We love the old Hollywood glamour of Debbie and Adam’s Hotel Bel-Air wedding, but we especially love that they focused on creating an intentional ceremony which would fill their married life with the same excitement and love they felt as they said their vows. From the bride’s fabulous Chanel sling backs, to the romantic gazebo on the lawn, to the stunning floral arrangements that filled the ballroom, this wedding is sure to inspire.
“Of course I used wedding blogs for ideas and inspiration–but ultimately, I stuck to my general sense of style to make decisions about our wedding. I love simple, classic, yet modern designs, so I used that as the baseline for most of the details. Adam and I also thought about what elements we’d enjoyed at other people’s weddings, like personalized menus and an open bar, and incorporated them into ours.”
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? Though Adam and I live in New York, we are both originally from Southern California and wanted to get married in Los Angeles, close to our families. We chose Hotel Bel-Air because it was exactly what we were looking for: classic, private, and intimate.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Though it would be nice to plan and decide everything together, the reality is: sometimes you must divide and conquer.
“I thought I would be a total mess during the ceremony. I predicted many, many tears. But the only time I cried was when my dad gave my hand to Adam. After that, I was smiling like a goober the entire time. The favorite part of the ceremony was standing up there with Adam, face-to-face, beaming in bliss. It’s very hard for me to remember much else.”
Your ceremony in three words. Genuine, intimate, and thoughtful.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? Planning our ceremony was pretty simple and organic. It was important that the ceremony captured the essence of what our wedding was all about: a celebration of our promise to one another. So we boiled it down to: a short message from the officiant, a beautiful poem recited by a groomsman, our vows, and that was it!”
Who officiated your ceremony? A close family friend and mentor of Adam’s officiated our ceremony. We thought about who embodied the values we wanted to live by, and Mike came to mind. We had a lot of fun working with him, and the message he shared with us and our guests at the ceremony was thoughtful and inspiring.
What were your ceremony readings? One of Adam’s groomsmen, Paul, recited Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda, one of our favorite poets. Paul and Adam are best friends from college, where they were both English majors; their shared love for literature and poetry made Paul an easy pick for the reading. The poem is a beautiful and honest work, and was a perfect addition to our ceremony.
What were your vows like? We wrote our vows together. We wanted to have continuity with each other, so we decided to have the same vows, with slight variations. It was important to us that the vows communicated realistic, grounded thoughts. We recognized that we are making a promise to prevent time and routine from wearing away the overwhelming excitement and love that we felt on our wedding day.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? At the end of the ceremony, the officiant asked us to, “Repeat these words after me,” and segmented a series of statements that would officially make us husband and wife. Adam did great, but when he moved onto me, I totally spaced out by the third statement and forgot what to repeat! I ended up saying, “What was it again?” into the microphone. Everyone laughed–it was embarrassing and hilarious.
“Our reception had a classic yet modern aesthetic–formal without being stuffy. Our emcee was Matt, one of Adam’s closest friends. He was hilarious and made the event run seamlessly, so even though there was a schedule of sorts, it felt very relaxed.”
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? I am Korean, and we wanted to incorporate my Korean heritage to the reception. During the entrees, Adam and I changed into our traditional Korean wedding outfits and planned to re-enter the reception. But just as we were about to enter, my mom, who had also changed into Korean dress, decided she wanted to walk in with Adam. So I walked in by myself, everyone clapped, and moments later, my mom and Adam waltzed in like a couple. It was very cute, and so true to my mother’s personality.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had two cakes: A berry chiffon shortcake with seasonal berries and vanilla mascarpone cream, and an Austrian chocolate cake with a touch of Espresso and chocolate pudding.
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance?
Our first dance song was “How Long Will I Love You” by Ellie Goulding. Adam and I shared our father-daughter and mother-son dances to “Stand By Me,” sung by Tracy Chapman, my favorite singer-songwriter.
Please tell us about any special moments from your reception. Adam’s older brother gave the most intellectual and comprehensive best man speech I’ve ever heard. It was full of perceptive thoughts about Adam’s character, our relationship, and the institution of marriage. People were asking for copies of the speech afterwards. // During my father’s speech, he warned Adam that I was “expensive to maintain” and wished him luck. That statement went viral – I think it even became a hashtag on Instagram!