First comes love and then comes marriage, but in between is something very important. The proposal! And seeing that it’s National Proposal Day this one m’dears, is quite the treat. Not only did this darling duo agree on forever in the City of Lights, but they’ve shared the entire story with us and the California wedding magic that followed below!
From the handsome Groom… It was a beautiful evening as we walked out of the Musée d’Orsay into the chill winter air along the banks of the Seine. The City of Lights shone the path leading back to our flat in Le Marais, and I started thinking about how incredibly lucky we were. Instinctively, my hand reached up to touch the coat pocket where Kailin’s engagement ring was tucked away. We had been in Paris for a week already, and the ring had been waiting there, in that pocket, for every minute of it.
On the advice of my brother, Bryson, instead of trying to plan the perfect moment I had been waiting patiently for that moment to present itself. But I was starting to get a little anxious. I had come very close to proposing once already: we were watching the sunrise over the city from the Sacre Coeur the first morning after we arrived, and I thought “yes, this is it.” I had just started to bend my knee when a waft of air came up from a nearby drain and Kailin said, “Ewwww, it smells like sewage!!” Moment over.
Back to the Seine. As we crossed the bridge that led to the Louvre, it started to snow. Late in the evening, the Pyramide on our right, the Tuileries Garden on our left, we were alone in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I told Kailin to stop. I got down on my knee. She told me, “you don’t have to do that,” and I replied, “ah come on!” Pretty much as romantic as it gets. But I did propose on my knee, and she said “yes,” and that’s all that matters. We are so, incredibly lucky.
From the beautiful Bride… Contrary to what he thought, I had sensed a few months before that Charles was preparing to propose. Moments of him not-so-subtly asking about Iris‘s ring size and my style preferences (no diamonds) made it all the more obvious to me. Even more, his mom had generously gifted us a trip to Paris, one of the most romantic cities in the world and one that I had been dying to visit for years. Borrowing the words of our favorite Conchord, conditions were perfect.
Even if he didn’t end up proposing in Paris, it wouldn’t be a big deal, because, then, I figured he’d probably thought it was too obvious. Once in Paris, however, more clues were dropped that convinced me otherwise. One time, when fishing for something from his jacket, I felt a box in the inner pocket, to which he quickly responded, “Don’t worry I’ll get it!!” Following that, at the Louvre when I asked if he wanted to check his coat, he warily replied, “No thanks, I wouldn’t want to lose anything.” (This is a guy who normally laughs at my distrust of strangers.) By then, I was just having fun with it, wondering when it would actually happen.
On the seventh day of our trip, we decided to check out the Musée d’Orsay. Originally built as a railway station in the early 1900s, we were floored by its architectural design and ended up spending the entire day there (minus a lunch break at our favorite crêperie, Little Breizh). After it closed, we walked slowly across the bridge to admire the dimming sky, then made our way between the Jardin de Tuileries and the Louvre. Right then and there, delicate flakes of snow started drifting down and Charles broke the silence with loving words about our relationship and what I meant to him and I remember thinking, Oh no, is he proposing now?? Flustered and frantically looking around, I (insensitively) blurted out, “You don’t have to get down on one knee.” The last thing I wanted was to make a huge scene. Ignoring me, Charles got down anyway and, with a brilliant sapphire ring in hand, popped the question. I couldn’t have asked for anything better, because as luck would have it, we had the moment all to ourselves. To celebrate, we went on to enjoy the best falafel sandwiches in the world. Et voilà, c’est tout!
THE REST IS HISTORY…
From the moment we read their proposal, it was clear that the wedding to soon follow would be something out of a storybook. From the perfect planning by 2 The 9s Events to the sunny Soulflower Design Studio blooms, to the Bride’s beautiful updo, every detail is downright dreamy. Janae Shields Photography was behind the lens snapping every detail and you bet the gallery is the perfect place to see their fairytale ending, right here!
From the Newlyweds… In terms of our wedding venue, we really wanted it to be a reflection of who we are and most importantly, we wanted it to be a unique and meaningful experience for our guests, beyond just a wedding. We teetered between having a relaxed but elegant wedding outdoors and having it at a neat museum. While roaming around Golden Gate Park, we passed by California Academy of Sciences – one of our favorite places – and though it seemed like a crazy idea at first, we both lit up at the thought of having our wedding there and couldn’t shake it out of our minds. I mean, really, how awesome is it to have an entire museum – the Academy, no less – to ourselves??
Chuck and I both grew up with Buddhist influences, and we try to lead socially conscious lives as best we can. So we loved the fact that the Academy’s beliefs aligned with ours in that way. Aside from providing an amazing space for our guests, our intention of having our wedding at the Academy was to hopefully instill some level of mindfulness in our guests as a result of going through the exhibits at the museum, including the Planetarium. We wanted it to serve as a reminder of the earth’s natural beauty, our place in the world and the interconnectedness of everything that exists.
Despite deciding on the Academy as our venue, I still wanted to bring in elements of “rustic elegance” to our wedding, and that’s what we used as inspiration for the wedding style and decor. I didn’t want to overpower the museum’s decor so we mainly focused on the dinner reception, gift table, and dessert table. We ate family style on long tables to encourage our guests to socialize during dinner. In terms of colors, we wanted to reflect coastal California, so we had lots of oranges and peaches juxtaposed with deep blues and greens. It was important to us that the plants be native to California. The end result is really a testament to both our wedding planner, Elizabeth Bainbridge of 2 the 9s, and our florist, Emily Dreblow of Soulflower, for being able to capture exactly what we were looking for and integrating it with the Academy’s modern decor so perfectly. It was stunning.
My most vivid (and probably favorite) moment from the wedding day would be the ceremony. We had it in the Piazza right in front of the living wall, and it really set the stage. It’s the one moment in our wedding where I felt like time was at a standstill and everyone in the room was truly having a shared experience. We had one of our closest mutual friends officiating and she read the same Buddhist wedding passage that was recited at our court ceremony. Chuck and I exchanged very honest and open vows; it was special to share our vulnerabilities in front of our friends and family.
We both also really enjoyed the shuttle rides both to and from the Academy (brilliant idea, Elizabeth!). It brought me back to all those fun school field trips I took as a kid, only this was shared with all our closest friends and family. It was like a field trip and party bus all in one! The mini coach we shared with our bridal party and immediate family was a special ride full of anticipation and the return trip to the hotel with all the remaining guests was the perfect send off.
There are too many photos to choose from, but we especially loved – the photos of Chuck and I under the fish tank, Chuck and his brothers sharing a laugh, me walking with my beautiful bridesmaids and bridesman at the Shakespeare Garden, the dinner tables and flowers, and any candid moments.
All in all, we felt truly lucky to have the unique opportunity and generous support from our family, friends, and wedding team to pull off what ended up being such an extravagant wedding!
Photography: Janae Shields Photography | Cinematography: Levente Photography | Event Planning + Design: 2 The 9s Events | Floral Design: Soulflower Design Studio | Wedding Dress: Trish Lee | Cake: Masses Pastries | Invitations: Burns & Associates Fine Printing | Shoes: Anniel Ballet Flats | Catering: Melons Catering | Makeup: Makeup By Quis | Lighting: Got Light | DJ: Denon And Doyle | Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss | Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Wearhouse | Wedding Venue: California Academy Of Sciences | Rentals: Hartmann | Shuttles: Mercury Tours