Christina Chuo and Chris Vander Weyden met in 2013 and dated for eight months in New York City, before he moved back to his native Canada, but when he returned in 2016, they picked right back up where they left off. Two years later, after attending a friend’s wedding in San Francisco, and at the summit of Mount Tamalpais at sunset, he got down on one knee and asked Christina to marry him.
With most of their family in the Northeast, having the wedding locally in Brooklyn made sense to the engaged couple. “The moment we walked into 501 Union, we knew it was the space for us,” the bride, who is creative director at luxury real estate firm The Corcoran Group, says. “We loved the layout and how every room naturally flowed into the next, providing a space that easily lent itself as a foundation for creating an intimate experience for our guests on the big day.”
The theme was inspired by the venue space and a memorable trip to Cuba over a New Year’s Eve. “I think it was our caterer who referred to our theme as ‘Art Deco meets Pre-Revolutionary Havana,’ and that’s how we’ve described it since,” Christina says. To create a refreshing ambiance in each room, they worked with August Sage & Violet to curate dramatic arrangements of monstera leaves and tropical ferns. And on the day-of, Dream Makers NY made sure everything ran smoothly.
To walk down the aisle, Christina wanted her bridal look to be a glammed-up version of her usual wardrobe of classic silhouettes and softly tailored pieces. Kelly Faetanini designed her custom, off-the-shoulder, A-line gown with a removable tulle overskirt, which she wore for pre-ceremony photos. And she completed the ensemble with Keren Wolf crystal baguette earrings. Bridesmaids complemented Christina well in Fame & Partners satin dresses and bracelets that had “soul sister” spelled out in morse code.
The mother-of-the bride shined in the same burgundy dress that she’d worn to her own engagement party back in the ’70s. “It was perfect and still looked so elegant on her,” Christina says.
At 501 Union, the bride walked down the aisle with her father to meet Chris under a breathtaking, suspended tropical floral installation. Their good friend, Josh, officiated the ceremony with ease. “Overall I felt pretty good, other than being slightly nervous that I was going to bawl the second I went into my vows, but I mostly held it together,” the groom remembers of his feelings during the service. After being announced as husband and wife, the newlyweds led everyone to cocktail hour, filled with Cuban music to set the fun tone for the evening.
Because their wedding was in the middle of the summer, Night Kitchen Catering made sure to include refreshing and light options for the seated dinner. And after the meal, DJ Benja Styles from Remixologists kept the night going strong by playing everything from Major Lazer to Aretha Franklin to Eddie Money. We discovered DJ Ben through his samples online and knew he would nail it,” Christina remarks. And the new Mr. and Mrs. romantically had their first dance to “You and Me” by Penny & The Quarters.
After the reception formally finished, Christina and Chris headed up to their suite, jumped into bed with the leftover cake and desserts that the caterer had thoughtfully saved for them—a sweet finish to the perfect day.