A year ago, Andrew and I got married.
I am a bit strange and actually LOVED wedding planning. I loved contacting vendors, organizing details, stuffing envelopes, making excel sheets, and even putting together the dreaded table assignments. On our one year anniversary, I thought I’d share our wedding planning experience, a bit about some of our amazing vendors and friends, and what happened during our wedding.
First of all, Andrew was the best. Even when he was across the country writing lots of papers, he still did what I asked him to do. He also let me do and decide everything. He had no preferences, which was awesome. Actually, I take that back. He had one non-negotiable. He did not want to get sweaty. We planned to get married in the Bay Area, which isn’t really that hot or humid, but we were having a summer wedding so we had to find an indoor venue (away from the heat). I guess that if we weren’t planning on moving to Scotland, we probably would’ve had a winter wedding to reduce Andrew’s chances of being sweaty.
In choosing our venues, we wanted to stay local. We didn’t want our grandparents to have to travel too far for our special day so we limited our venue options to a 30-mile radius. With our guest list number, we were limited in venue locations in the Bay Area, but we found two beautiful venues for our ceremony and reception, less than 2 miles away from each other that could hold the amount of people we were expecting in Oakland, a city that we both love and care about. We got married in the First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, a PCUSA church (the same denomination I grew up in) with stain glass windows, a long aisle, and a grand organ that reminds me of the processional from The Sound of Music. Our reception was held at the Oakland Scottish Rite’s Grand Ballroom that reminds me of the ballroom of Beauty and the Beast. Andrew and I technically had planned and attended our high school’s winter formal there in 2005 when we when we were in student government (he was a senior and I was a freshman). It was also the location of Andrew’s church’s many Thanksgiving banquets years ago.
For makeup and hair, I contacted A-List Makeup, one of the highest-rated makeup studios on Yelp in the Bay Area (5 stars and over 500+ reviews) that specializes in wedding makeup and hair. My sister-in-law had used them for her wedding so I copied her. While each of the girls from A-List work separately, they collaborate with each other and will use each other to help them with bridal parties. The whole A-List team were really responsive. All I did was email them and all the girls that were free for my wedding date emailed me back within 2 days with their information, prices, and links to their blogs. They have different tiers and pricing so I was able to choose a makeup artist I liked within my budget. Lan was really good about emailing me back in a timely manner (unlike many other wedding vendors) and was really nice and professional. I was happy with the outcome of my hair and makeup. It stayed put all night.
Andrew’s outfit was very intentional and full of little important things. We got Andrew’s suit when we were in South Korea the summer before our wedding when we saw a sign for discounted suits in Seoul.We went in and found a navy blue suit that fit him well. I think Koreans make their suits very well (and probably fit Andrew’s frame better than others). Andrew spent way less on this suit than any other suit he’s gotten. Andrew is also known for being really frugal so he wore his old brown shoes and we didn’t even buy him a tie. We found it in his brother’s closet. Andrew claims 2015 was the best years of his life because we got married that year, but I know the real reason is because the Warriors won the championship. Those are Steph Curry socks that he wore the entire day. He hasn’t worn those socks since we’ve gotten married. What a waste of $15…. Oh, and if any of you were wondering what that yellow band around Andrew’s hand is, it’s a reminder to pray for Emily, Andrew’s college pastor’s 3 year old daughter who was diagnosed with cancer.
We had our Chinese tea ceremony complete with (half of a) roasted pig with our family before the actual ceremony. I can’t believe that we have to give out red envelopes now. 😔
My beautiful wedding gown and veil was made and designed by my amazing Auntie Joy (Zandra). She is the owner and designer of Zandra Lim Designs based in the Philippines and I am forever thankful to her. I still can’t believe that my dress was made and designed just for me. My auntie is amazing. Her sketches of her design for me is below. You can check out her other designs and follow her on instagram. It is very expensive and unreliable to ship items from the Philippines so she brought my dress all the way from the Philippines on the plane to do my fitting and fix anything that needed fixing during her trip to California.
Our flowers came from Lee’s Discount Florist, a family-owned flower shop in Oakland. My mom and I had originally came across this little flower shop when she ordered boutonnieres and corsages from them for my brother’s wedding. Their prices are very affordable and they do a really nice job. They also delivered for free to our venues in Oakland. I got succulents in my bouquet, which I thought were super cool (since it seemed to be all over Pinterest), but they were seriously the heaviest things ever! I forgot that I had to hold my bouquet for long periods of time and my arms were so tired after the ceremony. I guess I should’ve worked out more…
Our videographer was Andrew’s friend Mike Tang from Southern California, who does videography on the side under name Storybook Media. We flew him up using our credit card points from our Chase Sapphire Preferred. Just look at our wedding video. He was great.
My favorite part of our wedding is probably having the best flower girl and ring bearer. Firstly, they are the children of very good friends of ours from our church in Castro Valley. We love them and their parents and are so so so thankful for them in our lives. Secondly, they made it down the whole aisle (which was very long with lots of people staring at them) without crying or stopping completely. Thirdly, their outfits were on point. June’s mom is the owner and designer of Ele Story so June wore her mommy’s new design, Elegant Lace. She designs children’s clothing that is all handmade in San Francisco. They’re all ridiculously cute. For Max, I ordered this sweet bowtie and suspender combo from Sweet’n’Swag and his parents completed the outfit with pants from H&M and an awesome pair of shoes. Who knew H&M had such amazing kids clothes?
Since Andrew is a sort of seminary nerd, we had a passage from Revelation read by our good friend and youth pastor, Toby Yuen. We love Toby and love how he cares for and loves so many people in so many different ways. Okay, okay, so it was Revelation 19:6-9 about the marriage feast, but who on earth chooses Revelation for a wedding? Andrew would.
Pastor Michael officiated our wedding. He’s the pastor of our church, Indelible Grace Church and is in my opinion, one of the most gifted preachers out there. PM, I’m sorry. Officiating a wedding of a recent seminary grad who is still pursuing more education is very hard. Not only did we choose a passage in Revelation, Andrew didn’t want a normal wedding sermonette so PM basically did a biblical theology of marriage from Genesis to Revelation. Even Hosea made an appearance. How’s that for a wedding sermon!
One of Andrew’s other requests for our wedding ceremony was to include the first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism. Yes, we recited the answer to the first question. Of course Andrew would do this. What a nerd.
Question 1:What is your only comfort in life and in death?
Answer: That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful savior Jesus Christ.
Andrew requested not to sweat. It wasn’t ridiculously hot the day that we got married, but it was warm enough to get our fingers to swell and I couldn’t put Andrew’s ring on his finger.
For our unity candle ceremony, we wanted music to be played. We wanted it to be a duet (cause you know…that’s how we started dating and all) and one of my favorite duet songs is “O What Mercy” by Tim Be Told. Tim Be Told is one of my more favorite music artists, but this song is ridiculously hard to sing. Thankfully, our good friends Dan & Ashley Kim were totally up for it. It also helps that Ashley is a music teacher. We also asked Andrew’s cousin Bryan to accompany them on the piano. Andrew says that Bryan is THE BEST pianist in the world and I agree. We only sent him the youtube video of the song and he figured everything out.
After our wedding ceremony, we organized ice cream sandwiches for our guests. Andrew and I love ice cream so we wanted it at our wedding. Plus, everybody is always hungry after a ceremony and it gave our guests something to do while we took pictures. To keep things local, we got in touch with Curbside Creamery, an Oakland based ice cream parlor that does artisan ice creams (both in traditional dairy and cashew-based vegan). I first tried Curbside Creamery at the Lake Merritt Farmer’s Market and they were able to cater a couple hundred ice cream sandwiches to the church in Oakland from their cute trike. We were also able to customize the label and it turned out really awesome (thanks Melissa!). We ordered Malted Vanilla on Double Chocolate Cookies, Coffee on Vanilla Shortbread, Mint Chip on Chocolate Shortbread, and Earl Grey on English Tea Cookies (our favorite!).
Our DJ/MC was awesome. Our DJ was Oakland-based DJ Quan from bluEdge Productions. At most weddings I’ve been to, a friend or family member is normally the emcee, which is great and personal, but my brother had a “paid” emcee through the band he used and claims it was one of the best decisions he and Chen made for their wedding. I followed his advice and agree. Our DJ helped us release 58 tables to the buffet lines and and understood the music styles that we wanted for our wedding, especially since we had a very diverse group of guests. We were afraid of not having a “critical mass” on the dance floor, but Quan made sure the dance floor was packed. DJ Quan is very experienced, down-to-earth, very accommodating, and I would highly recommend him for other weddings. Their prices are also pretty affordable.
Andrew and I love Disney and he really wanted our first dance to be “Beauty and the Beast.” I said “no.” Instead, we chose So Close by Jon McLaughlin from Disney’s Enchanted. Andrew’s Uncle B and Auntie Gail taught us how to dance cause we can’t dance.Despite Andrew and I being self-proclaimed foodies, we prioritized the venue over food. We honestly had no idea what we were ordering. The Scottish Rite has 2 preferred caterers we were allowed to choose from. One had great reviews, but costed twice as much and the other one, Moe’s Bon Appetit Catering has no yelp page and poorly taken photos on its website, but was much more affordable. We went with Moe’s Catering and were pleasantly surprised. While we didn’t order anything special, we thought it was pretty good for wedding food. Most of my conversations took place over email with Luis, who was very helpful. I don’t have many pictures of the food, but Andrew and I still think about that garlic toast (the one in Alexa’s hand). It was so good.
Andrew decided to sing me a Jason Mraz song. Andrew hates his voice, but I like it so too bad!!
There is a Filipino tradition called the money dance where guests pin cash onto the bride and groom in order to catch a dance with one of them. The idea behind it is that the cash one pins on the couple represents a wish that good fortune is “rained” upon them. It also gave us a chance to spend time with some of our guests individually.
Our cake was probably the most stressful part of planning our wedding. My favorite cake is this Chinese-style mango mousse sponge cake. It’s delicious and not too sweet, not dry, or heavy. I love it and for many years, my mom has ordered this cake from a baker named Jerry who had a little bakery (and has become friends with him) in Union City. When we settled on a wedding date, my mom called him to reserve the day, but we found out he was selling his bakery. After a few months of waiting, ordering something and then getting a refund, having Genny’s mother-in-law call, and another call from my mom, we were able to confirm the cake that I wanted. Jerry was able to find a place to bake the cake and it was everything Andrew and I imagined. We ordered 4 tropical flavors (mango, lychee, guava, and passionfruit) and it was yummy.
Then, we danced! A wedding blog post would not be complete without embarrassing dancing pictures. These are my favorite!
Of course, the whole day wouldn’t have gone as smoothly as it did without our amazing friends, family, and helpers. We’re so thankful for all you guys. Thanks for loving, supporting, and coordinating everything, seating people, taking care of money, setting up, and cleaning up for us. I’m sad I didn’t take more pictures with you guys. The whole day was full of people moving, vendors, and questions, and you all handled everything like pros.
The day wouldn’t have been complete without our amazing guests. It was so nice to see family from SoCal, Michigan, Canada, the Philippines, and Taiwan. I loved that all of our worlds, from BACBC, PCC/CH, CCS/CCHS, MOSFO, BBC/BMC, UCI, CPP/EPIC, WTS, GCP, and IGC (and if you know all the acronyms, you win a prize!). Thanks for coming guys! We feel so loved.
Last but not least, the photos in this post are from MC Studios (unless otherwise noted), a Sacramento-based wedding photographer who also did Ryan & Chen’s wedding. Andrey and his assistant are really energetic and very talented. They have different packages to reflect different budgets and we really liked that he gives you all the pictures (full resolutions) he took that day.
Anyways, happy anniversary Andrew! Love you. Best day of your life…after the Warriors won the championships. I know….
I’m sorry we couldn’t have a cheese fountain at our wedding, but I’ll let you eat cheese today.