Elegant Ocean-Front Ceremony and Unique Black & Yellow Reception

Yini and Stanley

Photographed by: Christine Bentley PhotographyLocation: Dana Point, California, United States

If at first you don’t succeed, ask, ask, ask again. At least that was Stanley Ma’s approach when he proposed to Yini Guo. “It happened three times,” explains Yini. The first time took place during a surprise birthday party Stanley organized for her. “Didn’t even hear him,” she admits. The second time occurred on a getaway to Vancouver at night in the couple’s hotel room. “I fell asleep and didn’t hear him,” she says. Finally, Stanley secretly planned a trip to Las Vegas with the sole purpose of proposing. This time, there was no confusion and Yini enthusiastically responded, “I do!” “She was a great trainer of patience,” he jokes.

When it came to planning their big day, “the romantic feeling and atmosphere of the celebration was always key,” describes the groom. A verdant bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean provided the breathtaking fairy-tale scenery the couple sought for their ceremony. The aisle, adorned with a scroll pattern crafted of blush rose petals, led to an altar composed of two custom-made silver-colored iron gates draped with pink-and-white floral garlands. Enchanting classical music from a harp, cello, and violin trio mingled with the soothing sounds of the surf below, as a beaming Yini prepared to join her beloved.

The bride was clad in a dazzling mermaid gown, embellished with silvery beading and wispy flower appliqués, that featured a sweetheart neckline. It was truly the embodiment of a labor of love, considering the custom-made dress she had originally chosen “was a disaster,” Yini explains. “I ended up designing [this gown] myself and it turned out great.” A chapel veil, petite diamond hoop earrings, and a dainty necklace completed the look. The groom wore a charcoal grey suit with a matching tie.

In the spirit of the couple’s laid-back personalities, Yini and Stanley exchanged humorously written vows. “So guests wouldn’t fall asleep during the ceremony,” the bride jokes. Though bubbling with laughter, the romantic occasion was full of emotion. “The moment I put the ring on her finger, my hand was shaking [with] excitement,” recalls the groom. With expectant eyes towards their future, Yini and Stanley sealed two letters they wrote to each other, along with a bottle of 1982 Opus One, in a clear box they plan to open on their fifth year anniversary.

Drawing the summer ambience indoors, the reception space was bathed in warm, golden lighting. A modern Baroque theme, centered around a palette of ebony, yellow, and silver, guided the décor. Black-and-white damask patterned tablecloths provided a monochromatic backdrop for the varied dramatic centerpieces.

Among the round tables, sprinkled with yellow rose petals, guests found black crystal candelabras adorned with lemon-hued roses or silk-wrapped containers placed atop and adjacent to acrylic pedestals, along with low, lush florals in gold Jonathan Adler vases. Also, strands of sparkling crystals cascaded from vintage mercury compote vases blossoming with floral arrangements of golden roses, frosted hydrangeas and lemon leaves, and white orchids and anemones, topped with large vanilla plumes. Floating candles cast a soft glow from beautiful crystal vessels.

Reflecting the reception’s color scheme, the cake consisted of modern rectangular and cube layers. The bases of the golden layers were wrapped with glittering bands, while the pearl layers donned touches of the damask tablecloth pattern. Sugar flowers and black plumes topped the confection.

“The décor of the wedding was so creative and memorable,” says the groom. Although both Stanley and Yini were involved in decision making for all the details of their nuptials, Stanley gives Yini full credit saying, “My wife put an excellent effort on it.”

Before their grand entrance, a video gave guests a glimpse of the couple practicing for their first dance. A combination of fox-trot, tango, and salsa, that moment on the dance floor was the most unforgettable for the bride. The entertaining group dance that followed set the tone for the rest of night. Amidst the festivities, it was important for the couple to take the time to honor their families. “Both of us said something deep from our hearts to our parents to show our appreciation and love for them,” says the bride.

It’s easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of the day. “Time passes in a flash during the wedding; make sure you enjoy every minute of it,” Yini advises. Since this momentous event began with three proposals, it’s only fitting that the couple topped it off with three honeymoon destinations: Mexico, Dubai, and Italy.