the tea ceremony

October 19th, 2010

Year in, year out; month in, month out I get to experience so many tea ceremonies and believe it or not they are all so different!! As generations pass every family has their own take on how it should go and what is included. From what I can tell, we should do away with calling it a ‘tea ceremony’ altogether b/c these days, most don’t even revolve around serving tea. Yeah, I didn’t serve any tea at mine but my parents were prepared to in case it came up. All we did was do family introductions, open gifts, give hugs, pray, eat, and go thru the motions. So glad it was nice and short, but also glad we did it for the sake of tradition.

The bride’s parents’ home has the VU QUY sign.

We decorated my parents’ vaulted ceilings with these paper lanterns all in our wedding colors. They were fairly cheap from

Rob’s family and groomsmen lined up across the street.

Apparently everything in these red packages (from the groom’s parents) are supposed to be enough to buy me from my family. There had better be some good stuff in there! j/k!

While planning out the tea ceremony we were super confused as to what goes into these red canisters. Tradition has it that if you did not have an engagement ceremony, you have to have 8 canisters the day of the wedding. If you did then only 6 is needed. We didn’t have an engagement ceremony so there had to be 8 canisters. Everything has to be given in even numbers since the families split the items in the end. To help you guys out, here’s a list of what went into each canister:

  1. Fruits (apples, oranges, mango, plums, pears and lychee)
  2. Cognac (2 bottles of Remy 1738 wrapped in red cellophane)
  3. A rented tea set
  4. Fake batch of a green fruit (symbolic)
  5. Wedding cakes (banh xu xe & cuoi) special ordered from Van’s Bakery.
  6. Rice cake (orange in color) also from Van’s Bakery.
  7. Jewelry, money & other gifts
  8. Jasmine tea (2  cans wrapped in red cellophane)

The hanging signs VU QUY and TAN HON, the red canisters, tea set, and fake green fruit were all rented from Thai Bridal & Florist. Cheapest prices in town! The lady there was very nice and helpful.

Roasted pig is a must. We got ours from Hao Vi BBQ. Just tell them the # of people you’re serving and they’ll suggest the size pig you need.

While everyone’s getting ready to parade in I’m busy gettin’ ready.

My family lined up out front. Do you spot baby Chloe and her Dora pillow? So cute!

The procession starts! Greetings at the door.

Family introductions are made.

Rob waits patiently for me.

I’m finally presented to the family.

Exchange of flowers from the groomsmen to the bridesmaids.
Usually the bridesmaids would also wear ao dai’s, but I opted out of that.

Gifts from Robert’s mother.

Gifts from my parents.

After a quick and light lunch we head back to Rob’s mother’s home where the sign says TAN HON.

We get to walk in together since we’re now ‘married’ in a sense. He’s bringing me to my new home and to my new family.

We say our prayers.

We give respect to our elders.

We’re super stoked to be married!

Can we be any happier?

What sort of gifts did I get exactly? Pictuerd below is a diamond bracelet from my parents (the square one). Diamond earrings from Robert’s mom.

Robert’s mom also got me this oval linked diamond bracelet which matches the earrings above and goes so well with my engagement ring diamond. Traditionally the groom’s mother would buy her new daughter-in-law earrings and a necklace but I opted for a bracelet. Not too big a fan of necklaces as I am of bracelets.

I’d say all those diamonds was enough to buy me into Rob’s family, don’t cha agree? hehehe…I kid. It’s all for tradition.

Photos courtesy of Kim Le Photography.

my pre-wedding beauty regimen

October 15th, 2010

So…on the day that I will be most photographed in my life, what sort of beauty regimen did I have in store to prepare to look my very best?

  • Braces for 6 weeks to correct the shifting of my teeth due to the lack of wearing a retainer. My orthodontist was Dr. Christopher H. Nguyen.
  • Crest white strips – Rob and I started this in late June so that we can have huge pearly whites that day. Purchased at Costco.
  • Gym! Rob went 4x a week for about 6 months while I worked out twice weekly.
  • Eyelash extensions done by Cindy Newell – they are so awesome and so hot. My dad commented that I had bunny eyes. hahaha!!
  • Manicure – the 1st time in my life getting acrylic nails done. They were pretty blinged out done by Robin at the David Douglas Salon & Spa in Tustin.
  • Pedicure – The bridesmaids and myself all had the same toe nail color in OPI’s Privacy Please. Done a couple days before at my favorite spot: Super Nail Tek.
  • Eyebrows waxed at Super Nail Tek done a couple days before the wedding.
  • Haircut (just a trim) so the curls can hold better by Gwen Huyen. This was done a few days before the wedding.
  • Facial for my face and back at Advance Beauty College. Do this at least 2 weeks before the big day! Never know if you’ll have a reaction.

Meet the lovely Robin who did my awesome nails!

You can see my crazy lashes in this shot. Do I look like a bunny?

Close-up shot of my champagne tipped colored nails.

Another angle of the nails. I was hesitant to get them at first but am so glad I did! Uses my real nails and all she does is give it volume with gel and a touch of bling at the tips. Very classy and natural looking.

Gwen introduced me to Robin and I’ve gotten my nails filled 3x already! From champagne to pink to red and probably purple tips next for Hawaii!

OPI nail color Privacy Please for our toes.

Here’s a quick snap of my niece, sister, and mom at the nail salon.

My awesome lash extensions! I went in for 2 sessions and there’s ~160 lashes added on to each eye. Very full! Cindy did a FANTASTIC job!

Another angle of the lashes. Since they’re on my own lashes it looks more natural.

For the white strips we used Crest’s Advanced Vivid.

Are our smiles nice and bright?

My curls stayed put all day with the help of a trim. Gwen did a great job!

I thought this post would help future brides plan ahead for their big day. I know I did quite a lot in preparation for it and only hoped someone around my area could share with me what they did and where they went for services to look their very best. Are you a bride or future bride? Share with me what you did or plan on doing to prepare!

Wedding day photos courtesy of Kim Le Photography.

the groom’s attire

October 11th, 2010

We’ve talked about all my outfits so its time for my husband to shine. He wore 1 outfit the entire day versus my outrageous 5! He didn’t want to have to worry about changing at all so one outfit suited him perfectly so his attention can be on enjoying the day. Yes, with just 1 outfit that means he opted not to wear the traditional ao dai as we were hoping he would earlier this year. I didn’t mind too much–it was his day too and I wanted him to be happy with what he wore.

Initially we had purchased Rob the same exact suit as the groomsmen. After doing so we realized any of the groomsmen could easily be mistaken for the groom so we went on an immediate search for another suit color that would go well with our theme and with the guys outfits. With just less than 2 months away we finally were able to put it altogether perfectly.

Suit from the Alfani Red line at Macy’s. They didn’t make a vest in the same color so we had to purchase the largest pair of pants we can find and had the vest custom tailored at Van Quan Tailor in the Asian Mall. Doesn’t he look quite handsome? I had tears in my eyes the first time I saw him in the entire outfit. Totally didn’t expect that!

French cuff shirt from Nordstrom
Silk tie from Bloomingdales
Silk pocket square from Macy’s
Tie and pocket square were chosen to match my ivory/champagne gown.

He had his initial at the tip of his tie like the rest of the groomsmen.

Cuff links from weddingchannel store. Engraved with T&R.

Shoes from Nordstrom – Savona Silvano Sassetti.
Argyle socks on the left from Banana Republic to match the groomsmen.
Flask socks on the right from Urban Outfitters to match the groomsmen.

Groom’s gift of a Brietling Navitimer World watch from NQ Jewellers.

I surprised Rob the morning of the wedding with the watch to remember me and our wedding day. He rarely ever wears it, but you can prob catch a glimpse of it when he wears it on special occasions and events.

side note: today we have been together for 161 months!

Photos courtesy of Kim Le Photography.

the flowergirls

October 6th, 2010

Back in May we blogged about the details of the flowergirls’ attire. I’m so excited to show you guys how they turned out on our 3 nieces.

Emma, Elise, and Charlotte. Aren’t they a sassy bunch?!?

This is Elise in the morning with her hair just perfect.

Each girl carried a ‘magical’ flower wand.

Here they are at the church ceremony with their wands. Elise’s hair is a bit flat by now. How can you blame a 3 year old who needs her naps to keep up with her hair?

So cute–the 3 sitting in the front row.

Detail shots.

Love this sequence of Elise running to hug me after we walked back up the aisle at the end of our ceremony.

She loves me. =) I’m one happy Godmother.

All 3 got along so well.

A cute tush shot.

I kinda have a secret wish to wear an outfit like this someday. Halloween? Theme party anybody?

Photos courtesy of Kim Le Photography.

food, food, and more food!

October 3rd, 2010

Back in June we blogged about the foods that would be served at the reception. Here are actual photos of it along with some of the yumminess that was served at the tea ceremony.

Some of the highlights at the tea ceremony were Brodard‘s famous nem nuong spring rolls and a favorite all around of Thanh Son Tofu‘s pandan tofu pudding dessert all delivered by Thanh himself! Now that’s what you call VIP service, baby!

Sesame Seared Ahi with Wasabi Aioli on a Crispy (edible) Wonton Spoon

Coconut Shrimp Lollipop with Orange Plum Sauce

Butter Lettuce Salad with Caramel Roasted Pears, Aged White Cheddar, Sugared Pecans and Maple Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Dual Entree of Grilled Filet Mignon with a classic duet of Bordelaise and Bernaise & Seared King Salmon with Meyer Lemon Buerre Blanc. Served with roasted asparagus with smoked sea salt and potato gratin dauphinoise.

Red velvet wedding cake

Mini apple cobblers in a martini glass. This was my favorite and I almost didn’t even get to try it. While I was changing into my beyonce outfit, Rob had come down to the bridal suite to bring me one. This is when he got semi suspicious b/c someone said he wasn’t allowed in so he passed the dessert to someone to bring in to me. Thanks, babe!

It was just unfortunate that a lot of our guests received their entrees cold. I think there was just too many guests to be able to deliver everything out nice and hot. Overall all the edibles turned out very well, including the champagne/cider greeting, the pre-poured cognac at each seat and the open beer and wine bar.

Photos courtesy of Kim Le Photography.