Coco, Manolo, and McDo


It’s about time that I bring fashion and travel together here at this blog as they are the only two constants in my otherwise erratic schedule. And what better way to see fashion in motion than to document how a few pieces have taken me through a couple of busy days on the road so far. I apologize in advance for the length of this blog. I would have liked to break it up over two entries but I’m flying out tomorrow and won’t have time to log in until I arrive in Belgium.

My first full day in Florida begins with a bridal luncheon that was inadvertently left out of my agenda. I don’t have the invitation so I have no idea what to wear, but in a last minute mad dash I grab a charcoal grey Diane von Furstenberg herringbone dress and slip on a pair of black patent Manolo Blahnik heels.  It’s in the high 60s here so a medium-weight black cashmere cardigan is all I need.   A black Chanel camera bag finishes off the look.


Luckily all the other ladies are also wearing day dresses. To me, fashion faux pas is not so much failing to put a look together but rather failing to dress appropriately for the occasion or location. Anyway, after the lunch some of us head over to the main house to help the bride with frosting cupcakes to be given away at the reception as parting gifts. We form an assembly line to tie blue ribbons around the boxes,


make then spread the cream cheese frosting over the carrot cupcakes,


and box them up.


Some of us, and I won’t name names, are still a bit loopy from the wine at lunch so we are undaunted by the task at hand.  That might also explain why we have such a hard time keeping count of the cupcakes.  Or maybe it’s just me. It just feels like a lot of cupcakes!


We don’t have enough time to finish the job or change for dinner because the priest calls the house to say the rehearsal has been moved up. So my DVF dress takes me through both the trial run at church and the rehearsal dinner.  We skip dessert and go back to the cupcake assembly line.  It’s an all-nighter.

The next day begins with the Vietnamese ceremony. I choose a simple black Chanel knit dress with a scalloped neckline and decorate it with two crystal leaf brooches that had come with another Chanel knit dress from an earlier collection. I wear the same Manolos because I didn’t want to pack 2 pairs of heels, and of course I’m kicking myself now. I have an OCD about wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row–something about needing to give my shoes a day of rest in between use as if that were a negotiated term in a labor contract between me and my shoes.

If you’ve never attended a Vietnamese wedding, it’s basically a ceremony that commences with a procession of gifts from the groom’s family to the bride’s home. Gifts consisting of wine, tea, cookies, fruits, candies, and roasted pig are wrapped in red cellophane paper and carried on trays by the groomsmen. The representative of the groom knocks on the door, asking for permission to enter and deliver the gifts. The pig always comes in last.


The gifts are laid on a table cum altar:


Welcoming remarks and introductions are made then the bride’s presence is formally requested. In this case, the honor goes to the bride’s mom to walk her out. As you see below, they are both wearing traditional áo dàis but the bride’s dress and headgear are specifically bridal in style:


More speeches are made to symbolize the union of the two families. Typically you will see candles and incense, photographs of ancestors, and a tea set laid out on the table. This is because the bride and groom close the ceremony by paying respect to the ancestors and offering tea to their parents (and/or other close relatives).  The tea offering is a moving, quiet gesture laden with deep emotions. Very few words are actually exchanged between parents and children here as everyone is too choked up to speak. It’s my favorite part of the ceremony because affection is not freely abundant in many Vietnamese families; yet every one of these ceremonies that I’ve attended has convinced me that there is no greater, albeit unspoken, love than that of Vietnamese parents for their children.  You just have to watch the look in their eyes as they linger on each drop of tea slowly, nostalgically, longing for the years that had gone by much too fast to know what I’m talking about.  Luckily tears quickly turn to laughter because around this time, gifts of fine jewelry are also showered on the bride from both sides of the family. OK, maybe this is really my favorite part of the ceremony! In this picture you can see what the bride’s dress looks like from the back:


The ceremony then officially ends with an invitation to lunch. What did you think that roast pig was for?  I opt for finger food instead:


Before I know it, I’m drafted to help out with the church decorations.  This Catholic church was purchased entirely with private donations by the VN congregation. It was once a Baptist church that had gone into foreclosure or something to that effect. This economy spares no one, not even the higher powers. Anyway, as it turns out, the church is very strict and I’m not allowed to do anything anywhere near the altar so we can only wrap some tulle around the pews and hang the wreaths on the outermost doors. The peonies are relegated to the pews as well. You can see a bit of my dress here:


The church is far out of the way so I stay in the same dress for the afternoon wedding mass (no photography allowed during the ceremony either!) then rush back to the hotel to change into my formal wear for the reception.  My gown of choice for this affair is a Chanel dress from the 07P collection: 


I’m starving at this point and that’s why there’s that shot of me at the beginning of this blog with a bag of fries.  Coco, Manolo, and McDo…would that be a fashion faux pas per my definition of dressing inappropriately for the location?

It’s dark by the time we arrive at the reception venue but we are right on time to catch the bride and groom’s arrival:


The ballroom looks beautiful basking in blue lights…


and after the fifth champagne toast, everything seems like heaven. Coco, Manolo and I dance all night. I hope they had as much fun as I did.

Congratulations on your beautiful wedding day Anne Marie!


  1. larkie

    oh thanks!!

  2. yan

    omg… i love your dress and bags!! you look so beautiful in those! 😀

  3. larkie

    hey ya Mrs. T!! are you getting used to your new name yet?! i’ll email ya the pics when i get back from europe 🙂

  4. Mrs. Tedford :)

    I had so much fun reading your blog especially this particular one. Gee…I wonder why? Thank you so much for everything! Can I get copies of the pictures you took for my scrapbook? Love you!!

  5. larkie

    Yes, i’m definitely vietnamese!!

  6. snoopylaughs @ tPF

    Larkie! I had no idea you were vietnamese! Then again, maybe you’re not?

    You looked stunning!

  7. larkie

    I packed it in a garment bag. the fabric is actually quite easy to pack and poofs right back after you unpack it–the only thing that worried me was the camellia pin getting crushed!

  8. Anonymous

    stupid question larkie: how did you pack that dress??

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *