When our Lead Graphic Designer, Reo, proposed to his girlfriend, Alyssa, we knew we would want to follow them along their wedding-planning process. From choosing the perfect venue to working with Blue Plate Sales Consultant, Rachel Razowsky, to create the perfect day, we’ll share highlights and best practices from their two-day, East-meets-West celebration.
The Engagement: A Family Affair
After entertaining a number of “wild” plans for the proposal, Reo finally landed on an idea that was both touching and plausible. Alyssa had always wished that her family could somehow be involved in the special moment. And, as we mentioned in A Tasting with Blue Plate, at a surprise proposal in a botanical garden in Washington, D.C., Alyssa got her wish. At the entrance to the garden, Reo gave Alyssa a love letter in a bottle, dropped to one knee, and asked for her hand in marriage. Once they walked into the garden, their families were waiting for them with special signs. Having no idea their families were in tow, Alyssa cried when she saw them.
The Food & Beverage: A Merging of Flavors and Cultures
Reo and Alyssa attended the tasting for their wedding with Reo’s parents. The couple wanted a buffet-style menu for their reception that would reflect both their cultural backgrounds as well as their love for food. Reo was born in China and lived there until he was seven years old, and Alyssa was born and raised in Florida. Rachel, their Blue Plate event and sales consultant, took this into account and worked with the Culinary Team to showcase dishes that incorporated Asian spices and Southern influence.
On the day of their wedding, the groom’s favorite dish was steak served with chimichurri sauce, a nod to some of the couple’s favorite date nights at Tango Sur, an Argentine restaurant in Chicago. From a mixology perspective, the “his and hers” cocktails were “spot-on” for the couple. “We will always be fans of Old Fashioneds and gin-based cocktails, and it was fun to feature them at our wedding,” Reo said. “They really helped guests get into the dancing spirit.”
The couple would like to give a big shout-out to their personal server who was “awesome.” “Our server was so attentive throughout the night, stopping by with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails at regular intervals throughout the night.”
Day 1: Traditional, Chinese Ceremony
For Reo and Alyssa, the wedding festivities started on Friday with Reo fulfilling a traditional hazing or rite of passage. During this rite, he performed feats of love that Alyssa’s family had to “approve.” Once approved, Reo was “reunited” with Alyssa and brought her to his parents’ home in the suburbs for a traditional, Chinese tea ceremony. This tradition allows the bride and groom to pay respects to the people who have come before them and supported them in their lives. The older and wiser family members pass along their blessing to the couple, as well as gifts, words of advice, and love. On this day, Reo wore a tux with a red tie and Alyssa wore a red, traditional Chinese wedding dress with a modern fit and design. Red is the go-to color for Chinese weddings and is associated with success, loyalty, honor, and love.
After the tea ceremony, the couple’s families and wedding party gathered at MingHin Cuisine in Chicago’s Chinatown to enjoy a traditional Chinese dinner and games. For one of the games, Alyssa was blindfolded and had to try to pick out Reo’s face in a lineup of other men’s faces.
Being able to celebrate twice and having two weddings is very interesting, Reo said. “Just being able to spend time with family, laugh, and eat the food we enjoy was really special.”
Day 2: Western Wedding Ceremony
On a warm day in early September, Reo and Alyssa were married at A New Leaf, an indoor-outdoor venue in Lincoln Park. This venue has since closed, and Reo and Alyssa were so happy to have snagged this space before it was too late.
With a bridal party of 14 at their side and 95 guests in attendance, the couple was married in an intimate space on the second floor of the venue, with Alyssa’s older cousin officiating. Guests represented a mix of friends and family from both sides who traveled from the Midwest, East and West Coasts, Canada and Hong Kong to be with Reo and Alyssa on their day.
“Hands down, the ceremony was my favorite part,” said Reo. “Prior to that point, I think we were both stressing out about a lot of things. Just being up there was so sweet. You just have to put all the things out of your mind that could go wrong and enjoy your day. Standing up there really made it official. We were so happy to say those words to each other in our vows and have our loved ones there.”
Tips & Difference-Makers
“Working with Rachel, our Blue Plate event and sales consultant, was so memorable,” said Reo. “She and Laura helped make our wedding as wonderful as it was. Without them, especially their willingness to guide logistics throughout the day, was so key, especially since we didn’t have a wedding planner. When we were in planning mode, Rachel helped us make the right choices with other vendors. All the Blue Plate teams at our wedding—from events to culinary and service—helped make it a very special day.
For newly engaged couples, Reo and Alyssa encourage you to plan early and work together as a team. On the big day, just let things go and enjoy your moment together.
To learn more about Blue Plate’s wedding catering services, please get in touch!
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