P + J: A Perfect Day

It was beautiful.

P + J first dance

It was everything we wanted our wedding to be and so much better than we imagined.

Anyone involved in wedding planning can tell you about the stress level that it brings to a person, even more to the relationship. Whenever I meet another bride or soon-to-wed couple, like soldiers who’ve seen war, we exchange knowing looks beyond the mere surface of “congratulations.” Just as the engagement ring is a testament to the strength of commitment to the relationship, so is surviving the wedding process in one piece and as a stronger united front.

To call it a struggle is a huge understatement. We experienced an emotional roller coaster and a battle with breakdowns, family politics, and constant tests to our strength the entire way, up until the very last days leading up to August 27th. By Friday’s rehearsal, we were both drained of energy and held onto a string of hope that we wouldn’t lose ourselves too much in the day. That there was still a chance for a happy one.

Much to our surprise and joy, it truly did turn into one of the happiest day of our lives. Everything went smoothly and thanks to my matron of honor’s advice, I made sure to “be in the moment” for the entire day. Our tea and church ceremony were lovely, our families pulled it together for us, our closest friends supported us throughout the entire day, and J & I were able to include aspects of the wedding that we carefully prepared – the personal vows, the stylistic photos and first looks, our Love Story film premiere, and our EPIC Michael Jackson choreographed entrance. Our wedding, and especially our reception, blew people away and set a new standard for non-traditional Vietnamese American weddings.

Our good friend Roenna, of Roesy Affair, coordinated the day wonderfully. She also had a few tricks up her sleeve and surprised both J & I by Skyping in our friend Nhat and his newborn son all the way from Vietnam! Nhat, who also happens to be Roenna’s older brother, is one of J’s closest friends and had also introduced J & I back in college. He could not attend the wedding and we were both overcome with emotion to see the laptop screen with his smiling face and holding his son during our table greetings. An even better surprise was that Nhat sent in a pre-recorded meaningful toast for the two of us. As if that wasn’t enough to set off the waterworks, the Love Story film, shot by J’s dear friend Sonny of Lightbulb Videography, certainly unleashed tears of joy for everyone in the audience.

In the days following the wedding, J and I are so filled with love, newfound appreciation for our friends and family, and riding on this “wedding high.” It was a complete 180 degrees from where we were just days before the wedding. And it’s not just us who caught this “high”; friends, family, and distant relatives and guests all expressed how much they loved and enjoyed our wedding. From how much they loved our church and venue, to the food and cocktail hour, to crying at our personal vows (especially J’s), to this being “by far the best wedding entrance” they’ve ever seen, and the tears over our “Love Story” video and proposal clip.

It was what many were calling, a perfect wedding.

The evening before we left for our honeymoon in Spain, J & I had one final dinner in the U.S. and couldn’t stop talking about our wedding.

“Even though I won’t ever want to go through the pain of planning this wedding, it was all absolutely worth it in the end,” J sighed.

“Yes, for sure. And it makes me really happy to know that the wedding belonged to everyone we care about. They really all had a piece in it – your family, my family, our friends, and especially us” I replied. “I would relive the wedding day over and over again if I could.”

The best part is that we never even aimed for perfection. All we wanted was to have fun and to feel like we had ownership over a few parts of the day. When you consider all of the love and energy that goes into a day like, from our fantastic wedding party who bonded over supporting us, our family who put aside their pride and beliefs for our happiness, our coordinator, videographer, and photographer friends who worked hard to document and streamline the day, and the unconditional love between J & I, you have all of the people and “perfect ingredients” for a perfect day.

P + J teaser

Here’s a teaser photo from my friend and wedding photographer Vivian Sachs Photography!

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  • Hi Pauline,

    I didn’t realize you started a food/personal blog and I’m loving it! Thought you should know that I teared up with happiness when I read your wedding recap. Have a fun honey moon and congratulations!!

    -Stacey
    (If confused, you met me a couple years ago in the business class at SJSU)

    • Hi Stacy! Long time no see; I hope you’ve been well! Wow, that business class and our dessert project seem soooo long ago. hahaha. I blogged for a bit but could never figure out my focus, then realized it kept circulating around food & travel :) I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts! The photos look lovely! Thank you for stopping by and your warm congrats. More Spain photos to come when we return!

  • roe

    a perfect day, indeed!! can’t wait to see more photos!