Ashley Cha and John Kim's relationship has truly stood the test of time: Before their engagement, the couple was in a long-distance relationship for six years—she in New York City and he in Michigan. They first met through a mutual friend in New York, in the summer of 2005. "We were good friends in the beginning and soon we fell for each other," says Ashley. "Even after six years of our relationship, we still remember what we wore the day we first met!"
On August 10, 2012, Ashley and John invited their family and friends to an elegant, classic wedding celebration at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in the seaside town of Dana Point, California. The pair dreamed up a "warm, intimate wedding and reception for close family and friends," says the bride.
The couple became engaged on March, 18, 2012, the day they moved into their new home in California. "I was arriving from New York, and John had picked me up from the airport," the bride recalls. "When we got home, he had already set up our room filled with balloons and beautifully selected pictures of our relationship. I was so surprised, and he was on his knee and asked me to marry him! It was a perfect way to start our new chapter in our new home."
John—a car designer—proposed to Ashley with an engagement ring from Tiffany & Co., which is also where the pair bought their wedding rings. The bride—a graphic designer—designed the wedding invitations (above), as well as other stationery.
The bride wore a strapless Kenneth Pool wedding dress with intricate beading, purchased at the Amsale boutique in New York. She accessorized with an Amsale veil and earrings by J.Crew. Down the aisle, she carried a white and blush-pink bouquet of roses and gardenias.
The groom wore a Ralph Lauren Black Label tuxedo, Cole Haan shoes, a Brooks Brothers bow tie, and Hugo Boss cuff links—a pre-wedding gift from Ashley. A rose and gardenia boutonniere—to echo the bridal bouquet—was pinned to his lapel. His two groomsmen wore Black by Vera Wang tuxedos.
Before tying the knot, the bride gave the groom a card, from the Paper Source, that said it all: "I love you. End of story."
Mason jars and buckets of white flowers dotted the Pacific Lawn of the St. Regis, the site of the wedding ceremony. A pastor officiated, but as per the couple's request, the ceremony was non-religious.
The cocktail hour was held outdoors on the St. Regis' beautiful Botanical Lawn, next to the Club 19 restaurant. The weather and timing were perfect, with a beautiful sunset and a gorgeous view of the resort's golf course, says the bride. A jazz band entertained the guests. The couple served six different types of hors d'oeuvres, including seared tuna medallion with mango salsa (pictured), vegetarian summer rolls with cucumber-peanut sauce, Peking duck and cucumber with hoisin sauce, Hawaiian coconut fried shrimp with sweet and sour dip, mini crab cakes with pepper aioli, and crispy pancetta-wrapped shrimp with tomato pesto dip.
After hors d'oeuvres, guests moved into the formal dining room, which was decorated in a gold, peach, and white palette with rose and gardenia centerpieces and vintage touches such as frames. The décor idea was "romantic, classic, and a touch of vintage," says the bride. "Lots of natural lighting and candles!" For the main course, guests were served a grilled beef tenderloin and herb-marinated sea bass.
"I wanted a very simple but elegant wedding cake," says Ashley. The classic, three-tier cake—vanilla sponge with white chocolate mousse and fresh strawberries—was a light peach color, with a white lace trim on each of the three tiers and a flower accent. Other sweets included pink macarons, oreo cake pops, and mini red velvet cupcakes from Sweet and Saucy Shop.
Rather than leave for their honeymoon right after the wedding, the couple spent a lot of quality time with their families, who flew from Korea for the celebration. They are planning a honeymoon for sometime next year, Ashley says.
Wedding Planner: Divine D-Day || Ceremony Venue: St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort || Reception Venue: St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort || Bride's Wedding Dress: Kenneth Pool || Bride's Veil: Amsale || Bride's Accessories: J.Crew || Bride's Wedding Ring: Tiffany & Co. || Groom's Tux: Ralph Lauren Black Label || Groom's Shoes: Cole Haan || Groom's Wedding Ring: Tiffany & Co. || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Bridesmaids' Shoes: Kate Spade; Pour La Victoire || Bridesmaids' Accessories: J.Crew || Groomsmen Attire: Black by Vera Wang || Florist: Kristine Shin Designs || Caterer: St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort || Stationery: Designed by the bride || Escort Cards: Kristine Shin Designs || Cake Baker: St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort || Dessert: Sweet and Saucy Shop || Entertainment: Shine Entertainment || Photography: Esther Sun Photography