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Rita Abi-Rached & Tan Tai
October 2, 2010

written by
Christine O'Connor
photography by
Andy Sams Photography

This was not just a wedding, but the bonding of two cultures – Lebanese and Vietnamese. Born in Ohio, Rita Abi-Rached is first generation Lebanese. Tan Thai (aka "Ty") was born in Vietnam and he moved to the States when he was four years old. The couple wed in October and the wedding was a tribute of their cultural heritage. Rita and Ty made a great couple from the start. "We joke and laugh and just enjoy the silly things we do," says Rita, "We can make fun of each and know that it's all in love."

Soon after meeting, true love fell upon them. Ty proposed to Rita by whisking her away for a surprise weekend. Ty had everything planned in advance and he thought of EVERYTHING! He even packed Rita's bags for their trip to Fort Worth, where he had arranged driving lessons in a race car at the Texas Motor Speedway. Driving a race car had always been a dream of Rita's, so she was elated! And that was just the first surprise. Later that day, the couple took a romantic stroll through the local shops. When they approached the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Ty knelt down on one knee and popped the question. The proposal came just after
Rita had teased that the chocolate covered strawberries, made to look like a tuxedo and wedding dress, would be great for their wedding (if the day ever came). So, I guess it's clear that both Ty and Rita were head over heels in love and ready to take the next step in their lives. Rita of course, said, "Yes."

On Saturday, October 2nd, the couple wed. The ceremony was held at St. William's Catholic Church in Round Rock and it was absolutely beautiful. The theme of the wedding was a celebration of their two cultures. The color red was chosen to honor the Vietnamese heritage and they incorporated many Lebanese traditions, as well. When Rita walked down the aisle, the guests were in awe. Her gorgeous gown was made by Henry Roth and she looked absolutely stunning. The spaghetti strap gown with beads that crossed in the back with an embellished and fitted bodice, flared skirt and a full train with similar beadwork was a site to be seen. The bride wore a custom-made shear bolero wrap for the church ceremony. She loved the bolero so much that she left it on all night long. The sparkly crystal earrings that dangled from Rita's ears were divine. They were a special gift from her Mom who bought them in Lebanon. Rita also wore pretty lace slippers. She was a gorgeous bride!

The four bridesmaids, four groomsmen, two junior bridesmaids, two
flower girls and one ring bearer were all an important part of the wedding
party. Rita's sister served as the matron of honor while Ty's best friend
Isaac, stood as his best man. The girls wore simple and sleek knee-length
dresses from J Crew in a beet color. The dresses were sleeveless with a
V-neck and were made of lovely chiffon. Ty's two brothers were groomsmen,
as well as Rita's older brother. Rita's young nephew acted the part of
ring bearer with the help of her youngest brother. The guys all wore tuxes
from Al's Formal Wear with vests to match the bridesmaids. Ty wore a
white vest under his tux to match his lovely bride.

The bride's bouquet was tied with a brown ribbon and contained
the perfect mix of red Gerber daisies, curly willow, seeded eucalyptus,
bear grass, red hypericum, circus roses and orange lilies. The colors were
spectacular with a glorious autumn mix, and they highlighted the red
color theme. The bridesmaids carried circus roses, red hypericum, seeded
eucalyptus, also tied with a brown ribbon, which accented the bride's
bouquet nicely. The couples mothers received a corsage of a circus rose
with seeded eucalyptus with a red ribbon. The men all wore boutonnieres
with seeded eucalyptus, red hypericum berries, with a bear grass loop.
Ty's boutonniere stood out with a curly willow twig.

Following the ceremony, guests met the wedding party at Arbor
Pointe Event Center in Round Rock for the exquisitely planned reception.
This was a wondrous venue that provided guests with both an
indoor and outdoor setting. From the food, to the favors, the couple
honored family traditions.

Andy Sams Photography took charge in documenting every detail
of the event with his camera, allowing the newlyweds to enjoy their
special day without missing a thing. Having captured the memories with
photographs, the bride and groom can spend time reminiscing for years
to come.

The table tops looked amazing! Each table had a mirror plate with
red votive candle holders and red rose petals sprinkled along the mirror.
There were three styles of vases. One table had tall vases filled with curly
willow and wrapped with red ribbons. Other table tops had three hurricane
vases of staggering heights, each filled with water including one
white floating candle. The last style was a single shallow, round vase filled
with water and three floating candles. The candlelit room was the perfect
atmosphere for this beautiful affair.

The wedding had an open bar that served beer, wine and spirits.
Rita's Mom made the appetizers for the wedding and they were fantastic.
She made a spread of Lebanese food to include grape leaves, kibbee balls,
hummus, pita bread and baba ganoush. The dinner was catered by China
Town and the menu consisted of egg rolls, lo mein, beef and broccoli,
crab rangoons, chicken and bok choy with choices of vegetable fried or
steamed rice.

Music played all night long and the guests enjoyed the dance floor
the entire evening. This wedding reception included a unique twist with
dragon dancers and belly dancers entertaining the crowd. They were
amazing and everyone joined in on the traditional belly dancing. The
bride and groom also grooved to Arabic music and performed a Lebanese
line dance. Oh, how fun!

The favors also went in line with the cultural theme. They provided
their guests with little white Asian take out boxes. The outside of the box
had two red labels – the first said "thank you" in English, Arabic and
Vietnamese and the second label had the couples' names and wedding
date on it. On the inside of each box, there were two personalized fortune
cookies. The first cookie contained a message of gratitude, "thank you for
sharing in our special day" and the second cookie contained the following
words, "marriage allows you to annoy one special person for the rest
of their life." On the backside of each fortune was the couples' names and
wedding date. And that's not all. Guests received a red mesh drawstring
goodie bag filled with red and white Jordan almonds (a Middle Eastern
tradition). To top it off, attached to each take out box was a pair of red
chop sticks with the Asian symbol for double happiness imprinted on

Rita was very happy that her Godmother, who is also her deceased
father's sister, traveled from Florida for the wedding. She said, "It meant
the world to me." Rita's mother, Ty's mother and father, and all of Rita
and Ty's siblings were in attendance for their special day. As a Vietnamese
tradition, Ty's family presented the couple with a traditional ornate red
Asian envelope that contained a special wedding gift inside. They also
gave Rita an elegant gold chain and cross set, as a symbol of embracing
her religion.

Following the wedding, the couple waved goodbye to their guest
and left in a BMW convertible (borrowed from a friend's Mom). On the
Monday following the wedding, the newlyweds set off for Jamaica and
enjoyed a fun-filled and romantic honeymoon.
Upon returning, this light-hearted couple bought their first home
together in Pflugerville. Rita manages a small distribution company in
Austin while Ty works for the University of Texas at Austin as a Graduate
Coordinator for the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education.
They are a very happy couple with lots of great family memories from
their wedding.

Ceremony Location:
St. William's Catholic Church
512-255-4473 |

Reception Location: Arbor Pointe Event Center
512-218-1218 |

Photographer: Andy Sams
512-694-6311 |

Wedding Consultant: Kristin and Pat Ott
512-218-1218 |

Flowers: HEB Blooms Department (Clifton Hawkins and Julie Knoxx) 512-301-9712, ext. 6

Wedding Cake: Oralia Avalos (independent)

Hair & Makeup: Hair: Zee Ghaleb and Kay Rushing; make-up: Glynda Welch
Zee: 512-294-8533, Kay: 512-767-9735, Glynda: 512-4903329 | (Zee)

Men's Formal Wear: Al's Formal Wear
512-472-1697 |

David Braverman | 828-280-6836

Reception Music: Sean with Tunes Across Texas
512-266-9966 |

Honeymoon: Janis Green with Century Travel 512-327-8760 |


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