Ella Lin and Samuel Wang first became aware of each other as students in high school, and didn’t begin to date until years after graduation; but fate had evidently thrown the two together long before they were teenagers. “I was flipping through Samuel’s family photo albums one day,” Ella confides, “when I noticed that there was a familiar child in one of the pictures of a childhood birthday party.” It took her a moment to place the mysterious young girl. “It was me!” she exclaims. “We had no idea that we went to preschool together!” Five years after their romance began – and decades after meeting as children – Samuel and Ella became engaged surrounded by family at a surprise proposal.
As film lovers whose guilty pleasure is to devour celebrity gossip, the duo selected a Hollywood theme that would allow their guests to feel like movie stars for an evening. Save-the-dates were fashioned after a popular tabloid magazine and titled ES Weekly to give friends and family a hint of what was in store.
The day could not have been more ideal for the outdoor ceremony that took place on the vast lawn of a luxurious resort. Four panels clad in royal purple sheeting served as the backdrop for the service. Ivory floral arrangements on transparent structures were positioned on either side of the altar as well as at the entrance to the aisle. Bridesmaids wore glamorous plum gowns and carried snowy nosegays bound with silver ribbons. The groom and groomsmen were styled to the nines in noir tuxedos with classic bowties.
The bride truly was a star in a strapless ball gown that showcased delicate beading on the bodice and billowing skirt. She wore a stunning jade necklace and ring lent to her by an aunt for her “something borrowed,” and carried a bouquet of ivory roses tied with a cascading violet ribbon.
Ella recalls a brief exchange, just after her father walked her down the aisle, as a moment that she will always hold dear to her heart. “When he took my hand and presented it to Sam, he said, ‘Take care of my daughter,’” remembers the bride, who was quickly overwhelmed by emotion at the time. The most important part of the ceremony for the groom was reciting the vows he wrote to his bride. “It’s the one shot that you have to let your future wife – along with the rest of the world – know how much you love and care for her,” he says, admitting he spent a good three to five months perfecting his words.
In addition to the Western service, the couple performed an abbreviated version of a formal tea ceremony to honor their Chinese-American heritage. Their parents then presented them with red envelopes as a gesture of good fortune for their new life together.
Following the ceremony, hired “paparazzi” snapped photographs of wedding guests as they made their way down an indigo carpet and posed in front of a step-and-repeat backdrop stamped with the couple’s monogram and wedding date. “Almost every guest circled around and re-entered the building to get that Hollywood premiere feeling!” laughs the groom.
The reception ballroom housed a mix of long and circular tables draped in smoky grey linens. Centerpieces featured a blend of creamy garden roses, hydrangeas, and orchids arranged in tall and short Deco vases. Each place setting featured a dinner menu sealed in an envelope inspired by those that are opened at award shows to reveal the winners’ names.
Another highlight of the evening: A surprise music video revealed during the reception. “Unbeknownst to them, our guests had been secretly filmed throughout the day, and the footage was quickly edited together and set to Cobra Starship’s ‘You Make Me Feel,’” says Ella. “Everyone was amazed!”
In true celebrity style, the bride twice changed her post-ceremony look; once for the reception, and again for the after-party that took place in a separate VIP room specifically designed for dancing and lounging. At the conclusion of the event, attendees were presented with solid-chocolate Oscar® statuettes deeming each “Best Wedding Guest.”
Ella and Sam are thrilled they decided to create a wedding day filled with dazzling features and sensational details that truly reflected who they are as a couple, and advise future brides and grooms to do the same. “Put your own spin on things to make the day as unique as the two of you,” instructs Ella. “We did, and once the wedding day arrived, we breathed a sigh of relief because it was all worth it!”