What made the wedding special and unique?
Our wedding took place at Long Meadow Ranch Winery in St. Helena California. Deborah is French Korean, she immigrated to America from Paris when she was young but still wanted to acknowledge her mom’s culture with a modern take on a hanbok. Both Ben and Deborah share a Jewish heritage so the wedding took place under a chuppah, with wine and of course a great hora. Deborah works in television news, Ben in financial tech, the two met in New York City and moved across the country together to San Francisco which they now call home.
Both Ben and I have been members of the winery for a long time and love the food at Farmstead, the winery’s restaurant which is arguably more well known than the winery itself as it is consistently rewarded with Bib Gourmands every year. The food was all seasonal since they are sustainable and everything is organic. 80% of everything served to our guests was grown or raised by the winery, including the beef for the beef ragu. About a week prior to our wedding, we woke up to a smoke filled apartment in San Francisco and from there on every single day was a bit of a mad dash, we lost our transportation, guests cancelled, accommodations had to be moved around with almost everyone at our wedding booked to stay in Calistoga initially. We switched our rehearsal lunch to Gott’s Roadside at the Ferry building instead of the original Gott’s in St. Helena. The things we remember most are all the people who helped us, our community up in St. Helena who we’ve now known for years and made the day and week bearable even though everyone in the area was already facing so much. The Charlie Palmer Harvest Inn saw all their rooms being cancelled within a few days and gave our guests discounted rooms, they took care of all our friends and family that made the trip as well as local first responders. We honestly can’t decide who we were most thankful to by the end of the week. As the week started I kept calling it a disaster wedding but by the end we were calling it a miracle wedding.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
I knew I wanted to wear a hanbok which is a traditional Korean dress. With Korea being so far away, we decided to go to Los Angeles instead because there are so many great dress shops in Korea town. My parents met Ben and I in L.A. for the weekend and my mom and I dress shopped while they went to an extensive amount of coffee shops in order to keep the dress a surprise. Even though we looked at several shops, Kim Mehee’s was the first place we tried and we ended up going right back there within two hours and purchasing the first dress I tried on. Her shop is a bit of a modern take on hanboks and all of them are unique and beautiful. I went in there expecting to find one dress and walked out with two we loved them so much.
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
There were a few things that made the wedding personal and special to us. Our chuppah had a white tablecloth over the top, it’s a family heirloom and belonged to Ben’s grandmother. Both Ben’s family and my dad’s side of the family are Jewish so it was a really nice way to incorporate something that meant something to us in the ceremony. I customized my shoes through Shoes of Prey which let me pick the fabrics and colors; something that threw Ben off because he didn’t know what colors my dresses would be. My Korean aunt’s gift to us for the wedding were my wedding dresses. She and my uncle and cousins weren’t able to make it but I’m very close to them so it was really special having her there in spirit. The last special touch was the silver head piece I wore in my hair. My parents picked it up for me in Kuala Lumpur on recent travels and though it was a last minute addition, it ended up being one of my favorite day-of changes.
What was the most memorable part of the day?
There were so many great memories from that day. Our guests will say the vows, everyone was very emotional but for us it was the mishaps that made the day both hilarious and memorable. About five minutes before walking down the aisle, I realized that I was missing the petticoat (a hoop skirt like insert for the bottom of my dress) which made my dress entirely see through from the waist down. My mom cut the white garment bag the dress came in in half and jumped into action with the help of my maid of honor, Kait. They used clothespins and medical tape (my sister is a nurse) to adhere it to my body. When I finally made it up to say my vows, Ben kept looking at me quizzically because I would only give him one of my hands (the other hand was holding up the dress). A close second was Ben’s best man’s very long (very, very long) speech. The highlight was a book that Mike wrote about Ben when they were 7 and the book, illustrated and all was about how Ben was his best friend. Mike saved the book for our wedding day and at the end of the speech gifted it to me.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
Ben and I met in real life at our friend’s MBA graduation party at his house in Long Island. Ben was in the same fraternity as Paul who happened to be one of my co-workers. We didn’t quite start dating then. After that chance meeting we were both recruited for a corn hole league in NYC a few months later. We played through the season and about a week or two after it ended, we finally went out on a date.
The rest from there was history. We dated for a few years, first in NYC, then in San Francisco where we moved together. Ben’s parents had gotten us a gift certificate one year for the Tickle Pink Inn in Carmel, CA. The inn is a beautiful bed and breakfast with cliffside ocean views. A few years later Ben had planned a trip back up for the weekend where we were supposed to meet up with our friends Paul (yes the same Paul) and his girlfriend Monica. When we arrived we were greeted by the front desk receptionist who informed us that there was a fire blazing about two miles south, the Sobreanes fire and she wasn’t sure if we should stay at all.
Ben, nervous (and grumpy) asked if we could just put our things down in the room while we waited for our friends. The room was beautiful, floor to ceiling windows of just an ocean view with a wrap around balcony. I saw some photos taped on the windows but since they were backlit I assumed they were promotional material and beelined instead for a hot tub in the middle of our room (not in the bathroom).
“Take a picture of me!” I said, fully clothed, sitting in the tub. “Can we have a drink first on the balcony?” Ben responded nervously. “Right now?” I quipped back, my last words before we got engaged. As I got closer to the window I realized Ben had shipped the hotels photos of us that we’d taken all over the world and by the time I turned around he was already on one knee.
Photographer: Ditto Dianto // Wedding Coordinators: DGN Events and Designs // Florals: DIY, Bride’s mother. Flower Market, San Francisco // Invitations: Shine Wedding Invitations // Venue: Long Meadow Ranch // Makeup Artist: Meagan Major, Major Makeup // Dress Designer: Kim Mehee Hanbok // Band: Pure Ecstasy