Kao and Mey have just proven you can pull off a fully attended, large wedding with only three months of planning. Here’s how it happened! Though they always intended to have a big, celebratory wedding, their Portland Pure Space wedding in October came years after they legally married. In fact they started their family shortly after a small, civil wedding and soon came Tristan, Caiden, and Averie. Life swept by with a family and all the busy-ness that goes with it. Then earlier this year Mey’s father took ill and she was suddenly faced with the realization she might have missed the chance for her father to walk her down the aisle.
Thankfully, her father recovered and Mey knew that without a doubt, she wanted to have the wedding they always intended. They were soon booking a venue, florists, and then photographer. They found us high on the list of Portland wedding photographers, and soon we joined their wedding team to pull off a beautiful wedding at Pure Space in the Pearl. They both wanted a wedding with more typical American customs than many of the family weddings they regularly attend. Mien traditions are very different than the more Western wedding Mey and Kao envisioned, so they found a mix of both to honor their families as well as their own wishes.
The day started early with Mey and her friends getting ready upstairs:
Chicka Boom Floral Studio had quite the task with flowers for the bridal party, cake, and over 40 tables in the event space! Mey’s bouquet included all the blooms used elsewhere and was perfect for an overcast day.
Mey and Kao chose to have a private first look together before we started portraits. They wanted to take all the portraits before their wedding ceremony so they could focus the rest of the day on guests, as well as their traditional tea ceremony after the Western ceremony.
Family portrait in wedding finery!
From there we walked around Portland’s famed Pearl District for some couple portraits of Kao and Mey. Kao mentioned while we were walking around how fun it would be if they could get some photos with the Portland Streetcar, but none were around so early in the morning on a gloomy Saturday. Not five minutes later one showed up for us and we quickly made use of it!
Pure Space Wedding Photos
Pure Space is a huge wedding venue, but one of the things that really sold Mey and Kao on it was the loft. It provided for a separate area for their wedding ceremony while the reception was already set up below in the main even area.
I love Kao’s enthusiasm!
After the Western ceremony, Kao and Mey honored their Mien heritage. They greeted the rest of their guests as they arrived in traditional Mien clothing – easier said than done for Mey with her big hat!
The Friendship Star Band serenaded their tea ceremony and guest welcoming.
It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of wedding, whether Mien, Thai, or standard Western – there’s always relatives taking pictures of the happy couple!
Mey referred to Averie as her “wild child” a bit earlier in the day. I couldn’t quite believe it. Averie was a model child getting ready, perfectly poised for the family photos and a general joy. It was only later in the day that we got an inkling, though she was still behaving perfectly. Her hair kind of says it all though!
The Mien part of the day was so visually interesting. We weren’t sure what else they had in store for us. Mey and Kao’s first dance was sweet rather than dramatic. But their guest list and the vast size of Pure Space added all the drama needed for this photograph!
Mey’s aunt is a famous singer in Thailand and sang several songs for Mey and Kao’s dancing party. The dancing went well on into the evening, and the guests kept pulling her back to the stage for more!
Just before we finished our Pure Space wedding photos for the evening, Kao and Mey honored the Western traditions of the bouquet and garter toss. They really wanted a mix of Western and Mien traditions and many of their guests later exclaimed to them about how different their wedding was. We’re so glad to have been a part of it all for them!