Hien and Eugene’s serendipitous meeting led to their romance and eventually the proposal in the South of France. For the travel loving couple, Maui was an easy decision. Eugene is Australian and Hien is Canadian and Hawaii was the exact middle ground for both sides of their friends and family. The always-beautiful Olowalu Plantation House offered breathtaking scenery and Couture Events helped the couple design an intimate day that combined cultural traditions and relaxed romance.From the Vietnamese tea ceremony, to the ocean view ceremony, to the garden reception under climbing banyan trees and dressed in florals by Mandy Grace Designs, the day oozes casual elegance and it’s all captured to perfection by photographer Trish Barker.
Will you briefly share your love story (how you met, the proposal)?
We met by pure coincidence. Eugene was new to Toronto, having lived in Toronto for only about a few weeks when we first met. He moved from Shanghai, where he lived for 3 years for a job. He was invited to a party by a few people he had randomly met at a restaurant. It turns out the party was taking place in the common entertainment room of my friend’s apartment building. Funny enough, that night I received a text from my friend telling me to come to the party, and by pure coincidence I was passing by in front of her apartment and naturally, joined the party. I don’t actually remember when we first met at the party, but I do remember at some point in the night he asked me a lot of questions and I was getting really tired of answering them! He then gave me his email at the end of the night. He was so new to Toronto that he didn’t have a cell phone yet.
We dated for about 3 years and lived together for about 2 years prior to the proposal. He completely swept me off my feet and surprised me. We love to travel and so for Thanksgiving we went to the South of France — we’ve been before and absolutely love it there. I actually didn’t know we were going to the South of France until we go to the airport. I usually take the lead in planning our trips, and this time I insisted Eugene plan it, which he agreed to do, but in return, I had to agree to not ask about the trip — even where we were going It didn’t occur to me that he was going to propose, even when I knew of where we were going because we’ve been to the South of France before and said we’d go back when we had the chance. We stayed in a town called Eze which is located on a cliff between Monaco and Nice. Eugene proposed the first night we were in Eze, and completely caught me by surprise. We were sitting at the hotel terrace (common area for guests) and he said he had to run back to the room to go to the washroom — he has a thing about public washrooms, so I didn’t think anything of it — and when he came back he got down on one knee with the ring and proposed. I initially thought he was joking and actually said — don’t, don’t, don’t do it. I then figured out he was being serious and of course said yes. We topped off the night by heading into Monaco to celebrate. The evening was so memorable and fun!
How did you select Hawaii as your destination?
Picking Maui was an easy decision for us. Eugene is Australian and I am Canadian. Hawaii was the exact middle ground for both sides of our friends and family.
What was your vision for the day?
It was very important for us that the wedding be classy/elegant but not stuffy. We wanted to create an intimate feeling and let our guests know how appreciative we were that they all traveled so far to celebrate our wedding day (more like week!). Overall, we wanted the day to be fun, and stress free.
Please tell us about the style you were going for (flowers, outdoor setup, etc.).
I would use the following words to describe the style we were going for: classic, simple, elegant, vintage, natural, romantic. Colours we stuck with were primarily cream and green, with grey blue as our accent.
We’d love to know about your dress! Who was the designer?
I LOVE my dress — wish I can wear it again and again! The dress is by Lea-Ann Belter a local Toronto designer. The dress was actually two parts. The main dress is called Divine by Astrid & Mercedes. I then had a lace top made, but in the same lace fabric as the skirt of my main dress. I wore both pieces during the ceremony and for most of the photos, during the reception, I took off the lace top.
Any other special details you’d like to share.
We also had a Vietnamese tea ceremony before the Western tea ceremony. The ceremony starts off with the groom’s side of the family bringing gifts to the bride’s side of the family. The groom’s father asks the bride’s father for permission for his son to marry the bride-to-be. Once gifts are exchanged the bride and groom then serve tea to the parents and in return, the parents provide advice for a happy marriage. Following that, the groom’s family puts on jewelry for the bride as a symbol of welcoming her into their family.
Coordination: Couture Events // Floral Designer: Mandy Grace Designs // Photographer: Trish Barker // Venue: Olowalu Plantation House // Bridal Gown & Lace Top: Lea-Ann Belter // Stylist: MeiLi Autumn Beauty // Cinematographer: Hawaii Video Memories // Ribbon: Adorn // Officiant: Pia Aluli // Caterer: Cater 2 U // Cocktail Service: Garnish Craft Cocktail Catering // Ceremony + Cocktail Musician: M. Tevaga // DJ: DJ Boomshot // Rentals: Signature Event Rentals / Inspiration Event Rentals // Table Top Rentals: Set Maui // Guest Transportation: Speedi Shuttle