Love can bloom in the most unusual of places. For Olivia and Stephen that place was the break room at San Jose State University where Olivia was doing her post-graduate studies and Stephen was her chemistry tutor. “Instead of love at first sight, I’d say this was friends at first sight,” explains Olivia. She continues, “Stephen’s comical, yet highly informative, illustration of a nephron as a dragon cemented our friendship which eventually grew into a lasting love.”
On what initially Olivia believed would be a rather average hiking trip at Point Reyes National Seashore, she and Stephen stopped at Cypress Tree Tunnel for some prime picture taking opportunities. “As usual, we took some jumping pictures with our GoPro. On the final jump, he said, ‘Look over there,’ and as I turned around, he was taking a small red box out of his pocket and getting down on one knee,” Olivia recalls. “All sorts of emotions were running through me as I was looking into his eyes while he was saying the sweetest words.”
The couple spent their year-long engagement planning their wedding as a couple, sidestepping the cliché of the overstressed and micromanaging bridezilla by working together to make their vision come to fruition. “Thankfully, Stephen was there with me every step of the way. Any time I was stressed or had an idea I needed help to elaborate on, or needed to make hard decisions or just needed something to take my mind off of wedding planning, Stephen was always there for me,” Olivia says.
The bride says, “We both wanted to make sure that during our wedding ceremony we said our personal vows and had some kind of unity ceremony.” This focus on their union being one of equals is the basis of their love and commitment to each other. Combining traditional elements from Filipino culture into their ceremony with a semiformal outdoor reception, Olivia and Stephen created a masterpiece of matrimonial festivities. The bride recalls, “Our vision of a weekend celebration of love came to life, and we had the time of our lives.”
Wedding planning and all of the decision- making that has transpired since they tied the knot, from choosing where and when to travel, to whether or not they are ready to expand their family, has highlighted that their unity and commitment to one another is important, now more than ever. “We have learned how we both can get stressed at different things, and we deal with it in different ways,” Olivia says. “We have arguments, we have disagreements, but together we come out stronger when we discuss and solve the situation.”
Olivia & Stephen's Wedding Resources
Quality Event Design
Lulus (after reception dress)
DIY Floral Crowns
The Tie Bar (socks)
The Tie Bar (socks and tie)
Joe Escobar Diamonds (band)
Meg Hart Art (table seating illustrations)
Bride's aunt (boutonnieres)
Nextlevel Audiovisual Services and DJ Abelution (friend)
DIY by Bride & Groom (flip book booth signs and props)
Meg Hart Art (camp logo and camp illustrations)
Nelson Nunez (WONG logo)
• The Bayswater Sydney, Vibe Hotel Sydney and Simpsons Hotel Potts Point in Sydney, New South Wales
• Pacific Hotel Cairns in Cairns, Queensland
• Mount Richmond Hotel, Mighty Campers Campervan, and CityLife Auckland in Auckland, North Island
• Fox Glacier Lodge in Fox Glacier
• Melbourne Lodge B&B in Queenstown, South Island
“That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding
“The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra
“The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra
“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” by Marvin Gaye
“Dear Future Husband” by Meghan Trainor
“Adorn” by Miguel
“Party In the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus
NFL Theme Song
“Ignition (Remix) by R. Kelly
Cake: (3) double layered cake towers
• Top: Lemon
• Bottom: White Chocolate Raspberry
• Top: Marble
• Bottom: Red Velvet
• Top: Cinnamon Swirl
• Bottom: Pumpkin Spice
• Donuts with DIY Glaze and Toppings
• Glazes: Original, Strawberry, Chocolate
• Toppings: Oreo, Chocolate Chips, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Nuts, Fruit Loops, and Rice Krispies
• S’mores by the Fire pit
• Marshmallows, Graham Crackers, Hershey’s Chocolate Bars
• I wasn’t too picky on flowers so I sent some pictures and told her the colors of the Bridesmaid dresses and my Aunt Florediliza worked her amazing magic! They came out so lovely and beautiful!!
• Bridal Bouquet – Casablancas, White Orchids, White Roses,
• Bridesmaids’ Bouquet – Stargazers, Purple Orchids, Dark Purple and Blue-dyed Orchids, Baby’s Breath, Lavender Roses, White Carnations, statice
• Floral Crowns – Baby’s Breath
• Ceremony – Loose Rose flower petals thrown by Flower Girls
• Ceremony Arbor – Roses
• Ceremony Aisle – Orange fall leaves
• RING BOX: Purchased from Flowertown Weddings
Our ring bearer (my Godson) walked down with a pillow and plastic favor rings (from our family business) as the real rings were with the Best Man.
• VOW BOOKS: Purchased blank books from Target and printed the cover on clear adhesive labels.
• UNITY CEREMONY: The ceremony we chose was a Tree Unity Ceremony. We gathered dirt from the yards of our parents and placed it in two different glass vases from the Dollar Store. I wrapped some burlap and lace around each glass vase and wrote our family’s last name on the Hearts (also used for Wanderlust Wong Jar) and glued it onto the front of each vase. We purchased an Orange tree from Home Depot and placed it in a pot owned by my Mother-in-Law. We placed it on top of a wine barrel from Celebrations! Party Rentals. In front of the tree displayed the scripture 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 given to us by our Officiant Patricia, my Aunt. Our parents came up from their seats and poured some of the dirt from their homes into the pot with the Orange Tree (which we have named “UNITY”). After, Stephen and I poured the rest of the dirt uniting both our families.
• GUEST BOOK: We purchased POSTCARDS from several places we have traveled to over the years. We inserted them in each program for each guest. After writing their well wishes or marriage advice, they placed them in a “mailbox” provided by my Aunt Nancy.
• WANDERLUST WONGS JAR: Guest wrote on wooden hearts purchased from Amazon with any adventure idea such as places to go, new things to try, date night ideas, etc.
• CARD BOX: We bought luggage from Amazon that came with two sizes. The bottom was the larger size and mainly for decoration. The smaller one was placed on top as the card box. I propped it open with zip ties so there was just a tiny slit so cards can be slipped through. My awesome creative Mom attached silk flowers to cover the zip ties.
• WATER LANTERN SEND OFF SPECIAL WISHES FOR THE BRIDE AND GROOM: There was a cute little pond at our venue. We purchased lighters and water lanterns that came with tiny tea candles. The guests lit the candles inside the lantern, made their well wishes to us in their hearts and sent them off to float on the pond at the end of the evening.
Start early and have an organized binder. Also, be aware that as the days get closer you’ll be writing notes everywhere and thinking about your wedding during work, exercising, and in your dreams. Try your best to keep all your notes, drawings, ideas, receipts, contracts, etc. in one binder, box or area so that you know where to find things and it will help you stay organized.