Disclaimer: Long blog ahead with lots of pictures. As this is my sister’s wedding, I will be extra critical and tell you ALL the behind the scenes including chaos, stress, tardiness, weather etc… In KDWP book of events, this is considered a failed job by me but in the eyes of everyone else, this is a well executed wedding. In the end, spending time with family, friends and seeing how happy my sister and newly acquired Brother-in-Law are, made it all worthwhile. I also learned that if I survived my sister’s wedding, I can now conquered anything thrown at me. Another wedding that truly tests my ability to be a wedding planner/coordinator.
Wow! So where do I start with this wedding??? First and foremost, I will NEVER be a planner/coordinator, bridesmaid AND mother all at once EVER AGAIN! The whole year leading up to the wedding, I was on my sister’s case to get things DONE. I mean a month before the wedding and she STILL hasn’t sent the invitations out! If you know my sister and I, you will definitely notice how complete opposite we are. I am organized, detailed, borderline OCD, want things done right, punctual while she is a procrastinator, takes things very lightly and she has this take on life that I wish I had. She is funny, ghetto fabulous, a romantic at heart, loves her family and friends with a passion and is very into fashion. This is what happened on the day of the wedding: stress, anxiety, running around, dealing with a cranky toddler, weather issue, wedding dress to be ironed, missing wedding decoration items, all of this while in a foreign country (well, not so foreign to me since I grew up in France and I can speak French so it was an advantage) basically, anything that could go wrong at a wedding happened and I didn’t have ANY of my KDWP team to back me up so it was all me. Thank God for some of my sister’s friends and the bridesmaids, who I must admit, some must have been pissed at me and didn’t want to help because they had an earful out of me for being 2 hours late – SORRY ladies but we had a schedule to keep and things got really backed up. I was very disappointed that I didn’t get a lot of time to enjoy the wedding, take pictures with my sister and spend time with the family 😦
One thing was for sure, amidst all the controlled chaos (I called it controlled because it was controlled after all) is that I knew I could count on Thao Vu Photography to deliver amazingly beautiful pictures.
Yes, this is a REAL Chanel ring purchased in the original Chanel store in Paris. Pretty unusual for an engagement ring right?
The little ring bearer outfit. I have to plug my son in this blog a bit 😉
The wedding took place in Normandy (an area know for rain), it was raining the whole day up until the last minute before the ceremony started.
The bride chose one single ginormous rose as her bride’s bouquet. Very unique.
My sister’s custom made ceremony gown. Different and unusual right?
The 2nd dress that took forever to iron. I think we tried using a flat iron, blow dryer, and other hot items to get the wrinkles out as much as possible. In the end, we put the dress in between pillow cases in order to properly iron it. Glad it turned out straight and well-ironed (considering the circumstances and what we had on hand) for the picture. I wouldn’t have had the patience to do this while getting ready and taking care of everything else. One of my sister’s friend volunteered for this and I’m more than happy that she did.
Due to unfortunate event, my sister’s original hair and makeup artist couldn’t make it to France 2 days prior to the wedding. This was the start of the wedding crisis, I had to figure out a last minute hair and makeup artist for the bride and her wedding was 2 days away! Thankfully, I booked a hair and makeup artist for 4 of the bridesmaids while still in the States so I called Sheryl Chua, explained the situation, negotiated a bit and she was able to squeeze in the bride and mother of the bride on the day of too.
I remember a couple of nights before the wedding, I reminded the groomsmen to be ON time because I was afraid that they were going to be late. Well, it was 3 of the bridesmaids and the bride who were 2 hours late. Add to this, the bride was NOT happy with how the makeup turned out for the other 3 bridesmaids, who had theirs done at a salon. They had to redo their whole makeup, which totally threw me off and we got even more backed up on the timeline. At that point, I was going to throw the towel and give up on everything. I was so freaking stressed out!!!
While some of the girls were getting their hair and makeup done, the rest of us had to rush to fluff the paper pompoms and hang everything. I was showing the girls where I wanted the pompoms to be hung and I decorated the chimney.
I remember at one point Thao telling me that she would like a photo of all the bridesmaids and the bride in their kimono, well, THAT didn’t happen seeing that I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Another missed photo opportunity because I was wearing too many hats that day.
With all of the running around and making sure everything was executed, I didn’t get a chance to soak in the beauty of the Manoir. Now, looking through the pictures, the place is breathtaking with all greenery and tall trees.
The groom getting ready with his father.
Since Diana’s ceremony dress was too long for her, she had to purchase stripper shoes to walk in her gown. She said if she had to buy stripper shoes, then they at least need to be pretty. I think she fell several times walking in those and I have a couple of pictures to prove it.
Her facial expressions are priceless and the funniest.
Gift exchange. She received an Alexander McQueen scarf, which she proudly modeled.
If you haven’t noticed yet, Renaud and Diana are designer obsessed.
As for the Groom, he received an Hermes tie.
Time to put the one of a kind beautiful Thai Nguyen gown on.
Look at the details on the dress!
For pictures, she put on her Jimmy Choo shoes on but we all know what she really wore underneath that dress for the ceremony. I’m divulging all of the behind the scenes. 😉
All the groomsmen arrived on time and dressed so I had to pin boutonnieres on them when I wasn’t even ready yet.
The ceremony was 2 hours away and it’s been raining on and off. Bridesmaids in high heels + long dresses and guests in their great outfits, I could already envision a downpour in the middle of the ceremony so as I saw that guests started to arrive, I decided to move the ceremony indoors,which wasn’t really ideal as the Manoir was very tight.
Meanwhile…with all the commotion going downstairs, my sister was being the beautiful bride that she should be, trusting that everything was being handled.
Ceremony: J-1 hour, the rain stopped so to make the bride and groom happy, we moved the ceremony back outdoors.
Here’s a mommy moment: in between running and setting things up, I told my husband to make sure that our boy took his nap or he’ll be cranky during the ceremony. While flying by the hubs, I think I heard, “he doesn’t want to sleep, he wants YOU to put him down for a nap”. Oh boy…that’s not good but at that point, I thought, I’ll deal with this later. Here’s a few pictures of my precious son in his ceremony outfit. Even though, he’s a sleepy little boy, he’s still as handsome as ever.
Squeezing a First look for the Bride and Groom while it wasn’t raining.
Here comes the tripping from the stripper shoes. Not easy walking on rocks with those 10″ heels lol…
And…the rescue from our cousin, otherwise it would’ve taken her forever to reach her husband.
Finally, here we go…First Look!
With no rain in sight, Thao Vu Photography took this opportunity to take some portraits.
It started to rain again so they moved inside for more photos.
I just got done getting ready and they caught me on my way down to move the ceremony back inside as it was 30 min until the start of the ceremony and it was pouring.
Everyone’s waiting to see where the ceremony will take place. At this point, I had my shoes off, dress pulled up and running to make sure ceremony will be inside.
As soon as the caterer, florist and I finished setting up inside for the ceremony and I started gathering the bridal party to line up, the rain stopped and the sun came out. FML!!! I asked my sister what she wanted to do now. She said she wanted to have the ceremony outside and that’s the whole reason why they booked the venue. I looked at all the guests cramped in the little room where the ceremony was going to take place, looked outside and told my sister “you do know we all have long dresses and we have high heels right?” She said yes, I prayed to God to give me strength and said “Let’s do it!”. I ran to find the florist and the caterer, told them we’re moving outside now, enlisted the groomsmen to run outside and wipe the chairs as much as they can and come back ASAP to line up.
The bridesmaids started moving all the guests outside and we were ready to get these 2 married!
I asked my cousin’s boyfriend to look for the children because they were not lined up with the bridal party. We had 8 children, 4 were under the age of 4! Keep in mind that I didn’t even get to rehearse the bridal party. The original plan was to rehearse the bridal party at 1PM but because we were 2 hours late on everything, I didn’t get the chance to. I was going to wing it and if anything goes wrong…oh well!
I totally ruined this picture.
Bridesmaids were troopers walking and sinking in the grass with their heels.
As expected, my little boy was too tired to walk and didn’t want to do anything. He was crying the whole time we were lined up so I had my brother carried him with us.
Sleepy head. We practiced at home with him carrying the heart and he was so excited about it too. I learned that it is very unpredictable working with children (especially if they are tired) and you just have to go with it.
This is what happened when you have lots of nephews/nieces at a young age in your bridal party.
Nobody was sitting because the chairs were still wet or on a more positive side, it was a nice guests receiving line as we walked up.
Baby boy was not happy at all.
The children arriving after the bride lol…Isn’t my God daughter the cutest little girl?
Renaud’s mother reciting a poem.
All of the bridesmaids dresses were carefully chosen by the bride herself to fit our body type. She said she wanted her wedding to be her personal fashion show. I think she accomplished that.
I think God heard my prayers. It was sunny throughout the whole ceremony. Even after the ceremony, it didn’t rain one bit!
You may kiss the bride!
The Bride and Groom surprised Renaud’s sister with a beautiful cake as it was her birthday.
The whole crowd sang happy birthday.
Married!!! Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Haccart!!!
Diana needs to do something about that tongue of hers sticking out in most of the pictures.
A little traffic jam, the bride couldn’t walk fast enough and we kept stepping on her dress. Renaud came up with the perfect solution.
Renaud’s face is priceless!
Right after the ceremony, I checked inside the Manoir to make sure that everything was set up.
Diana and Renaud reside in Hong Kong and they have a little corgi named Kingston. He might not have been there for the wedding but my animal nephew was there in spirit.
Unfortunately, due to the rain, the cocktail couldn’t take place outside. The Caterer needed more time to set up.
With everything going smoothly inside and the worse behind me, I made my way outside to mingle as much as I could and take pictures with the bridal party.
We couldn’t keep all the children still for the pictures and this is the best we could do.
My little boy was too tired and needed his nap so he wasn’t even in the group pictures. 😦
My dress was the dirtiest of all the bridesmaids.
Recreating sibling moments we had at my own wedding.
While the bridal party were taking pictures, amazing food was served inside. I don’t think I even got to try everything! My fault for spending a little too much time at the oyster station. Yes! They had fresh shucked oysters!
I was in heaven!
This seared beef patty was delicious!
THIS girl and her many facial expressions.
After the cocktail, all the guests mingled outside in the courtyard. Here is the final reception setup.
Diana wanted her wedding theme to be Great Gatsby/20s era, which was difficult to execute overseas but we somehow pulled it off a bit.
I can’t decide which photo I liked best so I am putting both of them up. This was when I rushed them to greet the guests so they can enter the reception. Guests were getting cold outside and anxious to enter the reception. My sister and Renaud wanted to do it “American/Asian” style where they take a photo with their guests as they make their way into the reception. Things got a bit chaotic at times but it was manageable.
Foie Gras with pear as a meal starter.
Maid of Honor speech. My cousin did an awesome job!
Best Man speech: less emotional and more humor.
In France, the meal ends with cheese. The stinkier the cheese, the better it is.
The dessert buffet station consist of:
Cupcake and cake pops
Pistachio and Raspberry Sorbet.
In France, the dancing at weddings lasts until the next morning. I recall my sister mentioning that they danced until the sun came up and she didn’t go to bed until 6am!
The perfect ending to a perfect day for the happy newlyweds
(or the perfect ending to an exhausting day for the wedding planner/coordinator/sister/bridesmaid/mother of a toddler)
Well, I’m glad you stuck through the long blog. It was indeed a long exhausting and frustrating day for me but I anticipated as much since working family weddings are tough. The expectations are different than a client wedding. The fact that this wedding was in a country where the customs are a lot more different and I was limited with the resource I had, I would say it turned out quite well. Guests came up to me and praised me for the job well done to which I replied “it’s not me, all the credit goes to the bride and groom as they dreamed up their special day and I was merely the facilitator” . My war wounds for this wedding were bruises up and down my legs, I can’t even count how many times I fell down the stairs, tripped on my dress and stubbed my toes. My feet and legs were dead by the end of the night and I could barely walked the next day because my body was aching so bad. Aside from the complaining and frustration, this was a special wedding to me. It was my little sister’s wedding after all. I’ll always only have 1 sister and to see how happy she was on her wedding day and catching Renaud’s stolen loving looks to his bride were priceless. It was a beautiful and loving wedding with the most delicious food ever! 😉 Love you guys!!! Sorry for being pushy, bossy on your wedding day and thank you for making me be part of your crazy wedding!
Ceremony and Reception location: Manoir D’Aulnay
Hair and Makeup: Sheryl Chua
Photography: Thao Vu Photography
Floral: Melanie Miguel
Caterer: Henri Morel
Ceremony Dress: Thai Nguyen
Reception Dress: Junko Yoshioka
DJ: DJ Khoizilla
Ring bear jacket: Gina Montano