San Francisco, you sure are lovely, especially when seen through the eyes of lovebirds. Lovebirds and IQvideography. It’s enough to make me tear up just a little as I sit here with my hands clasped under my chin watching this highlight film. Totally falling in love with San Francisco and these two. Oh, these two. You’ll see what I mean.
From the lovely bride… From the moment Christopher and I met at a concert at Webster Hall in NYC, I could see a lifetime with him. A year and half later, he surprised me with the most romantic proposal I could ever imagine on the beach in Tulum, Mexico.
When we were thinking about where to have our wedding – one place really stood out for me. Even though Christopher and I live in New York, San Francisco has always held a special place in my heart. San Francisco was where my family found a new home after fleeing from Vietnam. I have so many fond memories of growing up in this city and working at our family restaurant – The Mayflower Restaurant – which in my humble opinion still serves up the best French toast and porkchops in town. I also wanted to honor my Dad who passed away a few years ago, by having our wedding and Vietnamese Tea ceremony in the place my family called home.
Christopher and I both wanted a traditional wedding that was elegant, romantic and timeless, with a sense of the ‘old Hollywood’ glamour. The Palace Hotel was the perfect fit. From the moment we stepped into the Garden Court of the Palace Hotel, with its detailed glass domed ceiling and magnificent chandeliers, we felt as if we were whisked back in time to the romance of a bygone era.
We started off our wedding day with our first look together in the gorgeous winding staircase of the Palace Hotel. I remember feeling so excited and nervous to see my husband-to-be for the first time that day. Both our photographer (James Thomas Long) and our videographer (Alex Kohn of IQ Videography) captured a very beautiful and intimate moment between us that I will always remember.
Christopher and I then changed into our traditional Vietnamese Tea Ceremony dress (áo dài). The Vietnamese Tea Ceremony was held in the beautiful French Parlor room of the Palace Hotel, where one of my Dad’s long-time friends led the service. It was an intimate and sweet celebration that allowed both sides of the family to meet and come together.
Following the tea ceremony, I changed into my wedding dress and prepared myself for the big moment walking down the aisle in the Sunset Court. Our officiant, Pastor Danielle, led such a beautiful and moving ceremony. Looking back now, I am so happy we decided to write our own vows. I will never forget standing up on the altar in front of our family and friends and making the most important commitment of my life. It was a very emotional ceremony, filled with so much love, laughter and tears, especially when we took a moment to recognize and thank our parents and shared a moment of silence in honor of my Dad.
For the first dance, Christopher and I really wanted to do something special – something that would tell our story and be an expression of our love. We met an incredible dance instructor in NY who helped us choreograph our dance, which I have to admit was inspired by Patrick Swayze’s movie “Dirty Dancing”. During all the stress of wedding planning, the dance lessons kept us connected and having fun. We were so nervous on the wedding day, especially since we had never rehearsed in my wedding dress before. But as soon as the music came on, all my fears disappeared, and it was just him and I on the dance floor, dancing our first dance as husband and wife. We nailed the dance and it was a moment I will forever cherish. Time stood still at that moment and it felt like magic.
Videography: IQvideography | Venue, Catering & Cake: Palace Hotel, Samantha Woods | Wedding Coordinator and Flowers: Floramor Studios, Laura Little | Live musicians for ceremony: Music to Go – SF Conservatory of Music | DJ: Kevin O’ Scanlon, Sound in Motion | Bride’s Hair and Makeup Artist: Jonathan Nguyen | Wedding Dress: Purchased from Wedding Atelier | Photography: James Thomas Long Photography