#RealWeddings: This Couple Had A "Winter Wonderland" Wedding In New Jersey And A Spanish-Themed Party In Manila
Dashing Dakota Lin and his beautiful bride Gem Myka Sy didn't just have one big celebration to commemorate their love story, so far—they had two!
Having friends and family from both New Jersey and the Philippines, this couple deemed it important—practically a must—to be able to share the big day with everyone, despite the challenges posed by having miles and miles of oceans separating them.
Besides, to Dakota and Myka, organizing two different events in each location meant giving both batch of guests a treat; everyone would get to experience a different climate and immerse themselves in a whole new culture, not to mention the chance to make new connections, too!
As a couple whose relationship began after meeting each other at a party, it comes to no surprise how they wished to recreate the same happiness on their wedding day. In the end, Dakota and Myka chose to wed in The Garden State during wintry March—a choice made by the bride who's head over heels for snow and the wintertime!—while a second ceremony was held in tropical Manila following a strictly Spanish theme, thanks to their love of the country's life-loving culture.
Check out more details from these beautiful wedding celebrations from real bride Myka!
About the couple
How did you and your husband meet?
"Dakota traveled to the Philippines. We met November 23, 2012 in Manila at a party that I organized."
How long have you two been together?
"We’ve been together officially November 2013. We then broke up in 2016 for 6 months and got back together December 2016. We got engaged May 2018 and got married March 2019."
What are your current occupations?
"We work in the amusement industry and like to say we sell 'happiness.' We are a part of Inflatable Island, Dessert Museum, Happy Beach, and Lakbay Museo. We also help with our family businesses, which coincidentally, are both in the garment industry."
Preparing for the wedding
Why did you choose "winter wonderland" and Spanish themes for your wedding?
"I really love snow and wished that there will be snow in March. Thankfully, it did snow. Everyone who traveled from the Philippines enjoyed it! [As for the Manila wedding], a Spanish theme—lots of Spanish music, sangrias and salsa. We just love the culture of Spain so much. Their culture is just so much fun and we wanted our guests to experience that as well."
How long did you prepare for your wedding day?
"About six months."
What was the best part in preparing for your wedding?
"It was our growth during the whole process and not just the wedding. We actually grew as a couple and learned to compromise as well as understand and work better together. Of course, this was through countless arguments and disagreements, but and the end of it all, we came out stronger and the wedding day meant that much more."
What were the challenges you encountered along the way?
"There were quite a few:
- Themes: The themes changed a few times before settling on the 'winter wonderland.'
- Distance: It was a bit challenging communicating because we didn’t have many opportunities to meet face to face, but thanks to our coordinator Deb Ross and Dakota’s sister, Crystal, they worked together and managed around our limited schedule and made it all possible.
- Also, we were planning two celebrations simultaneously so basically all the challenges times two.
Why did you decide to hold your wedding in New Jersey and Manila?
"New Jersey is where Dakota’s family is based. We wanted to respect the culture and custom of the family and get married where my husband was from. Manila is where my family is based. We wanted to respect the culture and custom of the family and get married where I came from. Also, to accommodate the people who weren’t able to travel for the wedding ceremony, especially my grandparents and some of our bestfriends who have babies. It was a win-win because we honored family as well as gave out-of-town guests a unique experience."
What were the highlights of the programs?
"Speeches from our close friends and family were the best part, as well as the dancing. We started dancing from 8:00p.m. onwards. [And in Manila], the dances. Our first song and dance number 'Bailamos,' and the family dance, which included parents, siblings, and especially our two grandmas."
What tips can you share to brides-to-be when it comes to wedding planning?
"Don’t get pressured by what people will think. It is important to discuss budgets and what’s most important for you and your husband before planning anything else. Also, be very nice to suppliers because you never know what kind of friendships that can blossom even after the wedding."
The Wedding Outfit
Tell us something about your beautiful wedding gown.
"My mom designed my wedding gown and the gowns of the entourage. Dakota’s dad made the coat. My mom is the best option since she has been making gowns for a while for herself and my sisters whenever there are parties."
Tell us something about your hair and makeup looks and accessories.
"I wanted a natural look and also opted for a half ponytail with soft curls to achieve belle’s look from the Beauty and the Beast."
Number of guests: 131 in New Jersey, 450 in Manila
Date of wedding: March 8, 2019 in New Jersey; March 30, 2019 in Manila
Officiant: Pastor Jonathan Fenix in New Jersey
Wedding coordinator: Deb Ross/Peonies to Paint Chips in New Jersey; Christine Ong Te in Manila
Photographer: NicePrint Photo
Videographer: NicePrint Photo
Photobooth/360 degree video: Jalia Photo Shop in Manila
Host: Greg, Expressway Music DJ NYC in New Jersey; Janeena Chan in Manila
Entertainment: Guarana Band in Manila
Invitations: Steph Dy
Bridal gown designer: Gemmie Sy
Groom's suit designer: Gemmie Sy
Designer of entourage: Gemmie Sy
Bridal shoe designer: Jimmy Choo
Makeup artist: Perfect Bridals in New Jersey; Fen Valentino in Manila
Hairstylist: Adrianne Cranmer in New Jersey, Ericka Salazar
Florist/event stylist: Deb Ross/Peonies to Paint Chips in New Jersey; Teddy Manuel in Manila
Venue: Coach House at The Ryland Inn in New Jersey; Marriott Grand Ballroom in Manila
Grazing table: The HomeGround in Manila
Cake designer: Palermo’s Custom Cakes & Bakery in New Jersey
Giveaways: Childhood Favorites
Wedding hashtag: #Mykota
Photographs by NicePrint Photo