A Chinese-Inspired Wedding with Bohemian Touches

Photo: Emily Wren Photography

This couple mixed Western and Eastern culture to create a wedding in the woods true to them.

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Susan and Thomas

bride in sparkling wedding dress
Emily Wren Photography

In college, Susan Wong and Thomas Wynne met during a fire drill at Widener University. After that initial encounter, it took Thomas three years to ask Susan out on a date, and by then she had transferred to Temple University—a thirty-minute drive away. Despite the distance, the two found a way to make it work.

Four years later, Thomas planned on popping the question when the couple took their annual trip down to Myrtle Beach. After hiring a photographer for the occasion, he waited for the sun to set and the crowds to dissipate for the perfect proposal. When it was almost dark, the photographer was nowhere to be found, and the beach was far from empty, Thomas made the decision to put it off. Early the next morning, they were down by the water and Thomas got down on one knee, completely forgetting the speech he had prepared. He was so nervous he almost dropped the ring when he asked Susan to marry him, and she said yes. "Was it perfect? No way," Thomas says. "Was it intimate and memorable? Absolutely, and I think that's what counts."

They married on August 8, 2015, in front of 140 guests at POMME in Radnor, Pennsylvania. "The number eight is lucky in the Chinese culture," says the bride. "So we wanted to incorporate it somewhere into our wedding date. I guess we were extra lucky, because we got two!"

Susan, a tax accountant and self-proclaimed serial crafter, and Thomas, a financial advisor, saw their wedding as an opportunity to shed their perpetual business modes and relax in a tranquil setting. Due to their love of all things boho-chic, Susan and Thomas created a mystical wedding in the woods with special details honoring Susan's Chinese heritage.

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The Invitation Suite

Emily Wren Photography

The suite, by Minted, featured an abstract jewel design in shades of blue. Envelopes were customized by Confetti & Co. with a wash of chartreuse paint, then addressed by calligrapher Hello, Bird., and tied together with a wine-colored, waxed cord. For immediate family and members of the bridal party, Susan added a mix of vintage stamps.

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The Style

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Susan chose a lace Monique Lhuillier gown with an Annabelle New York overskirt for the Western ceremony. "The thing I loved most about my dress was the intricate beadwork and design," says the bride. "It was like wearing a piece of art."

Her bridesmaids wore dresses in different shades of burgundy from J.Crew and LuLu's.

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The Bridal Bouquet

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Although she had a knack for choosing flowers that weren't in season, thanks to floral designer Sullivan Owen, Susan fell in love with her bouquet of blushing bride protea, scabiosa, astilbe, king protea, peonies, sarracenia pitcher plant, and assorted greenery.

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The Flower Crown

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Sullivan Owen designed a flower crown of blushing bride protea, scabiosa, and pieris for the bride to wear during the Western ceremony.

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The First Look

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"I was very adamant about not seeing Susan in her dress until the wedding, so finally looking at her was an incredible rush," says Thomas. "I relive that moment in my head over and over. It'll stay with me forever."

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The Ring Box

Emily Wren Photography

Post-wedding, the couple uses the gold, geometric Urban Outfitters ring box from their Western ceremony to display a collection of raw crystal geodes in their home.

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The Western Ceremony

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In the outdoor event space at POMME, Susan and Thomas started their wedding with a non-religious, traditional Western ceremony. They exchanged personal vows and participated in a number of symbolic rituals to share their love story with their friends and family.

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The Handfasting

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Susan and Thomas partook in a handfasting, symbolically binding their hands together in the tradition that inspired the phrase "tying the knot."

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The Honey Kiss

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A honey kiss—during which the bride and groom dabbed a drop of honey on each other's lips right before the pronouncement and kiss—ended the service. This gesture promises that the couple will be a source of sweetness for each other throughout their lives. "I loved this part, especially as an avid honey-lover," says Thomas. "Kissing my bride and honey? I was sold."

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The Tea Ceremony Décor

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The double happiness symbol—a core symbol used in Chinese weddings—hung from the wedding's arbor and was printed on throw pillows. A tea set was borrowed from Uncle Jim, a close friend of Susan's family who also orchestrated the tea ceremony.

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The Tea Ceremony

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During the tea ceremony, Susan and Thomas knelt in front of their parents and other respected family members to serve them tea. Susan wore a red dress to symbolize good luck, and red envelopes filled with money were offered to the couple to represent good intentions.

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The Lion Dancers

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A team of lion dancers from Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute Dragon and Lion Dance Team performed during cocktail hour and then led guests to the reception.

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The Escort Cards

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Crafted by Confetti & Co. and Hello, Bird. as a nod to both Chinese and bohemian culture, the chartreuse, origami Moravian stars by VanessaAllegra were paired with escort cards and popped against the deep burgundies and blues of the room.

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The Reception

Emily Wren Photography

Held indoors at the POMME, farm tables were mixed in with round ones to break up the room and accommodate some of the larger groups of guests. With assorted eucalyptus, grasses, amaranthus, and Moravian stars hanging from the rafters, the space felt like a whimsical summer dream.

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The Centerpieces

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Amongst low vases of king protea, roses, carnations, amaranthus, pieris, and stock arranged by Sullivan Owen, the wooden tables housed cream taper candles in gold candleholders.

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The Table Numbers

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Inspired by an escort card idea on Pinterest, the geometric star table numbers were a DIY project than Susan and Thomas executed together.

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The Menu

Pastel and Pyrite Table Setting
Emily Wren Photography

While the design of the menu was inspired by a geode, the inspiration behind the food was a modern twist on a traditional Chinese wedding banquet. Peachtree & Ward prepared an Asian fusion summer melon salad, then a choice between chicken with a side of wonton soup, beef with chimichurri sauce, or ginger scallion lobster. For dessert, guests could choose between fresh fig shortcake with a balsamic cream reduction or a mini trio of vanilla, chocolate, and green tea ice creams.

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The First Dance

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For their first dance, the couple chose "Half Light" by Porcupine Tree—a progressive rock band based in the U.K. that Thomas likes. "It was one of the first songs Tom had me listen to when we started dating and I fell in love with it," says Susan. "It's been ours ever since."

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The Cake

Emily Wren Photography

The Cake Studio of Ocean City decorated this geometric, four-tier chocolate tiramisu and green tea cake with a gold dragon and phoenix, which represent man and woman in the Chinese culture.

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The Favors

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The couple sent their guests off with Heath bars, Asian flower candies, Raisinets and pistachios.

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The Sendoff

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"We wanted a memorable way to end the evening, and we've always found sparklers mesmerizing. There was no music necessary—everyone just cheered, and it was all we needed," says Susan of the magical sendoff with her new husband.

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Emily Wren Photography

Photography, Emily Wren Photography
Location, POMME
Event planning and design, Confetti & Co.
Catering, Peachtree & Ward
Flowers, Sullivan Owen Floral Event & Design
Videography, Atomic Tangerine Film Co.
Officiant, Alisa Tongg
Stationery, Minted
Calligraphy, Hello, Bird.
Cake, The Cake Studio of Ocean City
Music, No Macarena
Rentals, Maggpie Rentals
Bride's gown, Monique Lhuillier
Bride's accessories, Annabelle New York (overskirt); Zara (wedding ceremony shoes); Jeffrey Campbell (tea ceremony shoes)
Hair and Makeup, Aleksandra Ambrozy
Bridesmaids' dresses, J.Crew; LuLu's
Groom's suit, J.Crew
Menswear, Macy's
Groom's accessories, Ties.com (bow ties); Cole Haan (shoes)
Lighting, Sparks Entertainment
Lion dancers, Wan Chi Ming Hung Gar Institute Dragon and Lion Dance Team
Ring Box, Urban Outfitters

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