A couple of weeks ago, I had the distinct honor of serving as the photographer for Mike and Linh's special day. It was a traditional Vietnamese wedding, full of vibrance and culture, in the heart of Chantily, VA.
The weather was cool, yet comfortable, on a fine Sunday morning. I pulled up to their house, which is where the ceremony and portraits were being held. My second shooter, Thera, and I, started off with getting ready shots, and it was all so beautiful!
Afterwards, we transitioned into getting detail shots of the house's decorations, and prep materials.
Their home was lovely, and the decor was perfect. It really set the tone for the ceremony to come. After awhile, we received word that the groom's party had arrived. In the Vietnamese tradition, there is a 'presentation of gifts.' The grooms and his family come to the bride-to-be's home, and present gifts to her and her family. The two eldest exchange words, and the ceremony begins.
The ceremony is where things start to get interesting. The traditional ceremony consists of tea, and conversation between the two families.
And there are also vows, and a ring exchange.
The ceremony ended, and we moved into meal time, and group portraits. For this wedding, there were two separate meals. The morning meal, which was more casual, and allowed for socializing and group photos, and then a second meal, which would be provided at the reception. The food, of course, was delicious, and very colorful. A great perk to the photography job!
After the meal, we went outdoors to take pictures of the bride, groom, and bridal party. The bridal party consisted of a bunch of goofballs, so it was a good time.
And the portraits.... I'm telling ya, Mike and Linh must have modeling experience, because their photos were FIRE. See for yourself.
And of course... there were some silly moments as well!
After the portraits, there was a break before the reception. This gave the bridal party time to put finishing touches on the venue, and it gave me time to change memory cards and batteries, and get started on some editing. I might have also taken a quick nap...
The reception venue, Harvest Moon Restaurant, was lovely. The staff were very friendly and accommodating, and the bridal party did an excellent job with the decor.
The reception was an interesting blend between American and Vietnamese wedding traditions. First off, like the celebrities that they are, Mike and Linh took photos with EVERY guest at the wedding, at their photo booth. I thought that was really special - every guest will have a photo they can cherish with the bride and groom, forever. Click here to find your picture!
After the portraits, we had family introductions, and then dinner.
After another yummy meal, the bride and groom went around to all the tables to thank their guests.
After this, the real fun began. What became a truly entertaining event, were a couple of wedding games between the bride and groom. The first one was a game (or shall I say test) of like-mindedness. The emcee would read out a situation, like, "who takes the longest amount of time getting ready," and the bride and groom would respond by raising the corresponding shoe, while facing away from each other, of the person they believed was the answer to the question. Of course, there were some questions where they were not in 100% agreement, and that made it even funnier!
The next game had even higher stakes! Mike had to take the hand of a series of women (and man), and while blindfolded, correctly identify, AND KISS, who he believed to be his bride.
Thankfully, Mike pulled out a win on this one.
After the game, we proceeded to the cutting of the cake, and a toast.
After the toast, there was the first dance.
And wow... you can just feel the happiness in this photo.
After their dance, the reception continued as many do... with MORE DANCING.