Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…
We met on a warm summer day some fifteen years ago at a community center in Arlington, Virginia where they took traditional Cambodian dancing and music lessons.
We were thirteen. Sophie, being much less timid, obviously was the first to say “hi”. Although we may not have known it at the time, that was the moment we met the loves of our lives. It turned out that we lived only minutes away from each other. At the turn of the digital age, we were young with little means of transportation, so we spent countless hours getting to know each other through AOL Instant Messenger. It didn’t take long for us to bond over music, pop culture, and family values. We were best friends who went through the typical angsty teenage phase of being unclear with our feelings and communication, ultimately going separate ways during university. It wasn’t until Sophie was out visiting friends at Alvin’s university their senior year that we reconnected after an entire night of dancing and long thoughtful conversations catching up on missed years. We’ve been inseparable ever since.
Despite facing many challenges, both of us continued to support each other as we pursued higher education in the medical field, notably in different countries from each other. The distance only brought us closer together and made us appreciate one another more. Currently, Sophie is a budding paediatrician while Alvin is a practicing optometrist. Because of our long work schedules we’ve learned to value any and all of our time together, from simple things like cooking dinner together and going to Target to adventurous hiking trips around the world (our favourite place has been Switzerland to date!).
Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details…
Our special day was unusually warm for an early autumn day in Northern Virginia. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky and we couldn’t have asked for better weather for our wedding. We were married in front of our closest friends and family at a vineyard on the side of the Blue Ridge Mountain with a beautiful panoramic valley view.
While there wasn’t a single specific theme of our wedding day, we knew that we wanted to keep things simple, elegant, and ethereal which our stylist Linda Ha tremendously helped with bringing our vision to life.
Flowers were of neutral tones, muddy blush and nude, lots of greenery, floor installation, tablescape There are too many little details that it’s too hard to pick favourites however we are self-proclaimed Harry Potter fanatics. Though we tried not to make a theme, it showed in finer elements such as Alvin wearing deathly hallows cufflinks, champagne glasses with the famous “After all this time? Always.” quote, and the bride and groom’s recession to Hedwig’s Theme. We had guests tell us that the venue itself was very reminiscent of the Great Hall with the drapings and tapered candles along the long farmhouse table.
Tell us about your main outfits:
Sophie wore a simple but elegant two piece ensemble from BHLDN with a soft flowy tulle skirt and lace sleeveless top. She wore her mother’s pearl earrings and her favourite touch was the long veil she recreated from her mother’s own wedding gown.
Alvin’s outfit of the day fits his style and personality. He knew that he wanted to keep the look simple and classic with a traditional navy two-piece suit with walnut shoes. He wore a white twill shirt with a woven navy blue tie to add some texture to the outfit. An homage to their love for Harry Potter were deathly hallows cufflinks. As for the finishing touch, he wore his father’s gold Longines wristwatch.
What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?
One of the most special parts was Sophie surprising her mother with the veil which she had created from her mother’s wedding gown.
Our ceremony was successfully technology free which was one of the best decisions we ever made. Our adorable ring bearers sat in their bumbos as they were towed down the aisle in a decorated Radio Flyer wagon.
We decided that writing and exchanging our own vows was the best way to finalise our declarations of love.
For dinner music Sophie and Alvin compiled a playlist of special wedding/first dance songs of the couples in attendance in dedication to them
With the help of his groomsmen, Alvin snuck a guitar and amplifier onto the dance floor to surprise Sophie with a song (the same way he proposed). He sang Adele’s rendition of the Bob Dylan song “Make You Feel My Love”.
Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?
Don’t forget to cherish the details of the day together. The day is hectic and will go by quickly, but it will be those little moments you hang onto will make the day unforgettable.
Take every opportunity to appreciate your partner – we’ve been officially together for over 8 years and there isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t tell or show each other how much we value him/her, either verbally or through small gestures.
Pick your battles and always always always communicate with each other, especially in the moments when you don’t want to.
Love fervently, wholesomely and without regret
Photography: Finn Lively Photography | Videographer: N. Vu Films | Ceremony and Reception location: Bluemont Vineyard | Celebrant: Bride’s uncle and aunt | Bride’s outfit: Norag Top and Anika Tulle skirt by BHLDN | Groom’s outfit: Lazio by Suitsupply | Engagement rings: DoAmore | Bridal shoes: Candance Crystal Embellished d’Orsay Pump by Badgley Mischka | Groom’s shoes: Strand Cap-toe Oxford by Allen Edmonds | Jewellery: Pearl earrings from the bride’s mother | Veil: repurposed from the mother of the bride’s wedding dress by The Tailory | Groom’s watch: Vintage Longines from father of the groom | Make-up: Valerie Hammer Makeup Artistry | Hair: Tress Hair Co | Maid of honour’s attire: Beaded blouson gown by Adrianna Papell | Bridesmaid’s attire: Heavenly Hues by Lulus | Groomsmen’s attire: Napoli by Suitsupply | Junior bridesmaid’s attire: Long sleeveless mesh dress by David’s Bridal | Entertainment: Digital Sound Services | Styling: Linda Ha Events | Floral: Wild Green Yonder | Food/beverages/catering: Savoir Fare Limited | Cake: Sweets by E | Signage Calligraphy: Capital Calligraphy | Paper Calligraphy: Julie Ha Calligraphy