Catherine and Raymond’s gorgeous wedding in Koh Samui was all about creating an experience—a vacation in celebration of love! The details are fab (hats off to CCL Weddings & Events) and we’re especially “cray” about abundance of adorable graphic details like the custom stationery by Small Paper Co.. at every turn and the “super-cool ceremony floor lettering. See for yourself in Christine Farah Photography‘s fabulous images which definitely make a strong case for the “BEST WEEKEND EVER.”
What made the wedding special and unique?
There were so many things that made this wedding so special to us. We both grew up with a large group of friends (since we were 3 years old) who attended the wedding. We went through elementary, high school, and college together; now our marriage. It was so special to us that they have all taken time out to the join us thousands of miles away to celebrate our marriage. We wanted to create an experience for them rather than just a one day celebration, so we invited them to take a vacation with us where we took care of most of the costs besides the airfare, and planned all the meals and as many excursions as possible.
Another really important reason we chose Thailand as the country for the celebration was because of my dear aunt who passed away from cancer a few years prior. We had released her ashes at sea in Thailand, and I vowed that because she was not able to be here physically that I would want to be as close to her as I possibly could. We chose Koh Samui and chose to be in front of the ocean, and I can say that I haven’t felt this close to her in years.
Lastly, we had tried to include every person that attended the wedding to somehow be a part of the actual wedding. My closest girlfriends/bridesmaids did my hair, the person who introduced us on a blind date 11 years prior officiated the wedding, a past client of mine who became such a dear friend prayed over the marriage, a friend emceed, and the list can go on and on. It was a weekend filled where all those who were there felt like one big family.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
Finding a gown was one of the easiest tasks for me. I knew that I would have to carry the dress overseas so I wanted something that would be easy to carry, not heavy and would not get ruined or wrinkled during the transfer. I actually went to the White Dress in Laguna Beach to try on another dress, and peeking out from the rows of dresses was the most gorgeous, ethereal and whimsy Watters gown that was THE DRESS for me. I tried it on and my best friend/officiant confirmed that it was truly the right choice. It only took me 30 minutes to try on dresses and make the purchase!
What were some touches added to make it personal?
Everything we did was all about making sure that we created an experience from our point-of-view. We had created welcome bags from drawstring backpacks with an illustrated map of Koh Samui for all our guests filled with our favorite snacks from Thailand! We hand wrote letters to each of our guests and placed them in their rooms upon arrival. The first night was filled with a lot of welcoming hugs and drinks on the beach! To get the conversation going with all our guests we had created buttons that had a word or short phrase about the person that we knew them for. The evening was all about making sure we made the guests feel welcome and get to know each other.
We started each one of the three evening with a speech from us to continually thank the guests for everything! Each night became more and more emotional as we were so overwhelmed with all the love from everyone.
We asked our guests to wear white or ivory for the wedding as we wanted to not stand out as a couple, but feel as if we were one collective unit together with all the guests who attended. We had incorporated our families and close friends who knew us best to give speeches during the entire weekend, and it was a great way to really hear other stories about us, our lives and past.
What was the most memorable part of the day?
There were honestly too many memorable parts of the day to the event; it could be when my husband and I saw each other for the first time and we could not help but shed tears of absolute joy to know that we made it to that point in our lives and surrounded by so many people that loved us so dearly. People will often times tell you how much they care about you or love you, but there’s something about the love that exuded from each person that day that made you feel that love was not just surrounding you, but was bear hugging you all around.
As the bride, I had planned to fly to Thailand to check out the venue with my husband many months before the wedding. I saw the platform completely empty and knew it would be that it would be a blank canvas to do whatever was best for our style. The moment on the wedding day when I stepped down on that platform with my mom and dad to walk down the aisle and saw it filled with our friends and close family was THE MOST MEMORABLE part for me. Seeing all the faces of our friends and family with the breathtaking view behind them, and my husband waiting for me at the end, was a snapshot that will forever be ingrained in my mind.
If you did ask both of us what was a joint memorable part of our day that we love—THE FIREWORKS! It was a surprise that we planned for our friends and family and kept it a complete secret the entire time. It could not been any more perfect as we said thanks to our guests for making the weekend the BEST WEEKEND EVER, everyone started to cheer and then the lights completely blacked out. The song “This is the New Year” by A Great Big World but performed on the show Glee began, and we started to run to the sandy part of the beach where the first firework blasted into the sky. The day was perfect. The evening was magical. The weekend was beyond what we could have ever asked for.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
Our dear friends set my husband and I on a blind date for Winter Formal during our senior year in high school. We never thought it would ever turn out to be anything more serious, but that fateful night turned out to be a series of continuous dates for 11 more years to come. We attended different high schools , knew who each other were, but never imagined that one day the tall Asian guy from Whitney High School would be with the tall Asian girl from Cerritos High School. We went to separate colleges, but were able to still make time to see each other and support each other throughout college and our careers.
We had talked about getting married in January of 2016 and slowly began to plan. During a business trip to Italy my clients had generously flown me over to Thailand to plan my own wedding. Yes, I was definitely not engaged when we started to plan our wedding, but the wedding planner in me knew that we needed ample time to make sure we could pull off THE BEST WEEKEND EVER for all our guests. My husband and mom flew over to Thailand from California to check out venues and meet vendors. I knew I would want some photos of us in Thailand for the website and save-the-date so we had hired a photographer to take “engagement” photos. I never imagined my husband would dare take a ring overseas with him so I didn’t even think to assume he would propose to me in Thailand. During the shoot we were about to move to a different location when he asked the photographer to take one more photo of us in front of the Grand Palace. He dropped to one knee and asked me to be his wife.
Wedding Planning & Design: CCL Weddings & Events – Gloria Lee and Gloria Yi // Photography: Christine Farah Photography // Flowers: OK Samui // Videography: Studio 205 Films // Stationery Design: Small Paper Co. // Hair and Makeup: Jessica Tu // Hand Lettering: Skye Cho // Catering: Toast Catering // Fireworks: The Firework Shop- Samui // Favors: Krazy Straws // Venue: Villa Riva // Accommodations: The Sea Samui