Jennifer Chen & Calvin Woo
November 21, 2015 in San Francisco, California
In the summer of 2011, Jennifer Chen was graduating with her doctorate in pharmacy while, just over an hour away, Calvin Woo was graduating with his MBA. Prompted by a mutual friend, the two first met at a lounge in downtown San Francisco. Jennifer explained that she hoped to move to San Francisco after graduation, as she loved weekend excursions there to shop and try new restaurants; and Calvin quickly promised to give her a tour of the city’s neighborhoods for their first official date.
A few weeks later, Calvin took Jennifer to The Pirate Shop in the Mission District–an inner city neighborhood of San Francisco. “The shop is actually a non-profit storefront, funding an afterschool tutoring center for the neighborhood’s underprivileged youth,” Calvin explains. “I then suggested that we visit the store’s private two-person mini theater. Pulling back the velvet curtain, it revealed a fish tank full of colorful, swirling tropical fish.”
Over the next four years, the couple’s love for travel (and each other) took them to the vineyards of Napa Valley, the beaches of Southampton, the canals on Amsterdam, and the culinary scene of Madrid. With travel being such a huge part of their relationship, Calvin proposed during a weeklong trip to Malibu, presenting Jennifer with a custom Amir H. Mozaffarian ring–a classic round cut with a halo setting. They later celebrated with engagement photos in Paris.
Although the couple set a wedding date 18 months out, they soon learned that Calvin’s grandmother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Immediately, they pushed up the wedding date and decided to have a pre-wedding reception in their hometown of Seattle with extended family. “My Po Po was such a positive influence, encouraging us and giving us advice on our new life together,” says Calvin. “She was so excited for our wedding, and even helped us select our wedding colors and invitations. Wedding planning had us so focused on the details of the big day, but her passing reminded us to simply be thankful for everyone and everything we have.”
The wedding day was hosted by the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco. In the grand ballroom, sparkling chandeliers hung overhead and illuminated the Parisian-themed décor. Inspired by the couple’s visit to the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, candelabras, floral centerpieces, dinnerware, and votive candles were arranged to mimic its symmetry and timeless elegance. Baz Luhrmann’s take on “The Great Gatsby” also played into the bride and groom’s wedding vision.
Guests were served a personalized and carefully crafted menu that reflected the couple’s travels together. The delectable cuisine included hors d’oeuvres of foie gras mousse, Washington Dungeness crab and duck bastille, followed by Napa Valley wines paired with a five-course dinner. “The service and food were executed to perfection, right down to the subtle Golden Gate Bridge design in the cake icing,” says Jennifer.
Quoting a famous Disney character, the newlyweds refer to the saying, “If you are what you eat, then I only want to eat good stuff.” Not only did they succeed in throwing a gorgeous wedding, but they were able to bring their guests along for a real foodie experience.
>Written By: Lauren Malamala