An Elegant, Art-Inspired Wedding in New York City

This creative couple brought the rich colors and lush flowers of their favorite paintings to life

Updated 09/25/17

Photo by Samm Blake

Erika Chou and Sheung Tang (“ST”) Luk first met in the basement of a stunning 100-year-old church in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood in February 2016. So for their wedding, on May 27, 2017, it’s no surprise that they returned to the same church to tie the knot. “We love the architecture and the way the light filters through the stained glass,” says Erika of the German Lutheran Church of St. Paul. The church’s color palette perfectly matched the couple’s vision—the still-life paintings of Flemish masters like Jan Brueghel—that they re-created for their reception at Academy Mansion. And since Erika is a restaurateur and ST is a designer, their late-spring celebration was full of creative details, like an indulgent meal by Daniel Boulud’s catering team (of course!) and lush flowers that looked straight out of a 17th-century masterpiece.

Planned by Melissa Lee of Bespoke Only and photographed by Samm Blake of the Wedding Artists Collective, the moody palette and refined details are totally inspiring. Keep scrolling to see the bride’s many outfit changes and one Insta-famous ring bearer!

Bride Sitting on Bed
Photo by Samm Blake

The bride spent the morning getting ready at the High Line Hotel, where she slipped into her first outfit of the day: a modern-meets-traditional gown by Lihi Hod!

Bride with parents
Photo by Samm Blake

“I think my mom may have been too ready to go dress shopping,” Erika laughs. “She got to our first appointment early, and as soon as I walked in the door she turned to me and announced that I wouldn’t find anything there. Thankfully, she said it in Cantonese!”

Bride in front of doors
Photo by Samm Blake
Bride with bouquet
Photo by Samm Blake

The lace sleeves and organza skirt of Erika’s gown gave it classic, timeless feel, which was a perfect match for the stately church venue. The bride carried a soft bouquet of ferns, peonies, ranunculus, sweet peas, anemones, parrot tulips, spray roses, and blue astrantia.

Flower girl with bunny
Photo by Samm Blake

Erika’s twin cousins had a blast walking down the aisle together! In fact, in addition to tossing flower petals, they carried the couple’s friend’s Instagram-famous bunny, Cleo (@cleo_thebunny). “The ring bearer was a bunny!” Erika says, laughing. “The twins held Cleo in a basket, and the bunny almost jumped out at the very end!”

Bride with father
Photo by Samm Blake

Erika made her grand entrance alongside her father, who walked her down the aisle as a friend from Juilliard played Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus.”

Ceremony venue
Photo by Samm Blake
Bride and groom at altar
Photo by Samm Blake

Upstairs from where they first met, ST and Erika exchanged traditional vows in front of the church’s wooden altar. “The church is amazing as it is, with blue-gray ceilings and white trim, so all we added was tapered candles in an antique candelabra we found, as well as a few small arrangements along the aisle,” Erika describes. During the ceremony, a moment of levity came when it was time to exchange rings. “Our bands got mixed up, so we tried to put the wrong rings on each other’s fingers,” says Erika. “Once we figured it out, I tried to put ST’s band on the wrong hand!”

Bride and groom leaving ceremony
Photo by Samm Blake

The bride and groom, in a Dior Homme suit and a white silk bow tie, were all smiles as they processed back down the aisle!

Bride and groom shot from back
Photo by Samm Blake
Outside of venue
Photo by Samm Blake

Following their exit, the newlyweds took a walk around the neighborhood where they first met before heading to their reception at the Academy Mansion, a sprawling 1920s building surrounding an interior courtyard. “We loved that the different rooms made our reception feel like we were hosting a dinner party at home,” says the bride.

Bride and groom against white wall
Photo by Samm Blake

But first: The couple changed into traditional attire for their Chinese tea ceremony at the Academy Mansion!

Bride and groom with parents
Photo by Samm Blake
Bride and groom with family
Photo by Samm Blake

“As is tradition, my new in-laws gave me a set of carved gold bracelets and an ornate necklace during the ceremony,” says Erika. “It’s something I will pass down to our (theoretical) future children.”

Bride and groom dancing
Photo by Samm Blake

The bride (back in her classic Lihi Hod!) and groom admit that one of the hardest parts of planning their wedding was learning to dance. After many months of lessons, ST and Erika took a spin to “La Mer,” a jazz tune originally recorded by Charles Trenet.

Floral centerpiece
Photo by Samm Blake
Candles and flowers
Photo by Samm Blake for The Wedding Artists Co.

Following their still-life theme, the couple filled the venue with arrangements of peonies, parrot tulips, roses, and astrantia. Additionally, one of the mansion’s fireplaces was surrounded with cherry blossoms and filled with pillar candles to create an elevated party atmosphere inside the space.

Tablescapes
Photo by Samm Blake

After cocktail hour inside the mansion’s courtyard, guests floated back inside to sit at tables draped in white linens and set with soft gray hemstitched napkins. The design focal point of the room was undoubtably the statement fireplace, which was draped in red and white blooms and branches of plum-hued leaves.

The dinner menu made as much of an impact as the flower-covered fireplace and candle-lit tabletops. “Our first date was at Buvette in the West Village, so we wanted French food at our reception,” says Erika, who chose Daniel Boulud’s Feast & Fêtes as the caterer.

Bride and groom black and white
Photo by Samm Blake
Bride and groom B&W
Photo by Samm Blake

After dinner, the bride made her third (and not final!) change of the day into a silk pants-and-top combo by Robert Woods. She toasted her new husband in the mansion’s interior courtyard, as did many of their guests; there were many, many memorable toasts after dark!

cutting cake
Photo by Samm Blake

The celebration ended with one final dress change for the bride and the cake cutting, of course! The custom cake, made by Sugar Couture, was a gift from Erika’s business partner, chef Doron Wong. “I sent him a concept board, and he ran with it,” says the bride. The result was a stunning display of sugar flowers filled with lemon-rosemary and raspberry flavors. Talk about a sweet ending to a beautiful day!

Wedding Planner & Florals: Bespoke Only || Ceremony Venue: German Lutheran Church of St. Paul || Reception Venue: Academy Mansion || Bride’s Dress: Lihi Hod, from Gabriella New York || Bride’s Veil: Gabriella New York || Bride’s Shoes: Prada || Bride’s Reception Outfit: Robert Woods || Hair: Takeo Suzuki || Makeup: Yoshie Kubota || Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Reformation, BHLDN, Jenny Yoo || Groom’s Attire: Dior Homme || Groomsmen’s Attire: The Black Tux || Engagement & Wedding Rings: WWAKE || Catering: Feast & Fêtes || Cake: Sugar Couture || Entertainment: The Hot Club of Flatbush || Rentals: Patina || Videography: Echoes & Wild Hearts || Photography: Samm Blake of the Wedding Artists Collective

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