The Third Time Was the Charm for This Couple's East-Meets-West Nuptials
After their November 2018 engagement, Michelle Ju and Jonathan Tran planned their wedding for March 21, 2020, which ended up being exactly one day after their state enacted its stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19. "We made the decision to postpone our wedding about two weeks before it was supposed to take place," says the couple. "This was a logistically and emotionally difficult decision, but we felt secure in the knowledge that we were doing the responsible thing." Since their original venue had no future dates available, Michelle and Jonathan expanded their location search, eventually choosing The Mason Dallas, a historic building that had just finished a major overhaul, for their wedding on August 29, 2020.
But as August approached, the couple realized they would need to change their plans again. "We still felt that the COVID-19 situation in Texas (and across the country) was such that having a larger event still did not feel like a safe decision," they say. "We began working with our vendors to re-plan for the third time: This time, for an intimate celebration with just our immediate family present."
While they were unable to invite everyone on their original guest list to witness the nuptials in person, the couple got creative, adding a Zoom cocktail hour and a drive-through receiving line. Carefully-curated details created an "East-Meets-West" vibe they requested as an homage to their time in Singapore, where they got engaged. Michelle and Jonathan kept their date and venue, and prioritized working with their original vendors to create an event attended by only their parents and sisters. "We knew that it had been a difficult year for our vendors, who we had grown close to over the two-plus-year-long process of planning, and wanted to give them a chance to fulfill their contracts," says Michelle. "Our vendors were extremely patient, gracious, and flexible as we worked to postpone and re-plan."
A Date to Remember
As they planned their original wedding, Michelle and Jonathan chose white invitations with French blue calligraphy script. "They included a custom logo that a friend of mine drew, which included the Chinese Shuang Xi character surrounded by delicate orchids," says Michelle. "Shuang Xi means double happiness and represents the happy couple. It is displayed prominently at many traditional Asian weddings—our invitations were a way for us to include traditional Chinese/Vietnamese wedding details, and it was important to us to incorporate aspects of our heritage." When the couple changed their date and guest list, they decided not to print updated invitations, but their planner enlisted Julie Ha Calligraphy to create a keepsake invite in the same color palette with the new details.
A Lucky Find
While visiting family in Taiwan shortly after Jonathan proposed, Michelle and her mother jumped at the chance to go wedding-dress shopping together. "We went to a street filled with boutiques to look at gowns, without really thinking that we would make a purchase right away," says Michelle, who planned to wear an "ultra-modern mermaid dress." But after trying on several options with her preferred silhouette, a 40-year veteran of the boutique's styling team pulled an a-line Enzoani gown with off-the-shoulder cap sleeves, a beaded lace bodice, and an ivory tulle skirt and train. "She said it had just come in a few days ago, and she thought it would be perfect," says Michelle. "She was right!"
The pair asked their sisters to stand next to them as they exchanged vows. "Both wore matching white gowns with a high neck and draped back," says Michelle.
So Happy Together
Michelle and Jonathan planned their first look for before the ceremony, meeting in one of the suites at the recently-renovated The Mason Dallas. "We wanted to create a beautiful, memorable day under the current circumstances of our world," says Michelle.
They appreciated the care that went into the recent upgrades at their venue. "We were drawn to the unique, rich detailing and clean lines of the ceremony space," she says. "The historic building the venue sits in has been beautifully renovated, with attention paid to preserving the original feel of the architecture." They exchanged vows in a spacious room where growing installations from Moss Floral—which included globe amaranth, zinnias, and roses alongside potted oakleaf hydrangea—led toward a raised platform, flanked by vine-wrapped columns.
At the Altar
Michelle and her father entered the ceremony to Scotty McCreery's "This Is It." "It is a favorite song of my husband's," says the bride. "We had the music timed so that I came down the aisle to the lyrics, 'Now you're walkin' down the aisle/And I can't help but smile.'" She carried a bouquet of antique pink-and-peach zinnias, smokebush, and draping vine tied with raw silk.
Words of Love
The couple invited Mathew DeBlanc of Hire a Minister to officiate their ceremony, during which they exchanged vows they wrote themselves. "I included an Oscar Wilde quote—'Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary,'" says Michelle. "I saw the quote painted on a wall in Dublin when I was visiting about a year into our relationship, and I remember reading it and thinking that we were going to be together forever."
The floral installations—designed to provide "a feeling of serenity, freshness, and refined minimalism"—defined the altar space, and created a pretty backdrop for the couple's family portraits.
After livestreaming the ceremony, Michelle, Jonathan, and their families organized an online cocktail hour for their larger guest list. "It was very important to us that our extended family and friends were able to share our wedding day with us," says Michelle. "We used the breakout rooms function on Zoom to group our guests into smaller meetings, where they could visit with each other while waiting for us to pop in to say hi. This allowed us to maintain the feel of a more traditional seated reception, where guests can socialize at each table."
The couple also hosted a drive-through receiving line for friends and family (and pets) who lived locally, handing out individually-boxed slices of wedding cake.
The couple's tabletop aesthetic mixed Eastern and Western styles. "We drew inspiration from Singapore, which is the city where we got engaged," says Michelle.
"We worked with our wedding team to create a clean, minimalist look with interesting and intentionally placed details," says the pair. These accents included Ikebana elements incorporated into the pink-and-peach centerpieces and menus that matched the blue-and-white color scheme of the invitations.
Lace-patterned chargers complemented bone china with an exotic bird design from Posh Couture Rentals, while gold flatware and ceramic fish-shaped chopstick holders added texture and interest.
From This Moment
Michelle and Jonathan twirled around the room to "Keeping Score" by Dan and Shay for their first dance. "We liked the message behind the song of existing in the moment with your partner," they say.
Short and Sweet
Ecclesia Bakery provided the couple with individual cake slices for their receiving line, and a two-tier cutting cake of matcha green tea sponge with fresh cream and berries. Plumed celosia and hard-to-find Japanese anemone adorned the smooth white icing.
To the Future
Growing floral arrangements adorned the sides of the dining table, where the couple and their families enjoyed a meal of lamb, pork, and strawberry rhubarb shortcake. "At the center of any wedding is the fact that you are getting married and making a lifelong commitment to each other," says the couple. "Focus on that commitment and on your love."
Photography, Allen Tsai Photography
Venue, The Mason Dallas
Event planning, Linda Ha Events; Lyons Events (day-of coordination)
Flowers, Moss Floral
Officiant, Mathew DeBlanc, Hire a Minister
Stationery, Julie Ha Calligraphy
Cake, Ecclesia Bakery
Music, Le Force Entertainment
Rentals, La Tavola Linen; Posh Couture Rentals
Bride's Gown, Enzoani
Bride's Accessories, BHLDN veil; Badgley Mischka shoes
Hair and Makeup, Quynh Yip
Groom's Attire, The Black Tux
Groom's Accessories, Crockett and Jones shoes; Omega cuff links
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