Jean Wang, who founded the popular fashion blog Extra Petite, first met Nicholas Nelson on their first day of college in September 2004 in Boston. Ten years later, in May 2014, the two had just moved into their first condo together and, as Jean replanted tomatoes on her rooftop terrace, Nicholas surprised her with a special set of seeds that read "Let's Grow Old Together." Inside, she found instructions — Say yes (I hope), Place on Finger, Water with Champagne, Harvest Forever — and a gorgeous round-cut diamond engagement ring. Naturally, she said yes!
The pair decided that they would tie the knot in the city where they first met and built a life together. "We absolutely love the history and charm of Boston," Jean says. "We thought the Boston Public Library embodied so much of what we love about this city. We studied there together as students, looked at historical blueprints of our first home there, and also walked by it daily to work." They booked the historic space for a June 26, 2015 wedding and planned for a day that mixed modern styles with elegant, vintage charm, and plenty of East-meets-West details to pay respects to their different heritages. Keep reading to see all of the photos of their big day, as captured by Katch Studios!
Jean spent the morning getting ready with her bridesmaids in fun floral robes before slipping into a blush silk and alencon lace dress for the couple's traditional Chinese wedding tea ceremony. "I wanted a modern interpretation of the traditional tea ceremony attire," Jean says, so she turned to her talented friend and bridesmaid, Khatu, to create a look that felt more contemporary.
After a first look with Nicholas, Jean and her groom-to-be shared the ritual with family. "It was emotional seeing our elderly grandparents, who traveled from across the world to be there, during the tea ceremony," Jean says. "I loved seeing my entire family dolled up. They come from a humble background and said they've never had a chance to dress up in their entire lives. Not even for their own weddings!"
The bride changed into a strapless ivory and gold lace mermaid gown from Lazaro. "I love a good fit and flare shape," Jean says of the silhouette. "This one was figure defining up top with lots of drama and volume at the bottom. I write a blog about petite fashion and I always tell my readers to wear what makes you feel the most beautiful. A lot of people told me to avoid volume in a gown since I'm smaller, but that was one of my favorite parts about this dress."
She accessorized with vintage jewelry, a DIY belt, birdcage veil, and blue velvet Manolo Blahnik heels. While she kept her hair back for her traditional ceremony, she let half of her hair flow for the later part of the day.
Jean asked her four bridesmaids to pick their own dress. "We worked within a common theme of champagne and blush with a mix of embellished and solid fabrics," she says of their mismatched styles. "It was one of my favorite aspects of the day!" Each attendant chose their favorite style from a range of gowns available at BHLDN, and then paired it with shoes and a hairstyle of their choosing. The couple's florist, Pollen, crafted gorgeous floral headpieces that each 'maid wore.
Jean carried a lush bouquet of peonies, tea roses, and ranunculus, which her bridesmaids all had slightly different arrangements of the same blooms, plus a mix of pale blue blooms. The small variations between the bouquets resulted in a perfectly imperfect look.
Nicholas chose a navy tuxedo from J.Crew, which he accessorized with a classic bow tie from Tie Bar. His four groomsmen all rented navy suits from The Black Tux and completed their look with champagne ties to coordinate with Jean's attendants.
Before their outdoor ceremony, the couple took time to enjoy the architectural beauty of the exterior Boston Public Library with their attendants. Then, they snuck off for a few solo portraits inside the space.
Jean and Nicholas invited 90 guests to join them for their day. "We wanted it to be a really charming, intimate wedding," Jean remembers. Pollen created the garland that was draped over the couple's ceremony sign and the arrangements that decorated the ceremony space. Guests were offered a mini ice cream cone, with a sweet scoop of either green tea or mango, before they found a seat in front of the property's fountain for the couple's vows.
Jean walked down the aisle with her father. She and Nicholas chose to write their own vows, which proved to be as sweet as it was emotional.
After the I do's, the couple, who exited the ceremony to "Everything Is Awesome" from the Lego Movie, invited guests to join them for cocktail hour. They served their signature drink (a dark and stormy) along with an Asian noodle bar, mini lobster rolls, crab cakes, and personal potpies.
Jean changed into a beaded dress from Aidan Mattox for her reception. "I wanted to eat comfortably," she laughs. The look was the perfect complement to the couple's champagne and pink hued party.
Before moving into the reception space for dinner, guests found their seating assignments on library-style cards. Everyone sat at round tables that were decorated with arrangements of peonies, roses, ranunculus, and greenery and enjoyed an east-meets-west dinner of dumplings two ways, short ribs, and sea bass.
With such a special venue, the couple couldn't resist utilizing the library's Juliet balcony for their first dance while their two musician friends (who live across the country from each other and practiced only via Skype!) performed.
Instead of a traditional wedding cake, Jean and Nicholas served locally made donuts in unique flavors like maple bacon, chocolate pretzel, creamsicle, and hazelnut. "They're my husband's favorite!" Jean says.
"Don't let yourself get bogged down by the details or small mishaps," Jean advises other brides. "Never lose sight of why you are planning a wedding with your loved one."
Ceremony Venue: Boston Public Library || Wedding Coordinator & Caterer: The Catered Affair || Bride's Wedding Dress: Lazaro || Shoes: Manolo Blahnik || Hair: TRESemmé || Makeup: Lisa Chy Makeup || Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN || Groom's Attire: J.Crew || Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux || Groom's & Groomsmen's Ties: The Tie Bar || Florist: Pollen || Welcome Sign, Escort Cards & Table Numbers: Yours Truly Calligraphy || Music: Alamada Events & Entertainment || Cake: Union Square Donuts || Videographer: Long Haul Films || Photography: Katch Studios
Did you love this intimate wedding? Then check out another couple's family-oriented bash in the video below!