If you’ve got a weakness for designer fashion, just wait until you lock eyes with this wedding. “In Asian tradition, the bride normally changes dresses a few times during the day…and we decided to split the day into three portions with a dress for each; the ceremony, the reception, and dancing,” said the bride. Hey Lovely Makeup worked their beauty magic, Jenny Yoo dressed the ‘maids, and the incredible Kayla Barker and Brighter Lights Media captured the fairytale day from beginning to end.
From the Bride…Ever since I was a little girl living in Saigon, I always dreamt about my big day. Back then, when someone got married, the whole village would come out into the street and cheer on the bride on her way to the wedding. I imagined that those girls must have felt like a celebrity with everyone yelling compliments at them and I looked forward to the day it would be me.
When I was 12, my family moved from the bustling city streets to the rolling hills of Texas. The next several years were a struggle for me. I never quite fit in and I longed to leave and move back to a big city but I couldn’t seem to find a way out until 2010 when I tried my chances on Match.com and met Jason who was living in England at the time. We’ve been inseparable ever since. Nobody understands me like he does, and he knew I’d been planning my dream wedding for years. So when we got engaged, he promised me he would make my dreams come true.
In Asian tradition, the bride normally changes dresses a few times during the day. We decided to dispense with the traditional tea ceremony and so we decided to split the day into 3 portions with a dress for each; the ceremony, the reception, and dancing.
It first became real when we took a trip together to Dallas and chanced upon the Carolina Herrera Bridal Boutique in Highland Park Village. I remembered a dress from a previous collection and the moment I tried it on, Jason told me “That’s it, that’s the one, that’s your wedding dress.” Carolina Herrera once said “A wedding dress is both intimate and personal for a woman- it must reflect the personality and style of the bride.” With cherry blossoms embroidered into the front and around the fringes of the veil, paired with the cherry blossom hair-ornament I bought from Japan, my dress makes me feel proud to be Asian and drove our ceremony to be inspired by hanami, the Japanese tradition of dining under the blossoming trees.
For my second dress, we chose a beautiful Dolce and Gabbana dress that Jason had bought me as a gift when he moved to be with me from England in 2012. I love theatre and the arts and the lavish red velvet reminded us of the Royal Opera House. We found a pair of Dolce and Gabbana gold cage heeled shoes to match it and these became our theme for the reception: theatrical reds, golds, and cages filled with roses.
Because Jason is half Spanish, I decided to look for a flamenco inspired dress for the dancing. I searched online and came across a runway piece a couturier in Seville, the home of flamenco, called Jose Cañavate. He had made it as a one off piece, only buying enough material for the one dress, so he spent months trying to get the floral organza remanufactured until one day he happened across a bolt of the original material in a small fabric store in Madrid. In all the dress took a year to make and I completed the look with a Spanish hair comb and Dolce and Gabbana cinderella shoes.
From the start, we planned to have a black-tie wedding so Jason bought a Balenciaga tuxedo, but after seeing my wedding dress for the first time he decided to find something that would represent his English heritage more as well. So he had a morning suit made to measure by Ralph Lauren.
With all the dresses underway and inspirations in our mind, we set about looking for a venue (and a date!) and after searching far and wide we found Chateau Cocomar in Houston to be unique in its old world French exterior and wide open interior spaces gave us the canvas to explore our imaginations.
The event was filled with personal touches and design details. Jason wasn’t just going to make my dreams come true – he went above and beyond. He sketched out many of our ideas for key features in the wedding, including the “bird-cage” we sat under, the centerpieces on the tables, the layout of the venue and he even hand wrote and embellished the place-cards. He also drew and designed my wedding rings himself and had them made by the same jeweler as my engagement ring, Boodles of London. In return I chose his ring, a platinum band from Harry Winston engraved with “Happy wife, Happy life.”
When we moved to California, I understood that none of this would ever have been possible if we hadn’t lived in Texas. We’re proud to call Texas home and decided to show our love and appreciation in the form of a few decorative details for all our guests to see. We have both spend a huge amount of time and effort on this wedding and there has been no shortage of drama; vendors dropping out, moving homes (twice) and even the venue getting flooded a week before the wedding. All of these challenges brought us closer together, made our love stronger and made us all the more proud and happy to see it all come together on the day.
Photography: Kayla Barker Fine Art Photography | Cinematography: Brighter Lights Media | Coordination: Chateau Cocomar | Cake: Susie's Cakes & Confections | Bride's Shoes: Dolce & Gabbana | Jewelry: Shaun Leane | Jewelry: Dolce & Gabbana | Jewelry: Oscar De La Renta | Rings: Harry Winston | Rings: Boodles | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: BHLDN | Catering: Cafe Natalie | Hair + Makeup: Hey Lovely Makeup | Groom's Attire: Ralph Lauren | Groom's Attire: Balenciaga | Groom's Attire: Ralph Lauren | Ceremony Music: Houston String Music | Venue: Chateau Cocomar | Balloons: Bubblegum Balloons | Bouquet: Johanna Terry Events | Bride's Reception Dress: Dolce & Gabbana | Bride's Robe + Slippers: Agent Provocateur | Bride's Spanish Flamenco Dress: Canavate Moda | Bridesmaid's Robes: Wildfox | Cufflinks: Montblanc | DJ + Lighting: LG Entertainment | Envelope Calligraphy: Script Merchant Calligraphy | Fireworks: Texas Lite and Pyro | Groom's Shirt: Dolce & Gabbana | Groom's Shirt: Brioni | Groom's Shirt: Lanvin | Groom's Shoes: Brioni | Groom's Shoes: Prada | Hair Accessories: La Parisien | Hat Box: Trousseau & Co | Wedding Dress + Veil: Carolina Herrera