Photographed by Allison Mannella Photography, Chloe and Ming’s ceremony and reception was held on the grounds of Raleigh Chinese Christian Church, where the couple worships and the groom is in the youth ministry. The entire day was complete with personalized touches, from Chloe’s love of all things Parisian to calligraphy by their talented friend Jasperlynn Kao and the sweet and sentimental choice of Chloe’s father officiating the ceremony.
The bride and groom lead hymns sung during their ceremony, with Chloe singing and Ming playing the guitar. Chloe chose to wear a traditional American wedding gown for the ceremony and part of the reception, then she changed into a traditional Chinese wedding dress for the sparkler exit and family dinner, where the couple gathered with their closest family members at the groom’s father’s home. Later, the couple joined their friends in their new apartment for an after party, where they cheered on the NC State men’s basketball team and danced the night away on their patio.
FROM THE BRIDE
Ming grew up in North Carolina and was attending NC State University for film studies. I moved from Texas and transferred to State for one semester. We attended the same church, went to the same college fellowship,but it wasn’t until I transferred to UNC Chapel Hill to finish up my undergrad studies in photography that we begun to talk more. Ming is a pretty reserved guy, but once we opened our lines of communication up we became fast friends.
A couple months later and we were inseparable. We were four and a half years into coupledom when we took a trip with some of my family members up to NYC to visit his younger sister who was interning there over summer. Now I am a meticulous trip planner, organizing when and where we’ll eat and what we’ll see, but Ming, with not much subtlety, managed to incorporate a date for the two of us into the itinerary. Our first stop was Central Park, which, for all my trips to New York in the past several years, I’d never visited! We wandered around the park eating pastries before we came to the much-filmed, much-photographed Boat Bridge. We tried, in vain, to take photographs together with the bridge in the background so Ming asked some girls lounging on a gnarly wooden bench if we could use their seat for a quick photo op. They obliged and Ming set up his camera on a nearby boulder, but instead of sitting beside me for a photograph, he filmed us as he got on one knee and proposed. It was one of those rare moments; the world around seemed to grow quieter even though it was a Saturday afternoon and the lake was full of boats and strangers cheering for us. I barely remember the girls telling us we should keep their bench; I could only see him in front of me. Then came the wedding planning. Ming and I have quite different personalities, but we knew we wanted to have a Christ-centered family and home. We couldn’t think of a better way to begin our lives together as one than with a Christ-centered wedding. I cannot express enough how grateful we are for all the people who came together to help with crafts, decorating, cooking, cleaning, and praying for our wedding day. I definitely struggled with a desire to hire a wedding planner for at least the week or day of the wedding, but since our budget was small, I ended up planning most of the wedding with the help of our amazing friends and family. I’m still not sure whether it was a good decision to tackle planning the wedding without a professional; there were so many ups and downs from trying to find the right company for chair rentals to purchasing knick knacks wherever I could for table decorations. And living in North Carolina, an outdoor wedding around April screams rain; up until a couple days before the wedding, the forecast kept flip flopping between rain and sun!
There were a lot of craft nights in preparation for the wedding. I designed our invitations with watercolors as my inspiration. A lot of my artwork in college had ethereal and transparent qualities that played with light and color, so I played off that as well. We placed triangles of vellum, light pink and yellow tissue paper, and pinches of gold leaf between vellum and held it together with gold washi tape of various patterns. Our good friend Jasperlynn of Jaz Hands Co, designed and calligraphed all 300+ invitation envelopes. After sealing the envelopes, we used washi tape adorned with cameras or made to look like film strip over the flap to add an extra personal touch. We also tried making paper flowers but ran out of time. The crazy nights leading up to March 21 were filled with seating arrangements and perforating photo paper for the photo booth we couldn’t even set up! I’ll never forget those caffeine-fueled bonding sessions though; true friends don’t mind getting their hands tired and sticky with floral tape and cutting boards, even if they’re jet-lagged.
On our wedding day, my Dad walked me down the aisle, put my hand in Ming’s, shared a message, and married us. He was a pastor for half of my life and I always thought I’d just want him to give me away at my wedding, but it was so special to have my two favorite men standing with me that day. We shared handwritten vows and led everyone in singing praises to God. It was truly a blessed day with the sun out and shining. The one thing I wish I could go back and change? The mud situation. The field where the reception was set up was still wet from a previous rainfall, and I wish we had put some straw down so our guests could move around more comfortably! I find mud fun and hilarious, but I don’t think everyone feels that way!
Everything at church was beautiful, but the day flew by so quickly! Once we’d waved goodbye and driven off, we took our portraits as the sunset, before having dinner with family. Then came the after party. We turned our patio into a dance floor and the upstairs kitchen into a bar area. Some people danced, some chatted as they lounged, and some watched basketball games in our living room. It was my favorite part of the day dancing and catching up with old friends. Ming and I had planned to leave around 11 am, but we ended up staying until 2! It’s still surreal that I get to come home to my first boyfriend whom I now call husband, but I’m glad we have these gorgeous photographs to remind us of the beautiful day we became one.
Thanks for stopping by!
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Photographer: Allison Mannella Photography // Dress Store: David’s Bridal // Event Venue: Raleigh Chinese Christian Church // Floral Designer: Simply Elegant Floral Design // Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab // Stationery: Bride // Calligraphy: Jasperlynn Kao | Jaz Hands Lettering Co. // Catering: C&T Wok // Bakery: Trader Joe’s // Hair Stylist: Hair News // Makeup Artist: Bride & Bridesmaid // Dresses: Vera Wang, David’s Bridal, Aritzia, Gown: Melissa Sweet // Bridal Salon: David’s Bridal // Veil: Michael’s // Bride’s Shoes: Jessica Simpson // Suit: Zara Men // Groom’s Shoes: Clark’s// Submitted via Two Bright Lights