at my wedding. It was, quite simply, awesome. All in all, Sam and I had an absolute blast at our wedding. We’ll always look back on it as truly the best day of our lives to date.
Wedding Photography: Yvonne Wong Photography / Wedding Venue: Farm Kitchen in Poulsbo, Washington / Event Planning: Alison Lum Events / Floral Design: Melanie Benson Floral Design / Officiant: Annemarie Juhlian / Catering: Essence of the Thymes Catering / Wedding Cake + Pies: Blackbird Bakery / Wedding Invitations: Hello! Lucky / Decorations: WindWishes / Ceremony Music: The Bottom Line Duo / Wedding Dress: Claire Pettibone “Chrysanthemum” / Bride’s Shoes: Vera Wang Lavender / Bride’s Earrings + Bracelet: Nadri / Bride’s Necklace: A Family Heirloom / Hair + Makeup: Shanelle of Pacific Artistry / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew / Bridesmaids’ Earrings: Stella & Dot / Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss