Weddings are multi-faceted. It is worth arguing that the days of simple weddings that were more of a proper exercise to legalize a bonding of two people are over. Still, many will agree that this is the purpose of getting married. Others will state just the opposite and it’s a conversation that has probably been taking place since the inception of marriage. What is it all for, anyway? The point is to never arrive at a definitive answer.
The best weddings are weddings that convey emotion on a multitude of levels. There are so many elements surrounding a wedding, like the venue, the florist, the cake, the runway, the second row of seats, the candle light, the seams on the dress that the emotion often times gets tossed aside. Almost as if it is a mere assumption that there will be emotion at any and all weddings. Everyone’s perception of emotion is different, that is granted, but even the most luxurious wedding cannot safely assume the ability to convey emotion at its most bare.
There was an exhaustive thought process that went into nearly every inch of Darin & Olivia’s wedding, not because they were interested in putting on a show for everyone, but because that was the only way they felt they could do justice to letting all of their friends and family in on their love story; just for one day.
For friends and family who like to keep tags on people, the story of Darin & Olivia can be found (although heavily abridged) on Facebook. The real meat of their story comes from having a conversation with them, or being a listener while they converse with each other. Hardly a second of this November wedding wasn’t heavily thought out, discussed, revised and improved. The amount of care put into their day was unprecedented and it was every bit exactly who they are.
The day began with a traditional Vietnamese tea ceremony in the morning at the Groom’s parent’s house. In traditional parts of Vietnam, the groom and his family would parade through a village on their way to the bride’s parent’s home. Once there, the groom’s family would fire off fireworks to let the bride’s family know of their presence. If the bride’s family returned the favor (by firing off their own fireworks) then the groom’s family would proceed to enter. Once the ceremony was complete at the bride’s family home, the entire family would then parade through the village to the groom’s parent’s home, where they would perform the same tea ceremony.
The Vietnamese Tea Ceremony consists of thanking the family elders, offering them tea (offered by the groom and bride) and having each member of the family introduced. The Peachees did not do the fireworks, but the tradition of family greetings and drinking tea remained in tact. The groom, his groomsmen, the bride and the bridesmaids all donned the traditional Vietnamese outfits, with the bride and groom specifically wearing traditional hats.
Without a minute wasted, the bride and her bridesmaids immediately departed in the limousine, heading straight for the wedding venue, at the Bayanihan Arts & Events Center in Tampa. The groom and groomsmen stayed behind to clean things up and prepare for their own journey over to the venue.
Following an extended time of preparation for both the bride and groom, the bride and groom departed from the venue in separate vehicles to perform what is known in the Wedding Industry as “The First Look.” For the traditional wedding planners, this would violate all the old rules of not being able to see each other until the moment she walks down the aisle. The only problem is…there is so much that gets left unsaid in moments like that. The ceremony is very much like a program…the groom walks down followed by the wedding party, the bride walks down…they say their vows and off they go to the next part of their wedding. But does the groom have a chance to take in the stunning beauty and beyond belief moment of seeing his bride for the very first time? Does he even get to tell her what he is thinking in that very moment?
The first look provides an opportunity for the bride and groom to see each other in private and to fully express their emotions, free from the onlookers and the limitations of a ceremony. For Darin & Olivia, it very well may have been the most emotion moment of the day. After all the time it took to get prepared, all the small moments of stress, the yearning for one another became overwhelming. And they finally…FINALLY got to see one another on a gorgeous bridge going over a small pond in West Chase. The moment was pure magic, a once in a lifetime meeting and something that could only have been captured during the First Look. The bride’s appearance left the groom speechless…all he could do was reach out in hopes of getting to touch his bride and confirm that such perfection actually does exist and is within his reach.
Following a brief return to the venue, the ceremony began. An elaborate ceremony was planned, breaking traditions and inserting various unique elements that made it one of the most special ceremonies we have ever been a part of. To begin with, the set up of the seats were broken up into four corners, with each corner being angled towards the center and the front where the Officiant, Dr. Cozzi stood. The aisle split the corners in half and then another aisle going left to right split up the other corners. You’ll understand what this set up was for in a moment. The groom walked the aisle with his mother and mother in law and escorted them to their seats. Once the rest of the bridal party and the flower girl and ring bearer made their walk…the time came for the lovely bride to make her entrance.
Breaking from tradition, Darin and the Officiant walked back down the aisle and stood at the center of the 4 corners of friends and families. The move was a dramatic shift to the traditional wedding walk, as the audience stood and looked down the aisle to the radiant Olivia as she began her walk down the aisle arm in arm with her father. There, in the middle of the ceremony floor, Olivia’s father handed her off to Darin and after the Officiant proceeded down the aisle, the two of them stood for a moment while their friends and family had a unique opportunity to get a photograph of them. They were not waiting for that, they were waiting for the song they had chosen to reach a certain part.
Yes, they had specifically edited the song to fit the time constraints of their ceremony. The song, “Turning Page” by Sleeping at Last, has everything you would need in a wedding song, a slow marching piano beginning, the rising of strings and the fulfillment of a climatic crescendo as the bride and groom descended down the aisle to their final stop as single individuals at the altar.
The ceremony began with a lovely and awe-inspiring opening by the Officiant. Her stories of Darin & Olivia warmed the audience and set the stage for what would be a very, very emotion ceremony. Darin’s cousin, Tristen, took the microphone to recite two poems he had personally written for the occasion. And Olivia’s dearest younger brother, Josh, gave an incredible speech that only heightened the emotion throughout. It then came time for Olivia and Darin to deliver their vows to one another…
As stated above, not a minute was wasted on planning this wedding, nothing was over looked or ignored. But of all the things the couple focused their time and energy on, nothing compared to the amount of time and energy they put towards writing their very own vows. For Darin and Olivia, words truly have meaning to them. They firmly believe in their power to reveal genuine truths about their feelings. Many others may find words to be empty and useless, but when speaking to one another, even as a bystander you may be led to believe the words they spoke to one another. The words came from the deepest part of their being, long since withheld until the day arrived that they could showcase what it meant to be in love to their friends and family. And hardly a person in that building that day could argue they didn’t feel anything. And hardly a person can say they didn’t walk away from that ceremony wiping away their tears.
As bombastic and entertaining as an entire wedding day can be, nothing can compare to the raw emotion and energy emanating when a truly heartfelt vow has been delivered. Without a doubt, those two delivered. And the ceremony went down as one of the highlights of the entire day.
Cocktail hour featured a bustling cast of friends and family all gathered into the front foyer for drinks and appetizers while the wedding party stood out front for a dazzling array of photographs taken by their elite photographer, Shipra Panosian.
The reception began with a bang as the wedding party and new husband a wife waltzed to the dance floor to the tune of 2012’s mega hit by PSY, “Gangnam Style.” The song wasn’t over once they reached the dance floor, the party busted out in the famous horse dance and performed a well choreographed dance thanks in part to Brian, from the local dance crew, MuZik VibeZ.
The dancing didn’t end there, the bride and groom settled in to the reception by having their first dance to the song “I Love How You Love Me” covered by the band Camera Obscura. The song’s almost superficial lyrics really change in meaning when watching Darin & Olivia dance to it. It was obvious that they took their time selecting a song, as they took their time with every element of the reception (see our other blog posts). The song fit their playful and loving lifestyles so perfectly there could not have been a better selection.
The night was full an array of food courses proved by Hoa Wah, touching speeches by the bride and groom’s fathers, their son and two speeches from the bridemaids and groomsmen, respectively. The action picked up with a surprise dance performance by the groom and the couple’s son. They performed to their personal favorite, “Fantastic Baby” by the K-POP superstars, BIG BANG.
The groom wasn’t done there (he’s known for always having something up his sleeve when it comes to Olivia) as out came his guitar and he sat down to serenade his bride with two songs. His first song was an original composition entitled “They Won’t Know Our Love.” The next surprise came when the groom sang a song in his bride’s native tongue of Vietnamese. The crowd was awed, pleased and entertained by his heartfelt, less than perfect performance. The surprises didn’t stop there, when Olivia’s two brothers, Andy and Josh were joined by A Peachy Life Productions’ very own Outone who played the guitar while Josh and Andy sang “Overwhelmed” by Tim McMorris.
Let’s not forget what the bride had in store for her new husband. Another surprise dance performance came from the bridesmaids, led by the bride and with the help of a few good friends. They performed to another K-POP hit, this time it was “Be My Baby” from the Wonder Girls. The groom was pleasantly surprised, by both the performance and the fact that he was on the receiving end of an unknown performance!
The music of the night was provided by the groom, who chose to set up his own DJ station and create a splendid playlist of hit party songs that got the crowd moving. The rest of the night went beautifully and the bride and groom hardly spent a moment at their sweet heart table to eat the massive amount of food delivered by the caterer. After a number of fun dance songs, a multi-person train that ran all around the venue, electrifying photos at the photobooth, the night ended with a sparkler send off that sent the dashing newly weds on their way to a lifetime of prosperity and happiness.
We really enjoyed putting their wedding highlights together. If this blog post is any indication, we had A LOT of footage to sort through. More than enough to make 2 or 3 completely different videos. We feel confident that this one captures nearly every element of the wedding, from beginning to end. We are proud of this work and hope to continue producing similar works in the future. We were fortunate to be a part of this elaborate and gorgeous wedding and are excited for the future. Enjoy the trailer and look out for more to come in 2013!
To quote Dr. Cozzi: “Darin and Olivia, you make all of us believe in happily ever after.”
All images by: Shipra Panosian Photography