Wedding Inspiration: A Nautical-Themed Fete in Half Moon Bay

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It was all about being immersed in the great outdoors and an epic dance party.

Yuan Kang and Stephen Edkins met at Cornell University while she was in veterinary school and he was completing a physics PhD. They shared a love of hiking upstate New York's waterfall trails, tasting local wines, and trying new restaurants. After graduation, they moved to the Bay Area where she's now a small animal veterinarian in San Jose, and he's a physics post-doc at Stanford. For the proposal, Edkins ordered a custom T-shirt for their tiny chihuahua that said, "Will you marry Steve?" How could she say no? To celebrate, they enjoyed a sunset wine cruise in the bay.


The two selected a venue close by to make planning simpler—Half Moon Bay was easily accessible from SFO as most of their guests were coming from out of state, but it was also its small town charm and myriad of weekend activities that they were drawn to. The location embodied everything they loved with Moss Beach, the stunning cliffside, cypress trees, and dog-friendly hiking trails. "The Oceano Hotel was the first potential venue we visited, and we instantly loved how the hotel combined class, charm, and a beautiful ocean view. I walked into the lobby, saw the beautiful nautical decor, and immediately thought, "Yeah, I could get married here," says Kang.

Since the majority of their guest list traveled for their big day, they wanted to keep it intimate with plenty of time to spend time with their loved ones and actually partake in the party. Rather than stressing over making every detail perfect, they focused on what would affect guests most at a wedding—personal ceremony, tasty eats, and a killer dance party. They also gave their vendors a lot of creative freedom to allow them room to enjoy the process. Their theme was "simple, coastal elegance."

"We used the Oceano's house centerpieces and added seashells and starfish for a more nautical feel," explains Kang. "A few of my high school friends braved heights and high winds to drape our wedding arch."

They also incorporated a number of personal touches like Edkins wearing his family's lucky horseshoe charm on his boutonniere, a custom pendant for Kang that featured his grandmother's engagement stone, and their chihuahua, Dobby, walking down the aisle with the groomsmen and greeting guests at cocktail hour. "He's usually very grumpy but was surprisingly well behaved! When it came time for him to go home for dinner, we had to search the premises before finding him tucked away in a wedding guest's warm sweater/lap."

Then it was time to start the show. They'd choreographed a dance in their living room, complete with lifts to the Chinese cover of Coldplay's "Yellow" from the movie Crazy Rich Asians. Afterwards, they noshed on gourmet eats in a buffet-style dinner followed by cupcakes and more dancing.

Venue, coordinator, and catering: Oceano Hotel & Spa
Photographer: Kat Ma Photography
Dress: Maggie Sottero
Hair and makeup: Jessie Weng
Shoes: Cole Haan
Bridesmaids dresses: Azazie
Groomsmen suits: The Black Tux
Flowers: Alena Jean
Cake: Cakeabakin (Enez Peoro)
DJ: Elite Entertainment (Kevin Coombs)
Officiant: Ceremonies & Celebrations (Irene Kane)

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