A Vietnamese-American Wedding at Grand 1858 Space at Minnesota Event Centers in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sally Hopper (34 and a college professor) and Danny Ngo (32 and an HR analyst) met online when Sally was intrigued by Danny’s profile photos. “I thought Danny was cute enough on his own, but the fact that he included a picture of frolicking corgis with his photos made me think he could be amazing,” Sally says. They exchanged messages for a month before meeting in person at the Herkimer in Uptown Minneapolis. “I scheduled our first date after my Minnesota Roller Girls practice, so I had an excuse in case my face got too hot from nervousness,” she says. Their meet-up was a smashing success, leading to dating, a proposal, a two-year engagement and a wedding at Grand 1858 Space at Minneapolis Event Centers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They picked the space—with its rustic wooden beams and brick walls—for its raw beauty, its location on St. Anthony Main near the Mississippi River and its versatility (including the venue’s willingness to work with an outside caterer). Sally, the ultimate planner, took charge of the wedding details, joking that their theme was “romantic and thrifty.” She created the artwork for the invitation suite, personalized her wedding heels with comics, altered her Goodwill gown, and crafted a custom card box. Her biggest achievement, though, was folding 2,300 paper cranes—over the course of two years—for the ceremony backdrop “to be surrounded in color for the ceremony,” Sally says, adding that one of Danny's happiest childhood memories was folding paper cranes with his mom. The couple had a separate ceremony at Danny’s parents’ home in honor of his Vietnamese heritage earlier in the day, then celebrated at the venue later, complete with a traditional 10-course Vietnamese course, an abundance of colorful paper cranes, a live Vietnamese band, a DJ, a string quartet, New York-style cheesecake and cookies depicting the couple holding their beloved corgi (Bumi) as favors. They even planned an “almost happened” willow tree unity ceremony, collecting soil (in jars) from important places in their lives so they could add it to a willow tree seedling. Unfortunately, Danny forgot to bring the jars to the altar, so they skipped it. Sally and Danny effectively blended two cultures and wedding traditions while keeping their celebration lighthearted. “We drew a lot of inspiration from Wes Anderson’s 'The Royal Tenenbaums,' one of our favorite movies,” Sally says. Not a lot of pomp and circumstance but plenty of personalization, whimsy and quirky and wonderful details. —Chrissy Sorenson