There are a million great things to say about this wedding from Kassia Phoy, XOXO Weddings, and Ellamah, starting with the positively swoon-worthy story the groom Rob wrote about his love story with bride Diana. We’re all about the paper accents during the ceremony, the fresh orange and green tablescapes for the reception, and the bride’s sleek gown, but make sure you check out the sweet words as well!
From the groom, Rob: In the spring of 2007, in the waning days of Columbia’s academic year, elated moods filled freshman dorms: final exams were almost over; it was a Friday. Jeff Schwartz had been invited to a party on the 11th floor of Carman, and he asked me if I wanted to join. Eh. Come on, man. Ok. We rode up to 11 with a crowd of party-goers, then walked down the hall, where sat a girl. The volume of chatter seemed to decrease around me, and I was aware of only three things: my breathing (increasing), her beauty (arresting), and a question: would she be going to this party? (Could I be so lucky?)
She was going, reluctantly. The party turned out to be in her dorm room, though she had not been aware of any party planning. Oh well. By this time the party had started, I was busy auditioning and re-auditioning opening lines in my head. Finally I decided on one, and got my chance. I stepped up to the free-throw line.
“Are you in 20th-century art history?”
The crowd went silent. I knew she had been in the class at some point. She was in my discussion section, three months ago. I learned nothing about art in that class. I busied myself with snuck glances. A week after that, even though the TA leading the section was terrible, I returned, only to see if she’d be there. She wasn’t. And a third time. No luck.
“Oh I think I saw you in my discussion section — did you drop that class?”
I remember almost nothing else about that conversation. But ever since that first question, asked almost nine years ago, Diana and I have never really stopped talking.
At first we talked about music, then we talked about everything else; time flew. A year went by. Would I want to come visit her extended family in China over the summer? Yes! So we did (and I’m forever grateful for the chance to meet her grey-eyed grandfather). Two more years, then we were sitting next to each other at graduation, then we were in Paris. Diana moved to the west coast first, but six months of long distance passed quickly. Next thing I knew, I had a one-way ticket, then a California driver’s license, then an abiding love for the smell of eucalyptus lining Junipero Serra Drive. The Bay Area was home for 3 years. We continued to talk about everything: food, our life together, grad school for Diana. Probably she’d go to UC Berkeley, we loved it in the Bay. But she might as well apply to Harvard — why not? — though we would never move to Boston. Unthinkable. Just curious if she’d get in. On the cross-country drive to Boston, we drove America for the first time, and she began to meet my extended family, scattered everywhere in the 50 states. Two years after that (after meeting all new friends, and surviving the worst winter in the history of New England), we planned a cross-country drive to Los Angeles, and we drove America again, this time a southern route to a sunny place. In New Orleans we dined, in old-world style, on old school food: turtle soup, a Sazerac. It was June 25, 2015, twelve months to the day before our marriage, and we celebrated our 1 year anniversary in an astounding place that — even though neither of us had any connection to it — still felt oddly like home. In fact, now that we’ve lived so many places together, nothing really defines “home” for me more than Diana’s presence. (If we wake up in the same bed, isn’t that home?)
We are descended from peripatetic people. 50 years ago, when my own mother was competing in a duckpin bowling league in Massachusetts, 8000 miles away, in Shantou, Diana’s father was tying live beetles to strings. (An inexpensive fan, necessary in Shantou’s oppressive humidity.) 30 years ago, my father (a Yankee) was playing banjo in northern Virginia, and Diana’s mother was teaching English in Zhanjiang. Two families, always moving, never quite settled. Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Ohio; Guangdong, Oregon, Maryland, New Jersey. Then two college students crossed paths in New York. A link formed in the universe. Of course, now that Alfie — our timid terrier — has joined the family, maybe the definition of home is starting to change a little. Just yesterday, over clear Rhode Island clam chowder (in West Hollywood), we did some quick mental math. If Alfie leads a healthy life, we’ll be in our early 40s when he’s an old man. Who knows how big our family will be then? Uh oh. Diana seems to have caught me teary-eyed. What am I doing? Nothing, just writing. What is she doing? Researching vacuums. There’s a lot of dog hair on the ground, which is a new problem, though an excellent one to have.
Photography: Kassia Phoy
Wedding Coordination: XOXO Weddings
Floral Design: Ellamah
Venue: Carondelet House
Wedding Dress: JILL Jill Stuart
Hair and Makeup: Be.NYLA
Catering: Très LA
Roast Pig: Eva’s Lechon
Wedding Cake: Vanilla Bake Shop
Rentals: Premiere Party Rentals
Videography: Grimace Films
Photo Booth: Petite Pix