Prior to their alfresco wedding in Los Angeles, Isabel Yeo and Benjamin Yeung had built a solid foundation over the previous 17 years, as they first met at their dormitory while attending the University of Southern California. “We quickly discovered our mutual interests and shared love for history, traveling, and learning about other cultures,” confirms Isabel, who grew up in Singapore while Benjamin grew up in Hong Kong.
Since they traveled together frequently and went on one big trip each year throughout their relationship, Isabel thought nothing of it when Ben planned a trip to Turkey. However, “under the guise of an early-morning photo shoot, Ben drove me to a beautiful cliff overlooking the famous Göreme landscape of rock caves, where a sea of hot-air balloons were taking off,” she describes of the setting where he got down on one knee.
When it came time to plan their wedding, Isabel and Ben hired a wedding planner – a decision they suggest every couple makes – and worked together with her to organize their dream day. “Ben was wholly involved in the planning process,” affirms the bride. “I’m so glad our wedding became a shared project.”
Since they first met in Los Angeles and it’s where they’ve built their life together, they chose to say “I do” at a famed hotel in Bel-Air. “A haunt and hideaway for the likes of Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe, we fell in love with its serene elegance, privacy, and how much of Hollywood’s Golden Age is carried behind its storied walls,” shares the bride. “We wanted our wedding to be modern, yet ultimately be rooted in history.”
“We wanted our wedding to be modern, yet ultimately be rooted in history.”
To pay homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood, the bride and groom selected custom and vintage pieces for their wedding ensembles, tables were named after actors such as Judy Garland and Clark Gable from classic films, and details including fountain pens for the guest book added to the couple’s vision to “convey an air of nostalgia that we hoped would permeate through the entire wedding,” muses Isabel.
Tablescapes featured garden-inspired arrangements of blooms including roses, larkspur, lisianthus, sweet peas, tulips, ranunculuses, hydrangeas, and snapdragons in creamy tones accented with foliage and mixed vessels and votives for a layered, vintage aesthetic. Even the pair’s photo booth, which was inspired by the 1940s Hedy Lamarr paper-moon shoot, evoked a prior era with additions such as a vintage typewriter available for guests to enter their emails to receive their photos. “With everyone dressed in black tie, the photos look as if they were taken in a different time,” the bride notes.
To honor their families, the nuptials also incorporated a number of cultural traditions. “Our immediate families still live in Asia, and since they traveled to Los Angeles for the wedding, we wanted the celebration to be an homage to them,” explains Isabel. They took part in the Cantonese tradition of door games – where the bridal party sets up obstacles for the groom and groomsmen to overcome before the groom meets his bride – and the long-standing Singaporean Yum Seng wedding toast that’s repeated three times to signify a blissful marriage, eternal love, and fertility. “It was electric,” she adds.
In addition to the fine dining experienced at dinner and slices of the multi-flavored wedding cake enjoyed by all, the couple focused on creating a perfect cocktail menu, as well as a late-night munchies menu to keep the revelry alive. “We know our friends and family party hard,” smiles Isabel. The couple also worked with their DJ to select music that would keep everyone on the dance floor. “It all came together to create such a dazzling party atmosphere, which is exactly what we wanted!” exclaims the bride.