A Perfect Evening in September

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

On this rather nondescript, gloomy Thursday, I’ve been thinking back to my wedding day, which was over Labor Day weekend last year. This is a post I have been thinking of doing for a while, and why not on a rainy afternoon that’s neither here nor there?

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

Our venue was the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. This gorgeous 1917 Beaux Arts marble building in the Civic Center of SF is the former library of the city. Hence, when you gaze around the interior of the building, there are all kinds of phrases etched into the stone like, “Books bear the messages of the wisest of mankind to all the generations of men.” In other words, we couldn’t have picked a more fitting location for our nuptials.

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

The inspiration behind the design, which was executed brilliantly by Frances Liu of Charmed Events and our many other talented vendors, was an old Dutch master’s still life painting. It seemed a particularly fitting theme for a fall evening black-tie wedding in a museum. Our colors were deep aubergine, dusty rose, champagne gold, and opera mauve. (Can you tell purple is my favorite color?)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

We wanted candles, fruit spilling all over the table, centerpiece flowers that grew with wild abandon, and lush fabrics — and that’s exactly what we got.

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

When it came to the features that were most important to the overall look and feel, I knew that I wanted a forest of flowers, and my vision was brought to life by Lambert Floral Studio, who created a breathtaking ceremony arch, and the most incredible elevated centerpiece for our wedding party king’s table.

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

The cake is often an overlooked part of the wedding. I can’t count the number of weddings I’ve been to where I totally missed the cake cutting. However, wedding cake artistry is truly a craft that I have a deep appreciation for, and this was my opportunity to have my own piece of edible art. We went with Kathleen from A Spoonful of Sugar Cakes, who sat down with us to sketch out my vision (I believe I said something along the lines of want it to look like a garden threw up on it), and gave us a tasting of some of the best flavors we’ve ever had in cake.

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

On our big day, the cake had its own spotlight and was centerstage throughout dinner, and even though I wish I’d gotten to eat more of it, it makes me smile whenever I see pictures of it

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

For our photographer, we knew we wanted a master of dim lighting who could capture the feeling of the night and not just Pinterest-ready posed shots. We found our perfect photographer in Nirav Patel Photography. He did more than capture pretty pictures, he preserves the moments in their entirety.

(Photo: MirMir)

(Photo: MirMir)

Likewise with our videographers, we went with Reb6Studios, who have a knack for creating cinematic wedding videos. For our wedding photo booth, we went with MirMir and decided to forgo putting our logo on the pictures, which has been a particularly rewarding decision. I wanted folks to have pictures they’d keep forever and wasn’t splashed with our logo. I love going to our friends’ homes and seeing these images from our photo booth framed or hanging on their fridge.

When it came to our food, we knew we wanted it to be delicious. But more importantly, food in Asian cultures is a way to impart love, and we wanted what we served to pay homage to our respective cultures, and we turned to Betty Zlatchin Catering to pull it off. Our dinner options were a Korean cod served in broth and a Taiwanese beef and rice dish. And it was delicious.

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

It’s difficult to choose a particular detail that is my favorite. There were so many. One of my bridesmaids is a brilliant art director and designer, and she managed to take my rough ideas and translate them into the most gorgeous wedding stationery. Another friend who is a calligrapher lettered our envelopes.

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

Our dear friends from New York purchased us a vintage typewriter as a wedding gift, which they carried with them on the plane. It was set up on a table with ribbon and paper, which allowed guests to type their best wishes to us. We had a lot of fun reading the messages afterwards, and it was particularly hilarious because vintage typewriters are not the simplest thing to write on.

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

A bridesmaid of mine spent a week in the kitchen baking 200 beautiful macarons in hues of mauve and purple for the dessert table.

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

My retired uncle who picked up soap making as hobby spent months pouring out hundreds of bars of soap for our favors.

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

Our 12-year-old mini schnauzer was also present for the most important day of our lives, and she donned a wreath and walked down the aisle as our little flower dog.

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

My nieces were also flower girls, and I wanted them to carry something a little different down the aisle. I searched far and wide for a banner that we could print. I couldn’t find anything I liked, so I decided to buy a piece of canvas, a dowel, ribbons, and some paint and I created a floral crest they could carry down the aisle.

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

Every bride will tell you that there are one or two details that they fixate on for no particular reason. For me, it was our stone pyramid seating cards. A little history, before I decided I wanted to be a writer in the second grade, my first dream was to be a geologist. While I haven’t wanted to be a geologist in a very long time, my love for stones and rocks (as evidenced by my diamond and gem stone buying guides) has never abated. I can’t tell you the hoops I had to jump through before I found these two-inch white stone pyramids that created the perfect name cards.

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

While planning the wedding was exhausting, neither my husband nor I can say we have any regrets. If I have any advice to any brides-to-be out there, it’s this: compromise only a little, but always be reasonable. It’ll be over before you know it, so do all the planning beforehand so you can spend as many moments on your day as possible being in it.

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

(Photo: Nirav Patel)

Vendors List

Dress: Limor Rosen and Wtoo
Bride’s Makeup and Hair: Kristina Curtis Beauty
Bridesmaid Dresses: Birdy Grey
Bridesmaid Makeup and Hair: Emily Kim Makeup
Groomsmen Tuxes: The Black Tux
Planning: Charmed Events
Venue: Asian Art Museum
Photographer: Nirav Patel Photography
Videographer: Reb6Studios
Floral Design: Lambert Floral Studio
Caterer: Betty Zlatchin Catering
Cake: A Spoonful of Sugar Cakes
Photobooth: MirMir
Staionery: Joyce Kuan
Rentals: Standard Party Rentals
Linens: La Tavola Linens
Lighting and Drape: Enhanced Lighting
DJ and AV: Next Selection Entertainment
Ceremony Musicians: Corelli Strings