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
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.
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.