A Beautiful Summer Wedding: #TophNMarjTieTheKnot

A few months ago, my cousin asked if I could officiate his wedding. Of course I was honored, but I was a bit scared. Yes, I've emceed a few family events throughout the years and my job requires a bit of public speaking here and there, but officiating a wedding?! That's a whole new world for me!

Just as always, whenever my cousins ask me to do something for them, I put my "big sister" pants on and do the job!

Over the past few weeks, the couple and I have been working on their wedding ceremony script, putting all the details into the words and the symbolism of the parts of the ceremony. The pieces of the ceremony easily came together since all the words came from the heart.

The wedding was held at Saddlerock Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains in the city of Malibu. The outdoor venue was picturesque. The 360 degree views had vineyards to the east, the ocean to the west, and the "saddlerock" reminiscent of the red rocks of Sedona to the north. The long, green lawn of the ceremony ended with a rustic tree branch arch where I stood under during the ceremony.

Here's DJ exploring the venue the morning of the wedding

Before the ceremony began, I shared with all the guests present that the couple's wish was to make the ceremony "unplugged". I asked all the guests to please put away their cameras and cellphones in order to enjoy the moment with the couple, as well as allow the professional photographers to take the beautiful pictures they were hired to do. I also asked the guests to remind their neighbors to put away their camera if tempted to snap a quick stealth photo. Even with the announcements and signage, one of the guests couldn't resist taking a picture.

The ceremony was full of emotion and laughter. There were a few times my cousin choked up with emotion, tears in his eyes, and a lump in this throat. I had to give him a few moments to gather himself, give him a pat on the shoulder, and tell him he was doing great. During the vows, we'd take a few words at a time. Slowly and surely, he got through his speaking parts.

The funniest part of the ceremony, was when I had said the words "in sickness and in health" for Chris to repeat after me, but what he said was "in sex..." He caught himself and giggled. Marj giggled too. And the guests giggles followed. Chris was a bit embarrassed so I made a joke saying "Yes, we know that's on your mind, that'll happen later. He need to do this first." There were more giggles from the couple and the guests, which helped Chris feel better about his slip of words. =)

Overall, the ceremony definitely highlighted the love Chris and Marj share for each other, their families and friends, and their future children, as well as the love and blessings from GOD which has made their relationship strong.

Of course, the best part of the ceremony for me was when I said:

It is with my pleasure and love for you both, I now pronounce you HUSBAND AND WIFE. CHRISTOPHER, you may now kiss your BRIDE . 
I would like to introduce the happy couple - MR. AND MRS. CHRISTOPHER LUANSING

Cheers and hollers followed with lots of smiles and words of "congratulations" as the married couple walked down the aisle ending the ceremony.

At the end, I sighed a breath of relief of getting through officiating my first wedding. I was glad I didn't stumble over my words, nor pass out in the 90 degree weather. I took a huge drink of water and quickly found my way over to the cocktail hour! =) 

The rest of the wedding was awesome! 

Here are some highlights:

I'm the oldest of most of my first cousins here in the United States, most of my older cousins are in the Philippines. With my dad having 11 brothers and sisters, I have over 30 first cousins around the world. Pictured here at a few of my cousins, my brother, my son DJ, and my aunts. My cousins pictured here grew up with me as my little brothers and sisters. We spent summers together and have lots of stories to share. As they are all growing up, I'm thankful to God for blessing them so abundantly!

All the details put into this wedding was well thought out and perfectly executed. There were lots of friends and family working in the background making sure the day was perfect for Chris and Marj.

Confetti poppers at the new couple is introduced at the reception!

~The Violin Player~
This video doesn't do justice to the awesomeness of this violin player. She played classical, standards, R&B, and Hip Hop. All in heels, on a hill, looking sexy, in 90+ degree weather!

~The First Dance~

90's inspired first dance was the best first dance I've ever seen! I didn't know these two could dance so well!

Congrats to Chris and Marj on their wedding! Thanks for having DJ and I as part of your special day. It was truly an honor! I wish you both all the love and happiness you deserve!

Honeymoon dance and high fives with the groom
DJ and the beautiful bride, Marj