Archive for November 2013

Kira & Holden


About a month ago I took these photos for Kira & Holden. Kira is a friend of my sister's, she was part of the group of friends that participated in this casual photoshoot. Kira and Holden just got engaged only a few days before taking these photos. She's a planner. So she already had a photographer lined up for engagment/wedding photos (!) but she hired me to do her save-the-dates.

We took these at the Trinity International University library since both Kira & Holden are students and both love reading.

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Wedding Photos (by Thomas Pham Photography)

So it's been FIVE months since our wedding! I'm finally getting around to sharing some of my favorite photos from our wedding. My most favorite shots are mostly portraits or detail shots. I told our photographer that I was especially interested in getting detail shots of the decor because I essentially made everything (with lots of help from family)!

I spent about 6 months searching for the perfect photographer (in our budget) for our wedding. Finding the right photographer was literally THE MOST important thing to me. After all your hard work for months and months, the wedding is over in a day... but if you have great photos you can remember and relive the day over and over again just by looking at the images. Our photographer actually gave us a HUGE discount for the amount of work he did (we sent him a bonus :D ). And my husband loved him. Which is definitely a plus because my husband HATES getting his picture taken, but our photographer made him feel comfortable and relaxed enough to smile and pose in the photos. :)

So without further ado... wedding photos!

All photography done by the talented Thomas Pham of Thomas Pham Photography.

I did all the flower arrangements myself. This was my inspiration photo for my arrangements. I bought the real flowers and greens in bulk online at, and some fake flowers and red berries on sale at Michael's or thrift stores. I put together all the bouquets and my grandma did the boutonnieres and corsages and my sister did all the vase arrangements.

The house where we took the getting-ready photos belongs to a family in our church. They have a gorgeously remodeled home half a block from Lake Michigan. They have an attic space that they remodeled but don't really use and I asked if I could use it for about an hour to take these pictures, I'm so glad they were so gracious about it! It was the perfect space! Especially since we were doing a first look and bridal party photos at the park on the lake just down the street. 

Our photographer lived in the same neighborhood we were having the wedding, and since our wedding was mid-day we decided to do the getting-ready, first look, and bridal party photos in the morning. Then our photographer could go home for a couple hours before the wedding actually started. It worked out fantastic!

It was SO cold down by the lake. It was cloudy and chilly, plus the wind coming right off the lake was cutting into our skin. And the ground was really muddy because it rained the night before, so our heels kept sinking into the ground. I'm glad all that doesn't show in the photos. 

I really wanted teal bridesmaid dresses (one of the wedding colors). My sister had hers made back in Cambodia while she was there with my family. She then mailed me pieces of the same fabric used for her dress. I in turn then mailed the fabric to my other two bridesmaids so they could buy their own dresses, but try to color-match as close as possible. The dresses all turned out to be very close in color and actually had a slight ombre look. 

In case anyone is wondering, I bought my veil and flower headpiece from Etsy. The pearl earrings and headband I borrowed from my sister and the necklace is mine.

The lace backdrop for our wedding is homemade. My grandma was a HUGE help with this part. She is an excellent sewer and quilter, so she was perfect to help with this part. She and I bought yards and yards of lace from thrift stores (white, ivory and blush), cut them into strips and sewed them together to reach lengths of 5 yards each. My grandma also let us use her vintage lace curtains as tablecloths (my mom also used the same curtains as tablecloths in HER wedding!)

Our church has a metal rod used for hanging fabric decorations that goes for half the length of the room. We sewed loops onto the ends of each lace "ribbon" and hooked them onto wooden rods painted white and then attached those to metal rod. We also borrowed white-wired christmas lights from friends to hang amongst the lace ribbons. 

My daughter, Aria, was supposed to be a flower girl with her cousin Josie, but when the time came for her to go, she decided to walk with me instead. The day before she had been left to be watched by other people, so she was especially clingy the day of the wedding. :)

I asked my dad and my sister if they could perform a song at the wedding. They actually did two. My sister has an AMAZING voice, and my dad is also very talented so of course it was beautiful. They sang "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri (but this version of the song), and 

Indian samosas from a local shop, King Sweets, which is my favorite place to go for jalebis, burfi and samosas.

I decided that since our wedding was midday, we wouldn't have an actual meal. So of course what to serve but cheese and crackers? Yum. I did a lot of research as to what kinds of cheeses, crackers and accompaniments we should have. I bought a variety of all kinds of cheese and crackers (mostly from Trader Joe's), but the goat cheeses (I bought 3 kinds) were definitely a favorite. No leftovers of those! 

Literally THE ONLY THING that my husband wanted to have at the wedding were these eggrolls. A family friend is from Laos, and she usually makes these eggrolls to sell for various fundraisers (because they are so labor intensive). I asked her if she could make them for our wedding and she said that she would do it for free as a wedding gift! They were delicious of course and everyone loved them. (My husband hoarded all the leftovers.)

For the desserts I decided I wanted a buffet-style dessert. That way guests could have choices and it would be less expensive than ordering a cake to feed everyone. I asked friends and family if they could make desserts for the wedding. To keep it all unified I selected specific flavors (vanilla, chocolate, lemon and strawberry) that both my husband and I love that could be used in various kinds of sweets. 

I actually made mini cheesecakes (not pictured) a month before and froze them, defrosted them and served them at the wedding! They were delicious. :) We also had lemon bars, brownies, mini strawberry pies, regular-sized cheesecake, chocolate-covered strawberries and two cakes. The actual cakes were vanilla cake filled with lemon curd and frosted with white chocolate buttercream. The cakes were made by my aunt, who is a fantastic baker. They were amazing.

The sun decided to come out after the wedding, and the photographer decided he wanted to take more portraits! He had scoped out a few locations ahead of time where we stopped to take photos on our way back down to the lakefront.

I like this one ^^ just because of the background. It makes me laugh. The fish are a mural painted on the wall of a walkway underneath some train tracks.

Even though the sun was out and it was warmer, it was still very windy down by the lake (thank you Chicago). You can see the affect the wind had on the pictures... ties blowing everywhere. :)

Again, all photos by Thomas Pham Photography.

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