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A Colorful Wedding With Korean Influence in Portugal

by Staff

For two tech professionals in San Francisco, a dating app seems the most apt way to meet. That’s exactly how Kate Moon, the content policy manager for Meta, and startup founder Greg Brandt first connected—on Hinge, to be exact. It also tracks, then, that a tech glitch might through a wrench into things. 

“We started talking on Hinge in early 2017, but after Kate went on a business trip, a malfunction deleted some of the messages. So, we never got to meet, despite Greg asking Kate on a date when she got back to San Francisco,” the couple remembers. “Luckily, when Kate went back on Hinge several months later that year, the messages came back, along with Greg’s phone number.” She texted him on a whim to see if he was even still available. As luck would have it, he was.

Greg had the ring for nearly a year before he finally proposed overlooking the ocean in February 2021 on Kate’s birthday. They quickly decided on Portugal for their destination wedding.“I have been there several times and consider it one of my favorite countries in the world,” Kate says. “I absolutely love azulejos—Portuguese tiles—the food, incredibly hospitable people, and vibrant culture.” They pegged a Portuguese wedding planning and design duo, Jasmine and Marta of The Wedding Co., to execute their vision. “I wanted a fresh and joyful take on a classic palace wedding that honored the inherent beauty of the venue while showcasing my Korean heritage,” Kate says. “Our wedding planners would describe it as old-world elegance for modern romantics, and I agree!”

Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira featured just the azulejos and façades Kate loves so much, so it set the perfect scene. “The color scheme was pastel jewel tones, which went so beautifully with the blue and white tiles,” she says. “We wanted joyful colors that weren’t too jarring or bright, but would pair elegantly with the venue. Jasmine was inspired by Bulgari’s high jewelry collection when creating our mood board, so lavender and coral touches were infused into the decor.” She continues: “Ducks, which are traditional Korean wedding birds, became a bit of a playful cohesive theme that peppered and united our wedding.” Their venue, no less, just happened to have ducks.

In hopes that their 50 guests would truly turn this wedding into a vacation of their own, Kate and Greg add a large line item to their wedding budget. “Since we were cognizant that our guests were flying in, we decided to cover the cost of the wedding weekend accommodations and chose a really fun hotel: Mama Shelter Lisboa,” Kate shares. “This ended up being great, as it gave a chance for our guests to mingle and get to know one another. Many of our guests became such good friends!” 

Read on to see all the beautiful and cultural details of the couple’s May 7, 2022, wedding, planned by The Wedding Co. and photographed by love is my favorite color.

“I had no idea I could care so much about wedding invitations, but once I met with Peggy from Whodrew and started brainstorming ideas for a bespoke watercolor suite that featured Korean wedding elements with azulejos, I was hooked,” Kate shares. “I wanted the invitations to incorporate Korean mallards; norigae, decorative tassels; and binyeo, ornate hairpins, while also featuring tiles and our venue. Peggy did it all so playfully and set the tone for guests by giving them a little teaser of what to expect.” 

Upon her arrival in Lisbon, Kate hit the spa. “I went to Skinlife for a facial days before the wedding for that extra glow,” she says. On the day of, “I wanted to look like my best self, with classic makeup and flowing, wavy hair that would look good from all angles.”

“I like to joke that it all started with my wedding dress,” Kate says. “I considered doing a simple city hall wedding in San Francisco. However, once I chose a beautiful ballgown from Monique Lhuillier, a switch flipped and my fiancé and I began discussing a destination wedding.”The dress that launched the ship, if you will? Lhuillier’s pale blush Helena gown, a silk and lace strapless sweetheart style with white floral embroidery and an illusion V neck. “It was actually the first dress I tried on,” Kate shares. “I loved how it highlighted my figure and was such a classic and elegant look. The dress doesn’t need much minding, it just falls effortlessly around you due to its fabric.” 

The final touch was the most meaningful. “I’m eternally grateful that my 90-year-old grandfather flew all the way from Korea to attend our wedding,” Kate says. “He gifted me an heirloom pearl necklace from my grandmother, who had passed away just before Covid, with a handwritten note, which was really emotional for me. My aunt gave it to me in a Korean gift pouch that we had bought together, so I realized she had been helping to plan this for a long time.”

The couple went shopping together in San Francisco to find Greg the perfect suit. “He wanted a breathable, high quality suit that would go well with the venue,” Kate recalls. “We ended up with a blue suit from Loro Piana that he loves.” A haircut and beard trim a few days before the wedding was all he needed for prep. “Greg is very low maintenance,” says the bride. “He has great hair though, so very little is required to make it look good!”

I wanted flowers that would look like they had sprung up naturally.

“Because the azulejos and the grounds are so stunning, I wanted flowers that would look like they had sprung up naturally,” Kate says of the ceremony space. “Our florist, Kckliko, designed untamed, lush floral arrangements  that looked like they should just be part of the palace. Huge sprays of hydrangeas, tulips, allium, delphiniums and iris germanicas looked like they grew out of the stairs for the ceremony.”

Kate walked down the aisle—formed by the natural garden hedges—to the tune of Brooklyn Duo’s version of Zedd’s “Clarity.” “My husband will say his favorite moment was when I started crying as I walked down the aisle. I was so convinced that I wouldn’t cry publicly, but I couldn’t help myself.”

The duo exchanged personal vows. “We kept them short and sweet, but wanted to highlight qualities in each other that we felt made us fall in love,” Kate says. “Guests complimented the fact that Greg mentioned the clarity of knowing I was the one, after I had walked down to ‘Clarity’ for my processional.” The ceremony was also one place they incorporated the Korean wedding ducks. “Ducks represent fidelity and faith in marriages, and wooden mallards are given to the bride by the groom to symbolize the lifelong bond between a couple,” Kate explains. “One of our groomsmen carried hand-carved wooden ducks down the aisle, and our officiant spoke to it for a personal touch.”

A Brazilian bossa nova trio played guests into cocktail hour, where they sipped two signature cocktails: a custom take on a Sazerac, and a fruit-forward mojito. 

“We didn’t do an official first look because I wanted Greg to see me for the first time walking down the aisle,” Kate says. “Our wedding planners booked us a really cool vintage blue Jaguar that took us separately to the venue: Greg went first with his groomsmen, then I went with my aunt and maid of honor.” After the ceremony, though, the newlyweds came together for portraits, including some in front of the classic car.

“I chose silk coral dresses from Shona Joy for my bridal party, as I wanted a color that would pop but complement the flowers,” Kate says. “The groomsmen wore light blue suits to complement Greg’s darker one.” 

“My favorite area of the palace is the veranda with Greek statues, which created such a lovely al fresco dinner and dancing environment,” Kate says. Tables were covered in soft lilac linens, with floral centerpieces and cut-glass candle holders that cast a romantic glow. 

“We put a lot of effort into creating a customized experience for our guests, with Korean, Portuguese, and Seattle—where Greg is from—touches,” Kate says. “The chargers were inspired by azulejos, and dinnerware was carefully chosen to reflect our backgrounds, from bowls that incorporated salmon for Greg to chinoiserie-inspired plates, which I really loved.” But, the showpiece of each place setting was the hand-painted tile that doubled as menu-choice indicator and bread plate. “We had duck tiles for those who chose steak, fish tiles for fish, and flower tiles for vegetarians. Plus, guests could take them home as wedding favors!”

The dinner menu highlighted mostly Portuguese dishes, with some Asian fusion mixed in: shellfish soup, steak with buttery garlic potatoes, braised corn-crusted sea bream, and marinated satay tofu. “Greg picked Portuguese red and white wines for dinner that were served tableside,” the bride adds.

The couple cut into their wedding cake—classic cream and genoise—and invited guests to dig into a gorgeous dessert and cheese buffet after dinner.

“Greg picked all the music for our key moments,” Kate says. “We wanted classic mixed with a little modern, so we chose ‘All My Life’ by K-Ci and Jojo for a throwback to our middle-school days.”

“Seeing so many people come together for our wedding was really emotional,” Kate shares, looking back on the celebration. “It feels surreal to see so many close friends and family in a completely different country! Seeing them all there to celebrate with you, from all over the world, is emotional in a way we hadn’t anticipated. We couldn’t ask for anything more.” 

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