Amy & Bill: Bright Colors and Chinese Accents in San Jose

by Kathleen Murray

From the bride's customized sweat suit and bling-bling bouquet to the ceremony's overflowing aisle petals and crisp white parasols, Amy and Bill put their personal stamp on their love-filled wedding.

THE BRIDE Amy Harvey, 27, software sales executive
THE GROOM Bill Hu, 29, business executive
THE DATE July 24
THE SCENE Ceremony and reception at Silver Creek Valley Country Club in San Jose, CA

PARTY GIRL Nearly seven years ago, Amy Harvey spotted Bill Hu at a Chico State fraternity party. "I was actually dating his fraternity brother at the time but couldn't keep my eyes off Billy!" she says. Amy eventually broke things off with the frat buddy, and she and Bill slowly started dating. "Ever since then, we've been inseparable," Amy says. Six years later, while the couple sipped wine in their bathrobes at the luxurious Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara -- a place Amy always dreamed of visiting -- Bill proposed on her favorite holiday, Valentine's Day. After spending 10 minutes crying tears of joy (and saying yes, of course), Amy spent the next four hours on the phone with friends. "And that is exactly what Bill woke up to the next morning!" says Amy, who continued making calls all weekend long.

CIRCLE OF FRIENDS "My girlfriends are my family," Amy says of choosing her 12-member bridal party. And it was with this gaggle of wild girls that Amy switched out of her "Soon to Be Mrs. Hu" hoodie (a la Jessica Simpson) and into the first of two gowns she wore on the wedding day. Since her parents' divorce 10 years ago Amy has been estranged from her family, so it was Bill's dad who escorted a tearful Amy down the aisle. She wore an elegantly modern, champagne-color Jin Wang strapless ball gown and carried a red rose bouquet (matching the fun, red strapless bridesmaid dresses) with a touch of bling -- the couple's new monogram adorned the bride's bouquet and the stems were wrapped in rhinestones. "It must have weighed 50 pounds!" Amy says, laughing.

INTIMATE DETAILS Amy and Bill spared no expense on vibrant, fresh flowers. The bridesmaids carried brilliant bouquets of orchids, cockscomb, roses, and lilies wrapped with bright red Swarovski crystals. Amy's close friend and former manager married the couple outside on the golf course near a waterfall. Balls of flowers in bright pink, red, yellow, and orange, as well as colorful paper lanterns, hung from the ceremony gazebo while a cursive H, made from yellow petals, marked the aisle. To protect them from the California summer sun, the 275 guests received white Asian parasols and programs printed with a special poem and that doubled as fans. "I really put a lot of time into the little details," Amy says. After the ceremony, the couple exited under a large white parasol printed with their monogram in red.

COMBINING CULTURES "Bill has a huge family, and I am blessed to be joining such a fun and loving family," Amy says. To show her appreciation, Amy studied and recited a Mandarin blessing that she pulled off flawlessly. The couple also incorporated shades of traditional Chinese wedding colors -- gold and red -- throughout the reception decor. "I wanted it to have a very modern Asian flair," the bride explains. Gold-striped napkins and square vases adorned the tables. A custom-made red sash embroidered with the couple's initials covered the backs of the gold reception chairs, while balls of gerbera daisies and other bright flowers hung throughout the ballroom. Ever the party girl, Amy changed into a more dance-friendly, Monique Lhuillier backless silk slip dress that she flew to Beverly Hills seven times to have custom-fit! Her bridesmaids also got ready to dance and swapped their killer red heels for red flip-flops.

A PIECE OF ME "Our cake was hilarious!" Amy says. Susan Morgan, the cake designer, got a chance to flaunt her true creativity with Amy and Bill's idea for a collage of their favorite things. Amy (who was a personal shopper for a few years) loves fashion, and that passion was reflected throughout the exquisitely detailed confection. A Louis Vuitton-style suitcase made up the bottom layer, followed by a Jimmy Choo shoebox and little blue Tiffany-style box. Bill got his hobbies in too -- the cake included a cigar box, and a gym bag since Bill "loves to work out." The final detail: a passport containing tickets to Bali, where the couple soaked in their newlywed love.

-- Kathleen Murray
Photography © Todd Rafalovich

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