Erica Kim & Mike Juma
September 20, 2019. Newport Beach, California
Erica Kim and Mike Juma were first introduced over the phone by a mutual friend. “I was in Korea and Mike was in New York,” Erica explains. “She thought we would be a good match, and surely we wound up speaking on the phone all day and night for many months before finally being able to meet in person. Mike eventually invited me to Los Angeles on his birthday and asked me to be his girlfriend.”
Every year, the couple would celebrate their anniversary simultaneously with Mike’s birthday. One year, Mike traveled to Seoul, Korea so he could propose to Erica with her friends and family nearby to celebrate. “He prepared a reception at the Signiel Seoul hotel in the Lotte World Tower, the tallest building in Korea,” Erica describes. “After he proposed in private with rose petals on the floor and a blooming flower bouquet, which was so like him – very quiet and intimate – we celebrated 101 floors high in the sky with an amazing nighttime view of the city.”
Erica and Mike decided to have a destination wedding in California, where they first met face to face. LLG Events was hired as their destination wedding planner, and 185 guests from all over the world were present as the bride and groom were married under the iconic Rotunda at the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach.
“My favorite design element of the wedding was the reception lighting,” Erica shares. “We fell in love with it from the first moment we saw it. We wanted the reception to be outside to capture the amazing sunset of Newport Beach; however, we needed the area to stay lit once the sun went down. So, we added hundreds of small, twinkling lights that looked like stars in the nighttime sky. I also loved the mirrored aisle at the ceremony. Its reflection of the flowers and blue sky made me feel like I was floating on water. In addition, I was crazy in love with my grey and gold color theme. I think it’s very modern, elegant, and classy. I love gold, so I focused many elements on that such as the tables, chairs, invitations, and menus.”
The reception kicked off with Mike’s family tradition, which involves the wedding party making an entrance to Arabic music. To shake things up, the couple added a solo electric violinist. After the newlyweds arrived, the music slowed down for their first dance as husband and wife – a moment Erica remembers as the greatest highlight of the day.
“I always loved watching a couple’s first dance at weddings and would wonder how they felt, because they were always looking at each other, just entirely in their own world,” she says. “Getting to finally feel that myself was literally a magical moment. When Mike looked at me, nothing else mattered and I just felt so grateful and thankful to everything and everyone who helped make this day so special.”