Our budget wedding took place on August 29th, 2009 at the Los Angeles Arboretum. Our budget was $10K for 125 guests and we met our goal!
Just like real estate, it’s all about location! The huz and I searched high and low for several frustrating months before finding one of the most beautiful, best-kept-secret (and affordable!) wedding venue in Southern California, the Peacock Cafe at the Los Angeles Arboretum. What we loved about this venue was its vast 127 acres, a variety of photo spots with different sceneries, delicious food, and a waived site rental fee!
It was my dream to have a wedding ceremony outdoors as well as the wedding garden reception, and this venue fits all my criteria and so much more.
To save money, we did several DIY projects. We handmade wedding program fans, designed our own invites and wedding website, arranged all of our own flowers, and put up our own site decor.
My mom and I donned our Vietnamese dresses, ao dai for the wedding. There’s funny behind the scenes story about my dress. My mom had custom made a pink ao dai for me, but in the rush of things, I completely forgot about it and left it at home! I didn’t realize until minutes before the ceremony. One of my friends lent me her ao dai instead, which happens to be the purple, one of the wedding colors. It worked out perfectly!
My dad suffered a stroke just two weeks before the wedding and had his entire left side paralyzed. Still, he walked down the aisle with me with a help of a cane. It was truly one of the sweetest moments of the wedding.
Paying homage to my culture, we combined the tea ceremony with a Western wedding. After saying our vows, we served tea to our parents.
And then we were pronounced man and wife!
I changed into a white wedding gown. I tried on almost 10 dresses before settling on the Watters Natalia gown! At first I was set against “another strapless white gown,” but then came full circle back to it. I guess you can’t go wrong with a classic.
As the sun set, the lanterns and tea lights came on. It was sooo romantic and just as I envisioned!
We coerced our friend, Yerin Mok, whose work we just adore, to take the above photos for us. She’s not a wedding photographer, and we kinda liked that because she saw the event so differently.
Isn’t she fantastic? Her images are all over the wedding blogs. In fact, months before the wedding, I accidentally discovered a photo of the huz and I way back when we were in college on A Cup of Jo, small world huh!). We were lucky enough to have two photographers! Our main photographer, Forever True Photography, are still working on our pics. So stay tuned for more images to come later. They captured a whole different side of the wedding!
Even though wedding planning is very very stressful, I really enjoyed every minute of it! There’s a lot involved, and many details to obsess over. However, I don’t want to make this post even more ridiculously lengthy than it is, so I’ll bid adieu for now and tell you more another day! Stay tuned!