When Kailin and Dan began planning their garden wedding at Celebrate Snug Harbor, they knew two things with absolute certainty: Celebrate Snug Harbor was a romantic destination outside of Manhattan where all of Kailin’s childhood wedding dreams would come to life, and because Snug Harbor was a picture-perfect venue for their blend of West and East cultures.Both Kailin and Dan left China at a young age to come to the United States, where eventually they settled down and called NYC home. Kailin and Dan describe themselves as the perfect blend of the West and the East cultures. From very young age Kailin always dreamed about having a garden wedding. In the end, only Celebrate Snug Harbor would fulfill this childhood dream of hers.
The Chinese Scholar’s Garden, Ji Xing Yuan, couldn’t represent their east identity enough, and was essentially the main reason why they decided to host their wedding there. Growing up Kailin was a great fan of Chinese Scholar’s Gardens, but she never actually thought that she could have her own wedding in one. In fact, it’s also not easy to achieve even in China.
Kaitlin was a Chinese pre-modern art history student, who spent countless hours of her life researching Ming Qing dynasty culture and art. She said having a wedding in such a garden is like heaven! The Chinese Scholar Garden at Snug Harbor mimics the 17th century Ming dynasty garden style, especially after the famous Liu Garden, with everything made in Suzhou and assembled in NYC.The couple had their intimate wedding ceremony take place in Snug Harbor’s White Garden.
To them this was the picture-perfect spot for their nuptials and really felt like the “west” part of their west-east identity glistened through. The White Garden is filled with white flowers, just like a white wedding dress symbolizing for purity of love. Although the blossom season had passed in June, its charm did not fade away. It was a perfect backdrop to commence their marriage.
Kailin, Dan and their mothers took part in a Unity Tree ceremony which symbolizes the roots of their relationship, and the continued growth of their love, as they became one family on their wedding day.
The ceremony program fan was personalized with a Chinese online vendor and was meant to be used for covering excessive sunlight, or as a fan for hot weather. The green and gold style was carefully chosen to be consistent with wedding’s summer garden theme. The most magical moment of the wedding was as soon as the couple kissed, the sun suddenly appeared out of the clouds and shone down upon them. A truly special moment for the happy couple.A note from our Bride regarding their ceremony. –
“Our ceremony was a very personal one. We could not thank our host Nancy and our reader Barbara enough. It was our biggest honor to have them with us in such an important moment. Without Nancy, Dan and I would not eventually meet again in NYC, and today’s love story would not have existed. Therefore, Nancy was the perfect host to help us tie the knot. She spent great effort for us, buying books to study and helping us to design the ceremony process. She also handmade an impressive and artistic notebook for the ceremony. Because we were so close, the ceremony was so moving and filled with many happy tears from beginning to the end for all of us. Barbara is also one of the most important people in my life. This amazing Reverend was my high school humanities teacher. It was this wise teacher who brought me courage to move on, and I have always considered her as my enlightenment teacher. Just like all her teachings, her memorable reading to many guests and us was the best we had ever heard for a wedding.”After the ceremony, friends and family moved into the Chinese Scholar Garden for cocktail hour. Kailin and Dan fell in love with the delicacy and elegance of the garden. They felt it was an impeccable environment to provide a memorable time for their guests to stroll in the garden with delicious food, wine, and beautiful Classical Chinese music performed by Ms. Yeh.
When time came for the reception festivities to begin, guests seamlessly moved the cocktail hour celebration into the Tented Pavilion, which had been impeccably transformed. The loveliest floral arrangements of roses and peonies in a soft palette of blush, whites and greens, which looked gorgeous against all the greenery within the grounds.
The presence of peonies was used for the bride because it is an auspicious flower-king of flower for China and is always present in Chinese weddings.
Kailin and Dan decided to surprise their guests with a two-song combination for their first dance. They went with a slow-fast two-song combination. It started with the romantic string music Adagio by Secret Garden then followed with Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You. Guests and family members were in awe as Dan spun Kailin around the dance floor and dipped her with glee. Their reception continued all night with a packed dance floor and a special surprise for their guests! Kailin and Dan had an LED dancing robot. No one brings the excitement and energy to a party like these robots do!A very touching moment during the night was when videos were played for the bride and groom. These videos were recorded by friends and family members who live in China and could not attend the wedding. The bride and groom were very moved by all their love and wedding wishes expressed in these videos.At the end of the reception guests were also treated to handmade customized chopsticks as favors. Kailin and Dan choose the chopsticks since they come in pairs, symbolizing for the happy relationship of a couple, and conveying their best wishes to their guests. Millettia Laurentii was chosen as the wood material, not only because of its beautiful wooden patterns, but also its symbolism of longing between lovers. The words engraved on the chopsticks are from a famous Chinese poem. Both are Chinese legendary creatures and plants that symbolize for everlasting and indestructible love.It was very evident that these two sure had a blast and lots of love was present on their wedding night. Every detail of Kailin and Dan’s wedding was exceptionally and thoughtfully crafted by the couple.We are so lucky to have wonderful couples like Kailin and Dan to work with at Celebrate Snug Harbor. A huge thanks to 1314 Studio their photographer for sharing these gorgeous photos with us.
Photos and Video: 1314 Studio
Makeup artist: Belinda Ni
Guqin: Judy Yeh
Reception DJ: Sound Explosion