Photography by Kim Mendoza Photography
HOW THEY MET: Through a mutual friend.
HOW THEY GOT ENGANGED: Dong proposed to Somsanouk while on a trip to New York City.
ALL ABOUT THE WEDDING: In honor of their cultural heritages, Somsanouk and Dong held three wedding ceremonies: a Laotian ceremony, called a basi, at Somsanouk’s mother’s house; a Chinese ceremony at the couple’s house; and a Western ceremony. “It makes us proud, and I know it makes our family proud, to see that we have embraced both cultures honorably and respectfully,” says Somsanouk. Three ceremonies meant three wedding outfits: gold, red and white, respectively. “The Lao dress is called a sinh, and the Chinese dress is called a cheongsam,” she explains. Of special significance: a pure gold “dragon” belt, worn by Somsanouk during the Laotian ceremony, which typically is handed down from generation to generation.
RECEPTION HIGHLIGHTS: Somsanouk and Dong honored the Laotian tradition of going around to all of the tables at the reception and joining their guests in toasts with shots of Hennessy. After they were introduced at the reception, the couple performed a traditional Laotian dance, which they learned just minutes prior. They danced to Babyface’s “Every Time I Close My Eyes” for their official first dance, but “1, 2, 3, 4” by Plain White T’s is their “real” song. It was played throughout the evening.
HANDMADE TOUCHES: The Laotian invitations, the embossing on the envelopes of the Western invitations, the menus, the table numbers, the favors, even the bouquets and boutonnieres were all made by the bride and groom.
LUCKY NUMBER: The couple’s wedding date, 11/11/11, holds a variety of significances: It’s considered by some to be a lucky date. Their birthdays are 11 days apart. They took their first trip together 11 weeks after they started dating. Dong proposed on their 11-month anniversary. Somsanouk’s engagement ring diamond is 1.11 carats. They moved into their first home together on July 11, 2011, and their mailbox number is 11. “We like to think the number 11 is our lucky number,” says Somsanouk.
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