When Cindy Hsu received a friend’s invitation to a cooking class in Taiwan in 2013, she thought it was suspicious that there was an equal number of men and women in attendance. Still, “I was immediately drawn to Daniel,” Cindy says of her now husband, Daniel Shih, who back then was just a cute guy with great knife skills. (The friend later admitted it was a singles-only event.) The pair’s relationship grew immediately, lasting through one major back surgery (hers) and three years of long-distance dating while Cindy finished school and worked as a graphic designer in New York City, where Daniel would often come to visit her.
So when it was decided that Cindy would move back to Taiwan so they could be together, she had one request: a courthouse wedding at Manhattan’s City Hall. “New York City has this really special place in our hearts,” she says. “I had always imagined getting married there.”
In late January, the two flew to the Big Apple, put on their favorite suits (hers pink; his navy), and made it official in front of a judge and six friends at City Hall. Later that night, Cindy changed into a red dress (like the one her mom wore at her own wedding), and the party continued with dinner at the Nom Wah Tea Parlor, a dim sum institution in Chinatown, where they skipped cake in favor of dumplings and scallion pancakes. The group eventually wandered to a rooftop and danced until the early morning.
The whole day—from the pink suit to Cindy’s wiltproof bouquet—took only three months to plan. Here’s how they pulled it off.
Read the Rules
While a courthouse ceremony may seem like the most laid-back way to wed, you can’t just show up at any given moment to get married. The day before their wedding, Cindy and Daniel had to visit City Hall to get their marriage license, which New York requires couples have 24 hours in advance of their ceremony.
An unconventional wedding calls for a similarly bold outfit. “I just didn’t see myself as a bride who would wear white,” says Cindy. “My personality is more pinky red.” So when she spotted a bubblegum pink suit on Instagram, she had a similar version custom-made in Taiwan. Her crystal-encrusted shoes were handmade there, as well.
Choose an Eternal Bloom
Cindy made her own everlasting bouquet from plastic flowers she found in Taiwan. One major benefit of using fake blooms? They’re travel-friendly. “You can take it back with you in your suitcase as a memento,” she says. She also plans to use the buds again for their bigger orchid-themed Chinese wedding next year.