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From Sonoma to San Francisco: A California Engagement

We love when we get to see a wedding come full circle and today we’re diving into just that. We’ve cozied up to KT Merry for a California engagement that showcases not only the natural beauty of Sonoma but the chic city streets of San Francisco too. And then? And then we have the wedding of this cute duo following suit. That’s the whole full circle part and it’s coming up in just a bit! Until then, check out the full gallery.

From The Bride…James asked me to marry him on our first date. Crazy, I know! I guess some things are just meant to be and I was lucky enough to find someone who knew that we were meant to be from the very beginning! I, on the other hand, am naturally a bit more cautious, so even though I thought James was amazing, I couldn’t help but laugh his question off. Undeterred, James simply smiled and said that the next time he asked, he hoped for a different answer.

Ten months later, we decided to take a trip to Monterey, a short two-hour drive from our home in San Francisco. We both wanted a carefree getaway, so we didn’t plan any activities in advance (or so I thought!). On the second day of our trip, James asked what I felt like doing and I suggested a hike in Point Lobos State Reserve. I must have answered exactly as he thought I would, because somehow he already knew the perfect trail for us! At the end of our hike, we found ourselves immersed in the picturesque backdrop of the California coastline. With the sea cliffs high above and the ocean’s waves crashing down below, we stood and watched the breathtaking sunset. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect way to end our day. That is, until James pulled off the surprise of my life! Just as the last bit of light disappeared behind the horizon, he calmly took my hand in his, looked up at me and asked me to marry him…again! But this time, he was on one knee…this time, he was holding a stunning ring…and this time, I said YES!!!

James and Inga will be getting married this summer at The Villa at Sunstone.

Photography: KT Merry | Hair And Makeup: Styles By Ann | Black Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Blue Dress: Parker | Gold Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Gray Suit: Hugo Boss | Lace Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Nude Shoes: Brian Atwood | Second Location: Legion Of Honor | Sport Coat: John Varvatos | White Dress: Alice + Olivia

Monique Lhuillier is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. Legion of Honor is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Legion of Honor

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A Fashion Infused New York Wedding Planned in 1 Month

Planning a wedding in a mere 30 days might seem nearly impossible but this insanely fashionable bride is here to prove otherwise. With a custom gown by Carolina Herrera in tow and bright florals at every turn by Nancy Huang, this NYC beauty is simple and elegant and gorgeous all wrapped into one. See every last image captured by Cynthia Chung Weddings in the full gallery.

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Settings
Restaurant
Styles
Bohemian

From the Bride… Andy and I planned our wedding in literally one month. We went back and forth for months about whether we wanted a wedding celebration or just a small city hall ceremony in New York City. The reason was that, he had gotten into graduate school in California and we would be moving there. As May approached, we were still undecided but we thought about how much New York meant to us and how we were surrounded by such wonderful people in New York City and we decided exactly a month before we had our wedding that we would have a celebration! We were so lucky to find the Musket Room. We had walked by it often because it was very close to where we lived. However, it was a done deal when we tried their chefs tasting menu (as you can tell, food is of vital importance to Andy and I) and we were over the moon at the deliciousness of their dishes. From that point on, wedding ideas flooded in my head and i spent a good three weeks getting every ready.

I really loved how simple our wedding day was and almost every part of it was filled with meaning and sentiment. Andy’s mother is a talented florist and with the help of pinterest, she perfected the vision I wanted on our wedding day. My wedding gown was gifted by Carolina Herrera herself. I was fortunate to work for her company and she and the design team also custom made my gown with a specific sash of my choosing and monogrammed the inside of my gown with my initials. My jewelry was my mother’s and they were an engagement present from her mother (my maternal grandma!) when she got engaged to my father. I also had a floral diamond brooch pinned on my sash from my paternal grandmother. She and I had a special bond and she passed away a couple of years ago, but I wanted her there with me on our wedding day because I knew she would have been so happy to see me get married. Andy’s good friend sent us our pig plaster cake toppers (we’re both born in the year of the pig according to the Chinese zodiac). I also did some small craft projects like make all of our grosgrain flags for decoration, sewed our pillows for the tea ceremony and framed our parents’ wedding photos. Honestly, the most difficult part of the wedding for finding the perfect wedding shoes! Andy also had a great time shopping for his suit. We knew we wanted a navy suit that was stylish but still classic and we found it at Suit Supply. He looked very handsome on the day of the wedding! The wedding day was intimate and filled with the people we loved. We were really untraditional and only had 17 people at the actual wedding ceremony. I am blessed to have an eloquent brother who officiated our ceremony. We also wrote our own vows and memorized them (talk about pressure!). We also kept the tea ceremony as a nod to our Chinese roots and to show our gratitude to our wonderful parents.

The cocktail party at the Musket Room turned out to be a success! The Musket Room actually designed a cocktail for us, which we name “Phandi”. Apparently, most of our friends had a couple of those and half of them actually forgot what occurred in the second half of the party! =P Everyone also loved the canapes and our wedding cakes. Instead of a tiered cake, we went for four different flavored cakes from our favorite cake shop in the city, Lady M. They were decorated with cake toppers and cake flags that I crafted. Some of our friends had a slice of every cake! I know that Andy and I had such a blast at our own party that we lost each other in the crowd for over an hour! It was just a wonderful feeling to have everyone we love in the same place with us to celebrate such a landmark event in our lives. Andy and I are both so happy we had such a beautiful celebration and most importantly, every part of it was so us!

Photography: Cynthia Chung Weddings | Floral Design: Nancy Huang | Wedding Dress: Carolina Herrera | Cake: Lady M Confections | Ceremony Venue: Elizabeth Street Gardens | Reception Venue: The Musket Room | Groom's Attire: Suit Supply | Bridal Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Groom's Attire: Shoes: Cole Haan | Groom's Attire: Tie: Thom Browne | Nails: The Nail Art Boutique | Wedding Rings: Cartier

Cynthia Chung Photography is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Cynthia Chung Weddings

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Elegant Garden Wedding at a Montecito Estate

Montecito is one of the prettiest spots on the west coast. So much so, that it probably doesn’t even need decoration to pull off a gorgeous wedding. But when you incorporate details like fresh garlands by Stephanie Grace Designs and a dapper cigar lounge planned by Central Coast Memory Makers, well let’s just say that Montecito is on a whole new level of elegant. See all of Élan Klein’s gorgeous images right here.

Colors
Seasons
Fall
Settings
Estate
Styles
Garden

From the Bride… Andrew and I met in Los Angeles but we both grew up in the Northeast, so many of our family and friends were visiting from New York. We really wanted to make our wedding a weekend getaway for our guests and decided on what we both felt was one of the most idyllic spots in California – Montecito. I had my mind set on an Estate venue, as I really wanted a canvas that we could make our own. We immediately fell in love with Butterfly Lane Estate and Bonnie the owner, whom was accommodating to our every need. The proximity of the Estate to the Four Seasons allowed for most of our guests to stay at the hotel and was the perfect venue for our after party and Sunday Brunch.

I will always remember the special moments shared with my mom and bridesmaids at my beautiful bridal suite at the Four Seasons. My something new was a beautiful pair of diamond earrings that my mother gave me, and my borrowed was an awesome vintage cocktail ring belonging to my grandmother that I have admired for years.

Bonnie’s property (Butterfly Lane Estate) is incredibly breathtaking and the gardens are so lush and vibrant (years ago the property was actually a butterfly sanctuary). I really wanted our guests to be able to take all of its beauty in, and therefore opted for a neutral color palette. My bridesmaids wore blush colored Monique L’huillier dresses of their choice and our groomsmen wore midnight blue suits. Blush, ivory and gold were used throughout the reception to create a subtle elegant look against the vivid green backdrops.

There were so many special features about the property and I wanted to use them all. We had our groomsmen enter form the top of the estate, where they walked down a short path through the gardens to the ceremony area. A third story balcony was both aesthetically and acoustically perfect for our string trio and I entered from the bridal suit where by bridesmaids protected the guests view with paper umbrellas.

Our ceremony was traditional in many ways but our officiant was spectacular and read a short tribute to our parents that Andrew and I had prepared. We asked that our guests leave us a note on vintage California postcards that my Matron of Honor then mailed to us. We received those for weeks after our wedding making the memories last beyond just the day. Our guest table also displayed wedding pictures of our Grandparents, as we really wanted a way to incorporate their memory into our wedding.

Elan Klein, our photographer, was so thorough and had worked with us on a detailed formal group portrait list. Most important to me was the moment I left the altar with Andrew and gave my Dad a farewell kiss. Not only did Elan nail it, she was able to capture the emotion. For me, having moments like this captured forever was priceless.

Ashley Transki, one of the co-owners of Duo, was incredibly knowledgeable and patient and made our menu truly unique to our taste. His passion for local ingredients and impeccable service made Duo a perfect fit. Staying local, we wanted our guests to have something to remember our day and the flavor of Santa Barbara, so, on yet another weekend trip we made our way to Santa Barbara Olive Oil Company to source their local olive oil. With the help of my Matron of Honor and Andrew, we custom monogrammed bottles and affixed thank you notes for guests to take home. Guest welcome bags were also filled with Santa Barbara brewing company coffee and California Pistachios.

Dinner service opened with our first dance, Nat King Cole’s L-O-V-E, and a foxtrot that Andrew and I had been practicing for weeks. After much stress, we managed to pull it off without a hitch. Guests danced to the band throughout the evening and were invited for post dinner “Chocolate and Champagne” and “Cigars and Bourbon” on the balcony. My mother and sister (Matron of Honor) organized the most sensational end to the evening with all of our favorite things. Guests sipped on champagne and Bourbon and gathered around the crackling fire – illuminating a perfect California Fall evening.

Photography: Élan Klein | Event Planner: Central Coast Memory Makers | Floral Design: Stephanie Grace Designs | Cake: Wayne Kjar Cakes | Invitations: Copper Willow Paper Studio | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier | Catering: Duo Catering & Events | Band: Wayne Foster Music & Entertainment | Groom's Attire: Ralph Lauren | Officiant: Jon Ireland | Bridal Gown: Oscar De La Renta | Bridal Makeup And Hair: Lauren At Design Visage | Bridal Suite: Four Seasons Biltmore | Bridesmaids Makeup And Hair: TEAM Hair & Makeup | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Butterfly Lane Estate | Chocolate Bar: Chocolate Maya | Flower Girl's Dress: Isabel Garretón | Guest Gifts: Santa Barbara Olive Co. | Linens: La Tavola | Rentals: Town And Country | Signage & Seating Charts: Flaire Designery | Transportation: Santa Barbara Airbus | Wine: Beckmen Vineyards

Monique Lhuillier is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here. La Tavola Fine Linen Rental, TEAM Hair and Makeup, copper willow paper studio and Stephanie Grace Designs are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
La Tavola Fine Linen Rental

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TEAM Hair and Makeup

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copper willow paper studio

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Stephanie Grace Designs

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