Guests Enjoyed a 10-Course Traditional Vietnamese Dinner at This Lush Outdoor Wedding in California

wedding couple in traditional garments
Anya Kernes

Christine and Hung met on a flight from Virginia to California in October 2009. When the two were seated next to each other again on their connecting flight, they dove into hours of conversation and learned they had a lot in common. At the time, Christine had just started her first year of medical school, and Hung was finishing his post-baccalaureate. Six years later, the two reconnected as they completed their residencies in Southern California.

Their friendship turned romantic, and in April 2019, the now-couple planned a trip to Chicago. Inspired by a George Seurat painting, Hung convinced Christine to join him for coffee on the Nichols Bridgeway. On the bridge, Hung popped the question, and as soon as Christine said yes, their close friends came out from hiding to surprise her; the celebrations commenced! The couple originally planned a July 4, 2020, wedding, but the pandemic hit four months before their big day—so, they decided to tie the knot in a small backyard Zoom ceremony on their original date and pushed their big-day plans out to July 2, 2021, when they could celebrate safely and fully with all of their 118 guests.

When that day arrived, Christine and Hung put their cultural backgrounds at the forefront: Their outdoor wedding took place at Rancho La Lomas in Silverado, California, where botanical gardens set the stage for the couple's Old-World garden vision, which they punctuated with Vietnamese weddings traditions and foods (including a 10-course dinner). The pair worked with wedding planner Susan Dunne to lock in all their vendors in the first two months and design a floral-heavy wedding with a color palette of soft pinks, hot pink, fuchsia, greenery, and gold accents.

01 of 26

Colorful Invites

wedding invitation suite with pink accents
Anya Kernes

Christine and Hung's wedding invitations from Minted were printed on thick card stock in an off-white shade with watercolor floral detailing along the edges that resembled the real big-day blooms.

02 of 26

Watercolor Map

hand drawn wedding map
Anya Kernes

The paper set also included a custom hand-drawn map of the venue's zoological garden, which was created by an artist on Etsy.

03 of 26

This Is the Place

outside wedding venue with brown wooden gate
Anya Kernes

They selected Rancho Las Lomas in Silverado, California, as their big-day venue; they fell in love with its Old-World charm. The buildings were updated with salvaged materials and feature hand-painted tile murals from Portugal, stained glass windows, and century-old Pasadena street lamps. Plus, guests were able to visit zoological gardens on the property, featuring tigers, wild cats, birds, reptiles, zebras, and alpacas.

04 of 26

Not What She Expected

bride getting ready with bridesmaid
Anya Kernes

Although Christine thought she wanted a wedding dress with an A-line silhouette with long sleeves, she kept an open mind and fell in love with the draping on an Estee' Couture dress that also had a chapel-length train. She asked the designer to add beaded lace appliqués to the entire ensemble, plus a scalloped lace edge detail. She paired her gown with a veil from BHLDN and Bella Belle embroidered pumps and added to her ensemble's sparkle with a diamond pendant necklace (a gift from Hung's mom) and diamond stud earrings, from her groom.

05 of 26

Pops of Magenta

bride with bridesmaids in fuchsia dresses
Anya Kernes

Bridesmaids donned V-neck maxi dresses—in magenta, to speak to the day's color palette—from Lulus with a banded waist, side slit, and open back. Half of Christine's bridesmaids were pregnant during the planning process, so she wanted to choose a gown that would be comfortable for an expectant mother.

As for the woman of the hour's florals? The bride held a lush hand-bound bouquet in shades of soft pink, berry pink, and deep reds with greenery; flowers included astrantia, butterfly ranunculus, garden roses, majolica, and Veronica white wands. The arrangement was finished with a pink satin ribbon.

06 of 26

The Flower Girls

ring bearer in navy suit
Anya Kernes

The couple's flower girls (there were two!) wore burgundy tulle dresses with long sleeves paired with jeweled headbands. Their ring bearer, on the other hand, wore a navy suit to match the groomsmen; a burgundy bow tie connected his look to his counterparts'.

07 of 26

No More Nerves

bride and groom by botanical plants
Anya Kernes

Christine and Hung shared their first look outside the bride's casita, where they shared vows they wrote for one another. Their promises included the poem "Love" by Ry Croft and an excerpt from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. "We were both nervous and excited—the hard work of planning and re-planning our wedding over the last two years had finally culminated in this moment," Christine remembers. "It was perfect to have that quiet time together before the ceremony. It helped put our nerves at ease."

08 of 26

The Ceremony Setup

outdoor ceremony set up with chairs and florals
Anya Kernes

Their ceremony took place underneath oak, palm, and sycamore trees at the venue's open-air theater. The patio, surrounded by botanical gardens, was punched up with burgundy-and-pink florals. Grounded arrangements hugged the last row of chairs along the aisle; large scale bouquets, placed in wicker baskets, lined the altar's steps.

09 of 26

Under the Arch

Wedding ceremony arch decorated with pink flowers and greenery
Anya Kernes

Florals and candles in clear glass hurricanes added texture to the site of the pair's vow exchange; a large cascading floral arch created a focal point.

10 of 26

The Processional

bride processional
Anya Kernes

Christine was accompanied by her brother as she made her way down the aisle. "Moon River" played as the bride made her big-day debut.

11 of 26

Reading Central

wedding ceremony readings
Anya Kernes

Since Christine and Hung had already exchanged vows privately, their ceremony centered around readings; these included "The Art of Marriage" by Wilfred Arlan Peterson and "How Falling in Love Is Like Owning a Dog" by Taylor Mali. Hung's sister, Alexie, got ordained online to officiate the service.

12 of 26

Poolside Cocktail Hour

cocktail hour by pool
Anya Kernes

The cocktail hour took place by the pool, where round tables and high-top stations were covered with white linens. Simple romantic bud arrangements in blue-and-white vases dispersed throughout.

13 of 26

The Signature Drinks

signature cocktails named after dogs
Anya Kernes

Hung and Christine's signature drinks were named after their pups; they also served beer, liquor, wine, and Champagne, along with hors d'oeuvres like fried pork and shrimp shumai, salt and pepper calamari, and Malaysian beef satay.

14 of 26

Take a Sip

guest in pink suit with signature wedding cocktail
Anya Kernes

A colorfully-dressed guest sipped on one of the pair's curated drinks during the interlude.

15 of 26


guest sign in globe
Anya Kernes

The pair's friend, Naomi, designed their globe guest book, which everyone signed on the big day.

16 of 26

Find Your Seats

blush wedding escort sign
Anya Kernes

Guests found their table numbers on a pink fabric escort display, which was framed by copper and layered with flowers. Larger floral arrangements in wicker baskets were displayed on the ground, alongside hurricane candles.

17 of 26

Patio Reception

wedding reception tables outside
Anya Kernes

The ceremony locale was flipped for the reception; the patio's vintage street lamps and string lights created a warm ambience. A mix of round and rectangular tables were set up for dinner.

18 of 26

Elegant Tabletops

reception table with blue glasses and napkins with gold accents
Anya Kernes

Long tables featured ivory table runners and one large low centerpiece arrangement with two smaller compotes in brass vessels. Round stations were covered in ivory linens and lush centerpieces in brass pedestal bowls and accented by metallic taper candle holders.

19 of 26

Flowers with Depth

reception table with flower centerpiece
Anya Kernes

The reception's floral palette, rich with burgundy-and-wine blooms, added depth to the magenta-forward colors seen during the earlier half of the event.

20 of 26

Pops of Blue

place setting with gold utensils with blue napkin
Anya Kernes

Table settings incorporated gold-rimmed plates, brushed gold flatware, blue debutante goblets, and cerulean napkins.

21 of 26

Lovely Lounge

outdoor lounge with tufted furniture
Anya Kernes

A comfortable lounge area was set up to the side of the main dining space; the vignette was composed of a rose-hued loveseat and ottoman, a blush-and-gray rug, a modern gold coffee table, and linen chairs.

22 of 26

My Sweetheart

sweetheart table at reception
Anya Kernes

Several ceremony arrangements were repurposed for the couple's lush sweetheart table, which featured swags of blooms accented with votive and tea light candles. The table was placed in front of a Juliet balcony, which was looped with greenery to enhance the garden feel.

During the party, Christine and Hung changed into traditional Vietnamese outfits called ao dai. Christine's long split tunic gown in bridal red was designed by Thanh Thuy Ao Dai and worn over trousers; she paired the garment with a traditional hat called a khan van and incorporated a few modern elements into the overall look (she opted for beaded lace appliqués, a sweetheart neckline, and a long train with scalloped lace edges, which spoke to her ceremony gown). Hung's ao dai was navy with gold circular emblem embellishments, which he also paired with a matching khan van hat.

23 of 26

Time to Eat

reception menu with guests names pinned to paper
Anya Kernes

Each table setting included a translucent vellum menu with a name card attached by gold teardrop clips. The paper foretold of the epic meal to come: a traditional 10-course Vietnamese dinner, which began with a cold house platter and ended with coffee and tea.

24 of 26

By Your Side

bride and groom first dance
Anya Kernes

Christine and Hung chose Sade's "By Your Side" for their first dance. "We are huge fans of '90s and 2000s R&B," Christine says. "We felt this song brought back the nostalgia of music from this time and really is an anthem to unconditional love."

25 of 26

The Wedding Cake

four-tier wedding cake on golden pedestal with light blue tablecloth
Anya Kernes

A four-tiered round cake featured alternating floral lace piping designs and was displayed on a vintage gold footed pedestal. The lemon raspberry and carrot confection was embellished with florals for a finishing touch.

To couples that are kicking off the wedding-planning process, Christine and Hung recommend investing in a wedding planner. "Susan Dunne helped us navigate the process not just once, but twice amid a pandemic, and we are forever grateful for her help."

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wedding couple in traditional garments
Anya Kernes

Photography, Anya Kernes
Videography, Tim & Co Productions
Venue, Rancho Las Lomas
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Susan Dunne
Flowers, Mulberry & Moss
Invitations, Minted
Paper Products, Etsy
Escort Display, Paper Cliche
Bride's Gown, Estee' Couture
Bride's Veil, BHDLN
Bride's Shoes, Bella Belle
Bride's Hair and Makeup, Mary Le of Kelly Zhang
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Lulus
Menswear, The Black Tux
Groom's Shoes, ECCO
Vietnamese Ao Dai, Thanh Thuy Ao Dai
Guest Book, World Market
Music, VOX DJs
Catering, Furiwa
Cake, Simply Sweet Cakery
Rentals, Signature Party Rentals; 24Carrots
Transportation, Swoop Transportation
Styling Plates, Simple Things Ceramics
Styling Surface, Locust Collection

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