Van Ann and Mario's love story feels like the plot of a classic romantic comedy set in New York City. Two people from completely different backgrounds - one of Vietnamese decent and the other Puerto Rican - build a friendship over a common love of good food until one day our male protagonist finally makes it out of the friend-zone as our female protagonist realizes that what she was searching for in a partner was right in front of her all along. Van Ann and Mario shared this story with us when we met them for dinner in New York a year before their wedding. They were excited to incorporate many elements that have defined their relationship over the years - like Shake Shack (the topic of their first ever conversation) and Chick-fil-a (to which Mario famously won a year's worth of sandwiches for his obsessed bride-to-be). Their faith was also at the centre of the celebration, with Van Ann's father, a paster, officiating the ceremony. And of course, delicious food, an homage to the many meals over which their relationship developed, was shared family-style at the reception.
Vintage china place-settings, a ladder strung with vintage lightbulbs over the head table, a custom doorway leading to the ceremony, and super fun pink lighting on the dance floor... no design detail was overlooked either! Van Ann and Mario collaborated on the design in a true labor of love.
But perhaps the sweetest gesture of all, was when Van Ann gave Mario two letters to open before the ceremony. One was addressed to him, and the other to his departed father whom she never met. It was the most beautiful way to acknowledge the absence of such a significant individual on such an important day and honour his memory. It said a lot about Van Ann. Needless to say there wasn't a dry eye in the room when Mario read the letter.
It was a lovely celebration, true to this couple and their relationship, and it was such a pleasure to document it.