The Best Day of Our Lives (Part 1)

That one BEST day in our lives was more than what we hoped for.

To be surrounded by love from family and friends who traveled far to celebrate with us brought us feelings beyond expectations. The joy is so deep that I hope you’ll allow me to share the memories here, for us to keep and pass on to our children’s children’s children.

Welcome to #CorytakesaDeetour, our wedding on December 30, 2016 in Panglao Island, Bohol, Philippines.

The Preparations

Organizing a wedding with thousands of big and small details was not easy, but marrying this man remains to be the easiest and most natural thing I ever had to do in my life.

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Dr. Cory Willey is getting ready and is here modeling the Filipino barong tagalog, a Philippine traditional formal wear.

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Meet the best man and everyone’s favorite friend, Brandon.

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I wonder what they were up to?

Cory and his groomsmen: Ben, Brendan, David, Kevin and Niall.

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The boys on their jeepney ride to the church.

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One of the best fathers in the universe right there.

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My husband’s beautiful family: Ashleigh, mom Dottie and dad Mike.

My girls Rhea, Tracy, Sharla, Anne, Shane and Kats in beach cover-ups instead of robes.

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Best Mom Ever and Best Momma Ever liking their personalized clutch bags.

My husband and I had foregone gifts for each other on our wedding day in favor of what we really like better: reading letters from each other.

Here, we are both caught cramming on our letters in the morning.

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My  good friend, Emi Ayag, who shared years of working with me on photo and video shoots in my early years of my marketing career, did my and mom’s makeups. Her amazing team Mariell, Gino, Cielo and Dephne all did such a fabulous job and my girls were more than happy.

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Thank you, Emi!

Reading Cory’s letter got me crying. Thanks for holding my hand throughout that day, Rae!

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Flexing after crying with my strong CrossFit ladies, Lars and Polly.

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The secondary sponsors Ashleigh, Larissa and Polly.

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I spent a lot of time drawing with my pencil, explaining my brief, and working with a watercolor artist for this invitation. It came out so beautifully. Thank you, Sara!

Only ethically-sourced diamonds were used for my rings. One of the biggest things I love about my husband: his deep conscience and values.

All these favors are handcrafted with love. Personalized clutch bags for my girls, canvas bags for all guests, and Hangover Kits which were put together by my sister-in-law Ashleigh with our parents.

I decided to work with a Marikina shoemaker for my custom wedding shoes. I was so glad I didn’t give in to the temptation of getting the designer pair I’ve been eyeing.

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Michael Yu and Joseph ven Dumadag’s bouquet for me took my breath away. It was uniquely tropical and Filipino, not to mention heavy. (They must know I like to lift!)

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Nothing bright and sparkly. I chose clean drapes of taupe and beige tones for our earthy looks. My girls all picked their own dress designs, and they were all on point.

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Dad and Mom, my first and forever loves.

Check out my mother proving how I’m only a much lesser version of her. 🙂

The Wedding Ceremony at Church

Nothing prepared me for that time waiting alone in the car outside the church.

I worried about the most mundane things: stepping on my veil, tripping along the aisle, imagining that I needed to pee, etc. I know. I feel it is my duty to write some tips for brides that none of my extensive research and reading made me aware of. (That will be a later post.)

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Thanks for sneaking in a coconut juice for me, Sharla.

We had free fresh coconut juice, cold beer and water at church for guests and at that vantage point from the car, I could see the beer was quite popular, as expected. (As if it wasn’t 2:30 in the afternoon!)

We love our guests!

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The St. Augustine Parish Church or Panglao Church was established in 1782 and is recorded by The Recollects in 1803.

Hearing the Loboc Youth Choir sing Regina Spektor’s cover of Real Love from John Lennon was beyond words.

What a dream it felt–walking down the aisle with an acclaimed choir singing our songs in breathtaking choral arrangement.

The church was beautiful, all the people who mattered and came were inside waiting, and all I couldn’t wait to do was reach Cory’s side.

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Dad and Mom giving their only daughter away. Please know that I’ll forever be your daughter wherever I go with Cory.

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I love the second set of parents I get from marrying Cory. One of the best perks of marrying the wonderful Dr. Willey.

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Bluegrass Project showing why they’re award-winning. I requested all greens, whites, local plants and flowers (nothing fancy, stiff and pretentious) and a bias for low rather than tall designs, accentuated by lights for a seamless-looking display.

They are artists who truly listen to your vision and deliver.

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Spending the day away from your fiance until you reach his side at the church does something for any bride.

But whatever nerves I felt all went away when I was finally standing beside him at the altar.

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No one ever said how the veil would feel heavy over your head. I felt like my hands were trapped and my hair was being pulled down. Maybe I was imagining it.

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Can you see how happy I was at the exchange of vows?

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We were half-smiling and laughing for the most part. (Brides in Catholic weddings, good to note that the kneeling time for the marriage ceremony is pretty long. Keep your humor in place!)

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We finally put a ring on it. 🙂

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What was so funny? You’ll know when we share our vows here some time.

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The marriage contract with the church is officially signed.

Our entourage is ready to groove.

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Our families with the best man, Brandon.

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Our principal sponsors all looking so grand.

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With our loving parents.

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Our group of friends can fill a tiny town. Thank you all for sharing this most meaningful day with us.

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With our secondary sponsors.

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Our gorgeous bridesmaids and groomsmen.

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My adorable family, but nephew Zeke is M.I.A. which can only mean he was wreaking havoc somewhere in the church premises.

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The Nicolas and Reyes clans. Love our big and crazy family.

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Brandon is Cory’s long-lost brother? 🙂

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The wonderful BCBP friends who happily share our family’s biggest milestones with us.

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On our wedding getaway car (that proved to be not as easy and cute as it looked!).

For a video of Paopao Sanchez’s same-day edit photos from the wedding, click here.

The same-day edit video from Team Panda is here.

Watch out for Part 2: The Reception.

4 thoughts on “The Best Day of Our Lives (Part 1)

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