I never dreamed of what my wedding would look like. It made more sense to dream it up with the fiancé so that it made sense for the both of us. Luckily for me, he has a very similar design aesthetic. This describes everything we saw for the wedding (reception only – the parents were responsible for their tea ceremony décor).
I never pictured my dream wedding. To be honest, I think the whole Asian parents saying, "NO DATING!" sunk in and I never even thought about it. When we got engaged, I was already working on my master’s degree and so inspiration came from googling pictures and sites like brides.com or theknot.com.
The long engagement allowed me to collect MANY ideas and develop many myself. The basic theme is "Asian-fusion VIP Club" (if that makes ANY sense to you). We definitely wanted to keep culture involved in the design. Our heritage is important and I love the elegance of modern, Asian elements. It has to be fresh, funky, and elegant. I know it seems like a clash, but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE mixing traditional with modern. I think mixing styles are very appealing and bring life to both extremes. You can easily mix clean lines with an oddball organic vase to make things more visually interesting. I figure, I love my interior design this way, I will have the wedding this way. Donny is more into "all modern", but we both agreed to keep it sleek and clean. That’s the beauty of Asian elements. They’re usually very clean and simple if you think "Zen". To incorporate the traditional, I am designing a vector of the dragon and phoenix tail with heart shapes at the end.
By the way, he had a big hand in planning all of this too. We brainstormed a lot to come up with elements that made us both happy!
This is just explaining the vision of decorating the spaces. The ceremony decor was left up to the parents since it is traditional in reds and golds and in their homes. Here goes…
Overall Design Board
I made design boards in Excel (surprise, surprise). I googled for most of the images. This is what I used to have VISUAL conversations with Donny since describing even basic colors threw him into confusion! We have two areas to design: the lounge and the reception banquet room. These are the boards, click to enlarge!
I pretty much referred to this board for inspiration when I met with the vendors and made decisions. It helped us align on what we wanted first so that when we did come to something that needed a decision, we knew what fit into the overall design.
I almost immediately went to the colors red and gold for the whole Chinese/Vietnamese wedding tradition thing. In fact, this website was red and black for awhile. THEN, I woke up and disposed of that tradition (I’m keeping it for the ceremony) because I honestly do not like that color. At all. SO what’s my favorite color? PURPLE!
The reception room will be adorned with two main colors: lavender and chocolate. Accents without color will silver. (We left some gold on the cake for tradition)
The table linens will be chocolate and the napkins will be a lovely lavender. We plan to forgo the typical silver chargers and are instead using brown tiles as the place setting, like so:
The tablecloth in this image is a little more wine-color. We’re going for a deep chocolate brown.
The head table and dance floor will be splashed with yellows and hot pinks.
For another atmosphere in the lounge (we have an area outside of the banquet hall that will be transformed to a chic club lounge), I will be using black, white, and hot pink!
Ok, the whole lavender plus chocolate thing started boring me. It felt plain still. So, we are going to make the colors shades of pink through purple (the MAIN color is lavender) with a chocolate base and pops of yellow (as requested by Donny).
The bars are located in the lounge so if you get tired of sappy music or need to take a breather from the house beats, then you can step out of the ballroom into a modern VIP lounge. This is the room:
Not too special, huh? This is what we’re planning with black, white, and hot pink Asian elements:
Yep. We’re bringing in clean-lined white furniture and keeping all the décor "Asian-inspired". Think: blossoms, orchids, bamboo candles, river rock, etc. There will be little partitions that simulate VIP areas.
Both the lounge and the banquet room will have lighting to set the mood.
Inside the banquet room, the light will change colors throughout the night: hot pink, fuchsia, purple, lavender, and yellow. Outside, in the lounge and bar, the walls will be lit in hot pink.
Bridal Party Attire
I love shades of pink and purple. Since the hall will have purples and pinks, the girls are all wearing various shades of the fabulous hue: hot pink, fuchsia, plum, lavender, and lilac. They’ll choose their own strapless knee-length dresses and the MOH, Karen will get to vary from that a little bit. This way, I didn’t have to worry about everything having the SAME hue of purple in it – it decreased the stress!
I sent them a style board of potential looks with what vendors call the approved colors, etc. (I am an Excel freak. All of my planning has been documented on Excel.)
They went on their merry way and sent me links to dresses they loved. I gave them my input and the process was pretty smooth! They will most likely carry yellow fans since it matches the colors from the traditional morning ceremonies and the reception.
The morning dresses will be a modern version of the traditional Vietnamese dresses, the ao dai. I am designing the girls’ dresses and having them made in Vietnam!
The guys are donning Chocolate tuxes and white shoes by After Six. The girls get to stand out in their dresses… the guys get pimp shoes, haha.
Each groomsmen will wear a boutonniere to match the color of the girls dresses.
I am in love with how I think the bridal party will look. They should really "pop" in the pictures.
I want something funky and my favorite flowers are Orchids of every kind. They are so exotic-looking. So I want to start the bouquet with a basic bunch of purple/fuchsia orchids, similar to this:
…but that doesn’t quite hit the funky feel, so I envision a mixture of those orchids with brown phesant feathers!
It’s… so me.
Save The Dates
This won’t be anything too elaborate. It will be rather simple, but I plan to make VIP passes that go with the theme. At this point, we’re just going with black and white to capture the club-feel. They will be sent in a card to our friends.
Update// DONE! Want to see how they turned out? Check them out here!
I ordered a TON of sample invitations from several vendors. None of which satisfied our needs. The colors weren’t right. The designs didn’t suit the theme. They were too plain. They were too "like everything else". Then I stumbled upon Indian Wedding Card and we fell in love with the idea of having it formally announced on a scroll. This is the one we’ll probably start with:
Most of their designs are ornate, so we’ll see! I will probably customize the colors and add a graphic of the dragon and phoenix to the scroll. Along with the scroll, I am making pocketfolds that will have all of the other information.
Update// DONE! Want to see how they turned out? Check them out here!
We wanted Asian-themed card holders that would hold envelopes and the assignment cards. Envelopes will make it easier for us to adjust table numbers on the fly. I only found colorful brocade snap purses, silver fortune cookies, and bamboo holders. None of them felt right. I kept pitching these and other ideas to him and he wasn’t feeling any of them either.
One day, he said, "Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a little buddha who could hold the cards up?"
Being the avid Googler that I am, I searched and found:
THEY’RE PERFECT. Silver is our accent color and they’re so cute. Since we have Asian Zen in the cocktail lounge, they will it right in with the décor. They’re not meant to be anything religious. The lucky buddha is an icon that works with the theme.
DONE! Want to see how they turned out? Check them out here!
BLAH @ chair covers. Bare chairs are fine if they blend in with the theme, but ours did not. They stood out like a sore thumb. So, we’re going to rent Chivari Chairs in silver with lavender cushions.
Donny is taking the lead on the cake. I found some ideas that we both like and we’re going to do some mixing of the ideas. We’re incorporating a fondant dragon and phoenix that will climb up a structural cake… similar to this:
We’re going to add lavender orchids and brown "ribbon" trim and he’s picking the flavors!
You’ve seen those photobooths at the weddings where they print off two copies of your goofy mugshots.
1) as a souvenir – sometimes a favor
2) for you to glue into a book
I love pictures so it made sense to do something similar; however, we were going to have a different kind of ‘photobooth’ setup with a photographer, so that idea was out. The typical photobooths were overplayed. I liked the new idea of high quality images.
Then I thought about it and realized I could morph that idea of interactivity with our guests in scrap messages that would later be combined into our wedding scrapbook.
I am going to make our guestbook by incorporating it into our 12 by 12 inch scrapbook. If guests flip through the book when they get to the party, the first several pages will incorporate anything wedding-related, i.e. showers, parties, planning, sweatshops. Then they can flip through and insert business card sized pieces of paper into pockets.
I love looking at scrapbooks and I doubt I’ll flip through some plain, blank book, so this makes sense. Our guests will be part of my documentation for the weddding!
Update// It’s done, check it out!