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It might not have been love at first sight (she thought he was too “thug”; he thought she was a “party girl”), but judging by Esther and David’s glowing faces on their wedding day, it’s clear that June 18, 2011 was a love-filled day.
With a small budget and zero help from a wedding coordinator, it seemed impossible to plan an intimate wedding with over 800 guests. But with the help of family and friends who each pitched in their expertise, the cute couple managed to pull off a lovely ceremony at Grace Ministries International in Fullerton, CA.
There to capture all the smiles and tears was top-notch photographer James Hong of Perpixel Photography.
It’s funny actually because although we officially met at UC San Diego (he was a sophomore, and I was a freshman), he actually saw me first at my high school graduation. I sang the national anthem and his friend told David to date me because I was going to go to the same school he was attending. They joked about it but somehow, it really ended up happening!
We met my freshman year and his sophomore year in college, but we really began to notice each other when he was a senior and I was a junior. This happened at morning prayer for KCCC that was held everyday at 7am by the Geisel Library. Although at first we didn’t think much of each other in the sense of being our potential partner in life because I thought he was too ‘thug’ and he thought I was a ‘party girl.’ We realized, however, as we got to know each other better, that wasn’t the case. I really respected his passion for God and ministry and I believe it was also like that for him with me. That’s how we began to fall for one another.
What was the proposal like?
Esther was at a church retreat in Palms Springs. David had just come back from Paraguay Missions and was about to leave for Mexico Missions. They hadn’t seen each other for a few weeks now and David wanted to surprise her before he had to leave again for Mexico. He brought with him around 20 people including his close friends and Esther’s close friends. Esther’s church members were all in on the proposal and had been keeping it from her for the past two days of the retreat.
The night of the proposal, Esther was told that there would be a teacher’s appreciation and that she was to wait inside her room until everything had been prepared. Esther had no clue at all and when she was led out into the room, a projector had been set up. Halfway through the video, she still had no idea. When David finally appeared on the screen, sharing his feelings for Esther, she realized what was happening and began to cry. When the video was finished, she was led outside, blindfolded. When her sister took the blindfold off she saw a walkway with David’s friends dressed up in a suit and tie, holding fire crackers! They handed her roses and gave her hugs as she walked down the aisle to where David was standing inside a group of candles placed to form a heart. He shared his thoughts and then got down on one knee and asked Esther to marry him. She said yes and everyone cheered and ran to give them hugs.
Our wedding was huge! Over 800 people came but it was such a blessing because we felt so cheered on by loved ones throughout the entire day. Our wedding was unique because my dad gave the sermon during the ceremony and his dad gave us a message of encouragement. My dad is a pastor and his dad is a missionary and so we thought it would be the best to get advice from the dads who love us and know us so well. Also, we had a lot of friends help out in almost all aspects of the wedding.
We had no wedding coordinator so having awesome friends around to help us was a huge blessing. My English Ministries pastor was the videographer, my old friend from choir did the dessert bar, one of my bridesmaids made all the signs for the couples, David’s friends helped set up and clean up, his pastor friend made our amazing slide show, our friends were our live jazz band/sound, my high school friend set us up with a photo booth and etc.
Our wedding was so memorable because if it wasn’t for our friends and family, it would not have been possible, literally.
We weren’t focused so much on details and decorations because it was such a huge wedding and we were on a very tight budget. At the end of the day, it’s not the extra anything that makes it so special, it’s being with people who love and support the journey that you are beginning with your partner.
Dessert Bar by Audrey’s Edible Creations
Any advice for newly-engaged couples?
Don’t fight and argue too much over every little detail. Just remember you are lucky enough to even be in the place you are at with the one you love- that should be enough. Also, on the wedding day, soak EVERYTHING in, because… it will be over before you know it. That day will FLY. So enjoy everything and be happy and most importantly always be thankful.
Huge thanks to Esther and David for sharing their wedding with us!
Photography: James Hong of Perpixel Photography / Ceremony: Grace Ministries International (Grace Korean Church) / Makeup & Hair: Sherilyn Yi / Dress: Bella Wedding / Catering & Cake: 4Seasons / Dessert Bar: Audrey Kim of Audrey’s Edible Creations / Signs: Annie Kim from Dusty Rose Events