Friday, November 13, 2015

Real Wedding: Ann and Ria Capulong

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"Our story goes back many moons and spans over multiple decades -- no, seriously! It was the year of 1997, late summer. My cousin, Mary Anne asked me if I wanted to go to Filipino mass with her at St. John Vianney. I didn't think much of it, but I said yes. Little did I know, that would be the day that would change my life forever. I sat near the front of the church with my cousin and her family. About quarter of the way through mass, I turned toward the back of the church and there she was, sitting there with her family. She didn't notice me creepily staring at her. But in that moment, I felt something inside of me... like my heart telling me... you have to talk to her and you have to get to know her.

"So, mass continues on and I can't stop thinking about her. Afterward, I ask Mary Anne who that girl is sitting in the back with her family. She tells me that she's actually friends with her younger sister Renee, but that the one I'm asking about is Ria. She says, "Come on, lets go back there and I'll introduce you guys." So we headed toward the back of the church and I met Renee and smiled at Ria. I didn't say much. I was starstruck I think. After that five second moment, we parted ways and my cousin and I left. And that was the first moment we met. Every day after that, I tried to figure out ways that I could get to know Ria better. And look where it got me? Now she's the biggest pain in my butt and I can't shake her! ;)

"Our wedding day started with Ria and I getting ready in different hotel suites with our family and closest friends surrounding us. We chose not to see each other until the ceremony so the day was filled with excitement, butterflies and a little chaos here and there for the both of us. After some separate videography and photography sessions while we were getting ready, it was time for the ceremony.

"When I came down to the outdoor patio after not having seen them prepping and decorating it, I was in complete awe. Everywhere I looked, there were beautiful yellow and white flowers. The chairs were organized so beautifully. I had goosebumps as I stood there staring at the guests starting to file in and also, watching our wedding party starting to take their places.

"Once the music cued in, I felt extremely nervous! I marched in first with my parents and took my place at the front. Our godparents and bridal entourages entered next. Then the adorable ring bearers and flower girls. There was a moment of silence before Ria's song came on, "Turning Page" by Sleeping at Last. And in that moment of silence, I felt a sudden calm come over me. And as she walked down the aisle toward me, right then, everything was just as it should be...everything was right in the world. Rev. Eva guided us through our ceremony so gracefully and beautifully. Before I knew it, the Filipino traditions were done, the sand ceremony done and we were on to the rings and vows.

"At each step, I couldn't help but want to hold Ria's hands and look into her eyes. I think it was partly due to my disbelief that this was actually happening, but also I just wanted to be near her and embracing these precious moments as they were happening. And suddenly, Rev. Eva announced 'I'd like to present for the very first time, the Capulongs!' and we were exiting the patio with bubbles flying in the air. It was spectacular!

"After the ceremony, it was picture time. We took plenty of photos with family, with our entourages and with each other. We got lucky and had amazing weather that day. Once photos wrapped, it was time to join in for the end of the cocktail hour and prepare for our grand entrance.

"We were able to take a sneak peak into the ballroom before anyone was let in and it was absolutely breathtaking. Victoria, our wedding coordinator, really took care of every little detail for us. The ballroom looked elegant, modern and simple. The white on white table settings contrasted well with the white and silver chivari chairs. The yellow and white flowers really were the icing on the cake. And our sweetheart table with our fabric backdrop, we were so blown away with how it all came together so perfectly.

"After speeches, it was time for our first dance and I remember thinking to myself, 'How lucky are we? Not only can we legally get married now but also, look at all these wonderful people in here surrounding us with their love and support.

"I think for many of our family and friends, this may have been their first time attending a same-sex marriage. And although Ria and I are very proud of our relationship and our love for one another, we of course kept that in mind when we were planning our wedding. We thought, maybe not everyone would be comfortable with watching us for our first dance, so we had a slideshow going in the background just in case. We also tried to think of alternative, creative ways to do the garter portion of the evening, and instead of me removing Ria's garter, we put it on a football and Ria hiked the football to me, which I then threw out to the single guys. We just tried to put a different spin on it, but still keep it light and fun.

"Once the dance floor opened, it was time to let loose and enjoy ourselves. We were warned ahead of time (by other newly married couples) that the night goes by too quickly and so we really just tried to cherish every minute of it. We took a quick break to take our wedding entourages outside and take sparkler photos, and then we danced the night away.

"I think Ria and I really tried to add a lot of thoughtful and creative touches to the ceremony and reception that really reflected us as a couple. Our theme for the entire day was photography, since Ria and I both share a passion for taking and collecting beautiful photos. We made sure to incorporate this theme in the decor, in our giveaways and we tied it all together by using the theme in our invites and in our thank you cards. Overall, we just wanted our guests to feel like they were getting to know us even more by discovering the little things we thought of and prepared for them."--Ann

Ceremony + Reception Site: Chicago Marriott Naperville // Photography: Lilly Photography // Videography: 312 Films // Officiant: A Perfect Fit Rev // Wedding Consultant: Victoria Schultz // Brides' Attire: Glamour Closet Chicago // Attendants' Attire: Men's Wearhouse // Hair + Makeup: Julie Flakus (630.881.8815) // Stationery: PearTree Greetings, some materials designed by Annie // Flowers: Bel-Fiore for Beautiful Flowers (630.662.0378) // Entertainment: Remix Entertainment // Sweets: Cake by Chicago Marriott Naperville, Filipino Desserts by GG Oriental Store (847.455.2650)

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