After saying what both had been fearful to admit, they easily fell into a relationship. One year later came John’s proposal. Recalling that as friends, Emily had once mentioned how beautiful she found snowfall at night, John decided to propose while on a trip to Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. Following dinner with friends, John—hoping for snowflakes—asked Emily to take a walk. “It started to snow right on cue,” John recalls. “I told Emily, ‘you know you always get what you want.’ Then I got down on one knee and proposed. It was beautiful.”
Although she knew they would eventually marry, Emily was still surprised at the proposal. “I was overwhelmed by his sincerity and how he carried it out; that he remembered what I had said. It showed me nothing I say to him is just in passing,” she says.
“I NOW FEEL LIKE A LIFETIME IS NOT ENOUGH TIME TO BE WITH JOHN.” EMILY SHIN
The couple chose Carolyn Chen as their planner and set the date for August 1st. About two months into the six months they had to plan, they dropped the idea of having a large wedding in Los Angeles and opted for a destination wedding on the north shore of Kauai. Both of the couple’s parents had immigrated to Hawaii from Korea and Emily’s parents had also been married there.
The multi-day festivities kicked off Saturday with a welcome luau poolside at The St. Regis Princeville Resort. John had their 100 guests in stitches when he hula danced in coconut shells and a grass skirt. On Sunday, photographers captured the bride and groom’s “first look,” prior to the 5:30 p.m. ceremony. “I had total butterflies while I was waiting,” explains Emily. “I hid behind my bouquet because I was too nervous to look, then cried when I finally saw the expression on John’s face when he saw me in my gown.”
Circular seating and tons of white flowers were two of Emily’s wishes for the ceremony. And her planner and florist delivered. “I never expected it would exceed everything I would ever dream of,” Emily says. Both her parents walked her down the aisle and her father, a Methodist pastor, officiated. “All of our guests were so close to us; everyone shared how special it was to be able to feel and experience the moment of the vows so intimately.”
John’s good friend, Jane Lui, sang the couple’s first dance, Sade’s “By Your Side,” to kick off the reception. At the end of the night, they held a dance competition with the newlyweds as judges. “It was a riot to see the competing couples go for first place,” says Emily.
Since the two travel frequently, they hadn’t planned on honeymooning. But when their flight back to L.A. had to land in Honolulu due to mechanical problems, they decided to stay in Waikiki for a few nights. Although Emily says she once considered matrimony a large, almost burdensome, commitment, “I now feel like a lifetime is not enough time to be with John.”
Location, Cake and Caterer: The St. Regis Princeville Resort, Kauai, Hawaii; Event Planner: Carolyn Chen, The Special Day, Los Angeles, CA; Floral and Event Design: Martin Roberts Design, Kauai, Hawaii; Linen: Wildflower Linen, Los Angeles, CA; Wedding Gown: Vera Wang; Photography: Aaron Delesie Photographer, Inc., Santa Ana, CA