This Pair Focused on Next-Level Florals and Their 32 Guests During Their Destination Wedding in California
Chae and Sung met at Northwestern University back in September 2008—but it wasn't exactly love at first sight. "We weren't really interested in each other until 2011, when me and my friends started hanging out with Sung's very close friends," Chae recalls. After getting to know each other more, their romance naturally blossomed, and they started dating before the summer break of that same year.
The pair continued to develop their bond over the next school year, but major changes soon tested their relationship: Chae ended up going to another school on the east coast and Sung went back home to South Korea. "While we did long-distance for three years, we constantly booked flight tickets to meet every three months and spent at least two weeks together," the bride shares. The couple officially became engaged a few years later, in the summer of 2015, during a three-week trip to Maui, Hawaii. But the destination proposal nearly took an unexpected turn. "While having a casual photo shoot by the beach where almost nobody was there except us. Sung [got] down on his knee and asked me the big question. I said 'Yes!' and everything seemed so perfect and romantic," Chae shares. Sung later told his soon-to-be wife that the proposal almost didn't happen—he accidentally lost the engagement ring in the sand while they were taking pictures. "Thankfully he found it. I had no idea he was freaking out during the photo shoot, so the proposal was more than perfect!" she adds.
Their road to marriage was smooth sailing from there. As they decided on the details for their big day in Montecito, California, the biggest priority was making it all about family. "Our close friend was our officiant, my cousin painted the venue onto the invitations, and our son walked down the aisle to bring our rings," Chae explains. "We wanted an outdoor destination wedding that would be a special day not only to us, but to all of our guests." The San Ysidro Ranch served as the perfect locale to bring 32 of their closest family and friends together for a day of love on July 29, 2019.
Chae crafted the couple's big-day invitations with silk ribbon and handmade cotton paper. Her cousin also gifted the pair with a family painting—in addition to an illustration of their venue, San Ysidro Ranch—that was included at the top of the suite.
A Timeless Gown
When envisioning her perfect wedding dress, Chae says she hoped for one that would "look pretty even after 50 years." She knew that wish had been granted when she slipped on her Arha Bridal gown, made of Mikado silk, for the first time.
Roses, ranunculus, and dahlias completed Chae's elegant bouquet, which was created by Camellia Floral Design.
Chae and Sung welcomed family from all over the globe, including from South Korea, to the West Coast coast for their intimate affair. Both the mother of the bride and groom, pictured here, wore traditional hanboks for the occasion.
The groom sported a classic black tuxedo with a white shirt and black bow tie, which he finalized with an ivory-and-blush hellebore boutonnière.
A Floral Masterpiece
While the couple added an incredible amount of the flowers to their outdoor ceremony space, Chae says she fell in love, first, with San Ysidro Ranch's "natural, intimate, and romantic atmosphere."
Under the Arch
Garden roses, delphinium, dahlias, and butterfly ranunculus accented the arch at the end of the aisle. The goal was "to make the structure full and pop against all the existing gardens and flowers at the entrance of the aisle," wedding planner and event designer Erica Espana of Twine Events says.
Suited for the Guests
The last row was defined by two delphinium-centric arrangements, which marked the entrance to the aisle.
Beating the Heat
Guests kept cool with parasols—courtesy of Chae and Sung—on their hot and sunny summer wedding day.
A Detailed Event
Handmade programs, also created by the bride, were placed on each attendee's chair.
He Means Business
While their son was fully decked out in his ring bearer attire, Chae says he decided not to walk down the aisle (Sung sweetly carried him, instead). This was of no concern to the couple's other little attendant, who tossed rose petals as he made his way towards the altar.
Here Comes the Bride
Chae walked arm-in-arm with both of her parents as she made her way towards Sung, accompanied by live music.
A Family Affair
The couple's family-centered ceremony was perfect, Chae says, thanks to the help of Erica. She recommends that all brides- and grooms-to-be use a coordinator to help bring their big-day visions to life, too: "Find an experienced planner who has a similar taste as you to guide you through the process."
Officially Husband and Wife
Reading their intimate vows was a big-day highlight for the pair—they even recited them to each other before the ceremony. "We wanted to practice so I wouldn't cry during the actual reading," Chae says. "But when my husband was reading me his vows first, I saw him cry for the first time in the eight years I've dated him!"
Memories for a Lifetime
The couple skipped their cocktail hour and instead took time to pose for portraits as newlyweds.
Seating in Style
Petite arrangements of blush flowers and light pink linens dressed each table at the duo's reception, which was held in a courtyard on the property.
"Centerpieces were lush and garden-inspired with scabiosa, garden roses, dahlias, herb lavender accents, and clematis," Erica says of the tabletop décor. "We wanted the flowers to feel romantic and natural in the reception space, yet elegant."
To mark their reception debut, Chae changed into something she felt comfortable dancing in. "It was a blush color with beads, which perfectly suited the reception venue," she adds.
A three-tier red velvet cake decorated with blush flowers—which was baked by the catering team at San Ysidro Ranch—was a sweet conclusion to the meal.
To enhance the twinkling lights that already decorated the patio, Erica and her team added "small hanging votives into the trees to add some dimension and a personal touch," she notes.
In addition to Sung and his brother singing during the reception, one of the couple's favorite moments from the night happened during their first dance. "We didn't want to dance at first, but everyone told us that it would make our wedding more fun and memorable," Chae says. After taking a couple of lessons before the wedding, the pair ended up forgetting the moves once the they hit the dance floor—but it truly made the night all the more special in their eyes. "We were laughing so hard that it made our guests to laugh with us. It was the longest three minutes I've ever experienced, but our wedding would not have been so fun if we didn't dance," she adds
Photography, Esther Sun Photography
Venue, Catering, and Cake, San Ysidro Ranch
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Erica Espana of Twine Events
Videography, Robert Michael Films
Florist, Camellia Floral Design
Other Day-of Paper Products, Creative Works Design
Wedding Dress and Veil, Arha Bridal
Shoes, Manolo Blahnik
Hair and Makeup, Kelly Zhang Studio
Wedding and Engagement Rings, De Beers
Music, Tony Ybarra
Rentals, Tent Merchant; La Tavola Linen