Carrie Seid first laid eyes on James Lin at a friend’s birthday party in college, where she was instantly captivated by his humor and charm. “My most memorable thought upon meeting Carrie was she was very bubbly and liked to sing along to the music,” the groom recalls. They dated for 10 years before James asked for her hand in marriage while celebrating their anniversary in Napa Valley. “I knew I wanted her to be my wife when I saw how supportive she was of my goals in life,” he affirms. With the blessing of Carrie’s family, the groom purchased a stunning loose diamond with the intention that Carrie could select her own setting for the precious stone.
Because each of their families were so involved in the planning process, the couple was able to seamlessly arrange for their dream wedding in only five months, along with the help of their wedding planner. Since the majority of their attendees also reside in New York City, they decided to host their nuptials locally. Of all the fabulous venues near the "Big Apple," they elected Oheka Castle for their sophisticated celebration. The couple designed a décor scheme of muted hues in mauve, cream, blush, and gold to enhance the regal ambience of the locale. “We wanted to bring the castle alive with fresh flowers in the winter, [so] we opted for arrangements in a classic, elegant color palette,” Carrie reveals.
Moments before proceeding down the aisle by The Original Runner Company, the bride and groom participated in traditional Chinese wedding customs, which were very important for them. In addition to their emotional tea ceremony, Carrie wore a qípáo, a time-honored red dress, complemented with borrowed jewelry from her maternal grandmother. Meanwhile, James played Chinese wedding door games with his seven groomsmen. “The groom has to do this before seeing his bride,” Carrie explains of the ceremonial custom where bridesmaids create challenges for the groom to complete in order to demonstrate his love for the bride. While changing into her strapless white satin gown, Carrie put on a veil that was embroidered with their monogram CLJ. She carried a lush bouquet of ranunculus blossoms, dusty miller, seeded eucalyptus, and a variety of roses. A string quartet performed classical hymns as 300 loved ones witnessed the couple exchange vows in front of the romantic ballroom fireplace, which had been bedecked in fresh florals.
The same regal theme carried over to the reception, where a Champagne tower met loved ones at the entrance of the spectacularly designed space. “We were speechless and amazed at how beautiful the room came out,” admits Carrie. Guests were also thrilled to see the couple’s first dance, which James considers one of his most favorite memories of the day. “We did not have much time to practice, but when we got on the dance floor in front of all of our family and friends, we just focused on each other,” the groom reflects, remembering the fun moment. As the newlyweds took their last steps, revelers were asked to join them on the dance floor, which was emblazoned with an oversized monogram print. The band was so exhilarating, they all danced until nearly midnight! “We wanted upbeat, classic, and throwback songs that everyone would enjoy,” says James. “It was amazing; everyone loved it!” As party favors, everyone took home a bottle of a prized Napa Valley wine as a nod to the couple’s engagement story.
Carrie and James enjoyed each moment of their special day. “Our advice is to take a step back during the whole process to enjoy it and just breathe,” affirms the bride. “Planning a wedding is very stressful, and at the end of the day, it’s two people who love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together.”