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Melissa + Tommy ][ Lake Mirror Lakeland, Florida Wedding

For most weddings, there is one ceremony where the bride and groom commit themselves to each other in a beautiful display of love. For Melissa and Tommy, one ceremony wasn’t enough. They decided there needed to be three. Because these two amazing individuals came from such different and vibrant cultures, they were able to create three unique ceremonies throughout their wedding day, to confess their love and commitment to one another in three different ways.

Tommy is of Chinese descent, so a Chinese tea ceremony was a must. This traditional ceremony involves the couple serving tea to close friends and relatives and receiving advice and red envelopes full of good fortune, to start their new life, in return.

The two sweethearts met each other and fell in love here in the United States, so they did a traditional Christian ceremony next. This one was outdoors at the Loggia in Lakeland, on a windy afternoon with all their friends and family gathered around.

Finally, before sunset on that same day, was a ceremony celebrating Melissa’s heritage, which is Laotian. This ceremony started out a raucous gathering of the groom’s family, as they marched to the Magnolia Building, the place where the reception and party were going to be held. Here they negotiated with the bride’s relatives, offering gold and cognac. Inside, Melissa waited patiently in the quiet of the ceremony area, surrounded by beautiful cultural flower displays. Once inside, the ceremony was first somber and then congratulatory, with family and friends offering symbolic gifts to the couple as they begin their new life as husband and wife.

This whirlwind day was magical for everybody involved, including us! Between clothing changes and preparations for each special ceremony there was barely time to take a breath. But the most breathtaking part was really how much these two love each other and are loved by their families and friends, and how committed they were to showing it all day, in so many ways.

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