Jennifer & Phuong

A cold winter day was just what Jennfier and Phuong wanted for their wedding day. The moody weather setting the scene for a sparkling winter wedding that made the most of the city setting. “We wanted a classic colour scheme and theme; can’t get more classic than black, white and green with a few metallic and marble accents,” tells Jennifer of the couple’s decision for a glam after dark wedding ceremony and sparkle filled reception. The day, captured by Long Way Home Photography began with a first look, and wedding photographs across rooftops and laneways in Melbourne’s CBD, a ceremony beginning at dusk enveloping the couple’s guests in all the cosy warmth they’d dreamt of, before, of course, a celebration of dancing, and dragons and icecream began!

It took these two just ten months to plan their wedding day, after Phuong’s surprise proposal. Jennifer shares the tale of how it unfolded. “We were celebrating Phuong’s 40th birthday in Hawaii when he surprised me by popping the question. I thought it would be wonderful to have our wedding near our 10th anniversary, so we had less than 8 months to plan and prepare for the big day. We got married 10 days after our 10-year mark.”

As it was winter, these two knew the light on the day would be limited, so met before their ceremony for photographs.

It took a little time before Jennifer settled on her Rue de Seine gown at The Bridal Atelier . “I had no idea what I wanted to wear on the day” she explains. “I had tried on countless dresses but my final appointment was at The Bridal Atelier. When I put on my Rue de Seine dress I knew it was the one. I loved how it was fitted and yet flowy at the same time, and the embroidery details were beautiful. It had a wonderful long train and when I put on the matching veil I was smitten.”

“Our favourite photos are the laneway pics actually,” remarks the bride, “It just epitomises what a wonderful city Melbourne is with all our laneway finds and street art. In one small block, there is such varied scenery.”

The newlyweds were over the moon with the choice of their photographer. “To make the most of the winter daylight it meant we had to take photos before our evening ceremony. Steph was wonderful. We only had an hour and a half so she had already scouted out where we were going to go, the backgrounds, the compositions beforehand and even brought umbrellas for us to use! We ended up going to everywhere on our wish list and the rain held off for the whole afternoon. We got to the city laneways, a rooftop carpark, the GPO arches and Alto. Steph made us feel comfortable, relaxed and gave great direction to get these amazing pictures that we will continue to look back on with fond memories. She is a one-woman wonder.”

The groom chose a dapper black tuxedo, in keeping with the modern, elegant vibe of the day from Calibre. Jennifer says “We were worried that he couldn’t pull off his sleek look as Phuong had torn his Achilles tendon in March so it was a big possibility he would still be in a moon boot. But Phuong worked hard on his rehab and was able to take the boot off one week before the wedding.”

The rooftop venue of Alto Event Space played host to both the ceremony and reception celebrations, shares the bride.  “As our wedding was in June, we didn’t want to chance any mishaps with the weather. We wanted a venue that could support both a ceremony and reception under the same roof. When we first saw Alto we knew it was the one – the city views, the high ceilings, the industrial feel that I wanted. We had Caroline take care of us at Alto and she was amazing.”

Jennifer and Phuong turned over the floral styling for the day to Pomp and Splendour, sharing “The bones were already in place at Alto, we just had to fill it in. I love flowers, so Pomp & Splendour were our go-to ladies. They had done a magnificent job at my sister’s wedding the year prior so I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else in charge of our florals, especially as they are committed to being eco–friendly. The 2x 10-metre garlands were designed and crafted without floral foam! When I met with Petra and Asha I tried to articulate a winter white theme – white and green with dark accents – and they hit the nail on the head with the brief. As part of the bonbonniere, I wanted the guests to be able to take home some of the florals; the table arrangements were in little black and glass vases so that each guest could just take the one in front of the home.”

Guests were surprised with dessert from Gelato Messina. “We wanted our guests to mingle at the end of the night and what better way to get people out of their seats than with an ice cream cart.”

Jennifer and Phuong worked with Marble Rose Shop to create custom marble coasters for each guest The bride says “The marble coasters used in the table setting were a hit. It was so lovely to get pics from our guests after the wedding showing them using the coasters in their day-to-day lives.”

The centrepiece of the reception was two long hanging garlands of foliage and blooms. “I love flowers and always had in mind having some sort of hanging floral arrangement” explains Jennifer. “The dining area was closed off with curtains during the ceremony so after the lion dance the curtains were opened and the lions walked down the centre of the dining tables to lead the guests to dinner. The garlands added to the overall look and feel of the dining area and combined with the hanging lights between the foliage, set the mood perfectly.”

Like any wedding, this one wasn’t without its hiccups, tells Jennifer. “Phuong was calm and collected most of the day, until 20 minutes from the start of the ceremony he realised that his dad wasn’t there yet. Phuong told me that all the stress I felt leading up to the wedding he felt in those moments waiting for his dad to arrive. Luckily his best man tracked him down. It turned out Phuong’s dad was just downstairs all the time waiting for his friend, who was lost in the city.”

Jennifer walked down the aisle with her parents to “This Is Love” by Kelly Rowland, telling ” I had always felt a connection to this song, but more so since Phuong had been working interstate before the wedding so the lyrics really spoke to me – “This is love, it’s written on my face, it’s the way I lean my body towards you even when I’m 100 miles away”.”

Celebrations for the newlyweds kicked off with a lion dance! Says Jennifer “We didn’t do any traditional ceremonies so as a nod to our heritage we had a lion dance. It’s not traditionally performed at weddings so it was a surprise for all our guests when the drums started playing and the lions entered. It was a great way to open the dining area for dinner – the curtains drew back to the dining tables and the lions led the guests in. The lion dance was one of the stands out memories of the night as we had no idea what they were going to perform. JGK did an amazing job with a routine that included giving the bride and groom mandarins. The colour has a symbolic meaning – mandarin orange 柑. This character has the same pronunciation as the character for gold 金 in Cantonese.”

It was wonderfully special for the newlyweds to share in their day with so many loved ones. Jennifer tells the story of one very important guest. “Mum had been battling stage 4 cancer, so it meant the world to me that she could attend our wedding. We hired a hotel room across from Alto in case she needed to rest but she ended up staying the whole night and had a great time with family and friends. These memories I will cherish, as mum is no longer with us. Mum said that our wedding was a highlight in her twilight years.”

Jennifer and Phuong topped their croquembouche wedding cake by Truffles Patisserie with chocolate pouring instead of a traditional “cake cutting”. Jennifer explaining “We had our hearts set on a croquembouche as our wedding cake. But we wanted it to have a difference, so with Truffles Patisserie, we came up with the idea that instead of ‘cutting’ the cake we would pour warm chocolate sauce over the croquembouche. It turned out perfectly and Truffles Patisseries did an excellent job in maintaining the internal structure so that the croquembouche wouldn’t fall apart with the warm sauce.”

The night ended with tradition, tells the bride “We finished the night with a traditional “Yam Seng,” or “cheers” in Chinese. The louder and longer the words are held for, the more blessings will come. It’s usually done three times – first for a blissful marriage, second for eternal love and third for fertility.”

A big congratulations on your marriage Jennifer & Phuong! Thank you for sharing your stunning wedding day and all of its stories with us! Thank you also to Long Way Home Photography for today’s utterly beautiful wedding day!