This Colorful Wedding at The Hibernia San Francisco Was All About Celebrating Heritage and Inclusivity

Love often blooms online in the digital age. “Yes, we are one of those millennial stories,” Charles (Charlie) Langdon details his relationship with Vi

Love often blooms online in the digital age. “Yes, we are one of those millennial stories,” Charles (Charlie) Langdon details his relationship with Vivi Nguyen. An initial lunch date blossomed into an entire afternoon of connection for the two, marking the beginning of a deep and meaningful bond. “Just five dates in, COVID lockdowns and quarantines changed everything,” Charlie reflects. “It was through these conversations that we got to really know each other, found out what we had similar core values and realized that we both wanted the same future.”

One day on the Oregon Coast, Charlie crafted a moment that would forever be etched in their hearts. The proposal was as unique as their love story, with Charlie creating a puzzle that, once solved by Vivi, unveiled the words “Will you marry me?” The simplicity and creativity of the gesture spoke volumes, leading to Vivi’s enthusiastic acceptance. With hearts full and futures aligned, they celebrated on the shore. “After, we walked to the beach to watch the sunset,” Vivi recalls.

From the outset, the pair set their sights on creating a celebration that was not just an event but a reflection of their union’s uniqueness. “Being a queer, interracial couple, it was important for us to blend our cultures and identities,” Vivi shares. The inspiration behind their day blossomed from a desire to honor their roots while crafting a narrative that was entirely their own. Vivi, a nonbinary person of Vietnamese descent, and Charlie, a trans man from an Irish-Catholic background, envisioned a ceremony that intertwined their diverse heritages with modern sensibilities.

The palette chosen—a rich mix of plum, red, gold and peach—drew from traditional Vietnamese wedding colors, adding layers of depth and dimension to their theme. Their venue, The Hibernia, with its stained glass domes and historical architecture, was love at first sight for the couple, encapsulating the grandeur of an Irish bank while being festooned with paper lanterns in a harmonious celebration of their cultures.

Fashion played a pivotal role in their narrative, with both Vivi and Charlie meticulously selecting attire that resonated with their personal styles. Charlie ventured to Chicago to tailor a custom suit that could transition through the evening’s changing moods, from a jacket to a vest and, finally, to suspenders—a nod to his style in his early 20s. His ensemble was accentuated with a red vest and handkerchief, complementing Vivi’s attire and featuring cufflinks adorned with the double happiness symbol, a nod to the joyous union. As for Vivi, “The fashion actually was the most difficult aspect for me, especially navigating wedding attire as a nonbinary person,” they explain. “I knew that I did not want to wear anything too feminine or masculine - it took a lot of thought and conversations to find something neutral that felt gender-affirming.” They landed on a Vietnamese ao dai for the ceremony, a garb typically worn by both the bride and groom in a Vietnamese wedding. The reception saw Vivi in a chic combination of an intricate lace shirt, red slacks and gold loafers, embodying a blend of elegance and personal authenticity.

Guests gathered for the ceremony in the intricately decorated ballroom space. The procession, a thoughtful homage to Charlie’s heritage, commenced with five ring bearers and one flower girl. Both sets of parents escorted their children down the aisle, a visual testament to the families coming together, underscored by the lighting of a unity candle. The ceremony was punctuated by a poignant tea ceremony—a nod to Vivi’s heritage—symbolizing respect and unity.

The cocktail hour, held downstairs, whisked guests away to a vibrant Lantern Festival, with hot pink lights and colorful hanging lanterns creating a whimsical and inviting ambiance. This enchanting interlude served as a bridge to the reception, where the main floor of The Hibernia had been transformed into a dazzling display of purple, red and gold. Loved ones reveled in every detail, from the lavish floral decorations to the custom ice cubes bearing the newlyweds’ initials.

“The dancing was a standout!” Charlie gushes. “The song ‘I Will Spend My Whole Life Loving You,’ by Imaginary Futures and Kina Grannis, is very special to both of us, and it was a no-brainer for that to be the first dance song. We had practiced dancing in the weeks leading up to the wedding in our little apartment, and it’s now a very sweet memory to think back on.” Laughter bubbled up during the cake cutting, where Charlie’s attempt to feed Vivi ended in a sweet, giggly mishap—these moments, candid and filled with love, captured the essence of their celebration.

In reflection, Vivi and Charlie’s advice to other couples planning their day is a beacon of wisdom: “Get a wedding planner!” The couple credits their planners for the seamless orchestration of their day, emphasizing the importance of communication, respect for diverse backgrounds and finding joy in the planning process. “Always communicate with each other what is important, but make sure to listen and be open to hearing feedback from your partner,” Vivi advises, underscoring the foundation of their journey together.

Clean and Simple Wedding Invitation Featuring Red Details for Vietnamese-Catholic Wedding
Mother Helps To-Be-Wed Child Into Traditional Red Vietnamese Ao Dai Outfit
Platinum Silver Wedding Band in Red Box With Red-and-Gold Vietnamese Cufflinks
Elegant Ceremony in San Francisco Historic Venue, White Circle Arch With Gold Accents
Couple in Red Vietnamese Garb and Suit at Elegant Altar, Circular Arch in Historic San Francisco Venue
White Welcome Sign With Vietnamese and Illustration of the Golden Gate Bridge
A group of elegant white seating charts with Vietnamese writing surrounded by low fall floral arrangements in deep colors and taper candles in a historic venue in San Francisco.
Couple in Traditional Red Vietnamese Ao Dai and Classic Black Suit Walk Into Reception
Reception Table With Silver Linen, Low and Tall Centerpieces With Red, Purple and Pink Flowers
Elegant Formal Menu on White-and-Gold China, Red Linen Napkin
Custom Circular Menus With Vietnamese and American Foods for Elegant Wedding
Purple Signature Drink Menu at Luxurious Bar With Drink Illustrations
Tall Centerpiece With Yellow Flowers, Greenery and Candle Arrangement on Cocktail Bar
Three-Tier White-and-Orange Wedding Cake With Airplane Topper and Couple's Name, Red Flowers
A unique cake topper featuring the Golden Gate Bridge and a small airplane with the couple inside flying a banner with their newlywed last name flying behind it.