Joanna and San’s civil ceremony at San Francisco city hall on their eight-year dating anniversary was “ beautiful, practical and intimate,” says the bride. It was just the two of them and a witness. That was a stark contrast from their large traditional Vietnamese wedding the next day.
The day was hot—104 degrees—but the bride, groom, their wedding party and the 310 guests made the most of the day.
The Vietnamese celebration started in the morning with a traditional tea ceremony at the bride’s home. The groom’s family visited Joanna and her parents, offering gifts. Following tradition, the groomsmen had to play games to enter the house. Cue the silly moments with pink balloons; guys wearing colorful underwear over their formal suits; and passing a piece of seaweed by mouth, groomsman-to-groomsman, until they reached the groom.
The reception, held at the Asian Pearl restaurant, featured a 10-course meal complete with a BBQ platter, steak cube stir-fry, shark fin scallop soup, deep friend shrimp balls and Peking duck with buns. The meal finished with a four-tier vanilla cake. The glam design and color scheme were impeccable with pink and white styling and touches of sparkle.
One of the toughest things for the couple, who dated six years before getting engaged, was limiting the guest list. “It was hard to pick whom we wanted to invite to the wedding,” says Joanna.
One memorable moment for the bride of the special day: she was wowed by a gift from her groom—a love letter. “After reading his letter, I knew that all the stress and hard work was worth it because I could not imagine marrying anyone else but him,” she says.
Joanna was impressed with how all the wedding details came together like the flowers, décor and cake. “It honestly felt like a dream,” says Joanna. “Our family and friends were all smiling from cheek to cheek and San looked handsome as ever.”
“There are no words to describe how happy I was. I felt truly lucky and blessed.” OO
— Kristen Castillo
Joanna & San's Wedding Resources
“You and I” by John Legend
“Dance With My Father” by Celine Dion
“A Song for Mama” by Boyz II Men
Vanilla Cake with raspberry preserves and white chocolate
Vanilla Cake with lemon preserves
Other Desserts: Red velvet coookies, cake pops, fruit tarts, and angel cake with fruit and whipped cream
Soft pink garden roses, Lisa White pink tips, ivory roses, hydrangeas, Dusty Miller
Hire a videographer; we wish we would have.
Slowed down to enjoy it; it went by so fast. I felt like it passed before my eyes, being that San and I were extremely busy greeting and entertaining guests.