Hyatt Regency Sacramento and The Asian Pearl Restaurant | Mary & Paul ~ A Philadelphia Love Story in Sacramento

Wriiten by Allison Hopkins for Très Fabu Event Planning and Design

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.  When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”  ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Paul & Mary Luu reside in Sacramento, California. For their chosen professions, Paul is an Anesthesiologist and Mary is a Clinical Pharmacist. They both love to travel, experience different cultures, and try new foods.

How They Met

Mary and Paul met through a mutual friend when they were both living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for school. They did not date at the time, but kept in touch throughout the years.  They didn’t start dating until four years later, when he was in his final year of anesthesia residency in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and she had already moved back to California. They had a long distance relationship until he graduated from residency and moved back to California.

The Engagement

For their one-year anniversary of dating, Paul took Mary to Hawaii. She didn’t really suspect anything until the day he was going to propose. She had gotten herself a fun costume jewelry ring from the Chanel boutique as a souvenir of their trip, while shopping earlier that day. When she showed it to him he said, “That’s not a ring!” He said it a few more times, and that’s when she got a tiny bit suspicious. He didn’t propose at dinner though, so then she forgot about it.

After dinner that night they went for a walk on the beach. He picked a spot in the sand to sit down and watch the ocean in the moonlight. He then asked if he could see the ring that she had bought that day, because he wanted to get a better look at it. After looking at it again he said, “That’s not a ring….(long pause)…THIS is a ring!” He then pulled out a box with the engagement ring, and asked Mary if she would marry him! It truly WAS a ring, and she quickly took off the Chanel ring so that he could put the new engagement ring onto her finger. He proposed to Mary with a beautiful 2.5-carat center stone on a platinum band. He then explained all of the research that he had put into choosing the perfect ring, regarding clarity, cut, color, table depth ratio, culet, and all of these things about a diamond that she had never even heard of before. She was extremely impressed.

The Wedding

Their wedding was on December 18, 2010 in Sacramento, California. They had a traditional Vietnamese ceremony in the morning, where the groom’s side of the family comes to the bride’s house. His side of the family lined up in a procession in front of her house before coming in, and then presented red trays of gifts that contained jewelry for the bride and wine, tea, fruits, and cookies for her family. Over 100 of their “closest” family members, on both her side and Paul’s side, came to her house for the ceremony. It is customary for the groom’s side to then bring the bride back to the groom’s house, but since his house was far away, they brought the ceremony to the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento, and that represented the groom’s house. The ceremony was held in the Capitol Room, which overlooked the California State Capitol. They had a tea ceremony and then had a wedding lunch. The wedding reception in the evening was held at the Asian Pearl restaurant. Their guests were treated to a 10-course dinner, open bar, and entertainment by Mary’s favorite famous Vietnamese singer, Y Lan. Mary’s mom flew Y Lan and her entourage up from southern California to perform at the reception.

Interesting Tidbits:

For their Honeymoon, Mary and Paul went to: Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Malta.

Wedding Day Shoes: Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent. Mary bought her blue Louboutin wedding shoes months before even picking out her wedding dress! When she saw this pair in blue, she absolutely knew that those would be her “something blue.”

Wedding Gown: Demetrios

Vietnamese Wedding Dress (ao dai): custom-made by Thai Nguyen Couture

Engagement Ring and Wedding Band: Michael M.

Professional Event Vendor Team:

Event Design; Planning & Production: Debra Michelle Hiebèrt & Très Fabu Event Planning and Design
Wedding Reception Venue: The Asian Pearl
Wedding Tea Ceremony I: The Nguyen Family Residence – Riverlake
Wedding Tea Ceremony II: The Hyatt Hotel – Sacramento
Linens: Mimi & Company
Floral Design: Floral Artistry
Pipe/Drape: Classic Party Rentals
Lighting: BP Productions and Classic Party Rentals
Entertainment/Band: Y Lan from Southern California
Photography: David Kim Photography
Event Paperie: Yen Nguyen Designs
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals
Wedding Gown: Demetrios
Shoes: Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent
Wedding Cake: Divine Desserts

The Asian Pearl Restaurant | A Bride and Groom are Speechless in Sacramento . . . . . .

. . . . . After Two Ceremonies and a Fabulous Reception!

Written by Allison Hopkins for Très Fabu Event Planning and Design

At the end of the evening on May 15, 2010, Alvaro and Inthira Mendoza felt absolutely speechless. Their wedding day began at 10 o’clock that morning with an authentic Lao ceremony performed at home, followed by a traditional Catholic Hispanic wedding that afternoon at St. Rose church in Sacramento. The evening included a ten-course Chinese meal at The Asian Pearl, and dancing until midnight. Everything had gone off without a hitch and a total of 350 friends and family members had witnessed their vows and celebrated as the two families from very different cultures united.

Alvaro and Inthira are both the first generation from their families to arrive to the United States. Alvaro’s family is from Mexico and Inthira’s is from Laos, and although both families immigrated when the children were young, they continued to raise them with their traditional languages, customs, and food.

“Having two wedding ceremonies was very important to us because this shows that we are celebrating not only the unity of love but the unity of both families,” says Alvaro.

“Further, because our families have played an important part in our lives, we wanted to reflect both families’ cultures and traditions and also show the respect and love that we have for one another,” adds Inthira. “Usually I am the one who would plan and execute an event for my friends and family. But since I am the bride, I did not want this task to fall on any family member or friend…therefore we decided to hire an event planner. I think that was the best decision I have made, especially hiring Debra.”

With the help of Très Fabu Event Planning and Design and its team of fabulous vendors, a reflection of the couple’s individual cultures and traditions is exactly what was created…

The Lao Wedding: 10am-noon

Alvaro and Inthira began the first ceremony dressed in traditional Lao outfits that they had recently traveled to Laos to find. Inthira wore a red silk skirt with a matching wrap-around shirt with buttons on the sides and trimming from the skirt along the seams, and Alvaro wore red silk wrap-around pants and a golden jacket with gold chains that went across his chest. Inthira’s outfit was accompanied by a matching red scarf called “pra beang,” with gold beads hanging from the end. Alvaro wore special golden shoes that were shipped from Thailand—these shoes were his favorite part of his outfit, as this style was only worn by the royal family!

One hundred and fifty guests gathered at the home of Inthira’s parents in Elk Grove to join in the festivities. The decorations were kept simple for this ceremony, with tissue pom poms hung up in the backyard and the inside the house, hydrangeas and palm leaves at the entrance of the home, a mixture of lavender and white roses in the lunch table centerpiece, and white roses and white hydrangeas around the bowl (khan) that held the wedding rings.

“In the traditional Lao wedding, there is a lot of blessing for the bride and groom,” explains Inthira. “The significant part of the ceremony is the tying of the white string to the bride and groom. Tying the white strings also gives the chance for guests to give personnel messages and blessings to the couple.”

The ceremony was followed by a lunch that consisted of authentic Vietnamese and Lao food prepared by Inthira’s mother and also by a local restaurant. Inthira’s father introduced the newlyweds and thanked the guests for attending, announcing how happy he was to see both sides of the family together and enjoying the event!

The Catholic Hispanic Wedding: 3:30pm-4:30pm

After celebrating in Inthira’s true Lao style, the couple, along with 200 guests (some had attended the previous ceremony as well), arrived at St. Rose Church for a traditional Catholic ceremony. The wedding party consisted of three bridesmaids and three groomsmen (Alvaro’s three brothers). Alvaro stood at the altar dressed in a black Calvin Klein suit awaiting his bride…

Holding her father’s arm, Inthira made her way down the aisle in a beautiful mermaid-style gown with a cathedral train. Although Alvaro had seen Inthira earlier that day, he felt a lot of anticipation and excitement during this ceremony.

“The Catholic ceremony was very exciting because the groom does not get to see the bride until she comes through the front door,” he says. “It feels like you have not seen each other in a long time because you both see each other with more love than you can possibly describe. Everything goes by so fast that the only thing you remember is the last phrase when the priest says ‘you can now kiss the bride.’”

With the day’s events going by so quickly, the couple was thankful to have the local husband and wife photography team, Eye Connoisseur, and local videographer, Jonathan Knox, capturing it all.

The Reception: 6pm-midnight

By 6 o’clock that night, Alvaro and Inthira were ready to celebrate, dance, and enjoy a ten-course Chinese meal. Inthira had slipped into a pink dress with a shiny thread design—chosen because the hand-sewn decoration would shine better with the evening light.

“Inthira’s gowns were above amazing,” says Debra Hiebèrt of Très Fabu. “She belonged on the cover of an international glamour magazine!”

The Asian Pearl restaurant had been transformed into a magical place, with candles on the tables and tones of purple implemented perfectly throughout the table skirts, napkins, and centerpieces. Extreme Productions created a lavender logo that was shining on the white dance floor, accented by purple background lighting.

“Everyone we spoke to kept telling us how beautiful the reception looked,” says Inthira. “They love the decorations and the floral centerpieces on our head table.”

Floral Artistry provided all the arrangements for the reception, using an abundance of different types of orchids. One challenge was making sure the flowers could handle the spinning of the Lazy Susans that were used on the tables!

“She [Inthira] wanted really tall arrangements,” says Shelly McArdle of Floral Artistry. “We came up with tall cylinders and hung orchids on fishing line and also applied orchids to the outside of the vases.”

The couple chose to have a Lao band and a Spanish DJ, and while having a combination of music concerned them, Debra made sure that everything ran smoothly.

“Debra is beyond amazing,” says Inthira. “She is like a fairy godmother that listens and actually makes your dreams come true. What is great about Debra and her team is that they were with us the entire day without actually showing themselves until they were needed.”

After an endless variety of Chinese cuisine, guests enjoyed a triple berry wedding cake created by Divine Desserts. It was decorated with fresh purple orchids (provided by Floral Artistry), shiny silver rhinestones, sparkly silver ribbon, and silver plaques.

It truly was a full day of unity, happiness, and joy…as Alvaro and Inthira, along with their families and friends, made a promise to each other and began a life together.

“After meeting Debra, I knew at that moment that we just had to hire her,” says Inthira. “She is a great listener and her enthusiasm and professionalism is hard to find. Weddings are not complete without Très Fabu Event Planning and Design.”

For more information regarding the vendors, please go to:

Photography: Eye Connoisseur,

Flowers: Floral Artistry,

Lighting: Extreme Productions,

Cake: Divine Desserts,

Video: Jonathan Knox, 916.284.8563

Music: DJ—Francisco Martinez, 916.995.0622; Salika Band—Contact Sunn Phommavong, 916.233.8255

Party Rentals: Classic Party Rentals

Linens: Wildflower Linens, Mimi & Company

Al & Inthira’s Adventure Abroad for their Traditional Wedding Attire

Tres Fabu Event Planning and Design is excited to be a part of the Inthira and Al’s multi-cultural wedding day tomorrow.

We will start early with a home based Laos Traditional wedding ceremony with their appointed Monk ~ then be whisked off thereafter for their Traditional Catholic ceremony. It will be a day of bringing two families and two cultures together in wonderful harmony. They are expecting over 350 guests at their wedding reception! We kindly asked Inthira and Al share their adventures of finding the traditional heritage dress on their six-week trip to Laos last fall:

From our couple:

It was quite an adventure trying to find the right outfit to wear and all the jewels that enhance the colorful traditional wedding outfits. We went shopping almost everyday for the first two weeks looking for the right garment. But every morning before we head into the City of Laos to shop, Al and I would wake up at 6:00 a.m. to go to the local open air market to get rice porridge, coffee and rice on a stick. The market was right across the street from my grandmother’s house so it was very convenient for us. Although it was interesting to know that on days when we woke up at 7:00 a.m., all the rice porridge was sold out.

Somedays my uncle would take us into the city to shop and other days we would take the local taxi which is called the “tuk tuk”. From my grandmother’s house to the shopping mall, it would take about 30 mins. But we did not mind the drive at all because we love passing by the rich green rice fields and the fresh breeze of the morning and the relaxing and stress free atmosphere.

My younger cousin and her mother-in-law went with us the first couple times to help bargain. Almost everything in Laos could be bargained for….if you really wanted it that particular item. Also, since my younger cousin had recently bought her outfit for her wedding, it was easier for us to get a nice price for our red traditional outfit. Although, the shirt we got originally for Al was later exchanged and upgraded to a gold trim on the collar, buttons and sleeves. Al was pretty funny because he was very particular about his overall traditional Loas wedding look as well. The second outfit for me was a little bit of a challenge because we had to not only find the pink color but also the type of design that was sewn onto the fabric. And it was not an easy pick because there were so many stores and things just started to look the same. Also we did not have too much time at the store because all the merchants closes at 5pm. Which usually leaves us at about 3-4 hrs of shopping.

But once the outfits were found and purchased, we ended up getting the outfit late Friday night, just before our departure on Saturday morning back to the USA. Glad to say though that towards the end everything just fell into place and we were able to get the garment items we wanted in Laos for our American based ceremonies.

We are really looking forward to everything coming together tomorrow!