Photography by
Brian Leahy Photography

Raena Lu & Brian Farley

September 23, 2018 in Irvine, California

Planner: Sugar Branch Events Irvine, CA

Brian Farley and Raena Lu met through a mutual friend – Brian’s new roommate, Hunter, who went to college with Raena. After a group dinner at Mao’s Kitchen and watching Brian attempt to start a backyard bonfire (Raena told him “it wasn’t going to happen” since the wood was wet), everyone knew there was a spark between them.

First impressions included Raena thinking Brian was cute, and Brian thinking she was sassy. On their first date, a bird pooped on Brian’s head. Raena laughed and said it was good luck. He didn’t believe her at the time, but the spark between them turned into a flame, and they’ve created many wonderful memories ever since.

The couple was enjoying their annual beach camping trip to Santa Barbara – complete with a beach sunset, champagne, and berries – when Brian dropped to one knee. Although Brian was nervous, trembling, and fumbling to find the ring that had been burning a hole in his pocket the whole day, Raena reassured him by saying, “You know what my answer is going to be,” and Brian proposed.

Both Raena and Brian were raised in Orange County and wanted to have a wedding somewhere local and outdoors. After touring Shady Canyon Golf Club, they knew it’d be the perfect venue for their special day. Raena took the lead during the wedding planning process and put her classically luxurious, yet casual and welcoming touch on every detail of the wedding. She envisioned an intimate, backyard-style wedding with a touch of elegance, romance, and good music. Her nickname for Brian is “Bear,” so the guest favors were a jar of their favorite honey from a local vendor, which was placed in a burlap sack with their names written on a bear-shaped tag.

When the big day arrived, the bride and groom readied themselves at their respective parents’ houses. In lieu of a first look session, they wrote letters and didn’t see each other until Raena made her way down the aisle, escorted by her father. Once they reached the alter, Raena’s father said to Brian, “She’s all yours.”

The ceremony was officiated by Brian’s uncle (who also married his father and stepmom), and a cocktail reception followed. For the reception, the bar, stage, and dance floor setup was laid out in a concert-like design, prompting guests to fill the dance floor before dinner was served. Guests enjoyed a menu of filet mignon, sea bass, and wine that was brought in by a renowned vintner who was in attendance. After the newlyweds’ first dance and a lineup of hilarious and loving toasts, the dance floor erupted for the rest of the night.

The next day, Raena and Brian set off on a honeymoon in French Polynesia. They traveled to Moorea first for an active adventure of ATVs and jet skis, followed by a relaxing escape to Bora Bora.

>Written By: Lauren Malamala

Planner: Sugar Branch Events Irvine, CA;