Romantic Multicultural St. Francis Monastery DC Wedding
August 6, 2015
Mid Atlantic
Classic WeddingsEvent VenueSummer Weddings
This wedding is special: what began as a demure and pastel-filled romantic garden affair became a vibrant and glamorous party by night's end, complete with an outfit change from the Bride into a traditional red qipao to honor her Taiwanese heritage. And with Dyanna Joy Photography behind the camera and Jewel Hair Design behind the Bride's romantic 'do , you know it was amazing. See it all here.
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From the Bride... I was never a girl who had dreamed since childhood of what her wedding would look like and what her wedding had to have, so rather than wanting a certain look or style, we focused on what kind of environment we wanted for one of the most important days of our lives. We wanted a wedding that celebrated not just us, but our guests as well; something intimate and meaningful that made everyone feel special and loved.

We chose mainly soft pinks and greys, with touches of pastels and metallic gold and silver, and splashes of green and brown from natural elements. We wanted something simple, classic, soft, and a little bit rustic that would stand the test of time through our photographs, our videography, and most of all, our memories.

As Andrew and I are Taiwanese American, we wanted to include elements of our heritage within our wedding. Within each wedding invitation and menu, we included the traditional lucky wedding character, which literally translates to "double happiness". We also worked with our caterers to include an Asian influence on the menu and to serve our guests bubble tea, a Taiwanese drink that Andrew and I and many of our guests love, as a surprise mid-evening treat. Each seating card was printed and decorated with washi-tape by me, which added a personal touch to each person's card as the tape was strategically placed around each person's name and none were exactly the same. The table number signs were photographs of us in some of our most special moments, chosen from thousands of photos amassed over the 7 years we have been together. I hand-cut each number out of glittery stock paper and pasted them on vellum paper molded and folded around the photographs so that they could easily be removed and we could hang up our framed photographs in the future as a mosaic of some of our favorite moments together -- a wedding photo to be added later, of course! Each program was also designed and printed by me; they had a very simple yet cohesive look that tied into the aesthetic used for our wedding invitations. For our card box, we visited art stores to check out the selection of regular card boxes, but we were not drawn to any of them so we found a wonderfully rustic-looking birdcage. We dressed it up in silk flowers and ribbons to not only tie in our color theme and add a softer touch to it, but also to add some security to the cage so that no cards would fall out.

My favorite DIY project was our welcome sign, a mirror that we bought, spray-painted its frame gold, and, after three drafts sketched on paper and on the mirror itself, calligraphed and drawn on using paint markers. For the large decorative pieces, such as the table numbers signs, the card box, and the welcome sign, we thought about their uses and utility after the wedding before committing to buy them, which also helped us budget on how much we would spend on them. The table number signs could be hung up on walls in the future, the card box could house a few large LED pillar candles, and the mirror could be hung in the entryway of our future home together. For items we knew we would not use again, such as the seating cards and table signs for the wedding treats and guestbook, we budgeted lower for them.

My favorite moment of the whole day was standing with Andrew at the alter in front of all our friends and committing to our love together. In that moment I only saw and could only look at Andrew, though I knew our love was being celebrated with us with 100 of our closest family members and friends. As a naturally quiet person, I do not favor the spotlight and of all things to be nervous about during the wedding, I was worried about stage fright, but up there with him, all those worries simply melted away.

Going into my hunt for the right dress, I knew I wanted something classic that was not too trendy or too decorated and was not strapless. When I tried on my dress, it felt quite classy, very comfortable, and extremely "me" with its delicate lace top, cinch at the waist with a touch of sparkle, and full tulle skirt, but when I saw the grand chapel-length train behind me, I knew that this dress was the one I wanted to wear. Once I committed to the dress, I never wavered or lusted any other dress. It wasn't until my second fitting, about one month before the wedding, that I decided to give a nod to my Taiwanese-American background and don a second dress during the reception, a traditional red qipao that Taiwanese brides typically wear.  My red dress contained the typical traditional elements such as the mandarin collar, cap-sleeves, form-fitting silhouette, and of course, the vibrant red color, but also fused it with beautiful, modern elements, such as lux and heavy underlying fabric with a beautiful lace overlay, rather than the traditional satin brocade, golden threads and beads, and my favorite, a small mermaid train. As a girl who loves having two of everything, these two dresses made me feel like I had the best of both worlds, not only in dress silhouettes but also in honoring both my American and Taiwanese roots. 

I don't know much about flowers, so my flowers were only dictated by color -- light pink with touches of white and dusty mint green leaves for me and more vibrant pinks for the bridal party, and the rest was up to our talented florist. For our centerpieces, our florist followed the same rules and since I loved the look of tall arrangements at my venue, we included tall and low centerpieces with the same flowers on every other table.

The first thing that Andrew ever made me was mint-swirled chocolate cookies because I absolutely love mint chocolate flavored anything. These cookies are thin, but soft and slightly fudgy, with a refreshingly cool Andes mint layer on the top. For our wedding favors, Andrew made 250 cookies (approximately 2 cookies per guest) from scratch in the days before our wedding, pouring a lot of love and effort into those cookies. As one of my favorite treats ever, I hope that my guests enjoyed them!

During the cake tasting, our fantastic vendor walked us through a myriad of different cake flavor combinations, but we decided on 2 wonderfully different flavors: a fresh fruity flavor and a sweet, guilty-pleasure flavor. The top two layers of our three tier cake were white cake with passion fruit curd and strawberry Italian meringue buttercream. The lowest layer was something called the "candy bar cake": white cake filled with salted caramel, dark ganache, vanilla Italian meringue buttercream, and chocolate crunchies. Both Andrew and I ate slices of each at the wedding and they were delicious!

Planning a wedding is definitely very hard. At times, it can be overwhelming, but don't give up! Every little detail and you spend hours over and every stressful decision you make will pull together a wonderful event that will definitely be noticed by your friends and family. Things will probably go wrong on the day of, but don't despair -- you have wonderful friends and family there to celebrate with you and your husband and that's all that matters in the end.

From Dyanna Joy Photography...It didn’t take long for Jamie and Andrew to fall in love; about one week. They met during college, and soon after their first encounter, Andrew asked Jamie if she would be his girlfriend, and Jamie confidently said yes. They have been together ever since.

Jamie and Andrew’s Washington, DC Monastery wedding was a dream to photograph. I loved everything about their style; Jamie’s couture Mori Lee wedding dress and cathedral veil, the combination of pink roses and wildflowers, the gorgeous columns at DC's St. Francis Monastery, bubble tea, a red dress, and a grand exit.

Simply Breathe Events did an outstanding job and the wedding day was flawless. From the thousands of twinkling lights, colorful name cards, a white and pink cake topped with roses, and pink linens, the day was perfectly bewitching.

At the reception, guests enjoyed Bubble Tea. Also known as “pearl milk tea,” bubble tea contains a tea based mixed/shaken with fruit or milk, to which chewy tapioca balls and/or fruit jellies are often added. The “bubble” refers to the foam created by shaking the tea, which makes it foamy. It was absolutely delicious.

Halfway though the reception, Jamie changed into a traditional asian red wedding dress. We ended the evening with dancing, night photos, and a sparkler exit.