Chinese / Korean / Western Wedding Celebration

As spoken by Melissa (the bride)…

“The morning of our wedding we celebrated in the traditional Chinese fashion, and then we had our second celebration at The Bella Sera. In the Chinese tradition, the groom arrives at the bride’s parent’s home. The bride has to sleep at her parent’s home the night before the wedding. The mother usually looks at the Chinese calendar to see what time and date will be best for her daughter to have her wedding, so the bride and groom will have a harmonious and prosperous life together.”

“When the groom, groomsmen, and his side of the family arrives at the bride’s house, they stand outside and negotiate with the bridesmaids while the bride is upstairs waiting in her room. They will jokingly ask the groom’s side “How much the bride is worth?” 🙂

So back and forth they negotiate until they reach an agreement. The money is inside a red envelope called Ly See in Chinese. After they come to an agreement, the groom’s side pushes their way in, of course the bridesmaids try to push back and block them. After they come into the house, the groom goes upstairs to her room to get the bride and takes her to the shrine downstairs where there are candles, incense, food and flowers are displayed on a table.

They start pouring tea, during a “tea ceremony,” serving the eldest member of the family first. Then the rest of the guests are served. If a brother or sister is younger than the bride or the groom, they don’t get the tea because they are younger. During the tea ceremony each member congratulates the bride and groom and gives a little speech and Ly See or jewelries.”

“After all the tea is poured for all the bride’s side, the bride and groom go over to the groom’s house and do the same thing for the groom’s side. There are no negotiations or Ly See. After this everybody starts heading to the reception.”

What Was Important to the Bride & Groom?

“We wanted our wedding to flow just as we planned and to be very organized, ensuring that everybody had fun. The decor was absolutely beautiful!!!!!! I chose pink because it’s my favorite color and makes everything look innocent and pretty. Elisabeth’s design expertise helped me a lot, because it gave me an idea of what everything was going to look like the day of our wedding. I felt comfortable knowing that I loved everything in advance.”

The Most Special Memories of Our Day

For the Bride

The tea ceremony.
The western ceremony and vows.
The décor and not having to decorate anything ourselves.
Having it indoors, we were definitely happy it was inside because we didn’t have to worry about the weather.

For the Groom

He didn’t really know because he’s a guy and more laid back, but I think it was:

The ceremonies.
The food.
That we finally got married and no more stress!!

The Bride’s Three Wedding Dresses

1) American Style Wedding Dress

I loved my dress and couldn’t believe it was only the second dress I tried on. The designer is Olga.

2) Chinese Wedding Dress

My Chinese dress, worn during the tea ceremony, I got in California last-minute because the other dress my dad got for me in Vietnam did not fit.

3) Korean Wedding Dress

I changed into this dress just before the toast. It was from Korea. Young’s parents got it for me. 🙂

Young’s mom said that for a young bride it is usually bright and colorful. The dress I changed into was a traditional Korean dress, they do have Korean ceremonies, but his mom said it’s a lot of work and we wouldn’t have time. I agreed with her because we had two ceremonies already.

The Feelings We Experienced During the Celebration

“I was little nervous and shy going down the stairs to meet Young because I think I knew that people were watching me. It was nice to see Young in his tuxedo looking up smiling at me, it made me feel more at ease and happy.”

“With my dad walking down the stairs, I was happy because I could tell he was proud of me (even though he didn’t say it, traditional men don’t express their feelings).”

“Coming off of the balcony was cool, up above all the guests.”

“I felt proud when I saw the ballroom and how beautiful it was. So many people came up to me with lots of compliments.”

What Our Guests Said

“The wedding was beautiful and the venue was beautifully decorated!”

“They’d never been to a wedding that was so organized.”

“The vows were beautiful and that they liked it because it was personalized and intimate.”

“They said that they could tell that there was love between us.”

What Was Important to Our Parents?

“Our parents just wanted us to be happy and have fun. My side of the family, being Chinese, really enjoyed the Western/American style wedding because it was all new to them and to me. Young’s side being Korean was familiar with western style type of weddings. I thought it was funny because Korean weddings are more western culture now and not many practice the Korean tradition anymore. It was great because we got to celebrate both and we enjoyed experiencing both. Young would have preferred that we had gotten to say our vows at the Chinese tea ceremony, and he thought it was too short.”

“My parents loved the wedding. My mom said, “Elisabeth was AWESOME!!!!!” She said you coordinated everything so well and were so organized. They liked the fact that you guided us so we knew what was coming next and what to do. Everything was professional and perfect and worth the money!! The compliments are pouring in from all of our guests!”

What I Would You Tell a Future Bride About My Experience at Bella Sera

“Our wedding was beautiful, lovely and the owner’s of the Bella Sera were great!! If couples want a stress free wedding – to go to Bella Sera. It’s like you get a free personalized wedding planner. 🙂 You guys made everything perfect and made everything go smoothly.”

“I love you Elisabeth and I don’t think the wedding would have turned out as great as it did without you!!! We appreciate everything you guys did for us so very much!!! And your staff was nice and friendly!!! Loved our wedding!! Thank you so much for allowing us to have our dream wedding without going broke!”

With much gratitude, Melissa and Young, April 15, 2012

The Team of Experts

Wedding Designer: Elisabeth Montoya (Bella Sera)
Wedding Venue: The Bella Sera Event Center
Wedding Package: Bellissimo
Catering: Bella Sera Catering
Disc Jockey: DJ Guy
Dress: Designer Olga from David’s Bridal
Photography: Mark Alison Photography

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