Arlene and Garry’s Wedding – The First of Summer

A year and a month ago, Arlene and Garry got married at a quiet beach in San Juan, Batangas. It was a lovely, intimate celebration, one of the nicest beach weddings I have ever attended.

I was set on spending the weekend at the beach for the wedding. But work got in the way and I had to give up my overnight resort stay. I ended up going on a daytrip instead. With our reliable manong driver on the wheel, I finished some work on my laptop, using the internet on my phone (which, surprisingly, didn’t fail me that day) and e-mailed something for work before we reached the signal-less venue and before my laptop battery ran out. The exact location for the ceremony, I later learned, was a total deadspot.

I arrived at the ceremony venue at the exact time Arlene was walking down the sandy aisle. My camera settings were off since I didn’t have time to adjust the white balance. (And that explains why this photo is in black and white :)) )

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Arlene was one of the senior photographers in Imagine Nation Photography when I joined the group in 2009. I first met her at one of the weekly bible study meetings, but she said she has seen me earlier at a “Before I Do” pre-wedding seminar (also organized by Imagine Nation), which we both attended. (As to why I was there deserves a different blog entry altogether. Haha) Arlene was one of my favorite photographers to work with. No matter how stressful the circumstances are, she always keeps her cool. And I love how she can produce beautiful photos while remaining unobtrusive. She’s also very hardworking. I remember assisting her for a prenup shoot in Subic when she was 7 months pregnant with (now little boy) Borgy. Despite her condition, she never showed signs of exhaustion. Pregnancy never slowed her down. I also backed up for her when she covered a Muslim wedding and post-nup in Zamboanga. My visit there (it was my first time too) wouldn’t have been as fun if it wasn’t for her and our companions from Wang Videography. I knew she has been through a lot in her relationships, and she’s a very good listener, so even after I left the studio, I would sometimes meet up with her to chat and to ask for her sisterly advice. She’s always been very accommodating and eager to listen.

A lot of (happy) tears were shed during the wedding, and a lot of inspiring words were shared. But two things from the speeches struck me, which is why Arlene and Garry serve as an inspiration:

– Arlene met Garry while she was doing something she loved, something she was passionate about – doing photography. I don’t recall the exact details, but they met while Arlene was doing a prenup shoot. Not a lot of people get to do what they are passionate about. In Arlene’s case, she’s able to do something she really loves as her full-time job, and even got to meet her “God’s best” in the process. For me, there’s no better way to meet the person God intended for you to marry than to meet him/her while doing what God purposed you to do. And if he/she accepts you, understands and appreciates your passion, you know he/she is someone worthy of your time.

– God is the god of second chances. Arlene and Garry has a unique love story that withstood the test of time. Both have been in serious relationships before and they’ve undergone through unique challenges. As early as 2009 (when we met at the seminar), they’ve been contemplating marriage but that is something that they weren’t able to pursue readily. But they remained with each other and eventually decided to cement their commitment through marriage. No matter what you’ve been through, no matter how difficult circumstances may have been in your life, God has a way of restoring what you’ve lost and creating something beautiful out your mess. It is said that God turns your mess into a message. This couldn’t be more true for Arlene and Garry. After the major challenges they’ve been through, they now have a beautiful story to share with their children and the people around them.

Posting here some of the photos I’ve (unofficially) taken at the wedding. Of course there are a lot of photos also of the present and past Imagine Nation peeps. This makes me want to go back to the beach. 😀

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Garry said he’s a tough guy and he wasn’t going to cry – but I guess he couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. 🙂

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Venue: Kota Keluarga, San Juan, Batangas

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