Having met while attending college at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, Charlie Southwick and Channa Kim have the groom’s fraternity to thank for bringing them together. After seven years of dating, Charlie knew he needed to plan the perfect proposal for his beloved. Planning a romantic dinner at Eleven Madison Park, a fine-dining restaurant located in the heart of New York City, the groom-to-be knew it was the perfect night to ask that special question. While taking a stroll in the adjacent Madison Square Park after dinner, Charlie proposed in front of the massive, beautifully lit holiday tree. “We headed to a nearby bar afterward, where a bunch of our friends were waiting to celebrate with us,” shares Channa.
With only seven months to plan a beautiful fête for their friends and family, Channa and her mother worked diligently to arrange a lovely celebration for 250 loved ones. “My mom was an instrumental part of the planning process and helped me with every single decision,” admits the bride. “It really was her incredible vision come to life.”
The late-summer evening commenced with two beautiful ceremonies, both a Western and a Korean ceremony, to honor the cultures of the bride and groom. “We knew from the beginning that we would be combining cultures in a big way for the wedding,” the bride explains. Since they weren’t able to combine the customs in a way that fully captured a true Korean wedding, “we had two ceremonies so that everyone could be a part of both,” notes Channa.
Desiring an “elegantly spectacular” aesthetic for their black-tie event, the couple chose a color scheme of navy and gold that would work seamlessly for each ceremony as well as for the reception. The Western ceremony showcased light florals and simple silhouettes along the seating as well as along the altar backdrop. Bridesmaids were gorgeous in deep navy gowns to add a bold pop of color to the otherwise soft décor. Following a brief intermission of drinks and hors d'oeuvres, family and friends joined together once again for the Korean ceremony, which displayed a beautiful backdrop showcasing cultural elements along with traditional red-and-blue patterned silk screens that lined the aisle.
For the reception, attendees were wowed with a night of revelry. Highlighting the tall ceilings of the Portland Art Museum, a grand, 16-foot wide floral chandelier was suspended above the dance floor. Tablescapes were adorned with a mix of tall and short arrangements of classic white and soft blush blooms, accented with gold sequined tablecloths and navy napkins. Korean elements were included into the reception design as well – favors placed on plates were traditional “lucky pouches” filled with magnetic gold-plated utensil and chopstick holders in the shape of two ducks, a meaningful symbol of everlasting love and partnership in Korean culture.
Following a delicious dinner that reflected both families and cultures, guests enjoyed an amazing gold-encrusted multi-layer cake before hitting the dance floor to a raucous live band. During the last hour of the reception, Korean street food favorites were offered to guests. “We had a giant backlit ramen cup tower, a chef station preparing made-to-order bulgogi tacos, a street cart with shelving lined with bibimbap boxes, and traditional Korean pastry desserts,” reminisces the bride. “Food is a really important part of my family’s personality and this was reflected in the entire wedding from start to finish, with customized elements throughout.”
As the bride and groom look back on their favorite moments of the day, they agree the time spent with their nearest and dearest was the highlight. Channa says, “I think overall, we were really excited to celebrate with so many friends and family members from all walks of life and all over the world, many whom we had not seen in so long. Seeing everyone that day was overwhelming but so much fun, and it all made for a really great party!”