Cultural Weddings/Real Weddings

California Wedding With Cambodian Influence (& Alpacas!)

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Golden sunsets, glimmering Cambodian jewels & gowns, beautiful vistas, oh, and a team of adorable alpacas. Today basically checks our “everything we want in a wedding” checklist we never knew we had.

Youty & Matt, longtime high school sweethearts, married at a gloriously lit farm in California. The wedding-day was meaningful & cultural – celebrating both the bride & groom’s cultures with clothing & ritual. We’re absolutely awe-struck by Youty’s gold-toned Cambodian dress, shimmering in the California sun.

In addition to many odes to Youty’s Cambodian heritage, the bride’s closest girlfriends surprised her with a Cambodian dance at the reception that they practiced for six months over video chat. Hello, best bride tribe ever!

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Our Love Story

We officially met in 2000 during our junior year of high school through a mutual friend. Youty initially found Matt’s photo earlier that summer in the yearbook and thought he was cute, even though she never met him in person.

Our interaction after that were mostly passing glances and small chitchats in the hallways. We didn’t start dating until the second semester of our senior year when another mutual friend left us at the movie theater, which prompted our first date.

During our annual November trip overseas, we decided to do a multi-city self guided tour of Europe in 2018. Paris was the fourth stop. After climbing down the stairs from the first level of the Eiffel Tower, Matt suggested that they rest on a bench facing the Eiffel Tower. We sat there looking at it for awhile and talked about going to the Louvre when Matt fell completely silent. It felt as if he stopped breathing. Matt looked straight on then uttered very softly, “Youty, will you marry me?” I barely heard him ask.

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The Planning

Coming from different ethnic backgrounds, we wanted our wedding to represent a blending of two different cultures. I am Cambodian-American and my husband is Caucasian. For our colors, we wanted it to be soft, luminous, and to include my favorite colors, lavender, mauve, and charcoal gray. A few things for the ceremony had to be ornate yet simple. We loved the very private outdoor location with the rose bushes surrounding the property.

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The Dress & Attire

For the ceremony, I wanted my bridesmaids and myself to wear the traditional Cambodian wedding attire for the ceremony (typically we would have anywhere from four to eight outfit changes, but settled for one). I felt that the ceremony should represent our diverse ethnic backgrounds. The groom and groomsmen wore gray suits to compliment the soft color scheme of the wedding. I changed into a white gown for the golden hour photos and the reception.

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The Venue

Choosing the right venue was very important to us (even though it was a little further than we had wanted to travel to). We loved that our venue was pretty much all-inclusive and easy to communicate with. The venue owner and coordinator were so helpful with suggestions on booking the photographer, florist, DJ, and desserts. We didn’t have to search far and wide for a good deal. We chose to splurge on the flowers and photographer.

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Favorite Moments

My favorite part was the water blessing ceremony when our family members came up to give us their well wishes while pouring water down our hands. I wish we had more time for the rest of our guests to come up as well.

Right before the dinner reception, my bridesmaids surprised us with a traditional Cambodian welcome dance (as part of their toast). They practiced for five to six months prior to the wedding with each other via online video chat.

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Advice to Other Couples

Don’t get discouraged or doubt the things that you want for your wedding. Keep a running to do list, keep a spreadsheet so you can itemize your budget, and talk it out with your fiance and family.

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The Honeymoon

We went to Malaysia and Japan. In Malaysia, we stayed in Kuala and the island of Langkawi (at the St. Regis hotel). In Japan, we stayed in Osaka and Awaji Island.

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