Rita Saynhalath and Derek Ngai never dreamed they’d one day stand in a Chinese restaurant in a suburb of Dallas and say “I do.” But the couple did just that, surrounded by a small group of family and friends, on May 18, 2019 at The Pearl Restaurant in Grand Prairie.
“It was a small wedding with close family and friends, so everyone knew the background to our love story,” says Rita. “We loved being able to share the day with them.”
It was a rocky road to the altar for the bride, who was a single mom before meeting Ngai.
Rita, a physician at Children’s Medical Center Dallas, was nearing the end of her medical residency and adjusting to life with a 1-month-old son when her first husband left the family home.
The couple divorced and she finished her residency with the support of her parents. A fellowship in pediatric anesthesiology brought her to Dallas and she met Derek, also a physician, through a friend.
“We went on a group date,” says Rita. “The next morning, Derek asked me out on a second date ... and the rest is history.”
The couple got engaged in October of 2018 at Derek's apartment. He greeted the bride-to-be at his front door and dropped to one knee, while Train’s song “Marry Me” played. She said yes — of course — and the couple began planning an intimate wedding with help from the Rita's sister, Rivann Yu, who acted as wedding planner.
“Rivann envisioned a paradise of flowers with candles and soft purple uplighting,” says Rita. “We wanted the wedding to be elegant and modern.”
They also wanted it to be unique to them and meaningful in every detail — a true celebration of the family they were creating.
In homage to Derek's Hong Kong heritage, the couple chose to hold the wedding at The Pearl Restaurant, which serves traditional Chinese fare. French appetizers were made by the mother of the bride, nodding to the bride’s birthplace.
And the date was strategically chosen to honor the groom’s late father, whose birthday was May 18.
Perhaps most special of all was the role Rita's son played. He was involved in every facet of the celebration and held the very important title of ring bearer.
“It was a relaxed vibe,” Rita says. “We just wanted everyone to enjoy themselves and celebrate. It truly felt like a new beginning.”
Planner: Rivann Yu
Venue: The Pearl Restaurant & Lounge
Florals: Dream Weddings
Photography: Fairy Tale Photography
Bridal gown: Gowns of Grace
Hair & makeup: Q Makeup & Hair Artistry
Cake: M2M Bakery
DJ: RLF Society Events
Transportation: DFW Executive Limo
To submit a wedding for consideration, email email@example.com. Weddings must have taken place around Dallas-Fort Worth since July 1, 2018.