L, is for the way he looks at her. Cue all the twig-in-my-eye emojis. Jeff and Heather’s classy mod wedding with marbled geometric details is a California wedding staple, and we’re pretty obsessed with the monochromatic color scheme similar to this Aussie wedding we shared not long ago. Set in a historic wedding venue in Southern California, rich textures and vintage details create a natural backdrop for endless inspiration, and these two make it that much sweeter!
How did you meet?
Jeff and I actually met in high school, my junior year and his senior – he was friends with my high school sweetheart at the time and we just remained friendly even after high school. It wasn’t until a few years later we started dating. It was the day of Jeff’s 22nd birthday and he had invited me to a party he was throwing that night. Needless to say, Jeff and I have been together ever since.
Tell us about the proposal!
It was the night before our first trip to Japan together and only a month into moving into our new house that we had just bought together. So we spent the whole day cleaning, unpacking, and getting ready for the house to be empty for almost 2 weeks. Jeff didn’t know that I had invited another “couple friends” over for dinner since we hadn’t seen them in a while and would be even longer given we were leaving the next day. When they arrived, Jeff spent the rest of the evening acting all kinds of awkward and unattentive – I assumed he was just stressing out for being away on our trip. Later on in the night, he abruptly tells me he is taking our friend out to some bars in Hollywood to show him the “LA nightlife scene.” I was taken aback and actually quite peeved since we had yet to finish packing for our trip, but said it was fine. He went about getting ready and dressed to go out while our “couple friends” were hanging out in the living room downstairs and I was running around upstairs just trying to get as much packing done as possible. It wasn’t until I realized that it was getting very late and decided to go downstairs to check up on everyone. Once I was halfway down the stairs, Jeff was just standing in the middle of the room as our friends were sitting on the couch – that’s when it all clicked, I knew this was it. Jeff asked for my hand soon after and got on one knee immediately after. I had never seen or heard him so nervous in my life! He was sweating profusely, I could feel this crazy heat radiating off his body as he was in front of me. He was stuttering every other word, and what’s even worse was that he was breathing so hard throughout each word that it sounded like he was whispering everything – I could barely hear anything! I even caught myself patting him on the back saying “Babe, you can do this!” Eventually, the only words I could hear clearly was at the end when he asked if I would marry him, and of course I said “YES!” Now, one thing about Jeff is that he’s not the most romantic person, but he is definitely the most thoughtful. So later on that night as we were lying in bed, I actually looked over to him and blatantly said “The proposal wasn’t as emotional as I thought it would be..” (I know, makes me sound like a b****), but he looked back at me and said “I know, I had this whole speech ready but I just completely BLANKED. I am sorry.”
The next day, we are waiting at our gate to board the plane and Jeff abruptly gets up to go use the bathroom. While he is away I get a notification on my cell phone that Jeff had tagged me in a post on Facebook. I just assumed he announced on social media we got engaged, no big deal. But as soon as I go on Facebook to see what he says, I realized he dedicates the announcement by posting the speech he had wanted to say but couldn’t the night before. Needless to say, tears were streaming down my face as I was sitting there reading what he had wrote – it was THE most thoughtful, romantic, and sincere love letter he had ever written me. Jeff comes back from the bathroom, sits right next to me not knowing that I had just bawled my eyes out. Once he looks at me, he is in shock and asked if I was okay. I just gave him a kiss and said that this was what I always wanted. He smiled and then we boarded the plane.
How did you pick your wedding location?
We weren’t really sure what we wanted when it was time to decide on a venue. It ultimately came down to budget. We researched what was possible within the budget we had, we phoned in ahead to get a grasp of what each potential venue was charging. As we were calling each venue, we learned things along the way that made our quest easier. Some venues had vendors we had to use, some had property restrictions, and some offered more amenities than others. There was a range of venues we got to see within our budget from hotels, to country clubs, and boutique style venues. We came across Ebell Long Beach through their family of venues. I believe we liked the aesthetic of most of their venues, and found a lot of inspiration from their Instagram account. We went to tour the venue, and instantly knew it was what we wanted.
Please describe any specific family or cultural traditions that were important to you during your wedding planning:
I wanted a primarily “western” wedding, given that both Jeff and I are from traditional Asian backgrounds. And although my own mother passed away a few years ago, it was important to Jeff’s mom that we include a tea ceremony prior to the actual wedding. So we did a very small, intimate tea ceremony in the privacy of our home and with our immediate family members and a couple of our closest friends.
Did you plan the look of your wedding around a specific theme or color scheme?
I always envisioned my wedding to be pretty monochromatic, but with a modern and clean touch. The Ebell pretty much hit all those points and was so beautiful and inspiring once we entered the venue. What really caught my attention was the very beautiful (and very Instagrammable) black and white geometric tiles right when you step foot inside. I knew the black and white had to tie in somehow to the theme in order for everything to come together. And since my late mother’s favorite color was any shade of purple, we thought that a shade of lavender would be the perfect accent color to the black and white theme we had going. So with the help of my super talented graphic designer, Hannah, we were able to design a very memorable wedding invite that was able to incorporate all those elements. And through that vision of the wedding invite, all other design aspects of the wedding came quite easy afterward since we had something to always go back to as a reminder.
What was your most memorable moment?
From the groom: I was really nervous for the wedding, to be honest, I just wanted it to be over so quick because I thought it was too much of a spectacle. I was really just nervous for the vows. I’m terrible when it comes to public speaking, and even for my proposal to Heather, I messed it up. So I was just dreading that I was going to mess it up in front of everyone that I loved. I spent weeks just pushing it back because I didn’t want to think about how I would freeze up. I stayed up pretty late the night before just to finish the vows because I was so last minute with it. The day finally came, I was so nervous even getting ready. I was slightly sweating even after my shower. I got to the venue, and the butterflies amplified. It was non stop photos since I stepped foot onto the premises. It was finally time to do the first look… I was really nervous and excited to see my wife to be. I can hear her as she’s walking to the room, when she gets closer I can smell her beautiful scent. As she taps my shoulder, it feels like everything is in slow motion. I turn around to the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. The setting and experience was new, but the love was the same… All the jitters and anxiousness I had all went away after the first look. All of a sudden, I was calm and I felt comfortable. The rest of the wedding was a breeze, and I really had fun. The whole wedding was memorable, but to me the first look meant everything, and it set the tone for the rest of the wedding.
From the bride: It’s really hard to just pick one, but if I really had to it would definitely be the moment Jeff said his vows to me. My mom passed away a few years ago and months leading up to the wedding, I guess you can say I was an emotional wreck. I had spoken to Jeff about a few times as special events started happening (wedding dress alteration appointments, bridal shower, tea ceremony, etc) and finally came to the conclusion that I just had felt like my mother was being forgotten as we got closer to the wedding date. Although I had added little things to the wedding in remembrance of my mother, I still felt like there was some sort of void. So come the day of the wedding and with everything going on, I was pretty much a nervous wreck leading up to the ceremony and my mind was just thinking about Jeff the whole time and what his vows to me could possibly be – side note, Jeff was so nervous the night he proposed to me that he pretty much blinked and bombed his speech. So needless to say, I was anxious to hear what he had to say in front of 135 of our closest friends and family. Well the time finally came for Jeff to say his vows (and yes, he went first in case he messes up), and I had no idea what to expect because he looked so nervous. Once he started, I was taken aback with overwhelming emotions as he dedicated his speech to my late mother – everything about my relationship with her to when he first met her and what she means to both of us and our future now that she’s gone. And although I was balling my eyes out (as well as everyone else in the room) because it instantly made me miss my mom, all I could think to myself was how much I loved him and knew he loved me for him to spend the night 5-10 minutes speaking so highly of my mother in front of everyone (and his own mother). It was the most unselfish, thoughtful, and loving thing Jeff could’ve ever done for me – that moment proves time and time again that Jeff loves and understands me better than myself sometimes. The rest of the day was kind of a blur, but I will always remember that moment of his vows like it just happened yesterday – whenever I think about it, it makes me fall in love with him all over again.
What is your best advice for couples planning their own celebration?
From the bride: As cliche as this sounds, just have fun! Yes. planning a wedding can be stressful (with or without help, budget or no budget), but just remember that the day of your wedding is about to go by so fast so relish every moment and just enjoy!
From the groom: Set a realistic budget before the planning process because you will definitely go over budget as the process begins. I’ve always believed in having the best of things but at a reasonable price. Everyone wants to impress their friends and family on their big day, but don’t forget that the most important thing is that they are there to celebrate and witness your love to one another so don’t go broke or in debt on your first day of marriage!
Photography: Elizabeth Wells Photography
Videography: Jose Martinez
Event Planning: A Good Affair
Floral Design: Little Hill Floral Designs
Venue: Ebell Long Beach
Catering: Tres LA
Wedding Cake: Rooney Girl
Photobooth: Bigfoot Photo Booths
Entertainment: Franky Fresh