A Vibrant, Modern Wedding at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, California
Kailin Chou, 30, and a program associate at Alliance for Girls and Charles Brown, 30, and director of planning and development at AguaClara LLC first met in the fall of 2005 while studying abroad in the town of Totsuka, Japan. They had both signed up for a UC-wide Education Abroad Program, "which meant that we took classes on the came campus, stayed in the same dorm and rode the same trains during our many forays into Yokohama and Tokyo," says Kailin. "It was during one of those train rides that Charles asked me if I wanted to listen to a little music on his Zen MP3 player (they don't make those anymore, kids!). He thought that he'd look pretty smooth showing off his cool music collection -- only he'd neglected to think about what less-than-cool songs might come up when he hit shuffle. Inevitably, everyone's favorite elementary school artist Raffi's 'Brush Your Teeth' started to play. Charles was embarrassed, but I found the situation to be quite endearing." After eight years together, the two went on a romantic trip to Paris that was immediately suspicious to Kailin, and became even more suspicious when she felt a delicate box inside Charles's coat pocket while fishing around for something else. "Following that, I was just having fun with it, wondering when it would actually happen," Kailin says. "On the seventh day of our trip, we decided to check out the Musee d'Orsay, and ended up spending the entire day there. After it closed, we walked across the bridge and made our way to the Jardin de Tuileries and the Louvre. Right then and there, snow started drifting down and Charles broke the silence with loving words about our relationship and what I meant to him. I remember thinking, 'Oh no, he's proposing now?' Flustered and frantically looking around, I insensitively blurted out, 'Your don't have to get down on one knee.' The last thing I wanted was to make a huge scene. Ignoring me, Charles got down anyway and, with a brilliant sapphire ring in hand, popped the question." The pair returned to their home in California to plan a modern, whimsical wedding that was an absolute reflection of the two of them as a couple. "While roaming around Golden Gate Park, we passed by the Academy of Sciences - one of our favorite places - and though it seemed like a crazy idea at first, we both lit up at the thought of having our wedding there and couldn't shake it out of our minds. I mean, really, how awesome is it to have an entire museum -- the Academy, no less -- to ourselves?" says Kailin. The couple's overall wedding theme could be described in terms of their three loves: Wes Anderson films, California and traveling. "I didn't want to overpower the museum's existing decor so we mainly focused on the dinner reception, gift table and dessert table. We didn't want to be limited by specific colors, but we wanted to reflect coastal California, so we had lots of orange and peach hues juxtaposed with deep blue and green tones."