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*NEW* Sara & Jimmy: A Celebration of Taiwanese and American Traditions

joanna saltz the knot bridal fashion and beauty expert
by Joanna Saltz
joanna saltz the knot bridal fashion and beauty expert
Joanna Saltz
Bridal Fashion and Beauty Expert
  • Joanna Saltz is the Editorial Director for and House Beautiful.
  • Joanna is a multi-platform editorial developer and content strategist.
  • Joanna was the Fashion and Beauty Director for The Knot.

Like true Southern California natives, Jimmy and Sara met as students at the University of (you guessed it) Southern California.

THE BRIDE Sara Hsu, 27, student
THE GROOM Jimmy Chang, 28, student
THE DATE November 30
THE SCENE A ceremony in Taiwan for their family, and another overlooking the ocean in California

COLLEGE SWEETHEARTS She was a freshman; he was a sophomore. After years of dating, the couple became engaged while on a getaway to New York City -- although Jimmy hid his intentions under the guise of it being a business trip.

TWO WEDDINGS Back at home, the Taiwanese-American couple knew that planning a wedding would be a big undertaking -- they had family all over the world. So Sara and Jimmy decided to hold two weddings. One was in Taiwan, where much of their family still lives. "It was a large celebration," says Sara. "There were close to 1,000 people." In contrast, just 64 close friends and family attended the second, more intimate, wedding at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara -- with about 70 percent of these guests flying in from all over the world.

AUTUMN BEAUTY Sara chose a seasonally inspired palette for the second celebration. "I knew I wanted really rich fall colors," she says. "I wanted the design to reflect the season and to be romantically rustic." She allowed her florist to turn the wedding into an autumnal wonderland. For the ceremony, both the aisle and bamboo canopy were dressed with bittersweets, leaves, and acorns. The warm, inviting atmosphere was extended to the reception. Square dinner tables were draped with olive and gold tablecloths and set with copper plates. The centerpieces were made of large wooden boxes filled with dark roses, pomegranates, bittersweets, and green orchids. Sofas and ottomans were brought in to create a lounge-like area for folks to mingle and sip drinks (though it was fall, the signature cocktail of the evening was distinctively summery -- mojitos, made with lime juice, rum, and mint).

MEANINGFUL DETAILS The couple enlisted friends and family to make the day particularly special. One talented friend designed the invitations -- a modern and elegant piece in red and white, representing the traditional colors used for both American and Chinese cultures. Another friend was ordained especially for the occasion so that he could conduct the ceremony, which was held at sunset on a lawn overlooking the ocean. Toasting was a free-for-all, with everyone from middle school friends to fathers cheering on the couple. "I was crying and laughing the whole time," says Sara. The couple also turned to local businesses -- all of the wine served at the event came from a local Santa Barbara winery, Blackjack Ranch, so all of the out-of-town guests could fully experience the region's offerings.

TRADITIONAL CUSTOMS While Sara donned a gorgeous gown by Reva Mivasagar for the affair, she wanted to respect her Taiwanese customs too -- but in her own way. Since it's a tradition for Chinese brides to change a few times throughout the wedding, Sara was prepared -- she purchased one Richard Tyler and two Badgley Mischka gowns to slip into. "But I was having so much fun that I refused to leave to change and miss out on things," she says.

-- Joanna Saltz
Photography © Red Loft Studios

For the ingredients that make up this wedding, see the right-hand column of this page.

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