Growing up, April had always dreamed of having a Vietnamese wedding where she could proudly pay tribute to her heritage. Her now-husband Andrew knew how important April’s roots were to her. Not only did he propose at one of Vietnam’s most beautiful and significant sites with a ring made by April’s uncle, but he and his entire family participated in a traditional Vietnamese tea ceremony the day before their more Western celebration at Riverfront Weddings. It was there that April’s modern/romantic/moody/boho/whimsical vision came to life. Shades of rose and terracotta with hints of blush, gold, and copper made for a dreamy color palette. Community Flower Shop created textural floral arrangements and a show-stopping, asymmetrical ceremony backdrop that is sure to stun. Tablescapes featured airy table runners, patterned glassware and charger plates, and other small touches sourced by the bride herself. While JPC Event Group made sure guests were treated to an amazing meal, a Bethel Bakery wedding cake featuring hand-painted flowers was the sweetest final course. Day Of Pittsburgh was there to ensure everything went off without a hitch, and Solich Photo + Film was there to capture it all. Steeped in tradition and contemporary wedding trends, this feature is such a good one, you guys!
About the Couple
Andrew and April met their freshman year of college at Duquesne University circa August 2014. While taking roll call for the first time, their professor asked how to pronounce Andrew’s last name, Rozsas, to which he replied, “Roses…like the flower”. Without missing a beat April leaned forward, looked around the people sitting between them, and asked, “Can I call you rose bush?”
It’s no surprise that Andrew said “no” to being called “rose bush”, but the encounter did spark their friendship and all of the events that followed. After that moment, they realized they had multiple classes in their schedule that overlapped, which naturally led to spending a lot of time together. April and Andrew fell in love over Milano’s pizza, pulling all nighters writing papers or studying for exams together, and walking the streets of Southside hand in hand. After graduation they moved in together, got a puppy, and decided to embark on the adventure of a lifetime when April’s family decided to take a vacation in 2019 to her parent’s home country, Vietnam.
Talking about getting married “one day” wasn’t uncommon before they got engaged, but the proposal in Vietnam was a huge surprise to April. After the flights were booked and the trip was “officially” official, April’s mom texted Andrew with the idea of proposing at the Golden Hands Bridge, which was a location they were planning on visiting during their 2-week vacation. When Andrew agreed it was a good idea, that’s when the work began.
April’s uncle is a jeweler and for as long as she could remember, he had always sat down with the girls in the family and would design their dream engagement rings, even at a really young age. Three months prior to the trip to Vietnam, April had been in Philadelphia visiting with family and, once again, designed her dream engagement ring with her uncle. This time when he drew the design on a napkin, folded it up, put it in his pocket, looked Andrew in the eyes and said, “When you’re ready, you let me know and I’ll take care of you”.
Up in the clouds of the Ba Na hills in Vietnam, not only did Andrew physically see and have the ring in his possession for the first time, but he also proposed to April in the most magical place. What started as a photo opportunity on Vietnam’s popular Golden Hands Bridge turned into the start of their journey as husband and wife.
About the Wedding
From the bride…
Growing up in Pittsburgh, there wasn’t ever a huge Vietnamese population, but I was always so proud of my heritage and the sacrifices my parents made to get to where they are today. From a young age, I always knew that I wanted to honor my Vietnamese roots somehow, and being able to share a traditional Vietnamese Tea Ceremony the Friday before our wedding with Andrew and his family was so special.
A Vietnamese Tea Ceremony is comprised of five major parts:
1. The procession to the bride’s home
2. The exchanging of gifts
3. The ancestral ceremony
4. The serving of tea
5. A celebratory luncheon or dinner
Traditionally, the gifts are the “dowry” for the bride. As such, the bride’s parents would usually define how many of each set the groom’s side should bring in order to demonstrate their love and value for their daughter. Since the groom’s family isn’t Vietnamese, my mom and I helped a lot with finding the proper trays, red, velvet tray coverings, and specific teas, candies, and cookies for Andrew’s family to offer. The part of the ceremony is for the groom’s family to ask permission to “receive” the bride after they process to the home. Once the bride’s family formally accepts this proposal, the exchanging of gifts between the groomsmen, bridesmaids, and two respected members (female and male) of each family happens. They then bring the gifts into the bride’s family home, all families gather in a common space, and after short introductions occur, the mother of the bride goes upstairs and then presents her daughter to everyone. We then pray to our ancestors, and technically are considered “husband and wife” with the seal of a kiss. Then, we serve tea to our families. To end the night, we all hung out at my parents’ house, ate some really amazing traditional Vietnamese food cooked by my mom and grandma, and sang karaoke, which is a staple for any good Asian house party.
The next day, our wedding at Riverfront Weddings was an absolute dream come true. I truly poured every ounce of my heart and soul into wedding planning. I knew I wanted something modern, romantic, a little moody, and maybe a little boho/whimsical, but it was hard to nail down the vision because Pinterest could only give me so much. If you ask my vendors about my vision boards, they’ll know what you mean (lol). People literally thought I was crazy because of how many swatches I was buying in order to create the perfect color palette, but I knew with every fiber in me what I wanted and took into consideration how the photos would look when Jenna edited our gallery. It honestly wasn’t until we ordered Andrew’s suit and saw it in person that everything really came together.
I was literally floored by the vision that came together and am so happy to have had vendors who saw my vision when others didn’t and who were able to execute it so perfectly. That morning when we were getting ready, I felt calm because I knew Heather of Day Of Pittsburgh and Caity with JPC Event Group had it handled. But what really filled my heart with gratitude was when Miranda with Community Flower Shop stayed when she found out that the ceremony space would need to be flipped due to inclement weather. She wanted to make sure she delivered on the floral vision that I dreamt up with her for almost two years while I was planning. She didn’t need to do that, but it’s an example of vendors going above and beyond for their couples, and it’s something that I won’t ever forget.
Getting ready with my girls in the morning, bumping our favorite songs with rain streaming down the windows feeling like we were in a music video or movie, and then getting into our dresses for the first time together is literally a memory that’s engraved in my brain. We had so much fun!
I also think seeing the room flipped for the first time and witnessing my entire wedding vision come together was definitely a high point. But doing a receiving line, getting the chance to see all of our guests for a few minutes, and having some time to talk to them during the cocktail hour was probably my favorite. After the year we had with 2020, it was incredible being able to see family and friends we hadn’t connected with in years – we laughed, we cried, we hugged, and it was so special. Doing the receiving line also gave us time to fully enjoy our dinner instead of making rounds and talking to our guests. Plus, we were able to be fully present during our reception. Andrew and I snuck away for a few more formal portraits with our photographers, but after that, you couldn’t get us off the dance floor if you tried.
Rain and all, it was seriously the most perfect day.