Full of joy, laughter and love, we are blessed to share with you this unforgettable Nixon Library wedding of Michelle and Steve.
First, you’ve got to hear their love story.
how they met (her side)
I saw him walking around the room and thought he was pretty cute. Being the super friendly person that I am, I went up to him and introduced myself. Imagine my surprise and embarrassment when he said we had met the previous year. I tried to brush it off and pretended like I remembered but that didn’t work. Throughout the night we talked here and there and I knew this guy was something when we realized we didn’t have candles for the cake and he snuck off to buy some. At the end of the night, everyone was standing outside Kevin’s house deciding on what to do next. I was under strict curfew so couldn’t continue the festivities, which made me sad that I wouldn’t be able to spend more time getting to know this mystery guy.
Shortly thereafter, he friended me on Facebook and I stalked his entire thing looking at his pictures and info, in a non-creepy way of course. I saw his AIM screen name and added it to my buddy list, but of course, I wouldn’t be the first one to message him. When he messaged me I was SO excited. It felt completely like a school-girl crush. Over the next couple days we continued talking via AIM and decided to meet up again. When he opened the car door for me I was a goner (chivary is not dead!) What was supposed to be a lunch turned into an all-afternoon hangout.The rest as they say is history! I don’t think he’s ever forgiven me for not remembering him the first time we met though 😉
how they met (his side)
Michelle and I first met in March 2009. I remember this because it was my cousin Kevin’s 21st birthday during my 3rd year of med school. Sadly, Michelle does not remember this encounter, but I understand because she had just started dating someone and was very into him. Fortunately, one of the several strange things my cousin did that night was to have all in attendance at the party sign the white tie he was wearing. Incidentally, or serendipitously, we signed our names next to each other.
Just about one year later, at Kevin’s 22nd birthday, I saw Michelle again. At that time, she was doing something I thought strange at the time, but now understand. She was separating the meat and fat parts from bacon slices because Kevin wanted 50/50 beef and bacon burgers. We started chatting and getting to know one another, and one of the few things I remember from that conversation was when she not-so-tactfully asked, “so when are you going to start making real money?” At the time, I thought she was a gold digger, but in retrospect I will take it as her getting ahead of herself and planning for the future 😉 The other thing I remember from that night was that when it came time to present the cake, I noticed we did not have any candles and volunteered myself (in an effort to appear especially thoughtful) to run to the market to get some. As the night winds down and we get set to leave, I muster up the courage to ask her to hang out. She cool-y responds, “come find me at the business school.”(thankfully, the first and last time she tried playing hard to get). I knew that would not be so simple, especially because I did not even know where the business school was, but I needed to keep my cool fascade as well, “I don’t know where that is…” We go back and forth on this for a while, when suddenly Hoang jumps in, saying “You two should exchange numbers and hang out together!” At that point, Michelle and I had gone too far down the cool route, and neither of us budged in exchanging contact information.
I give it a week or so, as the TV rules had taught me, and decided I would AIM instant message her(If you’re wondering, yes this pains me to say). We chat-chitted a bit and eventually exchanged phone numbers. Some time later, I called her, and was disappointed because she did not pick up. She called me back while I was at target(I remember this vividly somehow), and when I asked what her plans were for later that day, she explained how she had come from 2 meetings earlier in the morning, then was in class when I called, then had 2 or 3 more meetings for various campus organizations the rest of the day. I asked if she wanted to get together that weekend, and that would be our first date.
romantic proposal (her side)
A week before it happened, my best friend and roommate Christina suggested we do a photoshoot as we hadn’t done one in awhile. I was down until she suggested we do it at UCI. I was reluctant since it’s far and we had done multiple photoshoots there. She eventually convinced me, especially after telling me our roommate Claire would be joining us.
We got to UCI and started doing the photoshoot as planned. We went around the school and Christina said we should go back to the park. It seemed repetative to me but I brushed it off. We started walking towards the middle of Aldrich Park where there is a small hill (which happened to be the site of Steve and my’s first date). As we were walking up the hill, I saw a bunch of rose petals and candles. Even then I was clueless and thought someone had done something really romantic previously and didn’t clean up.
Then I turned around and saw Steve walk up the hill. I was so confused and was wondering why he was there. How dare he intrude on girl time! Then I saw that he was in his tux and it all started clicking and I naturally started to freak out! He walked me over to a rock and proceeded to go down on one knee, at which point Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up” started playing in the background.
He said a bunch of incredibly sweet things, half of which I can’t remember because I was crying so much and couldn’t believe that it was actually all happening. I managed to get a yes out (which I had to repeat haha), Steve dropped the ring but eventually got it on, and I couldn’t be happier! What an AMAZING surprise 🙂
romantic proposal (his side)
Michelle asked me a while back, “so when was it that you were first like, ‘I see myself marrying this chick'”. I want to say that for me, it wasn’t a suddenly revelation, but moreso something that came with time. The first I recall talking about it, however, was somewhere at the beginning of 2013. By chance, or perhaps again serendipitously, we went to quite a few weddings in 2013. That included four or five in the month of May alone. Following that was Michelle’s cousin Huy and Kelly’s wedding in October. So naturally, by December the pressure was ratcheted up. At a Christmas party, one of Michelle’s aunts asked me in a manner such that everyone present could hear, when I was planning to propose, and pressed me for a date because she had vacations and parties that she had to plan around. The following weekend, at another Christmas party, Michelle’s mom pulled me aside to ask the same question. I told some time at the beginning of April, because ever since conversation on this topic had began, I tentatively decided on Spring 2014. Part of this, I must admit, stemmed from Michelle reminding me that at one point in our relationship, I had expressed strongly wanting to be engaged or married when I was at most 30 years old.
A few months later, Michelle’s parents and I scheduled a meeting that took place on the day she was heading out of town for work (see picture to right). Her parents and I had a nice discussion. They brought up expectations, then I fumbled with Vietnamese(as they helped me translate) in asking for their daughter’s hand in marriage.
I had been thinking about various ideas. I was originally planning on proposing in a large setting of our family and friends, because I recalled Michelle thoroughly enjoying my friend Trang’s YouTube famous flash mob. During our sit down, however, Michelle’s mom said that when she asked Michelle how she would like me to propose, she said “I already told him something with just us two.” Clearly I had forgotten this, but in my defense the conversation was several months prior. I looked over the list that I had kept of potential proposal locations. On the top of the list was always UC Irvine since we had met there, but I’d also considered other places. Some of them were Angel Knoll’s park from the movie 500 days of Summer- unfortunately the park has been closed down/out of commission for some time. Runyon canyon, which has a nice view. Downtown Disney- an idea from my patient who got proposed to there and high “recommended” it. Disneyland in front of sleeping beauty’s castle- it’s definitely been done, maybe because of the convenience of the employee taking your picture anyway. And the Rose Bowl- they started doing tours recently. I discussed with various people- my sister, Aarin, Anh and Pauline, and Bao. At this point, I would like to express appreciation to my sister, who sat with me as we Google’d “best proposal ideas” and looked through all sorts ideas that ranged from incredibly simple, corny to outrageously impractical. Aarin helped me choose between the two I’d narrowed it down to: UCI and The Rose Bowl. He made me realize that there was sentiment behind the UCI idea and nothing but self-centeredness behind the Rose-Bowl idea-my reasoning was “Well, I live in Pasadena,” lol. Ultimately, my cousin Bao, who is probably the most clever and creative person in the world, helped me come up with the idea to fool Michelle into thinking she was going to a photo shoot, which would have the benefit that she would be nicely dressed for the occasion.
The tricky thing about this idea was that it was going to involve her friend Christina, who is an amateur photographer, but who also has not had the best track record with keeping things on the down low. I decided on this idea about a month before it happened, but held out until only about one week before telling Christina. Our phone conversation went something like, “Hey Christina, I need you to do me a big favor. I need you to take Michelle to UCI for a photoshoot next saturday.” “Ok, but can you at least confirm for me that this is what I think it is for?” “No, I can’t. But I need you to be on your A game(in keeping this a secret) for this one. Can you do that for me?” She agreed. I freaked out for a second, because I realized Michelle, who was taking a shower, was out of the shower at the point I’d hung up. I was outside with the door closed, but she has good hearing. Luckily, she didn’t hear.
I started prepping for the day. I got the idea to wear a tux for the proposal, because in high school her friend Frank had asked her to prom while wearing a tuxedo, sweating heavily under a gazebo. She was flattered by this, and I thought it would be nice to do something similar. I own a tux, but the trouble is that I had bought it several years earlier, before skinny pants were a thing, and the pant legs were like parachutes. I found an awesome tailor who altered the tux for me in time.
On Friday, the day before the proposal, I had the day off to get some last minute organizing in. I had not been to “the spot” in several years, so had to go back to UCI to find it to let Christina know where it was. My sister and mom were very eager to see the location, so I brought them. We walked through campus and got to the spot, all the while my mom was taking selfies-lol. She made up for it by suggesting over and over that there be rose petals on the ground, and she even offered to get them for me. Other than that, I remember being very annoyed that there was a bunch of trash and cigarette butts and I started kicking them around in vain.
The morning of, after going out to pho breakfast(this is important because it had been a while since I had pho in Westminster) with my mom and Mike, we went to Target to look for some candles. I must have spent 15 solid minutes choosing between actual candles, battery operated candles, and the religious candles which were cheap but not fitting for the occasion. I went home, quickly showered and put on my tux, and was about to head out of the house when my mom reminded me to get the ring. I was glad I didn’t forget to bring the ring to the proposal. On my way to UCI, I stopped by the market to get some roses, both for the petals and for the one rose that I would give her in the spirit of the reality show “The Bachelor.” I remember not wanting to attract attention as I walked into the supermarket with my tux, but then being disappointed when I did not receive said attention-lol. By this point, Christina texted me that the crew(their roommate Claire had also come to be a part of it) was just about ready and I sped like a convict to UCI. When I get there, I start briskly walking/jogging to the spot, with what by now has amassed to two full and heavy bags of candles, roses, and the jambox I was borrowing from Mike. There was a lady sleeping on one of the rocks next to where I was going to propose, and I didn’t want to kick her out, so I said, “I’m about to propose to my girlfriend here, but you can stay if you want.” She says, “oh… no. I will leave, I must leave,” and scampered off. By this point I’m perspiring a bit, but start setting the candles in place. I then get to work on the roses, and it was trickier than expected to transform the rose into petals. I set the jambox in place and then went to hide in this cove-like area. From my secret spot, I saw the girls approaching and my heart started beating faster. When they got to the designated location, I start trotting up the hill while trying to turn on the music. It would not sync with the jambox but this was no time to fool around with technical difficulties. I just put the phone playing into my pocket and continued up the hill. I then approached Michelle, who looked surprised. I had her get on top of a rock that I had pre-selected and proceeded to get down onto one knee. I had a few things I wanted to say, inspired by the guy I saw propose to his girlfriend on the spaceneedle while reading a 3×5″ notecard. I did not have a notecard, however, and in the heat of the moment I said what I could remember. I paused for a second, realizing she had not verbally responded to my asking “Will you marry me,” and prompted her for an answer. After she said yes, I tried putting the ring on her finger. My hands were a tad shaky so the ring fell, but I quickly picked it up and put it onto her finger. Kudos to you for making it through my long winded story 🙂
the wedding day
Michelle and Steve had a beautiful ivory and mint wedding.
In memory of her grandparents, Michelle had their photos by her side all day on her bridal bouquet.
From the moment we arrived, there were so many picture perfect moments.
Michelle, you were stunning.
Michelle rocked this beautiful Theia Couture wedding gown.
Seriously one of our favorite groomsmen photos ever. Love these guys.
After Michelle and Steve’s first look
Steve, best pose ever.
Heading out to the elegant Nixon library
An awesome bridal party
It was so amazing to capture this deeply-in-love and beautiful couple.
As the sun started to set, it was time to get ready for their fabulous wedding reception.
Their ivory and mint ombre wedding cake
Their hilarious grand entrance
Seriously, Michelle and Steve, can you give us a lesson? I want David to carry me on the dance floor just like Steve carried Michelle here. Love it!
Guests enjoyed an awesome slow motion video booth.
And a fabulous A La Minute ice cream booth (Have you tried their awesome ice cream?)
The victorious garter toss winner
Ended the night with gorgeous romantics with these beautiful lovebirds
Michelle and Steve, we’ve had non-stop fun hanging out with you two. You both are such beautiful people inside and out. It made it so easy to capture. May God richly bless you both in your marriage and in the rest of your lives together as you continue to win over the hearts of people all around you two!
With all our love,
The DPARK Family
- Nixon Library Wedding Photographers | D. Park Photography + Associate Cara
- Getting Ready Venue | Embassy Suites | 900 E. Birch St, Brea, CA 92821
- Ceremony Venue | San Antonio Catholic Church | 5800 East Santa Ana Canyon Road, Anaheim Hills, CA 92807
- Reception Venue | Richard Nixon Library | 18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard, Yorba Linda, CA 92886
- Wedding Planner | Cindy of AC Weddings + Events
- DJ | Jason of Visions Entertainment
- Videographer | Encor Studio
- Florist | Oceanic Flowers
- Makeup | Makeup by Hanna Choi
- Caterer | Anaheim White House
- Cake | Portos
- Invitations | Wedding Paper Divas
- Limo | White Rose Limousine
- Bridal Gown | Theia Couture
- Bridal Shoes | Alice + Olivia
- Bridesmaids Gowns | BHLDN
- Groomsmen Tux | Friar Tux
- Slow Motion Video Booth | Surf City Photobooths
- Ice Cream Booth | A La Minute
- Wedding Colors | Mint + Champagne
Check out their jawdropping Los Angeles engagement here.