From This Day Forward

Sorry for the delay! I have been busy with a few other things, which I will share with you later. This post is really picture and text heavy to make up for it.

When we left off, the ceremony was just beginning. Our officiant, David Schmus, has known us for a long time now. He was our AP U.S. History teacher in high school and has also become our mentor over the years. Mr. Schmus had us email him our story and he compiled them together wonderfully to the following:

Well, every wedding starts with a love story, and of course, Brandon and Min have theirs. For those of us who have gone through high school P.E. class, when we are looking very stylish dressed out in our gym clothes, that may be the last place we would want to meet the love of our lives. But alas, that is where our story begins.

According to Brandon, when he first laid eyes on Min in P.E. class playing volleyball, she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen! He especially appreciated her kindness and bubbly personality. But Brandon did not take it that seriously, however, because he felt that Min was way out of his league. “I could never get a girl like that.”

But while Brandon was first noticing Min and thinking he had no chance, as it often goes, Min had already been noticing Brandon for a few months. (Men aren’t that perceptive sometimes!). In fact, Min remembers Brandon’s first conversation with her: Brandon responded to something she has said with, “Duh!” I’m sure Min felt very encouraged! But despite rocky beginnings, pretty soon they were commenting on each other’s livejournals, chatting online, with Min pretending to like Brandon’s taste in music so that they would keep exchanging CD’s with little notes inside. Brandon’s birthday came up, and we all know Min is an amazing gift giver. A beautifully wrapped dark chocolate for Brandon led to the first hug, which both remember quite well.

The first official date is a subject of a little controversy. Apparently to this day, neither is quite sure who invited whom. It sounds like Brandon wanted to ask, but having never been on a date before, he was scared, so Min helped him a little bit. Nevertheless, somehow they ended up at the Mall for dinner and a movie. Brandon got a little worried when Min showed up dressed to kill and he hadn’t changed out of his school clothes. And then Min felt she might have blown it as traffic had made her late, especially when she left her hand out during the movie for Brandon to hold, but Brandon didn’t get the clue.

But through the social awkwardness and waiting for their mothers to come pick them up, something special was happening. The subject of college plans came up, afterwards Min raced home and googled West Point. Already planning their future together, or at least daring to dream, she was dismayed to discover that West Point was in New York. If I recall from having Min as a student and as my TA, it seems like at some point she became very interested in Columbia/Cornell University. Hmm.... I wonder why? Well, after Brandon’s senior prom here at the Nixon Library, Brandon graduated and did head off to West Point. And amazingly, despite the long distance, the relationship continued to grow and deepen. They made the most of the brief times Brandon could be home. Brandon wrote about this time that he never really considered not maintaining the relationship over the distance. He said, “I believed our love was strong and true, and it was! Min is the love of my life, and my best friend.” Min remembers about she would check the mail every day to see if Brandon had written her, and how Brandon called her every night while they were apart for 4 years! She writes, “When I am with Brandon, I feel a sense of calm. I sleep better, and my self esteem even goes up when I look in the mirror. I always feel protected and cared for…He makes me want to be a better person.”
And as Brandon’s senior year at West Point approached, both of them were thinking marriage. Brandon not so subtly asked Min to give him an idea what kind of ring she might prefer. A wise man, he is. Min, needing no encouragement to be specific, sent him a link. And when Brandon came home for Christmas break, the time had come. I got the idea that Brandon had some elaborate plans for the proposal, but the unusually wet weather had made a mess of things. Unfortunately for Brandon, he had let slip his plans to his family, who were all expecting to congratulate them both at a family gathering the following day. So faced with this deadline, Brandon had to act. So taking Min home late that night (according to Brandon, it was 0330), on her porch, in the rain, Brandon had Min close her eyes, got down on his knee, and popped the question. Min must have been overcome in the moment, because her response was, “ooh, shiny.”
And that is how we have arrived here today. And I want to add as having been their teacher, mentor, and friend over these years, that these are two extraordinary people. Their maturity and character were far beyond most of their peers, and yet they have unusual humility. They have honored me by asking me to perform their ceremony, and it is my great privilege to do so.

Our vows were created from a mixture of several different excerpts from different websites, blogs, and Mr. Schmus' own words.

I, Brandon; give you this ring,

As a promise; and symbol; of my heart and faithfulness, my love and commitment to you.

When I am angry, I will seek to be kind.

When we speak, I will be truthful.

And each day of my life, I will honor you.

I choose you as the person with whom I will spend the rest of my life.

We will share a lifetime of immeasurable love.

I found the following from a wedding blog and it really resonated with me:

May your home be filled with laughter and the warm embrace of a summer’s day.

May you find peace and beauty,

Challenge and satisfaction.

Humor and insight,

Healing and renewal,

Love and wisdom.

May you always feel that what you have is enough.

And may you know God’s unfailing love toward you. And then we were finally pronounced husband and wife. This song by Ray LaMontagne titled "You Are the Best Thing" played after our kiss.

Photography by Hannah Suh


Here Comes the Bride

It was then my turn to make my big debut. I was waiting really impatiently behind two swinging doors for the cue for me to come out.

I saw Brandon crying when I peeked out the glass door. Even though he had already seen me earlier, it was as if it was all happening for the first time. I hurried out, dragging my poor grandmother and mother along. I immediately regretted taking the long and dramatic way around.

There were strangers watching us and they congratulated me as I passed them. I also tripped on the stairs, but luckily I was hidden behind a wall.

Listen to Jack Johnson's "Angel" here.

I've got an angel
She doesn't wear any wings
She wears a heart that can melt my own
She wears a smile that can make me wanna sing

She gives me presents
With her presence alone
She gives me everything I could wish for
She gives me kisses on the lips just for coming home

She could make angels
I've seen it with my own eyes
You gotta be careful when you've got good love
Cause the angels will just keep on multiplying

His tears were so sweet and contagious.
But you're so busy changing the world
Just one smile can change all of mine
We share the same soul

You can't fake that smile...

And then we turned around to look at all of those who love us.

Photography by Hannah Suh

It's Time!

We finished taking pictures early and I was more than ready to start the show already. I ducked down to the bridal suite to touch up on makeup and to hide from incoming guests. I truly regret that decision because I was left alone without my family and friends for 30 minutes before the ceremony. I am so thankful that Linda, our second photographer and good friend of my sister's, kept me company.

I had no idea what was going on upstairs and kept checking the time. I was pretty disappointed when I was told that the guests had not arrived at the scheduled time and so they had to push everything back. I later found out that the guests were just staying inside the building as long as they could before going out in the cold.

I can't figure out how to embed music or a video, so follow this link to listen to the song we played at this time: First Day of My Life

Yours is the first face that I saw
I think I was blind before I met you
Now I don’t know where I am
I don’t know where I’ve been
But I know where I want to go

He and his best man, Kyle, waited for the others to make their way down the aisle.

And you said “this is the first day of my life
I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you
But now I don’t care I could go anywhere with you
And I’d probably be happy”
And here they come!

Tony came down on his own. He first went towards the rest of the guys, but did a pivot towards the girls' side. I wish I could have seen that!

So if you want to be with me
With these things there’s no telling
We just have to wait and see

Here's my beautiful sister in the spotlight. She managed to make it down without a guy propping her up in her heels.

But I’d rather be working for a paycheck
Than waiting to win the lottery
Besides maybe this time is different
I mean I really think you like me

Photography by Hannah Suh

Ceremony Details

If I would think that you would enjoy it, I would do a single post completely dedicated to my tissue pomander balls, but I don't know how many of you would appreciate that. Instead, here is a picture-heavy post on the details of our wedding ceremony.

Here is the entire set-up for the ceremony. (Taken by Linda Ko)

I found these paper lanterns at Target, 2 for $2.50 (Taken by Linda Ko)
Remember how I saved almost $300 by making our own bouquets? Here are the final results. The girls had their initials sewed on so that they could identify their own bouquets.

My bouquet had a little silver locket engraved with the letter "M" that Brandon gave me. Inside was a picture of my grandfather. Two charms house the pictures of Brandon's grandpa and his stepfather, Albert.

We had programs and bubbles for our guests to grab, but over half of them were left untouched. At least it made a pretty picture!

Brandon helped me make these programs. Total cost was about $15. $13 for the stupid stapler that we had to buy and $2 for the paper. Pomander balls! The hours and hours spent on these beauties were absolutely worth it in the end. They really made such a difference

Thanks to Tiff S. for fluffing them the night before the wedding!

Instead of purchasing a separate arch, we took two of our centerpieces and placed them on tall brown boxes at zero cost!
Ah, so gorgeous.
Pictures by Hannah Suh unless otherwise noted.

The Gals (and a Dude)

I had my own support on my side. My bridal party all looked gorgeous in their red dresses and Tony in his dazzling suit and red pocket square.

Three of the girls were caught peeking in at the cupcakes being set up. Yum!
We sat down for some portraits.

The chair was dirty and Hannah didn't hesitate to lay down the jacket off of her back for us to sit on. That's someone dedicated to her work!

Here is one of the entire wedding party. The men never looked so handsome and the women so beautiful.

Photography by Hannah Suh
Girls chose their dresses from Forever 21. Debbie's was from Macy's.