Did your wedding location hold a specific significance to you?
Portland is my hometown. The wedding date - June 8 - also had significance. “8” is a lucky number in the Chinese culture, and June 8 was also the Rose Festival Day Parade. I loved going to the parade as a little girl, and while Portland’s biggest event demanded some extra logistical planning, it was a fun morning event for our guests. We were also able to watch the parade pass by below from our hotel rooms as we were getting ready.
What was the most meaningful part of your day?
The most meaningful part of the day was saying our vows. The favorite part of my relationship with Jeff is how we help each other grow in our faith, and we had spent our engagement preparing for our commitment through marriage mentoring at our church, a weekend retreat, and our weekly bible studies. Saying the vows was the capstone to all of those efforts.
Did anything out of the ordinary happen?
Something out of the ordinary definitely happened. My dear sister and maid of honor, Marissa, fell during the formal photography (while protecting a baby from falling!) and dislocated her kneecap. It was horrific at the time. However, everyone pulled together to support Marissa while doing our best to carry on with the festivities. A couple hours later after an ambulance ride and visit to the emergency room, Marissa came to the reception determined to give her toast. We decided to have a little fun, so Jeff and I pushed her wheelchair into the room as the DJ played the “Rocky” theme song, making a grand entrance. Marissa proceeded to make the entire room burst out laughing and then into tears with an amazing toast (with IV bandage and hospital bracelet still on her arm!). I was so touched that my sister was that determined to be a part of our special day.
How did you know your partner was "the one"?
For the most part, it was a gradual realization that simply grew stronger with time. However, I do recall one evening after we had been dating about six months when Jeff commented, “I have a good feeling about us.” I responded, “I do too.” And I realized that I really did.
Any advice you'd give new brides who are just getting started?
Think about what you want your wedding day to represent. Our wedding day was not perfect in the sense that every part of it was exactly as planned. However, it was perfect in the sense that it represented all of the abounding love between us and among our family and friends. I think every moment and the way everyone responded to the unplanned parts was reflective of that love.
Ali's favorite details:
- In lieu of a guest book, Marissa (sister and maid of honor) made a "mad lib" sheet, which guests seemed to have a lot of fun completing at the wedding. Marissa is compiling all of the responses into a book for Jeff and me.
- My bouquet had my grandmother's prayer book attached to it. (My grandfather gave the prayer book to my grandmother on their wedding day.) My grandmother, mom, and all of my mom's sisters carried the prayer book in their bridal bouquets as well, and my grandmother gave the prayer book to me to pass it on and ensure that the other women in our family will be able to carry it in their bouquets too.
- We had Portland's famous Voodoo Donuts as a favor at the wedding. Many of our guests were from out-of-town, so we were able to give them the "Voodoo" experience without waiting in the three hour line at the shop.
- Jeff and I always leave little "love notes" for each other on red hearts. We each exchanged a heart on our wedding day with our gifts. Exchanging gifts was very sentimental to me. I had made Jeff a book with pictures and letters I had written to him through our engagement with all of the reasons I love him. Jeff gave me a beautiful necklace. I have worn it almost every day since our wedding!
Photographer: Peter Chee with Powers Photography Studios
Dress: La Sposa
Hair: Nahid Nadjaran with Boucle Hair
Make-Up: Kim King Make-Up
Men's Attire: Men's Wearhouse
Catering: Jake's Catering
Event Planning: Melanie Perko
Flowers: Blum Floral Design
Ceremony Music: Duo Con Brio
DJ: Anthony Weiden with A Sound Choice