"Every Girl’s Dream"
Yifan and I met in middle school when we were about 13. We started to date at 14. It was puppy love. He sent me a note asking if I’d be his girlfriend and I sent one back saying yes. This was in China, where we grew up. When Yifan turned 18, he moved to the US for school. Two years later, when I was 20, I followed him. We started officially dating as adults, attending the same community college in upstate NY. After I transferred to Hunter College and he transferred to Baruch College, we lived in New York City. We finished school, moved in together, and two years later he proposed.
It was at our apartment. I was cooking and saw a GoPro on the stove. I knew what was happening, but went about my business, saying nothing. I saw him go into the bedroom and change from his pajamas into formal attire. I asked what he was doing and he said he had to go outside to grab something. I was putting dishes away when he came up behind me. He took my ring out and asked if I would wash the dishes for him for the rest of our lives. I could’ve done without his sense of humor there, but I said yes.
Yifan’s parents searched everywhere, and when they found Castle Hotel and Spa, they knew we would love it as much as they did. They told us they’d found the perfect place and wanted to throw the wedding there for us. We accepted their gracious offer and went to see the venue ourselves. It was so stunning, so beautiful, we felt so lucky to be married in a castle. Talk about every girl’s dream! We felt it symbolized our relationship by having a strong, immovable foundation. His parent’s wish for us was to have a relationship as sturdy as Castle Hotel and Spa.
We worked with Yoriko Ueno-Sawh, the event sales manager, who was incredibly helpful. We told her our wishes and she helped us arrange each step. She was able to communicate with us through email or phone at any time and we felt we had someone who knew what they were doing on our side. For our ceremony, Yifan and I spent a lot of time searching for the perfect song to walk down the aisle to. We wanted it to be unique but traditional, and to incorporate our Chinese heritage and our more modern surroundings. We found a song by Jay Chow, a Chinese singer who is very popular in China, but more unique in terms of American weddings. We used white flowers, dark green leaves, and candles to line our aisle. We placed a cross at the end of the hall in honor of our religion, and decorated it with white flowers and leafy branches.
Our cocktail hour was outside in the garden on a beautiful, sunny day. Everyone tells us how good the food was, especially the sushi and the lamb and steak carving station! For our reception, we set things up a bit differently. Our party was very large, and was less of a dancing crowd and more of a sit, talk, and spend time together crowd. We set our tables up for dinner in the same hall where our ceremony was held, using large centerpieces, each a tall vase filled with white hydrangeas and roses. A Japanese band played traditional music while everyone mingled.
The appetizer was a baby arugula and endive salad and we offered our guests entrée choices of pan-seared halibut or pan-roasted filet mignon. I had the halibut, which was excellent. Our wedding cake was as beautiful as it was large. It was five tiers of buttercream icing, with alternating fillings of chocolate cake with fudge and yellow cake with pistachio. It went perfectly with the dessert offered by Castle Hotel. There were cream puffs, Nutella chocolate tarts, strawberry shortcakes, cheesecake, chocolate covered strawberries, and more!
We’d like to thank Yifan’s parents for finding this awesome, amazing venue for us to be married in. We truly fell in love with this place and we appreciate the effort and support that went into the entire event. We want to thank Yoriko, who served every role we needed on the day of our wedding. Thank you also to our photographer and my makeup artist for being so kind and great at what they do.
Castle Hotel & Spa, Tarrytown, NY