Joe and I met at Kean University. We were both working at the University Center at the time and it was my first weekend there. I was walking in and he was talking to a customer. As I was walking in, Joe saw me. He immediately asked, “Do you work here?” And when I said yes, he got up and left me to deal with the customer. It was definitely a weird meeting!
After almost four years of being together and seven months of living together, Joe and I appeared in a play together for the very first time. In 2019, both of our families attended a matinee viewing of Prelude to a Kiss, where Joe and I did not play the dating-then-engaged-then-married couple. Joe incorporated that fact into his proposal, explaining that he wanted to change all of that, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. Thank goodness for video footage because I was so shaken, it was mostly a blur!
As a Covid couple, you can already imagine how much stress we were under. Other than location, catering and music, we were able to keep most of the original aspects of our day. Because it was Fall, I knew I wanted Fall-related colors. So my bridesmaids wore cabernet dresses from Azazie, while the groomsmen wore navy blue from Men’s Wearhouse. Our florist, The Flower Bar, incorporated those colors into our designs perfectly! We had bubbles blown as we were walking out at the end of the ceremony, and also handed our hand sanitizers for our favors. Our sanitizers had stickers that said “Spread love, not germs” and our names and wedding date on it (thank you, Etsy!).
Due to the pandemic, we switched our location from an indoor ballroom to an outside venue at Liberty Hall Museum in Union. It actually worked out so much better because Liberty Hall was one of my original ideas, but we were concerned with the weather being unpredictable. Liberty Hall is located right across from Kean University, where we met and where our friendship began, so it was full circle.
Our food was catered by Encore Catering, who were very accommodating! They were able to work with us when it came to our budget and were super understanding about the whole Covid situation. Our cake was made by Perfect Bite Delights, owned by one of my mom’s friends. She made my bridal shower cake as well, so I knew we wanted to work with her again because of how beautiful the design was and, of course, how delicious the cake itself was. She worked with us on the theme we wanted and the flavors as well.
My gown was by Martina Liana, and I am in love with it. I went shopping with a different dress shapes in mind, but the dress I chose was actually not even one of the original 10 I pulled from the racks; my consultant picked it out based on the ones I had already said I liked and didn’t like and she said, “I have a feeling about this one.” Her feeling was absolutely correct. I fell in love with it immediately! My dress had a sweetheart neckline with off-the-shoulder sleeves, a lot of lace and a lot of tulle, and a blush undertone. It was absolutely gorgeous, and I felt like such a princess with it on.
I have two favorite moments from the day: First, when we live-streamed the wedding to our family and friends who couldn’t attend. I have family all over the world, most of whom live in the Philippines. My husband and I set up a livestream on Facebook and they were all able to a part of our day. My second favorite part was when my husband ended his vows by speaking Tagalog (the Philippine language). Apparently he worked with my mom and my sister on this! My grandparents, who are two of my favorite people on this planet, said how much they loved that Joe did that and how special it was that he put in that effort.
One detail I couldn’t live without was my grandmother’s rosary. Before I left for the States, she gave it to me and I’ve kept it close ever since. On the wedding day itself, I was holding onto it throughout the ceremony. It was my only way to really have my grandmother there with me.
At one point, my husband had to run to the bank around the corner to take out some cash, because we had completely forgotten that we needed cash for some gratuity. While I asked him to have one of our parents handle it, he felt that he needed to take care of it himself personally.
“Never Stop (Wedding Version),” by SafetySuit.
Take some time to just sit at the sweetheart table with your new life partner and take in the scene. All those people are there for the two of you and the union of the two families! Enjoy it and take it in.