michael chen / officiant


What an incredible source of comfort, wisdom, and encouragement Pastor Michael Chen — affectionately known as PMIKE! — has been to us. We are humbled to have him as the officiant of our union in Christ (even if it means he can’t play the cello at our wedding ceremony).

I (Rachel) first met Pastor Mike in a dim, cramped living room a few weeks into my freshman year. As part of his ministry to cross-cultural students, he was actively involved with a group of Singaporean students interested in deepening their faith. As I became more invested in this wonderful group (which was eventually christened SGP, short for Sing God’s Praises), I had the great joy of working closely with PMike. From him I learned a great deal — how to do lectio divina & life maps, vocabulary for dialoguing about faith & work, and that it’s OK-maybe-even-preferable to use butter croissants for taking holy communion.

When Karl first ‘approached’ me, I remember sending PMike a somewhat frazzled email on Christmas eve to seek his counsel because he was someone I trusted and respected. He responded warmly, saying that Karl sounded like an “honorable fellow”.

Fast-forward several seasons: Karl & I have spent wintry evenings at the Chens’ pretending to be bi-polar monsters with hair-mustaches with his two wonderful sons, as well as sunny mornings catching up over breakfast in various diners and cafes across West Philly. He has been a role-model for our lives and our marriage, a gifted listener, and a dear brother in Christ. God has blessed us richly through Pastor Mike, and we are excited for all of our guests to share in this blessing!

melanie joy events / wedding coordinator


Right after Rachel and I were engaged, we were plunged into the depths of a seemingly endless project…”Wedding Planning.”

Our first month of planning was full of anxiety and unknowns. Sprawling spreadsheets, and countless tabs encapsulated our angst and desire to plan perfectly and assume total control…

After a weary first month, we were soon introduced to Melanie as a mutual friend of Lauren’s (see below). We were so happy to get to know Melanie and hear her heartbeat for doing ministry in a space called “Wedding Planning.”

Melanie encouraged us to take an entire month off from wedding planning. And that was a life-saver.

Since our first Skype meeting in July, Melanie has been a champ. She helped us nail down so many wedding logistics, helping us liaise with our vendors, committing to serve us as our wedding day coordinator, and lifting us up in prayer every time we talk…

Melanie we are eternally thankful for you!

Find out more about Melanie over at

michael rothermel / photographer


Kind. Talented. Humble. Huggable.

These are some words I (Karl) would use to describe Michael. When we first met, Michael didn’t have a beard but he was reading a lot of books.

Today, Michael still reads a lot books but is now married to the lovely Saritha.

Rachel and I couldn’t be happier.

Oh yeah, and he has a beard now.

In the summer of 2013,  Michael and I bumped into each other during our internship orientation with HOPE International in Lancaster, PA. HOPE is a Christian micro-finance nonprofit whose mission is to invest in the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities as we proclaim and live the Gospel.

Fast-forward 4 years, and now Michael does digital design for HOPE full-time, contributing his photography and video production skills to inspire people into action.

He’s also the masterful photographer for our wedding 🙂

Michael+Saritha–we are so warmed and lucky to call you our friends. Thank you for helping us Become One 🙂

See Michael’s work at

lauren chun / photographer

In the summer after my graduation in 2015, I (Rachel) found out that Lauren had started dating a friend from our college fellowship — this was right before he moved to San Francisco, leaving her in Philly to finish up her senior year. I was super excited to know of someone who could empathize so well with the woes of Philly-SF-long-distance-dating! Even though I hadn’t known Lauren in college, we became friends by hanging out when I made trips to Philly, and when she made trips to SF.

Finally, in the summer of 2016, Lauren moved to SF (YAY!). It has been a great pleasure to enjoy so many breakfasts, lunches & dinners together with Lauren (not to mention thrift store expeditions, neighborhood traipses, energetic iMessage exchanges during my morning commute, etc). Suffice to say that Lauren has been a precious part of our community here in SF.

Naturally, we were thrilled to have her do an engagement shoot for us in the beautiful Golden Gate Park. Her talent with the camera — and with people 😉 — put us instantly at ease even though Karl and I were mega-awkward, super-sweaty, and kind of tense. Thank you so much for your friendship and for sharing your gifts with us, Lauren! You are a light!