Even the Dogs Were Treated Like Royalty at This Parisian-Themed Affair in California
In May 2019, nearly four years after Olivia Yuen and Paul Intrarakha met at her cousin's wedding, the couple were ready to plan their own nuptials—after Paul proposed in front of the Eiffel Tower, that is. "When we were in Paris, France, we were wonderstruck by the city's charm," says the couple. "We wanted to incorporate a piece of that culture into our wedding, whether it was the food, music, art, architecture, or history."
As they returned to the United States, they began planning a celebration for November 2020—one they had to postpone and downsize due to COVID-19. "Instead, we sat at home in our pajamas watching K-Dramas that day," says the couple. "We had to re-plan and downsize the event from 100 guests to 22, not knowing how the pandemic would take shape." Cutting their guest list also meant finding a new locale for their new date, June 25, 2021. "We wanted to find a small and intimate venue that was outdoors and COVID-19 friendly," says the couple, who chose the Lavender Marketplace and Workshops in Sierra Madre, California, which "checked all those boxes for us and more!" they say. "From the moment we laid eyes on this place, we thought it was magical, from the European-inspired conservatory to the beautifully kept garden to the twinkling string lights that lit up at night. We particularly admired the conservatory because it reminded us of France, and we thought it would be the perfect centerpiece for our Parisian-themed wedding."
Olivia and Paul centered their big-day aesthetic around their love of the City of Lights, planning "a romantic, classy French affair which consisted of a neutral color palette with pops of blush pinks and ornate gold details," they say. "We kept this vision in mind in all of our design decisions, from the table design to the invitation liner."
In addition to honoring their family history by including a Chinese tea ceremony and offering a five-course Chinese meal after the ceremony, Olivia and Paul filled their day with thoughtful details: chilled Champagne waiting for guests as they arrived at the ceremony; individually-packaged cakes to take home as a midnight snack; custom watercolor portraits painted on-site; and a "doggy lounge" where guests could play with the couple's French bulldog "flower dogs." "We looked forward to planning our big day because we saw it as a fun project where we could work together as a team," says the couple, who also worked with Amorette Events Co. to organize the details. "Overall, we enjoyed the planning process from start to finish," says the couple, "and would do it all over again!"
A Work of Art
"The invitation suite was a combination of modern design and Old-World inspiration," says Olivia. "Plume Calligraphy created a custom monogram and pattern and we incorporated a Monet painting as the envelope liner." The couple chose gray ink and letterpress printing techniques with blind pressed accents, and incorporated their crest—with its "organic, antique aesthetic"—on wax seals, the response card, and the pocket sleeve.
Olivia and Paul planned a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, complete with red double happiness signs with phoenix and dragon imagery to symbolize good luck. Both the bride and groom chose attire from East Meets Dress, with Olivia opting for a bespoke red gown with gold embroidery lovebird hair pins, and Paul donning a red Changsan emblazoned with a gold dragon. "It was important to us that we honored our culture, and incorporated a traditional Chinese tea ceremony before the wedding, where we paid our respects to our family," says the couple.
All in the Details
For the ceremony, Olivia chose an off-the-shoulder, beaded wedding dress with flower and pearl detailing from Jinza Couture Bridal. "Before I started shopping, I knew I wanted a gown that was unique, romantic, and spoke to my style—but most importantly, it had to fit my petite stature," she says. "I must have tried on over 20 dresses before I found 'the one.' During the first try-on, I teared up and immediately knew my search was over. I couldn't resist the elegant train and intricate bead work that glistened in the light." With help from the designer, Olivia tweaked the gown by swapping a straight neckline for a sweetheart cut and adding tulle sleeves. "The dress was an absolute dream," she says. "I felt so beautiful and received so many compliments!"
All the Feelings
Olivia and Paul remember their first look as one of their favorite parts of the day. "Standing and waiting for Olivia to tap my shoulder, I was feeling nervous and anxious and I just couldn't wait to see her," says Paul. "When I turned around, she looked beautiful and stunning in that amazing dress. It was emotional and I was probably tearing up. It was an unforgettable moment that felt like time just slowed and nothing else existed. I was on cloud nine."
Olivia agrees: "Before our first look, I had a roller coaster of emotions that included happiness and excitement," she says. "The moment I tapped Paul's shoulder, I couldn't help but get emotional. It was such an intimate and beautiful moment that I will never forget."
The couple chose to maintain the neutral color scheme throughout their wedding party's attire, so Olivia asked her bridesmaids to wear tulle Jenny Yoo gowns in blush pink; the man of honor, who also officiated the service, wore a suit and bow tie in the same blush shade. "We aimed to keep the groomsmen's attire classic as well, complementing Paul, so they wore black tuxedos from The Black Tux with a bow tie, white pocket square, and black dress shoes," says Olivia.
Bloom Theory created Olivia's asymmetrical, hand-tied bouquet with creola antique pink carnations, putamayo carnations, white majolica, princess miyuki, brownie lisianthus, and cappuccino roses. "We kept the design to neutral tones, as they are my favorite colors, and match our wardrobes and how we decorate our homes," says Olivia.
Olivia's brother and his girlfriend walked their two French Bulldogs, Nico and Nocchi, down the aisle as "flower dogs." "One wore a black tuxedo harness and the other wore a white mesh dress with a flower appliqué and flower crown," notes the bride.
In the Garden
Intricate ironwork around the venue's windows provided a European backdrop for the couple's vow exchange. "Bloom Theory created a lush arch in front of the conservatory for the altar," Olivia adds.
"We chose cream folding Napoleon chairs from Theoni for that French garden vibe and lined the aisle with lush florals," adds Olivia.
Saying "I Do"
Olivia's father walked her down the aisle to string music from Tang Instrumentals. "We wanted to incorporate our love for K-Dramas somehow in the wedding, so for the processional song, Olivia chose 'Here I Am Again' by Yerin Baek from the K-Drama series, Crash Landing on You," says the couple. Olivia and Paul wrote their own vows, adding a personal touch to the ceremony script. "We saw this as a chance to not only share meaningful words with each other, but also to share our story and journey together," says the couple. At the end of the ceremony, guests showered the newlyweds with petals tossed from paper cones that matched the invitation suite.
Paul and Olivia created an intimate lounge area with vintage furniture from Found Rentals; they used this space to chat with and visit with their friends and family. "Because there was no open dancing due to COVID restrictions, it was important to us that we were able to enjoy time with our guests in a relaxed atmosphere," says Olivia.
The white bar from Cali Craft Cocktails included the couple's custom monogram and was decorated with a lush floral arrangement. Bartenders mixed four signature cocktails, including the "Monsieur Mojito," the "Madame El Matador," Moscow mules, and 1934s.
A slew of light bites were also served during the interlude, courtesy of Panda Catering.
Going for Gold
Lavish table settings included gold-edged chargers and vintage plates and flatware set on subtly patterned linens. "Bloom Theory created a beautiful, garden-style centerpiece in a concrete vessel to add to the Old-World aesthetic," says Olivia.
"Plume Calligraphy created a custom illustration of each of our favorite places in France to serve as table numbers, which we propped up with flower frogs to match the garden vibes," notes the couple.
"We also included gold rimmed tea cups, chopsticks, and vintage rice bowls as a nod towards our heritage," says the couple, who served a five-course Chinese meal from Panda Catering, followed by table-side tea service.
Sit and Stay
The couple's flower dogs enjoyed the party in their own enclosed space, stocked with tasty baked goods, water dishes, and photos of the pups. "We created a doggy lounge filled with dog treats, a basket of toys, dog beds, and their personal dog profiles so that their 'pawrents' could enjoy the wedding," says the couple.
"The doggy lounge also included a table where guests could sit to play with the dogs and feed them treats!" notes the bride.
So in Love
Though COVID-19 restrictions prevented a full dance floor, Olivia and Paul were able to share a single first dance at the start of their reception, choosing "Lover" by Taylor Swift, one of Olivia's favorite artists. "We wanted a song that connected with us as individuals and as a couple," they say.
Their two-tier vanilla and strawberry shortcake confection from Lila Cake Shop featured realistic buttercream florals in neutral shades of pink and green.
A Sweet Ending
Lila Cake Shop also provided individual cakes for attendees to take home as favors in one of three flavors—vanilla, strawberry shortcake, and pistachio—each decorated with a different design. The couple displayed the cakes on the same gold-rimmed vintage bar cart they had used to present guests with Champagne upon their arrival at the ceremony earlier that day.
Their Favorite Moment
After the time they spent bringing their dream day to life, Olivia and Paul were able to relax and enjoy it. "Sitting at the sweetheart table, we finally got a chance to take in the moment and observe all the moving parts in motion," they say. "Guests were chatting with each other and happily enjoying their served food, the DJ was playing Parisian music to set the mood, and the flowers and décor just added to this magical moment. Everything was perfect."
Photography, Ether and Smith
Venue, Lavender Marketplace and Workshops
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Amorette Events Co.
Catering, Panda Catering
Flowers, Bloom Theory
Videography, Etcetera Photo
Stationery, Plume Calligraphy
Cake, LILA Cake Shop
Music, Tang Instrumentals (ceremony); Vox DJs
Rentals, Casa de Perrin; Found Rental Co.; La Tavola Fine Linen Rental; MTB Event Rentals; Theoni Lifestyle Event Rentals
Bride's Gown, Jinza Couture Bridal; East Meets Dress (tea ceremony)
Bride's Accessories, Jinza Couture Bridal veil; Bella Belle shoes; Tania Maras hairpins; All About Romance earrings; Sibo Designs garter
Hair and Makeup, Chiali Meng Artistry
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Jenny Yoo
Groom's Attire, Suit Supply; East Meets Dress (tea ceremony)
Menswear, The Black Tux
Groom's Accessories, Tie Bar
Bar Catering, Cali Craft Cocktails
Bridal Robe, Girl & a Serious Dream
Engagement Ring, Whiteflash
Wedding Bands, Brilliant Earth
Guest Book, Plume Calligraphy
Photo Booth, GC Photo Booth
Reception Dress, Needle & Thread
Watercolor Portraits, Chasing Linen
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