Ahead of This Organic California Wedding, the Bride's Mother Sewed Every Stitch of Her Wedding Dress by Hand

wedding couple holding hands walking through field
Meiwen Wang Photography

Though Amy and Sean attended the same college and shared several mutual friends, their personalities prevented them from meeting on campus: "Amy was always studiously preparing for upcoming quizzes or tests, while Sean was notoriously pursuing his dreams as the infamous DJ N2ition," says the couple. "No one would have guessed that the quiet and shy Amy would ever be seen in the same room with the loud and exuberant Sean." Years after graduation, the two matched on Hinge, and shared a memorable first meeting: a five-hour marathon date at a rooftop bar overlooking Disneyland, where Sean knew immediately that Amy was the one.

For their one-year anniversary, in September 2019, Amy made a reservation at a Disneyland restaurant—a nod to their first date—where the couple were treated to the table with the best view. "As we ate dinner, Sean rehearsed the situation in his head, remembering how to lunge onto one knee; he had practiced by doing lunges the week prior," says Amy. "Knees weak, arms heavy, he was nervous, but on the surface, he looked calm and ready. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him as the crowd cheered us on."

Amy and Sean set their wedding date for September 4, 2021, committing to a long engagement that coincidentally prevented them from having to replan or reschedule. Their venue, Temecula Creek Inn in Temecula, California, offered enough activities to occupy all of the couple's 106 guests over Labor Day: "We knew that our family and friends would enjoy the long weekend in Temecula because they could partake in different activities, such as wine tasting, golfing, and riding on hot air balloons," says Amy. And though navigating COVID-19 requirements made the planning more complicated, the end result was worth it. "Our wedding was the very first time we were able to see our loved ones after almost a year and a half," says the couple. "Let go of the stress and be truly present. The day goes by in the flash of an eye, so enjoy it with your loved ones."

01 of 19

Leafy and Lush

green elegant wedding invitations
Meiwen Wang Photography

The landscaping around the venue inspired the couple's palette of green, gray, and cream, which they incorporated into an invitation suite from Isadore and Augustine. A sketch of Stone House, where Amy and Sean held their reception, decorated the envelope liner, while a floral element on the vellum overlay matched the bride's bouquet.

02 of 19

Mother Knows Best

bride getting ready with bridesmaids in blue dresses
Meiwen Wang Photography

During her career as a seamstress, Amy's mother created many one-of-a-kind outfits—from Amy's baptism gown and prom dress to favorite interview frocks—for her daughter. "When I was a little girl, my mom would create beautiful 'fun-sized' wedding dresses for me so I could play dress-up as my favorite character: a bride," says Amy. "I always knew when the time came that she and I would make my wedding dress together." The two created custom sketches and "scoured L.A.'s Fashion District for the perfect fabric." They decided on a mermaid silhouette with a long train, made of ivory tulle with floral applique, beading, and an off-the-shoulder tulle overlay.

"I originally settled on a deep sleeveless V-neckline because it felt like a safe option," says Amy. "However, I was not completely in love with it." She returned to an original inspiration gown: Amal Clooney's Oscar de la Renta number. "I loved the off-the-shoulder neckline on her dress because it was romantic and alluring," says Amy. "I remember the anxiety I felt as I awaited to see how all the ideas I envisioned were brought to life; I was relieved when I saw my dress for the first time and fell in love with it when I tried it on. It was everything I wanted—elegant, soft, and romantic."

03 of 19

A Dream Come True

bride putting on off the shoulder wedding dress
Meiwen Wang Photography

"There were many memorable moments throughout our wedding day, but I was overwhelmed with emotion the moment I first put on my wedding dress with my mom watching," says Amy. "This was the most important dress my mom would ever make for me and the culmination of a childhood dream turned into reality. It was truly a labor of love."

04 of 19

Vested Interest

groomsmen in black suits and bowties
Meiwen Wang Photography

"We wanted a classic look for Sean, so we chose a three-piece tuxedo from Calvin Klein," says Amy. The groomsmen wore classic tuxedos from The Black Tux—a formal complement to the women's light blue gowns.

05 of 19

First Look

couple smiling at each other during outdoor first look
Meiwen Wang Photography

Amy expected a few wedding-day jitters, but, she says, "I was surprisingly not nervous on my way to our first look. I was just excited to see Sean and we were both so giggly with happiness when we saw each other. Our first look also gave us a moment before the day officially started to connect with one another and take a deep breath."

06 of 19

The Best of Friends

bride and groom kissing while wedding party smiles
Meiwen Wang Photography

Amy and Sean booked a house where they stayed with their bridal party before the wedding. "The morning of our wedding day was surprisingly very joyous and tranquil; the groomsmen were cooking breakfast for everyone, while the girls got ready in the bedroom suite," says the couple. "It was so special to be able to hang out with our friends who we had not seen in a very long time. The house was filled with endless laughter and we felt so loved."

Amy's mother also made all of the bridesmaids' floor-length gowns. "I chose the color of the fabric, but let each of my bridesmaids design their dress, because I wanted them to wear something that would showcase their different styles and personalities," says the bride. She chose a traditional white color scheme for her bouquet from Blooms Design House, with textural hydrangeas and dahlias accents by anemones and ranunculus—all tied with a trailing silk ribbon.

07 of 19

Puppy Love

wedding golden doodle in tuxedo
Meiwen Wang Photography

The couple's one-year-old mini goldendoodle, Lincoln, donned a tiny tuxedo and a floral collar to join the bridal party as the ring bearer. "He was the star of the ceremony," says the couple.

08 of 19

Altar State

organic outdoor wedding floral arch
Meiwen Wang Photography

Amy and Sean anchored their ceremony space with a split floral arch that framed them as they said their vows. Growing arrangements of flowers and foliage along the aisle surrounded the bridal party as they processed to "Can't Help Falling in Love," performed by violinist Jeremy Green.

09 of 19

With Them in Spirit

framed photo of bride's father on wedding ceremony chair
Meiwen Wang Photography

The couple honored the bride's late father with a framed photo and a spray of flowers on a chair saved for him in the front row.

10 of 19

Family Matters

bride and mother portrait in front of forest
Meiwen Wang Photography

The bride's mother escorted her to the altar as the violinist played "Stand By Me." "I knew how much my dad would have wanted to see me get married so it was extremely hard not to have him there to walk me down the aisle," says Amy. "However, I felt so lucky to have my mom by my side as we walked down the aisle together."

11 of 19

Words of Love

bride placing ring on groom's finger during wedding vows
Meiwen Wang Photography

The couple's friend Paul Wang officiated the ceremony, during which Amy and Sean exchanged personalized vows. "I was genuinely nervous with the process of writing my own vows because I am characteristically shy and quiet," says Amy. "I also never had to encapsulate my feelings into words for Sean, especially in front of so many people. However, I am glad that I was able to tell Sean how much I love him and how excited I was to be married to him."

  • The Pros and Cons of Writing Your Own Vows
12 of 19

The Ride of a Lifetime

bride and groom wedding recessional
Meiwen Wang Photography

Sean's vows were inspired by the couple's days at Disneyland—and his fear of thrill rides. "I am deathly scared of rollercoasters, but would always go on Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain with Amy," he says. "Like my fear of rollercoasters, I was also scared of marriage. However, that all changed after I met Amy: Although I am still scared of rollercoasters, I am no longer scared of marriage, because I know that the person sitting next to me in the ride called 'life' is going to be Amy."

13 of 19

Setting the Bar

wooden wedding bar at outdoor reception
Meiwen Wang Photography

Amy and Sean decorated their wooden bar with a personalized monogram—which also appeared on lawn games set up during the reception—and hanging florals. Her signature drink, a guava mojito, was served in green glassware, while bartenders mixed his in gray glasses.

  • A Cocktail Hour Trend We're Loving: Living Bars
14 of 19

Dinner Al Fresco

outdoor wooden table wedding reception set up
Meiwen Wang Photography

With Stone House in the background, guests dined at long tables set up under twinkling string lights. Tulle table runners—which matched Amy's gown—softened the rustic wooden tables.

15 of 19

Casual Elegance

simple organic wedding place setting
Meiwen Wang Photography

Colored glassware, gold flatware, and sage-colored knotted napkins contrasted with simple white plates and custom menus. Treats from Mast Market were calligraphed with each guests' name to serve as place cards.

16 of 19

Sweet Stuff

wedding cake with peeling frosting layers on wooden round table
Meiwen Wang Photography

For dessert, Amy and Sean served three different flavors of cake from Lila Cake Shop: coconut cake with passionfruit cream and coconut buttercream; lemon cake with lemon cream and honey lavender buttercream; and red velvet cake with milk chocolate ganache and cream cheese buttercream. The four-tier confection included textured buttercream foliage and ruffled edges.

17 of 19

Change Makers

couple dancing at nighttime outdoor wedding reception
Meiwen Wang Photography

Before their first dance—to John Legend's "Stay with You"—the couple changed into their reception outfits: a burgundy Perry Ellis tuxedo jacket for Sean, and another made-by-Mom gown, inspired by Meghan Markle's, for Amy. "My ceremony wedding dress was very romantic with a lot of floral appliques and beadings, so I wanted my reception dress to be simple, but just as gorgeous," she says. "The front of the dress was demure, so I wanted a super low open back to create a juxtaposition." Later, Amy changed into a third gown: a short, Silk Maison ruched-side drawstring party frock. "It was the perfect dancing dress and I love that it was something I could wear even after the wedding," she says.

18 of 19

A Toast to the Newlyweds

couple toasting at wedding reception with floral covered sweetheart table
Meiwen Wang Photography

Speeches from the bridesmaids and groomsmen were a highlight of the day. "All of Sean's groomsmen were given a chance to speak and reflect on different memories from different times in his life: One highlighted the uniqueness of Sean's laugh, which sounds like a seal; others called attention to the fact that Sean is always the loudest in the room, but that he shows his love through his actions," says the couple. "Amy's bridesmaids' speeches brought tears to the guests because they captured the raw emotion of their relationships with Amy and how much she is a part of their lives."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles