Photography by
Jacqueline Patton Photography

Courtney Tse & Calvin Wong

October 18, 2016 in Jersey City, New Jersey

Courtney Tse and Calvin Wong first met when they were kids, as their older sisters were elementary school classmates and best friends. Barely of school age, the two children would tag along during their siblings’ teenage play dates, often teased that they’d one day be married. Although they went their separate ways during high school and college, Courtney and Calvin remained friends – and after their first official date as college sophomores, they knew they’d be best friends for life.

Seven years later, Courtney was on a month long business trip in Los Angeles when Calvin flew out from New York to spend her last weekend there together. During a drive out to Malibu, where he had made dinner reservations, he pulled over to take some pictures along the Pacific Coast at sunset. “As we strolled along the beach, he got down on one knee and proposed,” says Courtney. “As I tried to contain my excitement, I realized that we were being photographed. Little did I know he had arranged for a photographer to capture the proposal in real-time. Unbeknownst to me, Jacqueline Patton, dressed as a beachgoer, was strolling along the beach right there with us, snapping away.”

The engaged pair enjoyed every moment of their 14-month wedding planning process together. With their hearts set on a classic, romantic, and fun-filled wedding for their guests, Courtney and Calvin had two requirements when choosing a wedding venue – it had to have a view of the water, and it couldn’t be a catering hall. “Maritime Park, with its breathtaking views overlooking the Hudson, fit the bill perfectly,” Courtney explains. “We wanted our ceremony to be unforgettable, and envisioned having a tent set up on the vast lawn beside the venue. Our floral designer, Ivie Joy, turned this vision into a reality. She designed a beautiful set up, complete with drapes and chandeliers, and incorporated soft floral arrangements to create an elegantly romantic ambiance.”

Chinese traditions were another significant part of Courtney and Calvin’s wedding. The day started with the groom picking his bride up from the hotel. To reach her, he had to “prove his worthiness” and gain her family’s approval by completing a set of challenges known as “door games.” With the bride and groom wearing traditional Chinese attire, a traditional tea followed at the groom’s parents’ home – a symbolic welcoming of the bride to her new home and family.

“During our reception, a Chinese lion dance troupe performed as a sign of happiness, prosperity, and luck,” says the bride. “Our wedding favors were Pu’ur tea coins, symbolic of great fortune and happiness. The front was embossed with a monogram of our Chinese surnames interlocked with the character for ‘double happiness,’ while the back was embossed with our names and the date of the wedding.”

>Written by: Lauren Malamala

Location: Maritime Parc Jersey City, NJ; Floral and Event Design: Ivie Joy Floral Arts & Events Astoria, NY; Wedding Dress and Veil: Liancarlo; Groom’s Attire and Chinese Attire: Custom Made; Lion Dance: Norman Chin Mantis New York, NY;