The last chapter of Lali + Ehsan's wedding adventure took us up to the Sapa region in Northern Vietnam. Sapa was the one part of Vietnam we wished we had seen during our trip in 2013. We spent a day roaming the busy streets of Hanaoi, before making our way up North. The original plan was to spend one night at a home stay outside the small village of Ta Phin + spend are last night in Vietnam at a hotel in Sapa. Little did we know how impactful the home stay would be for us. As we were driving into the town, woman + children started to follow us, giving waves + smiles as they ran behind our vehicle. It really was the best welcome + I think in that moment we knew that this place was going to steal a piece of our heart. The walk from the town to May Kieu's home was a moment I will never forget. The sun was setting as we walked on the dirt road, with rice fields on either side and women + children from the village holding our hands + leading the way. May welcomed us into her home, introducing us to her family, and showing us where we would be sleeping. We shared a meal with the family + travellers from different parts of the world + then enjoyed a herbal bath prepared by Grandma. We instantly felt at home + the thought of staying in a hotel all of a sudden didn't seem that appealing. In our opinion experience will always trump comfort so we quickly came to the decision that we would cancel our hotel + spend our last night at the home stay. Best decision.
I don't exactly remember the moment when Lali + Ehsan made the decision that they wanted to put their wedding attire back on + do their elopement all over again. But I do remember Lali saying at one point that this is what she imagined for her wedding + that they should have got married in this place. Well, good thing we had a wedding dress + a couple of photographers that have seen their fair share of wedding ceremonies! The original plan was that Lali's dress would not travel to Vietnam with us but be shipped back to Canada during our day in Bangkok. Thankfully that did not happen + Lali's dress made the last part of the journey with us, making this crazy idea a possibility. After a morning hike through the rice terraces + villages in the region, it was time to get married. Lali asked May + Grandma to help do up her dress + capturing that moment will forever be a highlight of my life. When the light was just right we headed out to a spot we had found earlier in the day that overlooked the valley. Mike put down his camera to play another role + felt honored to lead Lali + Ehsan through marriage vows. A few women from the village sat on the side of the hill + watched as Lali + Ehsan promised to love each other for life. We learned from the women in this area that instead of wedding rings the men give a bracelet to their bride. It only seemed fitting to do the same. There were tears + laughter + I am pretty sure Lali + Ehsan's excitement could be felt throughout the village. This was the moment that they had hoped for. After a few portraits we made our way back to our little home to pack up + head back to the city. Before leaving, we opened a bottle of champaigne under the stars + spoke of the highlights of this journey we had shared together. We toasted to the amazing adventure + new friendships. What a trip.