Cultural Weddings/Real Weddings

Chinese & Western Foodie Wedding With An Affogato Dessert Station

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When a wedding vendor gets married, they certainly have a leg up on planning. From personal experience, years of helping other brides & grooms say “I do” helps you witness & imagine exactly what you would do on your own day, one day.

Food & guest experience was the top priority for April & Avery when they put their San Diego wedding on the books. Bride April – a talented hair & makeup artist for many-a-brides – had witnessed the secret to success to many past clients’ weddings and all that expertise paid off when crafting their intimate day fit for the best of foodies.

Using her own experience & hiring a talented team of vendors (and friendors!) including planner Details Darling, April & Avery seamlessly merged their Western & Chinese traditions with a Chinese Tea Ceremony & Western vows, mixed boho vibes with an industrial-chic space, and filled their day with delectable delights.

And yes, there was our new favorite wedding dessert station: the affogato bar!

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Our Love Story

Avery surprised the crap outta me by opening up a ring box and getting down on one knee in the middle of what I thought was a favor for photographer “friendor” of mine.

Avery had orchestrated an elaborate plan that involved me responding to a Facebook post in a wedding professional group that he’d knew I’d bite on and organizing dates and times with my “friendor” for a photoshoot.

I was still in such disbelief that it was all a hoax that I even said “Wow, that looks exactly like the ring I want!” when he opened the box, still not sure it was for me. Obviously, I said YES!

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The Planning

Being a wedding vendor myself for years, as soon as we started planning we knew that guest experience and food was our #1 priority, followed by incorporating both western and Chinese wedding traditions from both the bride and groom.

As part of the guest experience, we wanted to spend as much time with each person as possible so we kept the guest count down to just 60, which was our immediate family and closest friends and spread the fun over the course of 4 days with various activities to get out and enjoy San Diego including a San Diego city and urban wine tour and brunch right on the beach.

We accomplished our goals with an emphasis around food, personal hospitality, all with the backdrop of modern, urban boho vibes and the beautiful sunny weather of San Diego. Our curated vendors helped execute the vision of our perfect local destination wedding.

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The Design

Aubrey Huffman from Details Darling had the seemingly impossible task of stylistically and aesthetically incorporating our modern boho vibes while still honoring Avery’s Chinese culture.

This meant Aubrey needed to create designs for two ceremonies and two cocktail hours without stark contrasts. Aubrey’s wizardry started off the Chinese tea ceremony with the mixing of traditional red and gold styles, complemented by a modern touch of boho flair while flowing to the Western ceremony showcasing a romantic, modern boho yet urban vibe.

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Favorite Moments

We host many parties among our friends and family and have been known to bombard them with food and drinks from start to finish…..this was no different on all 4 days. We can never end the night without some sort of nightcap, so we brought in the digestifs. The tasting experience included a sommelier who explained the different Spanish vermouths, sherries, and sambuca to round out the evening’s dining experience.

Our favorite moment(s) was being able to enjoy all of the food and drinks and spend time with each one of our guests. We wanted the cocktail hours and dinner reception to feel like date night with our friends where we would take a picture of every dish and take selfies with everyone.

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The Food

While we knew we wanted a destination wedding, ultimately the location of the wedding was determined by the food. After visiting and researching both restaurants and catering companies, we partnered with MIHO Catering in San Diego, California. We loved their farm to table approach and their background in street food. It was important to us that the food was locally sourced, sustainable, with responsibly farmed ingredients.

MIHO created a foodie’s dream night with 2 (!) cocktail hours sandwiched between our 2 ceremonies, the Chinese Tea Ceremony and our Western Ceremony. The first, featured dim sum and champagne while the second was an hors d’oeuvres driven 90-minute cocktail “hour”.

For dinner, guests were treated to a 10-course Spanish Tapas menu. The reception concluded with pour-over coffee and affogato stations, and after-dinner vermouth and digestif tasting experience. Our inspiration came from paying homage to the traditional Chinese 10-course banquet menu that is traditionally served at weddings, the dinner of our first 3 dates (tapas!), and our love for food, traveling, and libations. It was nonstop good food and drinks!

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The Reception

Helping us keep our guest’s glasses filled all night and happy was hypeman and emcee Ray Castillo from Ray On The Mic. Ray was the hero of the guest experience. He kicked off the early evening by emceeing the ceremonies all while leading the guests through the different events so we could sit back and enjoy drinks and conversations with our guests. When it was all said and done, family members and guests kept asking us whose side of the family Ray was from as they all thought he was the cool distant cousin they never met.

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Advice to Other Couples

As a bridal hair and makeup artist myself, I’ve been blessed to witness hundreds of beautiful weddings. Our biggest fear was the dreaded “your wedding day will go by so fast”. Having seen brides avoid this issue where they enjoyed every minute of their wedding, I noticed a pattern and figured out the secret.

My biggest advice to couples is to outsource all the wedding day jobs to professional vendors if possible so that you and every family member and friend can enjoy the wedding. We spent the time finding all the vendors we liked and this made for one of the best days of our lives. To this day we still reminisce every moment from me and my bridesmaids getting our hair and makeup done in the morning to talking about every dish we ate that night.

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The Honeymoon

We went on a 2-week honeymoon to Greece & Turkey. In Greece, we went to Santorini and Mykonos. In Turkey, we went to Istanbul and Cappadocia. Santorini was your classic honeymoon spot that was lots of views and relaxing. It was so much fun giggling with each other that we pulled off the whole wedding weekend with each other while we enjoyed the views. After a few days of relaxing, we hit the road for more of an urban adventure in Istanbul!

We would highly recommend going on a honeymoon right after the wedding! The biggest advice we received that we also highly recommend is to not leave until Tuesday or Wednesday that way you have time to come home, decompress, do laundry, send off your thank you cards, etc all before you leave on your honeymoon! (Yes, we sent out our thank you cards on our way to the airport!!!)

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