Thursday, November 8, 2007

IN Magazine: Nov 07 issue - text

Jenn and Levi

Weddings often conjure images of solemn vows and traditional rites of passage, pronouncing you man and wife. In other words, there are things you expect, and things you don’t. In Jenn and Levi’s case, the road to getting married was full of the unexpected. Levi and Jenn met over Christmas holidays in 2005 in Kona, Hawaii. Neither expected to find such a perfect match of silliness and sincerity, and in less than four months, the two were married in a private ceremony in Oakland, California. That’s when they started to plan their wedding.

From the beginning, Jenn and Levi wanted their wedding to be more fun than fancy. Kona was the perfect meeting ground for the Shanghai-based couple and their friends and family along the Pacific Rim. The Fairmont Orchid’s Turtle Pointe, an outdoor venue where black volcanic rocks and white-washed sands met cerulean skies, was the perfect setting. Jenn’s first maid of honor designed a wedding motif for the couple: a pair of sea turtles with Chinese characters etched on their backs, along with all of the wedding stationery. The invite was written in the form of a movie trailer starring the happy couple. The other maid of honor hand-made chocolate tulips as table favors. Levi, a music engineer and DJ, pre-mixed a seven-hour play list for the entire occasion.

Exactly a year from the date of their first wedding day, Levi patiently awaited his bride in the company of his groomsmen and Jenn’s 'bridesman'. The men all sported linen pants and classic Tommy Bahama shirts. Walking in to the lilting theme of Il Postino, family members were followed by bridesmaids in tea-length gowns of bright coral. The bride entered with both mother and father, resplendent in a slender silk gown with a cathedral train. A handmade mantilla veil framed her face and flowed behind her with a scattering of embroidered flowers. Both bride and groom beamed in the afternoon light.

The officiant, a friend of the couple, smiled at the ensemble of friends and family who had traveled far to be with Jenn and Levi in Kona, and began with a passage from The Princess Bride: “Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us together today.” And brought together they surely were.

Jenna and Jacques

Jenna and Jacques found each other one summer’s evening in late August 2005 at a chic lounge in the heart of Hong Kong, aptly named FINDS. A little over a year later, the couple welcomed family and friends from around the world to one of the most refined luxury hotels in Seoul, to participate in a wedding ceremony that paid homage to Jenna’s Korean heritage and also embraced the Western traditions of Jacques’ Parisian upbringing.

Traditional Korean ceremonies address key themes that are meant to bring fortune to the lucky couple. The bride and groom dressed in sumptuous garments representing prosperity and respect to the sacrosanct commitment of marriage. Three red circles were painted on Jenna’s face to protect her from malicious spirits. Both bride and groom wore silk caps representing nobility and rank as they bowed with respect to their elders. Dates and jujubes were offered to Jenna’s new in-laws and later these symbols of children to come were tossed towards the new couple, who caught as many as they could in the bride’s wide skirt.

Following these Korean traditions, the couple held a quaint outdoor ceremony followed by dinner. Jenna exchanged her colorful traditional garments for a strapless designer gown, with a sweetheart neckline and a layered skirt of silk tulle. Orange and cream bouquets and white candle pillars lined the aisle at intermittent spots. The bride smiled shyly behind her blusher veil, clasping a bouquet of long-stemmed calla lilies. Jacques grinned as she came up the aisle, all decked out and looking dapper in his black tuxedo with tails.

After the ceremony, bride and groom greeted their guests and showed off their brand new matching wedding bands. An orange, cream and chocolate palette formed a delicious backdrop indoors and out. At nightfall, Jenna stepped away to change into an off-white mermaid-cut evening dress with a gathered waist. Guests dined on succulent Western cuisine matched with carefully selected wines. Jenna and Jacques stole away to share a few quiet moments as their photographers captured the chemistry between them in the lounge areas around the hotel. The hotel’s décor focused on the play of lights upon form and structure, creating the perfect highlights to the glow they shared at the end of an unforgettable day.

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