Nhi Nguyen and Sam Lam met in Boston, while Sam was attending Harvard and Nhi was there visiting a friend. “He was quiet, cool, and a gentleman,” remembers Nhi, who moved from Vietnam to New York after college. Sam has a similar memory: “She was cool, yet energetic and animated.” It’s a balance that’s worked well for them over time. “I would describe Nhi as the energizer in the relationship, while I’m the more stable and calm and collected one,” Sam says. “She adds so much color and energy in my life that I’m thankful for.”
He did, however, put significant energy into his proposal. While on a trip to Honolulu in 2021, Sam rented the sky-high penthouse of The Ritz-Carlton and filled it with 26 of the couple’s friends, all dressed in white and waiting for Nhi to arrive. He also rented a white grand piano. “I performed some of Nhi’s favorite songs, since she really likes piano and had never seen me perform,” Sam shares. “I hadn’t practiced nor played since elementary school, and as a result I had to spend two months secretly practicing either really early in the morning or when she was away from home. I wanted to make this special for her.” She answered with a resounding “yes.”
They decided on a wedding just outside New York City, where they currently reside, that offered the best of both worlds: a stellar view of the skyline and an outdoor space for their ceremony, which is hard to find in Manhattan. “EnVue is a modern venue that was a perfect match with our theme of silver and blue,” Nhi says. (Their aesthetic inspiration—matching the location of their proposal—was the clear blue sky.) The venue also offered enough spaces for all their events, which included a traditional tea ceremony, Western wedding ceremony, and reception.
Read on to see all the breathtaking details of Nhi and Sam’s June 5, 2022, wedding, planned by Shirley Chau at Genesis Wedding and photographed by Bo Shim.
The couple’s invitations were custom made in Vietnam, where Nhi’s family still resides, and featured sky-blue envelope liners with a sketch of the Manhattan skyline.
Getting ready with her friends and family the morning of the wedding was one of Nhi’s favorite parts of the day. The girls wore color-coordinating silk robes to mirror the endless sky above, and got primped and pretty. Nhi opted for a natural beauty look for the outdoor portion of the wedding, and went a bit more glam later in the day when the festivities moved indoors. She used Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Modern Renaissance eyeshadow palette—especially the primavera hue—and spritzed on Chloé perfume.
Her first look was all red—the color of celebration often worn for weddings in her culture. She wore her hair up, as is tradition for the tea ceremony, and clipped it with a cluster of floral adornments and a dragonfly bobby pin.
The couple began their wedding with a tea ceremony, a tradition in Asian cultures. Typically, the bride and groom make a show of respect to their families and elders by serving them tea; in turn, the families approve of the marriage and bestow gifts upon the couple. The ceremony symbolizes the union of the two families.
The easiest part of planning was choosing the wedding theme: sky.
“We love summer, since Nhi is from Vietnam with tropical weather,” the couple shares. It’s why they picked a date in June, and an outdoor ceremony. “The easiest part of planning was choosing the wedding theme: sky, with a palette of blue, cream, gray, and white.” The ceremony space was set with a white stage and aisle runner, and mirrored open arches were adorned with blue and white hydrangeas to reflect the sky—serendipitously the clearest blue that day.
A harpist strummed classical music as guests took their seats for the ceremony.
Rather than have all the mini members of the wedding party precede her, Nhi walked down the aisle with a flower girl and ring bearer holding up her epic veil. “Sam and I were both tearing up when I walked down the aisle,” she recalls. She entered to YungAn’s Erhu cover of Kaoru Wada’s “To Love’s End (Inuyasha).”
It was for the ceremony that Nhi changed into her wedding gown, a custom stunner by Vietnamese designer Do Long. Nhi did her homework, visiting bridal salons and scouring the internet for imagery, before teaming up with the designer to create the piece—a silk ballgown adorned with sky-inspired elements like butterflies and a blue bow.
Florist Aramat Events brought the outdoors in for the reception, creating white “clouds” of baby’s breath above each round table. Suspended from the flowers were hundreds of tiny glass birds, creating an airy effect. Pops of blue in the place settings and florals tied in the ceremony decor.
Another nod to the sky—this time the night sky—was a baby’s breath crescent moon suspended above the sweetheart table.
As their 222 guests cheered, the newlyweds made their entrance to an ultra-poppy tune dubbed “Edamame” by Bbno$ & Rich Brian, then they launched into a choreographed first dance. “For the party, I picked a layered dress with a ponytail up so I could dance,” Nhi says of her reception look.
The duo cut into a sugar-flower-adorned cake filled with Baci chocolate mousse and fudge, then poured a bottle of Champagne down a tower of coupes.
Sam had pulled off his big surprise performance with the proposal; now it was Nhi’s turn. The bride teamed up with a group of Sam’s friends to practice a choreographed dance months in advance and surprise her groom.
Before the couple could embark on a honeymoon, they had one more stop: Nhi and Sam celebrated their love with a second wedding across the world in Vietnam later that year.