An Italian-Inspired Wedding on a California College Campus

Planned by AE&Co

Updated 06/27/19

Photo by Scott Clark Photo

Vivian Yuxi Shen and Andrew Ahn are both lawyers—who met at New York University and got engaged after Vivian graduated from Cornell Law School—so it's no surprise the pair of academics chose to marry on a college campus in Pasadena, California on August 18, 2018. "We fell in love with the Athenaeum's Roman peristyle and Hellenistic design," Vivian says of the private academic club, which was Albert Einstein's residence at Caltech.

Th couple inspiration from the club's Greek and Roman influence and designed an Italian-inspired wedding just east of Los Angeles. They hired Alexis Eskenazi of AE&Co. to plan and design the summer celebration and credit her with keeping the process as stress-free as possible. "Alexis really understood our vision and executed it with precision and ease," says Vivian. "In fact, the only hard part was the seating chart. With friends and family coming from all over the world and so many different circles that didn't all intersect, figuring out who to sit together was a puzzle!"

Vivian and Andrew ultimately envisioned Italian elegance, pairing neutral backdrops and elegant textures with richly colored flowers straight out of the Tuscan countryside. Keep scrolling to see how they brought a European vibe to their Pasadena wedding, as photographed by Scott Clark Photo below!

rehearsal dinner
Photo by Scott Clark Photo
bride in red dress
Photo by Scott Clark Photo

To kick off their wedding weekend, Andrew and Vivian welcomed guests to Pasadena at their rehearsal dinner. The bride paired a vibrant red wrap dress with matching earrings and modern white mules.

bride on spiral staircase
Photo by Scott Clark Photo
Reem Acra wedding gown
Photo by Scott Clark Photo

"I tried on a number of dresses with mixed fabric and intricate appliqués but all that detail felt distracting," says Vivian. "When I put on this simple Reem Acra gown, I could see myself and my personality coming through." The classic dress featured a structured neckline, a full satin skirt, and a dramatic train. Vivian wore a necklace from her mother that she shortened into a choker to show off the dress's unique shape, and carried a soft bouquet of white and blush roses and ranunculus.

first look
Photo by Scott Clark Photo
bride and groom kiss
Photo by Scott Clark Photo

To match the stately setting and his bride's elegant gown, Andrew kept things classic in a black Giorgio Armani tuxedo.

garden wedding ceremony
Photo by Scott Clark Photo
ceremony seating
Photo by Scott Clark Photo

Vivian describes the ceremony setting as "dreamy." The ceremony took place in a manicured garden, below towering trees and surrounded by arched porticos. The space was filled with mismatched chairs that enhanced the Italian wedding vibe, which the bride describes as dreamy.

bride and mom
Photo by Scott Clark Photo
exchanging wedding vows
Photo by Scott Clark Photo
first kiss
Photo by Scott Clark Photo
newlywed bride and groom
Photo by Scott Clark Photo

Vivian walked down the aisle with her mother. "It was so special to share that moment with her," she says. As part of their ceremony, Andrew and Vivian asked guests in the front rows to pass the couple's wedding bands, set on moss pillows, and bless the rings with good wishes before the couple exchanged them.

cocktail hour
Photo by Scott Clark Photo

Andrew and Vivian gravitate towards light and refreshing drinks, so their signature cocktail was a glass of Champagne with a splash of St. Germain that paired perfectly with the al fresco lounges at cocktail hour.

Roland Mouret reception dress
Photo by Scott Clark Photo
strapless satin dress
Photo by Scott Clark Photo

For the reception, Vivian changed into a strapless Roland Mouret column dress with an origami neckline and structured peplum. The slit in the skirt showed off her white Gucci platforms. "I chose a platform and block heels for maximum height and stability!" she says.

outdoor wedding reception
Photo by Scott Clark Photo
wedding reception table
Photo by Scott Clark Photo

The reception took place in the central courtyard, with tables creating a U shape around a central dance floor. Delicately patterned linens were paired with ornate chargers and colorful centerpieces on each table.

fresh fruit centerpiece
Photo by Scott Clark Photo
chandeliers over dance floor
Photo by Scott Clark Photo

On the dinner tables, lace-patterned linens created a tone-on-tone backdrop. Lush centerpieces of roses, scabiosas, and peonies were surrounded with fresh grapes and stone fruit. "The tables were absolutely decadent," says Vivian. Crystal chandeliers provided light and a touch of sparkle in the middle of the action.

flower cookies
Photo by Scott Clark Photo
grey wedding cake
Photo by Scott Clark Photo

Baker Lori Stern created the couple's charcoal-hued wedding cake, which was topped with fresh blooms. "We also couldn't skip her gorgeous flower shortbread cookies!" adds the bride. "We had them individually wrapped and passed them as a sweet thank you while guests were departing."

mother-son dance
Photo by Scott Clark Photo
wedding dance floor
Photo by Scott Clark Photo
bride and groom on dance floor
Photo by Scott Clark Photo

"We had so much fun dancing that I completely forgot about the bouquet toss!" says Vivian. In fact, she and Andrew only left the dance floor to hit up the Polaroid photo booth, where guests also left notes on the back of their photos for the newlyweds.

Wedding Planning: AE&Co. || Venue: The Athenaeum || Bride's Dress: Reem Acra || Bride's Reception Dress: Roland Mouret || Bride's Shoes: Gucci || Bride's Jewelry: Cartier || Hair & Makeup: Page Beauty || Groom's Attire: Giorgio Armani || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: David Yurman || Floral Design: Isa Floral || Paper Products: Tiny Pine Press || Catering: The Athenaeum || Cake & Cookies: Lori Stern || Ceremony Music: West Coast Music || Reception Music: Marcus Shadden || Rentals: Daylight Events, Town and Country Event Rentals || Photography: Scott Clark Photo

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