Sarah and Chris's love story is one for the books. They truly had to go through many obstacles to get to their special day and it definitely brought these two even closer. Sarah describes their wedding day as "simple and genuine". We couldn't agree more. Read on to hear all about this San Francisco wedding and how Sarah rocked her "Gamila" Houghton gown.
We're going off the usual format here, for a very special couple. Sarah's words speak volumes, enjoy her story!
I met Chris in the breakroom at work. We’re both nurses and I was starting a new job at the time. He was making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich out of his locker when I walked in. We had a very situational conversation, and when I walked out I thought, “What kind of person keeps perishable food in his locker?” And then I thought, “Wow, that was strange.” I felt an unmistakable feeling of destiny between us that day, and every time I saw him after that, I knew he felt it too. We spent the next eight years madly in love but often in doubt until the timing was right and he proposed in April 2014. I never thought we’d get married but it would turn out to be the most important decision we’ve ever made.
We started planning a small wedding for April 2015, during my Spring break from graduate school. I ordered the most beautiful wedding invitations from Marie Chang Designs. (Now August + White) They were set to be delivered on November 19th, so I stayed home from school that morning so I’d be home to sign for the delivery. Chris had the day off and we sat together at the kitchen table that morning and had coffee together. I was looking up my midterm grade and he was researching stock options when he suddenly made a noise that sounded like a snore. I called out his name and he didn’t respond so I ran around the table to see his face and I watched him seize. He was unresponsive and breathing agonally so I called 911. When they arrived, he was without signs of life on our kitchen floor. I called my dad who was in Thailand at the time, and told him to come home right away and that Chris was dead.
When I arrived in the emergency room, I was told that after an hour of chest compressions and advanced life support, Chris’ heart was beating again. The doctors explained that he’d experienced a sudden cardiac arrest for no apparent reason. He was completely healthy at the time, an avid yoga practitioner and cyclist. They also explained that he would likely not survive and if he did, would have detrimental complications for life as a result of the oxygen deprivation to his brain. They began a 24 hour process of cooling his body, and I waited in terror with our friends and family praying for Chris’ life.
When the sedation and the breathing tube were discontinued the next day, Chris woke up. He moved all his body parts and was able to speak, breathe, and think on his own. He was very delirious, but very alive and the first words out of his mouth were, “You’re beautiful.” The entire ICU staff came to his bedside to celebrate and he became known throughout the hospital as the holiday miracle. No one thought he would survive, but I knew they were wrong.
We spent ten days in the hospital and Chris was out of work for four months. Needless to say, we canceled that wedding without any immediate plans to have another. It took about a month for his memory to fully recover, but by April he was healthy again and back to work. When the date of that first wedding came and went, we started to get sad. I would never have been home that morning to witness the arrest had it not been for those fateful wedding invitations, and there was so much to celebrate at that point. So we started planning again for a wedding in October. We finally had our special day on October 10th of this year and it was amazing!
If I could describe our wedding in two words they would be simple, and genuine. It wasn’t one of those detail rich weddings you see on most wedding blogs. We had our ceremony in Golden Gate Park at a spot that we’ve spent countless hours in with our dogs. I did the decorations myself with pomegranates and eucalyptus to honor the season and the native environment. We didn’t have a formal wedding party although we were preceded down the aisle by our parents, siblings, and dogs. My nieces were the flower girls and our officiant was our good friend Ian Brown. He happens to be married to my best friend Nhadine, and I set them up on blind date the year I met Chris. Having him officiate for us was one of the best decisions we made. His wise and flattering words were a surprise and a gift that I’ll never forget. We wrote our own vows and our words of course brought our 85 guests to tears.
We had our reception in the lounge at Le Colonial, a French Vietnamese restaurant tucked away in the TenderNob district of SF. It’s a very unique restaurant and when you’re there, you feel somehow that you’ve been transported to another place. We had an amazing dance party that night! Marie Chang, who also did our second set of invites, customized the menus to match our invitations and they were perfect. It helped to personalize the event for us. I did the table decorations to match the ceremony decorations with candles, pomegranates and eucalyptus. We gave a speech to thank our guests and our families and to especially thank my father who has always been our biggest supporter. Our speech brought tears to his eyes, which is a moment we will both cherish forever. The best part of it all though for me, was seeing my mom dressed up in a custom Korean hanbok dress that I had made for her by a dress maker in Koreatown, LA. She looked more beautiful than I had ever seen her, and she told me that for once in her life she felt like a princess.
How did you choose your dress and what was the most magical part about it?
When I walked into the LOHO studio, I felt like I had just entered Carrie Bradshaw’s SF flat. The décor itself was the embodiment of what I wanted in a dress, so I knew immediately that I was in the right place. The stunning Christy met me with a smile and played great music for my fitting and I kept thinking to myself, “Is she Chrissy Teigen?” (The resemblance is uncanny!) I learned that they had sold out the Stone Cold Fox dress I was looking for, but Christy offered up some beautiful alternatives by Houghton that I reluctantly tried on. The first dress I tried was the Gamila gown. When I donned that dress, I had “the moment.” It was at once simple and unique, elegant and comfortable. When I saw myself in the mirror, I saw me in a pretty white dress and I felt amazing. It also reminded me a bit of Solange Knowles whose wedding style absolutely consumed me! I bought the dress the next day.
Any parting wisdom for yet-to-wed LOHO Brides?
Enjoy your day. Treat every moment of it like the celebration it should be. Splurge on a good DJ, an open air photo booth, a dress that makes you feel like you, and an open bar. The rest will fall in place!