The Lan Su Chinese Garden is a stunning walled paradise that takes up an entire city block in the heart of Chinatown in Portland, Oregon. The winding paths, tranquil pools, and delicate Chinese foliage beautifully set the scene for Faina and Simon's wedding - the perfect coming together of love and art.
Odds are, you might recognize Simon as the frontman of The Slants, the world's first and only all Asian-American dance-rock band, and Faina, an award-winning surrealist oil painter. Simon describes their relationship as "a love that's art to see", and I couldn't imagine a more fitting description after witnessing their love first-hand on their wedding day.
Their engagement story began halfway around the world with a special trip to Shanghai. In Simon's words,
"We decided to celebrate almost two years of being together by exploring ancient water towns and magnificent modern cities. To cap off the trip, I booked us at a fairytale-like castle where I would eventually propose.
Throughout the trip, I drew illustrations of favorite memories in our relationship: our first kiss, a trip to Victoria BC, as well as a simple sketch of a shiny ring with the words "Will you?" on slips of paper. She is a professional artist - though my drawings were meager, they were sincere. While she was getting ready in the bathroom, I tucked each one into separate balloons and hid them around the room.
When we returned later, she found the room filled with colorful balloons. I gave her a pin...and one by one, she popped each balloon with a special drawing and message expressing my love and sharing a favorite memory. As I was filled with nervousness and excitement, her eyes were filling with tears. Finally, she opened the last message and with a kiss, made me the happiest person in the world.
And of course, now our lives are filled with beautiful art that celebrates the joy our love brings to each other."
You can watch their sweet engagement video here.
I recommend having a box of tissues on hand.
Their love of art and music was intricately laced throughout their wedding. With some help from family and friends, Faina and Simon created their invitations, the decor, and all the gorgeous florals.
Soft music from the Melegari Chamber Players filled the air while their guests explored the garden following the ceremony, which was an incredible highlight for Faina and Simon. As Simon put it,
"I really enjoyed watching our guests explore the garden after our ceremony, before heading to the reception. It allowed them to get a glimpse of the simple beauty of a water town garden that we experienced on our trip to Shanghai, where we got engaged.
I believe that it also served a reminder that while we have big moments in our lives, like a wedding ceremony, it's really the quiet moments in between where we can slow down and enjoy life with the people we love."
Thank you to the amazing team of vendors who contributed to Faina + Simon's stunning wedding:
Photography | Britta Marie Photography
Assistant/ Second Photographer | Derich Hartfeil
Ceremony Venue | Lan Su Chinese Garden
Hair and Makeup | Bride
Bride's Gown | Custom
Rings | ShaneCo.
Groom's Formal Wear | Theory
Florals | Bride + Groom
Invitations | Bride + Groom
Officiant | Paul Ramey
Music/Entertainment | Melegari Chamber Players
Reception Venue | Saucebox
Catering | Saucebox
Cake | Papa Haydn