After two years of dating, Mike Chung told Jean Song that he had planned a Central Park picnic for the pair to enjoy on a warm June day, so it's only natural she was expecting to be taken to a secluded spot in the grass complete with a checkered blanket. Instead, Mike stopped her near a rocky stretch of land, with a babbling brook and onlookers, one of whom Jean recognized as a friend. "I realized then what was about to happen," Jean confesses, adding she begged her boyfriend of two years to not get down on one knee so that no one would stare. "He didn't get down on one knee," she says, "but I did clutch him tightly to my side."
Since the couple met at Good News Church inside the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, it was a no-brainer for Jean and Mike to invite their 110 guests to watch them exchange vows in the New York City spot they met. "We attended Good News together for about two years and built a great community there," says Jean. "It was special to us that we could get married there, surrounded by our family and friends." With visions of a unique and untapped rustic venue in New York for their reception, the couple booked the Glasserie in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for their dinner party celebration. Keep reading to see all the photos of their low-key celebration, as captured by Jean-Laurent Gaudy Photography.
Jean designed and assembled the couple's wedding stationery, scrolling calligraphy by hand across gray envelops lined with floral paper. Her efforts were part of the couple's plan to stick to a budget while crafting a fête that would leave their guests comfortable and well-fed. "We wanted a low-key wedding," Jean says. "Thankfully, Mike helped throughout the whole planning and executing process, even if it meant pasting envelope liners for the invites or shaving down taper candles to fit the holders."
Jean admits she didn't like wedding dress shopping. "I know girls cry and know that a dress is the one," she says, "but I felt like I could go with a variety of styles and like them in different ways." She finally chose a Reem Acra gown, which featured a tulle skirt with delicate appliqué and beading. "It was comfortable, flattering, and the best option I had among the many dresses I tried on," she says. Her pink bouquet was made from ranunculus, peonies, and garden roses.
Mike donned an Emporio Armani suit, paired with a black bow tie and a white floral lapel pin in place of a boutonniere.
The bride didn't want her bridesmaids to wear the same dress, but without a specific color scheme for their wedding in mind, Jean wasn't sure how to select a look that felt unified yet still unique. She turned to Rent the Runway, where she and her 'maids browsed a huge selections of looks and ultimately picked three pale pink dresses that looked great together. The groomsmen were asked to wear their own black suits.
One flower girl and two ring bearers walked down the eucalyptus and olive leaf-lined aisle. "They toddled forward hand-in-hand," Jean says. "Our flower girl was sucking on a lollipop and wouldn't take off her Frozen purse. It was so cute to see in photos, and I wish I could have seen it in person."
Jean and Mike exchanged traditional vows, then left the ceremony as a pipe organ played "Sinfonie de Fanfares" by Jean-Joseph Mouret.
Glasserie, a restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, was the perfect place for their reception. The venue boasts exposed brick walls and an over-all industrial feel, which was the exact vibe Jean and Mike were going for. "We wanted more of a dinner party feel," Jean says. "We loved that the restaurant's atrium-like space has cobblestone floors." Seated at long banquet tables, guests noshed on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare while the couple looked on from a sweetheart table.
Tables were decorated with vintage brass candle holders, taper and tea candles, and tons of vibrant arrangements of ranunculus, peonies, garden roses, olive branch, and eucalyptus. At each place setting, guests found coffee bean favors assembled by the couple. "Ironically, the blend was called 'Heartbreaker Espresso,'" Jean says.
The couple sliced into a single-layer vanilla cake topped with fresh flowers.
Jean and Mike chose "Hysteric" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for their first dance song, before both became emotional during their mother-son and father-daughter dances. "We both cried but our parents didn't shed any tears!"
Looking back on their wedding day, Jean says, "We got to marry in the city we fell in love and have our ceremony in the very church we met, surrounded by our loved ones. We knew we'd have to move away a month after our wedding, so it was a bittersweet last hurrah for us in the city that we will always cherish and adore."
Ceremony Venue: Good Shepherd Episcopal Church || Reception Venue and Catering: Glasserie || Bride's Wedding Dress: Reem Acra || Veil: Sara Gabriel || Jewelry: Rebecca Minkoff || Shoes: J. Crew || Hair & Makeup: Christie Lee Makeup || Bridesmaids Dresses: Rent the Runway || Groom's Attire: Emporio Armani || Wedding Bands: Grace Lee Designs || Florist: Pretty Street Botanicals || Cake: Baked NYC || Photography: Jean-Laurent Gaudy Photography
Looking for more New York City weddings? Then see another couple exchange vows in the Big Apple in the video below.