MADELINE PHAN & JHADE MCCONNELL
Madeline and Jhade met in the fall of 2014 at a University of Central Arkansas fraternity party, and they’ve been inseparable ever since. “I usually get nervous talking to new people, but that wasn't the case with Jhade,” Madeline said. “I felt very comfortable talking to him. One Snapchat led to another and we ended up talking every day and going to the library together.”
Jhade proposed at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs. He had convinced Madeline they were going for a work trip. She said his office hosts “fun days” and he’s asked Madeline to tag along a few times before; so it was nothing out of the ordinary. He told her they’d be going on a scavenger hunt, and they needed to dress up because he wanted them to win “best dressed” in his office. He led her to the garden treehouse, got down on one knee and popped the question!
“There was a moment when we visited New York City for the first time with her family—[visiting] markets and [eating] at different types of Asian restaurants… Those moments together made me fall even more in love with her. I knew that I wanted her to be my travel partner for the rest of my life.”
Their wedding colors were spruce green, ivory, gold and black. Madeline chose these colors because they never go out of style. “I love the look of fresh, clean white florals and bold greenery,” Madeline said.
Madeline and Jhade hired Caroline Ply Events to coordinate their wedding day, and it came together perfectly. From stunning white florals and gold accents, this timeless and elegant wedding is one we will never forget!
Q & A
Q: What was wedding planning like for you?
“We both come from large families and knew that we wanted everyone to be there, so a long engagement worked in our favor to allow for extended family to be able to make arrangements to attend.”
Q: Did you have any help?
“I made a wedding folder immediately and utilized the Arkansas Bride wedding planning checklist. My mom and little sister were a huge help … I couldn't have done it without them,” Madeline said.
“My [wedding] coordinator Caroline came into the picture two months before our wedding day and she tied up all of the loose ends for me. Whether that be with vendors or my ideas and details, she did it all! She did an amazing job at keeping things together and organized leading up to the wedding, on the wedding day, and after!”
Q: How did you customize your wedding day?
“We used our custom monogram throughout our wedding, [on everything from] invitations, welcome bags, aisle runner, church programs, cocktail napkins, menus, photo booth strip, card box, and my bouquet wrap,” Madeline said. “I designed all of the paper goods on Canva, and when I saw them on the day of, I knew that all of the time I spent on them was well worth it.”
VIETNAMESE WEDDING TRADITIONS
Tradition 1: “It is custom for Vietnamese parents to hand deliver wedding invitations to guests because they are the hosts of the wedding celebrations,” Madeline said. “My parents would make a quick trip to someone's home to personally hand them the invitation and express how they would love their presence at the ceremony and reception.”
Tradition 2: “We started the day with a traditional Vietnamese tea ceremony commonly known as "LÃ¡»... Vu Quy" which marks the bride's home,” Madeline said. “This ceremony signified the wedding day, and Jhade and his family brought trays of gifts known as "mâm quÃ¡º£" to my parents' house. The eight trays had liquor, tea, pastries, and fruit, along with a roasted pig. Everyone wore their traditional dress called an "áo dài", and Jhade and I also wore custom áo dài to this ceremony as well.”
“Once the trays were passed from the groom's side to the bride's side, everyone was invited inside, and the trays were placed at the main table under the ‘double happiness’ sign. The meaning behind ‘double happiness’ is when one happy family joins with another happy family, there is double the happiness.”
“During the ceremony, Jhade and I showed respect by serving tea to our grandparents, parents and aunts and uncles. In return, we received blessings and advice for a successful marriage.”
Tradition 3: “We lit a unity candle during our Christian ceremony at the church,” Madeline said.
Tradition 4: “Along with having a wedding registry on our wedding website, I included an explanation about the Vietnamese tradition of gifting a red envelope or ‘lì xì’ to the bride and groom on their wedding day,” Madeline said. “The ‘lì xì’ is stuffed with money and symbolizes luck, good fortune, and happiness in Vietnamese culture. We wanted our American friends to have the option to participate in this tradition, but if they preferred to bring a gift, they had that option as well.”
Tradition 5: “Jhade and I took [a picture] with each guest that arrived for the reception,” Madeline said. “This is something that is done at Vietnamese weddings, but is slowly being phased out.”
Tradition 6: “We continued the Vietnamese traditions at our dinner reception,” Madeline said. “Jhade and I greeted each table (known as ‘chào bàn’ in our traditional Vietnamese attire – ’áo dài’) to thank them for coming to celebrate us. The younger tables had games ready for us to play before giving us our red envelopes. The most fun game would be the one where we had to catch the envelope between our lips by kissing quickly to receive it!”
“I knew for sure that I wanted to have a black and white checkered dance floor,” Madeline said. “Another thing was to have the traditional Vietnamese eight-course dinner—yum!”
WEDDING VENDORS WE LOVE
Venue: United States Marshals Museum; Wedding coordinator: Caroline Ply Events; Videography: NP Productions; Florist: L Designs; Rentals: Eventology; Engagement ring: Diamonds Direct; Tuxedos: The Black Tux; Reception dress: Always and Forever; Dance floor: Dancenhance; Photo booth: BrightBooths Arkansas; DJ: Brock Entertainment; Bartending: TNT Events & Staffing; Catering: Asian Cuisine; Cake: Harps; Invitations: Minted; Calligraphy: Yours Truly by Diana Nguyen; Hair: Kay Chanthavong; Makeup: Madison Domenick