Give us the scoop 😉how did you two meet?
I’m from Sydney, Australia and Ron is from Boston, USA, but we met in India. We were both there for work and met by chance at the immigration office. He spoke VERY loudly to get our attention and it worked–he had cute dimples and sparkly eyes and an American accent!
It turned out that we worked for the same company, had the same immigration agent and stayed at the same hotel. I was there with two colleagues and he was there with his manager. We all traveled around India together on weekends over the next few weeks.
When he left, I felt such a huge void. He felt the same way and was in Hong Kong at the time to ‘party’ but stepped out to message me and tell me how much he missed me. We stayed in touch and later that year, we were officially dating long distance.
After a year of Skype calls, Viber calls, WhatsApp calls, timezone challenges and cross-country ‘dates’ including Hawaii and a west coast US road trip, I moved to Boston in the middle of winter to be his winter warmer 🙂
Obviously, y’all put a ring on it 💍 tell us your engagement story!
We were in Osaka, Japan.
Two years after moving to Boston, we were traveling around Japan with his brother, best friend, best friend’s wife and another very close friend. Someone jokingly asked if Ron would propose on this trip and I thought ‘no way!’–this is the most unromantic trip ever. There were so many people and we would never get any alone time.
Ron tried to propose a few times but with his spontaneous style of planning, it didn’t work. The bamboo forest in Kyoto was too crowded, it was too windy the day we wanted to go on the cable cars in Kobe and the only time we were on our own, we were amongst tombstones!
Near the end of our trip though, he took me out to the balcony of our Airbnb (under the guise of something to do with our laundry). Once I stepped out, he said, ‘well now that you’re out here...’ and it was right there that he proposed on our balcony overlooking the Osaka night lights.
You both had a vision for your wedding 🔮how did you come up with ideas for your two wedding locations?
We had two weddings–one in Sydney and one in Boston.
Our Wedding in Sydney
We wanted a fun and relaxed Spring wedding in Sydney.
Our wishlist was very practical. It had to be close to the city and allowed us to hold both the ceremony and reception in the same location. We had 40 guests coming from the States and wanted to make it as easy as possible. We also really wanted a modern and romantic vibe with amazing food (especially seafood).
We shortlisted 3 venues but the clear winner was The Grounds of Alexandria. It has an industrial vibe set off with beautiful fairy lights and greenery. It was romantic, rustic and modern all at the same time.
The venue was already beautifully styled so we didn’t need to dress it up too much. There's also an amazing florist and bakery at The Grounds and a seasoned team of event coordinators/stylists which made planning a Sydney wedding from Boston so much easier.
It was the perfect space–Ron got to have his beer pong table and I got my hanging Colombian roses. We both made sure there were plenty of 90s pop songs for the ceremony which also doubled as our dance floor.
It also has a small petting farm just as you enter (its main resident is a pig named Harry Trotter when the prior resident Kevin Bacon retired). 🐷 Ron loved animals and so did our younger guests.
The menu was so unique and extensive as well! We had roving canapés for cocktail hour ranging from freshly shucked oysters to Yabby tails and our guests still talk about the poached prawn starters to this day!
Our Wedding in Boston
Ron wanted to have a Chinese banquet in Chinatown Boston (he has fond memories of his first experiences as a wedding guest here). We picked a venue that used to be a theatre and thought a 1920s Shanghai theme would be fun.
We found a vendor to help deck out the tables with pink linen and microfloral arrangements (since the banquet style meant there wasn’t much room on the tables) and erected a large pink double happiness neon sign.
We commissioned an artist friend to create an amazing backdrop to fit the theme for us to take photos with our guests as they arrived and also had lion dancers to start the wedding and more 90s pop to end the night.
One of the best parts about having two weddings was being able to have more than one dress. I usually wear mid-length form-fitting dresses and wanted something along those lines that felt modern and romantic.
Tell us about your fams 👨👩👧👦
My heritage is Chinese Vietnamese and I have a large family in Australia and we’re very tight-knit. My parents are both the eldest of 10 children and my family loves traditions and is surprisingly superstitious! So there were a lot of specific rules and formalities.
A Chinese Tea Ceremony was a must-have (and luckily for me, I love this tradition too as it’s all about our families).
Ron’s family is smaller and very laid back. They are Burmese Chinese and his parents spent a big part of their lives living in Macau, Hong Kong so Ron identifies with this culture the most. They have not had many weddings in their family before and were very open to the Chinese Tea Ceremony.
The cultural difference for us was really the American vs Australian factor. Ron really wanted to showcase his American roots so we added a beer pong table during our cocktail hour in Sydney.
In what seems to be typical American fashion, we also had the party two nights before the wedding, an after-party, and brunch the day after the wedding. It was truly a great way for our family and friends to meet and get to know each other.
Girl meets dress 💃🏻how did you learn about East Meets Dress (EMD) and why did you choose an EMD cheongsam?
I had a few referrals from friends to larger well-known bridal boutiques but it just didn’t suit my style. It was usually also overpriced although I was willing to splurge if I found the right dress.
I found EMD via social media (Instagram). In fact, I found most of my vendors this way (my engagement ring, wedding dress for Boston, Chinese tea ceremony dress, invitations).
For the tea ceremony, I wanted something traditional but modern. I considered having it custom made but it was difficult to find tailors who did this. For the few I found, their samples were not high quality and it was difficult to know if it would be made well.
When I found EMD on social media, it just really hit all the right spots! Their cheongsams were modern and looked really high quality. My Marilyn Dress was also really comfortable to wear, especially for such a long ceremony.
I received a lot of compliments on the day and one of the guest’s friends saw it in her photos and asked where I got it since she's also getting married.
Putting your own spin on things 💕How did you make your wedding more unique and personal to you two?
Ron and I love the 90s pop scene. One of our favorite songs that we always have on our karaoke list is ‘I want it that way’ by Backstreet Boys, which found its way into our cake topper and my vows!
The big day 👰🏻How did everything go on your two wedding days?
Both weddings were really just amazing because we had wonderful guests and wedding planners.
In Sydney, everything exceeded our expectations. We picked our venue based on images and reviews online but had not been there before. Although we had a few visits there prior to the wedding with our wedding planner and to meet The Grounds coordinators, we never saw The Arbour (our ceremony space and dance floor) at night. The fairy lights just blew our minds–it was such a treat as we walked down the length of the Arbour to cut our cake.
We had two flower boys and had prepared a cup of petals. They were 2 and 3 years old so we were prepared that they might be unpredictable. While we were waiting to go down the aisle, they spotted The Grounds resident pig plush toys. The staff happily let them hold this and we spontaneously decided they would both hold a pink plush pig down the aisle. It made them so happy, and it also matched the bridesmaids' dresses and our floral theme!
Seeking your wisdom 🙋🏻♀️do you have any advice for other brides?
1. Consider a wedding planner
The most challenging part of planning a destination wedding was not being able to feel and see things directly. We also did not want to trouble our family and friends.
We saw a lot of value in engaging a wedding planner and selecting a venue that has really great experience with coordinating and styling weddings. I would recommend at least a day-of wedding coordinator. It provides so much comfort and puts you at ease knowing that you and your family and friends can enjoy the actual day.
This was especially the case for Boston where we lost steam and did not give it as much attention as we did for Sydney. Our wedding planner did an amazing job to make sure everything went smoothly and patched up things that we did not expect!
For instance, only half of our boutonnières arrived so our planner worked with the florist to repurpose some of the micro arrangements to create them.
2. It’s ok to mess up with guests
Also, don’t be shy about following up with your guests to RSVP timely, particularly for a destination wedding.
We received this advice from other friends who married overseas and it was really helpful so we can get on with planning everything else. I thought I was super organized but when I had to wait for input from others (especially for the seating chart), this ended up being a little stressful leading up to the big day when I had originally planned to relax and pamper.
- Photographer: Evan Wang from Soulmade Stories (@soulmadestories) | Website
- Gown: Perfect Day Bridal (@perfectdaybridal) | Website
- Chinese Tea Ceremony Dress: East Meets Dress (@eastmeetsdress) | Website
- Hair: Cara Clyne Bridal (@caraclyne.bridal) | Website
- Makeup: Linda Thi Make Up (@lindathi_makeup) | Website
Flowers: The Grounds Florals By Silva (@thegroundsfloralsbysilva)
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Grounds of Alexandria (@
thegrounds) | Website
- Styling: Audrey & Angus (@audreyandangus)| Website
- Celebrant: Melissa Soncini (@sydneymarriagecelebrant) | Website
- Suit: Indochino (@indochino) | Website
- Invitations: Paper Culture (@paperculture) | Website
- Photographer: Bella Wang (@bellawangphotography) | Website
- Dress: Floravere (@floravere) | Website
- Hair and Makeup: Yin Tom (@yintomstudioweddings) | Website
- Flowers and Styling: Oluxe Design (@oluxedesign) | Website
- Venue: Empire Garden | Website