From the Bride, Fay:
Being Chinese, it was very important to me and my family that we incorporated Chinese wedding traditions with David’s Catholic and American traditions.
First, my inspiration for our wedding was from an old Qaui Po (Chinese silk dress) that belonged to my Aunt. My Aunt was 2nd place in the Miss Chinatown pageant in the 80’s and it was one of the dresses she wore for the competition. It was a long pink dress, with red cherry blossoms embroidered throughout the silk fabric and Mandarin collared. I’ve been keeping this dress in my closet since I was 13 years old, hoping one day I would have something just as beautiful for my special day.
So with this inspiration, I decided to design my bridesmaids dress incorporating the cherry blossom fabric of the Quai Po with a modern American style. The bridesmaid dresses were custom made, as well as my 3rd wedding dress by a Vietnamese tailor, Phung’s Tailor, located on 4th Street in Philadelphia. The bridesmaid dresses were strapless, in red silk with embroidered gold cherry blossoms and a row of 5 gold frog buttons lining the back of the dress and above each slit. The bridesmaid’s bouquets had a range of off white roses, peonies and hydrangeas wrapped with the same fabric as their dresses, topped off with a Hello Kitty pin.
I chose the color red because it is a lucky color in Chinese tradition and it’s also David’s favorite color, so that was easy!
In Chinese tradition, the bride and wedding party usually changes throughout the day, up to 5 different dresses for the bride. I chose to change 3 times, a dress for each portion of the wedding. The wedding ceremony, Chinese tea ceremony and the reception.
The ceremony was officiated by Richard Binder from Journeys of the Heart and was beautiful next to the water fountain of Twenty 21. There was a gorgeous path of wheat grass cordoning the aisle topped with the same fiery red mokara orchids in my bouquet, David’s boutonnière and the outdoor cocktail table centerpieces. My bouquet was hand tied of tone-on-tone red flowers that highlighted the orchids as well as velvety red Black Magic roses and burgundy red peonies all wrapped with the fabric of my third dress and finalized with a Hello Kitty pin. Twenty 21 was the perfect place for it captured nature with its’ whimsical greenery intertwined with the city life David and I both love.
The Chinese tea ceremony took place where the wedding ceremony was, but this time I changed into a long sequined Qaui Po with a dragon (symbolizing the groom) and phoenix (symbolizing the bride). This dress was also an old dress of my aunts. The tea ceremony is a Chinese tradition where the couple gives a cup tea to their elders. In return, the elders give a Lai See (lucky red envelope) usually filled with money or jewelry. This exchange is an acceptance of the newly married couple into the family. David’s family participated in the tea ceremony as well to show the joining of both families and culture.
For the reception, I changed into my final dress. A custom made white silk Quai Po with gold phoenix and chrysanthemums embroidered throughout the dress. This dress was light weight and allowed me to dance all night! Not only were we and the guests dancing, but so were the goldfish in the centerpieces. We had a mixture of submerged white cymbidium and dendrobium orchids in tall glass cylinders and peonies floating above goldfishes in glass cylinder bowls both polished with earthy river rocks that ran off as a runner over the gold overlay tablecloths. Thanks to Bailey Hale at Moda Botanica for his creativity and expertise in making all the flowers so elegant.
Our wedding cake was so delicious and included my inspiration as well. It was a four layer red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and sporadic white cherry blossoms throughout by Termini’s Bakery. The cake was topped off with a red Swarovski crystallized cake topper of the Chinese symbol, Double Happiness. In addition to the cake for dessert, we had a candy bar with five choices of your favorite sweets. Guests took home the wedding cake and candy in pint sized Chinese take out containers that had personalized stickers of the Double Happiness symbol along with our names and date. The candy bar was surrounded by glass bud vases of bamboo stalks guest took home as their favors. These too had our personalized sticker on them.
The finale of our wedding was the tossing of the bouquet and garter off David’s motorcycle with a “Just Married” sign and a string of beer cans in front of Twenty 21. We thanked all our guests and drove off on the motorcycle into the night down Market Street towards City Hall. It was the best night ever and thanks to Laura Bruen for capturing ever blessed moment on camera, David and I can look back on our wedding day and remember all the wonderful memories.
Venue: Twenty 21 – Philadelphia, PA
Photographer: Laura Bruen
Florist: Bailey Hale at Moda Botanica
DJ: Chris Dinardo at Steve & Company Productions
Wedding Cake: Termini’s Bakery