Wedding Planner: MP Decor & Events (Mai Linda Nguyen)
Photography: Henry M Production (Henry M Nguyen, Matt Cummings)
Videography: Henry M Production (Sean, Eddy Favara, Scott Wu)
Makeup Artist: Loan Truong
Cake: Mommy of Three Cakery (Mai Linda Nguyen)
Catering and Decorating: Hao Wah Chinese Restaurant and Catering
Wedding Venue: Kapok Special Events Center
Jimmy and Mimi's wedding film is at the end of this blog.
We took Jimmy and Mimi to a cute little neighborhood around the downtown St.Petersburg, FL area for their first photoshoot. The neighborhood is made up of small and colorful houses with white picket fences and tons of flowers and greeneries. Upon meeting the couple for the first time, I knew instantly that they would be an amazing couple to photograph since they both love to laugh and smile. It was later in the day so I opted to go with natural lighting instead of my usual off camera flash set up.
Traditionally, Vietnamese couples love to display a big print at the entrance of their wedding venue. Mimi had mentioned that she would like this particular shot to be fairy tale themed. With that in mind, we visited a local park for their next photoshoot. Mimi arrived in a beautiful and sparkly princess dress and Jimmy in his well fitted suit. Using flash to separate the couple from the background and some light photoshop editing in post, we were able to produce the shot that Mimi ended up loving very much.
We later took Jimmy and Mimi to downtown Tampa, FL for their formal shoot. Mimi changed into this beautiful red form fitting evening gown that we absolutely adore.
We wanted to contrast their "formal" attires by shooting at an abandoned railroad track. We later found out that the track restricts people from being on the property, for good reasons. During the shoot, there was an instance where if I had made one more step backward, I would have fallen 40 feet into the river. We do not recommend that anyone break the law for a photoshoot as trespassing charges might be imminent and safety might be compromised.
The wedding day began with preparation at Jimmy's house. Since Jimmy's family has more of a Chinese background than Vietnamese, there were some rituals that we were not familiar with. One of which was the burning of "spiritual money" as an offering so that his deceased ancestors could celebrate the wedding day and grant the couple their blessings.
Another ritual that was unfamiliar to us was the offering of wine to ancestors.
The groom's side of the family then made their way to the bride's house.
The tea ceremony taking place at the bride's house is the one tradition that is unlikely to be broken. It is the Vietnamese equivalent of a church ceremony where parents or representatives of each family, through offerings of gifts and spiritual moneys, ask the gods and ancestors for blessings. During this ceremony, the bride's family will have a chance to congratulate the couple as well as bless them with gifts of cash or jewelry to help them start their new life's journey, sort of speak. Most importantly, the mother and father of the bride will give the couple words of advice on fidelity, trust, and happiness in their marriage. The bride's mother also will pass on family heirlooms which typically would be rings, bracelets, or necklaces.
Wedding Ceremony and Reception
Jimmy and Mimi chose the elegant Kapok Special Events Center for their ceremony and reception. The ceremony hall's ambiance created a perfect balance between excitement and warmth between the guests.
The reception began with the formal introduction of the bridal party. When Jimmy and Mimi were introduced and made their entrance, the crowd went crazy! They danced their way to the front stage to Chris Brown's "Forever." Jimmy then gave thanks to all who were able to make it to their special day and the feast provided by Hao Wah Catering began. Shortly after dinner, the couple danced their first dance to the tune of "Take My Hand" by Emily Hackett and Will Anderson
Mommy of Three Cakery
Their beautiful cake was provided by Mai Linda Nguyen of Mommy of Three Cakery.
We hope you enjoyed reading this blog post as it provides a glimpse of what to expect at a Vietnamese wedding. Jimmy and Mimi's wedding is a little unique in that it is a fusion of Chinese, Vietnamese, and American cultures.