A Sleek, Fashion-Forward Wedding in Newport Beach

Two fashion designers spent two years planning their chic, cactus-filled bash

Bride and groom standing in desert

Photo by Jamie English

Cecelia Zhou and Samuel Wang are designers by trade, so it’s no surprise that they spent almost two years planning one (very stylish) wedding. “We personalized just about everything, and were really particular about the details,” Sam says. Adds Cici, “I don’t think there was a single thing we didn’t pick on our own!” First up was finding a venue that matched their chic, modern vision: “We fell in love with the quirky desert plants, whimsical art, and modern architecture at the Newport Beach Civic Center,” Sam says. The booked the space right away and set about designing a day that matched their beautiful neutral palette and fun vibe (think ice cream pops at cocktail hour!). Keep reading to see Sam and Cici's September 24, 2016 wedding—Jamie English' photos are proof that a wedding can be equal parts minimalistic, fashion-forward, and cool.

Bride in sunglasses on stairs
Photo by Jamie English
Bride standing in desert
Photo by Jamie English

How cool does Cici look? She knew exactly what she wanted when she arrived at LOHO Bride in Los Angeles, but took two trips to the salon before falling hard for a Houghton gown. The winning dress featured a high-low silk skirt that was perfect for showing off Cici's Christian Louboutin pumps.

Bride in black and white solo
Photo by Jamie English

Cici accessorized her modern dress with an equally modern, asymmetrical bouquet.

Bride and Groom Near Cactuses
Photo by Jamie English

Fun fact: Cici brought her husband-to-be to her first dress appointment! “I had a lot of fun—more grooms should go with their brides," Sam says. "Why shouldn’t you see the dress before the wedding?”

Sam also saw Cici's beautiful bridal look on the big day itself, as they did a first look in the beds of cacti at their venue. (Talk about a photo op!)

Bride walking, shot of bottom half of gown
Photo by Jamie English
Bride with bridesmaids in hats
Photo by Jamie English

Instead of traditional bridesmaids’ dresses, Cici selected a white jumpsuit for each of her 'maids to wear. “They are all strong, independent women, so why not?” she says. Each added a floppy sunhat (with fun phrases on the back) for a photo op moment.

Wedding venue black and white
Photo by Jamie English

The couple's ceremony took place on the civic center’s lawn, where they filled the space with a circle installation of pampas grass (so trendy!). “I’m allergic to most flowers, so we used lots of grasses, greenery, and succulents instead,” she says.

Bride laughing with dog
Photo by Jamie English

The couple's dog, Puffie, stole the show during the ceremony as he walked down the aisle in a tux. “He did everything he could to get closer to us during the ceremony, so we ended up holding him while the officiant spoke," says the bride.

Bride and groom during ceremony
Photo by Jamie English
Bride and groom walking down aisle
Photo by Jamie English

The couple married in front of their statement ceremony backdrop and shared personalized vows. “We wrote our own vows, and read parts of them to each other the night before the wedding,” says Cici. “We kept the juicy parts for the ceremony, and couldn’t believe Sam got teary when I shared mine!”

Wedding reception venue
Photo by Jamie English

After an outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour on the lawn, everyone moved indoors to the reception space, which was decorated with an understated palette.

Table number
Photo by Jamie English
Wedding table centerpiece
Photo by Jamie English

Each dinner table was topped with an acrylic table number (wrapped in a circular wreath) and unique bud vases. And as a final modern touch, the couple hand-selected gray plates, rose gold flatware, and angular glasses for each place setting. “We were really good at sticking to our theme,” Sam says.

Wedding cake
Photo by Jamie English

Guests ended the night in true party form, with a buttermilk cake (filled with mocha buttercream)—and ice cream! “Every wedding should have ice cream," says Cici, laughing.

Couple dancing at reception
Photo by Jamie English

For the reception, the fashionable bride changed into a red strapless dress that was equally as beautiful as her first. After two years of planning a detail-oriented party, she has this advice for those of you planning: "Remember, a good celebration isn’t just about the bride and groom," she says. "Our wedding was our big day, but we also thought so much about our guests’ experience. We wanted them to feel the joy of celebrating with us, not just watch a show with us as headliners!”

Wedding Team

Wedding Planner: Love Bird Events

Venue: Newport Beach Civic Center

Bride's Dress: Houghton

Bride's Veil: BHLDN

Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin

Bride's Jewelry: Ryan Storer

Hair & Makeup: Grace Lin Makeup

Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Klein Epstein & Parker

Wedding Bands: Tiffany & Co.

Floral Design: De Flora

Invitations: Printed by Hyegraph Invitations & Calligraphy

Catering: 24 Carrots

Cake: Mr. and Mrs. Creamery

Entertainment: Invisible Touch Events

Rentals: 24 Carrots

Videography: White Rose Productions

Photography: Jamie English

Related Stories