I've been looking forward to blogging this gorgeous wedding for a while. As soon as Matt Horan sent over some sneak peaks I knew it was going to be something special. Sharing the images with the team and judging their reactions, it was clear that it was going to be more than special - this wedding is truly extraordinary. Karen and Jonathan filled their venue with cherry blossom and the result is nothing short of spectacular. Throw in some serious attention to detail on the decor, a bronze hued Watters wedding dress and some stunning florals and you've got yourselves a dream wedding day. As always, the images from Matt Horan are beautiful - all the light and love captured in such a magical way. And bonus points to Karen and Jonathan who discovered Matt via Rock My Wedding and flew him out to California to capture their big day. It was worth every penny, as you're about to see...

The Photography

Karen The Bride: We had been looking for the right photographer for a while until one day I stumbled upon Matthew Horan’s work on Rock My Wedding. We noticed that Matt could capture so much emotion in a candid moment and loved that his photos were shot in beautiful natural light. We live in California and Matt was based in London, so we weren’t sure if we could make this work. After a few email exchanges and a Skype chat, we knew Matt was the photographer we were looking for. We had the fortune of spending a lot of time getting to know Matt outside of our wedding day. His personality made all of us very comfortable and I couldn’t forget the moments during our wedding that he would enjoy himself and dance to the music. He traveled with us to Yosemite the day after our wedding and took additional photos for us as well. Matt is amazing inside out. We were so happy to have him as part of our wedding day, and we absolutely loved our wedding photographs!

The Videography

Our videographer, Martin Wood, is a friend and colleague of my husband’s. They had worked for the same company for over three years and we knew we’d be comfortable being with him all day. We love that Martin has a keen eye for framing, and has a clean and modern style. He is also a master of capturing steady yet dynamic shots. Martin and Matt joined us on our trip to Yosemite the day after the wedding, and we had an amazing time that we’ll treasure forever.

The Bride

People have asked me if I ever imagined what gown I’d be wearing on my wedding day, but frankly I had no idea what type of dress I’d wear. I researched different types of necklines, silhouettes and waistlines, and I ended up overwhelmed by all the information I needed to find the right gown. I was even considering picking the first gown I tried on to keep it simple, but my bridesmaid and mom persuaded me to explore different shops. One day I was visiting Bolee Bridal, I must’ve tried about 10 gowns by that time already. Bolee had a gown I’d seen online, Watters Penelope. The colour of the gown wasn’t what I expected a wedding dress to be, but I gave it a try anyway and the dress turned out to be the one! The soft bronze netting skirt offered a sense of ethereal romance, and the off-white colour blended into my skin. It felt dreamy with a soft tulle overlay on top. I loved the soft illusion neckline, open back, and the floral-covered bodice. I was so delighted wearing the gown and it brought me the same joy I had when I was a child wearing my ballet dress for the first time. The gown was whimsical, dreamy and I could easily move around and dance with it. It was perfect. I also wore 1980’s Chanel Gold Plated Camellia Pearl Dangle Earrings borrowed from my Mom. My classic pink pearl necklace, a blessing gift from Bridesmaid right before the wedding night. I wore the Susanna Mounties Wreath with Painted Floral Veil for the ceremony. The wreath with the veil were a perfect match. The veil was translucent so it didn’t cover the back of my wedding gown which had beautiful tulle strips and low back laces. I wore a Golden Pearl Comb for the reception and let my hair down. Debra Moreland’s hand painted artwork has been my favourite, they are usually designed asymmetrically and the hand painted technique adds another dimension of soft colour. Since my family and bridesmaid were away, Perfect Details’ owner Lisa was a motherly wedding guidance to me. We built our friendship through the wedding process and shared design inspirations together. I wore Bella Belle’s Paloma shoes in Ivory. It has a bit of mature look with the T-strap and peep toe style. I also love the romantic look with its floral beading.

The Flowers

When I came across Susan Kelleher of Sweet Lilac Studio’s website, I instantly fell in love with her gorgeous arrangements. Her style was rustic and modern, but very classy, which was exactly what we were looking for. We wanted to have cherry blossoms as our theme since we were having our honeymoon in Japan during peak Cherry blossom season. The peak bloom period lasts only about a week, and we were worried they wouldn’t be in season during our wedding day since it had been hailing a week prior to the wedding. All of us were hoping the miracle would come and fortunately the weather turned out to be a perfect 70 degrees on our wedding day! We had beautiful cherry blossom branches all over the venue. We decorated the chapel with cherry blossom arches over the entrance of chapel and by the stage. We also had them in the reception area arching over our backdrop as well as in tall vases as the centerpieces. Susan also decorated all the reception tables with cherry blossoms in high and low vases to keep the visual more interesting with contrast. The flowers really brought the room to life and created a beautiful experience.

The Venue

I grew up in Taiwan, where my family is always having celebrations during special occasions. I wanted a cozy, home-like environment for my wedding, somewhere to gather all our friends and families. Union Hill Inn was exactly the venue I was looking for. The venue provided us with five adorable rustic cottages for our friends and family to stay in during the nights before and after our wedding. We had breakfast together the morning after the wedding and the whole experience felt like a getaway retreat. The chapel (which used to be a barn) was built more than a hundred years ago and was absolutely magical. It had a rustic and romantic style that looked straight out of a fairytale. We lined the rafters with eucalyptus and wrapped them with string lights. We draped eucalyptus onto the sides of the aisles as well and placed lanterns on the aisle stands.

The Decor

I handmade each reception guest table name sign. I used the concept of a friendship wish bottle I received when I was a child. I hoped each wedding guest would have a long lasting friendship with us. The cork top of the bottle was cut it half to slide in the name card. The glass bottle was filled with star sand, which I had played with in Taiwan in my childhood. The sand was imported from Okinawa and I was fortunate to find it on Etsy. I dried baby’s breath and mixed it with the star sand in the bottle. There were many used signs from the venue and I received some antique gold frames from my coworkers as our wedding gifts. I painted all with boards with chalk paint, and had our talented lettering friend Jina Jung to letter the welcome sign, wedding favours sign, dinner menu sign, and reception sign. We received wine from my father’s old friend Allen. He owns a vineyard and we were overwhelmed with the blessing he gave us. It reminded us of Jesus turning water to wine when there wasn’t any wine left at a wedding. The original chairs from Union Hill Inn are dark metal chair with burlap. We swapped it for our guests with brown fruitwood folding chair with paddings for optimum comfort. For the sweetheart chairs, we used traditional wood dining chair with cross back and decorated with roses.

The Food

We have a family friend who owns a professional bakery and she made us a beautiful one layered cake. Our florist added some flowers for decoration and it looked perfect. It was all we could ask for, a simple cake that was also beautiful and delicious. We found Chef Russ (The Hidden Table) through our venue’s list of approved caterers. From the first time I spoke to him, he was extremely professional and very passionate about his work. Our menu consisted of an antipasto platter during cocktail hour which included Italian meats, cheeses, olives, green beans, dried fruits, nuts, jams and dips with artisan bread. For our dinner buffet we had a mixed baby green salad with cranberry vinaigrette, miso glazed salmon, oak grilled tri tip, butter braised red potatoes, and grilled local market vegetables. Kate’s Bakery is local bakery just around the corner from our venue. We ordered macarons, lemon bars, cupcakes, and apricot scones, all of which were incredibly delicious. There were only crumbs left by the end of the night, and we received so many compliments on how good the desserts were.

The Wedding Party

A gift for my bestie. Since I wasn’t able to go to LA during the preparation time of my wedding, I asked Eun to pick a dress she loves. We actually didn’t see each other wearing our dresses in person until a couple months before the wedding day. It was absolutely gorgeous on her and it made me so happy that she was dancing with it and enjoyed the dress as much as I enjoyed mine. My husband wanted a cobalt suit with a pink bowtie and he found an affordable sharkskin suit from Kenneth Cole that fit perfectly. He had my pants tailored and tapered to be a skinnier fit. His best man wore a grey sharkskin suit also from Kenneth Cole, and wore a sage green bow tie to compliment my husband’s bowtie (our wedding colours were pastel pink and sage green).

The Stationery

As a brand designer and a bride to be, I felt it was very important to be detailed with our notes and stationery, and I believe there’s big differences between digital and print. I designed our save the date magnets and composed a wallpaper image on the homepage of our website. The magnets featured two thumbprints that formed a heart shape and represented our unity. It used our wedding colors, pastel pink and sage green. For our invitation, we didn’t have an official engagement photo that time, so we chose template on Minted that had beautiful letterpressed cards with a floral pattern that featured the same colors as our save the dates.

The Transport

Safety was my top concern when we were planning the wedding. It is not a nice to have for us but a must because the road was dark and we really wanted our guests to feel like a getaway wedding party. It was worth everything to know all my guests were safely back to their hotels. We had Kelly from Mother Lode Adventure Co. to pickup and drop off our wedding guests from local Sonora hotels.
Fern Godfrey

Written by Fern Godfrey

Videography: Official Multimedia | Bride: Watters | Boutique: BoLee Bridal Couture | Painted Floral Veil: BHLDN | Hair Wreathe: Susanna Of The Mounties at Perfect Details | Shoes: Bella Belle at Perfect Details | Floral Design: Sweet Lilacs | Venue: Union Hill Inn | Lettering: Olive Me Designs | Chair Hire: Classic Party Rentals | Sierra Party Rentals | Catering: The Hidden Table | Sweets: Kate's Teahouse | Bridesmaid: Jenny Yoo via Nordstorm | Groom: Kenneth Cole | Transport: Mother Lode Adventures | Hair & Make Up: Bun Bun Bridal Lab | Wedding Coordinator: Sonora Events | DJ & Photobooth: Sound Extreme
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