To the loveliest couple ever, happy 1st anniversary!
As your love continues to bloom, may you eternally be an inspiration to everyone who holds you dear. Cake & Lace wishes you a smashing life together for many more years to come!
“Michelle and I met in New York while attending graduate school together, and one of the many things that made me immediately fall in love with her was her passion to help others. We both felt called to work in the communities that we grew up in (the Asian American community). After we graduated, we started an education nonprofit organization together to serve Asian American youth. We’ve been an incredible partnership—she’s the dreamer and visionary, and I’m the one that likes to be on the ground and get my hands dirty to bring those dreams to fruition.
I proposed to Michelle in New York City, where we both lived. We loved New York City, but when it came time to plan our wedding, we knew we needed to get married in California, where we both grew up.
More About Our Wedding
Traditional Chinese Elements with a Modern Twist
We are both Chinese American and knew that we wanted to incorporate a number of cultural elements into our wedding to celebrate our heritage and upbringings but keep it modern at the same time.
We had a traditional tea ceremony at home—for the tea ceremony, Michelle designed a custom dress (East Meets Dress) that combined a mix of traditional cheongsam elements with a classic western silhouette. [Note: East Meet Dress loved the dress design, and subsequently dedicated it to Michelle’s mother, Mindy. The dress is featured on the main page of their website so other brides can also order something similar]. During the tea ceremony, the couple pours tea to the “elders” of the family, who then share heirlooms, wisdom, and blessings to the couple.
Outside of the tea ceremony, we wanted to incorporate other Chinese elements into our wedding, such as the double happiness Chinese character that’s added onto our cake, the colors red and gold in all our of details, dim sum (Chinese small plates) as appetizers during cocktail hour, and a lion dance performance during the reception. We loved the idea of adding lion dancers as they traditionally symbolize good luck and fortune on a wedding day.
Northern California Wedding
We wanted to make the experience memorable and fun for our guests, but we didn’t have an enormous budget to do so. As such, Michelle was inspired to create as many things as possible and made the following things from start to finish: the invitations, detail cards, map of California (each with self-applied gold foiling), vow books, her own custom wedding dress designs (both Chinese and American wedding dresses), seating chart table, floral arch behind our couples table, the kissing menu, and the cake topper, among other things. We had a lot of fun and late nights where she’d explain her DIY visionary endeavors and we’d both just stamp, assemble, and craft together after work while binge-watching Netflix. One of our favorite creations was the DIY seating chart, which instead of name cards, we wrote each of our guests a personalized message to them with their table flowers (numbers) that was tucked inside the envelope holder for each guest. And then, we sat down and discussed the theme of the whole ceremony for which finding complementary linen and tablecloths were necessary. Thankfully we found the best vendors and were happy with exemplary fitted cloths for the tables that made the ceremony shine brighter with the sequin and silk combination.
Family and Friends
We wanted our wedding to feel like a celebration of our marriage, but also of our communities, who have supported our relationship since the beginning. As such, we opted for personal touches wherever we could, so the wedding would feel uniquely ours. In addition to the personalized letters seating chart, we hired a live watercolor artist to provide guests a personalized portrait as a wedding favor. We also wanted to involve as many of our friends as possible throughout the wedding—from our pastor, our musician, our first dance (sung by our close friend), our emcees, our DJ—we wanted the celebration to reflect and consist of the communities that sustained and nourished us.
We focused on including details that felt like “us.” This meant silly drink names with puns on our names, a “slideshow” video during the reception that was actually an “about me” video for our guests, In-n-out for our late night snack (anyone who knows me knows how important this is to me) and tributes to our cat, Archie (everyone who knows Michelle knows how much important this is to her).
Floral and Natural Elements
My parents are flower farmers (but not florists), and we knew that we wanted to include as many floral pieces as possible to celebrate them and the world I grew up in. All of our flowers were created by a local flower farm and family friend, and our families worked together to put together bouquets, floral arrangements, and centerpieces for the wedding. The groomsmen wore floral socks that matched my floral bowtie, and Michelle designed floral table name cards instead of numbers (example included in the dropbox submission link).
When we saw our venue, we fell in love with the willow trees (which represent good luck in Chinese culture) and the amount of greenery outside. As part of our outdoor wedding ceremony, we also had a tree unity ceremony where we watered a tree together to symbolize our commitment to grow together. The tree is now planted at my family farm after the wedding so we can watch it grow over the years.
Our Cat Archie
Our cat Archie has been such a big part of our lives and anyone who knows Michelle knows that she’s a cat lover. We knew we wanted Archie to be part of our wedding in some way, even if he couldn’t be there in person. Archie made a special appearance on our drinks menu (the special drink was a M(archie)rita), on our other wedding favors of temporary cat tattoos, and Michelle surprised her bridesmaids by wearing a t-shirt of our cat that they had gifted her. She also surprised her friends also with cat-print pajamas to get ready in, so safe to say, Archie was not forgotten.”