We’re so lucky to be able to share so much insight from brides about their wedding day and planning process, but it’s always a little extra special when we hear from the groom. We featured Jade and Susan’s engagement session earlier in the year, and Caroline Tran is back behind the camera capturing their equally-amazing wedding day!
From the groom, Jade: After pure serendipity and 10 years in love with my best friend, I finally married my high school sweetheart on July 27, 2013 at the Westgate Hotel in downtown San Diego, CA. With the help of our amazing wedding designer, planner, and coordinators from Amorology Weddings, we had a Marie Antoinette-themed wedding, accented with whimsical flowers, busts, books, vintage china, and of course, plenty of cake. Supported by the most amazing bundle of friends and family as our bridal party, we had a magical day in so many respects, with fun-filled surprises throughout.
In the moments leading up to our American ceremony, we were both so anxious and excited to finally join hands at the altar we had been dreaming of for so long. Susan stuck with the tradition and was able to hide all details of the wedding dress from me, so the moment I saw her in her beautiful flowing champagne dress was truly unrehearsed and breathtaking. The reality of being on the brink of marrying the love of my life made it difficult to remember the words that were exchanged, but the feelings of overwhelming joy will never depart our hearts and minds. Through our vows, we were able to share so much of our history and love story with the world. Our Maid of Honor and Best Man also honored us by conducting the “tying of the knot.” We sealed our personal letters to one another (to be read on our anniversary) and retired our high school promise rings into a time capsule box.
After our American wedding ceremony, we then immediately switched into our ethnic/traditional wear made of French and Indian silk and handmade flower garlands for our Thai/Laotian water ceremony. As a symbol of their blessings for our marriage, each guest was invited to pour water from a ceremonial conch onto our hands as they spoke their blessings and wishes of our marriage/love. While staying true to the traditional ethnic ceremony, we incorporated our own unique styles and personal touches as well by adopting a backdrop custom made by Amorology that highlighted the text, “You make my heart flutter.” Our ethnic wedding also featured gifts from Thailand, tagged with our caricatures custom-designed by a professional artist from Thailand – my cousin, Paikaeo!
Our reception began with what we remember as a purely magical and fairytale-like moment – our first dance. Atop a custom-designed vinyl wrapped dance floor with the statement, “May I Have This Dance?,” we felt like we were on Cloud 9 and in a world of our own as we danced to “A Thousand Years” – an unexpected, yet truly fitting song given our story. We learned afterwards that our wedding party swayed and sang along with the music as well to further punctuate the enchanted moment. After a round of heartfelt speeches from our Best Man and Maid of Honor, I toasted to my wife and took down my first ever alcoholic beverage – what more fitting than the glass of champagne to honor my life partner?
As we neared the conclusion of the dinner service, my groomsmen and I sat Susan down by the dance floor as we wooed her with a special surprise dance/skit/lip sync to the song “Everything” by Michael Buble. Susan had surprises of her own, as she followed with a special delivery of a cake custom-made by the incredible Stevi Auble of Hey There, Cupcake! – a multi-tiered Despicable Me and Ratatouille-themed cake, inspired by my love for cooking and two of my favorite Disney movies! As a tribute to the happiest day of our lives, “Perfect Day” by Holly Maher played as we made our first slice into our wedding cake as husband and wife – a moment we relive today and hold dear to our hearts. All our guests, from around, from afar, from childhood, from adulthood, danced the night away with us until the very last moment, where my groomsmen and I had one final surprise for Susan. Ushering all the guests out onto the hotel’s fountain terrace, we distributed 50 paper boats decorated with flowers and colorful LED lights, handmade by the groomsmen. The craft was a tribute to a Thai holiday, Loy Krathong, where the locals release boats into a river and make wishes for good luck, new beginnings, and positivity. These boats, coupled with bright sparklers, symbolized the wedding wishes of each of our guests and our final send-off for the evening. Though the evening came to a close, we were so excited to embark on our new beginning as a married couple.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? 1. Plan for the worst when it comes to the wedding venue, then hope for the best! Review all legal contracts in detail, even if it feels awkward. Think of all possible scenarios and make sure that the legal document is in your favor should anything occur (example: possible renovations without the client’s knowledge). 2. Re-purpose decorations between the ceremony and reception to save on costs (floral, backdrop, linens, candles etc). 3. Plan surprises! (The good kind.) ex: Loy Krathong, wedding gifts, involve your bridal party (flowers from the groomsmen to the bridesmaids), letters from the groomsmen to the bride, dances. 4. Even if you have a coordinator or wedding planner, pre-assign your bridal party to be your eyes and ears (especially the dinner service) to help make sure/remind the service is what you paid for. 5. Prioritize food, music, and parking (in that order) – 3 essential things your guests will likely remember most about your wedding.
Wedding Location: San Diego, CA / Photographer: Caroline Tran / Wedding Planner, Designer, and Props: Amorology Weddings / Floral Design: Blush Botanicals / Wedding Venue and Caterer: The Westgate Hotel / Wedding Dress: Kenneth Poole from Lovella Bridal / Wedding Veil: Maria Elena / Wedding Shoes: Valentino / Thai Wedding Dress: Phukaw, Hollywood, Aksarapak “Yaya” Bondu / Thai Flower Garlands: Sai’s Malai and Flowers / Hair and Makeup: Kelly Zhang / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Ivy & Aster “Lierre” via Bella Bridesmaids / Bridesmaids’ Necklaces: Kate Spade “Take the Cake” Gold Chain in Pink / Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar / Parasols: Bella Umbrella / Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Suits: J. Crew “Ludlow” / Bow Ties: Fox & Brie / Groom’s Shoes: Gucci / Groomsmen’s Shoes: Hugo Boss “Chesterfield” / Rings: Robbins Brothers / Ring Pillow: Lo Boheme / Wedding Cake, Pink Bow Cake, Faux Cakes, Mini Cupcakes, and Cake Pops: Hey There, Cupcake! / Macarons and Dessert Shooters: Sweet and Saucy Shop / Cake Topper: Lil’ Cake Toppers / DJ, Emcee and Production: Riamu Entertainment / Cartoonist/Illustrator: Paikaeo Insawang, Bangkok, Thailand (paikaeo @ gmail.com) / Dance Floor: Platinum Pro / Linens, Napkins, and Cushions: La Tavola Linens / Vintage Plates: Vintage Table Co. / Officiant: JPR Weddings / Wedding Invitations and Paper Elements: Brightly Designed / Videographer: Rainbowfish Cinema