Thuy and Jennifer Truong at the Olympic Sculpture Park on their wedding day. Photo credit: John K. Hong from John & Joseph Photography.

Jennifer Truong, 28 & Thuy Truong, 30

August 8, 2009
Venue: Bell Harbor International Conference Center, Pier 66
Photographer: John K. Hong from John & Joseph Photography
Caterer: Bell Harbor Catering
Florist: Miki’s Flowers
Bridal Dress: Sally Crew from La Belle Elaine’s
Groom’s Tux: Custom-tailored suit from Mahiras

What was your biggest money-saver idea?

Lining the ceremony aisle with 50 vases full of ostrich feathers instead of flowers.

What did you spend the most money on?

The venue and food.

How did you incorporate your cultural heritage in the wedding?

We were lucky to have Thuy’s mom who organized a traditional Vietnamese/Chinese tea ceremony that took place the morning of our wedding day. From the custom “ao dai”, or traditional Vietnamese dress, to the full-roast pig, every detail was meticulously planned for. Culturally it was important because it allowed our families to get to know one another in an intimate setting and also gave us the opportunity to pay our respect to family members.

What was your favorite moment?

Reciting our vows and seeing it played at the reception. Edit 1 Media was able to edit footage onsite and surprise our guests with a cinematic highlight of our wedding.

What was your biggest lesson learned (or for others, so far)? What would you have done differently?

We learned how lucky and blessed we are to have such loving and supportive family and friends. From our parents, sisters, cousins, aunts and friends, everyone was extremely generous with their time in helping us plan.

What tip would you offer other brides?

You can drive yourself crazy worrying about all the details. Learn to delegate. Also, if you plan on wearing a real flower in your hair, make sure to have an extra one available. Mine wilted before the ceremony even started!

Kim Pham and Son Trieu on their wedding day. Photo credit: Chris Richard from AZ Photography.

Kim Pham, 25 & Son Trieu, 31

December 13, 2008
Venue: Newman Center (their first date) & Jumbo Restaurant
Photographer: Chris Richard from AZ Photography
Caterer: Jumbo Restaurant
Florist: Quynh Giao Floral
Groom’s Tux: Tux Shop

What was your biggest money-saver idea?

Instead of hiring a DJ, we had a family talent show and our friend’s band played live. As a couple, we sang songs to each other both in Vietnamese and English. We even created a verse for our guests and had song sheets at their tables for them to sing along.

What did you spend the most money on?

The restaurant.

How did you incorporate your cultural heritage in the wedding?

Incorporating the Vietnamese culture was very important to us. We wanted to respect our traditions and culture. We intergrated Western & Vietnamese clothing in our bridal party wardrobe. We kept the traditional tea ceremony, where relatives shared their wisdom and advice on marriage through song, poems, and speeches. And we sang Vietnamese folklore songs (ho) throughout the day e.g. (tea ceremony, mass, reception).

What was your favorite moment?

My favorite moment was before the wedding ceremony. A few minutes before the ceremony started, I was alone waiting for my cue to walk. The best man, ran back, handing me a note from my future husband. It said, ‘This is the last note you’ll ever get from your boyfriend … see you at the altar! Love, Frank.’ That was a very sweet surprise! The whole day seemed to zoom by!

What was your biggest lesson learned?

When I think back to my wedding, mostly I remember how it ‘felt’ … the small things that I stressed on were just small things. What is important is that people have fun and know that their presence is important. On a more practical note, if you are planning a large wedding—in our case, we had 400 guests—we learned that creating a specific seat assignment is not as effective for our sit down dinner. There will be wanderers, no-shows, unexpected comers… what I would have done differently is to separate them into zones, and let the guest congregate and form in those zones. Have a zone for family, friends, co workers.

What tip would you offer other brides?

Dont sweat the small stuff. The wedding day is wonderful and will be over before you know it. Plan and prepare, but on that day, trust and let your bridemaids and your friends take care of the details. Your responsibility is to enjoy and let everyone know how much you appreciate them. Remember, a wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime.

Islanda Khau and Timothy Naughton at Phnom Penh temple in Cambodia. Photo courtesy: Islanda Khau.

Islanda Khau, 30 & Timothy Naughton, 37

Saturday, May 22, 2010
Venue: Phnom Pros Restaurant in Kampong Cham, Cambodia and the Elephant Walk in Boston, Mass. – a Cambodian-French restaurant where Tim and I had our first date.
Photographer: n/a for Cambodia – haven’t decided. My dear friend, John DePasquale from Philadelphia, Penn., will be our photographer in Boston.
Caterer: The restaurants listed above
Florist: n/a – haven’t decided
Bridal dress: I will be wearing traditional Khmer attire for the ceremony; however, I purchased a $600 BCBG dress off of Ebay for $150 for the reception.
Groom’s Tux: Tim will also be wearing traditional Khmer attire, but we purchased a Calvin Klein linen suit from the Men’s Wearhouse for the reception.

What is your biggest money-saver idea?

I think the biggest money-saver was purchasing my wedding dress off Ebay. Traditional, western wedding dresses are not my taste and because we are not having an American-style ceremony, I didn’t think it was necessary to spend thousands of dollars on one dress. We also saved a lot of money on our wedding invitations because I designed our wedding invites myself. We also asked guests to RSVP on our wedding website (which was free to create) and did not send out RSVP cards.

What do you expect to spend the most money on?

Travel costs and reception in Boston.

How did you incorporate your cultural heritage in the wedding?

By having a traditional Khmer wedding in the same province my parents were married in Cambodia. My parents have not been back to Cambodia since they escaped, so to honor them, my fiancé and I decided to have our wedding in my parent’s hometown, Kampong Cham, Cambodia. My grandparents from France have retired and purchased a vacation home in Kampong Cham and have graciously offered their home for our wedding ceremony. We understand many will not be able to share our special day with us, so we will also be hosting a reception in Boston, Mass., where Tim and I met.

Have there been issues regarding cultural differences? How did you address them?

No, my fiancé and his family have been supportive and excited for our wedding in Cambodia.

What are you looking forward to the most?

We are excited for our families to join together and share in our special moment in Cambodia. I personally can’t wait for my parents to reunite with friends and family they haven’t seen in 30 years.

What has been your biggest lesson learned so far?

To not stress over the small details.

What tip would you offer other brides?

Definitely create a wedding website! It is a fabulous (and FREE) tool to have helpful information for your guests.

Where will you go for the honeymoon?

Chiang Mai, Thailand

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