To Have and to HOLDEN is our series where we interview real couples about their romance, weddings, and whatever else comes up along the way. Enjoy!
Wendan and Yufei are a New York City-based couple who were married in the fall of 2019 at Hans Fahden Winery in Northern California. For their October wedding (on their 11 year anniversary!), Yufei chose our Faceted Profile in platinum and Wendan our Half Eternity Profile in platinum. We sat down to talk to them about love, food, and everything in between.
How did you two meet?
Wendan: It was the summer of 2008, and Yufei and I came across each other on a Facebook group for newly admitted students at Columbia University and started chatting online. A few weeks later, we met in person for the first time on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art at an orientation event. After finding out that we were in the same Calculus class, we began spending more time together doing homework, talking on the steps of Low Library late into the night, and exploring our new home of New York City. We officially became a couple in October 2008, and the rest is history!
What do you do for work?
Yufei: I’m a software engineer.
Wendan: I’m an orthodontic resident.
You live in New York - what are a couple of your favorite places to eat or things to do?
Yufei: Porter House for steak and authentic Georgian food at Old Tbilisi Garden!
Wendan: There are so many great restaurants in NYC, it’s hard to pick favorites! With that said, we always find ourselves back at Golden Unicorn for dim sum and Grace Street for dessert. We love taking walks in Central Park and visiting different museums in the city.
You two travel a TON - what are some of your favorite places you’ve been? What’s the best bite you’ve ever had while traveling?
Yufei: I really enjoy travelling to remote, desolate places away from the crowds. Westfjords in Iceland and South Island of New Zealand are some of my favorites. As for food, I loved all the tagines I ate in Morocco – it’s hard to find an authentic one in the States.
Wendan: I love so many of the places we’ve traveled to, but especially Japan, Iceland, Italy, Morocco (where we got engaged) and New Zealand (where we honeymooned). Food-wise, I loved absolutely everything we ate in Japan, and we had the best baked lamb shoulder from Pedro’s House of Lamb in Queenstown, NZ.
How did you get engaged?
Yufei: I proposed on an overnight trip in the Sahara desert in Morocco. We had just had dinner by the campfire (where local Berber musicians also put on a great live show). I took Wendan on a stroll on the sand dunes near our tent, and we gazed at the stars in the clear night sky. I was nervous as hell with a ring in my pocket that I’d been safeguarding this entire time in Africa – but I asked her there, and she said yes!
Tell me about your wedding! What was important to you when planning your wedding? Any specific details you want to share?
Wendan: It was important that we planned a wedding that represented our journey as a couple and reflected our personalities. Our wedding day was on our 11-year anniversary, our mutual college friend served as our officiant, I hand made our cake topper featuring 2 lions (Columbia’s mascot), and we served ice cream from one of our favorite shops in San Francisco (Humphry Slocombe) as a late night snack!
What’s one moment from your wedding day you know you’ll remember forever?
Yufei: Dancing and laughing with friends and family; also the first time I saw Wendan in her wedding dress – she was stunning!
Wendan: Walking down the aisle together into our ceremony and the spontaneous dance circle during our last song at the reception.
What was one thing that was harder to plan than you expected?
Yufei: Planning a wedding remotely had its challenges. I visited the venue a total of 4 times prior to the wedding, so coordinating all the cross-country trips to do that was probably one of the harder parts.
Wendan: Wedding planning was surprisingly easier than I imagined. The hardest part for me was the last few weeks trying to sort out all the little details.
What was a must-have song on your wedding playlist?
Yufei: "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz
Wendan: "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen
What’s one piece of advice you have for couples planning a wedding?
Yufei: Don’t subscribe to any rules and dogmas. Know that you should be planning the day first for yourselves, and that should help guide a lot of decisions.
Wendan: Do what YOU want to do! There’s a lot of expectations thrown at couples when planning a wedding, but at the end of the day it’s about the two of you, so just make decisions that make you happy.
What was important to you when looking for wedding rings?
Quality, design, price, and a simple process.
What made you choose HOLDEN?
We loved that we were able to see the rings in person at the NYC office. The craftsmanship of the rings was top-notch, yet the price was much better than the other jewelers we visited. The customer service was excellent as well, and the free engraving was the cherry on top.
What does love mean to you?
Yufei: To me it means absolute ease in being yourself and natural comfort in seeing yourself as a part of a union.
Wendan: It means having 100% certainty in your love and commitment even on days where you don’t like each other.
Check out more of Yufei and Wendan's travels on Instagram: @wendan.vs.world.
Photos courtesy of Courtney Stockton.