Meet Jessica and Nick! Sarah was the Dallas wedding planner for Jessica and Nick’s east meets west vibe wedding. Jessica and Nick both wanted an east meets west vibe, since Jessica’s family is from Taiwan, and Nick’s family is from Texas. The Renaissance at Legacy West was the perfect blend of both cultures. From the origami longhorn installation in the lobby, to the cowhide and leather furnishings, to function rooms being named after major Asian cities. The Renaissance at Legacy West fused both cultures seamlessly throughout the hotel.
Jessica really wanted to share her favorite things with loved ones. They had a delicious dim sum brunch, bubble tea, and eight cakes in four different flavors, from Leila Bakery, so guests could sample to their heart’s content. They even had a custom fan installation created by Vim and Venture that the couple was able to take home!
Both Jessica and Nick were so laid back and really trusted the vendors to execute their vision. It was so inspiring how confident Jessica was in her own skin. Most people keep certain aspects of themselves hidden, but this bride stayed true to herself throughout, without any apologies, which was so refreshing and admirable!
We met online. I was in grad school in NYC and running an esports team at the time; Nick was a teacher here in Texas and applied to join our team. For the first years we were just “coworkers” and didn’t really know each other personally. Then we started playing some other games together casually, where it was more like hanging out and less like work. Pretty soon we were always talking on voice chat together. Sometimes I would sign in to voice chat even though I had schoolwork to do. I would mute anyone else who happened to be online except Nick, just to have his voice in the background while I was working.
We were best friends, and I liked him but didn’t know if anything would come of it, since we’d only met in person once, at a team meet-up with other people around, and we lived so far apart. For a while, Nick had been talking about applying to teach abroad programs, and then one of our teammates ended up leaving the team suddenly and unexpectedly.
I realized I needed to say something before Nick went to some other country where I’d never hear from him again. So I asked, if he were ever in town, if he would like to get a drink together. He said yes and then continued to treat me exactly the same as before, which was super confusing because I was pretty sure I’d asked him on a date. I thought I’d just been friendzoned.
A few months later, I shared some KPop song about unrequited love in voice chat. Nick started joking around and making fun of it, and I lost my temper and just yelled at him, “You know I like you right???” He got real quiet and said he suspected but wasn’t sure. We spent the rest of the night clearing the air, which is when he told me that he’d liked me pretty much since he joined the team, but he didn’t want to assume anything. His plan was to visit New York the next summer and cash in on that drinks date.
So it was our first fight and also the night we got together. A few months after that, I ended up visiting him, and we had our chronologically first, but technically second, date at the Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock.
Originally I was thinking of an evening wedding, which was the only kind I’d ever been to. Neither Nick nor my father wanted to dance, so we were thinking of getting a venue with outdoor space for some lawn games instead of a dance floor. I had some ideas but didn’t love any of them. Then Sarah suggested a brunch wedding with dim sum, and everything fell into place. I have so many great memories of Sunday dim sum with my parents and their friends, my honorary aunts and uncles, and I wanted to share that with the guests.
I’d gotten to know Nick’s family pretty well; they’re a big, close-knit, West Texas family who welcomed me with open arms and brought me into all their traditions. But they hadn’t met my side of the family, who all live in different states, and half are in Taiwan. So I really wanted to show them who I was. I didn’t have a full vision necessarily, just moments.
The music for the ceremony I had all picked out and I wanted to change out of the white dress and enter the reception in a red qipao, the way I’d seen my aunt do when I was ten. I wanted lion dancers because I’d done lion dance in college. The rest I just wanted to be tasteful and pleasant; nothing that was too fancy, but you could tell a lot of care went into it, and fitting our East-meets-West theme.
There were many! Seeing our custom backdrop for the first time just before the guests would start arriving. Sarah had found an artist who made us three enormous paper folding fans in our wedding colors. The fans, surrounded by flowers in the early morning light, the whole installation was breathtaking.
Seeing Nick during our first look. Up close, I could tell he hadn’t slept a wink. He said he’d just been sitting in a daze on the couch in our suite all night until he knew I was about to get up to go get ready, and he’d had to leave so as not to see me and invite bad luck! Right after the reception, the poor guy finally fell asleep while my bridesmaids and I were all still taking off our makeup.
The moment the drum started and the lion dancers entered the reception. All the Asian guests immediately knew what it was, and a bunch of the American guests jumped at the noise! I saw Nick’s grandfather turn off his hearing aids as the drum passed right behind him.
My bridesmaids had prepared a joint toast, which they’d kept very secret from me (unlike my dad, who’d asked me to proofread his!). I was floored when I finally heard it. I’ve known these girls for over twenty years, and they brought up moments from our childhoods I’d totally forgotten about. It was deeply touching.
Nick’s not a super sentimental person, but when I ordered the guest book, there was an option to put a quote on the back cover, so I had them put “Told you today that I love you?” We have an ongoing silly contest where the first person to say it each day gets a point, and the other person pretends to be upset and says “Love you, too” in a sulky voice. It’s hard to tell with Nick, but I think he was touched when he saw it.
All my jewelry came from my family. With the white dress, I wore my mom’s pearl earrings and a string of pearls that my uncle had given me when I graduated; with the red qipao, I wore a set of gold pieces that my grandmother gave my parents when I was born. The ringbearer’s pillow was sewn by Nick’s grandmother from a piece of his mom’s wedding dress.
I kind of wish I’d gotten a videographer. On the one hand, I really didn’t think I would ever watch the whole video, which is why I didn’t get one. But on the other hand, the bride is actually not present for parts of the ceremony/reception because you’re the last one to enter! And I’d picked out the processional music so carefully and written introductory blurbs for my bridesmaids, but I didn’t get to see or hear any of it because I was waiting outside the doors!
Other than that, I think pick a good planner/vendors and trust them to do a good job! I picked the venue, photographer, florist, and bakery based mostly on gut feeling. Sarah gave me options to choose from, all people she’d worked with before, so I knew any of them would be fine; I just picked the ones I got along with — I chose the photographer because her gallery felt “friendly” to me, and she had a lot of pictures of dogs.
I think I definitely stressed out over choosing the vendors, but once that was done, I didn’t have to stress out about the actual ceremony/reception details anymore. I’m pretty sure I told Sarah that I just wanted everything to look nice, like someone had paid a lot of attention to detail, but that I didn’t want to be that someone! (The someone was Sarah and her team, and it turned out magnificently.)
Jessica left a glowing review for her planner, Sarah:
“I got the full planning package with Sarah, and I am so happy I did. I didn’t know much about weddings or the planning process before, but Sarah broke it all down into easy decisions spaced out over several months. She did a comprehensive venue search, which was honestly the part I was dreading the most because there are so many options and constraints — but Sarah’s spreadsheet laid out all the details for each one.
I had told her I wanted a kind of east meets west vibe, and she not only found the perfect venue, but also found a great artist to make a custom backdrop for us, engaged lion dancers for the reception, and got us a bubble tea bar. I was picky with the reception menu and the cakes because I love food and wanted it to be perfect, but Sarah rolled with all my weird requests, and several guests ended up telling me that it was the best wedding food they’d ever had!
On the actual day, Sarah was there bright and early to make sure everything was running smoothly. She was so prepared! My heels had rubbed a little raw spot on my ankle, but she just popped open her clipboard and pulled out a bandaid. Later, she produced scissors and tape and extra hairpins — whatever I needed, she had. The ceremony and reception setups were more lush and beautiful than I had imagined. I got so many compliments from the guests on how well-executed everything was, and it was all thanks to Sarah, Kelly, Hallie, and Natalie from Keestone! I couldn’t recommend them more!”
See other weddings that Sarah has planned for below: