A MOMENT LIKE THIS
October 18, 2019
X - XVIII - MMXIX
"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined with his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the Church.
Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself,
and a wife should respect her husband."
-Ephesians 5:2a, 21-33
Slightly over a year in preparation for a glorious day that I've only ever envisioned in my mind. Words cannot justify the emotions and feelings we felt as our wedding day unfolded. Being surrounded by our family and friends - those near and dear, travelling far and wide to be witnesses in our brand new chapter as we become man and wife was a dream come true. To finally be able to call Gavin my husband was the pinnacle of it all.
A year of decisions
There's something about wedding planning that is just so pleasurably consuming; it's joyful and full of hope; a state of delicious limbo.
Our engagement year was just that - a rollercoaster ride of decisions; from invitation design, guest lists, vendor choices, site visits to seating charts, menu choices, centrepieces. The list was endless! I relish in the small details, yet when it came to planning my own wedding, it was something I found myself dreading but still secretly enjoyed. We both had opposing ideas and visions, but were always able to find a happy medium. Planning was also a moment in our lives we were able to learn about each other more deeply. An insight into married life where we'd constantly be making decisions based on both our best interests.
I've had years of experience in event and wedding planning, the latter not on a professional level per se. I've been to my fair share of weddings -both as a guest and coordinator - through which guided my decisions for our wedding. I did complete my wedding planner certification the year before our engagement, as my desire to delve into event management as an entrepreneur grew. Thankful for the insights I received through the course, which were valuable in planning our wedding day.
An important aspect of our day was to ensure our guests were fed well and entertained. We had so many travelling thousands of miles and across oceans to be present. Prudently, we hired a choreographer to help us with our dances - our first and the father-daughter dance. It was one of our surprises on the day. We felt really under pressure the last 4 weeks to memorize the steps and really feel comfortable enough to showcase our moves! If you asked me to recreate it today, I wouldn't have a clue where to begin. Gavin, on the other hand, claims he still knows it all.
Of course we faced a few hiccups, but the biggest stressor was the abrupt change in my maid of honour. Seeing as we had such a large bridal party, he had 9 groomsmen and I had 8 bridesmaids to somewhat balance out the numbers. My bridesmaids were all attending our wedding internationally, having only 2 of them residing in Toronto. Originally, my maid of honour was travelling from Barcelona and somehow had complications with her visa.
I've experienced levels of stress before, obviously. I mean, who hasn't?! Though, this stress was uncalled for, especially receiving this kind of news two months before the biggest day of our lives. Conversely, given the first two months of our wedding planning, we already had the major details ironed out, which included those in our wedding party. I would never wish this level of anxiety on anyone, let alone any bride! Nevertheless, the issue was resolved, a bridesmaid turned into a maid of honour and the countdown to our big day continued. The titles are not as important as their presence on your wedding day.
Such minor worries in the grand scheme of things.
An enormous shoutout goes to my right-hand lady/bestest maid of honour/main squeeze, Jackie, without whom I would have lost my sanity.
The night before
Being able to enjoy a wonderful dinner with family from Manila at one of my favourite restaurants was a great send-off. A great distraction from all the details of the next day that continuously ran through my mind, regardless of hiring a day-of coordinator.
My cousins and I got our hotel room ready for hair and make up. We were steaming robes and dresses - their presence enabled such a calming inner peace within in. I slept for maybe about 2-3 hours, on and off. I'm pretty sure my mom slept less than I did - it was also her big day! I wasn't sure of the cause of our restlessness; I'll attribute it to nerves.
Our wedding day
It was the day - one I've been (im)patiently waiting for, one I've been dreaming of, one I've played through my head countless times.
I thought I would be nervous about a million things, yet I wasn't.
Emotions were at their peak when I slipped on my dress...in my case, it was putting on a top, pants and a skirt with a 10ft long train. At this moment, was when I could feel the butterflies and had to really hold back tears so I wouldn't ruin my makeup! My dearest mother cried as she was helping me with the final touches, evidently I chimed in with tears too. For the 32 years of my life, she rarely cried and I always admired her for being so strong and kept her emotions at bay (I was the crier in the family - cried about everything). When your only daughter is getting married, tears are welcomed. My mother-in-law came in to get changed and we cried together too! I was getting another mother - how can you not cry?! The waterworks continued to overflow when my dad came into the room for the reveal. I didn't care that my makeup was ruined at this point, it was incredibly difficult to hold tears back. What a sob fest and we haven't even left for the church!
My parents and I rode in the '64 Rolls Royce to St. Paul's Basilica; the choice of vehicle attributed to Gavin's affinity for them - one of the small details that defined our wedding.
While waiting for my cue to walk down the aisle, my mom and I were ensuring everything was perfect - down to the positioning of my veil. Like clockwork, the tears started rolling in. These last few minutes before I become a Mrs were so sacred between my parents and I. We had over a year to prepare for this moment, but nothing can brace you for the immense amount of love you have for each other - emanating through tears.
Obviously, there was an overwhelming amount of emotion that could not be helped. Here's a secret - I hid facial tissues in my bouquet!
One final deep breathe before that walk. I'm struggling to hold it together.
Each step I took closer to the altar, my tears were getting heavier and heavier - silent streams that become rivers and then seas.
It was impossible to smile and cry at the same time. My eyes were so blurry, I actually couldn't see clearly for a few seconds. Love makes you cry for happiness. They are priceless emotions of YES!
As my parents escorted me towards Gavin. I draw solace from the moment I see him at the end of the aisle.
My heart. I wonder how it can hold so many things inside without bursting at its seams. It's full of wishes and one day's and if only's. It's full of yesterday's. It's full of tomorrow's. All the places we'd go, all the people who love us, our triumphs and hardships.
Finally, gaining composure, we were able to officially start. Mass was celebrated by Fr. Cris Graas and Fr. Michael D'Cruz, both who we hold so deeply in our hearts. The waterworks started up again when we were exchanging of vows. I need to speak clearly, but it was incredibly difficult. I swallow hard and clear my throat. Tears have streaked my makeup. I could hardly get the words out and express them properly. Gavin knows how close I am to falling apart again. With his hand in mine, I can feel his heartbeat beneath my palm, mine beneath his.
Our ceremony was so solemn; knowing full well it takes three to get married and God was at the centre. Without Him, we wouldn't be.
We signed our marriage license and are now Mr. + Mrs. Gavin Moniz! You and me - we're all the time, we're always, we're everywhere.
Off to the Aga Khan Museum for our photoshoot and then we feast!
We partied the night away at Eglinton West Gallery, a brand new venue space that only opened January of that year. Our night was filled with delectable hors d'oeuvres, an incredible 3-course meal (fall-off-the-bone braised beef shank!) and a generous serving of love.
An exponential amount of gratitude to the best team who worked unbelievably hard to ensure our day went on without a hitch! Here's to our amazing photographer -whose talent is unmatched! Melissa truly goes above and beyond - she is patient, accommodating and an absolute angel! Our photos were works of art! Joanne has an amazing eye in floral design - her creativity is at goddess level! Our walkthrough of the venue prior to letting guests in, really blew us away - it was beyond what we ever imagined. I cried (at this point, this was a given). To our DJ, Johnson, who was a master at curating an impeccable soundtrack to our wedding!
October 18, 2019 would not have happened if it weren't for our nearest and dearest being present to witness our union.
A wedding can happen anywhere and at any time, but it can only be a true celebration when everyone you love is there to share it with you. Gavin and I were two individuals with one path before us - we are both immensely grateful to all and the experiences that have shaped and brought us to each other. This momentous milestone wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the unconditional love, support and guidance of our incredible families and remarkable godparents.
Our godparents, scattered throughout the world, we know no matter what we face you will always be there for us. Throughout my life, I've witnessed many ups and downs, I look up to you as strong role models. Your unconditional love for us has taught us that patience, love and understanding conquers all. Gavin and I can only hope to mirror the lessons you've taught us.
To my new family, thank you so much for welcoming me with loving, open arms. You have provided me with the missing link to a happy life - Gavin. You have raised him to be the most kind-hearted, loving, patient and thoughtful person I could ever dream for as my partner, and for this, I am extremely grateful. I couldn’t ask for a more huggable, devoted and selfless husband.
My brothers, Keith, Craig and Allan you have been my rock through everything and I know I can always count on you. Our day wouldn't be as monumental without your love and support.
Mommy and daddy, thank you doesn't even encompass everything you’ve done for us. There aren't enough words or synonyms to express the exceeding level of gratitude. We thank you for everything. You both are my model for what marriage should be. Throughout my life I’ve witnessed many years of laughter, tears, compromise, understanding, dependability and above all, unconditional love. From both of you, I learnt that marriage is about patience and acceptance. It’s about knowing when to apologize and when to offer forgiveness. It’s about being together through the good times and never giving up during the bad.
We are forever indebted.
Gorgeous pictures courtesy of Melissa Sung Photography