Real Weddings/Rustic Weddings

Vintage Cars & Teepee Altars; A Trendy California Wedding

View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights

Wendy loves vintage goods, Minh loves wild fun, they’re looking to marry not only each other but all their interests, styles and quirks. Where do they land? The rolling, countryside hills of California.

Their venue, Tabor Ranch, was the perfect place to personalize Wendy and Minh’s dream wedding. Building a teepee ceremony altar, supplying a vintage Mustang getaway car, and providing the expansive Cali backdrop to decorate with all their favorite trinkets and florals, Tabor Ranch made wedding magic.

Beyond all the great personal details, we’re digging the paper umbrellas – such a chic way to shield your guests from the midday California sun. Not only do your guests thank you for it (I’ve nearly passed out at so many August afternoon weddings) but these all-white umbrellas actually look great in Retrospect Images’ ever-so-dreamy photos.

View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights
View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights

Our Love Story

Our love story started 13 years ago with a boy in a Best Buy uniform and a rice cooker at UCLA. Before we ever met, Wendy only knew Minh as her friends’ elusive 5th roommate. Unbeknownst to Minh, Wendy was invited to Minh’s apartment for hot pot on Minh’s rice cooker. Minh walked in with his Best Buy blues that night. Wendy wasn’t sure whether it was because she liked guys in a uniform or that his “why are you using my rice cooker” face was cute, but she was definitely intrigued by Minh.

Intrigue grew to friendship. Minh recalls cutting class and talking to Wendy for 4 hours straight. For Wendy, those 4 hours felt like minutes that weren’t enough. There was an undeniable chemistry. We were our unfiltered selves with one another. Friendship turned into romance. But we were still two kids who had no idea what it meant to hold another person’s heart in their hands.

View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights
View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights
View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights

We parted ways as Wendy moved to New York and Minh back home to Sacramento. We reconnected when Wendy’s work moved her to Sacramento. For next 8 years in Sacramento, we permeated in and out of each other’s lives. Our turning point came when Minh realized that he couldn’t envision his future without Wendy. Like John Cusack in ‘Say Anything’, Minh went over to Wendy’s place that night with a Lego house set sans the stereo. Minh promised to build the Lego House he brought. The Lego house symbolized our relationship. He promised to continue working on us no matter how many times our relationship got knocked down. Minh kept his promise and Wendy soon started building that Lego house with Minh.

Two years after that night, we drove to Pinnacles National Park to check out some seasonal endangered bats. On the hike, there was a beautiful outlook with flying condors. Minh got on one knee and proposed. Wendy cursed him out in disbelief. What she meant to say, which she did say a minute later, was ‘yes’. For some people, love is instant and easy. Our story is neither of those things. It may have taken us 13 years to realize we were what each other was waiting for, but it happened at just the right time.

View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights
View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights
View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights
View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights
View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights

The Venue

Minh and I have discovered California’s most beautiful corners through our spontaneous drives. It was no different when we came across Taber Ranch Vineyard & Event Center on a drive to Capay Valley. We knew we wanted a venue that would be a marriage between my love for vintage and his penchant for fun. Taber Ranch had all the accouterments to the perfect wedding venue. Historic rustic barn? Check. Hilltop ceremony? Check. Red Mustang as your getaway car? Bocce ball court, beautiful gardens, and a koi pond? Check. Vintage school bus converted into your bridal suite? Cool! This would excite any vintage lover’s inner fan girl including me.

In addition to all the whimsical rustic feel, Taber Ranch’s backdrop was breathtaking. Taber Ranch is a working farm, lined with groves of olive trees, vineyards, and hugged by the ever-changing rolling hills. The olive grove was the perfect hiding place for our first look. What we really loved about Taber though were those hills! We had our ceremony on a hilltop and hills just illuminated around us. It felt like a dream.

What really sealed the deal for us about Taber were the people. They truly cared about our wedding. One of our coordinators, Natalie, even agreed to handwrite in chalk our seating chart because she sensed how stressed out I was 6 weeks before the wedding. Above and beyond is an understatement about the staff.

View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights
View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights
View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights

The Details

When planning our wedding, we wanted to utilize subtle details to show people who we are as individuals and what our values are as a unit. With the help of romantic floral arrangements from our florists Garden Wishes and vintage vendors Blossom Farm Vintage Rentals and Simple Country Weddings, I was able to incorporate my love for all things literary in our Legos and Literary themed wedding.

Our guestbook was custom-made and converted from an old vintage book. Within the guestbook is our favorite Pablo Neruda poem, “Sonnet XVII”. Another favorite detail of mine was the gift I gave my bridesmaids and bridesman. They were bracelets with names of literary characters inscribed in Morse code.

On initial look, most of our guests thought we were Lego geeks. What our guests didn’t know was Minh and I had a pact to place Legos as Easter eggs for ourselves to remind us that this wedding is a testament of the 13 years we spent building our Lego house, our relationship. Fun fact: the Lego house Minh got for his wedding set was the same set he gave me when he promised to never stop working on our relationship.

View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights
View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights
View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights

The Ceremony

Minh and I initially wanted a small, intimate, and personal ceremony with our closest family and friends. Unfortunately, our version of small and intimate involved 170 of our closest friends and family. We still achieved that sense of intimacy because of the Capay Valley’s vastness. The group felt so small in contrast to the large amount of space around us.

Minh’s childhood friend, Chris, married us under a teepee Taber had constructed. Taber decorated the teepee with olive branches from their olive trees. We made the ceremony ours through subtle details. Minh;s loves video games, Game of Thrones, and instrumental music was evident when our wedding party walked down the aisle to instrumental themes of Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Game of Thrones.

Any bride would ask how did your husband scheme you into that one? Skeptical at first, the instrumental themes were a poignant fit for the mood we wanted to create. I was impressed. We both wrote our own vows, which included Minh quoting his favorite poets: Brian, Howie, Nick, AJ and Kevin from the Backstreet Boys. They are our favorite boy band to car karaoke to during our road trips. The ceremony was perfect and it was ours.

View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights
View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights

The Photography & Videography

Our photographer Ginny had us at penguin and sausage suits. It was a conversation topic Minh had with Ginny and I knew at that moment, she was somebody we could both be our unadulterated selves with. That being said, we were in love with the way Ginny used lighting. Her lighting made her photos feel romantic and warm. We wanted our photos to reflect what being in love with each other felt like and Ginny’s photos achieved just that.

We both also knew that we wanted a photographer to capture not only the events of the wedding but the emotions of a wedding. We wanted to hear the laughter in our photos and feel what was felt at the time of our wedding. When we looked through Ginny, I came across a photo of a bride’s father shedding tears at the sight of his daughter in her wedding gown. I knew we picked the right person to tell our story.

As Ginny were the eyes and captured the emotions of our wedding, Passion Studio was our ears. Raymond and his crew captured words and nuances that we missed. If it hadn’t been Raymond and his crew’s attention to detail, I wouldn’t have caught the subtle moment when my sister’s voice cracked as she said to me, “You are one of the most precious people in my life.”

View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights
View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights
View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights

Favorite Moment

Our favorite moment of the wedding was when our photographer, videographer, and driver drove us up the hilltop with the lone oak tree for photos and video. They ended up stashing themselves behind some shrubbery so we could have some alone time with one another. We took the moment and danced underneath the lone oak tree as the sun melted into the golden rolling Capay Valley hills. The hills were just illuminated by a surreal glow.

View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights

The Food & Reception

Minh and I are known by our friends as foodies and adventurous eaters. Naturally, food would be a huge part of our wedding. Our cocktail hour featured cocktails personally crafted by Minh. The days right before the wedding, we hand-squeezed 2 boxes of lemons so that our 170 guests would have fresh lemons in their cocktails. Nothing says love like staying up until midnight to juice lemons with your future spouse.

Our wines were locally sourced from Taber’s vineyard and surrounding vineyard in the Capay Valley. Our caterers at All Seasons, All Reasons did they rest. Our guests mingled with Dungeness crab cones, Thai chicken vol-au-vent, and fried ravioli. Dinner was a buffet with seafood pasta, flaky salmon, and juicy beef tenderloin.

At the conclusion of dinner, we turned our wedding to a camp-themed wedding party. We had lawn games and bocce ball. We projected our slideshow on a barn wall like a camp movie courtesy of Silverado DJs. All Seasons provided an extensive dessert bar and we provided our guests with a s’mores bar over a firepit with rocking chairs.We also had a Lego-themed cake from Ettore’s Bakery. Our cake toppers were custom made by Ngo Creations. The night concluded with food truck-style beef sliders and queso dip in case anybody was still hungry after the multiple dance-offs that ensued throughout the night.

View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights
View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights

Advice to Other Couples

Our advice is to take time out of the week to not talk about the wedding. Often times, I would get suckered into the Pinterest rabbit hole and not even realize Minh was sitting next to me. When we incorporated these wedding timeouts, it helped us reconnect and reminded us how to communicate with each other about other things. Reflecting back, I think we are better with dealing with conflict within our marriage because the wedding was a catalyst to make us solve problems together.

View More: http://retrospectimages.pass.us/wendy-minh-highlights

The Honeymoon

We were Australia and New Zealand-bound in September for our official honeymoon. However, we needed something a little more immediate to destress and be ourselves again. The Tuesday after the wedding, with our home buried with wedding flowers, decor, and probably remnants of our dessert bar, we hopped on a plane to Portland.

We rented a car and drove down the Oregon Coast for our minimoon. No itineraries. No timelines. No planning. We just had Airbnb booked along the way for the next few days. We lucked out and got an Airbnb near Arch Rock, which was hidden in a lush green forest and a 3-minute walk away from a beach. Our favorite moment was waking up to sweet Oregon rain, coffee, and pine trees as husband and wife.

If anybody was curious about our actual honeymoon, Australia and New Zealand wasn’t too shabby either. If you have to go to one place in New Zealand, we have one word for you: Totaranui.

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