Cat & Ray – Our #bestweekendever in Koh Samui, Thailand!

**WARNING, there is a long blog post ahead so scroll to the bottom if you would like to get straight to the photos**

It has been over a year since our #bestweekendever took place in dreamy Koh Samui, Thailand.  I’ve wanted to share my experience planning our destination wedding for quite some time and now is the time! My now husband, Ray (a.k.a #tallasianguy on Instagram), and I planned to wed in front of our closest family and friends in an intimate wedding affair near where my dear aunt’s ashes were scattered at sea after she had passed away 5 years ago. He knew the importance of  me being “near” her on my  wedding day and didn’t think twice about the work, travel and challenges that would come with planning a destination wedding.

We’ve been blessed to have such close relationships with our friends for years, so planning our wedding also became planning an unforgettable vacation with our friends and family. We requested our guests to find their own flights but made sure to take good care of their transportation, rooms, and meals for the weekend once they landed on the island.

We first visited Koh Samui, Thailand with my parents (since my father lives in Bangkok) in March of 2014 to scout venues and meet vendors. After an extensive amount of researching venues I finally found the venue of our dreams on AIRBNB! We found a gorgeous villa on a private beach overlooking the ocean in Koh Samui. The villa was beyond perfect to wed and dine beach front with our guests. During the trip, we decided on the hotel that would house our guests, the restaurants our guests would dine at for two nights, the florist who would curate and style our floral, and the caterer who would satisfy the tummies of our guests. I would say that making all those decisions on one trip was pretty efficient planning. What do you think?

The remainder of the planning was done  in the U.S. with the help of our planners, Gloria Yi and Gloria Lee. They were the key to a flawless and exciting weekend with our guests. We planned 3 days of events with a welcome dinner on Thursday, elephant riding and rehearsal dinner on Friday, and to save the best for the last: the most unforgettable wedding day that I could possibly ask for on Saturday. The wedding day was absolutely perfect. I’m not going to lie and say I was worry-free because I definitely did do some worrying! Two weeks prior to the wedding, I was constantly checking the weather because the forecast suggested a rainy climate on our wedding weekend. Leading up to the pre-wedding festivities, it poured buckets and stormed like there was no tomorrow. Fortunately, God was on our side and the sun filtered through the clouds and the weather cleared up just two hours prior to the first group of guests arrival. The remainder of the weekend was filled with clear skies and blue waters.

As a wedding planner, I am always a teensy bit emotional at every wedding. A sweet set of  vows, an emotional first look or even the sight of a father-daughter dance will definitely tug at my heart strings. However, my wedding day was a flood gate of tears from the moment my hubby and I opened our eyes and prayed together to start the day. These tears continued to pour out generously when my girlfriends came to do my hair and makeup, when my friends gave their speeches and even when the fireworks lit up the sky to brighten the night once more in celebration of our wedding day. It was just a day of ugly crying all around. Do I regret it? Not one bit.

Having 75 guests at the wedding was the perfect number for us. Because we have a close relationship with each person who was at our wedding, we wanted to ensure that everyone was somehow involved over the entire wedding weekend. The wedding day was not just about us, but it was about everyone who came to celebrate with us from the U.S.

My girlfriends did my hair and makeup, the person who introduced Ray and I officiated the wedding, our childhood friend emceed the reception, my former client-turned-dear-friend prayed over the ceremony, and the individuals who knew us best gave speeches over the past three days. Our photographer and videographer were also close friends who came along with us to capture the unforgettable weekend.

I probably could go on and on about all the amazing memories I had but I should probably stop somewhere so I think I will end on a note with some tips and advice in combination with my favorite moments of the wedding day:

Favorite Moments:

1. Getting ready in the morning with my 8 girlfriends, some who have known me for 25 years: One of my friends who was unable to attend the wedding had written a letter for someone to read to me that morning. It was horrible because my makeup was a mess after, but the emotions I felt while sitting/ standing together in a circle after hearing the message my friend read will be a memory I will cherish forever.

2. The first step I took walking down the aisle: I had seen that platform empty many times before but it was different on the wedding day. The moment I stepped down the platform on and saw all of our friends and family standing there, I realized how loved we are. (I tear up writing about this just thinking about that moment again!)

3. The fireworks: Something about the fireworks were magical. It was the perfect ending to the reception dinner before the dancing commenced. The song we chose, “This is the New Year” by A Great Big World was perfect and blasted over the speakers bringing light and optimism to the new year that had just begun.

My advice as a bride/planner for those who are planning a destination wedding:

1. Don’t try to plan a destination wedding alone. I have helped clients plan destination weddings in Puglia and Venice, Italy and know the importance of trusting others to help you run the show. I was blessed to have two of the girls in our company come along on the journey. They were absolutely amazing and worked well by adapting to oncoming changes and meeting all the guests. I honestly didn’t have to worry about a thing on the wedding day and made sure to trust in God and our team.

2. Arrive early to your destination. We actually traveled to Bangkok, Thailand two weeks prior to the wedding and it was THE BEST! We had the lovely opportunity to not only welcome many of our guests to the country but had a chance to explore the country and take care of some last minute errands. Some unforgettable days and nights were made during those two weeks =)

3. When guests are traveling great distances for you, be sure to make them feel special: These are probably the closest people in your lives that know you as well as you know them. We sent out many emails to our guests such as a roster of all the attending guests with their Instagram handles and a map of the hotel property the guests were housed at. We created custom pin buttons with quirky nicknames for each guest to wear to stir conversation among one another. We also wrote a letter to each guest and placed it in the welcome back they would receive upon arrival to their room. We wanted everyone to know how HAPPY we were to have them be a part of our wedding weekend!

It was absolutely the best weekend ever. We miss every moment about that weekend every single day and are so thankful for the love all of our guests showed us through attending our wedding/sharing an unforgettable vacation. Would I highly suggest a destination wedding? Absolutely!

If you are considering a destination wedding and would like guidance, please feel free to contact me to chat!

Here are some of the many photos captured by our dear friend and photographer Christine Farah.

The TEAM that made OUR wedding possible:

Wedding Planning and Coordination: CCL Weddings & Events – Gloria Yi and Gloria Lee

Photography: Christine Farah Photography

Videography: Studio 205 Films

Hair and Makeup: Friends of the Bride

Officiant: Friend of the Couple

Flowers: OK Samui

Catering: Toast Catering, Samui

Accommodations: The Sea Samui

Wedding Venue: Villa Riva

Fireworks: The Firework Shop Samui

Favors/ Table Seating: Krazy Straws

Invitation Design: Small Paper Co.

Hand Lettering:  Skye Cho

Bridal Dress: Watters

Wedding Party Gifts: Avarcus

Groom’s Suit: J Crew Men


Michelle & Kevin – The Wedding!

Talk about an international affair!  Michelle and Kevin had friends and family fly in from all over the world for an outdoor summer wedding at the beautiful Hummingbird Nest Ranch. The couple chose a clean and classic color palette with white, gold and black as their primary colors. Peony red mainly came into play with the lush floral from Honey and Poppies.

We had the great honor of working with Michelle’s sister the previous year on their #weekendbash so we knew Michelle and Kevin’s wedding was going to be a great party! The couple wanted to make sure the bar was the focal point so they had a light up sign reading the word “DRINKS” at the bar. The CCL team built a custom escort card installation reading a famous line from Blake Shelton’s song — “You’ll be my glass of wine and I’ll be your shot of whiskey.” Custom whiskey and wine glasses etched with the couple’s logo were displayed on gold shelves in front of the installation.

At the guest message station, guests gave their input on coming up with names for the couple’s future children by incorporating their last name “Wang.” They were then invited into the cobblestone courtyard lit with market lights for live music, dinner and dancing! The phrase “Shut up and Dance” set the mood on the dance floor. Guests danced the night away on the dance floor with a vinyl reading “Shut Up and Dance” to a live band also performing “Shut up and Dance.”

It was a fun affair that included spontaneous, but heartfelt speeches, custom ice cream cookie sandwiches and lots of light up swag for the guests to wear and dance the night away!

Enjoy these shots from Christine Farah Photography!

The TEAM that made this wedding possible:

Venue: Hummingbird Nest Ranch

Wedding Planning & Design: CCL Weddings & Events

Photography: Christine Farah Photography

Videography: Komotion

Stationery Design: Small Paper Co.

Floral: Honey & Poppies

Rentals: Found Vintage Rentals

Hair and Makeup: Kelly Zhang

Catering: Whoa Nelly Catering

Rentals: Town & Country

Dessert: Chunk N’ Chip

Photobooth: Super Slo Mo Booth

Band: Downbeat LA

Hand Lettering: Skye Cho



Monica & Sean – The Wedding!

An outdoor venue, twinkling lights, the perfect weather and an abundant love surrounding the couple, more than enough to warm our hearts — what more could you possibly ask for? Monica and Sean’s June 2015 wedding at Saddlerock Ranch was simply beautiful. The bride chose her color palette to be neutral shades of ivory, cream, nude and gold with pops of magenta. Green Leaf Designs did not fail to deliver this color ratio perfectly!

The ceremony took place under a lush archway with greenery and pops of beautiful and bold magenta with a large giraffe overseeing the ceremony from the side (did you know that Stanley the Giraffe from Hangover II is housed at the venue?). Guests noshed on appetizers from Whoa Nelly Catering and sipped wine from Saddlerock’s very own winery. The couple’s escort cards were kraft paper journals stamped with the couple’s favorite phrase on the first page of every journal. The journals were placed on a custom dark-wood stained wall and each held an escort card and a sprig of greenery wrapped in gold twine.

Guests dined beneath the twinkling lights hanging from the trees and danced to a live band before enjoying hot churros and freshly scooped ice cream! It was certainly a memorable affair with great company and amazing food.

Monica and Sean, seeing how much love both your families have for you absolutely melted my heart. It truly looks like you guys are one big family all along. Thank you for allowing CCL to be a part of the magic and witness your special day. Love you both!

Enjoy the photos from Wildflower Photography!

The TEAM that made this wedding possible:

Venue: Saddlerock Ranch

Wedding Planning and Design: CCL Weddings & Events

Catering: Whoa Nelly Catering

Dessert: Salinas Churros

Dessert: Neveux Ice Cream

Hair and Makeup: Studio MM&B

Floral: Green Leaf Designs

Cake: Whoa Nelly Catering

Rentals: Town & Country Event Rentals

Photobooth: GC Photobooths

Linens: La Tavola Linens

Stationery Design: Mari Chang

Band: Downbeat LA


Joann & Eric – The Wedding!

On August 8. 2015, we had the great pleasure of working with Joann, a bride with a smile that lights up the room and Eric, a groom with a charismatic heart and a love for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The wedding took place at 440 Seaton in Downtown Los Angeles. We were enthused to take on the challenge to transform the large warehouse space to create an intimate feel for 300 guests. With the help of our amazing vendors, warm lighting, plenty of draping and tons of fun detail, Joann and Eric’s wedding was one for the books!

The couple’s wedding was also featured recently on Style Me Pretty California! Check it out right HERE.

The couple’s palette was simple with neutral shades of ivory and cream, touches of gold and pops of deep red. Red was mainly used in the beautifully arranged floral and the absolutely dreamy arch by Emblem Floral Design. Guests entered the main room from the streets and were welcomed by a wall with a phrase that began their journey for the evening “The Best is Yet to Come.”

Once the couple said their “I dos,” guests were ushered into two areas in the cocktail reception to munch on appetizers from Hungry Bear Catering and sip non-stop at the open bar from Sunseris. The couple also decided to partake in a Korean bowing ceremony during cocktail hour. Valentina Glidden took some of the most stunning photos of this traditional Korean ceremony I have ever seen! We absolutely love when couples embrace their culture and honor their parents in this simple, but absolutely sweet ceremony.

The couple’s love for the DODGERS was unforgettable and was infused into a custom escort installation with “baseball tickets” placed on plexi trays filled with peanuts, cracker jacks, baseballs and a phrase the couple chose by the ever-so-famous Yogi Berra.

A live band welcomed the guests as they entered the reception hall filled with long family-style reception tables for a memorable dinner that many guests have said was one of the best meals at a wedding they’ve had. After dinner,  a dessert room was set-up with two of the couple’s favorite sweets from Disneyland — beignets and dole whip! It was only fitting for us to create a special vinyl for the floor reading “Watch Me Whip” and “Watch Me Nae Nae.” The vinyls were placed on the floor with foot prints that copied the dance moves from once station to the other.

Joann and Eric, working with you two is such a blessing. I can’t even begin to put into words how much fun I had with your wedding and the two of you. Being around the two of you is always filled with so much laughter and joy! I will never forget Joann’s happy dance at the food tasting. Love you both to pieces!

Enjoy these gorgeous photos by Valentina Glidden!

The TEAM that made this wedding possible:

Venue: 440 Seaton

Wedding Planning & Design: CCL Weddings & Events

Photography: Valentina Glidden

Videography: Cloud Nine Cinematography

Hair and Makeup: Studio MM&B

Catering: Hungry Bear Catering

Rentals: Town & Country

Floral: Emblem Floral Design

Stationery: Small Paper Co.

Band: Downbeat LA

Cake: M Cakes Sweets

Dole Whip: Hula Girls Shave Ice

Beignets: Beignet Truck

Photobooth: GC Photobooth

Bar: Sunseris

Neon Heart: Modest Peach


Eunice & Michael – The Wedding!

We’re always a fan of fun, quirky and colorful details so when a couple allows us to do what we do best by incorporating such details into a wedding, we’re on it faster than you can say “I DO!”

Eunice and Michael’s May 2015 wedding was such a treat for us to design and plan. The palette of colors marigold, poppy and deep teal was such a fun wheel of colors to work with. The couple also requested to incorporate tid bits of their nicknames they are known by into the wedding– robot and dino! The groom, a talented graphic designer, designed all the paper goods with the most adorable collection of symbols, icons and emojis based on the things the couple loves. We were able to tie in these exciting details throughout the wedding to create one awesome wedding and dance party!

Have you ever asked your bartender for a hug or a high five? Eunice and Michael’s guests sure have! The specialty drinks at the bar were named “Hug” and “High Five” so the question of the night was “Can I get a hug/high five?”  Even the drink orders were fun to hear and even more exciting when the bartenders actually gave the guests a high five.

An outdoor reception took place at the Unique Space LA with long tables and centerpieces with maiden hair fern plants, centerpieces with lots of greenery and protea, painted wood blocks with succulents and (the best part) painted dinosaurs! Eunice and Michael’s wedding had the perfect colors and personality that epitomized “fun!”

Thank you so much, Eunice and Michael, for allowing us to be a part of your creative journey with you! It was so humbling to work with a couple with such a strong love for each other, family and church. You guys are seriously dino-mite! Looking forward to our dinner dates and future escape room shenanigans!

Enjoy the photos from Max & Friends Photographers.

The TEAM that made this wedding possible:

Venue: Unique Space

Wedding Planning and Design: CCL Weddings & Events

Photography: Max & Friends

Videography: David Rho

Catering: Tulsa Rib Co.

Rentals: Town & Country

Photobooth: GC Photobooth

Cake: Jennifer Chung – Friend of the Bride

Dessert: Quenelles

Stationery Design: Groom

Florist: Designer Dana Lee