A gorgeous spring day in Los Angeles was the perfect backdrop for this punchy, colorful, and totally authentic celebration. Karen and Masato brought their shared graphic eye to wedding planning and the results. From the newspaper wedding announcement to the hand-painted ceremony backdrop, this celebration was a true team effort.
What inspired you while you were planning your wedding? We were inspired by our own experiences as wedding guests. We wanted to have an enjoyable and comfortable environment for our guests, and make them feel like they were part of our celebration. It was an intimate party with only 65 guests, which gave us the opportunity to celebrate with the most important people in our lives.”
“As professional graphic designers, we are extremely conscientious about how the details work as a whole. As a result, we designed and created almost all of the details ourselves. To kick off the wedding, we designed a custom newspaper wedding announcement along with a responsive website to host all the wedding information. For the wedding day, we painted an eight foot striped canvas backdrop, created hand-lettered signs, painted flowers pots, and crafted our favors.”
Did you include any special traditions in your wedding? Karen was raised in a traditional Chinese family, and to honor her heritage, we hosted an intimate tea ceremony on the morning of our wedding. During the tea ceremony, we gave sweet tea to the elders of both our families as a thank you for all their love and care. In return, they gave us their blessings and wedding gifts.
After the traditional tea ceremony, Karen slipped into her structural Vera Wang wedding gown, while Masato swapped his red bow tie for a mint green tie.
“We’re not sailors, but the tradition of ‘tying the knot’ symbolized our relationship beautifully. The fisherman’s’ knot represents the strong bond of friendship, love, and passion we share, just as we share our lives and our work. Plus, having the knot framed at home will always bring back wonderful memories of our wedding day.”
Your ceremony in three words. Cozy, secluded, modular.
How did you organize your ceremony? Instead of traditional ceremony seating, we preferred for our guests to stand around us, with no designation of a bride or groom’s side.
What was your ceremony music? Karen was accompanied down the aisle by her father, a hummingbird, and butterflies to “The Winner is” by Mychael Danna and DeVotchKa. Masato decided to use The Final Countdown by Europe as our recessional–it was a perfect expression of his sense of humor!
Who officiated your ceremony? We asked our long time friend Dan, from our college years, to officiate. He has been through so much with us as we have grown as individuals and as a couple. He understood our chemistry and our attitude towards the ceremony, and kept it light-hearted, casual, and friendly.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? Since neither of us are particularly religious, we took a light-hearted and fun approach to our ceremony. We didn’t include long ceremony readings or vows, because we wanted our actions to speak for themselves.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Tying the knot was the best part of our ceremony. It was interactive, intimate, and slightly comical as the guests enjoyed our messy knot tying skill. Overall, the ceremony was very true to us and who we are as a couple.
“Our reception had a cozy, laid-back, house party vibe. Since it was such an intimate celebration, it was important to us to introduce our friends from different parts of our lives, and we encouraged mingling by not assigning seating. Our guests spent the afternoon enjoy each other’s company (and the perfect spring weather) in the outdoor garden.”
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? Elysian LA is a hidden gem in a conveniently central location. The modern, industrial indoor space, lush green garden and all the vibrant, playful furniture made Elysian LA our dream venue for an afternoon spring wedding.
How did your wedding venue influence your celebration? Everything was dictated by the look and feel of the venue itself. We didn’t have to do much decorating since the venue was already gorgeous and we wanted to maintain its simplicity. Using a flexible color palette based on the existing furniture at Elysian LA, it was easy to create a cohesive aesthetic.
What was your first dance song? We’re not big dancers, so instead we spent time enjoying our guests’ company. We felt it was important to fill our day with things we like and people we enjoy hanging out with, rather than the things we were supposed to have.
What was your wedding menu? Food was a big priority for us, and David from Elysian LA provided a fantastic variety of food for our afternoon tea-time buffet. The menu included open-faced sandwiches, quiche and fresh spring salads.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? In addition to the two-layer organic vegan chocolate cake baked by our friend and professional baker, Divina, we also served brownie bites, raspberry thumbprint and pistachio shortbread cookies. Karen created the geometric cake topper using modeling clay.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? It was amazing to see everything we’d planned come to life, since we’d spent so much time and energy crafting our wedding. When we realized that our photographer had captured all of those moments for us, we were absolutely thrilled.