Though many brides believe they are destined to be the focal point of their wedding day, Elizabeth Hanna approached her nuptials to An Pham with a different emphasis. “As a bride, everyone tells you to make the day ‘all about you,’” she explains. Rather than follow that advice, Elizabeth sought to emphasize gratitude and generosity, as exemplified by the very act of two people dedicating themselves to one another in holy matrimony. “I viewed our union as a gift and wanted the ceremony and reception to be a reflection of that gift for all our friends and family to enjoy, rather than a day devoted to myself,” she affirms.
This charitable mindset also helped her maintain perspective during the planning process. “People warned me that wedding planning would be hard work. I thought they were making a big deal out of nothing,” smiles the bride, who admits to being surprised on occasion by the number of details and decisions that required her attention. Fortunately, two supportive families and an attentive groom ensured all went as smoothly as possible. “Getting involved actually brought us closer together,” says An. “It made the day all the more special and meaningful for both of us.”
Natural foliage along with a color palette of earthy neutrals and delicate pastels established an ethereal theme that inspired the décor in both the ceremony and the reception. Floral wreaths suspended gracefully on the front entrance of the church welcomed guests to the wedding service. A center aisle was lined with standing candles wrapped in greenery and branches. Bridesmaids wore whimsical dresses in a soft vanilla shade with an embellished single-shoulder strap and a light-green ribbon tied at the waist. Groomsmen were clad in handsome tuxedos that flawlessly complemented the groom’s attire, with one exception: they sported sleek ties in a hue that harmonized with the bridesmaids’ sashes, while his was a distinctive shade of robin’s egg-blue.
The bride was a vision of innocence in a vintage-inspired sheath gown adorned with winding vines and a dainty floral motif. She carried an ivory bouquet of Star of Bethlehem flowers wrapped in a braided silk ribbon, with a few matching buds decorating her long locks, peeking out from beneath her flowing veil. Indeed, the groom considers his beautiful bride to be the most unique feature of their wedding day, and states that he will never forget watching her walk down the aisle towards him.
From a handbell choir, to Elizabeth’s favorite Christmas gospel, the couple paid careful consideration to every moment of their wedding mass, which was comprised from beginning to end with music and traditions that were meaningful to the duo as well as their families. “Every reading, every song – all of it mattered,” affirms the bride.
The ballroom of a luxurious hotel was effortlessly transformed into an exquisite woodland for the reception that followed. Luminescent wall coverings featured murals of a mystical forest. Dinner tables and chair backs were draped in lavender fabric that featured tiny flowers and glittery detail. Three varieties of centerpieces expanded upon the natural foliage motif: an iron candelabrum covered in moss, creeping fig, and handmade glass leaves surrounded by orchids and lilies of the valley; a lower arrangement featuring mosses and Lenten roses, peonies, and Muscari flowers; and winged elm branches dotted with gossamer gold leaves and hanging tea lights encircled by amethyst-hued hydrangea and jasmine. Miniature figurines of squirrels, deer, and rabbits served as place-card holders at each setting and also doubled as take-home favors.
A live band entertained guests during and after dinner, followed by a DJ who performed until the party’s close. Elizabeth recalls one moment towards the end of the evening when she was craving a glass of water, yet found it impossible to resist the temptation to continue to celebrate as one of her favorite songs began to play. “I didn’t care if I was about to pass out,” she laughs. “I was too happy! I had to keep dancing!”
For his part, the groom says he was impressed by the tremendous emotion of the day. “I was humbled and honored to be surrounded by so many people who were thrilled to watch us having the happiest day of our lives,” he shares. And though the bride has a difficult time narrowing down her favorite memory to just one, she cherishes a few stolen instances throughout the night when she and An whispered into one another’s ears about how happy they were to finally be married. “I felt so loved, I felt so beautiful, and everything was perfect,” she beams.