Jamie and Vina left their elopement details in the hands of a team of creatives after they won a giveaway, and their wedding day at the Automobile Driving Museum in Los Angeles was unique and perfect.
Tell us about how you met one another?
Vina: The day that our universes aligned happened in December of 2013. She was interviewing at a job that I was a supervisor. When she first walked in, I said, “damn, she is fine,” in my head, of course. The interview happened, and a colleague of mine was sitting with us to conduct it. During the interview, she mentioned something about having a dog whose name is Marley. So I had to do my job and asked her a few important follow-up questions. They were questions to find out more about her dog. It was at that moment that I knew I fell in love.
Jamie: Well, I walked into this job interview back in December 2013, and there she was. That was an awkward interview. I spent more time engaging and getting to know her than trying to tell her my actual work history. Shortly after that, I had a friend of mine whom she knew invite her to brunch, and well, we began dating.
Fast forward to October 2017, and we get engaged.
When and where did the proposal take place, and how did it unfold?
Vina: I finished grad school and passed my board exam to become a Behavior Analyst (primarily working with children with Autism. I surprised Jamie and proposed to her at my graduation party with all of our family and friends there. Everyone knew except for her. It was epic.
Jamie: I was just so excited to celebrate Vina’s graduation along with her passing a very important board exam. We decided to gather about 100 people to thank all of the important people who played a big role in her accomplishments. While Vina was saying her thank you speech to everyone, she snuck in a huge thank you to me, and I turned around, and everyone’s cameras were looking at me!
Somehow this moment turned into being about me. Before I could even process what was going on, she was already on one knee, popping the question.
How did the Pandemic affect your wedding plans?
Vina: We were on cloud nine and ready to start the next chapter of our lives together. I was hired to consult at two different organizations, and I agreed to work overtime to start saving for our wedding. With still being on cloud nine and both of us really working hard to save up for a wedding, all until one day- I got into a car crash that changed our lives forever.
I went through so many treatments and ended up getting surgery that caused me the ability to not walk for six months. This ate away at our savings since I couldn’t work. Jamie had to work less because she had to help take care of me. I rehabbed every single day and saw so many specialists. It wasn’t until those six months turned into January 2020 that I could start walking again independently.
I started a new job in February 2020, and everything seemed like it was getting back on track. We started planning the wedding again, and then in March, we go into the safer at-home orders. Jamie loses her job due to the Pandemic, and I’m currently working from home still as a Behavior Analyst and going to school full-time for my Ph.D.
Jamie: We celebrated and loved being engaged. Soon after saying yes, we started looking at venues and dates. Then shortly after, I suffer from an injury, and a few months later, Vina is in a car crash and suffers injuries. I receive multiple rounds of treatment and begin being able to tolerate my pain. Vina received multiple rounds of treatment for her hip area and ends up still needing surgery. We get hopeful thinking the surgery would help and start looking at dates again since it’ll be over soon! Nope, something unknown happens, and she couldn’t walk. It took her six months to walk again. She starts walking, we start planning again… THE PANDEMIC hits. Now here we are, cooped up at home. Vina works from home and goes to school, and I am currently freelancing due to the Pandemic.
Why were you comfortable allowing creatives attached to an Elopement Giveaway to design and plan your wedding day?
Well, after doing some serious stalking on Instagram of each of the creatives’ pages, we knew that this would be a once and a lifetime opportunity. To experience something like this that is exactly in alignment with where we should take the next step in our relationship, all while experiencing the talent that each creative brings.
Both Vina and I prayed until the very day since then. We trusted the process and the universe. We knew that if we were chosen over other applicants, it was the way that the universe intended for us to get married after all these years.
Was there anything particularly surprising or unexpected about the task of working with wedding professionals you did not choose?
The detail. The amount of detail that they put into this special moment in our lives was impeccable. These were some things in life that only someone who knows you would put together. Everything was not only appealing to the eye but to the heart. It was pleasing to all five senses known to humankind.
Why did the Automobile Driving Museum appeal to you as a location for your Elopement?
Jamie: When we met, I had a Dodge Charger, and Vina had a Dodge Challenger! We love cars, especially fast ones. I grew up going to car shows. Vina’s family owned an auto body shop growing up. Again, all unreal.
Please describe any specific traditions that were important for you to incorporate into your ceremony.
Vina and I decided to go with a wedding lasso tradition. We wanted to implement something meaningful and traditional in both the Filipino and Hispanic cultures. Another special element that was incorporated was acknowledging our loved ones who passed by having their photos presented within the ceremony. Their presence was felt, and it was beautiful.
What aspects of your wedding most reflected your personality?
The whole part about going on a journey where we know we may be in for a wild ride, but putting trust into the universe to put things together the way it was intended. Literally, every aspect reflected our personality. The creatives were able to capture our individual profiles and the union we have established with one another. Their art complimented us so well. Also, can’t forget to emphasize the ice cream! Vina loves her some ice cream.
Which feature of your wedding was the most unique?
The most unique is very tough to say as they were all pretty unique. It was fierce, and it was bohemian. The signs, balloons, desserts, food, music, the photo, and video experience, and so much more produced so many tears of gratitude. Everything was captured so beautifully. The venue itself definitely set the tone for it all to tie in the way that it did.
What is your best advice for engaged LGBTQ+ and couples?
Continue to be FEARLESS and remember that all you need is the right type of love. There are no rules on how to get married, just follow your heart.
What advice would you offer vendors and venues working with LGBTQ+ couples?
When you think of weddings, you typically think of them being traditional. It is often perceived that one should want to conform to the norms of what a wedding is supposed to look like. Still, sometimes those particular aspects of being traditional just might not feel right to an individual and can often be unsettling. Yvonne did a fantastic job giving us different options and having thorough conversations to help us figure out what felt right for us. The advice would be to help those people be more comfortable with the process.
What challenges did you face as an LGBTQ+ couple planning your wedding?
The nerves. Unfortunately, not everyone is a fan of the LGBTQ+ community. That can be unsettling.
Did you encounter any pleasant surprises as an LGBTQ+ couple planning your wedding?
We received a lot of love in a world that is still full of hurt. The appreciation of being accepted was so fulfilling to our souls.
Photography by Gloria Mesa Photography
Videography Sergio Anthony Films
Concept, Design and Planning Yvonne Wolf Events
Location Automobile Driving Museum
Florals Inessa Nichols Design
Musicians Guitarmony Duo
Grazing Boxes Gather and Graze
“Drive-in” Meals In-N-Out Burger
Petite Wedding Cake Vanilla Bake Shop
Ice Cream Chunk-N-Chip Ice Cream
Balloon Art Top Hat Balloon Werks
Personalized Materials Studio 90212
Rentals Lounge Appeal