Jennifer Mong and Yiu Lee spent three years as friends before they began dating. Once they discovered romance however, it did not take long for them to realize their future together was sealed. Yiu proposed to Jennifer at the home they still share in Boston.
While the couple was rooted on the East Coast, they knew their wedding was meant to take place near San Francisco where Jennifer was raised and her mother, still resides. With their guest list divided between people traveling from Boston and Hong Kong, Northern California seemed an agreeable compromise. After researching many locations in the Napa and Sonoma wine region, Jennifer's mother suggested they consider The Ritz-Carlton in nearby Half Moon Bay, perched along the Pacific coastline. It turned out to be the ideal spot; not only was it a luxurious location for out-of-towners to spend a weekend, but the available date was considered lucky by the Chinese fortune-teller the couple consulted in Hong Kong.
The most important step in the planning process for Jennifer was establishing the tone of the event, one that would appropriately express in both appearance and attitude the happy-go-lucky spirit she and Yiu share. After some fine-tuning, Jennifer and her wedding designer Taylor Nguyen established the perfect color scheme, one that mixed bright shades of pink with citrus orange, yellow, and green. "I wanted to use a very refreshing color scheme so that when people saw the colors, they would just smile," explains Jennifer. She and Yiu also wanted to remind their guests of the true meaning of the day, one that embodied their zest for life and love. They adopted the slogan "Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much" as the theme for the day, and emblazoned the motto across every element of their stationery suite.
Before the couple could marry, Yiu was put to the test in a nod to Chinese tradition. Jennifer's bridesmaids devised a few good-natured challenges for Yiu to face to represent his ability to exist through thick and through thin, forcing him to perform push-ups when his efforts were deemed unsatisfactory. After belting out a few pop songs and donning Hello Kitty attire, he was granted permission to see his bride for the first time on the wedding day. Later, the couple participated in a Chinese tea ceremony to honor their elders in addition to exchanging vows beneath the resort's gazebo. The bride will never forget walking down the petal-strewn aisle on the arms of her parents. "I couldn't believe that it was actually happening. I smiled from ear to ear and looked at Yiu thinking, 'This is it!'"
When the guests entered the ballroom, all eyes were drawn to the floral display in the center of the space. Fanciful sculptures of bright blooms stretched towards the dance floor, which was decorated with the couple's names and wedding date projected in light. Around the room, tables held a variety of abundant centerpieces placed atop pink silk linens. "I'm a girl that absolutely loves flowers, so I knew I wanted a lot of them at the wedding," asserts the bride. Orchids in particular were the focus of each arrangement, and a drawing of the exotic flower, along with the name of a different city special to the couple, appeared on signs identifying each table. Fresh orchids also festooned the wedding cake, an all-white confection boasting a different design on each of its five layers.
After dinner, Jennifer changed into a red dress (red symbolizes luck in Chinese culture) and she, Yiu, and their guests hardly left the dance floor for the rest of the evening -- a relief to the newlyweds who were used to attending weddings where DJs played recognizable popular songs as opposed to the live band the couple decided to use. "Yiu and I were skeptical about having a band at the wedding," admits Jennifer. But as soon as the musicians pulled off the first song -- a hip-hop favorite of Yiu's -- Jennifer says, "They sounded awesome! The party was happening." The couple even ended the night by dancing on stage and peering out over the crowd of happy revelers, who seemed to truly embrace the couple's passionate motto; their guests' happiness made the couple's night.
Upon their eventual departure from the festivities, guests received favors in the form of luggage tags representative of the destination wedding. Inserted inside each one was another hopeful phrase "May all your travels be filled with love," which Jennifer and Yiu wanted everyone to take to heart.