Couples commission me to be their personal image maker during their entire wedding experience, not just the wedding day.
There is simply nothing like the warm feeling of owning a full collection of images that remind you of your loved ones. It’s beautiful.
Linh and Tien Anh were part of the same circle of friends during their high school years in Hanoi, but they only started dating later in Boston.
It’s common for Vietnam’s best and brightest to attend college in other countries, which is how Tien Anh ended up at Harvard and Linh at Macalester. Some of their outstanding friends made during these years actually took the long trip from America to celebrate with them at home.
We first made portraits over several days in the Boston area, including a few images in one of their wedding outfits per Vietnamese custom.
Then I spent two weeks in Hanoi shooting multiple ceremonies and traditional events.
It is my pleasure to make photographs during every moment you spend with your loved ones during your wedding journey.
Two historic John Hancock buildings reflected in the façade of Boston's John Hancock Tower
Tien Anh loves to play for Linh
Linh getting ready for the first ceremony in her home in Hanoi
The family laughs together
The family's men await the arrival of the groom's entourage
Prepping the family altar and gifts to-be-exchanged
Tien Anh receives relatives arriving at his family's home
A parade of young men carry ceremonial gifts from Tien Anh's parents to Linh's family home
Tien Anh's mother makes sure everything is just right
Upon arrival in the neighborhood the entire parade waits; it is essential to be on time, neither early nor late
The young men ascend several stories into Linh's home where they are received by young female counterparts
Gifts are placed in Linh's front room, a small space already filled her her family's elders
Tien Anh waits outside while the parents and elders conduct ceremonial gift exchanges
Several Vietnamese photographers and videographers - shooting in a more traditional posed style - ensured the parents got the images they wanted
The bride and groom pay respects to her family's elders at the altar, a standard feature of every Vietnamese home
Once parental 'negotiations' are complete the couple is united and presented, technically the beginning of their marriage
Straightening up before entering the first reception together
It is customary for the couple to share a toast with guests at every table
Finally the couple gets a moment alone
Tien Anh dutifully irons Linh's dress before we make more portraits
Outside Hanoi's famous Temple of Literature, built in 1070 AD
Prepping for ceremony number two, a week after the first one
Linh's mother (left) and her aunts each wearing traditional formal attire
The couple's mothers exchange gifts; this is the day Linh leaves her family home and moves in with the groom's family
The couple processes to the groom's home with great fanfare
Inside Tien Anh's family home, prayers to loved ones who have passed
The groom's family welcomes Linh with jewelry and gifts
A third dress for another reception
An exhausted bride in the hotel following the reception
A pure gold necklace is one of dozens of gold pieces that make up Linh's dowry
Cars in Hanoi are in the minority; people travel in swarms of mopeds