Western Carolina graduates Christopher Nguyen and Jin Lin would often pass by one another on their college campus never knowing that one day they would fall in love and get married. “We even had a class together!” says Chris. “But, she doesn’t remember.” Back in Charlotte, adjusting to post-college life and work, the two bumped into each other at a local gym. After spending time together, Jin realized Chris was the one. “He is very considerate and thoughtful. Everything about him completes me. We have a lot of differences but we also have many similarities.” The couple planned a vacation to San Francisco, but Jin had no idea Chris was actually planning to propose. With the ring hidden safely in his pocket, Chris had a close call when going through airport security. He had to remove it from his pocket to continue on. Thankfully, Jin had gone through first and didn’t notice the small, yet very important box her boyfriend was carrying. Arriving in the city of the Golden Gate Bridge, streetcars and boats cutting through the bay, Chris had planned the whole day at Golden Gate Park. “It’s huge! There are gardens, museums and lakes,” says Jin. “I just wanted to stop everywhere, but Chris really wanted to find Stow Lake.” Chris was planning to propose on the lake early in the morning, but it took them hours to get to the proposal spot. Once there, after Jin had visited almost every other site, the couple climbed into a boat and paddled out to the middle of the lake. Chris got down on one knee in the small boat and asked Jin, “Will you marry me?” Jin was caught off guard. “It happened so fast,” she says. “My heart was pounding, but I knew he was the one. So, of course I said yes.” In a state of bliss, the couple finished their exploration of the park and called their closest friends and family to deliver the good news. There was only one thing standing between them and their big day – their cultures. Jin, who was born in China, was Buddhist, while Chris is Vietnamese and Catholic. Both families wanted them to have ceremonies from their respective cultures. “There is a combination of Americans and Asians in our friends and our family, we didn’t want everyone to go through double of everything,” explains Jin. In the end, Jin decided she wanted to convert to Catholicism and have a traditional American wedding. They completed classes at St. Matthew Catholic Church. “The experience we had at St. Matthew was just wonderful. Everyone was so accepting and so nice. They went through the whole process with us so we felt like it was the place for us to get married,” Jin says. And so, in front of 170 guests at St. Matthew Catholic Church, the couple said their vows in a traditional Catholic mass. But, they did include small touches of cultural detail throughout the weekend. For instance, the Chinese symbol for happiness hung on their front door, the bride wore a gold necklace because gold is considered good luck according to Chinese tradition, the couple went table to table offering a toast of appreciation to their guests during the reception, and the grooms dad gave a toast in both Vietnamese and English. After the ceremony, a stretch limo took them to their reception at Ballantyne Country Club, where Chuck Eaton Photography captured every moment. Jin was impressed with how helpful Chuck was throughout the process. Two weeks before the wedding, her makeup artist canceled, and Chuck came to the rescue with a recommendation. Jin and Chris danced their first dance to “Sway” by Dean Martin and cut their four-tiered, lemon and almond flavored wedding cake created by Cheesecake, Etc. As a wedding favor, the couple rented a photo booth where their guests took funny pictures they could take home with them. The party didn’t end after the reception. It continued at an after-party hosted by the parents of the groom. “It was probably the biggest hit of the night. Our closest friends got to share an intimate moment and unique experience with our family,” says Chris.After their perfect wedding, the newlyweds honeymooned in Italy for 11 days of pure romance split between Florence and Venice. They couple says the best part of their wedding was how happy everyone was. “Our wedding was so much fun!” says Jin. “You could see the happiness on everyone’s faces,” says Chris. “We would like to think that the state of euphoria that we were experiencing was contagious.”
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