While developing the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Robert Bowling didn’t think twice about the woman managing its marketing strategy, Caroline Sung. After all, they had only worked together remotely. But everything changed when the two finally met in person at an annual gaming expo. “There was an obvious connection that I couldn’t ignore, so I hounded my producer to find out where her group was going after the show so I could ‘accidently’ bump into her again,” Robert reveals. After a few years of dating and the birth of their son, Robert surprised Caroline with a Christmas Eve proposal.
Initially desiring woodsy Northern California nuptials, the couple ultimately opted for a wedding at a tree-lined ranch near their hometown in Southern California. The woodland atmosphere met the aesthetic they desired, while also being convenient and a comfortable fit for their families. The sunshine and warm temperatures of the area made the rustic-yet-elegant venue further appealing.
Presenting a peaceful contrast to the dramatic reception to come, the ceremony was designed with delicate shades of pastel pink, lavender, French blue, and cream. White chairs sat on a lawn facing a magnificent oak tree, which was adorned with fairy lights and round floral arrangements suspended from vanilla ribbons. Champagne and pearl petals covered the stone aisle, and urns at the altar brimmed with blush roses and hydrangeas in purple, pale blue, and ivory.
Bridesmaids glided down the aisle in draped grey dresses, while the bride wowed her groom in a ball gown with a short-sleeved lace bodice and luscious tulle skirt. As his soon-to-be wife walked towards him to the sounds of “Great Fairy’s Fountain Theme” from The Legend of Zelda, Robert says he was overcome by how beautifully the ceremony represented who he and Caroline are as a couple. “In that moment, I realized how perfect and uniquely tailored to me she is,” he muses.
A theme of “pre-20th century Parisian Carnival” governed the reception, which kicked off with hors d’oeuvres in a courtyard festooned with boxes of flowers shaded with black and white parasols. A performer dressed in chic French attire served guests glasses of Champagne that were affixed to her incredible crinoline-style skirt. A “roaming” orchestra and a cabaret show also entertained friends and family.
Inside the delicate vanilla tent, loved ones found a fanciful pastel-hued celebration that recalled feminine French style. Round tables were topped with blush linens and ivory pillar candles on gold stands. Spherical arrangements of pink, cream, baby blue, and red blossoms rested on either gilt candelabra or glass cylinder vases. Place settings included rosy boxes of macarons and menu cards personalized with each guest’s name and a message of thanks from the newlyweds.
The bride and groom dined at a sweetheart table adorned with a hedge of flowers and a tablecloth composed of fabric blooms. Chandeliers sparkled overhead, and the ceiling and walls of the tent gradually transformed from soft blue to purple thanks to subtle spotlights. Caroline changed into a sequined evening gown with a sheer neckline and back that perfectly complemented the elegance of the reception.
Caroline and Robert took great care to curate their menu, serving their favorite delicacies like lobster mashed potatoes and even an assortment of desserts the groom took great pride in selecting. Caroline describes their wedding cake as “upscale Willy Wonka,” since the ivory confection featured mini Reese’s peanut butter cups and sour belts that were painted gold. “No one could even tell they were candy,” she boasts.
Indeed, the quirky details that captured Caroline and Robert’s passions allowed their celebration to truly symbolize their bond as husband and wife. “Everyone we loved was in one location and the moment was perfectly crafted to reflect us,” Robert remembers.