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Isabelle Sui Worked With Her Aunt, Anna Sui, to Create Her Dream Custom Chantilly Lace Wedding Dress

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Zoom Theory

|Planning by 

Demaray Events

Isabelle Sui and David Leslie first met in line at a bar in Charleston—specifically, when he and his friend photobombed her Snapchat selfie. She was in The Holy City getting her undergraduate degree, and he was pursuing a graduate degree, both at the College of Charleston. They struck up a conversation but didn’t officially start dating until two years later in 2018. 

After four years together, David proposed at Isabelle’s home in New York. The two were doing long-distance between NYC and Los Angeles. Isabelle had been working late on a photoshoot for her aunt Anna Sui’s resort collection. “When I got home, I opened the door to find my floor covered with rose petals, candles, and peonies and David on one knee there with a ring,” Isabelle recalls. “He had flown to New York that morning unbeknownst to me that he would be coming at all.”

When the pair were becoming more serious in their relationship, Isabelle was living in Los Angeles, while David was still in Charleston. During his first visit to the West Coast, they stumbled upon Adamson House and fell in love with the tile work on the home. A few days later, they made their relationship official, so the venue already held a special place in their hearts when they booked it for their autumn wedding.

The local bougainvillea inspired the florals by The Little Branch and color palette for the nuptials. Overall, the wedding aesthetic was elegant, bohemian, and coastal. To help bring their vision to life, Demaray Events stepped in to coordinate everything to a tee. 

“Growing up, one of my favorite stories my mom would tell me was about how she worked with my aunt, Anna Sui, to design her wedding dress,” Isabelle shares. Like mother, like daughter, Isabelle asked her aunt if she’d design her ceremony look too. And, of course, Anna was pleased to do so. The bride-to-be looked through Anna’s archives and called out elements of her favorite dresses. After a few detailed sketches, they had created Isabelle’s wedding dress in French Chantilly lace from the same store where Anna found the fabric for Isabelle’s mother’s own dress.

On the day-of, the bride got ready with Emily Lynn & Co. and accessorized with pearl Jimmy Choos to match her pearl engagement ring, her mother’s wedding necklace, and Edwardian diamond earrings. A Claire Pettibone veil and a flower crown that made Isabelle feel like the women in a J.W. Waterhouse painting completed the styling.

David and his groomsmen looked handsome in navy tuxedos by Vera Wang with Liberty of London ties and pocket squares.

On November 4, 2023, Isabelle and her father walked down the aisle to a harpist’s rendition of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.” “I think I was most nervous about my dad being able to get the classic wedding walk with the step together right,” Isabelle recalls.We didn’t quite nail it, but now looking back it will always make me laugh.”

During the touching ceremony, the bride’s mother and aunt read from the Old and New Testament. Finally, Isabelle and David exchanged traditional vows and recessed to “Sleep Walk” by Santo & Johnny. The bride remembers, “The ceremony felt like the official start like the celebration for the rest of our lives together.”

During cocktail hour, tiki music—curated by the newlyweds—created a tropical atmosphere, as guests were treated to drinks by The Whaling Club. The couple even had custom tiki mugs by Daniel Gallardo made.

Then, to pay homage to Isabelle’s Chinese roots, an Asian family-style meal by Hungry Bear was served. Highlights were the sesame noodles and braised short ribs. Dessert was in the form of the delicious sheet wedding cakes by Sasha Piligian.

Isabelle and David took to the dance floor for a first dance to “Always Forever” by Cults. They admittedly fumbled the timing a bit but more than made up for it later by showing off their moves with guests and DJ Maxxwell of GoodMood.

The partied continued at karaoke bar The GasLite in Santa Monica with a Monty’s food truck. Isabelle smiles, “We had the place to ourselves, so everyone could feel welcome to belt out their favorite Spice Girls songs.”