Spotlight: Asian Wedding Cultural Traditions

By, March 21, 2014

Whether it is a small intimate occasion or a big community event, a cultural Asian wedding is always fun to photograph. The joy of the two families, the bright colors, and the time-honored rituals give us a lot to work with :) Many Asian weddings we’ve photographed are a mix of old-world customs and Western wedding practices. For example, the bride may wear a modern gown during the ceremony, and then progress to a traditional dress at some point during the reception, or vice versa. This quick change always adds to the excitement of the occasion. Also, bridal couples often take part in significant customs or rituals early in the wedding day, prior to the ceremony itself. We are happy to help plan your photography timeline to make sure all the must-have moments are captured.

Here are a few recent weddings that incorporated Asian cultural practices into the festivities. Enjoy!

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Want to see more? Check out more images from recent cultural Asian Weddings!


A Vietnamese Wedding Celebration Goes Glamorous

By, August 02, 2011

After two Vietnamese tea ceremonies, a western ceremony at USD’s Immaculata Church, four outfit changes, two choreographed dances, and a reception at the US Grant Hotel downtown, we’re amazed that Cheryl still has the energy to tell us all about her and Minh’s 15 hour celebration! After two years of preparing for their wedding, this fun couple pulled off an amazing day of events. We’re excited to share this wedding with you and there’s no better person to give us the scoop than the bride herself. Let’s let Cheryl take it away!

Since our parents’ houses are two blocks away from each other, we were fortunate enough to continue with our Vietnamese tradition by having the groom’s family walk over to the bride’s house. Each groomsmen and additional family members carried dowries wrapped in red cloths, while the rest of the family trailed behind, as the procession made its way to the house. Fire crackers were set off once the Groom’s family arrived, and again at the end. Each side of the family introduced each other, the two of us prayed to my ancestors, and finally, we served tea to our elders as a sign of respect. We then repeated this process at the groom’s house to pray to his ancestors.

A Vietnamese Wedding and Tea Ceremony in San Diego with Fire crackers

We, along with our wedding party, had so much fun shooting with Aaron! We loved him. We all were at ease, and therefore, we felt he became one of the group!  He is phenomenal at what he does. Now, the only problem we have is narrowing down the final pictures. We just have too many to choose from!

wedding couple laying on a couch at the Us Geant hotel, San DiegoWedding couple kissing after ceremony at USD Immaculata church

Our theme was Old Hollywood Glam. We wanted our reception to feel like we were going to the Emmys or Oscars. We incorporated many crystals, pearls, and lace with some soft colors. For our centerpieces, we had alternating crystal candelabras and crystal vases. Each centerpiece had hanging pearl strands, crystal garland and white ostrich feathers inside the luscious flowers. The flowers were mainly white roses, with touches of cream and pale pink sweet akito roses. To acknowledge our parents, I made chandelier centerpieces for their tables, covered in an abundance of white phalaenopsis orchids. Our head table linen was a beautiful, custom-made ivory lace overlay, with a white bustle and underlay. We centered our 4-tier cake on stage, and included a plethora of candles of varying heights. We also added white decor, such as the dancefloor, lounge furniture and uplights, to set the magical and enchanting ambiance and complete the “Oscar” look.

pink and white floral arrangement and candles at US Grant wedding

During the wedding festivities, I changed into a total of four outfits. I wore my white dress in the beginning, and then I eventually changed into a flowy soft pink dress for my first dance. It is customary in our culture to greet our guests at their tables in a traditional Vietnamese dress, so I changed into a full beaded fuchsia traditional dress, which I also wore for the tea ceremony in the morning. Finally, for our second dance and for the rest of the night, I wore a modern white traditional dress.

A bride with multiple dress changes for cultural wedding reception at US Grant

Not only did I have multiple outfits, everyone else had multiple outfits too!  For the groom’s tux, Minh wore a very traditional white tailed tuxedo with vests, matching the theme of each portion of the day: fuschia pink for the morning ceremony, white for the church ceremony and regal gold for the reception. The groomsmen wore charcoal gray suits with soft pink vests during the tea ceremony, and regal gold during the church ceremony and reception. The bridesmaids wore custom-made dresses with gold silk Charmeuse fabric, purchased from the prestigious Mood Designer Fabrics, known for carrying designer fabrics for Project Runway and the Apprentice.

San Diego wedding photography of bridal party outfits

We wanted to captivate our guests as they enter the ball room, so the first thing we wanted them to see was our custom white logo, a design we created using our own signatures merged together. This was very special for us, and we wanted to make use of it everywhere! Minh’s car, a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, was even decorated by my bridesmaid the night before with our custom signature logo decal, pink pom poms, and the “Just Married” sign.

Wedding rings and wedding monogram at a US Grant wedding in San Diego

For my bridal bouquet, I had large pearls pinned in my white and pale pink sweet akito roses and gardenias. I also had my grandmother’s real 18K gold chain hanging out of my bouquet as my “something old.” The groom also matched with my bouquet; he had 18K gold chain that belonged to my mother.

White bridal bouquet and a boutonnière with a white tuxedo at a San Diego wedding

We had two dances. For our first dance, we chose the song “Walking in the Air,” by Celtic Woman, and for our second dance, we chose “Allegretto,” by the Violin Guy. They were both choreographed and we had been practicing for about 9 months. The first dance was a slow, romantic, and breathtaking dance incorporating different dance styles such as Viennese Waltz and Foxtrot. The second dance was an intense and lively Tango. We performed two dances because we wanted to keep the excitement going continually throughout the night.

A coreographed first dance at a San Diego wedding

The most memorable moment was when Minh and I took a peek at our ballroom for the first time!  We stood there in awe for several minutes.  We had planned our wedding for nearly two years, so to see our dream become a reality, exactly how we envisioned it, felt so amazing. At that moment, we felt so accomplished. This is our favorite picture. It pretty much sums up the moment.

Bride and groom in ballroom at US Grant ballroom


A grand wedding at the Grand Del Mar

By, May 03, 2011

Steven and Linda were high school sweethearts, so after 16 years together, they had plenty of time to envision their perfect wedding. Linda said that they wanted the feeling to be “very romantic, dreamy, elegant and classic.” We asked Linda about their wedding theme, their favorite photograph from the day, their most memorable moment, and more.  Take a look!

Our overall goal was to put together an event where we are able to share our love for each other with our loved ones, and express our personality as a couple. Our theme color was gold, and we carried our color throughout our wedding décor, favors, florals, stationary, and attire.  The goal was a ‘Grand’ Golden Wedding, so the Grand Del Mar was the perfect venue for our vision.

Invitations by Simply Posh Design

Flowers by Karen Tran Florals

Our favors were mini Patron ‘Gold’ bottles, with favor tags decorated with gold crystals, gold ribbon and our crest.  Patron is Steven’s drink of choice, so as a element of my Groom’s personality, we chose this as our guests favors.  We ordered over 250 bottles of mini Patrons for our wedding!

Meghan of True Photography: If you had to choose one image, what is your FAVORITE photo from the day?

Linda (Bride): We had so many, but if we had to choose just one, our most favorite image would have to be the photo of us standing on top of the fountain. When we first saw this photo, we both fell in love with it!  The image that Aaron captured was truly gorgeous, the photo look like an oil painting drawn by hand. We had the gorgeous mile long fountain, forest green trees and stunning Grand Del Mar Resort as our back-drop.   This photo truly captured the romantic ambiance of our fairy-tale wedding day! This photo was taken after the ceremony and right before we had to head back to the reception.  This photo almost didn’t happen, but we are so happy that it did.  We absolutely adore it!  We also used this image for our Thank You cards.

Wedding Venue at The Grand Del Mar ; Coordinated by CBS Weddings; Videographed by NR3

Meghan of True Photography: What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day?

Linda (Bride): My favorite memorable moment from the wedding would have to be during our first dance.  We chose ‘Lucky’ by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat as our first dance song.  Steven surprised me by memorizing the lyrics for the male solo portions, and started singing along to the male vocals while we were dancing. It was so cute and romantic.  To top off the romance, Steven even put an imaginary flower in my hair, at the part where the song had, “I put a flower in your hair….” It was so charming and heartfelt; a very memorable moment indeed.

Music by Wayne Foster Entertainment

In the Chinese culture, it is customary for the Bride to change multiple times.  To include this element of our culture in our wedding, I had in total three dress changes.  The first dress was my wedding dress, by Kenneth Pool.  The dress was called Royalty.  I absolutely fell in love with this dress when I put it on, but I ended up not purchasing it the first time around, since it was at the second shop that we went to and I could not believe that I could have found my dress match that quickly.  Long story short, it was among the first few dressed that I tried, but it was the one.  Love at first sight.

The second dress was my traditional Chinese dress (Chi-pao).  I wanted to include this dress in our wedding because it represents my culture.  My Chi-pao was custom made in Los Angelas by a company that specializes in traditional Chinese wedding attire.  To put a twist on the tradition, I chose my dress to be made with gold fabric (traditionally red).  The color selection was also intended to tie in one of my dress changes with our theme color.  The gold chi-pao is the dress that I wore when I danced with my Dad for the Father-Daughter dance.

The third dress was a red evening gown dress.  I loved this dress because  it was more form fitting, compared to my wedding gown, and it had the most beautiful ruffle train.  I wanted change into a red dress, since red is the color for luck and prosperity in the Chinese culture.  This color is a very traditional color for the bride and groom to wear on their wedding day. Since I did not go with a red chi-pao, I wanted to make sure that I still included this lucky color into one of my dress changes.  The red gown was worn for our cake cutting.

As any girl would know, along with dress changes, you need make-up, hair, and accessory changes as well!  So of course, for each of my dress changes, I had a different set of accessories, hair style, make-up and shoes!

For my wedding dress, I wore Swarovski crystal drop earring, and a matching crystal drop bracelet and necklace.  My hair was put up into a romantic up-do, finished with small crystal details.  I wanted a natural wedding glow look, but wanted to play up my eyes. For my make-up, I chose to go with a natural smoky look for eyes, with a soft romantic glow for my skin.  To make sure that my wedding look was perfect, I completed my wedding look with Christian Louboutin pink sparkly platform sling-backs.

For my traditional Chinese dress, I wore 24K gold jewelry given to me as a wedding gift by my parents. It is customary for parents to give their children gold jewelry on their wedding day.  Additionally, for something borrowed, my mother-in-law lent me her 24K wedding jewelry, which she received from her parents on her wedding day.  For make-up, we decided to go with fun gold sparkle eyes, natural lips, and rosy cheeks.  For hair, we went with an up-sweep and added a handmade, crystal and silk gold flower clip to my hair. To complete my outfit, I wore gold sparkly platform pumps.

For my final red gown change,  I wore dramatic red chandelier earring, with matching necklace and bracelets.  This set was also a gift from my parents.  For make-up, we decided to go dramatic.  We went with cherry red lips, smoky dramatic eyes, and pink cheeks.  For hair, we went with a fun side pony- tail, and added a red flower clip to my hair.  This was the most fun look of the three looks.  With all the red crystal jewelry and red flower hair accent, the outfit had a fun salsa flair.

I was able to achieve all my dress changes, make-up changes and hair changes with my wonderful hair and make-up professionals, Ann Denicolo and Allyson Shapely : ) … big hugs to them.  Ann and Allyson stayed with me the entire wedding day to ensure that my make-up and hair was perfect for our special day!

Meghan of True Photography: Tell us briefly what your experience was like working with True.

Linda (Bride): Working with the True-photography team has been a true pleasure.  When we started our photographer search, we wanted a photographer who is able to put a twist our wedding photos, however still had elements of the traditional.  It was also very important to us to find someone that we were comfortable working with, someone who could bring out and capture our personalities with a photo.  We knew we found our perfect match, when we met with Aaron. On our wedding day, Aaron made sure to capture our most precious memories and made us laugh all along the way.  We can truly say that we not only found a fabulous wedding photographer, we also came out of the experience with a friend.  Our photos can out absolutely amazing!  We love the True Photography team!!!

Meghan of True Photography: If you could give one tip, serious or funny, to soon-to-be brides, what would it be?

Linda (Bride): Just remember to have FUN and that your wedding day is to celebrate your love with family, friends, and the love of your life.  On the day of, don’t sweat the small stuff and just go with the flow.  If something isn’t perfect, just move past it… no one will know except for you.  It will be perfect, as long as the one you love is by your side.  And breathe!

To see more photographs from Linda and Steven’s wedding, click here.

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