Amanda Hoac, a product manager at Uber Eats, and Aaron Tami, a senior software engineer at Instabase, first connected via OkCupid. On their first date, Amanda kept talking about her love for One Direction. “I had traveled across the seas to follow them on their world tour throughout my 20s,” Amanda reveals. “Aaron actually thought I was talking about One Republic instead and thought that was cool, so he stuck around for date number two.”
After two-and-a-half years together, Aaron proposed at the end of a month-long roadtrip from San Francisco to his hometown of Cincinnati and back. They had stopped at 13 National Parks, and Aaron got down on one knee in Sedona at sunset in front of Courthouse Rock.
The proposal wasn’t a total surprise, as Aaron had asked Amanda to pack a gel nail kit for the month-long trip. “Very sneaky,” Amanda comments. And Aaron had planned to propose during a sunrise hike that same day, but because it was so tiring, he decided to push it slightly. “On that same hike I saw the ring box outline in his back pocket, and I snapped a photo of it and texted it to my girlfriends.”
Once engaged, the two chose Harborview Restaurant in Amanda’s hometown of San Francisco as their wedding venue. The restaurant by the Embarcadero serves amazing dim sum and Cantonese food, which was important to Amanda, who wanted to honor her Chinese heritage. The bride wanted to incorporate Chinese customs and traditions into her wedding as much as possible. “It was really fun to share new traditions with Aaron’s friends and family, as for many this was their first time attending a Chinese wedding,” Amanda shares.
Planners Luciana and Masumi Guerrero-Shibatsuji from EventsbyGS helped the couple creatively incorporate red and gold into the design—lucky shades for Chinese weddings. “For our color palette, we brought in coral hues with accents of sky blue to contrast the warm hues,” Amanda explains. Florals by Phlox Tale Studios were inspired by ikebana-influenced flowers. And the couple’s close friend Jaclyn Lee of Designed by Jaclyn set the tone for the day with a whimsical and modern invitation suite that included Chinese symbols like the double happiness character, 囍.
“The best part about Chinese weddings are the wardrobe changes,” Amanda says. For the tea ceremony, the bride wore a traditional Qun Kwa featuring phoenix and lotus embroidery, gold jewelry from Lukfook Jewelry, and a crystal barrette by Renee Rivera Couture.
At Bridal Breeze Boutique in Cow Hollow, Amanda found her Ari Villoso dress with a scalloped train and embroidered lace. She credits the dress as the reason she started planning her wedding in the first place. The bride’s dear friend, Renee Rivera, customized her veil with handmade silk flowers and freshwater pearls. And on the day-of, Amanda got ready with Grace Lin Makeup.
After exchanging vows and Richter and Phillips rings, Amanda changed into a red Cheongsam for the lion dancers’ performance. And for the reception, she again switched into the Galvan London Panarea dress. Wildly enough, Amanda purchased her fourth look 10 days before the wedding because she only realized while finalizing the first dance choreography that she couldn’t perform the moves in her nine-pound ceremony look.
On July 9, 2022, Amanda and Aaron performed the tea ceremony, set up by Tea Ceremony by N, to show gratitude to their parents, in-laws, and elders. Then, their families gifted them hong baos (red envelopes with money).
The more Western ceremony followed on the patio with the Bay Bridge and Ferry Building in the background. The couple’s close friend, Adam, officiated the service, captured by Jackson Wedding on film. “[The] best part of the ceremony was that our two pugs, Bao and Benny, walked down the aisle in their little bow ties,” Amanda recalls. After exchanging vows, the newlyweds walked back down the aisle to “Yellow” by Katherine Ho, inspired by the movie Crazy Rich Asians.
Delicious dim sum was served during cocktail hour, as lion dancers from Lion Dance Me performed. Bao and Benny also changed into tiny lion dancer costumes to fit the occasion and may have stolen the show.
As a nod to their first date, the couple made their grand entrance to the reception to “Perfect” by none other than One Direction. Then, the 10-course meal began, consisting of deep fried crab, peking duck, and honey-baked cod. As a “something blue,” all the table linens were a light blue shade from BBJ La Tavola.
The final few hours of the night were spent on the dance floor with lychee martinis and tunes from DJ Kevin Combs of Elite Entertainment. Guests also took turns snapping pics in the booth from Selfie Booth Co.
The newlyweds had their first dance to “Rewrite the Stars” from The Greatest Showman. “Our favorite part of wedding planning was definitely our weekly dates to The Dance Loft, learning this choreographed dance,” Amanda shares. “I am a dancer, but Aaron is not, so it absolutely shocked his entire friends and family.”
After cutting the cake by Butter&, the newlyweds led everyone to the after-party at their couple’s favorite San Francisco dive bar, Li Po, in Chinatown. “If you haven’t been, you need to try the infamous Chinese Mai Tais,” Amanda advises. “Even Anthony Bourdain recommended them in his SF travel show, ‘The Layover.'”
Immediately following the wedding, Amanda and Aaron headed to Cabo for a mini-moon. And then a few months later, they jetted off to Turkey and Greece for a longer honeymoon.