Multi-Cultural Brooklyn Loft Wedding
March 6, 2015
Tri State
Classic WeddingsRusticRustic Weddings
What do you get when you combine three different cultures, two ceremonies, one creative Bride and a fab Brooklyn loft? One unique celebration, with multi-languages and Jewish, Mandarin and American traditions, with Exquisite Affairs Productions leading the way. Jenny Kim captured it all and this gallery is the new guide for all brave brides blending cultures on their big day.
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From the Bride... Jesse and I met at our first job out of college. For the first year, I could always count on him to go on coffee runs with me or to save me a seat at a work event. One Sunday in August, he invited me over to his apartment to have dinner, which he had 'prepared' himself. Three months later, during a grocery trip to Westside Market, I would find out that he actually purchased the entire dinner from there and passed the dishes off as his own culinary creations.

He proposed on a Saturday morning with his grandmother's ring and a big box of Nerds candy, which is one of my favorite candy. We were both in pajamas with bed hair; it was private and it was perfect.

We wanted a venue that would allow us to make our wedding day truly personal, we didn't want to be limited by a handful of vendors or options. When we first saw the Greenpoint Loft, to be honest, we didn't know what to make of it. The venue was new to the New York City wedding market; in fact, when we were touring it, they were still polishing the space up for it's first wedding later that summer so there weren't even photos of past weddings that we could look at! It was this raw, industrial, and intimate space that had so much potential and since we knew our wedding wouldn't be a conventional one, we booked it the very next day!

It was very important for us to incorporate our cultures; Jesse wanted to have a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony and I wanted to have a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. Also, since most of my family doesn't speak much English, I wanted to find a Mandarin-speaking rabbi who would be willing to marry us; when I started to look around, I definitely got a lot of laughs before people realized I was serious. After a Google search (yes, a Google search) by Jesse's mom, we found Rabbi Helen, who not only agreed to marry us, but also challenged us to build the foundation for a Jewish and Chinese home.

Together with Rabbi Helen and our day-of coordinators (Christine and Tara from Exquisite Affairs Productions), we found the perfect balance from the order of events to the actual wedding ceremony itself. Since our wedding day fell on Saturday (Shabbat), instead of starting off with the Jewish wedding ceremony, we had the Chinese tea ceremony first, followed by a cocktail hour, then after sundown we signed the ketubah and got married under the chuppah surrounded by our family and closest friends. To help my family understand the elements of the Jewish wedding ceremony, my brother-in-law helped create a Chinese-version of the wedding program and provided Rabbi Helen with the pinyin translation of a few passages that she would use for the ceremony. It was a sight to behold; after Rabbi Helen finished her first Mandarin section, my side of the aisle gave her a hearty round of applause and there would be applause for every Mandarin section thereafter! I think my favorite part of the ceremony was the seven blessings, which was said in Hebrew by Rabbi Helen, English by Jesse's brother, and Mandarin, by my sister; it truly symbolized the combination of our cultures and traditions.

No one fully prepares you for the tremendous outpouring of love and celebration on your wedding day; it is as if all of your friends and family came together to give you one gigantic hug. It is overwhelming and humbling. Thinking back now, my favorite memory of our wedding day was that of my mom and her smile throughout the entire day. A few months before our wedding, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a result of chemotherapy, she wasn't able to attend any of my dress fittings or the bridal shower that my best friends organized. However, on our wedding day, she found an extra burst of energy and every single one of our vendors, from hair and makeup to our florist, went above and beyond to make her feel beautiful and special. In the end, our wedding wasn't just a celebration of love, it was a celebration of health and of life.

Throughout the wedding planning process, there were definitely moments when I wondered how our guests would react to the order of events or if my dress was too different or if our friends would enjoy the Chinese tea ceremony, the list goes on. My advice for future brides would be to be confident in the vision of your wedding day and enjoy the journey. Looking back, I wouldn't do a single thing differently because in the end, our wedding day was personally and uniquely ours!