Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wedding Day!!

Of all the things I should blog about for our wedding blog, it’d definitely be… our wedding itself! Sorry it’s taken so long, but we’ve been catching up on our sleep. And we took our honeymoon! That’ll be next week’s post :) So! On to the wedding!

The day started off earlier for me rather than Mark. Suzan – my chair-throwingly awesome Maid of Honor – arrived at our apartment, followed closely with Mark’s Best Man Chris from Boston and his girlfriend Gina-Marie. Together, Suz, Gina, and I met up with my bridesmaids and super chums from high school Hannah and Vanessa at Brookside in Pasadena. Mark’s cousin, Diana, picked us all up to go to the hair salon.

Meanwhile, I think Mark had his groomsmen met up at our place and had a relaxing lunch at Porto’s. I’m sure video games were involved there somewhere, too.

After my hair was all up, thanks to Julie formerly of the Cao Institute, we all headed over to Nancy’s place for a delicious lunch from Julienne’s. We all enjoyed ourselves and when Diane, Suz’s friend and my make up artist, showed up, she lunched with us, too. After that, we immediately set on doing my make-up and having the girls start preparing. Bob picked up my mom from her own hair appointment and we all hung out together. You’d think with 3 bathrooms and rooms with mirrors, we’d all be ready with ample time, but I had to rush to get into my gown the closer we got to 5:30pm.

Together, my crew and I ran to the limo that drove us around the block to the church (hah!). The driver and Diane at the church helped us sneak into the bridal room to await the ceremony.


My mother told us months ago that we needed to find a woman of either side of the family that had the longest marriage with a still living husband and children and best of fortunes. This very blessed woman needed to brush my hair moments before the wedding four times with a decorated comb. Each stroke represents good fortune, fertility, longevity, and happiness. We immediately thought of Bonnie, a very dear friend of Nancy’s! Her husband has known Bob – my father-in-law – since they were band mates in the Army in the Korean War! Luckily, we located her in the crowd and snuck her into my bridal room to perform the ceremony.

Finally, I got the cue that the wedding was about to start. Now, I had been having butterflies in my stomach off and on the whole day, but they erupted into kickboxing lessons in my guts as soon as I heard the organ start with Bob singing the song to escort Nancy to her seat.



Bob’s a professional crooner, have I mentioned that? The girls lined up in the foyer with their respective groomsmen while my mother and I still hid in the room.

In my mind, I could picture it. Hannah walked down with Chad...


...then Vanessa with Matt.


Suzan had to walk down by herself because ...


Chris was waiting with Mark.



Then… the drums started. Large Chinese drums entered the church foyer right behind THREE CHINESE LIONS!


I can’t wait to watch the video, but from the photographs, we could tell everyone was surprised (as we had planned!).


The lions pranced slowly down the aisle, sniffing people here and there, taking good looks at them. Cameras flashed and people smiled and laughed.


After the lions exited, my mother and I walked to the start of the center aisle. I took a deep breath, told my mom I loved her, and started walking.


I’m not sure I even started when the music started. I kept telling myself to smile and not look nervous, though I could barely feel my body as we walked down. I kept thinking back to the night before, when I just broke down into tears trying out the first two lines of our vows. “This was for REAL,” I had thought then, but right then with my mother was the super-real!


Then I looked up and Mark… was just so handsome. I could still tell he was as nervous as I was when he took my hand when my mother offered it. His was shaking, so I know I wasn’t the only one nervous. Having previously been a deacon and performed in other weddings where he was not the groom, Mark had a history of never making it through a wedding on his two feet. He’d always faint from the heat. I think we were both nervous about that.

The wedding started with many traditional things. Father George began with a prayer and the “Does anyone object?” stuff. My mother officially gave my hand in marriage to Mark and we presented her and Nancy with roses, symbolically thanking them for giving us life.


They went up to the altar to initially light the Unity candle for later. Then we sat down and began the readings.


The first to read were our friends Lysander and Shania. Together, they read from the Song of Solomon.


Then my Uncle Tony who flew all the way from Hong Kong (by way of New York and most of Europe for his summer tour) read a beautiful, traditional Chinese poem of love in both English and Cantonese.


Finally, my now step-sister-in-law Jane read from Corinthians, defining what love is. We personally picked that because it deeply touched us and sounded exactly how Mark and I love each other.

Father George then stepped down and began his homily. Now, Mark and I imagined a very nice story of how he knew us and we thought it’d be like one of his enjoyable Sunday sermons. Oh how wrong we were!! As this family is so full of surprises, so Mark and I were surprised by a series of storyboards from our awesome friend Jedi Bryan!


Of course, I have to show you each storyboard!

The first two were of us as single people. Mark with Quacker from his webcomic strip and Krypto...


I with my giant Otis education and Himitsu from my own webmanga.


Then, we met at Mark’s Super Mario Party two years ago. Yes, that is how Mark looks like when he laughs.


Then, Mark proposed on the night Harry Potter’s last book came out. That’s them, very surprised!


Now, Mark works for Bionic Games as a game designer...


and I am at Film Roman as a storyboarder, my dream job! We’re both living our dreams!


There’s us on our wedding day, Mark with his Jason Voorhees, Sonic, and Mario and I with my Himitsu, Hermione, and Ed from Cowboy (the) Bebop.


Finally, Bryan predicted the future with us taking over DisneyWorld for our honeymoon!


Throughout all of this, Father George spoke of things he had never known of before our wedding! Apparently, coming up with the storyboard idea opened up a new world of geekdom for him.


Frankly, this delightfully creative surprise took the nervousness out of Mark and I. We both approached the altar again feeling refreshed and joyful.


We both spoke our vows in clear voices and gave each other our rings.


Father George blessed us with his miter around our clasped hands as well as over our heads together. Father Ni gave the Responses to the church at large and…


we were presented as the new Mr. and Mrs. Stuart!



We walked out of the church, but stopped just short of the courtyard for one final, elaborate performance by the Immortal Lion Dancers.






Yes, that is the name of their troop. Now, everything they did had a lot of meaning, but here is the reason why they kicked a head of lettuce at us: Eating of the Greens (“Choy Cheng”) – “Choy” lettuce or any form of a green leafy vegetable, represents wealth/prosperity/luck, enclosed with red envelopes are “fed” to the lions. The lettuce/luck is deliberately strewn about during consumption, symbolizing the dispersion of “blessings for wealth and good fortune.” For the full information on what they did, I’ve uploaded their information document here.


After the dance, Mark, Suz, Chris, and I went back into the church to sign our wedding certificate and take some pictures.




Then it was off to the reception! I do believe this is long enough for one post. The reception will be blogged about next week. YAIY, WE’RE TOTALLY MARRIED! We also go our marriage certificate today, so official.

Chinese Lion Dance


Performed by

The Immortals Awaken Lion Club


Chinese folklore has many stories of the evolution of the dance. One tale recounts of a peculiar animal which appeared on the eve of Chinese New Year to destroy a small village. On the following year, to protect the villagers from further devastation, they assembled a figurine out of bamboo and cloth which looked identical to the animal. Accompanied by the pounding of drums, clanging of a gong, and clashing of cymbals, the villagers mimicked the ferociousness of the beast and chased it away.

Another legend tells of a playful but mischievous lion in the heavens that angered the jade emperor one too many times. Consequently, the lion was beheaded and thrown down to earth, which was witnessed by the Goddess of Mercy. Taking compassion for the innocent lion, she tied a magical red scarf from its head to its body, bringing it back to life. The lion was indebted to the Goddess of Mercy and vowed to behave and spend all of his time helping others. Thus the lion would roam the earth chasing away evil spirits and bringing good luck and happiness to those who watch it perform.

This evening’s performance is typical of the style of the Guangdong Province and in the gung-fu (kung-fu) tradition (note the intricate footwork and martial-arts postures/stances). The feline movements of the lions are synchronized with that of the lively and thunderous clamor produced by the accompanying drum, gong and cymbals. The combination of the music and lion dancing is intended to “scare away evil spirits so that good luck will follow.” Accordingly, lion dancing marks the celebration of the beginning of a new cycle for such occasions as the Lunar New Year, Grand Openings, Birthdays, Anniversaries and Weddings.

Notable symbolic gestures of the lion dance are:

  • Entry of the Lions – Typical of cat behavior, curious yet cautious movements characterize the approach of their entry, with much sniffing/”blessing” of the doorways.

  • Approach to Bridal Couple – Friend or foe? The lions also cautiously approach the bridal couple through sniffing before accepting any offerings.

  • Blessing of the Bridal Couple – Upon assurance of the bridal couple’s benevolence, the lions then proceed to bless the bride and groom.

  • Eating of the Greens (“Choy Cheng”) – “Choy” lettuce or any form of a green leafy vegetable, represents wealth/prosperity/luck, enclosed with red envelopes are “fed” to the lions. The lettuce/luck is deliberately strewn about during consumption, symbolizing the dispersion of “blessings for wealth and good fortune.”

  • Happy Lion – The lions will express their “Happiness” by raising their heads high and shaking it dynamically to show their appreciation.

  • Three Bows – The lions then present to the bridal couple three bows symbolizing their gratitude for receipt of the “greens.”

  • Exit of the Lions – Upon completion of the dance and blessings, the lions make their exit, taking care to always back out of the premises, never leaving with their tails facing the bridal couple. This deferential stance denotes the lions’ humility and gratitude to the bridal couple.

. ( The Immortals Awaken Lion Club Official Website)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Part 2: Mark's Sneaky Proposal

With two weeks to go, I realized I should finally put in how this all started. Here goes:

So it was Friday, the night of Harry Potter 7's release in bookstores on July 20th, 2007 and we're already scheduled to go to Pasadena's Borders book store to get it. Work was good, he picked me up and we took a break at home (his apartment). (for the record, this was back when Big Bad Tomato was on Barham, about 5 minutes away from Mark's apartment)

A few months back, I had bought a numbered print of Mary GrandPre's painting of the wizard fight at the end of book 5 at the Warner Bros. lot. Mark surprised me by having it framed and mounted on his study wall. I thought it was so sweet, he always gets me little presents sometimes like a bouquet of flowers or a little sweet ... since he was the best boyfriend ever. Anyways, I was already feeling pampered when he offered a bit of fruit, a small snack, and some wine.

Now with this presentation, I knew he was up to something. We started chatting about his old home in Boston and what not, just talking... when he started talking about his grandmother and one of the things she bequeathed to him. I asked him "Oh, what's that?"

He reached over the kitchen counter and drew out a ring box. At the sight, I burst into tears. I was seriously a blubbering idiot. To this day, I dont' remember what he said exactly. He got down on one knee and just popped the question. After crying and kissing for about half an hour, we went to Borders, got our ticket to get Potter, then went to my mother's place for dinner, then his parents' place for a little celebration. ^___^ Then we waited 3 hours for the book... and we read it to each other that night.

I know I'll remember that night forever... even if some bits are muzzy.

As he puts it, I'm losing a boy wizard, but gaining a fiance. ^__^

Monday, June 16, 2008

How We Met

In lieu of having barely an idea of what to blog about and the fact that we've been telling people often in the past few weeks, this morning I present to you part one in our new series: How Mark and Sylvia Did Significant Stuff In the Relationship.

Part 1: How We Met

A long long time ago (about two years hehe) a friend of mine told me about a friend of hers who threw these parties themed after video games. Now, I was a quasi-shut-in and realized I needed to get out more before I got too used to it. So I watched my mother and my favorite cooking show at the time (making it 9pm, a little late for the party) and drove out to Burbank.

And swiftly got lost on Hollywood Way. I called up my friend and she gave the phone to Mark. He talked me onto the right streets and he buzzed me in when I arrived. His complex is large and, of course, I parked clear out on the opposite side of his apartment. He greeted me halfway into his complex in the dark and... I can't say it was love at first sight, sorry. haha! I thought he was tall and cute and therefore out of my league, so I was just friendly.

At the party, I had lots of fun. Talked to plenty of awesome people who would later become close friends. You guys! Towards the middle of the party, I noticed he was playing some music that was extremely obscure. I found Mark and asked, "Hey, is this Mario Big Band Live?" I think he lit up and we talked a bit.

Later on, Mark and a few people were playing video games and the conversation I was in started to be about the Animaniacs. I said I knew the Nations of the World song by heart and me and a few people started singing... but I know past the first two verses and kept singing almost towards the end. I didn't realize it at the time, but activity stopped for a bit while I sang, just from the sheer craziness of knowing it. Mark paused his game, gawked at me, and asked me to marry him. HAH! HAAAAAAH!!!! A little flustered, I probably simpered and moved on.

Overall, I just had a good time and hoped to come back when he threw another one.

Sometime later, I got a message from him on MySpace, asking if I was attending Anime Expo. I was, but sadly, I never checked MySpace so that opportunity slipped by! MEEP! Fortunately, he threw another party a few months later and we talked about how funny that was. At this party, I talked a lot more (due to more beer) and got into a conversation about my relationship status. I said something like, "Oh, it's so hard for guys to just ask me out! They always beat around the bush and I'm just tired of guessing if they like me or not. So I'm single cuz no guy seems man enough to--" Hearing this, Mark swooped in and asked, "So do you wanna go out on a date?" And I said, "Sure!"....

The morning after, I sent him an email asking if he actually legitimately asked me out, and he replied if I actually, legitimately said yes. So we went to dinner and a movie and the rest is history! :D

Stay tuned for part 2: How Mark Sneakily Proposed

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A surprise bridal shower!

Hello there, Sylvia here. I guess I should start making this wedding blog and actual blog and talk about the plans and events that are ramping up! The biggest thing so far: A surprise bridal shower thrown by my future mother-in-law Nancy! Here's how it went:

Mark and his family had wanted us to meet with Father George, the pastor who will be performing the ceremony some time in advance so we could be interviewed. We set a day to have lunch with him, April 19th... OR SO I THOUGHT!!! Mark and I were dressed of course in our casual finery and we drove to Nancy and Bob's place. There were balloons along the driveway, but I didn't think anything of it as Nancy had told us before "some neighbors were having a party."

They suspiciously made me walk ahead of them into their home and as I entered the hallway... POP! My Maid of Honor Suzan pops her head out from the kitchen! I was speechless, I had no idea what she was doing there until a camera came out and took a picture of my surprise.

Then a chorus of "SURPRISE!" rang from upstairs and down came a parade of family and friends. Even my mom was there, shy and hiding behind others. Good gravy was I surprised! So surprise I cried because I knew these were the people who loved me the best.

So there was a party full of delicious food and wonderful gifts! Should I publish a list of them online? Naah... Let's just say they were all awesome! But here's a picture of what Mark was super thrilled about ;) We're pretty much enjoying all of them, but the highlight was definitely the surprise element, hehe.

I'll blog later about what else has been going on (And ooohh boy is there a lot)! Just want to put this up here and let it simmer for now :)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Save the Day!!

Our "Save the Date" card is a bit... unconventional, but I've been told it's so terribly "Us"... which is the best compliment ever. We were afraid many of our family members wouldn't understand it, but they did! Here's what it looks like:

On the back, it says:

Since we're both mighty proud of this card, we've shown it to people who haven't been invited (Sorry!) and they have said it was downright touching. A former coworker of mine said she read it and got chills down her spine... another coworker got teared up. I'd like to say the thing captures our quirky love perfectly.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wedding Information

Ceremony Location

St. Edmund's Episcopal Church
1175 San Gabriel Blvd.
San Marino, CA

A reception will follow the ceremony.

Hotel Information
Remember your AAA /AARP cards!

Pasadena Hilton
168 South Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101

Doubletree Westin Pasadena
191 North Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101

Gift Registries