For the first time in her life, Julie Chung decided to make the first move and introduce herself to a guy at a party. Kent Yu was more than happy to be on the receiving end of her moxie, and the two hit it off instantly. "We were inseparable from the night we met," says Julie. Three years later, while living in Houston for Julie's ophthalmology residency, Kent popped the question at one o'clock in the morning as Julie was rushing to meet a patient at the hospital. "I quickly said "yes!" and was overjoyed," remembers the bride. "Then I slipped on the ring and flew out the door. It was definitely a Grey's Anatomy moment," she adds with a laugh.
Having lived in three other major cities together (San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York), Julie and Kent knew that a sense of urban glamour would help define their celebration. Julie dreamt of a modern reception with details that were not at all expected at a wedding, and she found the clean lines of the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills to be the perfect blank slate for creating her vision. As frequent host to such Hollywood awards shows as the Golden Globes, the Hilton certainly provided the inherent foundation of glitz that the bride and groom were looking for.
Coordinator Kimberly Bradford and floral designer Alex Amidi from Square Root Designs took Julie and Kent's book of ideas and inspiration and brought it to life. "I was particularly in love with green cymbidium orchids and decided to revolve the look around this one single color," says the bride. The design team then decided to pair the sharp chartreuse color with a cool slate grey, and the basis for the urban lounge decor was born.
But before their guests could be wowed by the reception, Julie and Kent were married in a traditional ceremony in a nearby church. As they exchanged vows, the bride and groom were lit by the setting sun, which shined through a large stained glass window behind the altar.
Back at the Hilton, walls draped in grey fabric and adorned with large mirrors helped to transform the ballroom into the chic and modern space the couple had envisioned. The look was taken one step further with a glossy black dance floor framed by groupings of sleek lounge furniture. Even the dining tables were unexpected: every other one featured a deep glass box for a tabletop inside of which orchids and electric candles were nestled in green sand to create a dazzling effect. Each table was also decorated with a tall floral centerpiece set in a cylindrical glass vase that was illuminated in green.
A similar shadow box design was employed for the cake table, which was as much of a scene-stealer as the cake itself. Filled with orchids and candles, the table also boasted tall arrangements of orchids at each corner and the couple's monogram projected in light overhead. The all-white cake featured a different delicate design on each layer -- the Chinese symbol for "double happiness" in honor of Kent's heritage (Julie is of Korean descent) decorated the middle -- and was trimmed in black ribbon. Cascading orchids fell from a small vase at the cake's top.
But even with all the thought and planning that was put into the design of the decor, it was Julie and Kent's wish that everyone had the opportunity to do more than just look at the action; they wanted the dance floor to be the center of attention. They hired both a Rat Pack-esque band to belt out standards and a DJ to play more popular dance songs to keep the party going. Even the more reserved members of the gathering found themselves letting go by the end of the night. "Because I love to dance," says Julie "I dragged every single person onto the dance floor, and it ended up being quite a party. It's hard to say 'no' to the bride on her wedding day!"