On May 14 this year (2022), Athos Tsiopani & Anda Huynh-Tsiopani got married in the Kingdom of Kerry at the Kenmare Bay Hotel & Resort following a romance on the other side of the world, being separated over the pandemic and a long distance proposal. A Cafe, a Song and A Dream Wedding.
The story of A Cafe, a Song and A Dream Wedding starts for Athos and Anda in October 2018 when Athos moved to Vietnam to explore the country and to teach English. Anda is from Vietnam and was working as a photographer at the time. This is their story in their own words.
How did you meet?
Anda says: “Athos would like to tell you that we met whilst we were both travelling on two boats going in opposite directions down the Mekong River. And, that as we floated serenely past each other, our eyes met and we shared a moment that seemed to last for eternity…. ”
“However, it was actually through an online dating app and we met at the back of a cafe called ‘1985’ in Can Tho!” Anda Laughs
Describe the proposal with all the fabulous details.
Athos moved back to Ireland in June 2021 to help his family out with their post-lockdown recovery and they were long-distance for 10 months while Anda stayed in Vietnam.
Athos says: “I decided to ask Anda to marry me at the beginning of August, but needed a few weeks to prepare something special. First, I bought and designed a website (athosandanda.com) and posted all of our travel pictures. Second, I wrote a song and had my friends from all over Ireland and Scotland perform the music for it. Thirdly, I made a video to accompany the song, from pictures and videos of Anda and our time together. We organised a virtual ‘date’ – Anda’s dinner and my lunch, we each opened a bottle of wine and I sent her the link to the website, with the song embedded in it.
Here are the lyrics to the final verse of the song, in which I ask her to Marry me:
“This is Anda’s treat
If you’re standing, have a seat
Because as far as I can see,
Clearly you’re beside me,
So today I’ll take a knee:
Will you marry me?”
When she heard it, Anda burst into tears and wouldn’t stop crying for almost a minute! Then, the first thing she said was ‘are you joking?’. When I confirmed that I wasn’t, she wholeheartedly agreed, thankfully.”
In fairness, there’s a few glistening eyes around the WeddingDates office after watching that video…
Athos and Anda, Why did you choose Kenmare Bay Hotel & Resort as your wedding venue?
We chose the venue for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it’s local to where we live, about 15 minutes down the road. We were enquiring with a few venues and it seemed that often the prices and packages were very similar, so it was difficult to know without viewing. We arranged a meeting with Alan at Kenmare Bay Hotel and Resort and he was so helpful that just like that, we decided not to bother looking anywhere else. The Banquet Room was nice, we loved the big windows with all the natural light in particular. We were confident that the venue would meet all of our needs from the get-go, we were so impressed.
Did you follow any wedding trends, unique themes or ideas? Please tell us all about it, what you included and why.
“We customised the day quite a bit. We had a humanist wedding so we didn’t have to follow any religious traditions. We walked down the aisle together to the soundtrack from a Japanese animated film! We also wrote our own vows.
We drank from the quaich, which is a Celtic tradition, and then went out for a car ride and took some photographs. Neither of us has a sweet tooth so we didn’t have a cake at the wedding. Anyhow, the desserts at the Kenmare Bay Hotel & Resort were tasty enough!
We held a pre-reception, then we did our speeches before dinner, which was fantastic! After dinner we had a band led by Tim O’Leary and we danced the night away with DJ Donal Clifford.
Was there a most special moment of your wedding day? Do you have any funny or embarrassing stories?
Anda says: “We tried to make our speeches and vows as personal, intimate and humorous as we could. This led to quite a few laughs and some tears as well. The music we chose was particularly important to us, especially after Anda’s Song. We tried to ensure everyone to have a great time at the party.”
Athos says: “We had a couple of special moments. Anda enjoyed going down to the pier most of all, taking some photographs and drinking champagne. The sun was out and the atmosphere there was absolutely delightful. My favourite moment was the first dance. We had learned a few waltz dance moves off of YouTube about a week before and had spent a good bit of time practising everything and trying to work out a choreography that was complex enough to impress our guests, yet simple enough for us to remember! The band played a wonderful rendition of the song, ‘The Pact’ by the Divine Comedy.
We didn’t notice anything embarrassing happening. We did get an unintentional laugh when Anda promised to be patient with me in her vows and the whole room started roaring – perhaps a little bit too loudly…
Tell us about your wedding attire – for you, your spouse and your wedding party.
Anda: “I bought my wedding dress in Vietnam. It was a sleeveless, full length flared dress in white with a square neck line and large white bow trained down the back from Poxi Vietnam. I didn’t wear any head-pieces, just a simple pearl necklace and earrings. My sister Mia Tsiopani did my hair in an up and down style. She also did my make up. My bouquet was assembled by Shelley Pople Athos’ aunt, as a wedding gift.”
Athos: “I wore a blue and pink three-piece suit from Quills in Kenmare (they took great care of us!). The best man, the groomsmen, my father and I all wore pink matching buttonhole flowers.
What was your favourite thing about your wedding photographer? How did you find the process of working with them?
James O’Driscoll was very enthusiastic! He came to the house early and he was just bursting with ideas about how we can work in the scenery, etc. Before the shoot, he was very responsive to messages and keen to discuss ideas. He’s very skilled and captured some fantastic pictures throughout the day.
Athos says: “Everything went really smoothly and according to plan. We had an absolutely wonderful day! Big thanks to the Kenmare Bay Hotel, we would 100% recommend the venue to other couples.
Aw, we just love this story here at team WeddingDates. If you too want to make your dreams come true, request a viewing today.