David Yang, 31, cannot keep a secret. Every time he bought a gift for Laura Huang, 31, she would guess what it was before opening it. After he planned a trip to Puerto Rico and dropped hints like "you're going to love the fireworks over the water," she thought she'd caught him once again. But David had a plan up his sleeve. The weekend before their vacation, he created a Gatsby-themed scavenger hunt through New York City. Their first clue: "You will find the treasure when you end at the beginning."
After dashing from the New York Public Library to Grand Central Station, the couple arrived at their final destination: Chase Manhattan Plaza, where they had first met in 2008. There, David bent down on one knee and proposed. "Puerto Rico turned out to be an engagement trip. I couldn't believe it!" Laura says.
A year later, the pair married at De Seversky Mansion in Long Island, New York on June 8, 2013—a date with special significance. "In Chinese, six means 'road to' and eight means 'fortune and happiness,'" Laura says. Read on for details about their '20s-inspired day, captured by Ira Lippke Studios.
"Our dream was to throw a magnificent dinner party with Gatsby-era flair," Laura says. They chose the De Seversky Mansion for its intimate feel and European style. "I knew it was the venue for us when I got teary-eyed after our tour."
The couple's luxurious foil and letterpress invitations, by Ceci New York, featured a drawing of the De Seversky Mansion printed in rose gold.
Laura fell in love with her Ulla-Maija lace gown and its sweetheart neckline. "The fit-and-flare silhouette and long train gave it an element of tradition and elegance," she says. Her veil, adorned with beaded flowers, flowed behind her as she walked down the aisle. A bright bouquet of peonies, lisianthus, sweet peas, and garden roses, finished with cascading vines, tied in to the European garden theme.
Laura got her bridesmaids floral robes to wear as they got ready for the day. She gave her bridesmaids free reign when choosing their dresses, with one stipulation: the deep wine hue. "I wanted the dresses to match their personalities," she says. Each 'maid chose a Jim Hjelm dress in the silhouette of her choice David offered his groomsmen flexibility as well, asking they simply wear classic black tuxedos and white shirts.
The ceremony took place on the mansion's patio, overlooking the lawn.
The couple personalized the ceremony by writing their own vows. Under a lush floral arch, topped with roses and hydrangeas in pink and purple, David—a computer programmer—vowed to Laura: "I've learned that most computer problems can be fixed by restarting ... I vow to remember us as we are now and, if things aren't working, that we can always restart from this moment."
Because Laura's grandmother was unable to attend the wedding, she instead lent the couple three of her most cherished Chinois vases for the reception. "We really wanted the wedding to reflect and honor our family's Chinese traditions," Laura says.
On the back of each escort card, the couple had written a personal message to each of their 100 guests, thanking them for attending and expressing why their presence was so important to the couple.
To create the air of a formal dining room from the 1920s, Laura chose tall crystal candelabras and low floral arrangements in deep red and soft lilac. A number of votive candles scattered through the long tables added a sophisticated glow to the space.
Laura hunted for antique mirrors on eBay to create table numbers with a vintage vibe. A handwritten heart marked the newlyweds' sweetheart table.
Laura and David opted for a European-style wedding, in which dinner and dancing take place in separate rooms. Their menu boasted both Chinese and Western specialties, including dim sum, sushi, steak, and miniature deep-dish pizzas—a throwback to the couple's Chicago upbringings. The four-tier lavender cake, decorated with piping and sugar flowers, was divided in two flavors: red velvet and chocolate-almond.
The bride and groom shared an intimate first dance to "All I Ask of You" from Phantom of the Opera.
David took singing lessons for month to prepare for his performance of Billy Joel's "She's Got a Way." After the groom's show, DJ Jason Fioto and a bongo drummer took over the stage.
Waiting at the door on their way out was a fun surprise for guests: a hot dog and pretzel cart! "We wanted to give our out-of-town friends a true taste of New York," Laura says. "It was the perfect way to end the night." After munching on street fare, the couple relaxed on a mini-moon in Cabo San Lucas before embarking on a longer venture through Southeast Asia, spending time with Laura's grandmother in China and then setting off to Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. Her motto for marriage? "Savor it—one day at a time!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: NYIT de Seversky Mansion || Wedding Planner: Annie Lee from Daughter of Design || Officiant: Bettina Yiannakourou || Bride's Wedding Dress: Ulla-Maija Couture || Veil: M& J Bridal Salon || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair: DM Hair || Makeup: Virinia Bradley Linzee || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jim Hjelm || Groom's Tuxedo: Franco Ercole || Florist: Blossom and Branch || Invitations: Ceci New York || Paper Goods: Wedding Paper Divas || Music: Ceremony - Joe Deninzo of Metro Strings, Reception - Jason Fioto of Generation Events || Catering: NYIT de Seversky Mansion || Cake: Mark Joseph Cakes || Favors: Momofuku Milk Bar || Photography: Ira Lippke Studios