Dee Kris Photography Philana & Nick Real Weddings Magazine

Dee Kris Photography Philana & Nick Real Weddings Magazine

How did you meet?

We met through the app, Bumble. It’s the app where the woman has to send the first message. Our profiles were exact opposites. Nick’s profile said something along the lines of “Need someone to reach that top shelf? Or someone to open that tightly sealed jar?”; and Philana’s profile said “I can open my own jars, and reach all the things.” Naturally we knew we had to talk to each other.

Was there anything you knew you wanted for the day?

It had to be a fun party. We’ve both been to fun weddings, and some, as beautiful as they were, were not so fun. No matter what we thought we might do, we both agreed it would have to be a day full of celebration and a chance, for everyone attending, to escape the stresses of everyday life.

Dee Kris Photography Philana & Nick Real Weddings Magazine

How did wedding planning go?

Because we agreed to a longer engagement, it gave us a chance to spread out energy needed to plan a wedding. We both work together very well, but we quickly learned about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Nick loved to plan, stay organized, budget, and make decisions based on a set of options. Philana was great at design, narrowing down options and vendors, keeping the overall theme, and most importantly keeping our energies up throughout the whole process. What was hard was trying to plan and not knowing what the restrictions were going to be or which guests could come. Or worse, wondering if another wave would hit and we’d have to cancel everything. Insurance wasn’t going to cover cancelations due to COVID so it was pretty stressful.

How did COVID affect your wedding?

We had been planning our wedding for over two years. Between Nick’s massive family and Lana’s extensive friends list, the original invitation count was over 300. Once COVID hit we knew we’d have to make big cuts. We drastically reduced headcount, and even from that list many could not make it due to health concerns or travel restrictions. We also knew we’d have to do what we could to ensure everyone’s safety and make them feel comfortable. All of our vendors went above and beyond the County/State/CDC minimum guidelines, and we wanted to make sure we did our part. We adopted a wristband color coding system for people to instantly know the comfort level of others; red meant to keep  six feet apart; yellow meant elbows or fist bumps only; green meant you were comfortable with hugs and high-fives. So aside from not being able to have all of our loved ones with us, it wasn’t too bad. The wedding party and several family members got tested before and after the wedding. Happy to say we had zero cases of any one getting sick. Beyond hangovers, of course.

Dee Kris Photography Philana & Nick Real Weddings Magazine

How would you describe the ceremony?

We would describe it as having been welcoming and lighthearted. We had a mixed gender wedding party, a very eclectic group of friends and family, and a quippy officiant that ensured our ceremony reflected our love and personalities. We were pretty much making goofy faces to each other the entire time; something our friends will attest to being a very accurate description of who we are.

Were there any cultural aspects to your wedding?

Nick is Mexican, Spanish, Italian and Irish. So he would say the bar celebrated all his cultures in one go. But really, it was about the whole celebration and party. We made sure everything was taken care of so people could fully enjoy the moments. We did have little homages here and there; such as Lana’s mom, who is from Vietnam, wore a beautifully traditional áo dài.

What was the best part of the day?

Nick: As unfair a question as this is, I would have to say it was during the reception when I was wandering from room to room checking in on everyone. In every room, every face had a smile on it. My wife was dancing up a storm; my parents were all having great conversations; my friends were making new friends; family members were forgetting their troubles and being present; every room was roaring with laughter and great conversations. It was a perfect celebration of our love.

Philana: There were so many! But probably the dance with my dad. He hates dancing. But he wore his mask while we danced and talked and joked with me the whole time. I felt so happy.

Nick note: Philana’s dad is pure stoicism. When I asked for his blessing to marry his daughter, he said “sure.” When we showed him all the cool things we were doing for the wedding, we got a “cool” out of him. So, when Philana says he was joking and dancing and being chatty, it’s a BIG deal.

Dee Kris Photography Philana & Nick Real Weddings Magazine Dee Kris Photography Philana & Nick Real Weddings Magazine Dee Kris Photography Philana & Nick Real Weddings Magazine Dee Kris Photography Philana & Nick Real Weddings Magazine