Christina Sur, 28, and John An, 33, both of Manhattan, knew they wanted an outdoor wedding. The two Cornell graduates shared a love of the outdoors; they met on a camping trip organized by mutual friends. “John’s older sister had gotten married in his parents’ backyard,” Christina remembers. “We wanted that same kind of casual, backyard party atmosphere, but with a guest list of one hundred ninety people, we knew we’d have to find another location.”
Spotting a photo of The Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Gardens in a magazine article, Christina, a corporate lawyer who also has a background in interior design, felt a wave of inspiration. “I went to visit and fell in love with the place. They have a water lily pond and in the middle of it, there’s an island where the bride and groom get married,” she says. “I pictured John and me standing there and knew it was right.” John, an architect who works at an environmental consulting firm, shared her enthusiasm. She contacted Visse Wedell, a Manhattan-based wedding planner who, it turned out, frequently rides horses in North Salem and was therefore familiar with the area. Arrangements quickly fell into place for the June 10th wedding.
Family members contributed several traditional elements. John’s father made the paper lanterns that adorned the tent. Children wearing traditional Korean dress walked down the aisle carrying a pair of wooden ducks, a symbol of long life and fertility. John’s mother arranged for a troupe of Korean dancers to lead the procession from the ceremony to the cocktail hour. And for favors, John and Christina imported 600 pieces of Yut, a traditional candy that is like a harder, stickier version of taffy, from Korea. And the couple themselves worked hard to add their own personal touches.
“We made our invitations, menu cards, and place cards using Adobe Illustrator and a photo archival printer,” says Christina. “We spent lots of weekends printing at home.” They even made the blue sashes for the bridesmaids’ dresses, using the same silk fabric to wrap their favors. John’s sister made a coordinating blue bow tie for her son, who served as ring bearer. Obviously, blue has a special significance for the couple. “John loves blueberries and, when he was a little boy, his family used to tease him, saying he should get married on a blueberry farm,” Christina says. While the Hammond is no blueberry farm, it supplied the couple with huge bowls of blueberries on their special day. The berries also found their way into John’s corsage and even into their first dance. Their tune of choice? Louis Armstrong’s version of “Blueberry Hill,” of course.
(Above) The couple’s first kiss as husband and wife. In lieu of ceremony flowers, Christina and John exchanged vows surrounded by a ring of rose petals.
(Above) “Christina had wanted a cherry-blossom look, very natural, twiggy, modern, and Asian,” says Dean Andreades, owner and florist of Forever in Bloom in Mount Kisco. “Since cherry blossoms were long gone by her wedding day, we gave her the same feel with a pedestal arrangement of white and green hydrangeas, white lilies, and green, dendrobium orchids. We wrapped the base of the pedestal in sheet moss, curly willow, and raffia to keep the look informal and natural.”
(Above) The cake, provided by Food Fantasies, the on-site caterer at The Hammond, featured more of Christina’s beloved hydrangeas in blue and white. â€¢ The couple’s ring bearer, Hudson, age 4, and Cooper, age 2, are John’s nephews. â€¢ While the river rocks, furnished by florist Dean Andreades of Forever in Bloom, are beautiful to behold, they also serve a very practical purpose. â€¢ “It was unusually windy that day and we were worried the table cards were going to blow away,” Andreades explains. â€¢ Christina chose a simple bouquet of white roses, peonies, and hydrangea. The latter two are her favorite flowers and, fortunately, they were at their peak for her wedding day. â€¢ John’s corsage featured his beloved blueberries. His parents used to joke that he should get married on a blueberry farm.
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The triumphant recessional down an aisle strewn with rose petals. â€¢ A gateway at the picturesque Hammond Museum and Stroll Gardens. â€¢ In a colorful procession, dancers from the Korean American Traditional Art Development Association lead guests from the ceremony to the reception. â€¢ “I had really wanted lanterns,” Christina says, “and since the paper is very similar to architectural tracing paper, John was going to make them for me, but there were a lot of them and John’s father, who is really handy, decided to help. There were twenty lanterns in all and it was a lot of work!”
(Above) “We were taking photos after the wedding and we were just so happy!” Christina says. “This is just one of those spontaneous moments.” â€¢ A string trio plays ceremony music, including the traditional “Wedding March.” â€¢ John and Christina take their first dance as man and wife to Louis Armstrong’s version of “Blueberry Hill.” â€¢ Florist Dean Andreades of Mount Kisco’s Forever in Bloom hung sheets of sheer gold organza in front of the tent’s windows. They complement the golden lanterns hand-made by John’s father. (Below)
Christina and John’s Wedding Sources
Location: Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden, 28 Deveau Rd., North Salem, (914) 669-5033, www.hammondmuseum.org. Caterer: Food Fantasies at the Hammond, North Salem, (914) 669-6777, www.food-fantasies.com. Wedding Planner: Visse M. Wedell, New York, NY (212) 929-2696, www.verymweddings.com. Florist: Forever in Bloom, Mount Kisco, (914) 241-1963. Christina’s dress: Custom design by Jenny Lee. Available through Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier, New York, NY, (212) 319-6778, www.bridalatelier.com. Music: Continuo Productions, Redding, CT, (203) 938-0667, www.continuo.net. Dancers: Korean American Traditional Art Development Association, (718) 961-9255. Photographer: Zia O’Hara, New York, NY, (917) 747-9792, www.ziaphotography.com.