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American-Vietnamese Wedding | A Twist of Traditions

When I tell you that Brandon and Phuong’s American-Vietnamese wedding was one for the books, I mean it! Their wedding day was pure magic from start to finish, intertwined with traditions from both cultures. From their wedding day attire to the sweet, sentimental details, I will be swooning over this day for years to come.

Phuong and I met during college. She was the first friend I made on campus during our freshman year volleyball class. We were instructed to select a partner we didn’t know, so I walked up to Phuong and told her she looked like Tila Tequila (a huge star at the time, lol.) I then proceeded to ask her to be my partner, and we became instant friends! We'd spend the next four years growing up in college together before both moving to West Michigan after graduation and remaining close friends! Naturally, I was beyond thrilled when she asked me to be her wedding photographer!

Getting Ready

It was a gorgeous, sunny day in September. The temperature was in the low 70’s making the weather comfortable for their outdoor ceremony. Phuong spent the morning meditating and getting ready with her girls, while Brandon drank a few cocktails with the guys, somehow keeping his calm demeanor intact despite the growing anticipation of the day.

Getting ready photos of a Vietnamese bride and her grandmother.
Bridal party getting ready photos in matching green pajamas.
Groom getting ready photos wearing a navy blue suit and brown shoes.
Groom and groomsman sharing a toast on the wedding day wearing blue tuxedos.
Groomsman wearing blue tuxedos and green ties with a white on the wedding day.
Groom in a blue tuxedo twirling the bride on their wedding day.
Bridal party photos with the men in blue tuxedos and the bridesmaids in long seafoam green dresses.
Bride and bridesmaids in seafoam green dresses with matching white and greenery floral bouquets.
Bride and groom portraits with a long veil.
Bride and groom portraits with their chocolate labrador on their wedding day.

The American ceremony

As their family and friends trickled in, you couldn’t help but feel the growing excitement in the air. Phuong made her way gracefully down the aisle, arm-in-arm with her maternal grandmother- a sweet tribute to her mother (whom she was very close to) who passed away while she was in college. As another tender memorial, the bride included a small photo of her mother attached to her bouquet and paid her respects during the ceremony. It was incredibly beautiful and emotional.

During the ceremony, the officiant forgot the vows which created a hilarious ice breaker that had everyone chuckling in the crowd. When she had asked Phuong to start, she sweetly replied, “I don’t know where they are…!” After the mix-up had been resolved, Brandon and Phuong proceeded to read their heartfelt vows and had everyone tearing up again.

The Inn at Stonecliffe wedding venue in Mackinac Island, Michigan.
Bride and groom holding hands at the altar of their wedding ceremony.
Bride and groom kissing after their wedding ceremony.

The Vietnamese Tea Ceremony

After the American ceremony concluded, the two quickly changed into their traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai and met in the courtyard for the special tea ceremony. Each family member was presented with tea in exchange for a special gift. It was so tender to see Brandon’s American family celebrate wholeheartedly in Phuong’s Vietnamese traditions. As another tribute to her late mom, Phuong had her best friend and her mother (who acted as a second mom to Phuong for years) wear traditional attire for the celebration as well. The ceremony was short and sweet, but incredibly special nonetheless.

Once the ceremony was complete, they changed back into their former wedding attire for the reception. But before heading back, we stopped to take a few portraits of the couple and of course had to snap a few with their fur baby Bodhi! (Pictured above)

Vietnamese tea ceremony dress.
Vietnamese tea ceremony.
Vietnamese tea ceremony with the bride's grandmother.

The Reception

The two were met with cheers from all of their guests as they made their way into the reception tent (just in time as it turns out because it started to DOWNPOUR) and the celebration continued all throughout the night. The dinner was filled with wonderful speeches in honor of the well-respected couple. The kind words that were spoken truly reflected the genuine nature of Brandon and Phuong.

Bride and groom entering their reception holding their hands up in celebration.
Wedding reception dinner table setup.
Dinner speech given at an American-Vietnamese wedding.

The already high level of emotion got even higher as Phuong made her way to the dance floor with her grandmother (in place of the father-daughter tradition) Everyone could feel her mother’s presence at that moment, and see how much it meant to her grandmother to be included in her wedding day. It was truly a special experience to witness.

After the bride and groom’s first dance and the cutting of the cake it was all party for the rest of the night. Phuong got DOWN on the dancefloor as you can see from the photos. That girl can dance!!

Bride and groom first dance at their American-Vietnamese wedding.
Bride and groom eating their first slice of wedding cake.
Wedding sparkler exit at an American-Vietnamese wedding.

Overall, Phuong and Brandon’s American-Vietnamese wedding was an incredibly intimate and emotional wedding day filled with the most amazing tribute to Phuong’s late mother. The inclusion of her grandmother made the day all the more special as you could clearly see how much it meant to her. The twist of traditions, celebrating two separate cultures touched everyone who had the honor to witness. I am so grateful for my friendship with Phuong and the opportunity I had to capture such a special day for her and Brandon. I wish them all the love and happiness as husband and wife and can’t wait to see what they accomplish.


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