Happy Real Weddings Weekends! We’re back with another fabulous wedding for you to read all about. We’re taking you to the Sterling Hotel to celebrate Laarni and Lawrence’s gorgeous and cultural wedding! With a professional officiant (shoutout Tan Weddings & Events!) along with some absolutely to-die-for florals from Wild Flowers Design Group, be sure to keep scrolling so you can read all about the couple and see more great photos from James Young Photography.

Wedding dress hanging up at a beautiful hotel wedding.

Tell us a little about you and your beloved.

Laarni: We first met in the summer of 2015. It was my first year of college and Lawrence’s last few weeks before he joined the US Army. After Lawrence left for the Army, we never really knew each other until 2017. Around the end of Lawrence’s first deployment that year, he started talking to me because I liked some of his pictures on Instagram. I saw a gym pic and a post-rucking selfie, and I ‘hearted’ them all!

Lawrence: I received notifications of Laarni liking my photos that I’ve posted, so then I decided to message her to start up a conversation to catch up.

Laarni: As we got to talking, I started feeling pure joy in my life. I was excited after coming home from school, and I tried to keep our conversation going for as long as I could. And then we stopped talking for a couple of months.

Lawrence: I too felt the same way, but we were both seeing other people at the time.

Groom posing after getting ready for his cultural hotel wedding.

Laarni: Eventually, we started video chatting on Facebook Messenger. Five hours of talking that first day. The next day, eight hours. Hours and hours of getting to know each other. For every call, he sent me song recommendations because we both loved music.

Lawrence: Whenever Laarni and I started talking again, we were both single and developed our infatuation with each other. The days went by and we called each other a lot on the phone and texted each other our interests such as movies, food, and especially music.

Laarni: I fell in love and secretly made a Spotify playlist titled “Marry Me” with all the songs he sent to me. But of course, I forgot my Spotify was public. I guess that means I technically proposed first!

Lawrence: I was listening to my music on Spotify and noticed Laarni was listening to the same music that I was, but then I realized she made a playlist, calling it “Marry Me,” of all the music that we have sent to each other. All the music that we sent to each other were mostly love songs, basically telling each other how we felt without actually saying it… until it was too much of a burden for me to keep how I felt about her. Eventually I said “I love you”. Then shortly after I found that she felt the same way too.

Laarni: We didn’t physically meet until December 2017, but the timing was perfect! By then, we’d already said “I love you,” and already learned that we had a lot of common core values in our spiritual lives and in our future plans. Since we had mutual feelings, we decided to go on dates, hikes, and church together.

Lawrence: Several years of video chatting and meeting every several months, but we were able to keep our love strong, even through my second deployment. Nine months passed by.

Laarni: At the end of that deployment, we video chatted and flew between California and Texas again… I went through some important life events during that time, like graduating college! [Then the] pandemic hits and things were sort of the same, but I couldn’t see him as often… I landed a couple jobs after college and eventually got to where I am now in San Fransisco!

Lawrence: After I came back from deployment I had a few more army training events, and I have been having several medical issues. After some treatment and several surgeries, Laarni often flew to Texas and had been by my side taking care of me. As a result of recovery from surgeries, I had to be medically discharged from service. Eventually I got out of the army and headed back home and was happy to finally have us see each other more often to plan out our lives.

Laarni: We eventually got engaged on my birthday weekend in October 2019 – yay! We spent the weekend exploring Waco, Texas and strolling around the grounds of Fort Hood. All I remember was being so happy that entire weekend. I was both nervous and surprised when I turned around to see Lawrence on one knee.

Lawrence: While I was still in the army, I spent a lot of time designing an engagement ring that suited Laarni’s taste in jewelry and something she would say yes too. Aafter treating her for her birthday weekend, and the time was right, I asked her to marry me. [During wedding planning], there was a lot of driving and video chatting while wedding planning because we were still long-distance. We experienced a lot of major life changes during that time, but it was a unifying, new adventure for us to make those big decisions together. Every time we were in Sacramento, we always visited our venue to appreciate how beautiful it is, take a walk around the neighborhood and envision the wedding!

What else would you like to share about your big day?

It was fun to see elements of ourselves and our family in some parts of the wedding. We had a photo frame of our parents’ and grandparents’ wedding photos by the reception entrance. Lawrence picked me up during our first dance and it made me (and all our guests) laugh..and we had a boba caterer – delicious and a crowd-pleaser for sure! People kept telling us that weddings fly by, and we felt that! We booked a morning wedding so we had the entire day to spend time with as many of our family and friends as possible. After the wedding, we went out to the clubs in downtown Sacramento and closed the night off in the biggest Karaoke room available!

Bride posing at her beautiful, cultural hotel wedding in Sacramento.

What was the best part of your day?

We really enjoyed the traditional Filipino ceremony because we wanted to connect with our Filipino roots. We used the cord, veil and coins that Laarni’s parents used in their wedding. We were also blessed that our officiant, Tan, was familiar with conducting a Filipino ceremony!

Wedding arch at the Sterling Hotel in Sacramento.

Newlyweds celebrating on their walk down the aisle at their beautiful, cultural hotel wedding in Sacramento.

Advice from the couple:

Thrift your decorations! A lot of our decorations were from our garage or Facebook marketplace, including a beautiful vintage mirror that we were able to buy for only $20! We had one of our bridesmaids add lettering on it to use as a welcome sign!

Bridal party posing together for photos at the cultural, beautiful wedding in Sacramento.


Anything you would have done differently?

I think I would’ve worn sweats while getting ready! While we were wedding planning, I saw a lot of Pinterest wedding photos, so I thought that I was “supposed to” be wearing a robe before the ceremony. But there’s no right or wrong way to do things, just try to set yourself up for being calm and comfortable!

Wedding reception at the Sterling Hotel in Sacramento.

Newlyweds dancing together at their beautiful wedding reception at the Sterling Hotel in Sacramento.

Bride and groom cutting their wedding cake together at their beautiful real wedding.

Photos courtesy of and copyright James Young Photography used with permission.

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