A Modern California Wedding with a White-and-Gray Color Palette
Although Andrew remembers meeting Alice in their shared biology class in the seventh grade, Alice's description of the first time she saw Andrew is the kind of fairy-tale moment many tween girls dream about. "I have this vivid memory of Andrew coming into our class one day and I thought he was as cute as a button," she says. "I knew then that one day I'd marry this guy."
It took eight years of friendship before they started dating as sophomores in college—and another nine years of dating before they tied the knot during a formal ceremony at The Modern in Long Beach, California, in front of 160 guests. The couple chose their wedding date—August 18, 2018—two years in advance, knowing that the Chinese cultural association of luck with the number eight would make it a popular day. But that gave them plenty of time to design a ceremony and reception that fit their tastes perfectly, using The Modern's gray and white interior as a starting point. "I just knew that our wedding had to be minimalist, modern, and elegant," says Alice, a visual merchandiser. "The accents were based on my [rose gold] engagement ring and my obsession with marble."
Alice and Andrew worked on every detail of the wedding together, from choosing the letterpress used on the invitation suite to picking out the bride's rose gold eyeglasses; they even added a rose gold inlay to his black tungsten wedding band to coordinate. "I definitely wanted little details in every aspect of our wedding to be reflective of us and connect to each other," says Alice. And the hard work and long hours paid off: "The wedding was definitely everything I could ever dream of and more," says Alice, "and worth every penny, late nights, stress, and bickering. It was amazing being able to see all of that come together."
A Labor of Love
Alice designed a paper suite that included two versions of the invitation—one in English and one in Vietnamese. The set, which featured a marble background and the couple's names in gold letterpress, was printed by Twig and Fig. The finishing touch? A white wax seal imprinted with the Chinese symbol that represents double happiness. The bride, the owner of calligraphy company Lace and Lettering, then assembled and calligraphed all of the invitations by hand. "They were definitely a labor of love," she says.
The Perfect Place
Alice and Andrew decided on their wedding venue, The Modern, before construction was even finished on the building. "We didn't want anything typical," says Alice. "I was looking for a modern yet simple-looking space, after several attempts of not being in love with the rustic look." The soaring windows, white interior, and gleaming concrete flooring resulted in a space that the couple could customize with their own style choices. For Andrew, the venue checked off another important must-have: "I chose the Modern," he says, "because of the abundant parking."
Her Sparkling Gown
Alice had always found herself drawn to the "sleek and simple, yet classic" style of wedding dresses from designer Sarah Seven, and after trying on 10 different gowns, she knew the sequined "Orleans", with its halter neck, side cut-outs, and slim crepe skirt, was the one. "I just love the style of the dress and how much it screamed 'me' when I wore it," she says. "I felt so beautiful wearing that dress and I love how modest, yet also revealing in the right places the dress was. The sequined fabric gave the dress just the right amount of statement and sparkle without being too flashy. It was everything I was looking for in a dress."
A Perfect Vision
Alice accented her dress with rose gold jewelry that coordinated with her Brilliant Earth engagement ring, which features a rose gold band modeled after a twisted vine. She also wore a metallic arm cuff that was a gift from her sister-in-law, and matching Blair glasses from Warby Parker. "Glasses are reflective of who I am and to me, I wouldn't be me without them," she says.
Head to Toe
An updo from Vivian Tran Artistry showed off the back of the gown—but was also a choice made with the groom in mind: "Andrew loves my hair up, so I knew I wanted to surprise him with an updo for the wedding," Alice says. Her strappy heels from Bella Belle, with their sheer, hand-beaded detailing, added an extra dose of sparkle.
The Flower Boutique based the design for Alice's bouquet off of the rest of the wedding's neutral color palette, but added texture by working with a variety of different blooms and greenery, including anemones, roses, and ranunculus.
Before the wedding, Alice and Andrew met up for a first look in their ceremony space—an emotional moment for both of them. "The anticipation leading up to our first look was nervewracking," says Andrew. "I was overwhelmed when I saw Alice, I teared up seeing my beautiful bride." Those tears were one of the most memorable moments of the entire day for Alice: "I've never seen Andrew cry throughout our entire relationship," she says. "That moment when he turned around and saw me was priceless—I started crying as well. At that moment, nothing else mattered but the two of us. It was unforgettable."
One of the couple's favorite parts of The Modern was the white wall with floating shelves that they used as a backdrop for their vow exchange—especially when paired with the white chairs the venue provided for guests. "The amount of white space overall is beautiful," says Alice. To create a focal point for the ceremony, she enlisted the help of her florist to decorate a copper frame structure that acted as a modified arch. White flowers and contrasting greenery adorned the edges of the frame without overpowering it, while the shelves offered space for a simple collection of white candles and floral arrangements.
A Fairy-Tale Wedding
The couple decided to forego a bridal party rather than single out only a few of their friends, but Andrew entered the ceremony alongside his parents; both Alice's mother and father walked her down the aisle. They chose classic Disney songs for both moments: "If I Never Knew You" from Pocohontas for the groom and his family, and "So This Is Love" from Cinderella for Alice and her parents.
With This Ring
Alice and Andrew asked a close friend to perform their ceremony, and he obliged with a personalized script he wrote just for the occasion. "We trusted John to create the ceremony from scratch with us in mind and we also wrote our own vows," says Alice. "When Andrew started reading his vows I could hear him getting choked up a few times over reading it. That made my heart so full—I don't think I've ever loved him more than those moments."
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
The newlyweds and their guests decamped to a nearby lounge at the venue for cocktails and small bites—including Asian braised pork belly crostini and mini bread bowl puffs with clam chowder—as the staff reworked the ceremony space to host the reception. They hired a live pianist to perform a playlist with subtle references to the couple's favorite pop culture icons: "He played Disney and video game theme songs as I'm a Disney fan and Andrew is an avid gamer," Alice says.
The copper and acrylic seating chart, a DIY project that the couple took on themselves, coordinated with the minimalist vibe of the wedding. "We bought copper pipes from Home Depot and had them custom cut to assemble the structure," says Alice. "I wrote the names onto the double panel plexiglass that was then hung on the copper frame with fishing wire."
The white chairs from the ceremony were repurposed for the reception, where they were arranged at round tables topped in gray linens and accented with draped white napkins. Overhead, a chandelier created by 300 individually mounted glass globes provided a soft glow—and a conversation piece. "It was definitely one of my favorite parts about the venue," Alice says of the chandelier. "[It's] not something you see everyday and it fits so well with the venue overall."
Low, simple centerpieces tied into the colors and materials used elsewhere in the wedding thanks to metallic geometric shapes and white flowers. "I wanted our centerpieces to look modern, yet simple and classic," says Alice. The Flower Boutique used a variety of white blooms throughout the event—including ranunculus, roses, and lisianthus—while darker foliage accents allowed the white to pop.
Set to Stun
Alice sourced her own table numbers from ZCreateDesigns on Etsy, choosing an elegant font. "I wanted bold, modern-looking numbers," she says, "so I had them painted in gold." White china, gleaming flatware, and menus printed on white cardstock with a marble design referenced the color palette and accents used in the ceremony, invitation, and floral design.
Their First Dance
For their first dance, the couple chose the song "The Best Part" by Daniel Caesar. "Andrew and I have been together for almost a decade now and the lyrics speaks so much to us," Alice says. "He's definitely the best part."
A Traditional Surprise
Though Alice and Andrew had agreed to skip the tradition of lion dancers at their wedding—"He thought it was so tacky," Alice says—she changed her mind after she saw a live performance at another wedding, and booked them without telling him. "He ended up loving it, even though he still thought it was tacky, and so did everyone else," says Alice.
The three-tiered cake from Simply Sweet Cakery had a marbled design that tied into the wedding's décor and included two flavors: Cookies with sweet cream (Andrew's choice) and strawberry (Alice's pick). "Our cake topper was from Happily Ever Etched with the word 'meh,' which means indifference," says Alice, "something that Andrew and I were throughout the wedding planning process." The couple also offered a boba bar and an ice cream cart for a full selection of sweet treats to end the evening.
Photography, Lucy Munoz Photography
Location, The Modern
Event planning, Christine Tran
Catering, 24 Carrots
Flowers, The Flower Boutique
Stationery, Twig and Fig
Calligraphy, Lace and Lettering
Cake, Simply Sweet Cakery
Music and Lighting, DJZ Productions
Rentals, Harvested Goods
Bride's gown, Sarah Seven
Hair and Makeup, Vivian Tran Artistry
Groom's suit, TruTailor Co.
Groom's accessories, Burberry glasses
Cake Topper, Happily Ever Etched