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

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