It’s no secret that I love cultural weddings. I love how different cultures use food, color, and gifts to symbolize happiness, prosperity, and good health to couples and their future together. With so many traditional aspects of ethnic weddings and the common practice in California to tie in Western wedding traditions, the most difficult thing about mixed culture weddings is how long the days are. With the bride and her entourage usually starting the first of two hair and makeup looks as early as 3:30 AM and the party going well beyond 11 PM, the wedding day is quite a marathon! Here’s a look at Diep and Kevin’s beautifully executed mixed tradition wedding starting with Vietnamese Tea Ceremonies at private residences in Fremont ending with a romantic western style Palm Event Center Wedding.
Vietnamese Tea Ceremonies
There are very few things in life that aren’t made better with a whole roasted pig! As a lover of savory breakfasts, the smell (and sight) of crispy, juicy, pork skin gives me a second wind, usually around 10:30 AM, my fourth hour into the day! Though absolutely scrumptious, the pig is actually not the star of the show.
The groom, escorted by his parents, is followed by a processional of his groomsmen and family are greeted by a line of the bride’s bridesmaids, and family. The groom’s family presents gifts to the bride’s family through the wedding party. Once everyone is in the home, a representative from the bride’s family (often an elder uncle) will welcome the groom’s family and present the bride, who has been hiding and probably watching the processional from a room inside the home. This is the first time the bride and groom will see each other for the day, and it’s often very emotional. Given all the preparation that goes into the tea ceremony alone, and the sheer exhaustion of the early start time, the anticipation really builds up! In case you’re wondering, Chinese tea ceremonies are a little less formal, and kick off the events with hilarious door games.
After the bride and groom greet each other, the bride’s representative will help the bride and groom pay their respects to their ancestors with incense and prayer. Then the bride’s representative introduces the bride’s family and their relationship to the bride to the groom’s family, then the groom’s family does the same. Gifts of red envelopes and jewelry are presented to the couple by their parents and close relatives during this time. Beginning with the closest and oldest relatives, tea is presented by the bride and groom to their families. After the tea ceremony is completed, we come full circle to that roasted pig and enjoy lunch. Occasionally, the same process is done at the groom’s home, but a little shorter since the introductions have already been made.
Palm Event Center Wedding
The latter half of the day is completely changed. Diep traded her gorgeous red Vietnamese ao dai for a sweet and romantic pink gown while Kevin changed into a dashing black suit. After outfits changes and hair and makeup, the two did their second first look in the gardens. That’s one of the great things about mixed culture weddings, you basically get two in one day! Looking so chic and romantic in the perfectly manicured garden, we followed the first look with portraits and cocktails.
The Palm Event Center has a gorgeous barrel room for ceremonies and receptions. The aisle was lit with floating candles on the floor and iron chandeliers overhead. Two massive floral centerpieces marked the alter where Diep and Kevin were married by a friend. with so many guests, over 300, the reception took place in the ballroom which was adorned with varying pink and white floral arrangements created by Diep’s ultra talented sister, and my friend, Thuy.
Though these days are long and taxing, being surrounded by good people, a really fun wedding party, and just purely gorgeous decorations makes the time day fly by! Congratulations to Diep and Kevin!
Groom Getting Ready Site: Fremont Marriott
Tea Ceremony: Private Residence
Western Wedding Venue: Palm Event Center
Hair and Makeup: Jackie Tran of Joli de Jackie
Cinematography with same day edit: Imperial Video Productions
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