A Contemporary, Cultural Wedding at Hei La Moon Restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts

LeiLei Hien (31 and a clinical IT project manager) and Lanay Ros (30 and a quality engineer) blended their Chinese, Cambodian and American cultural ba

LeiLei Hien (31 and a clinical IT project manager) and Lanay Ros (30 and a quality engineer) blended their Chinese, Cambodian and American cultural backgrounds for their mid-summer wedding in Boston. Self-proclaimed foodies, the pair let their palettes guide the way when choosing a venue. “A 10-course, family-style Chinese dinner was a must-have for our families,” says LeiLei. After sampling the menus at several local spots, the pair settled on Hei La Moon. The festivities kicked off with a traditional tea ceremony at LeiLei's home with the couple’s closest families and friends, followed by a Western ceremony in the Boston Public Garden. After exchanging vows, the newlyweds whisked guests off to the Leather District restaurant for an unforgettable meal and lots of celebrating. Sticking with the day’s cultural theme, they chose a red and gold color palette with pops of mint green, plus plenty of symbolic details like double happiness, dragons and phoenixes. The couple switched up their outfits throughout the evening to incorporate their respective Cambodian and Chinese backgrounds, with LeiLei donning both a classic qipao and a regal, gold Cambodian gown. Understated centerpieces with classic blooms allowed guests to interact with ease and provided plenty of room for the couple’s topnotch feast. Post-dinner, LeiLei and Lanay surprised their families and friends with a photo booth and karaoke, plus a candy bar packed with sweet treats for their younger guests. A tip for the taking from LeiLei: “Hire a day-of planner, if nothing else. I considered one, decided to DIY and relied on family to help with any issues that came up. But there’s nothing like a professional to handle the surprises that might arise. It might seem like a lot, but it’s really not in the grand scheme of total wedding costs. You have less than 24 hours to enjoy this day — don’t lose your time putting out the fires, but instead in enjoying the day.”

LeiLei had three outfit changes throughout the evening. She kicked off the evening in her elegant lace, mermaid gown, wearing it for the first dance, cake cutting and toasts. She then transitioned to a Chinese qipao for toasts with each table, followed by a golden Cambodian ensemble to end the evening.
Paying tribute to their Chinese and Cambodian cultural heritage was important to both LeiLei and Lanay, so an Asian-inspired theme was a given. The couple chose a color palette of red and gold and incorporated traditional symbols like double-happiness, dragons and phoenixes throughout. “We really wanted to include the traditions of our families for the wedding,” says LeiLei.
The day started with traditional door games, where Lanay was challenged to a series of “stunts and tests” by LeiLei’s close friends, which are intended to prove his feelings for the bride. A tea ceremony then followed, where LeiLei and Lanay payed homage to heaven and earth, their ancestors and the kitchen god Tsao-Chün before offering tea to their families.
LeiLei tried to narrow down a few silhouettes before heading to the bridal salon, but once she arrived at Vows, all bets were off. “I ended up trying multiple styles, even the ones that I thought I had cut off the light, like ball gowns,” says LeiLei. But it was a lace mermaid dress with a strapless, sweetheart neckline and fabric-covered buttons along the back that ultimately won her over.  “It was originally too big for me, but Anahit, my seamstress, worked wonders,” she says. “The dress fit in all the right places and she was able to add iridescent sequins for that little extra glimmer, while keeping the classic look of the gown.”
LeiLei set a soft, romantic tone for her bridesmaids’ attire, having the girls don matching Azazie gowns in a pale shade of mint green. The gowns featured strapless, sweetheart necklines to complement LeiLei’s bridal look and floor-length silhouettes, which allowed them to wear shoes of their choosing. They carried classic bunches of roses and carnations down the aisle in shades of pink and ivory, which popped against their pastel gowns.
For the ceremony at the Boston Public Garden, Lei Lei carried a classic bouquet of roses and peonies in shades of ivory and pink down the aisle. To play up the shimmery details of her gown, while adding a touch of glam factor to her bridal look, Amy Wedding Decoration incorporated rhinestone gems throughout the arrangement.
LeiLei and Lanay had two wedding ceremonies, one traditional and the other Western. The morning of the wedding, they hosted a traditional tea ceremony at home with their families, with a Western ceremony taking place later in the day at the Boston Public Garden’s Japanese lantern site.
The welcome sign and menu cards were custom made for the couple by LeiLei’s close friend and bridesmaid Lisa Jeon. Drawing inspiration from the couple’s red, gold and mint color palette, she created playful, modern designs, complete with floral flourishes and a personalized monogram.
The focus of the reception was on the food and the couple delighted guests’ taste buds with a decadent 10-course meal. “With lots of food coming for the family-style dinner, we opted for smaller, shorter centerpieces,” says LeiLei. Each table was topped with an arrangement of fresh white hydrangeas, pink roses, variegated greenery and wispy grasses.
All of the stationery was custom-designed using the site Custom and Pockets, with the couple giving guests a taste of the event to come with a suite in vibrant shades of red, gold and mint. The double happiness symbol, as well as the couple’s Chinese zodiac signs — mice — added a personal, yet traditional flair.
Instead of a traditional guest book, LeiLei and Lanay wanted something they could easily display in their home and appreciate regularly. They opted for an illustration of a tree, which they had their guests decorate with their fingerprints in a palette of colorful hues
As self-proclaimed foodies, a standout menu was a must for LeiLei and Lanay. The couple treated guests to a 10-course meal of Chinese cuisine, including a cold cuts platter, stuffed crab claws, candied walnut shrimp, shark fin soup, Chinese fried chicken, ginger scallion lobster, Yu-Lan steal, sole with mixed vegetables, special fried rice and yee mein. For dessert they served up traditional wedding cake in flavors like strawberry Grand Marnier and raspberry lemon cream.
The night was packed with plenty of surprises for guests, from a karaoke station to a bilingual DJ and Cambodian group dancing. As a special treat for their younger guests, the couple provided a candy buffet and gifted their families and friends with personalized wine glasses.