Back in 2010, Elisa Hong was celebrating her 21st birthday in Fullerton, California, and she had invited a crowd to mark the occasion—including Edward Chung. He made a point to talk to the birthday girl, finding out when she offered him an alfajore (a dulce de leche sandwich cookie from Argentina) that Elly had lived in Buenos Aires for 19 years. “Edward loved the cookies and kept talking to me to see if he could get another one,” Elly says. The pair ended up talking all night, long after the other guests had left, and Edward went home with Elly’s number. After a few dates, Elly realized that Edward’s charm was as irresistible as he found those cookies, and they’ve been together ever since.
In February 2016, Edward planned a getaway to San Ysidro Ranch for Elly, knowing she would love the site’s beautiful gardens. As the sun began to set, he asked her to get something from the car, which is where Elly found string lights, a photo timeline of their relationship, and a special note. “I immediately knew what was happening,” Elly remembers. The letter led her across the property to a huge garden overlooking the sea, where Edward was waiting. “Thank goodness it was nighttime by the time he proposed, because I was crying my eyes out!” says Elly.
With most of their family and friends in the California area (save a dozen or so who flew in from Argentina for the occasion!), they decided to find a wedding venue close to home. They found their dream venue in Summit House, a restaurant housed in a Tudor-style mansion with a beautiful ballroom, panoramic views, and manicured grounds. “It was the perfect combination of elegant and rustic,” says Elly. They invited 200 guests to join them on November 26, 2016—just 10 months after getting engaged!—in the hills of Orange County. Simply Sera Events helped bring Elly’s vision to life, then Carmen Santorelli turned the stunning decor into lasting memories. Keep reading to see how a fall wedding can be surprisingly chic when done in a blue-and-white color palette!
One major cost that Elly cut? Her dress! “It’s common in the Korean community to rent a wedding dress instead of buying one, and there are a number of stores in Los Angeles’s Koreatown,” she says. “You can rent just about anything, so I visited a bunch of stores to find something that was going to be really flattering.” She had a romantic vision in mind, and when she spotted this strapless mermaid style, she knew it was the One.
Elly’s bridesmaids rented their dresses too, each selecting a dusty-blue Jenny Yoo dress from Vow to Be Chic.
The bride carried an all-white bouquet with an organic shape that combined ranunculus, peonies, polo and O’hara roses, dahlias, lisianthus, and seeded eucalyptus.
A close friend’s daughter served as flower girl and looked too cute in a white tulle dress and a cream cardigan. Her crown of white ranunculus and blush roses added a touch of whimsy as she and the ring bearer carried a sign reading “Here Comes the Bride!” down the aisle.
The ceremony was supposed to be held in the garden but was moved inside as it started to rain. Thankfully, the setup looked just as beautiful in the ballroom, with a rustic shelf topped with pumpkins and flowers acting as the ceremony altar.
The flower girl and ring bearer announced Elly’s entrance before she met Edward at the pumpkin-filled altar. The couple exchanged traditional vows but wrote each other personalized letters, which they saved to read on their honeymoon.
“After our vows, the pastor asked for a big applause for the bride and groom, and the DJ played our exit song, so Edward and I thought we were done and started to walk back down the aisle,” says Elly. “But it wasn’t over! Our pastor had us come back and felt that would be a good time to pray for us.”
The couple’s wedding was over Thanksgiving weekend, so they used miniature white pumpkins as both escort cards and favors. Each was tied with a hand-torn tag featuring guests’ names and table numbers.
The ballroom’s floor-to-ceiling windows were the perfect backdrop for the elegant reception. Soft-gray linens were topped with wooden chargers, white plates, and centerpieces of white garden roses, lisianthus, and seeded eucalyptus. But in the bride’s mind, it was the rentals the really made the day’s decor: “We were on the fence about renting cross-back chairs, but they really transformed the space,” says Elly. “They take up so much real estate in your reception, and it made a huge difference!”
After dining on chicken-and-waffle bites, Korean rice cakes, and salmon with a sweet Thai chili glaze, guests indulged in a serious pie spread (another idea that’s perfect for a fall wedding!). Flavors ranged from banberry (banana cream topped with fresh strawberries) to Earl Grey tea.
Edward was in charge of the entertainment and selected a DJ who played everything from hip-hop and pop to Latin and ‘90s jams. “We had an impromptu dance competition, which was pretty hilarious,” says Elly.
Looking back, the bride has this advice: “Hiring a wedding planner and splurging on a photographer are worth the investment,” says Elly. “Sera kept us on track with all the logistics, as well as brought our vision to life, and our photographs are so stunning. I know we’ll look back years from now and love every detail!”
Wedding Planner: Simply Sera Events
Venue: Summit House
Bride’s Dress, Veil & Jewelry: Pronovias, from Bella Wedding Bridal
Bride’s Shoes: Nordstrom
Hair & Makeup: Kohnur Premier Bridal Beauty
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo, from Vow to Be Chic
Groom’s Attire: The Black Tux
Engagement Ring: Brian Gavin Diamonds
Floral Design: Flower Allie
Paper Products: Color & Creation Inc.
Calligraphy: Dawn Naomi Designs
Catering: Summit House
Cake: Elise Cakes
Videography: Memo Collective
Photography: Carmen Santorelli