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.
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.
Cici accessorized her modern dress with an equally modern, asymmetrical bouquet.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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!”
After an outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour on the lawn, everyone moved indoors to the reception space, which was decorated with an understated palette.
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.
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.
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 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