A hospital’s cardiac surgery intensive care unit proved to be a great place for the heart in more than one way for Regina Lee and Jerry Chao. Jerry, who is currently a resident in plastic and reconstructive surgery, was doing a surgical rotation in 2010 when he met Regina, a clinical pharmacist. The two spent a month working together and bonded over their religious faith and love of good Chinese food. Jerry asked out Regina as soon as his rotation was up.
On their first date, Jerry took Regina to the High Line Park, and on Valentine’s Day weekend 2012, he took her again to propose.
“It was a freezing cold day, and the trail of rose petals that Jerry had set up blew away,” Regina recalled — but that didn’t stop her from saying yes!
The lovebirds set the date for May 19, 2013, then threw themselves into the wedding planning, which they did with the help of “lots of Excel spreadsheets.” They chose Liberty House Restaurant, a large restaurant and catering facility in Jersey City’s Liberty State Park, for both the ceremony and reception. The Manhattan couple was especially taken with the site’s fantastic vistas that are surrounded by water on three sides.
“Liberty House offers a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline through the reception ballroom’s floor-to-ceiling windows,” says Jerry enthusiastically.
May 19 was romantically overcast and the couple and guests were caught up in a storm of excitement. The groom donned a tux at the altar, while the bride wore a slim-fitting satin and tulle gown with lace appliqués, crystals, a V-neck, and illusion straps accessorized with a sparkly belt from Allure Bridals. She carried a sweet and romantic bouquet of pink lilies, white roses, and purple orchids. The color pink resurfaced in the four bridesmaids’ blush frocks, which matched the groomsmen’s vests and ties.
One of Regina’s old church pastors officiated the traditional Christian wedding and incorporated an unexpected and moving act — the clasping of pinkies.
“We didn’t know it was going to happen beforehand,” Jerry says, “but our officiant asked us to do it during the ceremony.”
The act symbolized the couple’s promise to remain faithful to each other throughout the ups and downs of marriage.
Regina and Jerry’s 188 guests snacked on crab cakes, lobster and asparagus, chicken satay, coconut shrimp, ceviche, pasta, and sushi during the cocktail hour. Then guests feasted at tables adorned with pink lilies, white roses, hydrangea, and purple stock. The meal began with a crab salad and was followed by either red wine-braised short ribs or macadamia nut-crusted mahi mahi. The wedding cake, from local institution Carlo’s Bakery (made famous by the TLC television show “Cake Boss”), was a lavender frosted vanilla and chocolate cake with hazelnut cream filling. The four-layer confection was topped with purple orchids in a nod to the bride’s bouquet.
The reception featured an unusual twist — party games.
“We had our friends organize a few games, with us being at the center of them,” Jerry explains.
In the first game, Regina was blindfolded and asked to pick out her new husband from among the groomsmen by feeling their biceps. In another, the couple was seated back to back, and asked questions such as, “Who wears the pants in the relationship?” The newlyweds each answered by raising a shoe — either one of the bride’s, or one of the groom’s. The couple enjoyed these playful games.
“They were really fun for our guests, too!” says Jerry.
“Everything was done beautifully — the dress, the flowers, the reception music. Our guests all raved about the food that was served,” says Jerry. “Most of all, all the people were what made it the most meaningful!”
Utilize your bridesmaids and groomsmen, especially if they are willing to help. It’s overwhelming for one person!
This way you can relax and enjoy the wedding without worrying about the details.
You might not have time later.
This may be the only time you will have people from all stages of your life together in one room.
… and play a few games.
All photos by Ryan Brenizer Photography.
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