Cirque du Soleil, Kurios

I remember my very first Cirque du Soleil show very well. It was in Vienna and around 16 years ago! I had heard of the name before but had absolutely no idea what to expect prior to the show.

I suppose because it was the first time i remember so many things because event though i have seen quite many other Cirque du Soleil shows ever since it will always be ALEGRIA that pops into my mind and the voice of their singer that i can hear so loud and clear singing  "Alegria, come un lampo di vita...."

I remember leaving the theater completely mesmerized and in awe and i told myself that I would try to see as many Cirque du Soleil shows every chance that i would get. Years later when I moved to the US I discovered all the spectacular Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas and got to see quite a few. You can definitely call me a HUGE fan when it comes to this fantastic combo of storytelling, acrobats, music and magic. 

When I met my husband I learned even more about Cirque du Soleil because Tee is originally from Montreal, Canada, the birth place of CDSl. he told me about the history and I was able to see some of their newer travelling shows. Each one them impressed me in their own unique way. 

You can only imagine my reaction when Cirque du soleil reached out to Tee and me a few weeks ago and asked  if I wanted to host a VIP party at one of their shows in order to introduce it to the Vietnamese community since one of their touring stops would be in Costa Mesa/Orange County, home of close to 500 000 vietnamese people. The show is called KURIOS. Cirque du soleil offered to reserve the VIP area just for Vietnamese guests who will have the chance to experience just the best VIP treatment.I have personally watched the show and it is amazing!! 
Needless to say that i felt beyond honoured and accepted immediately because not only do I still consider myself as a Cirque du soleil groupie, but i truly believe that we both share the same values in terms of creativity, originality, love for music, passion etc. 
SO, without any further due i would like to announce the big news: I cordially invite you all to my first Cirque du Soleil VIP Brunch which i call "THE Ultimate Cirque du Soleil Experience of KURIOS with Bao Han" on Sunday the 22nd of November 2015. 

so here is what to expect if you come to my VIP Brunch

You will receive:

* Reserved parking
* Preferred seating (BEST Seats in the house)
* Access to the VIP area via an exclusive entrance 1 1/2 hour before the show and during intermission
* Meet + Greet with Meeeee :-)
* Meet + Greet with several performing artists from the show
* An array of mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres (Brunch with a Vietnamese twist), fine wines and refreshments before the show followed by desserts during intermission
* A VIP souvenir
* A souvenir program
* Enhanced exclusive gift bags
* A souvenir photo
* Private restrooms, terrace and coat check service

You will have:


* Personal Fashion Styling from Bao Han
* Custom-made outfit designed by Calvin Hiep
* Luxurious Spa Package, including facial, manicure, pedicure, massage from Images Luxury Nail Lounge
* Make up and Hair from Kevin Trung Dung
* Professional Photography Session and Photo Album with Tee Tran + Bao Han
* Prize Value: $3,000

SECONDARY PRIZES from Images Luxury Nail Salon: Five Gift Certificates

The drawing will take place during intermission 

infos on where and how to purchase tickets will be announced in the next few days. 

So, are you Kurios????


The story of Lam and Annie

A few months ago Tee and i announced on Socialmedia that we were heading to Southern California at the end of September. I was invited to make a guest appearance at the fabulous Chrysalis show and so we decided to stay for an entire week to schedule some photoshoots since we had been recently receiving lots of requests from California. The most requested sessions were definitely family portraits.
A few days after we publicly made the announcement about the trip we received a request for a simple portrait sessions by a young woman named Lam.  I personally called her because i always like talking to our clients  before just to get a better understanding of what their expectations are and how i could personally help them in terms of styling.  She sounded very sweet and down to earth  but the more i talked to her the more i realized that she was very insecure and didn't know exactly what kind  of style she personally liked  to have for this session. Lam told me that her 32nd second birthday was coming up and that she wanted to do something special to celebrate that birthday. A photoshoot to update her look seemed the right thing to do. She had never ever worn anything sexy before and her wardrobe consisted mainly out of work clothing. After a few minutes into the conversation  i already knew that Lam was very special and that i was determined to help her not only to find the perfect outfit but also to show her  that feeling  beautiful and sexy wasn't so  hard. All it takes is a little bit more time and effort to achieve a look that each one of us is dreaming about. we all have our own special features. You just have to know how to accentuate those features. Lam is tall, has beautiful eyes, nice cheekbonesand long legs to die for. It was a no brainer that those gorgeous features needed to be showcased.

My second "special project" was Annie. Annie had a very similar story with the only difference that she was celebrating her 30th birthday and wanted to go all out to make this birthday gift to herself very special.  This girl was bubbly and very adventurous. I have to admit that i was a lil bit sneaky because while she expected to get a nice and romantic look i slowly started to push her from being romantic to more daring and a lil bit of a diva. I knew that she could pull it off so i constantly challenged herself by asking her to show me more attitude. I wasn't wrong because she delivered perfectly and the results are amazing.

It was such a pleasure to work with both beautiful and strong women.  Tee and I truly hope that we were able to give them more than a new look and beautiful photos. To me beauty is all about confidence. you can immediately sense a woman's confidence by her body language, her walk, her posture and her attitude. When a woman enters a crowded room, she should feel as if she owns that room. With that attitude only can a woman truly feel sexy and that's exactly what we hope Lam and Annie were able to take home with them after their photo session. 

The reason why it was so important to me to tell you about these two ladies is simply because there are so many Lams and Annies outthere who need to know that wanting to feel beautiful and desired is absolutely normal. Everyone likes receiving compliments and feeling good about themselves which is not a bad thing at all. Embrace what you've got, learn to love your body with  all its "flaws" that come with it, because it is YOUR body and there no other YOU in this world. There is no doubt that ultimately a woman's inner beauty is all that matters but that's not what this blog post is all about. It's about letting go and allowing yourself to be transformed into this particular woman, you have always secretly wanted to be. The star is in you. It  always has been.

I got permission from the both of them to write about them and publish some before and after pictures. There is absolutely nothing wrong with their looks. We only enhanced their natural beauty and best features and brought something out of them that was kept inside of them all this time. They were  finally ready to be shown and shared with the world. Lam and Annie, we sincerely thank you for allowing us to capture you the way we see you!! I hope you can see what we see, because it's gorgeous, fun and sexy!! Exactly how you are in real life!  

This is Lam with some BEFORE and AFTER pictures: 

This Is Annie with some BEFORE and AFTER pictures

the story of a bride (part 2 of my anniversary blog)

as a child I had dreamed of being a bride and i would always wear one of my mother's long slip dresses and dance around the living room. the dream of becoming a bride finally became true in 2014.
one year ago Tee and i got married in the beautiful baroque rooms of castle Laxenburg in Austria.  just like any other wedding there were some things that went smoothly and some that could have been planned better. as beautiful as our wedding was we only had one issue. Time.  unfortunately everything started with a delay which ultimately lead to more delays and by the time Tee and i were supposed to take some bridal pictures we had only less than 30 minutes left before dinner was served. we had to rush everything and in the end he and i were only able to pick a few  couple  pictures together. i personally didn't have any bridal pictures of my own and even the second time around when we threw a second wedding party in Montreal there was just no time to take these extra shots. 
as our anniversary was approaching Tee asked me a few weeks ago: Honey, what do you think if I take your bridal pictures? 
i was all excited about the idea but I was just a little bit sad about the fact that i left my  princess gown , the actual wedding gown,  in Montreal when we moved to Houston. Luckily i still had my other bridal dress (which was designed by my good friend Erik Lu)  that i wore for our second wedding celebration even though the style is completely different. we picked Rice university as our location because of its' beautiful architecture and also because it kinda reminded us of Vienna. 

and so finally in 2015 I was able to dance around in a real wedding gown just like i've always imagined and dreamed of as a child....i just never thought that it would be my own husband who would take these photos but that's exactly what makes these pictures here incredibly priceless.  

You are nothing i expected but everything I've always wanted (part 1 of my anniversary blog)

365 days ago i married my soulmate. for the last 365 days i lived side by side my best friend. He is the first man in my life who agreed on relocating to another hometown so his sick wife could feel and get better in a warmer place. due to my condition i constantly need to be able to physically move around so the symptoms wouldn't get worse but the icy cold temperatures in Montreal during winter time forced me to stay in at all time (usually it was me who had to move for a man). Tee had been working in the corporate world for more than 15 years and to give up all that and to follow his wife all the way to Houston/Texas was a major step and the ultimate proof of his love. 
the decision to move cross country was a huge one and naturally we were worried because it basically meant that we had to start all over again. for 365 days we stuck together, worked hard, laughed together, shed happy and sad tears, had heated discussions, comforted each other, made music together, were creative together in front and behind the lens. 365 days of happiness with the man i call my anchor, my rock. i couldn't have made it without him in these past 365 days. i made a lot of mistakes in life but if there is something i did right is when i married Tee 365 days ago. 

the video shows the last part of my speech during our second wedding celebration in Montreal. the sound isn't too good, which is why i wrote down what i had told him on that day right below the video


….And Thank you to my husband. I guess you can say, that the majority here are your friends and they know you well. some of them grew up with you. I only got to know you for two years but i feel like we have known each other for a lifetime. You are my best friend, my soulmate, my lover, my husband, my everything.
You are the one who reminds me everyday that i should take my medication. You ask me everyday “Have you taken your medication?”. You ask me everyday “have you had enough to eat yet? Have you had enough to drink yet?”
I couldn’t do this without you. 
But i know it’s not because of that, that you’re with me, why you are marrying me.  You’re marrying me cause i am FUNNY.  
And because i make you laugh, because we sing together, because we take fabulous pictures together. BTW its not only!! may i remind you: it is
Excuse me!!
But i love you!
I would like to finish this speech with the same words my dad told you when we told my parents that we were engaged. He said: Thank you.....for marrying my daughter!!
Thank you for marrying me!!!! 

Happy anniversary my love!! Thank you for the happiest 365 days of my life! Let's rock the next 365 days and more!!!!!! 


Everyone is a star

if you follow me on Facebook or on instagram you’ve probably noticed that i have been talking about Tee's photography work and my involvement in it a lot….like a LOT A LOT. ;-) when it comes to photography we both can talk about it forever because it was initially what brought us together as a couple. when i first started talking to Tee i told him that i was a professional singer who loved photography. i might not be good at it but i surely considered it as some sort of therapy because it would always reassure me that even with Parkinsons disease i was still able to capture some nice pictures. ironically Tee shared with me that he loved photography as well but he also loved singing, which he considered as very therapeutic. i know.....a match made in heaven. lol

i was a fan of his work right from the beginning and what started out as a hobby and  common interest eventually turned into a business. there is no greater feeling than being able to do what you love AND sharing it with your partner. i am incredibly blessed to be able to work side by side my husband and even though it is not me who holds the camera, it is me who takes care of everything else, starting from contacting the client, searching locations, concept development and styling. it is a lot of work but i am currently at my happiest because we both work so well together as a team. i don’t have to explain much for Tee do understand my vision and vice versa. we are both like two crazy fanatics on location and we are probably more enthusiastic and excited than our clients themselves. :-D

everyone loves a nice picture because it does make us feel better about ourselves when we see what photography can do for us. it makes us feel like  models or celebrities for a moment and at the same time we understand that since we can look like “them” it just basically means that they probably look like us, average joes, in real life. a nice picture can do wonders, it can change the way we look at ourselves, it makes us want to take care of ourselves better, it gives our self esteem a major boost and so much more. certainly not everybody knows how to move in front of the camera so that’s where i come in because with my experiences as a singer who stood in front of a camera often enough i usually help our clients getting comfortable. however i personally don’t like posed pictures too much so i always prefer my clients to act and move around as natural as possible. especially working with children i usually give them something to play with so they dont get distracted or uncomfortable with two strangers around them. once they get to “play looking at the big imaginary pink ship out there” Tee acts like a paparazzi and shoots without them knowing and those pictures turn out to be the best shots. 

our clients noticed our editorial inspired kind of work so a lot of times they ask for my opinion as a fashion consultant and i started to style them personally which is like a dream come true for me because i LOVE to dress people. it's so much fun seeing the transformation and witnessing their joy and happiness. 

all this time our work was branded as Tee Tran photography but a few days ago Tee decided to change our logo and to emphasize my involvement in our work. i was touched to the core and i am so proud to present it to you below under this post. 

we recently relocated to Houston because the warm weather is just better for me and my condition and also because we realized that business wise we couldn’t have picked a better city. we haven’t really advertised yet but thanks to social media and my postings we have been incredibly blessed with requests from all over Texas. it would be our honor and privilege to help you and give you an unforgettable photoshoot  because in our eyes EVERYBODY IS A STAR! :-)

there is no such thing as being overly nice

When I was in my early 20s I remember an incident that would affect me for a while. In a bad way but ultimately in a good way. I was dating this guy who introduced me to a group of his friends. We went for coffee and I told them a little bit about myself and my life as a singer. We spent a quite pleasant afternoon.... at least that's what I thought. Weeks later in an argument with that same boyfriend he mentioned to me that that particular group of friends thought I was acting "fake by being overly nice, that the way of expressing myself was just too much, that my life sounded so scripted as if I lived this Hollywood life and that overall I was just this fancy wannabe starlet." i had to admit that that was quite a lot for them to observe in approximately 2 hours of our coffee chat. I was young,  so to hear all these things naturally hurt me to the core. I asked my bf: is this how you see me as well?? His answer was: I know you and I know who you are but for somebody who doesn't know you, it's definitely what you project! 

his words would hurt me even more, so after that incident i became more insecure about myself and how i presented myself in public. i became more and more reserved and started to question myself as a human being. i never once wanted people to see me as this shallow and superficial girl who had absolutely nothing in her brain and being "overly nice" seemed to be something bad  in this day and age too. 

later on, when i had to travel more for my signing career, meeting more people and eventually meeting my fans, i was able to open up again so i could have conversations with them. i understood that as a public figure people want to know more about their role model/idol and i accepted my responsibility as somebody they could talk to. being “overly nice” eventually took over again because i had finally realized that THAT was part of what made me ME today. i am chatty because i like to hear what people tell me about themselves. i am nice because i like being treated the same way and because being not nice is not who i am. there is no such thing as being “overly nice” but there is such thing as being “overly rude”. i never said that my life was glamorous and i don’t think i make the impression of being a wannabe starlet. it is what this group of friends wanted to see because they knew i was a singer and that i travelled to L.A. a lot but it is not what i project. i just know that for a fact.  Besides, while i was being nice to them  that was completely genuine  i had absolutely nothing negative to say about them afterwards. However i was being told that my niceness was fake and yet they acted friendly in front of me just to end up badmouthing me afterwards which makes me wonder: who is the  fake one now??

bottom line is, i know i am a nice person because good things come back to you when you are nice. i also know that i am a good friend because i always give 100%. i don’t expect 100% in actions  but surely 100% in appreciaton back, because otherwise i would only feel used. 

so just to go back what i had said in the beginning about how that incident had affected me in a bad but ultimately in a good way: it was bad because i tried to change for others, just because i didn’t want people to look at me differently. when you get older you realize that you only live for yourself and not for others so how people think of you  shouldn’t matter at all…so it was good that i learned all that and became myself again. i DO talk a lot and i am "overly nice" because if being nice is "odd" and "not normal" then what has this world come to? what does it tell us? that being rude and careless is the new normal?? if so i stick to being odd or according to these people from my story:  overly nice, it's almost fake! :-)


Family and Friends before everything

today is the last day of the year 2014. i am currently in San Jose for some business as well as for some pleasure since my husband and i decided to leave ice cold Montreal for a few days to ring into the new with some friends and most a place that is warmer than Montreal. Tee and i realized that we are truly blessed to have amazing friends who always welcome us wherever we go. 2014 was definitely the year where especially i understood what true friendship meant.  Tee and i got officially married in my hometown Vienna in August. after the romantic wedding ceremony and reception at Laxenburg we didn't immediately think that we would actually throw another wedding reception in Montreal, Tee's hometown but somehow Tee brought up the idea of organizing a dinner party just for his parents and their big circle of friends. my in- laws told him that if he was planning on doing it just for them then he didn't have to. especially knowing that my parents wouldn't be able to make it they decided to be courteous and made the decision to skip that celebration as well so we could celebrate with our friends only. 

people always say: if you plan on having a destination wedding your real friends will come no matter how near or far.  i have to be honest with you: i have been invited to several destination weddings before but couldn't attend for whatever the legit reason was at the time. i would usually explain myself and til this day  i am still friends with all of those couples. i felt the same way about those friends who i had originally invited but ended up  declining because of their own reasons.   i would never get mad at anybody if they couldn't come to my wedding because not everyone could afford it. it's completely understandable as long as you are giving the couple the heads up so they would have enough time to rearrange everything. booking plane tickets and making travelling plans is always a hassle, not to mention incredibly costly too. Tee and i knew that a lot of our friends wouldn't be able to make it to our Vienna wedding and yet, there was still a small group of friends from the US, Canada and other European countries who didn't mind the distance and costs and actually witnessed the beautiful wedding. pretty much everyone who travelled from afar turned it into a vacation and continued their journey once the wedding was over. 

once we got back to Montreal we instantly started planning for our second wedding reception and we sent out our invitations again. even though canada and america aren't worlds apart i was very moved to see that over 20 people from my camp actually accepted the invitation and made reservations at the hotel where the reception would take place. 

my own family had already put out so much time and money to organize the wedding in Vienna, so it was just undertandable that nobody could attend the second wedding reception. however, as i was doing my speech i realized that i had a certain friendship history with each of my friends and that they represented MY family that night.  i was deeply touched and couldn't stop thanking them.  especially when you know about each person's struggle and know that they STILL made time to come....that's what i simply call LOVE.

in 2014 i lost some old friends, also made new friends, reconnected with old friends and as i am sitting here on my friend's couch in San Jose , i can't help but being incredibly happy and grateful for what each one of them has taught me. i am in no way perfect but i am glad that my friends accept me the way i am. 2015 will be an exciting but also challenging  year. lots of things are lined up for me and Tee and we can't wait start working towards our goals. as much as we will throw ourselves into work we also told each other that nothing, and by that i really mean NOTHING should ever come between us and our friends. family and friends BEFORE EVERYTHING!! 

happy new year my friends!! 


my family and music

music has always played a huge role in my life. 18 unforgettable years on the stage of Paris by night have certainly left a big impact on me. even though officially i am not singing in public places anymore, it doesn't mean that my love for music has completely vanished out of my life. it is still very much important to me and the fact that Tee is also a passionate musiclover (he is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to music) is surely one of the many reasons why he and i get along so well.
music didn't just happen in my life.  it is thanks to my parents that i discovered my passion for singing and it surely helped that my family had a little band when i was still living in Austria. my oldest brother played the drums, my other brother was on the bass, my sister on the keyboard and my uncle worked his guitar. i was about 16 years old when we started touring around europe and played at any function we were invited to. ultimately it was me who pursued a real career as a singer and the band would only perform occasionally. 
when Tee and i got married we knew that music had to play a very important key factor in the process of planning. since i am catholic and we had a catholic ceremony in the church of Laxenburg (Tee is buddhist) i had a list of song requests that i wanted to be played/sung in church. i have to admit that i am truly blessed with this incredibly musically talented family because each one of my requests was  fullfilled. for the entrance and the walk down the aisle i had asked my sister in law, my two little nieces, age 12 and 10 and my cousin to play the breathtakingly beautiful  classical piece "Air" by Johann Sebastian Bach. watching and hearing my nieces play the violin and flute as my father was walking me to the altar made this one of the most unforgettable and incredibly emotional moments of the entire wedding. the ceremony reached  its peak when my brother and another cousin sang a song i had requested just for husband. i knew Tee loved the band Chicago so i asked my brother and another cousin of mine to sing "After all" by Peter Cetera and Cher.  it was my first time seeing Tee in tears, touched to the core. 
the third song that i had requested was a very happy song and therefore played at the very end of the ceremony. it is also the video of this song that i would like to share with you today: it is called "joyful joyful we adore thee" by Ludwig van Beethoven and once again it is my cousin Thuy who sang the solo part. her amazing voice pierced through the halls of the church and as i looked around i saw my sister in law on the keyboard, my brother tapped  an empty box, my uncle on the guitar, my other brother on the bass and my youngest nephew shaking an egg like a rattle. he just turned 3 and is already enrolled in a music school for children because his parents noted his ability to follow beat and rhythm last year.  He loves playing the drums and already owns his own drums set. it is incredibly sweet to watch because you can see the full concentration in his face while shaking the egg.
this is not the greatest recording but i just wanted to share this song with you, so you can see where my love for music derived from and of course to feel the moment that made Tee and me the two happiest, most joyful people.

the story of our lives

ever since i met my husband who was working as a marketing director for TELUS for 14 years i have learned so much about marketing and advertising. he told me that the ultimate key in marketing is storytelling cause if there isn't a story behind a product or any kind of brand then the chances to sell it would be pretty slim. i realized that in music it wasn't much different because as a singer i would always prefer singing songs that somehow had a story or a message behind it. they were usually easier to memorize and when something is easier to memorize it is also easier to retell and for the next person to memorize and so forth.  
more and i more i would understand that storytelling wasn't the only key factor in marketing or music. storytelling is part of our lives because even as i am writing this to you i am obviously writing because i have something specific to say, a story to tell. 

ever since i got also involved with my husband's passion for photography it has also become my passion. the feeling of being able to transform every person into something special, to make them feel special is indescribable . of course not everyone is a born model and needs some  guidance. i usually suggest all kinds of poses and let the client decide whether he/she wants to follow or come up with his/her own poses. if there is one thing i noticed from day one ever since i started working with my husband is that each client's personal story of life could be so well read in their faces. especially in those cases where i do know the model personally i can see the reflection of their lives/character/ right in front me. it is immensely interesting to watch. sometimes their expressions and moves infront of the camera change throughout the session and that also tells me that these people are willing to learn. i always tell my husband that a photoshooting can easily be considered as a therapy session because no matter how insecure, worried, scared, comfortable or confident the client is the fact that we are trying to make them look good is reason enough for him/her to walk out with an improved image of him/herself. maybe not for the rest of his/her life but definitely for that moment and hopefully at least for a while.  a possible positive influence they could adapt into their lives to maybe direct the story of their lives in another direction, another chapter. 

my dresses for the second wedding reception

right after our wedding in Vienna, Tee and i travelled to Greece for a mini honeymoon. it was during that time when Tee asked me whether we should have a second wedding reception for those who couldn't be with us on that special day. i didn't have to think about it for too long because as beautiful as our wedding in Vienna was, i was a little bit sad that a lot of our friends from Canada and the US couldn't be there with us on the day we swore each other eternal love. 

When we got back to Montreal we decided to start planning right away because we were still in wedding mode and didn't want to put it off any longer. within weeks Tee and i spent days and nights brainstorming, discussing, editing, more brainstorming etc. our approach was exactly the same as in Vienna: it was all about the guests which meant eating well, lots humour, lots of music. the only extra we added on was the direct involvement of the guests in order to win a nice gift (a photoshoot with Tee worth 500$)

while we were in the midst of planning the second reception i had originally planned on wearing the same wedding dress i wore in Vienna. the more we got into the whole process of planning and knew what kind of theme we wanted to go for the more i realized that i had to pick another dress. my wedding in vienna was everything i had dreamed of. it was like a fairy tale, complete with a church ceremony followed by a reception in a castle and i wanted to keep those memories special. for the second reception we knew that we didn't want to repeat anything. we wanted the party in Montreal to be different simply because it's a different venue and the mood would be different too.. our venue in Montreal was a banquet hall in a young and modern hotel. Le Loft hotel. i decided to wear something that would fit the venue, the mood, the setting.

i had no idea what i was going to wear but that was being taken care of pretty soon when my good friend Erik Lu told me that he would like to make me a with dress as a wedding gift. 
while Erik was working on his gown i contacted my girlfriend Thuy Lam in Atlanta to see if she could come up with a design for the second dress and she actually ended up making two dresses. once again these gorgeous dresses were reminders how lucky i am to have such talented and generous friends.
Erik's dress was a white silk chiffon gown inspired by old hollwood glam. the fabric was so delicate and flowy.. i felt so beautiful wearing it. i decidede to wear it with the the same belt i wore for the austrian princess gown.
Thuy Lam's dress was a blush charmeuse gown with black lace details and embroidery that surely had an old hollywood glam touch to it too. i decided to wear it with a DIY black lace belt.  fun fact: it had pockets!!! 

in this blog post i am just gonna upload pictures of the dresses. once the official pictures are released i will post them up as well .

the day i bought my wedding gown

i have a confession to make: i am absolutely obsessed with the TV show "say yes to the dress" on TLC. before i went bridal gown shopping i had probably watched every single episode of the show. on the one hand i was trying to figure out what my own preferences were but on the other hand i kinda thought that this show about the whole bridal gown shopping experience of the bride with the entire family plus BFF, plus future mother in law, plus cousin of best friend's maid of honour was so funny to watch. it was just a guilty pleasure and i swore to myself that i would never drag my entire neighbourhood with me once it was my time to seek for the gown of my dreams. 
in fact my bridal gown shopping experience turned out to be just the opposite. i had just moved to Montreal when one of my girlfriends told me about a sample sale at a bridal salon where her brother's girlfriend at the time was working. it is no secret that i am a passionate bargain shopper and that i love a good deal more than cupcakes on a sunny afternoon in a parisian cafe.
i had absolutely no expectations when my girlfriend Mizou took me there. we made an appointment and were greeted by the owner of the salon herself. it was a pretty small salon but the sample sale seemed to be quite popular because it was indeed quite crowded on that day.  i looked around and saw mothers with their daughters discussing dresses, young girls standing on platforms with their chosen dresses on and busy sales people running back and forth picking matching accessories in order to complete the look and in hopes to seal the deal.
now there is one thing you should know about me when it comes to shopping: i always know exactly what i want! i go, i see, i pick, i buy or i don't buy. there isn't much back and forth of thinking and rethinking and "maybe i should sleep on it" in my life when it comes to shopping.
i walked around the salon a little bit and saw this gorgeous dress on a hanger when the lady asked me if i had an idea what kind of dress i was looking for. i pointed my finger to that dress and said "something like this!" she grabbed it and said " that's a very good choice. it is a Tara Keely gown and so far nobody seems to fit it cause it's very petite".
i went into the dressing room and tried it on. my very first wedding gown. when i walked out the dressing room and stepped on one of those platforms i heard my girlfriend gasping. i looked into the mirror and knew it right away: i had found MY wedding dress.
the lady asked me how i felt and i just smiled at her and said that we shouldn't look any further because i had already found what i was looking for. she nodded and said "if this is truly how you feel then i do also suggest that you shouldn't try any more dresses cause it would only confuse you more". i told her that it was completely unnecessary to look because i had already made my decision. i knew that Tee would have loved to see me in a sexier, more body hugging, maybe mermaid kind of dress style but i chose against him, listened to my heart and picked a classic princess gown. i knew that i would never have a chance to wear such a beautiful gown again while there would always be occasions to wear a form fitting, sexy dress (at that time we didn't even know we were gonna get married in a castle so i suppose it was all meant to be because the princess gown matched the whole theme perfectly). 
once the lady put on a crystal belt and a long cathedral veil i started crying. i thought of my mother and wished that she could have witnessed this moment with me but my mother was thousands and thousands miles away. 
since it was a sample sale, the dress was reduced by more than 50% off its original price but i had to take it with me right away. Han was in seventh heaven. a discount AND i get to bring it home immediately?? DONE DEAL!!! later on i was told that the wedding gown was actually a wedding gift from my sister in law chi To Anh which couldn't be any more generous from her part. i also purchased an underskirt to make it even bigger and so we left after only about 30 minutes from the moment we got there. so there you have it. this was my wedding gown shopping experience: i bought the first dress i tried on  which was so not "say yes to the dress" like at all. :-)

the pictures below were taken by my girlfriend. i had originally planned on my putting my hair up for my wedding day but it was my husband's specific wish to leave my hair down. it was the only request he had and i wanted to make him happy which is why i "sacrificed" my own plan of a loose updo. 

my most beautiful day

Anybody who follows me on facebook knows that i have been pretty reluctant about posting my wedding pictures.

A wedding is such a personal event that sometimes back then when i was still singing i always had this strange feeling of accepting gigs at weddings. I was reassured that it was exactly what bride and groom would have wanted so i would go ahead and accept that gig but deep in my heart i always felt awkard and kinda out of place.

So now that i got married myself it was my ultimate goal to keep the whole wedding experience as personal as possible. However,  a lot of young ladies have asked me questions in regards of DIY flower deco, details, dress shopping etc that i have decided to write about my wedding in  my first blog entry.

 Tee and i had only invited about 100 people because we wanted to make sure that we would have the chance to talk to every single guest. Unfortunately a lot of my American and Tee’s Canadian friends couldn’t make it to Austria so we are actually going to have another wedding celebration in Montreal in a few weeks. I promise that i will blog about that too.

But let’s go back to our fairy tale wedding in Austria: if i had the chance to do it all over again i would have probably done some things differently. I suppose that the  relatively small number of guests made me believe that i was capable of doing a lot of things myself. In theory it seemed easy but in actuality i can openly admit that i completely underestimated the stress behind flower decorations and other details. I actually got up at 6am several times to go to the flowermarket in Vienna to purchase flowers for wholesale prices. In the end i did save a lot of money but the ultimate stress i had to deal with especially on the actual wedding day was completely unnecessary. So here comes my advice for future brides who are thinking of taking care of their own centerpieces: do it ONLY if you have enough helpers . when you plan on purchasing flowers from the market don’t forget that you will also need the right vehicle to transport all the flowers and vases. In the end i saved about 700 Euro in flowers only, so you see it’s definitely worth it.

the reason why ultimately my stress vanished is entirely thanks to my family. I come from a very loving family who doesn’t mind going out of their way to make things happen in order to help each other. Prior to the wedding my brother had asked me if i had any specific requests in terms of songs for the catholic ceremony as well as for the entertainment part during the reception. I had two specific wishes : for the entrance and walking down the aisle part i wanted my two eldest nieces, my cousin and my sister in law to play AIR by Johann Sebastian Bach. It has been my favourite piece ever since i was little and it still touches me to the core when i hear it until today. The second request was a famous love song that i wanted my brother to sing right after Tee and i had exchanged rings. I knew that Tee was a huge Peter Cetera fan so the song of choice was “after all” by Peter Cetera and Cher. 

My eyes were filled with tears when my father walked me down the aisle and i heard the amazing sound of Air played by the youngest of the family.

And yet nothing had prepared me for what would happen later on after Tee and i had exchanged our rings and vows. I was all smiles when my brother sang my requested Peter Cetera song beautifully with my cousin. When i looked over i realized that Tee was in tears,  completely overwhelmed and touched. It was my first time seeing him crying . I will never forget the look on his face when he hugged my brother in gratitude.

Tee and his family are buddhist which is why i chose a vietnamese priestso he could explain to them what promising eternal love and exchanging vows in front of god meant. 

For the rest of our wedding we celebrated with our families and friends. We laughed, we cried. We laughed while crying! At 9:45pm everyone was asked to go outside because we had a surprise prepared: an amazing firework. I had asked my high school friend Saskia, a very popular bagpipe player,  to play one of her tunes while the firework was lighting up the sky. listening to her playing “sleeping tune” while watching the little ones’ fascinated faces was simply priceless.

For the rest of the night we, danced, we sang, we laughed. It was very important to Tee and me to show our guests how important they were to us and that this wedding was all about them....and a lil bit about us. I think we succeeded because even days after the wedding i would still receive messages and texts from  my friends who claimed to have witnessed the most romantic, fun and loving wedding they had ever attended.

Tee and i left Vienna after that and headed to Greece for a mini honeymoon. We decided to go on our real honeymoon sometimes in the winter so we could escape the cold weather. Now we are back in Montreal, getting ready for wedding #2 and it’s gonna be the most exciting and fun  event Montreal has seen. Once again it’s all about our guests who are coming from near and far to be with us on this  special day. We will make sure that they know how loved they are and how grateful we are to have them in our lives. 

Below are some photos i have selected for you . all credits go to Weddinghamster and Sandra Schartel