Stefan and I met in 2013 at Virginia Commonwealth University when I was a sophomore and he was a freshman. We were both very active in the same cultural organization, Filipino Americans Coming Together (FACT), and our mutual friends in the organization introduced us. Our personalities were the exact opposite and people still joke that we barely have anything in common, but that’s exactly why we fell in love! We remained together all through college, graduation, and as young professionals post-graduation. We watched each other grow as individuals throughout our college years and it helped us strengthen our relationship.
In 2019, Stefan proposed at our favorite bakery, Proper Pie Co. and I immediately started wedding planning! We originally planned a huge wedding for October 2020 with over 275 guests. We were so excited for all of our friends and family to come together to celebrate with us! However, our plans came to a full stop when the COVID-19 pandemic started. We sadly had to postpone our wedding not just once, but three times! With the restrictions getting smaller and stricter as time passed, we realized that our dream wedding was not going to be possible. We had to rethink everything we wanted and agreed that at the end of the day, we just wanted to be married!
We decided to get married on our 7 year anniversary on February 26, 2021 in our home in Richmond. Our ceremony was small and intimate with only a handful of close friends and family members in attendance. But, in order to include all the other friends and family we wish could be there, in a true “pandemic wedding” style, we streamed the wedding online for our guests to watch from home! Everything worked out perfectly and the wedding still felt so special because people could still be there with us during the ceremony from the safety of their homes.
Because we had a small ceremony in our home, I felt that a simple elopement dress would be more appropriate. I did not want my gorgeous dress and cape from Zakaa to go to waste, so we planned to do a photoshoot with our photographer a few days later in our original wedding attire! I got ready with my friends at the Quirk Hotel and took some traditional getting ready photos and even did a first look with my father and Stefan. We invited our family and wedding party to dress up with us as well and they attended the photoshoot at the VMFA.
Despite the multiple hardships we endured during our wedding planning, we realized that the most important thing is everyone’s safety and health. The world is constantly changing and we have to learn how to adapt. We are so thankful to our vendors for working with us through all the changes, the Quirk Hotel where we spent our wedding “honeymoon staycation”, and to Zakaa for bringing my wedding dress dreams to life. To us, everything about our wedding was perfect!