Indianapolis Vietnamese White River Gardens and Union Station Wedding // Jane & Sean
“I’ll love you more with every breath, truly, madly, deeply do.” // Savage Garden
This past Saturday I spent my day with two high school sweethearts at White River Gardens and Historic Union Station in Downtown Indianapolis as they finally tied the night starting a new chapter in their life that’s been over ten years in the making. Jane, Sean, and I all attended the same high school... you know... way back when. They have been dating literally ever since I can remember. It was wonderful to get the chance to document their big day, especially since I photographed their engagement session two years ago! But they’ve been busy becoming big, fancy, doctors in Kansas City!
With Jane being of Vietnamese decent the duo opted to have a traditional Vietnamese ceremony in the morning with close family and then a Western ceremony following in the afternoon at White River Gardens. After a big break in the day for photos and relaxing they joined their guests at Historic Union Station for dinner, drinks, and dancing as they sealed off the night with tons of fun before they had to pack their bags again to return home.
One of the things I was most obsessed with from their wedding was all of the traditional Vietnamese attire and culture. I could have possibly photographed Jane’s dress and details all day if someone had let me. (No one ever does though! Haha!) The colors in her Vietnamese dress seriously made my heart happy.
Tradition for a Vietnamese ceremony states that the event happens at the bride’s parents house. The groom and his family bring gifts and present them to the bride’s family as they are welcomed into the bride’s family’s home. The father of the bride starts by introducing himself and his family to the groom’s family and they do the same. Once the bride and groom are wed everyone is considered to be family. The bride’s family then lights candles to pay homage to their ancestors. The bride’s parents light (what looked like to me) incense sticks and let them burn in a little vase while praying. Then the bride and groom replicate this same process. Usually there is also a tea ceremony but in efforts to save time this portion of the wedding was skipped. After prayers they opened the gifts presents from the groom’s family and then enjoy food together and the families mingle and socialize.
After the Vietnamese ceremony I stole the bride and groom for a few portraits in her parent’s backyard.
Once all of the festivities of the Vietnamese ceremony wrapped up they went to White River Gardens, changed into traditional Western wedding attire (i.e. white dress and tux) and prepared for their second ceremony of the day!
So if you haven’t seen or attended a wedding at White River Gardens, do yourself a favor and take your chance now to soak it all in. This place is absolutely gorgeous. I loved all of the different little nooks and crannies filled with flowers and greenery to photograph in. All smack dab in the middle of Downtown Indianapolis. The ceremony was beautiful. I was obsessed with the backdrop covered in ivy.
Okay, real talk. The back of Jane’s white dress was seriously to die for. Plus, how adorable are they?! #KillinIt
These ladies are seriously the sweetest. Best bridesmaids ever. You can tell they’re all less like friends and more like sisters. And could I seriously get a more suave group of guys?! I think not. Seriously, they were the easiest group of wedding party members I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with!
See guys, I’m tellin’ ya. White River Gardens is where it’s at!! Check out all that greenery!!!
After White River Gardens we made our way to the Indiana War Memorial, which happens to be one of my favorite Downtown Indy photo locations! It’s such a gem!
We were fighting the rain the whole day, it was a roller coaster of emotions. And it went something like this:
- It rained in the morning, and then stopped! Yay!
- And then right after we finished photos at White River it started raining again... boo!
- But as soon as we got to the War Memorial it had stopped again! Yay!
- But then we got to the top and it was wiiiiiiinnnnnndddddyyyy... boo.
- But we toughed it out and got some great photos. Yay!
- And as soon as I put the couple in the final pose... it started raining again... BOO!
Seriously though, this group was such a group of troopers! Thanks for being champs y’all!
After the War Memorial we made our way to Union Station because honestly, that historic beaut deserves some photographing! Jane’s bridesmaids were champs again coming out for a few extra pictures.
Then the bride and groom did me a TOTAL solid and came back in to take some photos inside the venue. And finally... after photographing at Union Station four times I got the lighting just right and I made that big, beautiful, stained glass window my bitch and nailed the shot. #Boom #MicDrop
You heart that?? That's the sound of the mic dropping.
Seriously Sean... you are so GQ bro.
This mirror... with all this natural light... heart eyes for days!
I loved the pops of red in all of their florals! So beautiful and totally matched her Vietnamese dress! But my favorite was their cake with the cascading flowers and their adorable little birds on the top!
I know I always say that first dances are one of my favorite parts of the reception (arguably the wedding day) and while that statement still stands... toasts are slowly becoming my OTHER favorite part of the day. I just love listening to the stories told by their couple’s parents, friends, and siblings and all of the reactions from the guests and families. (I’m talking TEARS people... I LOVE ‘EM!) But definitely, hands down, my favorite speech from the day is good ‘ole, heart felt, DAD SPEECH. Jane’s dad did not disappoint. He told the story of how he came from Vietnam with a duffle bag of clothes, not being able to speak a word of English, in hopes of creating a better life for himself. He thanked his American parents (essentially host family) for providing for him and helping him get a job and learn to speak English. There were tears. There was hugging. Stephanie was a wreck. This ladies and gentlemen... is the American dream. And I was so honored to not only hear her father’s story but to document him telling it.
After speeches, toasts, and dinner; the bride and groom changed back into their Vietnamese attire and went from table to table to greet their guests and take a photo. According to Jane this is a very common practice in Vietnamese weddings that take place in America. I was just happy to document their time with their guests. But I was equally excited to capture one more photo of them in these super beautiful outfits!
Once they changed back into their outfits it was my most favorite time of the wedding. Yep... first dances. Man.. they just make me so happy on the inside! Maybe it’s the dancer in me. Maybe it’s my love of music. Maybe it’s cause I’m a hopeless romantic. Maybe it’s all three combined. But first dances and parent dances make me all weepy on the inside!
The night finished with drinking, dancing, and socializing with family and friends. Until everyone was too tired to stand! It was such a fun day!
Congratulations Jane and Sean! Thank you so much for having me join you on your extra special day. It was so great to spend the day with you and document all of your family, friends, and gorgeous memories. I’m so glad that that the kickoff wedding of my fall wedding season was spent with you and all of your special people! I know you guys have to return back to being doctors and helping people but whenever you do take your honeymoon in the spring I hope you both have the most fun! I wish you both years, and years, and EVEN MORE years of happiness. You both deserve every ounce of it!
Jane + Sean
Current City | Kansas City, MO
Jane | Resident Physician
Sean | Resident Physician
Vietnamese Ceremony | Bride’s Parent’s House
Western Ceremony | White River Gardens
Reception | Historic Union Station
Catering | Crown Plaza Union Station
Cake | Simply Perfection Cakes
Florals | The Carmel Florist
Hair + Makeup | Amanda Lyles
Bride’s Western Dress | Marie Gabriel :: OLVI’S
Bride’s Shoes | Niña
Bridesmaids Dresses | David’s Bridal
Groom's Attire | Tip Top Tux
Groomsmen Attire | Men's Warehouse
Entertainment | The Band Etc.
Reverend | Darren Chittick
Photo Booth | Happy Snaps Photo Booth
Second Photographer | Stephanie Duncan