Sacramento Weddings

Jula and John both grew up in Cebu City, Philippines, and met through a high school classmate of hers, who then became a college classmate of his. “One time I was hanging out with [our friend] at their school and John was there, so we were introduced,” she remembers.

That was back in 2003. After a few times of going out with friends, they didn’t see each other again. Flash forward 10 years and both are in the U.S. on vacation. “I found out she was here because of her posts on Facebook, so I sent her a message to see how she was doing,” remembers John. He was living in Sacramento and Jula was staying with a friend in San Jose. “I just had this hunch…a feeling of unfinished business and it made me wonder what really happened back then that we didn’t get to be together.” He picked her up at the friend’s house, and before heading to dinner they stopped at a milk tea place. “I spilled my order,” she laughs. “I was nervous. I will never forget the day we met—even after 10 long years. The rest, as they say, is history.”

A year later, the couple was back in the Philippines when John decided to pop the question. “It was during John’s vacation to visit me,” Jula says. John ordered her ring from Hong Kong and was thrilled to have it arrive in Cebu just a day before his planned proposal. At a restaurant called Delice, friends gathered to witness their special moment. “He grabbed a tiny red box out of his pocket and knelt down,” she shares. “I saw my friends surrounding us and a photographer was already taking photos. I was crying and so shocked. The feeling was indescribable.”

Both Jula and John agreed to plan a small, intimate wedding with only family and a few close friends in attendance. “It was a ‘do-it-yourself’ wedding with only three weeks of preparation,” notes John. “Simple yet elegant,” adds Jula. “I’m so thankful [that John] is so into details and hands-on.”

They chose The Firehouse Restaurant as their wedding venue, where the day began to unfold perfectly. “I saw love and happiness in her eyes and couldn’t have been any happier,” shares John. “We had the sand ceremony to symbolize our being as one, and both of our families and close friends were there to spend our most special day with us, which was all that really mattered.”

Looking back at the wedding photos still makes Jula tear up. “What a beautiful day it was,” she says. “I like the part when we were on our way to our hotel after the wedding and I was just wearing slippers with my dress, comfortably seated next to my husband…and then it got to me that we’re finally married—a sense of love, happiness and contentment all rolled into one.”

—Darren Elms