Annie and Andrew met at a lounge-style restaurant in San Francisco. “There was an immediate attraction,” says Andrew. “She looked very pretty but I was too shy to talk to her. Finally, I encouraged myself and approached her.” In spite of being a little tongue-tied during that first encounter, Andrew achieved his objective: he got her phone number. A couple of phone calls later, they went on their first date and all the nervousness faded away as they enjoyed an amazing time just hanging out together. Says Andrew, “Ever since then, she has been my girlfriend and best friend.”
When it came time to ask her hand in marriage, Andrew was determined to surprise Annie with the proposal of her dreams—and a moment the couple would remember forever. Andrew planned a Fourth of July trip to Napa’s Calistoga Ranch. This was an especially symbolic choice because it was the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the bride and groom’s home country, Taiwan, and the distance to the proposal site was exactly 100 miles. “In Chinese saying, it means that we are meant to be together forever,” says Andrew.
After countless conversations with the concierge, arranging every last detail, the big day finally arrived. Andrew drove Annie to Napa, where a golf cart carried them to their suite. There, in a heart of rose petals and candles, Andrew dropped to one knee and asked Annie to be his bride. Andrew remembers the moment she said yes as one of the happiest in his life. “No words could describe the excitement and joy,” he says.
The couple decided on the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay as the site for both their ceremony and reception, perfecting the details with coordinator Christie Hjelm. As a fashion designer, Annie was intricately involved with the overall look and feel of the event, integrating vintage themes with lace and peonies. A Taiwanese tea ceremony was also featured, along with other special touches referencing the couple’s heritage. The invitations were hand-made by the bride, introducing guests to the personalized flavor that was to be a hallmark of the wedding.
At the ceremony, the bride wore a spectacular Vera Wang gown, paired with shoes by Valentino and jewelry customized by her mother. The groom was attired in Giorgio Armani and Dior Homme. Hand-made programs by the bride added a romantic touch to the ceremony. Annie walked the aisle, strewn with rose petals, to music from Golden Gate Music, a string quartet led by Su Buchignani. The happy couple exchanged vows at an ivory-draped gazebo overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a moment the groom recalls as one of his most vivid memories of the day.
The on-site reception featured floral arrangements by Florette Design, as well as a flower wall created by the bride herself. The couple’s signature cocktail was a fresh strawberry sangria made with pineapple rum. Completing the reception was a three-tiered white cake by Just Cake, adorned with the couple’s initials and a spray of ivory, pink, and yellow flowers.
Having made such beautiful memories at the surprise proposal, Andrew decided to continue on with the trend and plan a surprise honeymoon for his bride. But there’s one thing about this couple that’s no surprise: they’re enjoying every moment of their new marriage. Says Andrew, “We are so excited about being first-time husband and wife.”