My first wedding blog post of the year is a personal one. When my cousin, Angela, announced she was getting married to her boyfriend, Jared, I told her that I would love to photograph her wedding, that it would be my present to her. She was thrilled and so was I. It would be a great occasion to visit with relatives whom I have not seen in almost a decade and to visit the beautiful state of Alaska for the first time. So I, along with my husband, Max, and our then 21-month-old son, Renzo, flew more than 5,000 miles from the Garden State to the Land of the Midnight Sun.
The wedding, from the preparations to the reception, was held at the newly-opened Nikiski Senior Center in Nikiski, AK., in the more temperate month of June last year. No snow here, thank goodness!
The event was a huge, loving, DIY community effort. Many showed up early to help to decorate the space and get the tables ready. Even one of our uncles who just flew in from the Philippines helped iron the tablecloths. Friends and relatives all pitched in to make the wedding a success, from hair and makeup, to the sound system, to the decor, and to the buffet served at the reception.
The adorable flower girls trying on the bride’s veil and shoes.
The bride just chillin.’
While Angela and her bridesmaids and flower girls got ready in the second floor of the senior center, Jared and his boys squeezed in an RV parked outside to put on their suits and ties.
The groom and his groomsmen were a fun bunch.
They sure loved to horse around!
Aren’t these boys cute?
The bridesmaids had their bit of fun as well.
The lovely bride is ready for her close-up.
My Uncle Ador sees her daughter in her wedding dress for the first time.
Angela and Jared wanted a chance to be together but didn’t want to break tradition by seeing each other before the ceremony.
The bride is ready to walk down the aisle.
The ceremony had to be moved indoors because of rain, but the skies cleared up just in time for us to take some quick portraits by scenic Lake Marie behind the senior center.
Angela’s family. My Uncle Ador, Auntie Menchie and cousin Spring. In case you’re wondering, my uncle is wearing a traditional Filipino formal embroidered attire called Barong Tagalog.
The fun bridal party.
We had one challenge to contend with during the portrait session: giant mosquitoes! But thanks to one groomsman, who had bug zappers which he swung around like tennis racquets, we didn’t get eaten alive, though I did still suffer a few bites. I’m just glad the photos were in focus!
Then, it was time to eat.
But first, a prayer before the meal.
The food was prepared and served by members of their church.
Jared’s aunt and cousins made this mouth-watering dessert bar.
But these kids just wanted to play video games.
A mailbox for the guests’ letters? Now, why haven’t I seen that before at weddings? I always see birdcages for some reason…
A loving smooch from grandma.
Look at the gorgeous wedding cake made by Jared’s mom and aunt. Also, Angela baked Jared a Pokemon groom’s cake.
The couple’s first dance song was sang by two of their closest friends.
Dancing with their parents.
This explains it all.
And off they go!
Thanks for taking the time to look through these photos. I hope that you were able to see that although it was not a lavish wedding, it was rich in love, friendship and joy. I am so happy to have been a part of it all. Congratulations, Angela and Jared!