Today’s real wedding is one of those ones that’s guaranteed to have you smiling by the time you scroll to the bottom of the page.

Cat & Tan married in Maryland, with a celebration that brought together the creative efforts of them, their friends and their families.

Their fun wedding was candidly captured by Clarence Chan Photography (see more gorgeous work of his, we’ve featured before!)

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Starting their day with a Vietnamese ceremony, Cat & Tan incorporated lots of cultural details in their nuptials, with Cat wearing a gorgeous red ao dai (before changing into a stunning Sottero & Midgley gown), bi-lingual invitations, traditional signage and Asian cuisine for cocktail hour.

A real family wedding, the celebration featured lots of DIY touches, from keeping the music and MCing in the family, to the bridal party creating the paper goods, cake, decor and accessories themselves.

With beautiful floristry, chic style and lots of personal details, there’s a lot to love about this utterly joyful bash…

Wedding Day Snapshot

Fun, Romantic and Gorgeous Real Wedding | Clarence Chan Photography | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Our Wedding in Three Words

Free-flowing, fun, family-oriented. 

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The Inspiration

We really wanted our wedding to be a reflection of who we are as a couple, and since family is extremely important to us, we wanted to make sure we honor both sides of the family by including our traditions and culture but also incorporating our own touch to it.

Our style is very laid back; we wanted something light, free flowing, and warming. Like everyone says, the invitations give the first impression of what is to be expected at the wedding.

My maid of honor is so awesome! She designed our invitations, and it took us many weeks to get it right, as there were two versions, a Vietnamese and English invitation.

The colors were gold, a teal navy blue, and Kraft brown for the invitations. In addition, the wedding colors were: pale peach and pinks, white, and dusty blue.

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The Ceremony

In the morning of our wedding day, it is tradition that the groom and his family arrive at the bride’s house to unify the two families.

During the ceremony we light incense and pray that our ancestors and grandparents that have passed away continue to watch over us and protect us.

The bride usually wears what is called an “Ao Dai” and red is the traditional color. The Ao Dai that I wore meant a lot to me because my two aunts had spent time to find the perfect one and have it shipped from Vietnam. It was not easy as it required choosing the fabric and ensuring the measurements were right.

Originally it was just going to be the dress, but my aunt was able to get me the outside jacket that I absolutely loved.

During the Vietnamese ceremony, it is customary for jewelry to be given to the bride from both sides. My mother gave me a necklace, and my mother-in-law gave me a bracelet and a pair of earrings that I wore throughout the day.

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The Photography

Choosing a photographer was first on my list when starting the wedding planning process. I love photography and was very particular in the style I was looking for.

My husband and I chose Clarence because of his artistic and photojournalistic style and also because he was just easy and fun to work with.

Clarence took pictures that we absolutely had hoped for and captured all the moments and expressions that mean so much to my husband and I.

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The Flowers

The bridal bouquet had Juliet Roses, Dusty Miller, Ranunculus, flowering Jasmine.

For the boutonnieres was had Ranunculus, hypernicum berries (in groom’s) and Dusty Miller. 

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The Dresses

I wore a Sottero and Midgley dress and my bridesmaids wore Jenny Yoo’s Annabelle dress in Mayan Blue.

I really loved the blue and grey undertones of the color and how each bridesmaid could tie the dress any way they felt comfortable with.

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The Venue

We wanted to get away from being totally indoors, so we opted to find a venue that would be both indoors and outdoors.

Walker’s Overlook was our second site visit, and we just automatically fell in love with Walker’s the minute we got out the car and stepped foot in the house. The people there are just extremely nice, and the venue was all-around gorgeous to us. It had everything we were looking for.

Since our wedding was in April, we were really praying that the weather be on our side, and thank God, even though the week of our wedding was rainy and cold, Saturday was the perfect weather, and Walker’s had that free-flowing outdoorsy feel we wanted so much.

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The Decor & Details

Walker’s required little to no decorations. It was already beautiful on its own. They had just installed new globe string lights in the tent, which is something we were really hoping for!

Our centerpieces were really simple; my brother did the table numbers, that were embossed with gold, tied with navy blue baker’s twine around gallon mason jars, with white stock flowers that people got to take home at the end of the night.

My mom and I put the favors together; they were potted succulent flowers. My maid of honor had created our table-seating chart on acrylic board. And I had cross-stitched our monogram for our ring pillow.

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The Refreshments

For our cocktail hour we had Vietnamese food made by my sister in law and ordered Chinese food (we wanted to make sure no one left hungry)! and we also had a formal sit down meal for dinner.

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Our Favourite Moments

What made our wedding ‘us’ was that a lot of the details of our wedding was DIY, and everyone in our family had a part in the wedding.

Our invitations was one of my favorite details of the wedding. My maid of honor designed it, my brother did the calligraphy for the guests’ addresses. We were just happy that everyone had a part in the wedding and it just meant so much to us.

There were many favorite moments we had. The first time we saw each other in the morning in front of our family, it was such a surreal moment because we’ve been waiting for this day for so long.

Having the ceremony and being married in my husband’s childhood church, and God blessing our marriage was just more than I could imagine and absolutely wonderful. Our niece is an amazing pianist, she had played Canon in D as I walked down the aisle even though she was coming down with a cold!

Our brother in law was our MC and just made the whole day so seamless by entertaining everyone and making sure there was no language barrier!

My father made a wonderful toast that I will never forget and it was a really touching moment to have had our father daughter dance.

Since my husband and I have big families, it was fun to watch our family and friends come together and celebrating us and just having a blast. The best feeling was knowing that everyone was so happy for us, supporting us through our journey, and that we have each other and looking forward to what’s to come.

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Advice for Other Couples

Heads up, don’t get disappointed if all the details you wanted don’t get incorporated into your day. It’s better to focus on the things that mean the most to you.

For us, we had too much going on and forgot many details but in the end all those little details weren’t important enough and pretty much didn’t really matter anyways.

Make sure you have someone that will help organize your day; someone that will know your timeline and will be the go to person to help the whole day flow.

Always remember to stay calm because it’s your day, and make sure you take it all in!

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The Honeymoon

We actually didn’t go on our honeymoon right after which we are really happy about because we got a chance to visit our parents and just chat with them.

We wanted to settle into our new place and just take everything in. Plus the wait for our honeymoon in the coming months is so worth it because we can’t wait.

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Doesn’t it look fun – I just love how Cat & Tan are beaming the whole way through – what a cool couple!

Thanks so much to Clarence Chan Photography, and of course our newlyweds Cat & Tan, for sharing their beautiful family wedding with us.

Be inspired by more gorgeous Real Weddings

Photographer: Clarence Chan Photography / Bride’s Dress: Sottero and Midgley / Bride’s Shoes: Nina / Hair & Make-up: Sandy Tang / Groom’s Attire: Charles Tyrwhitt / Bow Tie & Ties: The Tie Bar / Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo, Annabelle / Videography: Jon Key Photography / Reception Venue: Walker’s Overlook / Catering: Celebrations Catering / Flowers: Violet Gardens