Graphic designer and wardrobe stylist Vivian Lai met her husband-to-be, Eric Chan, back in 2003 when a mutual friend thought they could build a business connection. The pair met at Eric’s work, and while the friend was right about the connection, it ended up being one of love rather than business. The twosome dated ten years before getting engaged, and then spent the next three years planning a whimsical woodland-inspired wedding on May 1, 2016.
Vivian had difficulty finding an inspiring venue at first, but with help from her maid of honor, she came across Summerour Studio in Atlanta, Georgia. “As soon as I stepped foot in the gorgeous courtyard, I knew this was it," she says. "The architecture and gorgeous greenery was a major factor, but ultimately it was an affirmative gut feeling." Danielle Cartwright of Detailed I Do’s help put all the pieces together, sticking to a rose-gold, champagne, and midnight-blue color scheme. Read on to see the fun details of the big day (like rabbits in a playpen!), captured by photographer Rachael Osborn Photography.
With design constantly on Vivian's mind at work, dress shopping came easy to this bride. She chose her Galina Signature strapless tulle ball gown, complete with three-dimensional floral details, after trying on just one other gown. “This dress was so magical and ethereal, I definitely felt like royalty or a couture princess!” Vivian says. She finished her look with delicate rose-gold jewelry and a pair of statement-making blue heels.
Her spring-inspired bouquet contained a mix of peonies, garden roses, spray roses, stock, white lilac, and astrantia, all tied with flowing silk ribbon.
Eric wore a navy suit, vest, and crisp white shirt from Jos. A. Bank. He and his groomsmen wore garden-rose boutonnieres.
Vivian and Eric gifted the groomsmen tailored gray suits, ties, and tie clips. They also gifted the bridesmaids their pleated navy dresses, along with earrings and bracelets. Vivian's 'maids held bouquets with the same spring mix that she carried down the aisle.
The couple hired a DJ to play instrumental cover songs for the ceremony, including Meghan Trainor’s “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” for the bride's entrance. The focal point of the ceremony space was a staircase covered in greenery and flowers, interspersed with pillar candles, moss, and flower petals. Having been together over 10 years already, the bride and groom knew they wanted to write their own vows to express the intimate bond they already shared.
Vivian and Eric teamed up with the Georgia House Rabbit Society to bring a couple of bunnies to the reception, an ode to their rabbit Marco. "We wanted to bring awareness to all the rabbit rescuing and relocations that GHRS does for such an intelligent, loving, and often misunderstood animal," the bride says.
Vivian and Eric’s major DIY project was putting together moss easels in gold frames where they hung vintage keys with escort cards on them. “The keys doubled as wedding favors because they were also bottle openers,” Vivian says.
Long wooden tables were placed throughout the reception space with loosely placed branches and cherry blossoms arranged over shimmering gold table runners. Table settings included delicate white plates and teacups with gold detailing.
Cocktail hour included hors d’oeuvres like seared scallops on marmalade toast points and tequila-poached shrimp served in shot glasses. Vivian and Eric wanted to provide tons of meal options for their guests during the reception, so they created stations where friends and family could enjoy everything from smoked salmon and prime rib to grilled vegetables and mini-Yorkshire puddings. The highlight, though, was dessert, which was inspired by what the couple would serve at a tea party. They chose a three-tiered French vanilla cake with Meyer lemon–zested cream cheese and raspberry mousse. They also served a tower of carrot cake and red velvet cupcakes.
When two guests started a break-dancing contest, it encouraged everyone else to get out on the dance floor. “Everyone was in awe, and it really set the mood,” Vivian says. The surprises kept coming, as Eric and his groomsmen serenaded Vivian with “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede. “It was such a silly song, but it brought me to happy tears,” she says.
The couple’s friends and family cheered them on as they left the party as husband and wife. After the big day, Vivian and Eric set off on a mini-moon to Charleston, a city they actually considered having their wedding in, and plan to travel to Italy for their official honeymoon later this year.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Summerour Studio
Wedding Planner: Detailed I Do's
Bride's Wedding Dress: Galina Signature
Hair & Makeup: Marina Soto
Bridesmaids' Dresses: H&M
Groom's Attire: Jos. A. Bank
Bride's Engagement Ring & Wedding Band: Blue Nile
Groom's Wedding Band: Cartier
Flowers: Victory Blooms
Music: David Smith; DJ Kermit
Catering: Bold American Events
Cake: Frosted Pumpkin
Rentals: Vintage Rental Co.
Videographer: Thomas Vision Films
Photographer: Rachael Osborn Photography