A Chinese Tea Ceremony Preceded This Wedding at Summerour Studio in Atlanta
Allene and Andy’s wedding in Atlanta featured two ceremonies. The couple first celebrated with close family in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony before later welcoming guests for a second ceremony at Summerour Studio, an Italian-inspired loft in the heart of the Georgia metropolis. "Andy and I knew we wanted to have a mix of our Chinese culture as well as the 'classic' American ceremony and reception, as we are both first-generation Chinese-Americans. We wanted to pay homage to our heritage by inviting our families to a Chinese tea ceremony. The tea ceremony is held traditionally to present the bride to the groom's family and also for the bride and groom to express gratitude and respect to their elders by kneeling and offering tea. While it wasn't 100% according to 'rules,' we were happy to have infused our background with our special day. The decor for the tea ceremony was quite traditional - we used "double happiness" decor and purchased special pillows for kneeling. We also used the same tea pots that Allene's parents used when they got married! Custom 'double happiness' macarons were also included in our tea ceremony. Allene wore a traditional red silk 'qi pao' dress donned in dragons and phoenixes, symbolizing success and prosperity. For our Western/American wedding, we wanted to stick to pale pinks, blushes, and ivories for a romantic vibe," they share.
The couple's unique venue served as the perfect foundation for their romantic wedding celebration. Summerour Studio in Atlanta, Georgia, is, "a unique blend of Tuscan and romantic vibes plus industrial chic. This made the venue a perfect choice for our vision of an industrial, but romantic and elegant wedding," Allene says. To complement the already-romantic space, the couple layered in plenty of floral elements to their wedding design. "Our florals were mostly roses, as Allene loves roses! Her favorite color is blush, so the florals were different shades of blush and ivory. Our décor mostly relied on the florals to do the talking, so they were a huge part of our décor and styling. For the reception, greenery hung from the ceiling on top of the bar, accented the DIY dessert bar, and dressed up the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling."
However, given the bride's love of accents and details, the wedding design extended far beyond just floral arrangements. "Staring from the invitations, we got a custom-painted venue printed on each invitation. For the tea ceremony, we ordered custom macarons embellished with the 'double happiness' Chinese character, symbolic for Chinese weddings. Our tables were not numbered, but rather named after Manhattan neighborhoods, since we live in New York City and wanted to incorporate aspects of New York life into our wedding," notes the couple.
Given that the couple is based in New York City and Allene planned their entire wedding from a distance, the bride advises current to-be-weds to, "start as early as possible and interview and secure your vendors as soon as you can, so you can have plenty of time to think about the details. Think about what your priorities are and what is most important to you. Most importantly, have a detailed project plan with timelines and associated budget to stay organized! Allene kept a binder with tabs and sections for the various themes such as food, music, decor, etc. Also, having at least a day-of-coordinator is a life saver!"