Who are Carolyn & Mia?

Carolyn works in higher education as an academic advisor and working on her Master’s degree simultaneously. She is a big Netflix and Hulu binger, and her all-time favorite show is Full House!

Mia is a digital marketer and blogger. She is passionate about cooking and likes to develop and share Asian fusion recipes. Carolyn is making her a Netflix and Hulu binger too! Our recent favorites are 90 days Fiance, Love is Blind and How I Met Your Mother.

We have been together two and a half years now! We met through OK Cupid, which we used to be awkward to tell people about because we thought online dating was not that acceptable. But we found out that many people we know use online dating apps anyway, so we became very open about that. 

We didn’t get married until we dated for two years. The first date we met was August 4, 2017, and we tried to make our wedding date close to that, so we chose August 2, 2019. 

FUN FACT: Carolyn’s lucky number is 840! How random that the date we physically met each other was August 4!! About the “840” story: when Carolyn was little, she learned how to read the time. Every time her parents asked her, “What time is it?” she always responded “840”, no matter what time it really was. 

Oh, that is so sweet and meant to be! Tell us about the proposal.

Carolyn planned a sweet proposal on a beautiful Friday evening. She first took Mia to the seaport area for cocktails in the afternoon. Then she realized we were running late to get back to the area we live for the sunset.

It takes about thirty minutes to walk from the subway station to the proposal location, a small hill in the town we live in, and you can see Boston’s skyline from there. We decided to take an Uber from the subway station to make it to the hill for the sunset! Mia kind of already knew it was going to happen because Carolyn was so obviously in a rush and nervous about missing the timing. When we got to the hill, we enjoyed the golden Boston skyline.

Carolyn pretended to take a picture of Mia, then when Mia turned around, Carolyn had the ring in her hand, and Mia’s phone, and her cellphone. Mia was perplexed: that’s quite a few pieces of equipment to have for a proposal! Carolyn wanted to record on Mia’s phone, and she needed her cellphone for the words to say (in Cantonese). Carolyn proposed in Cantonese, Mia’s mother tongue. It was such a clumsy, but super sweet proposal.

We can probably set a record of the shortest engagement! We were engaged for only a little longer than a month because we needed to get married before Mia’s visa expired and file an immigration application based on marriage. It definitely added some stress on top of the wedding planning.

We did plan a second wedding for a few months later so that we could celebrate with more family and friends.

Tell us about finding wedding outfits in such a short amount of time.

For the wedding in August, we both had very economical choices of wedding dresses. But they are BEAUTIFUL! Mia’s top criteria for a wedding dress was the color– red, which represents her culture. There weren’t many red wedding dresses anywhere, honestly. But she found one online at David’s Bridal, and it was only around $50! It looked great too, with beautiful cutting, maroon with gold beading.

Carolyn had a real dress shopping experience with her mom. She was searching for a sustainable wedding dress and found the perfect one at BHLDN. Carolyn did her research online and ordered a few dresses from different stores to try before finding BHLDN. She made an appointment with BHLDN and went in person to the store to try on different available options right away instead of waiting for several months to get a dress.

Since Mia cares about the Chinese wedding traditions for the reception in November, she was looking for a perfect Qun Kwa, the traditional Chinese wedding dress. She tried Chinatown, Esty, and everywhere possible. She found out that most of the Qun Kwas are handmade and need at least two months to be made. Luckily, she found one on Eastmeetsdress.com, an Asian wedding dress shop with some pre-made Qun Kwa. Eastmeetsdress was very considerate too, advising Mia’s sizes by sending a questionnaire of the measurements. After she submitted the measurement, Eastmeetsdress emailed and suggested getting a medium since that dress tends to run smaller. It was so thoughtful of them to do that, and the dress fitted me perfectly.

Tell us about the wedding and the reception.

Our wedding was on August 2, 2019.

The night before the wedding, Carolyn stayed with her mom at a hotel in Cambridge. Mia stayed at her apartment. 

One cute little thing was at 6 am Carolyn sent an email to Mia and said how excited she was to see her and finally be married. 

On that morning, we went to the hair salon separately to have our hair done. Even though it was a civil wedding, we are glad that we did the first look! Carolyn sat at the bench and waited for Mia to come to her. When we saw each other’s faces, we just burst into tears. After the wedding, we went to a few different places to have a photoshoot with our family. That night, we had a small party at an Irish pub with friends.

Our reception was on November 16, 2019, celebrating our marriage with 90 guests at Alden Castle in Brookline, MA. 

On the reception day, in the afternoon, we had a beautiful Chinese Tea Ceremony in our hotel room. Mia’s mom made traditional wedding tea, and we kneeled and served the tea to the elders in the family and received their blessings. After the tea ceremony, we headed to the venue.

What are some of your favorite moments?

Carolyn’s favorite moment led up to the ‘first look’ outside City Hall at the rainbow benches. Carolyn was so excited to see Mia, but also nervous because the ‘first look’ wasn’t planned until the night before and she was worried something would go wrong. But once Carolyn got there, saw the photographer and heard that Mia was waiting inside City Hall to come out, all she could think was, “this is it, I am going to see my future wife!”. Carolyn was asked to turn away from the doors, she looked up at their family and friends, and listened to Mia’s shoes click down the stairs. 

Mia’s favorite moment is the traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony that happened in November, the reception day. Because in Chinese culture, a wedding must have a tea ceremony to represent the marriage’s approval from the parents. It meant a lot to us that our parents accepted us as a couple. Mia’s parents gave some jewelry to us and brought gifts from Mia’s relatives in China. We felt so supported that the family in China gave us blessings regardless of their belief.

Tell us more about incorporating Chinese traditions into the wedding and reception.

Besides the traditional Chinese dress, Cantonese-English first dance song and the golden-red color theme. We incorporated our different cultures in so many other ways.

For Mia’s side, we had a traditional tea ceremony on the reception day at the wedding hotel. Mia’s parents and the elders in Carolyn’s family attended. In Chinese tradition, Tea Ceremony is for the elders in the family to bless the new couple. It meant so much to Mia and her parents to have the tea ceremony even though we were in the United States.

The gift bag design was Chinese culture inspired as well. We printed the “Happy Marriage” Chinese symbol on the bags and stuffed them with snacks and Chinese Tea that Mia’s mom brought from China.

For Carolyn’s culture, we had a traditional father-daughter dance and the longest couple dance at the reception. For Carolyn’s family, there is always an after-party after the reception with the guests and we had brunch together the next morning. Those were all so fun.

Since we are from different countries and have different nationalities, as our relationship became more serious, it became more stressful to think about if we would eventually be separated. This made us realize we’re ready to commit to each other in marriage and build a life together without fear of separation.


Ceremony Photographer Riany Haffey
Reception Photographer JP Langlands

Cake Montilios Baking Company
Ceremony Venue Cambridge City Hall
Entertainment Jim Ciampi Band
Florist
Central Square Florist
Gown Designers David’s Bridal, East Meets Dress, BHLDN
Hair Drybar
Hair Piece Bella Via Designs
Reception Venue
Alden Castel
Stationery Basic Invite
Wedding Party Gifts Bliss Bijou
Wedding Party Outfits David’s Bridal
Wedding Rings Gigi Jewelry