Chi-Ling & Than, Part I

Today’s wedding graduate post comes from Chi-Ling, long time APW reader. Her simple, no-nonsense wedding, with a super short engagement, is a joy to behold. It reminds me of why less is often more and how love is enough. And if that wasn’t enough, her husband Than joins us this afternoon for his take on the celebration. (Grooms! We love them!) Without further ado, the woman herself:

I was engaged for all of 22 weeks. It took me over a month to come to terms with the fact that I actually wanted a wedding. The two months thereafter were spent securing a venue. The rest was a scrambled dash to the finish line. Herein lies the insights from my experience.

Relax (No, Seriously)

First, stop stressing. The wedding is but one day of your life. It will come and it will go. Stressing about the wedding will not make the day any more wonderful. Unfortunately, I am fairly certain that this is a lesson that one must learn from experience. Three weeks before the wedding, I cracked a tooth. As my dentist cousin walked into the exam room, he put one hand on each of my cheeks, and said, “Stop stressing about the wedding.” Immediately, I thought, “Who tattled?”

Simple Affordable LA Wedding

More Options Don’t Always Help

Planning a wedding was in many ways like managing the remodel of my parents’ home. The plethora of available options did not set me free. Everyone had an opinion and made sure I knew what it was. Worse yet, everything required more time and money than first anticipated. Stress I did. What little time I made to practice yoga, attend kickboxing class, and take evening walks saved my sanity. I wish I had devoted more time to taking care of me.

Simple Affordable LA Wedding

Plan the Wedding You and Your Partner Want

Ignore unsolicited advice. My esthetician lectured me for a good half an hour about the importance of having a bridal party. As a result, I stopped telling people I was engaged. We followed traditions we liked and made up stuff along the way.

Tell People No

The first time I went home to see my parents after becoming engaged, I announced who we would be inviting. When my dad started asking about so-and-so, I replied, “You have heard my list; it is final.” He then asked about how people might react. I said again, “You have heard my list; it is final.” That was the end of that.


My wedding was wonderful because it was truly a labor of love. My sister-in-law and I made the invitations. My mom and I sewed the tablecloths. My father-in-law officiated. Piano accompaniment, makeup services, wedding cookies, and photo booth props were all gifted by family and friends. People wanted to help. Allowing them was the best decision we made.

Save Your Dollars

Because it was my wedding, people tried to sell me all kinds of things. They tried to play on my every insecurity about being good enough and deserving the best. Some even attempted to persuade me with the once-in-a-lifetime propaganda. I have attended my fair share of weddings. The variance in budgets exceed the cost of two years of Ivy League tuition. Trust me when I say that I always remember how much love was shared on every occasion. I do not recall, however, the dresses worn, the flowers arranged, or the meals served. My partner and I spent money where it mattered to us. The rest of the wedding was just good enough.

Most Importantly, Enjoy!

My expertly altered dress was a tad too big. My hair appointment ran late. The florist arrived too early. The carefully, twice measured tablecloths did not fit. The seating chart went missing. And yet, life went on. I made it a priority to enjoy our big day. The wedding was wonderful, imperfectly delightful.

Most photos by: Blaine Photography / Some photos by: Chi-Ling’s sister in law, Effie

The Info—Ceremony Venue: South Pasadena Public Library Community Room / Restaurant Reception: Mike and AnneDress: , Reverie by Melissa Sweet dress / Shoes: Mel by Melissa purchased at endless.comSuit: Enzo purchased at Nino Ferretti / Invitations: Designed by Chi-Ling / Flowers: The Little Branch / Hair: Salon 1032 by Xavier / Makeup: By a girlfriend /  Rings: Melissa Joy Manning /Earrings: Kenneth Jay Lane (clip-ons) purchased from /Hair flower: Bando / Photographer: Blaine Photography

Featured Sponsored Content

Please read our comment policy before you comment.

The APW Store is Here

APW Wedding e-shop

go find all our favorites from around the internet, and our free planning tools

Shop Now
APW Wedding e-shop

Planning a wedding?

We have all the planning tools you need right now.

Budget spreadsheets, checklists, and more...

Get Your Free Planning Tools