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Al Fresco Shady Canyon Golf Club Wedding

This wedding, m’dears, it’s full of a love that bloomed from a friendship, an al fresco beauty graced with navy blues and blush pinks and it’s a style story that’ll steal your heart. Platinum Weddings By Kerrie tied every detail together perfectly, while Sarah K Chen Photography and Elysium Productions left no moment un-captured. Head to the gallery for more and don’t miss the film!


From the beautiful Bride…People are always surprised to hear that though we’re high school sweethearts, we didn’t actually go to the same high school! We first met at Irvine Chinese School, where we emceed the annual Chinese New Year Festival together. We spent several months practicing nearly every day for this event. At first, we were a little shy, and consciously avoided eye contact with each other. A few practices in, though, we decided that if we were going to be spending so much time over the next few months that we might as well get to know each other! That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Before we knew it, Jenn graduated from high school and went off to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). We still talked to each other every day (and at one point, got in trouble over a massive phone bill!). Michael graduated from high school two years later, and went to Dartmouth for his degree in Economics. In the two years that Jenn was in Boston and Michael was in Hanover, we made a huge effort to see each other as often as possible, busing up and down nearly every long weekend, exploring the cities, making dinner together, and playing board games with our friends late into the night.

In 2008, Jenn graduated from MIT with a degree in Neuroscience, and moved to Baltimore to get her Masters in health policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. A year later, she moved again to Washington, D.C. for an internship at the Kaiser Family Foundation, that would later become her first full-time job.

Michael graduated from Dartmouth in 2010, and was searching for a job–nearly taking an offer in Seattle, but ultimately getting his dream job at the JBG Companies in D.C. After six years long-distance, we were finally together again! We spent the next three years in a almost “Friends”-like situation–Jenn living with her two roommates, and Michael with his two roommates just one floor down. Those three years were filled with barbecues, hosting dinner parties, exploring DC together, and sharing laughter with our friends.

At the end of 2012, we purchased a 5-story townhome in the Dupont Circle area of Washington D.C. After much persuasion, Michael managed to convince Jennifer to help him with the renovations, even though neither of us knew the first thing about renovating! This would be our first MAJOR project together, and became a very labor-intensive and long-term project. We finished renovations on the first unit at the end of April 2013, and decided to move in to the finished unit to better facilitate the renovations on the other units.

On April 28th, with the help of a friend/roommate, we moved all of our belongings from our apartment in Arlington, VA, and up four flights of stairs to our new home. By the end of the move, we were both sweaty and exhausted, but relieved and excited to be starting this new chapter! Michael suggested going up to the roof to get some air, and Jenn happily obliged.

We sat near the edge, with a wonderful view of our street. Michael started talking about our nine year journey together, and Jenn was joking around with him (because she was totally oblivious about what was happening). Very early on in our relationship, Jenn asked Michael “who she was to him”—and during his “speech,” Michael described how she came to be the supportive, warm, and loving person that he loved. Jenn only started catching on when he started describing who he hoped she would be in the future—and just as she began to suspect something was happening, Michael was on one knee, asking her to marry him! Jenn said something like “of COURSE I’ll marry you!”—and would later wish she had said something more elegant!

We were hoping for something intimate, though we knew that our guest list would end up being much bigger. So, our vision for the wedding was something less formal, not in the typical ballroom, and could feel casual, intimate, yet momentous all at the same time. We had hoped for at least part of the wedding to be outdoors—and ended up choosing to do the ceremony at Crossline Community Church, and the reception outdoors at Shady Canyon Golf Club. We had toyed with the idea of using tents…but ultimately, decided on string lighting. Jenn’s friend showed her a picture of some lanterns, and given that we both loved the idea and the look, that was immediately incorporated into our plans.

As for colors, our immediate thought was blue and green, our two favorite colors. After much Pinterest boarding, though, Jenn suggested something truly out of character—switching to navy blue and blush. Michael, surprisingly, liked this idea better, so that was that!

There were 260 guests at our wedding. Both of our families live in Shady Canyon, so there was very little question that we would be holding a part of our wedding at Shady Canyon Golf Club. The question then became, which parts do we hold at Shady Canyon? Our families felt strongly that we should get married in a church, and the food at Shady Canyon was simply amazing, and it had the casual but elegant outdoor feel that we were looking for–so, we decided to hold cocktail hour and the reception at Shady Canyon!

Our parents visited a few churches for us (since we were in DC), and decided on Crossline Community Church because of the great light and high ceilings, beautiful decor, and the nearby lake. We went to visit the church when we were home for the holidays, and absolutely loved it too!

Michael chose the recessional song for the ceremony—“Married Life” and the End Credits from Pixar’s “Up”. We also chose the ceremony songs together—an assortment of piano versions of Joe Hisaishi’s music from various Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki films.

The string lighting with lanterns were just amazing! Food was incredible (Osso Bucco and Sea Bass with Lobster medallions). Lots of guest and bridal party speeches—all of which were incredibly touching, and (amazingly!) stayed within their time limitsMichael’s brother’s girlfriend made a video compilation for the couple—including cameos from each of the groomsmen and bridesmaids, and several other friends.

We had instagram coasters for our guests! We had taken several pictures around Shady Canyon, and had instagrammed them over the years; we picked four of our favorites, headed over to Zazzle, and made them into a set of coasters!

We were initially going to go to Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand for our honeymoon…though the military coup forced us to swap out Thailand for Vietnam instead. Then, there were protests going on Vietnam…so we ended up just doing two weeks in Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka) and Taiwan (Taipei and Taitung). We are also going on a second trip to Paris and India (New Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur)—though the India portion is for a friend’s wedding!

When you feel overwhelmed by the overwhelming number of details that need your attention, all of the guests who haven’t RSVPed yet, your favorite flower having the gall to not be in season on the day of your wedding—just remember, it’s only one day. Most importantly, you make the most out of that day by enjoying it—not by stressing out each minute over another new drama that has arisen. Be tough, prioritize, and keep everything in perspective. It’s an important day, only because it’s the start of your marriage and the rest of your life…with the love of your life by your side!

Jenn knows that she is not very decisive, and that her opinion of how things look is sometimes too easily swayed by price. So, she took someone whose taste she trusted unequivocally—her future husband! Jenn thought it was as much her dress as his, and honestly wanted his input. We went to several shops, in California and in DC, and found “the dress”–the Augusta Jones Juno. Unfortunately, it was a bit over budget—so Jenn (ever-resourceful) found a never-worn one online at a third of the price, and had it altered in DC.

Shoes are by Coloriffic, bought on Zappos (the only one of three pairs that Jenn could walk in). Hair accessories were two orchid blooms. Veil was bought on Etsy, by LoveJessicaCatherine. Jewelry was a simple pearl necklace, a gift from my uncle.

Towards the end of the reception, Jenn changed into her qipao—the same one she wore ten years earlier, when she emceed the 2004 Irvine Chinese School New Years Festival with Michael!

Photography: Sarah K Chen Photography | Videography: Elysium Productions | Wedding Planner: Platinum Weddings By Kerrie | Floral Design: Nisie's Enchanted Florist | Bakery: JJ Bakery | Ceremony Venue: Crossline Community Church | Reception Venue: Shady Canyon Country Club | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bill Levkoff | Lighting: AKJohnston Group | DJ: Honored Occasions | Beauty: Theresa Huang Makeup & Hair Design | Bridal Designer: Augusta Jones | Cocktail Musicians: OC Chamber Music | Invitations And Paper Details: Paper Plane Paperie | Linens: Wildflower Linen | Photo Booth: So Cal Shutterbooth | Rehearsal Dinner: Wildfish Seafood Grille | Rentals: Signature Party Rentals

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here

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Classic Southern California Wedding at Strawberry Farms

When I lived in California, I had the pleasure of visiting the ever-so-lovely Strawberry Farms and remembered thinking, “this would be such a perfect place for a wedding”. So I just love that I get to see just such a perfect day unfold through this couples’ gorgeous wedding captured by Palos Photography. From start to finish, it defines charming and you can see what I mean right here.

Golf Course

From The Bride…Although it was a night out on the town that brought us together, it was many years of chats over the phone and racking up frequent flyer miles to see each other for short weekends. Chris and I dated a total of five years, however we lived three- thousand miles apart for four of those years. Chris was in medical school in New York and I was in pharmacy school in California, but we were absolutely determined to make our relationship work! At the end of our four years of school, Chris FINALLY popped the question and it was all up from there! We were moving to Kentucky for residency so we wanted to incorporate our new Southern lifestyle with a California twist in our wedding, so we were definitely interested in having a “backyard” feel.

When we found Strawberry Farms we instantaneously fell in love. The white long picket fences, the blossoming flowers that align the courtyard, the fantastic food (and wine!) selections, and the AMAZING barn were just some of the aspects we loved about this venue. Also, since a large portion of our guests were flying in from out of town, it was really important to us to have our ceremony and reception at the same venue.

From there, we started diving into the details of our “theme” of the wedding with our wedding planner Lynsay from Lux Events. Can I first say how amazing she is? Hands down, one of the most creative, inspiring, professional, and thoughtful people I have ever met. She really took the time to get to know us as a couple, and just took the extra time to ensure all the details were perfect. Considering we are so passionate about our careers, Lynsay gave us the idea to give our wedding a bit of a medical twist. Luckily, my maid of honor is a graphic designer and was able to whip up some amazing sign-in cards with each of them saying please write a “Prescription for a Happy Marriage” for the bride and groom. Also, for party favors we bought mini-brown glass bottles (to resemble a pill bottle), stuffed them with jelly beans, and had stickers made that said “There is no remedy to love but to love more.” All the guest loved them and were able to bring them home for treats the next day!

One last important detail that was really important to us… MUSIC! Ladies and gentleman planning a wedding….. You will NEVER go wrong with live music. After months of researching we came across a community college that specializes in art and music. We were so impressed with them and hired them right away! Needless to say, there were about 35 college students singing, playing instruments, and dancing at our wedding… highlight of our night!! They made our night a BLAST!

The day of the wedding of course a few things went wrong. The groomsmen corsages would not stay on their suits (so we instead used the flowers to decorate the gift table), but it’s all about having a great attitude and knowing that all these little things do not matter. The day of the wedding I was as relaxed as could be. I was just ready to have FUN and get married to the man of my dreams.

To all the brides out there here is my best advice: get a videographer. Hands down, one of the best decisions we made that day. Second, look up when you are walking down the aisle. I think I was nervous because there are so many pictures of me looking down! Lastly, the more fun you have on your wedding day the better the party is! Your guests will sense that you are having fun and they will want to join in with you… trust me!

Our wedding day was perfect for us, and we wish we would re-do this day over and over and over again! Thank you to all of our vendors for putting on such a great event for our friends and families… it was the BEST day!!!

Photography: Palos Photography | Videography: Kroh Media | Floral Design: Pacific Coast Flower Market | Cake: It's All About The Cake | Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas | Bridesmaid Dresses: Free People | Make Up: Erin Denise Studios | Lighting: DJ Sota | Band: Citrus Art Community College | Ceremony Music: SeaSide Strings | Boys Bow Ties: Lollyludesigns | Bride And Bridesmaid Hair: Amanda Miranda | Bride Dress: Davids Bridal | Bride Shoes: Jessica Simpson | Bride's Veil: Vera Wang | Event Design/Coordinator: Lux Event And Design | Golf Course: Strawberry Farms | Groom And Groomsmen Attire: JoS A. Bank | I DO Forks: LoveLettersUpCycled | Linens: La Tavola | Pharmacy Table Numbers: Vintage Scraps

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Love and Lace Bridal + A Discount!

We’ve long loved Love and Lace Bridal for their incredible selection of romantic and unique wedding dresses. And SMPers, get this, because they love you all so very much, they’re offering $200 off any regular-priced wedding gown purchased during the month of September! OH, there’s more — Love and Lace Bridal has teamed up with Two’s Company in Tustin, California to offer $50 off any veil purchase (when purchasing a dress).

Carrying designers such as Leanne Marshall, Elizabeth Dye, Rose & Delilah, Mikaella by Paloma Blanca and so many more, Love and Lace Bridal has you covered in the wedding dress department. The stunning selection is perfect for the fun, quirky and slightly non-traditional bride!

Head over here or call 949.861.8455 to book your September appointment, and be sure to mention discount code SMP200 when booking! For tons more inspiration and pretty pretty dress pics, be sure to follow Love and Lace Bridal on Instagram