Planning A Wedding Over Lunch
Bryson and Tanna Dang: Making friends with
brides and grooms
Tanna and Bryson Dang have found the love of their lives (each other), and they’ve found a business to own, The Wedding Cafe at Manoa Marketplace. Their next step is to find a partner for the store’s logo — a bee named Herbert. Herbert could stand for “her bee” or “Herby the Love Bug.”
The new bee will be an integral part of the Wedding Cafe, which serves food from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and it serves as a free resource center of anything to do with wedding planning.
“As long as people are falling in love, people are getting married,” says Tanna.
On the menu at the cafe hungry folks like Manoa area workers, teachers, senior citizens — and of course, brides — can gobble down sandwiches, soups, salads and homemade desserts at reasonable prices. Some of the more popular munchies are the chicken walnut sandwich, spicy tuna caper sandwich, Thai salad with grilled chicken, lychee iced tea, and the pumpkin crunch.
Resources feature hotel menus and prices in sturdy binders so brides to be can look at as many options at one time as possible. Bridal magazines and wedding etiquette books are also available for brides to look at. Florists, photographers, videographers, and favor makers have displays in the store, which they pay for as a member of the outlet. Members are encouraged to have meetings with prospective clients at the cafe and members also have the opportunity to lead one of the free Wednesday night seminars given at the cafe during the months of January to March and July to October.
“We want to be friends with all the brides and grooms,” adds Tanna.
She points out that her husband, Bryson, is really good with the grooms.
“I tell them, ‘Just nod,’ and we go straight to what there is to eat,” explains Bryson. And in case Bryson isn’t on hand to relate to the groom, there are a few tips posted on the shop walls for grooms. Here’s a few of Bryson’s favorites.
1. You have an opinion. Forget them. Only hers counts.
2. One week before the wedding get a haircut. Spend more than $6.
3. Your ex-girlfriends are usually not invited to the wedding. Her ex-boyfriends are not also … but they are more welcomed than your ex-girlfriends.
4. Look back at your original wedding budget and laugh at your naivete.
Bryson, a Mililani High School grad and University of Hawaii MIS (management information science) and finance major, maintains his day job with Bank of Hawaii. He works on the cafe side, and keeps all of the merchandise on order.
Tanna talks to the brides and does the research for the library of books, magazines, and menus. The Punahou grad and UH journalism major, worked at one of the local bridal magazines when she heard that the original owners who started The Wedding Cafe in 2001 were planning to sell. Tanna and Bryson were married Dec. 12, 2004 and they literally started more training for the business two days after their wedding.
The Dangs agree that a challenge of being a newlywed couple and running a business together is finding a balance. “We have a date night, and once a week we get together with our family,” says Tanna. “We are hands-on. There’s only so much time during the day to get things done. So we really treasure our 20 minute driving time from Aiea. It’s Q.T., quality time.”
Bryson says one of the lessons he’s learned is to do things right away and to focus.
“I’m learning to make the list since there’s so many tasks,” says Bryson. “I’m prioritizing instead of tabling it.”
Tanna says she’s learned to ask questions.
“You don’t know everything,” says Tanna. “You’re learning everything from scratch.”
Tanna and Bryson scratch out a Love Note to 750 brides, which is an email blast that keeps their customers up-to-date on the stores seminars or other bridal events.
Bridal showers are held at the cafe, and the catering menu offers three options to choose from for a lunch or a dinner party. Party photos showing guests having a good time are placed on the wall for all to see. The customers have such good time, they sometimes come back to have a baby shower too.
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