A groom and bride outside the venue of their restaurant wedding—Eleven Madison Park in lower Manhattan.
BEHIND THE SCENES

The Making of a Restaurant Wedding for Louise and Hoe

New York, New York
BY SHIRA SAVADA / 09 14 22
Photo by Calen Rose

Every wedding vendor team is created a little differently. In this series we explore how and why each couple selected the right wedding vendor team for their wedding day.

When Louise was in her 20s and living in Los Angeles, she met Xin Huang, the lead designer and planner of Le Petite Privé. Years later, Louise had taken a trip from Bangkok to New York City (where Xin had moved) and decided to relocate to the Big Apple. The women picked up their friendship once more in the same part of the country. Louise instantly fell in love with her new city, and soon after, she fell in love with a man named Hoe, as well. Louise and Hoe’s relationship progressed, and even when the pandemic began, they didn’t let their love or life stop.

Hoe and Xin had gotten to know each other too, and when it came time for him to propose to Louise he reached out to her, knowing that Xin’s planning and design skills would help him pull off something special. Knowing he’d want to pop the question at Amangiri, Xin reached out to local vendors in Utah to pull off a meaningful engagement for her friends. Louise was wowed, said “yes,” and the newly enfianced couple began planning a 200-plus person wedding on the North Shore of Long Island.

But when it became clear that a wedding of such size wasn’t likely to happen with travel bans restricting much of their family and friends in Thailand from flying in, the wedding was postponed. And then postponed again. And then on October 13, Louise called Xin and said they were going to get married on November 5 because the quarantine restrictions had been lifted and her family could book flights to the States.

With just three weeks to pull an intimate celebration together, Xin hit the ground running.

DECISION 1

Wedding Planner & Designer

It helped that Xin from Le Petite Privé was familiar with Louise’s style and could put a mood board together that suited her vibe without any questions. And because of Louise’s great understanding of design and visual balance, it was well received and things took shape from there. Louise and Hoe chose vendors based on Xin’s guidance and their trust in her years of experience. And as Xin’s goal is always to find a team of professionals that understand and respect each other with the shared goal of highlighting the wonderful details everyone contributes, the couple was in for a talented and caring  group of vendors.

A couple during their Pyebaek ceremony at the groom's parents' home before celebrating at their restaurant wedding.
DECISION 2

Wedding Venues

Xin always focuses on the venue exploration first, and makes sure each couple’s must-have list is clarified so that those specifics can be honored. For Louise and Hoe, a private dining room at a restaurant was the ideal wedding venue, as the guest count was just 19. The foodies loved the space (and food) of three-Michelin star restaurant Eleven Madison Park. When they had their date (Friday, November 5, 2021) available, it sealed the deal for their restaurant wedding.

“The level of service from Eleven Madison Park is unmatched. It really set the tone for the entire evening and created memories that will last for years to come. It was an amazing and classically perfect venue.” —Xin Huang, planner/designer

But before they could celebrate with a mixture of chef Daniel Humm’s signature dishes during the five-course meal, the Manhattan-based couple headed to the groom’s parents’ home in New Jersey for a Korean Pyebaek ceremony.

A couple takes portraits in their hanboks between their traditional Pyebaek ceremony and their restaurant wedding reception.
A groom and bride kiss outside the location of their restaurant wedding reception, Eleven Madison Park, in New York City.
For this restaurant wedding, one long table held all the guests and was decorated with candles, moss, fresh flowers, and fresh fruit.
DECISION 3

Wedding Florist

Right away, Xin knew that Victoria Ahn of Designs by Ahn had to do the flowers. Louise has been a huge fan of her work and she knew that Victoria would understand and bring her vision to life. And that vision would be in full force on just one table hosting the couple and their loved ones, so it would truly make an impression. 

“I wanted colorful flowers on the table with fruits, moss, and lots of candles. Like bringing a mini garden to the table.” —Louise, bride

A colorful bridal bouquet made of tulips, roses, anemone, and berries.
The centerpieces of a restaurant wedding incorporated fruit like figs and ornamental pears.
The singular table used to host all of the guests at an intimate, restaurant wedding included cloches holding fresh flowers and gilded leaves as part of the decor.
DECISION 4

Wedding Photographer & Stationer

While all decisions happened quite quickly, the next focus was on photography and stationery. Xin suggested Kimberly Dooley and Travis Magee of Calen Rose to document the day, which also included a portrait session outside the New York Public Library and Grand Central Terminal.

“Kimberly and Travis are the kind of people you want on your wedding day. They are easygoing yet professional and boy do they show up to create! They are ultra-talented at capturing the emotions and the vibe. The images speak for themselves.” —Xin Huang, planner/designer

“In our photography, we find inspiration in contrasts. To go from a traditional Pyebaek at their parents' home to portraits around some of the city's most iconic backdrops to the contemporary and innovative Eleven Madison Park was the ultimate journey in contrasting moods, venues, and fashion. The day continually evolved and changed in ways that kept us exhilarated and on our toes. It was incredible to see Louise and Hoe fit seamlessly into each of the varied settings. We are always enamored with a couple who can effortlessly mix the traditional with the modern. Louise and Hoe were also open, adventurous, and didn't take themselves too seriously. They were the perfect couple for making something new out of classic New York.” —Kimberly Dooley, photographer

Prior to changing into a tuxedo and wedding dress for their restaurant wedding reception, this groom and bride roamed iconic New York City settings like the New York Public Library in their traditional hanboks.
A bride wearing and off-the-shoulder dress with puff sleeves and holding a green purse, and a groom in a tuxedo and holding her colorful bouquet, pose for a portrait in front of the New York Public Library before heading to their restaurant wedding reception at Eleven Madison Park.
A black and white candid photograph of newlyweds crossing the streets of New York City on their way to their restaurant wedding reception.

Xin also recommended a stationer: Sara Simpkins of Sara Lane Design, who whipped up an invite for the couple to have as a memento, since timing was too tight to mail them to guests. But come wedding day, vow books, escort cards, and menus designed in a style that balanced traditional and modern elegance were used for all the guests to see, with accents like hand-torn paper and silk ribbon.

A neutral-toned wedding invitation, vow booklets, and menu for a restaurant wedding.
An oval place card with silk ribbon detail, sitting on a dinner plate by some gilded greenery at a restaurant wedding reception.
DECISION 5

Wedding Videographer

Louise had seen the work of wedding videographer Daphne Cebek Aitken of Daphne Cebek—a regular creative partner of Xin’s because of her fun and creative energy, and her ability to let couples explore and enjoy themselves while giving natural cues to guide them—and was sold on having her be a part of their restaurant wedding.

"I am always so grateful when a client trusts me to capture their wedding and to let me film these beautiful and intimate moments. Without a question, you could feel how much Louise and Hoe loved one another. There were so many wonderful moments of their day that stood out to me. Their intimate Pyebaek ceremony was so charming and I found myself watching the faces of their family and the love coming from them. And when Louise and Hoe shared their first dance, I also couldn't stop looking at the faces of their family. I was definitely teary eyed. It really moved me and this is one of my favorite weddings that I've filmed." —Daphne Cebek Aitken, videographer

Bride and groom bow at their colorful Pyebaek ceremony.
DECISION 6

Wedding Hair & Makeup

Louise discovered hair and makeup artist Priscilla Freire through her professional network (she’s the founder of Gatherall) and loved her mastery of a natural glow. Pearl hair pins in the bride’s low, loose updo would be the finishing touches.

A smiling bride, in an off-the-shoulder, puff-sleeve wedding dress and pearl hair pins in her sleek and low updo.
A groom and bride kiss during their portrait session prior to their restaurant wedding in Manhattan.
DECISION 7

Wedding Cake Maker & Music

After dinner, the newlyweds cut into a two-layer wedding cake made by Bakes by Marie—half carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and half red velvet with sails of translucent rice paper for added dimension.

During a pause between the first and second course, Hailey Reinhart’s version of the Elvis classic “Can’t Help Falling in Love” played through the room’s speakers, which played music curated by the couple. Everyone weeped with tears of joy and love (and sang along) and the room filled with emotion. The music progressed to a more lively selection as the evening continued, with people grabbing a fork or spoon to sing into as if it were their personal microphone.

A petite wedding cake with translucent rice paper accents, on a table surrounded by autumnal flowers and foliage, at a restaurant wedding in New York City.
Newlyweds smile as their share an impromptu first dance during their restaurant wedding reception.
Wedding couple holding hands, laughing while cutting their modern white wedding cake together.
An Intimate Wedding for Louise and Hoe
SEE MORE
Calen Rose