Real Weddings: A Long-Distance Romance Leads to An All-Night Celebration in Los Angeles

Real Weddings: A Long-Distance Romance Leads to An All-Night Celebration in Los Angeles

March 9, 2016

Photography by: Hailey Howard

Cherin and Gian planned a traditional wedding with modern sensibilities for their October 2015 wedding in Los Angeles.  The couple, who met through a mutual friend at a New Year’s Eve party in 2007, stayed in touch as Cherin moved back east and Gian was in San Francisco. “We dated over the phone,” Cherin tells Yahoo. “It was very junior high school in an innocent way.

Over the course of the next few years, the couple would date from a distance, and would end up together in Los Angeles in 2012.

After seven years Gian asked Cherin to marry him while they sat in the desert, watching the sunrise at Burning Man in 2014. “He totally tricked me into thinking it wasn’t going to happen yet, because he kept cancelling our plans to go ring shopping,” Cherin says.

With the help of her friend, Gian learned what style ring Cherin wanted and he worked with Mother of Gideon, a jewelry design company that works with local and repurposed materials, to design a bespoke engagement ring inspired by Art Deco styles.

For their wedding, Cherin and Gian sought out a venue that would fit all of their 300 guests and the look and feeling they wanted: A mix of traditional and modern elements.  They settled on the First Congressional Church of Los Angeles, where they could have the wedding ceremony and reception. “It is a beautiful church that did not require much,” Cherin explains. “It was breathtaking and traditional.”

Cherin wore two wedding gowns.  For the service she chose a long-sleeve, floor-length gown by Bo Matthew Metz.  The textured bodice, tulle skirt and open back reflected the tradition of the day, but also the bride’s modern style.  Her hair was worn up with thin braids and for the ceremony she wore a long tulle veil.

Half-way through the reception she, and the groom who wore a classic black tux to the ceremony, changed into traditional Korean wedding attire.  Cherin’s hanbok in pink, cream and white, consisted of a jeogori (a short jacket with pink ribbons) and a chima (skirt) worn beneath it.

The bridesmaids were asked to find dresses of their own that coordinated with the wedding’s neutral palettes, and the groomsmen complemented the groom in formal tuxes and TCG shoes, the company the groom works at.  The couple’s niece and nephews also participated in the wedding, with the ring bearers in tuxedos and the flower girl in a white dress.

When it came to designing the wedding’s details, the couple continued to mix both the traditional with the modern.  Their invitations were custom ordered through Tyler Spangler, the flowers, roses, were chosen because it is the bride’s mother’s favorite bloom, and tulle adorned the pews that lined the church aisle.

The ceremony began with a processional of the bridal party, followed by the bride and her dad who walked down the aisle to Here Comes the Bride.  When asked what she could tell us about the ceremony, Cherin replied, “It was perfect.”

After the ceremony, the wedding moved to a ballroom within the church’s grounds.  The reception tables were adorned with white linens, candlelight, rose centerpieces and gold accents.  Guests dined on a Korean menu from Banchan.  A buffet was set up so guests could choose what they wanted: Braised beef stew with a sweet soy sauce based sauce or a selection of vegan entrees.

The wedding cake, as the bride explains it, was simple and traditional.  The two-tiered white piped cake was decorated with ivory and pink roses that were similar to the flowers in her bridal bouquet.

For entertainment, the guests danced the night away to a mix of hip hop from the ‘90s and early 2000s and salsa music.  The couple showed off their dance moves, they had taken lessons in the months leading up to the wedding, when they took their first turn on the dance floor to Feel Real by Deptford Goth.

Two special performances by guests were some of the highlights from the reception. “One of our talented bridesmaids, Francisca Valenzuela, sang a song while playing the piano,” remembers Cherin. “And my mother-in-law’s best friend, Deborah Resto-Forman, serenaded us too.”

At the end of the night the couple paid tribute to the groom’s Italian heritage by passing out Italian wedding almonds as their favor.  And while the wedding reception ended at 11pm, the party continued well into the following morning with not one, but two after parties.  The first, at a banquet room at Hotel Figueroa, featured five DJs and ended at 2 a.m., after which everyone continued to a third location: A friend’s warehouse in downtown L.A. “We danced until we couldn’t dance anymore,” says Cherin, “and it is forever one our favorite days.”

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