If there was a style that embodied the quintessential Femme Next Door wedding, it would be a focus on minimalism against lush greens that Lynda Trieu envisioned and brought to life with her now husband Michael Pham. The two had a clear vision to highlight desert accents as a nod to Scottsdale, AZ where they met, with details that celebrated their Vietnamese heritage. What resulted was a study in earthy elegance.
Those who attended Lynda’s wedding, especially her bridesmaids, will tell you she was the calmest, collected bride. Lynda credits this ease to having been maid of honor not once, but twice for best friends who also decided on destination weddings. She says, “Nothing ever goes as planned. We knew that beforehand so we embraced it by having fun.” That discerning ability to cut through the dense noise that surrounds wedding planning was exactly how Lynda was able to prioritize the eight months she dedicated to planning. It’s clear, after sorting through the couple’s 500+ photos, that Lynda’s efforts to minimize stress the day of really paid off. There’s not one bad picture nor is there one picture that Lynda isn’t grinning ear-to-ear.
“We chose Portland, OR for a number of reasons. Much of our family is there. There was a nostalgia because Michael spent his many childhood summer there. And, The Grotto. It was always a dream of mine to be married outdoors but being Catholic, I thought it was impossible until I discovered The Grotto, a dream come true!”
For Michael and I, wedding planning wasn’t easy or fun. We are truly the opposite of one another. Michael is detail oriented and master at planning all the logistical stuff. I’m the opposite. While he handled most of the logistics, I focused on the networking, negotiating, designing, and creative aspects. It took both of us to make it happen!
To make it happen: we used shared spreadsheets to plan and leave notes for each other in real time. We designed and planned everything ourself with the help of our family, friends, and vendors. We also used The Wedding Planner & Organizer from Mindy Weiss to help us check off task. For design, we had vision boards on Pinterest, and shared it with our florist, Katie Davis and her team at Ponderosa and Thyme. With our vision boards, they help put together our wedding design.
Our talented friend Chinh Nguyen, graphic designer based in LA, helped us design our wedding stationary. We stocked up on 150lb cotton card stock, and used a local print shop to print everything from save the dates, wedding invitation (English and in Vietnamese), and thank you cards. We loved our save the dates. It was a cartoon photo of us drawn by Chinh.
When shopping for venues, it was challenging because we weren’t in Portland and we both have big families! We saved a lot of money by signing with Hotel Jupiter Next before it was even built. It was a large gamble because it was just a piece of land. We had to use our imagination with blue prints of the building. Also, Hotel Jupiter Next was an upgraded sister version of Hotel Jupiter that’s successful so that made us more confident in signing ahead with them. Signing with The Jupiter Hotel was our biggest cost saving. We got to curate our wedding without any limitations on vendors & caterers. The venue matched our wedding design. We are extremely grateful to have our wedding at Jupiter. Their entire team was awesome, and so accommodating to us especially the marketing team: Amber Garrow, Louis Miller, and Eden Crown.
We saved a lot by picking our own separate independent caters. Pearl Catering was our main cater for au d’oeuvres and 3 course plated dinner. Trinh Vietnamese catering company catered our tea ceremony and Asian finger food for the reception. For drinks, Stirred Bartending crafted 5 of our favorite cocktails and served open bar. Huge savings was that we supplied all the alcohol and mixers. We also had pizza from Sizzle Pie Pizza (one of the best pizza joints in Portland) for late night grub for our partying guests.
Another way we saved was that we paid some of our vendors in full beforehand.
I first saw my gown in editorials. It was the only dress I was drawn to —simple, structured, and feminine. But being indecisive, I wanted something modest and long sleeve (Miranda’s Kerr’s 2nd wedding dress). After trying on several dresses like that with no likes, my sister Cindy located the gown I was drawn to in Minneapolis. Together we went to try it on. As I stepped out of the fitting room with the gown on, she gasped and just gushed, “this is the one!” Unfortunately the store In Minneapolis only had it in size 6. I was hesitant to purchase it there because of all the alterations it required. I came home, and searched everywhere online for it in size 2. Luckily I came across it online on Once Wed. It was perfect because It was 70% off retail price, and required minimal alterations since the bride was practically my size. She wore it as her 2nd gown for only an hour. After negotiating and purchasing it. It was shipped to me within a week. I felt that visceral feeling brides of finding the dress the moment I tried it on.
“When wedding planning, it’s so easy to get caught off guard with the show of things, and forget about the sacred commitment of your marriage that you’re about to embark on.”
Wedding are as complicated as you want them to be. Its easy to keep on adding to make it perfect. Our advice is when you look back 10 years from now, will those things matter? For us, we had a list of our top 5 and made those our priority. Everything else was secondary, and omitted if i didn’t fit into our budget.
One of our best wedding planning decisions was choosing Maria Lamb as our photographer. Our wedding photos are beyond our expectations. From the beginning through to the end, Maria went the extra mile and was constantly there for us. She helped us setup our challenging wedding timeline, finalize last decisions, and referred us to our amazing florist team, Ponderosa and Thyme (which were an absolute dream to work with). On our wedding day, we felt like we’ve known Maria forever. We were so at ease with her by our side. She captured moments of our wedding that unfolds our day beautifully. We couldn’t possibly imagine a more perfect wedding without her there. Our closing advice is to carefully choose and invest in your wedding photographer.
Lynda’s Planning Tips:
- Hire a day of coordinator.
Have a good MC. Ours was Michael’s cousin, Dr. Tam Dinh. She’s fluent in English and Vietnamese. She introduced the wedding party, family, and worked w’ our wedding DJ to keep the reception running smoothly.
When packing, start early! If you’re leaving the next day for your honeymoon, have a separate luggage from your wedding luggage ready to go.
Have a good garment steamer especially in bridal suite.
MUAH: do not skip out on trail run! I am so thankful to have met with Gigi and Ava the day before our wedding. I really enjoyed working with them. Seeing and reviewing over my wedding day look beforehand made the wedding morning flow better and fun.
Do not invest too much time and money in your welcome bags. We had personalize canvas bags filled w’ Portland, OR baguette and olive oil/ vinegar that went to waste.
Reuse your florals: We reused our church center pieces and bridesmaid bouquets to fill in our wedding reception.
Having a separate room for kids and buffet for them was really appreciated by parents.
Have backup seating and layout chart printed and ready for all your vendors. Highly recommend this, and having pocket size wedding day info/ timeline cards printed for each guest.
Be sure to eat and stay hydrated throughout the day. If it’s in your budget, hire a videographer or designate someone to record highlights of your wedding.
Dress – Sachin and Babi Noir Bridal Off The Shoulder Nicole Gown in Ivory // Location- Portland, OR // Wedding Ceremony – The Grotto Portland, Wedding Tea Ceremony & Reception – The Jupiter Next Hotel // Photographer – Maria Lamb Photography // Makeup- GIGI makeup artist referred by Michelle Phan // Hair- Ava Alexzandra // Design- Lynda Trieu // Shoes- Alaia (Similar) & Louboutin // Cake- Jaciva // Florist- Ponderosa and Thyme, Katie Davis // Invitation suite – Mr. Chinh Nguyen // Groom’s suits- J.Crew Ludlow Tuxedos // Bridesmaid dresses – Jarlo from Bloomingdales // Earrings- vintage Lanvin (gift from MOH) // Cocktails: Stirred Bartending // Catering: Pearl Catering