The wedding took place at the family ranch in Woodside, California, where Alexander grew up. The site is perched on a clearing overlooking rolling hills and forested valleys that extend into the Pacific Ocean. Large-scale sculptural art is embedded in the landscape, and guests can mingle while admiring the work of artists such as Mauro Statuoli, Bruce Beasley and Bruce Johnson.
The ceremony was performed by the couple’s good friend Itamar Barzaquet from Princeton. The Han Diaspora ceremony was initiated by eight drummers from the local Taiko group Taiko SOBA. “It was mesmerizing to hear the deep rhythmic bass of their drums echoing off the hills,” recalls Justin. “One of the main purposes of this ceremony is to honor ancestors and parents by offering tea and exchanging gifts and food. The show combines ancient Chinese rituals with me (a member of the Han Chinese and Taiwanese diaspora) and Alexander, who is of mixed European ancestry. The new traditions embodied. The rituals include bowing in all directions, eating from the same bowl, drinking sweet and bitter liquids (symbolizing how the couple will spend their sweet and painful times), and lighting incense at the family shrine.”
In the new tradition, the bride and groom also invite family and friends to play the marriage game by placing a black piece on their board, symbolizing how the couple committed themselves as newlyweds Couple making strategic decisions together. After the
wedding, Justin changed from her Hanfu back to her western wedding dress, and guests flocked to Attend a cocktail party. “I spent two weeks before the wedding, driving around the Bay Area in the U-Haul and picking up the free furniture we used to build our turn-of-the-century outdoor living room space,” Justin said. “I describe the wedding aesthetic as minimalist, Craigslist-core.”
Dinner begins at sunset with a marathon presentation. For dessert, guests enjoyed fried chicken ice cream from Life Raft Treats and sponge cake with lemon elderberry syrup in a refurbished mini dish soap bottle. A quaint 1900 dresser has been transformed into a “ramen bar” filled with the bride’s favorite brand of cup noodles for guests to enjoy late-night snacks after dancing on the ground. Finally, in the evening, it was time to cut the cake. “A few months before our wedding, I started focusing on the idea of building a Rube Goldberg machine to cut our wedding cake,” Justin said. “The machine demo didn’t go well, but it just enhanced the wabi-sabi aesthetic that evolved throughout the night.”