Family and friends will go great distances to celebrate and show their support for two people in love. For Elaine and Steven, whose families traveled from China and France respectively, that could not have been more true. Their wedding at the beautiful Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens was not just a marrying of two people, but also of two cultures – every detail of this perfect day was picked either to honor their respective cultures, or to highlight the love and respect that they share for one another.
Family plays a vital role in both of their cultures, and truly the most beautiful element of their wedding day was seeing the massive outpouring of love from the large and beautiful family that these two share.
Elaine got teary eyed as we were walking through the gardens and she told me about her father’s selflessness, and how she attributes her success and achievements to the sacrifices made for her and her sister – Elaine recently graduated from Wake Forest medical school, and credits her father so highly for everything she has. Her father, meanwhile, did not stop smiling the entire wedding day.
The color red symbolizes loyalty, honor, and good fortune for the Chinese, and it was so fun to see how the couple weaved it into so many different elements, from the bridesmaids dresses to the groom’s party’s ties and boutonnieres, from the decor to the stunning flowers… and of course, the bride’s beautiful red shoes!
The afternoon ceremony combined elements from Elaine and Steven’s two cultural backgrounds, and included both a traditional tea and wine ceremony. According to custom, both the bride and groom serve tea to both sides of the parents, representing an important moment when the two families become relatives of each other – and in this case, Elaine’s family’s tea cups and pot were used.
Dancing, drinking, and merriment were not in short supply at the lively reception. The buffet featured both traditional Chinese and French food, and favorite gifts from the two cultures were given as favors – Elaine’s favorite candy from childhood the “white rabbit” and the traditional French chocolate and candied almonds.
Elaine and Steven’s send off included a Chinese Lantern (which all of their guests had signed) and sparklers. A perfect way to end a magical night.