The Big Day was inspired by Byzantine art.
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Artistic inspirations are popping up in many recent Philly weddings — from a Big Day featuring painters’ palette table numbers to a celebration influenced by Matisse. For this Rodin Museum wedding, the couple drew on their love for Byzantine art and ideas, and filled their party with gilt-clad decor and attire. Asya Photography captured the golden hour below.
Aissulu Kadyrzhanova and Yaochang Huang’s decision to marry at the Rodin Museum, the lovely Beaux Arts-style venue and garden on the Parkway, was no coincidence. Aissulu is an artist and Yao is an architect, and the pair’s relationship began with and flourished over a mutual love of creativity and design.
In fact, their first date took place at the museum. They went to the destination to sketch sculptures together as friends and left with not only their drawings, but also the realization that their connection ran much deeper.
They dated for 18 months before Yao proposed in January 2019 at Princeton’s Miele Experience Center. Like those of many other people impacted by the pandemic, their plans for an August 2020 wedding were diverted; instead, they held a small family ceremony on their original date and pushed their party to the next year.
The ensuing celebration in August 2021 was perfectly suited to the couple’s tastes and drew on their fascination with Byzantine art and ideas for inspiration. “The Byzantine Empire is often referred to as the ‘Byzantine Kingdom of Heaven,’” Aissulu says.“It implies the idea of spiritual eternity, an everlasting kingdom that will never be destroyed.”
This notion resonated with the duo, so they relied on gold — the color used in Byzantine mosaics as a symbol of divine light — to bring the theme to life.
Gilded touches were found throughout the day, including on the cake by Aux Petits Delices (it featured almond and chocolate sponge cake, chocolate mousse, white chocolate ganache and raspberries) and in guests’ favors (lollipops made with 24-karat gold and other gifts).
Most notably, the hue was present on the bride herself: She donned a gilt jacquard Dolce & Gabbana wedding dress and cape.
Before the ceremony, Aissulu and Yao posed for photos in the Rodin Museum garden. “Our photographer created a special moment where it truly felt that we were the spotlight and the center of this event,” says the bride.
The reflecting pool, lush greenery, and Rodin’s The Thinker provided a picturesque backdrop for the union.
Additionally, rather than use numbers, the couple named the tables after some of Rodin’s sculptures; the bride’s drawings depicting each art piece accented the floral arrangements.
And in lieu of a traditional guest book, the couple asked their 48 attendees to commemorate the day with photos — one for Aissulu and Yao to keep, and one to take home.
Photographer & Videography: Asya Photography | Venue: Rodin Museum | Event Design & Coordination: Aissulu Kadyrzhanova, Yao Huang, Elizabeth Wang-Hsu, Fu-Chun Hsu and Sharon Hsu | Florals: Love ‘n Fresh Flowers | Catering: Constellation Culinary Group | Cake: Aux Petits Delices | Bride’s Gown, Cape, Shoes & Accessories: Dolce & Gabbana | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: REDValentino | Groom’s Attire: Dolce & Gabbana | Hair: Brent Ericsson of American Mortals | Makeup: Sofia Serrano Beauty | Invitations: Riley & Grey | Entertainment: Robby Cruz Quartet (band); RJ Fleming of EBE Talent (DJ) | Officiant: Maria Romanach (friend) | Engagement Ring: Ila | Wedding Bands: Kao Jewelry
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