Offbeat partner: Shaf, Data Analyst
Offbeat partner: Chen, Graphic Designer
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
We decided to marry on Election Day. A few weeks after, Chen proposed to me hilariously right before a wedding photo shoot we were modeling in. Our wedding ceremony was on January 20th, Inauguration Day. We wanted that day to be a positive memory and the beautiful and historic San Francisco City Hall was a perfect location.
A note on the gorgeous photography: all the lovely photos were taken by our good friend Leah of f27 Photography. We met her and her husband Isaac at an anime convention a few years ago. Her skills are incredible, and she was the perfect choice to capture the romantic and magical atmosphere of our special day.
Both Chen and I are very into lolita fashion. It’s an often misunderstood street fashion style, mainly due to the Japanese name, that merges Victorian and Rococo elements with a shorter modern silhouette. We wanted our elopement to incorporate our fashion tastes with other aspects of our cultural backgrounds.
I wanted to have hints of red, the color of weddings in South Asia, and a slightly masculine element to my silhouette. I was lucky enough to find a secondhand dress online that, with a few alterations, was perfect. I've always loved Vivienne Westwood shoes and was lucky to find the pair of Melissas I've always wanted. I discovered the brand through the Japanese comic Nana, and I’ve loved it since. I opted for a boutonniere with hints of red and a custom fascinator instead of a traditional veil and bouquet. I incorporated red into my makeup as well — Sugarpill had a lip color and false lashes perfect for the occasion.
Chen wore a dress from a Japanese brand we have both modeled for in the past: Baby the Stars Shine Bright. It was from a recent wedding collection and suited her perfectly. Her veil was hand trimmed by our friend Andrea, who is a fashion designer. She was in attendance at the ceremony and also made all the flower crowns for our wedding squad. Chen wore flowery eyelashes handmade by a Japanese designer and 3D fake nails that matched them. Her bouquet matched her color palette perfectly. Thank you to Farmgirl Flowers for the perfect custom boutonniere and bouquet!
Tell us about the ceremony:
Chen and I wore matching Vivienne Westwood necklaces, and our matching wedding rings were from Baby the Stars Shine Bright. We were not able to indulge in many of the wedding traditions common to our respective ethnic backgrounds due to the haste of the ceremony, but I managed to find a mehndi artist willing to work with us. Jasneet from Mehendi Zone was excellent; she did our hands on a very rainy night right before the ceremony. Tradition says that the strength of love in the marriage is shown by the color of mehndi on the bride’s hands. The darker the stain, the deeper the love. We both had a very deep color on our hands, so I suppose that’s twice the love!
Our small wedding party prepared at The Inn San Francisco, which is where we spent our first Valentine’s Day together. It’s a lovely Victorian bed and breakfast that is very LGBT-friendly.
We decided on having a non-religious ceremony at SF City hall for multiple reasons, the main one being that it is simply a gorgeous building full of history, rich detail, and a perfect match for our aesthetics. Each of us wrote our own vows. Our officiant Tom was so charming! He managed to strike a beautiful balance between levity and gravity.
Given our love for Japanese fashion, and the fact that we met our photographer at an anime convention, it’s no surprise that both of us are anime fans. Chen gave me Chanel lip balm, a reference to a moment in the show Yuri on Ice, one of our favorite anime of 2016. The show was meaningful to us for many reasons. Not only was it a lovely homage to men’s figure skating, it had authentic queer representation and the first LGBT couple in a mainstream anime. It was proof that progresswas being made despite recent events.
Tell us about your reception:
We had lunch afterwards with our small wedding party at the Palace Hotel. The venue is gorgeous and again, was a perfect match for our tastes.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Rely on your friends and loved ones! Chen and I are blessed to have very talented and generous friends! The photography, alterations, my hat, my hair color, my boutonierre, her bouquet, her shoes, our squad’s flower crowns, and her dream dress were all thanks to the combined effort and recommendations of friends.
Decide what your non negotiable elements are, your budget, and the amount of time you want to sink into the planning process. I wanted to look nice and not spend a lot of time planning. Chen wanted a specific look and a great lunch location. We both wanted beautiful photographs and visually aesthetic venues for the morning preparations and the ceremony.
- Photography: f27 Photography
- Officiant: Judge Tom from SF City Hall (He's super cute and looking for a husband himself — if there are any single cute gay men in SF, please look him up! He's a catch!)
- Bed and Breakfast: The Inn San Francisco
- Lunch: The Palace Hotel
- Chen’s Dress/Socks/Shoes, and Rings: Baby the Stars Shine Bright
- Chen's Eyelashes: Miyuki's Eyelashes
- Shaf’s Dress: Lapin Agill
- Shaf’s Shoes: Vivienne Westwood
- Shaf’s Alterations and Fascinator: A Midnight Affair
- Mehndi: Mehndi Zone
- Flowers: Farmgirl Flowers