This gorgeous Palm Springs wedding from NINA & WES PHOTOGRAPHY is quite the global affair with 60% of the guests coming from overseas – from Australia to Germany. Jina & Eddie work in Hong Kong but wanted to hold their wedding somewhere special to them, that was also accessible to their friends and family, so Palm Springs it was. They first met Kentucky based Nina & Wes over Skype after initially discovering them via Instagram.
Jina had this to say about their meeting, “Eddie and I met originally 8 years ago at a very romantic club/bar in Seoul… it was not the most ideal place to meet your future partner, but fate seemed to have it in for us starting that day. Eddie was living and working in Seoul at the time and I was just visiting for the summer from LA. I had to leave back home the next day so we exchanged emails and said to keep in touch.
Two years pass, and I was back in Seoul again for a summer internship and decided to reach out to Eddie. For the next two months, we had an amazing summer “fling”! We call it a fling since we both knew that eventually we had to part ways. At the end of that summer, we said our goodbyes and returned back to our normal lives.
Fast forward three years and this time Eddie was in LA for a friend’s wedding. We decided to catch up and ever since then, we have together. In between then and now, it still hasn’t been easy. Eddie was living in Hong Kong at that time and I was in LA, so he would fly to visit me once every three weeks. A 15 hour flight just for the weekends- that definitely showed commitment. After one year of doing long distance, I took the plunge and made the move across to Shanghai where Eddie was being relocated to. Making our way through Seoul, Hong Kong, Shanghai and LA, I think our love has outlasted the distance and fate really wanted us to be together – as cliche as that sounds.”
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROPOSAL: Eddie is a very private person and he wanted the proposal to remain intimate and involve family. And family in Hong Kong meant our dog, Madison. I came home from a long day and she walked out from the bedroom with a box tied around her collar. I was initially so confused, but then it slowly dawned on me what was going on. Eddie was so nervous that he didn’t really know what to do and instead just blurted out “Let’s get married!” and then asked, “will you marry me?”
TELL US ABOUT FINDING YOUR WEDDING DRESS: Living in Hong Kong, my options were a bit limited but I was lucky enough to find a boutique where I was able to try on dresses without a trying on deposit (which most boutiques charge here). I initially had no idea what I wanted when I walked in but the salesgirl convinced me to try on the Oscar dress. I initially cringed, hating the bow and not sure what I thought about the fitted trumpet look. But when I slipped it on, I knew that it was it. The biggest plus – it was super stretchy and comfortable!
ANY BUDGET ELEMENTS? I work in wholesale, so I will never pay retail when possible. I was able to source a lot of the small items thanks to my amazing business partner and bridesmaid, Chloe. A lot of this wedding wouldn’t have been possible without her keeping me sane.
DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING FLOWERS: I honestly didn’t have many options as we didn’t want to go overboard on this. We kept it as modest, clean and simple as possible with an all-white palette.
WHAT ADVISE WOULD YOU GIVE OUT TO A COUPLE PLANNING THEIR WEDDING?Nothing ever turns out 100% as you would like so in the end, just learn to let it go and try not to stress. Keep things simple and definitely, definitely hire a planner! Remember that it’s more about the people and the experiences, not the dinner napkins or party favours.
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT? In the midst of all the chaos, the moment that we realized it was all actually happening was when Eddie and I got 10 minutes alone after the ceremony pictures and before the reception.
Photographer ALYSSA JOY PHOTOGRAPHY tells us that this wedding – on a perfect crisp Tennessee day in fall – was one of her favourites, and you can see why from these gorgeous photos. Deborah & Bryan planned the wedding from out of state, and incorporated plenty of DIY details with family members helping out with many of the tasks. As a sentimental touch Deborah had her Mother’s wedding dress altered to fit her. Read on to find out more about their day…
HOW DID YOU MEET? We met through one of my best friends in college and my MOH in the wedding, Anna. Anna and Bryan’s mom are twins, obviously making them first cousins. She would always talk about what a great match we would make and we both brushed it off and didn’t put much though into it. When Anna was away on a study abroad trip, he messaged me on Facebook to say hi and asked how my day was. (A bit awkward, but cute). We messaged back and forth from February to April, every day. We put our messages into word perfect out of curiosity and it totalled 220 pages. Yes, they were novels. In April, he called me to ask me on a date. I was in school at Harding University in AR, so he drove 6 hours to see me. I was so nervous and so excited. He picked me up at 10 am and dropped me off at 1 am and it was the best day ever. The rest is history really.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROPOSAL: We were on Bryan’s grandparent’s farm, a place with a lot of sentimental value. Most of Bryan’s best childhood memories were on the farm. It was on Easter day and I was not expecting it at all. They have a huge Easter Egg hunt every year and hide the eggs all over the farm. Bryan was actually sick that day, but was so determined to propose that he came at the end of the Easter Egg hunt and hid the egg at the end of the property with the ring inside. There was a mystery egg that no one in the family could find that day that had a 5 dollar bill in it. Bryan’s dad came to me at the end of the day and told me he had found the egg and left it for Bryan and I at the end of the gravel driveway. He said it was a yellow egg and would be easy to spot. A bit confused as to why he saved this egg for us, I didn’t put a lot of thought into it (as I am typically oblivious to these kinds of things). As we were approaching the end of the driveway Bryan was afraid I would forget to bring it up, then I said “Oh! Bryan! Your dad hid an egg for us at the end of the driveway!!” Relieved, Bryan very excitedly responded and said, “He did?? Awesome!” Pleased, but also a bit surprised that he was so excited, we pulled over to find the egg. We spotted it quickly and I walked over and realized there were 2 eggs. The yellow one, but also a stripe one. We all know what was in the yellow egg, so naturally I grabbed the stripe egg. I picked it up and opened it and my jaw dropped as I turned around and Bryan got on one knee. With tears in his eyes, he asked me to marry him and said some really beautiful words. I was so happy.
TELL US ABOUT FINDING YOUR WEDDING DRESS: We went to one Bridal store and the dress I wanted was a little over budget. I had always loved the idea of wearing my mother’s wedding dress, but she was smaller than me around the waist and I knew it would not fit. A friend of mine who had seen my mom’s dress and loved it, suggested that I possibly alter the dress to fit me. My mom was glad to let me do whatever I wanted with the dress as she always wanted one of her daughters to wear her dress. My husband’s Aunt, Becky, happened to be a fantastic seamstress. She had done Bryan’s sister’s wedding gown from scratch, as well as her own daughters. I asked if she’d alter it for me and she said she would be happy to. I could not have been more happy with how it turned out. She completely re-constructed the bodice using all of the same lace from my Mom’s dress. The bottom of the dress was left the same. It was everything I could have dreamed.
ANY DIY ELEMENTS? Without a doubt. We were definitely on a budget for our wedding. I don’t think it all could have come together if it weren’t for the help of my wonderful family and friends, they really helped out so much. The decorations behind the desert table my bridesmaids and I made out of colourful paper and fabric. The mason jars, gold candle sticks, and antique books were all collected from my family’s antiques or local estate sales. We decided to have leaves line the aisle and then at the end when we left, people used the leaves to throw at us as we walked out. Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy finding so many colourful leaves. It was a combined effort of me and my MOH as well as all of the groomsmen. Bags and bags of leaves later, we had ourselves a colourful aisle J I was so pleased with how it turned out though. It really added so much to the whole look of the ceremony. My bridesmaids also found a pumpkin farm that was getting rid of some pumpkins, so we got free pumpkins right before the ceremony! Talk about luck. All of the food was prepared by family and friends, besides our cake and cupcakes.
FAVOURITE DETAIL OF THE DAY: Oh goodness, I feel like I could come up with so many answers to this question…If we are going by decorations, I would say the leaf aisle was my favourite detail. It really pulled the fall wedding together. It was beautiful.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OUT TO A COUPLE PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Oh wow, that is a tough one. I guess I would say to try and hand out as many tasks as you can to family and friends. Don’t try to do everything yourself. My family and friends were very willing to help and they made the day and planning so much easier on me. Also, if you are on a tight budget, there is so much that can be done with simple things in nature – branches, leaves, tree stumps, wood…etc. If you have the time to put some thought into it, it can really save you money and make for some beautiful DIY décor!
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT? Walking down the aisle and watching tears stream down Bryan’s eyes. He was so emotional as I walked down the aisle and it just made me feel so loved and desired. It was such a beautiful moment. Our musicians, Bryce Merritt and Bethany Bruce, really made the moment come alive.
I’m a big fan of Vancouver – I would love to live there for a stint – and Stanley Park is one of my favourite spots. I can’t think of a lovelier spot to hold your wedding in, and that’s just what Hannah & Rob chose to do after failing to find anything else in the city that met their needs. Local photographer MATHIAS FAST was alongside them for the day documenting it all and amazing florist CELSIA FLORISTS created some gorgeous bouquets for the girls.
“The Stanley Park Pavilion was the ultimate Vancouver location: surrounded by beautiful grounds, with an unpretentious atmosphere. Plus, it’s the original home of entertainment in our fair city! We chose our parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, for our ceremony. It is the church and school where Rob and I first met, and we even convinced the priest who had been there when we met to fly from Arizona to perform the ceremony.”
Before I met Rob, I (thought I) had a very definite idea of what I wanted my wedding to be. I was the girl who was picking bridesmaids and centerpieces at age nine. However, when Rob popped the question and we started planning this wedding, I was all over the map! Rob patiently accompanied me to venue after venue as our theme shifted from Estate Wedding, to Garden Party Wedding, to Rustic Barn Wedding, to Industrial Wedding, to Art Deco Wedding, to Should We-Just-Elope-To-Palm-Springs? We thought each one was IT but they just didn’t feel right in person.”
Once the venue was set, everything started to fall into place. We both realized that above all, we wanted our wedding to feel personal and truly reflect us as a couple. We also decided that we not only wanted our wedding to be a celebration of our love, but also an opportunity to honour and celebrate all the wonderful people in our lives. We wanted it to be just as much about our family and friends, as it would be about Rob and I.
With this thought in mind, we relied heavily on the creativity and generosity of our loved ones. Rob handpicked all the music for our ceremony and reception. My father-in-law played the trumpet as I walked down the aisle, and as we left the church (he played the trumpet in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for 40 years). Two students from the school where Rob and I met sang a song during the ceremony. Our friend Jen designed the beautiful map that was included in our invitation suite, as well as our temporary tattoo bar and cocktail hour signage. My lovely friends and bridesmaids made endless batches of homemade marshmallows and packaged chips for our favours (my favorite “something sweet” and Rob’s favorite “something salty”). My sister put together the wonderful goodie bags for our younger guests, and many friends pitched in to help set up decorations and flowers on the day. Our friends Mark and Johanna created an amazing wedding slideshow and Rob’s brother sang our first song.
We also tried to incorporate as many DIY and handmade details as possible. I collected brass candlesticks from thrift stores all year for the tables. We DIY-ed the programs and some of the invitation suite, as well as the menu sign, table numbers, and place tags. We had a stamp custom made with our initials that we used for several paper items, and for our personalized wine bottle labels. We wanted a woodsy, natural look for the flowers, and ended up having the bouquets and centerpieces made, and DIY-ing the rest, including the pew bunches and the 24-foot greenery garland on the head table (once again, my long-suffering friends and sisters were called into action!).
Luckily for us, we ended up being the perfect wedding-planning team. While Rob’s all about the overall tone, my heart is in the details. So, as I agonized over what colour thread to use to tie the programs, he made sure our wedding not only LOOKED good, but was FUN too. He chose amazing music, a kick-ass live band, and an absolutely killer photographer. As cheesy as it sounds, our photographer, Mathias, always seemed to be in the perfect spot to capture priceless moments of joy, tears, and sheer elation. He worked tirelessly, and we mean this literally. He put in at least fourteen hours that day and this allowed him to capture the irreproducible moments at 11am in Rob’s apartment when his father tied his son’s tie or at 11pm when shirts came off on the dance floor. Thanks to Mathias, we have an amazingly beautiful collection of memories that will allow us to relive this day for the rest of our lives. All in all, we were so pleased with how our wedding turned out. It truly was the best day of our lives, and we couldn’t have asked for anything more!
Photography MATHIAS FAST / Venue + Catering STANLEY PARK PAVILION / Florals CELSIA FLORISTS / Band THE PHONIX / Hair & make-up ML MAKEUP / Gown REEM ACRA / Shoes JIMMY CHOO