How it began
We became friends in high school. I was a graduating senior and he was a sophomore, and we had Calculus class together. Our friendship became something more when we decided to go to the Sadie Hawkins dance together. We had a lot of fun and sparks began to fly. Within a month we began to date, and we've been together ever since.
We got engaged on February 16, 2007. He took me for a surprise picnic in the park, and we played board games. I LOVE board games. Afterwards, we took a stroll in the nearby Japanese Gardens. By a waterfall, he dropped to his knees and asked me to marry him. We're now planning for a wedding with a theme of deep red, chocolate brown and champagne.
He chose the Tiffany's double milgrain band in platinum, 6mm. It's such great quality!
I chose the matching setting of my engagement ring. It has 12 round diamonds.
My rings will have a total of 22 small round diamonds.
Our church ceremony will take place in the beautiful St. Joseph Cathedral Basilica in San Jose. It is absolutely gorgeous, and is also where I was baptized as a baby.
Our reception will be held in the Fairmont Hotel San Jose. It's a two minute walk from our church, so our friends and family will be able to head over to the cocktail hour immediately after the conclusion of our ceremony. It's a gorgeous hotel. We will be in the Regency Ballroom.
We ordered our STDs and attachment cards from agiftfulheart. We also bought custom stamps from zazzle:
Our engagement pictures were taken by the ever-so-talented Jennifer Skog. She is so amazing! We decided to take our engagement pictures on the campus of UC Berkeley not only because of it's beautiful landscape, but also for sentimental reasons.
After visiting tons of bridal stores, I eventually found my dress at Bella Mia Bride in San Jose. It was nothing like I had ever imagined myself wearing, but when I put it on it just felt right.
This is when I purchased the dress:
Yay, I have my dress! The dress in the pictues are ivory, but I purchased my dress in white.
I'm going very minimal in terms of jewelry. No necklace or bracelet. Just earrings and my rings
I absolutely fell in love with these Haute Bride earrings. I purchased them with a Euro backing, and not the clasp or hook, as in the picture. (Please ignore my dopey face)
I'll be wearing this double gardenia flower pin that I purchased from GabbyMac. I thought it was too small when I received them, but it really looked great!
I absolutely love the look of this veil. Very simple but stunning. I want a simple two layer veil, and I will use the top layer as a blusher. I'm planning on getting the longer layer detachable so that I can wear the blusher as my veil for the reception. I would like my blusher to extend beyond my bouquet when I'm holding it.
I bought a two layered silver pencil edge veil from occanseybridal.com. The pictures of the back didn't come out well, so here's the front with the blusher.
Manolo Blahnik Fieno Sequined Sandal
Jimmy Choo Leona Gold
I found these shoes at Nordstroms' Half Yearly Sale. I couldn't decide between them so I decided to get both of them! The gold ones I'll be wearing with my Vietnamese dress, and the silver ones will be for my bridal gown.
I bought the garters from let's dance garters. They normally carry CAL garters, but when I went to purchase them, they were temporarily sold out. So instead Patty made me the CAL garters without the CAL pin, and I purchased the pins from the CAL bookstore. I think normally the CAL pins stand out more than the ones I purchased, but I'm fine with the way they came out. GO BEARS!
I play with my hair too much, and I get sweaty too easily. So for my wedding day, I would like my hair to be completely up, and pulled back. I don't want any hair covering my face. I love the look of a loosely pulled back up-do.
For make-up I want it to look natural, but with the focus on the eyes. A very neutral lip color.
UPDATE: MY HAIR & MAKE-UP TRIAL:
I love what Maria Chang did for my hair and make-up. It looks so flawless and natural, but with a hint of elegance! I love it!
These would have been the actual MOH dresses had Jim Hjelm not discontinued this color. This is the MOH dress, except that it will be in the new "scarlet" color. We have yet to see what the color "scarlet" looks like, so here's to hoping it looks nice!
These are the bridesmaids dresses, but they will be in the color scarlet" as well.
Here are how the dresses will look together. The two dresses look similar enough to match, but the MOH dress has the additional sash in the back to distinguish them from the other bridesmaids.
We were actually able to find the MOH in the color scarlet! So here is the color of the actual bridesmaids dresses. They look great, really elegant! We've ordered all the MOH and BMs dresses from netbride. They were $100 cheaper than most bridal stores!
THE DRESSES ARE IN! The dresses on the left are the MOH dresses, and the dresses on the right are the BMs dresses. They're very wrinkled and folded in odd places, but they're still beautiful!
All the dresses together.
The men will be renting their tuxedos from MW Tux. FI chose the Claiborne Two-Button Super 100s Shadow Stripe Notch Lapel for both the guys and himself. FI will be wearing a white wing collar shirt with a Primetime White Vest and euro tie.
The groomsmen will be wearing a black wing collar shirt with the Herrington Wine Vest and euro tie.
The groomsmen's look on the mannequin.
My two little cousins are our flower girls, and they will be wearing the Lovely Triple Layers Flower Girl Dress.
Our ring bearers, coin bearer and bible bearer will all be wearing these stripped suits from Little Angels.
Example of our printed invites.
We tried homemade calligraphy, and we sucked at it. So instead we printed our invites. I couldn't black out the last name, too pretty! The back of our
envelopes. The outside of our invites.
Excuse the flash. Our invitation folder is actually metallic bronze, and the enclosure backing is a garnet color. Our invites
opened The main invite. It is in
English and Vietnamese The reception
card Reception card
swiveled, direction card peeking, the back of our RSVP postcards Close-up of RSVP
postcard. (I've sent one of our postcards through the mail before I mailed all of our invites, and they came out fine. Very excited to save the $$). The only problem with this format was that when it went through the mail, there was ink all
along the top, so the "Kindly write us a note" section may have ink all over it. Reception card swiveled,
direction card, and RSVP postcard opened up Close-up of direction
card Front of the RSVP
postcard One of the
exciting parts of our invitation was using the "Brookstone spy pen" to secretly number each invite. I didn't want to use a pencil, and this was so much more fun!
Example of our printed invites. We tried homemade calligraphy, and we sucked at it. So instead we printed our invites. I couldn't black out the last name, too pretty!
The back of our envelopes.
The outside of our invites. Excuse the flash. Our invitation folder is actually metallic bronze, and the enclosure backing is a garnet color.
Our invites opened
The main invite. It is in English and Vietnamese
The reception card
Reception card swiveled, direction card peeking, the back of our RSVP postcards
Close-up of RSVP postcard. (I've sent one of our postcards through the mail before I mailed all of our invites, and they came out fine. Very excited to save the $$). The only problem with this format was that when it went through the mail, there was ink all along the top, so the "Kindly write us a note" section may have ink all over it.
Reception card swiveled, direction card, and RSVP postcard opened up
Close-up of direction card
Front of the RSVP postcard
One of the exciting parts of our invitation was using the "Brookstone spy pen" to secretly number each invite. I didn't want to use a pencil, and this was so much more fun!
This was one trend that I didn't mind following! We're doing a photobooth as our favors. We've rented the contemporary photobooth from partybooths.com for 6 hours. We'll also be doubling these as our guestbook. We're hoping for something like this:
I bought a bunch of red guestbook albums from Borders @ $3 each, with black pages. I also bought metallic, non-acidic, archival quality pens from Michaels for our guests to write with.
This is our wedding setup with the guestbooks and the pens I made into flowers.
From the wedding:
We had so many tabs leftover from our wedding invitations that we were putting them everywhere...including our cocktail table centerpieces. Really simple, just square vases from the dollar shop, filled with coffee beans and a tea light. We wrapped the vase with brown ribbon and stuck our tag on both sides.
We bought a chest on sale at Michaels and put a sign in it. Simple too.
Since we're having a photobooth as favors, we decided to have escort envelopes. This way our guests can put their photobooth pictures in it, and also find their table.
A bunch of the escort envelopes together, along with a sign indicating the bride's family
The sign for the escort envelopes
The signs on their easels.
UPDATED: I've been messaged frequently about a template for my programs. Unfortunately, I no longer have my template due to my computer crashing.
We used the same tags from our invitation on our ceremony programs
The inside with our "For your tears of joy" packet and our vellum with our invitation design
Our engagement picture
Pictures of us in the past decade
Order for formal portraits and announcements
Our Thank Yous
Another engagement picture
The last page of vellum with our invitation design and quote from our song
This is the fabric of my ao dai. "I" (read: my FMIL) picked it. I don't own anything pink, I never wear pink. This should be very interesting.
This is me at my first fitting. The dress is very pink...VERY pink.
Assorted dim sum
Red boxed pig
Deep Fried Stuffed Crab Claw
Scallop with Julienne of Roast Duck-
Mixed Seafood in Potato Basket
Air Dried Barbeque Duck
Braised Lobster with Supreme Sauce
Steamed Fresh Fish with Ginger and Scallion
Chinese Filet Steak with Tender Greens
Mushroom with Vegetables
white cake with fresh strawberry filling, and
white cake with black currant and mango filling
Above was our cake tasting.
Top: white cake w/ fresh pear filling; White Cake w/ Black Currant & Passionfruit filling; white cake with fresh strawberry filling
bottom: chocolate cake w/ grand marnier filling; Tiramisu
Reserved signs for the church ceremony. We're attaching the ribbons to weights.
With the help and guidance of Bloominautumn, we gocco-ed these coasters for the wedding.
This is the inspiration for our cake, but we'll have 6 tiers instead. I love how it's not your traditional white cake, yet it looks very elegant and classic. I especially love the subtle hearts design.
This is our cake topper. Contemporary, yet romantic. I think it'll go great with the cake
And this is how I want the cake table to be decorated, minus the "I Do" letters.
We made a simple rehearsal dinner invite. We took one of our engagement pictures (gotta make the most of them!), and took one of those cute rehearsal poems.
One of our bridesmaids made us these cute small ring pillows. Since our ring bearers are young, 3 and 4, we opted to not have them carry the rings on these pillows. Instead, we put a dahlia (like the ones we used for the guestbook pens) on the pillow.
A lot of Filipino brides or brides marrying Filipinos ask about wording for the veil/cord/candle/coins, so I figured I'd post what I wrote:
Donning of the veil
The veil symbolizes the all-encompassing presence and sovereignty of God. The veil represents God's protection that will accompany the couple as they encounter the challenges and difficulties that will come as they build their life together.
Presentation of Coins
The thirteen coins, which symbolize Jesus Christ and His twelve disciples, are a sign of the husband's dedication to the well-being of his wife and their children. The offering and accpetance of the coins symbolize their promise to provide all things for one another.
Coins w/ pillow made by bridesmaid
Lighting of the Unity Candle
The flame symbolizes God's presence within their union and to invoke the light of Christ in their marriage life.
Donning of the Cord
The cord symbolizes the unifying bond of committed love between the couple. The cord binds their hearts and souls together so that they may respond to the truth and love of God, and endure the trials of life with a solid commitment to each other.
One of our bridesmaids bought us the Lenox Jubilee set for us. It's so beautiful!
Bride - white cracked roses with a band of fluffy white feathers, wrapped with white satin ribbon
MOHs - Black magic roses with burgundy calla lilies and monkeytail, wrapped with chocolate brown satin ribbon
BMs - Black magic roses with burgundy calla lilies, wrapped with chocolate brown satin ribbon
Jr. BM - small version of BM bouquet
Mother Mary bouquet - small version of bride's bouquet
Flower girls - Burgundy carnation pomanders
Groom - white rose with monkeytail
Best Men - burgundy calla lily with monkey tail
GMs - black magic rose
FOB, FOG, GFOB - White Phalaenopsis orchid
Sponsors & readers - Burgundy cymbidium orchid
Ring bearers, coin bearer, bible bearers - Hypericum berries
MOB, MOG, GMOBs, GGMOB - White Phalaenopsis orchid pin corsages
sponsors - Burgundy cymbidium orchid pin corsages
two floral wreaths to go around candle sticks (picture below but without the ivy)
Head table runner with flower petals and vases for BMs bouquets
Cake table covered in flower petals with small blooms scattered on cake
1 dahlia on each place setting
toss bouquet - small version of bride's bouquet
Bridal Party processional: "The Prayer" instrumental by Andrea Bocelli & Celine Dion
Bride processional: "Songbird" by Eva Cassidy
Psalm Response: "I will praise you my God and my King" by Nelson Gonzales
Alleluia: "Misa del Mundo"
Cord/veil/candle: "My heart belongs to you" instrumental by Tom Booth
Bringing up the gifts: "My heart belongs to you" by Tom Booth
Holy, holy: "Mass of Glory"
Memorial acclamation: Mass of Life
Amen: Mass of Life
Lamb of God: "Lamb of God by Matt Maher"
Communion Songs: "One bread, One Cup" by Bobby Fisher
Flowers to Mary: "Hail Mary/Gentle Woman" by Carey Landry
Recessional: "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" instrumental by Stevie Wonder
Bride & Groom intro: "Sirius (Bulls Championship Song)" by Alan Parson Project
First Dance: "Spend my Life" by Eric Benet & Tamia; "Forever" by Chris Brown
Father/Daughter Dance: "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts
Mother/Son Dance: "Always be my baby" by Mariah Carey
Cake cutting: "Sugar Sugar" by The Archies
Bouquet toss: "Maneater" by Nelly Furtado
Garter toss: "Doin it well" by LL Cool J
I really wanted to do table pinspotting, but it wasn't in the budget. But we're definitely doing red uplighting around the room to give it a romantic feel.
We'll also be putting our names on a custom gobo for the dancefloor.
We are going to French Polynesia!!! We'll be staying at the Sheraton Moorea for 5 nights in a Superior Garden Bungalow. Then we'll be staying at the Intercontinental Bora Bora & Thalasso resort for 3 nights in a Sapphire Overwater Bungalow. So excited!
We are going to French Polynesia!!!
We'll be staying at the Sheraton Moorea for 5 nights in a Superior Garden Bungalow.
Then we'll be staying at the Intercontinental Bora Bora & Thalasso resort for 3 nights in a Sapphire Overwater Bungalow. So excited!
8:45am – Bride sits for hot curlers
9:30am – Bride sits for make-up
10am – Groom & Groomsmen get dressed
10:30am – Bride sits for hairstyle
11:30am – Groom departs for his parents' home
11:30am – Bride gets dressed
12:00pm – Bride departs for her parents' home
12:00pm – Groom arrives at his parents' home
12:15pm – Groom departs for bride's parents' home
12:20pm – Bride arrives at her parents' home
12:30pm – Groom arrives at bride's parents' home
12:30pm – TEA CEREMONY BEGINS
- Accepting of gifts
- Serving tea
1:15pm – Depart for groom's parents' home
1:30pm – Arrive at groom's parents' home
1:30pm – TEA CEREMONY
- Bowing and incense
- Serve tea
- Present jewelry
2:30pm – depart for Hotel
2:45pm – Arrive at hotel
2:45pm – Bride changes into wedding dress
2:45 – 5pm Photoshoot
- Bride & Groom First Look
- Bride & Groom w/ entire bridal party
- Bride & Groom
5:10 – Groom departs for church
5:15 – Groom & Groomsmen arrive at church
5:25pm – Bride & Bridesmaids depart for church
5:30pm – Bride & Bridesmaids arrive at church
5:30pm – Groomsmen begin escorting guests to seats
5:30pm – Prelude music begins
5:45/6pm – CEREMONY BEGINS
- 1st reading
- Responsorial psalm
- 2nd reading
- Exchange of vows
- Exchange of rings
- Blessing of coins
- Blessing of bible
- Lighting of unity candle
- Donning of veil
- Donning of cord
- Prayers of the faithful
- Liturygy of the Eucharist
- Offering to the blessed Virgin Mary
7pm – ceremony ends, begin formal post-ceremony portraits
7pm – reception begins at hotel
7pm – photobooth opens
7:30pm – ballroom doors open
7:45pm – Chimes go off
7:50pm – intros
8pm – Bride & Groom intro
8:10pm – blessing of the food
8:15pm – dinner begins
8:15pm – Toasts by honor attendants, and parents possibly
8:35pm – slideshow
8:45pm – Bride changes into Vietnamese dress
9pm – 9:45pm – Table visits
9:45pm – Bride changes back into wedding dress
10pm – Bride & Groom First Dance
10:10pm – Father/daughter dance
10:15pm – Mother/Son dance
10:20pm – Cake Cutting
10:35pm - Money Dance
11:00pm – Open Dance
11:45 – Bouquet & Garter Toss
1am – Reception Over
I had one of our friends design a Thank You card with pictures of us. I think it came out great!
This is the front:
And this is the back:
Ceremony Venue: St. Joseph Cathedral Basilica, San Jose, CA
Officiant: Fr. Kevin Joyce
Reception Venue: Fairmont Hotel San Jose
Catering: Pagoda Restaurant, Fairmont Hotel
Engagement, Boudoir, & Wedding Photographer: Jennifer Skog Photography
Videographer: Lumitone Productions
Hair and Make-up Artists: Professional Make-up Artistry
Florist: Anne Mendenhall Flowers
DJ: DJ Sequence
Lighting: Swank Audio Visuals
Photo Booth: PartyBooths.com
Cake: Pastry Chef of Fairmont Hotel San Jose
Bridal Salon: Bella Mia Bride, San Jose, CA
Ao Dai: Y-Nhu Tailoring & Alteration, San Jose
Alterations: Si Arima, Santa Clara, CA
Bridal Shoes: Nordstroms
Earrings: Haute Bride
Hair flower: Gabbymac.com
Spanx & undergarments: Nordstroms
His Wedding Band: Tiffany & Co.
Her Wedding Band: Blue Nile
BM Dresses: Jim Hjelm from netbride.com
Tuxedos: MW Tux
MOB dress: Group USA
Flower girl dresses: mygirldress.com
Ring bearer outfits: Little Angels
GM gifts: Nike Factory (shoes), Express (socks)
Custom stamps: zazzle.com
Invitations: Cards De Luxe
Thank you card printing: psprint.com
Color printing for programs: Office Depot
Unity Candle & candleholder: Michaels
Ring bearer pillow materials: Joann Fabrics
Cord, Veil, Coin: bought from the Philippines
Bible & Rosary: Ave Maria Community Book Center
Paper products for DIY: paperandmore.com
Scrapbook guestbooks: Borders
Guestbook pens & materials: Michaels
Sign stands: Daiso
Frame for engagement picture: Aaron Brothers
Vases and tealights for cocktail tables: Dollar Tree
Toasting flutes & cake serving set: Jubilee by Lenox
Wedding website host: www.weddingwindow.com
Wedding registries: Bed, Bath & Beyond; Macys
Photo-sharing host: flickr.com
Travel Agent: Laurel from True Tahiti Vacations
Moorea Hotel: Sheraton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa
Bora Bora Hotel: InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
I absolutely love being on PW, and getting to meet the ladies whom I talk to every day is pretty awesome! I highly recommend going to a GTG near you!
Madison G2G: Paisan's in Madison (4/19/09)
1- Left to Right: Sarah (almostSMN), Danielle (meadowcroft14), Lindsay (badgerbride), Me (Charmeng)
2 - Clockwise;12: Me, Sarah, Danielle, Lindsay
NorCal G2G: Crepevine in Burlingame (6/06/09)
1- Left; Back to Front: Jaci (JDWeddingDay), Wendy (Bluegenes), Michelle (MeeshMosh), Haley (Starg8zer), and Miwa (SFBridefromLA)
Right; Back to Front: Priscilla (Prismis), Jamie (JamieSue), Sandra (MissQnomore), Me (Charmeng), Vicki (VDGianella)
2 - Top Row; Left to Right: Vicky, Wendy, Sandra, Michelle, Jaci, Haley, Maria, & Me
Bottom Row; Left to Right: Miwa, Priscilla, & Jamie
3 - Clockwise;12: Priscilla, Vicky, Wendy, Miwa, Sandra, Michelle, Jamie, Maria, Me, Haley & Jaci
NorCal G2G: STRAITS in Burlingame! (6/18/09)
1 - Miwa (SFBridefromLA), Rebecca (yelppuppy), Wendy (bluegenes), Me (Charmeng), Tammy (memoirestudio), Chi (38chi), Michelle (MeeshMosh), Thony (MissYou), & Priscilla (prismis).
2 - Top Row; Left to Right: Thony, Priscilla, Miwa, Michelle, Me, & Wendy
Bottom Row; Left to Right: Chi & Tammy
NorCal G2G: ROCK BAND in Redwood City (6/27/09)
1 - Top Row; Left to Right: Wendy (bluegenes),
Bottom Row; Left to Right: Tracey (Tracey), Rebecca (yelppuppy), Thony (MissYou) Vicki (VDGianella), Jaci (JDWeddingDay)
2 - Top Row; Left to Right: Wendy (bluegenes), Me (Charmeng)
Bottom Row; Left to Right: Tracey (Tracey), Jamie (Jamiesue), Rebecca (yelppuppy), Thony (MissYou) Vicki (VDGianella), Jaci (JDWeddingDay)
not pictured: Chi (38chi)
We were totally honored to be chosen to be as PW's Real Wedding of the Week (3.30.09)