Deanna and Philippe

On June 27, 2016, I got to marry my best friend.

One of my favorite ways to keep track of the things I have to be thankful for has been taking pictures of them, and I love looking over the different moments it reminds me of over the past months and years. The actual skill and craft of composing an image isn’t even half of the significance. The other leg is being able to take myself back to that moment someday in the future when I’m looking back at it, each picture being the closest thing I can invent to a time machine.

The more time I’ve spent looking over our wedding the photos, the more a certain something has become obvious to me.

We must’ve spent half of our wedding day just busting up laughing. Like every other thing was hilarious. I guess that’s not a break from the usual.

Deanna needed somewhere to hide from me before the wedding, so she hid out with her mom in a Prius as if it were a Pope-mobile.

It was all worth it for the big moment that followed.

I get the treat of enjoying some pretty remarkable sights quite often, the kind you just have to stop and stare at for a good while.

That said, the scene of Deanna walking down the aisle was unmatched. It wasn’t until the wedding photos came back that I got to see what my face looked like, since I was the one making it, after all.

Life, man. It’s an incredible thing.

Sometime during the sermon I decided to take it all in. We’d heard from so many couples for whom the day was such a blur they could hardly remember it. I know that likely meant they were having fun but we wanted fun and vivid memories.

From meditating the morning of to taking deeper breaths to capturing as many mental snapshots as I could, I just had to take everything in.

The day was fantastic, especially since the whole way through we were surrounded by people who loved us and who we loved back. The amount of people involved in our wedding in different roles was pretty staggering, but it seemed like the only logical choice with how many people (and even a puppy) that are that important to us.

Deanna and I had a really easy time picking somebody to officiate our wedding. Pastor Jim. From doing pre-engagement counseling with us when each of us barely knew that was a thing to letting a bunch of bridesmaids turn a church building into a makeup studio to being a consistent part of our lives for years, it was a pretty obvious choice, actually.

My groomsmen shared a team prayer just before the wedding. One of my all time favorite moments.

A frequently asked question about our wedding was what was up with having sponsors- especially since that kind of just reminds you of what Pepsi is to the Olympics, and so on.

Wedding sponsors are actually my favorite of the Filipino wedding traditions I can remember. They basically are to a newlywed couple what godparents are to babies, minus the whole contingency adoption thing. Plus it gave us an extra way to recognize people like my Aunt and Uncle who’ve been a pretty big part of my life since birth

Hey Chris, you’re doing the Bible reading at our wedding.

Sure, what part?

What do you mean what part? The whole thing!

EASILY one of my favorite moments from our wedding came from Simon, and I don’t think 95% of the people at our wedding noticed it. He was standing right by Deanna and I, though, so we for sure did. The wind started picking up in the middle of our ceremony on top of a bluff, and right in the middle of the officiating, he decides to comment. “I’m going to get blown away!” Best visual image ever. Simon the ring bearer being taken up by a gust of wind and swirling around midair a few times just like Piglet during the very blustery day in the Hundred Acre Woods. Then I realized, in his mind, this was pretty much about to happen. For sure. The winds were coming. I imagined it the way he probably did, with everyone in the audience slightly tilting their heads towards the sky. Welp! There goes that ring bearer.

This was just one of the many reasons why in almost all our wedding photos we’re laughing hysterically.

Deanna and her dad went up the aisle. I’m pretty sure my father in law wins when it comes to having the best facial expressions to notice while going over our wedding pictures.

I got the treat of not one, but two best men. Two guys who couldn’t be more different than each other, or me for that matter, but that’s probably why over the years we managed to bond in the ways that best men do. Truth be told, it’s a little too easy sometimes to take friendships like these for granted. I’ve known these guys for several years now. Different struggles and changes have come and gone, and we’re all in new cities, but the ability to share whatever we’re going through- high or low, that hasn’t changed a whole lot.

Cheers to Matt and Daniel. For writing some lovely speeches, picking up the wedding license I left at the house ten minutes before the wedding, taking all of my phone calls for me the weekend of the wedding, and putting up with each other long enough to put together a pretty fun bachelor’s party.

Daniel hardly needs an introduction. But this scene happened–

Becky: Alright, we’ll do one nice picture and then a silly one.
Philippe: Kay Daniel, what should our silly one be.
Daniel: I don’t know, you want me to come up with one?
Philippe: Part of the best man job. I’m a stressed out groom, I can’t be bothered. You pick!
Daniel: Oh, come on. You’re being ridiculous!
*fight breaks out*
Philippe: You know this will probably be our picture, right.

Cheers to Daniel. For writing some lovely speeches, picking up the wedding license I left at the house ten minutes before the wedding, taking all of my phone calls for me the weekend of the wedding, and putting up with my other best man enough to put together a pretty fun bachelor’s party.

And there was Matt. He’s written the foreword of my book, accompanied me on many a road trip, and participated in some of the best conversations known to hot tubs. And this summer he got to give the whole best-man-speech thing a crack.

Thankful for my duo of best men, even when they live a little too far away.

What’s better than a great maid of honor? Two. Or more specifically, a maid and a matron of honor, just to cover all the bases.

Years ago, Caytlin was one of the only people who really knew anything was going on between Deanna and I. Actually, I think she knew before I knew. Sometimes it pays to have psychic friends.

Caytlin needs to get so much of the credit for this wedding. From doing all the typical Maid of Honor duties like pouring wine for all the guests to things from the very beginning… like fanning the flames of my interest in Deanna until it resulted in her making a very lovely speech about the two of us.

Good job to Shelly and Caytlin, for handling all that being a maid of honor entails, which largely revolved around sign making parties, raunchy straws, and nephew management.

Our wedding day would have been way more dull without the very prominent presence of Daniel and Caytlin, but really, our entire lives would be way more dull without these two.

Growing up, I always thought it would be cool to have a close knit, central group that you could get older with. A group so tight you could all live in different cities but still remain very much in tune with each others’ lives. I didn’t have that by the time I technically became an adult, and I figured I missed my boat.

Then when I was 20, I bummed a spot on Daniel’s floor while couch surfing, with Deanna and Caytlin living in the same house. We saw each other graduate college, then get jobs, then get tired of jobs, go back to grad school and what not. Years later, they’re making speeches at our wedding and plans to visit during holidays. It’s a good story, but you don’t need me to tell you that. Just look at their faces.

Once upon a time, we all lived in a big house with each other. And a bunch of other people, I suppose. And also, I wasn’t exactly paying rent. But we lived in this big shared house and that’s where this all began.

This is a snapshot from four years after that experience. I guess you could say that sharing that house had a bit of an impact.

Deanna’s personally curated set of bridesmaids showed up for our wedding day and we couldn’t be more happy with the selection.

Meaghan was one of my earliest friends at UCSB and one of Deanna’s earliest friends in life about twenty years prior to that.

Now she’s one of the newest Oregonians and only a couple hours away from us. We hope our friends keep moving here.

I finally got to meet Dee’s cousin Meghan after all the stories she’s told and everything. I could tell she’s awesome, especially when she helped me look less lame during the dollar dance since nobody else brought cash.

It’s a bit of a ways off but looking forward to next fall and going to her own wedding in ATX!

We mostly get to see Eliza when she comes through Portland. Still, we don’t pass up the chance to see her and hang out. We drive up to Portland just for the night. We once all prepared a massive meal together like a bunch of Weasleys, then got our Salt & Straw fix for the night.

We were so glad that her visit to Santa Barbara to be a bridesmaid this summer worked out, in spite of missing luggage, and unpleasant Meet-the-Parents-type experiences with airlines.

I’ve been super proud of my cousin Ivy the work she’s doing in South Carolina on the road to her DPT!

I tried to do the same with my choice of groomsmen.

A cousin, a LiNK friend, a friend from Bakersfield, two Love Dungeoners, a cousin of Deanna’s, and a long time friend from college. My groomsman squad was quite the mix, but that’s a fun piece of having so many different areas of my life to select from.

A lot of these guys had never met any of the other ones prior to the wedding weekend, which made it a lot more fun to see everybody hit it off. Way too good of a time.

Ben was the groomsman I’ve befriended the most recently, but man it feels like we’ve known each other for ages longer than we actually have.

Getting to bond while I lived in Bakersfield was one of the better parts of that experience.

These days, Alex has been napping with tigers and roaming Bangkok. There are very, very few people that I can say I’ve known as long as Alex, and since I was around when he was born, I think I’m tied among the people he’s technically known the longest.

So it makes sense that our wedding party wouldn’t have been complete without Alex, and our bachelor party most definitely wouldn’t have been complete without Alex providing Spongebob Tomfoolery Remixes as the evening’s soundtrack.

Evan has played a huge role in Deanna’s life- he makes an appearance in so many childhood stories she tells. That means he also plays a big role in my life too from this point, and was an obvious pick for us to have among my groomsmen.

The weekend of our wedding, Evan braved flight delay after flight delay to make it and spent more time in the Houston airport than anybody should. He made it in time and it all worked out, and we’re looking forward to seeing more of him soon.

Together they were such a fun bunch of party people, and in this case, they literally are our party people. An all-star team of human beings, and they could hardly photograph of everybody posing in a relatively normal way.

One of the most fun parts of the weekend of our wedding was getting to spend so much time with this crew.

And there were the two sets of awesome parents Deanna and I get to have in our lives.

And my aunts… few people have made an impact on anyone’s lives the way these two have impacted mine.

More family! It’s a good, good thing.

How can we not talk about massive families when massive family’s all we got. This picture shows off a fraction of my massive family and I love it. There’s also four faces that wouldn’t have been in this pic a decade ago which means, among other things, that it’s still growing.

As the 19th out of 20 cousins, I have cousins the age my aunts and uncles could be, and aunts and uncles the age of grandparents. It sometimes feels like I arrived at a party late and the DJ’s playing slow jams and the passed out guy has already been fully drawn on. But then, people get married, some have kids, and boom, new faces mixed in with the old. It’s like a whole other party bus showed up, and the DJ’s about to put on some Dre

Bo served as our flower dawg. None of our friends or family had birthed little girl recently, but Bo was an old roommate, so we figured we’d give him the job. I love most things about dogs. The one thing I don’t? Dog years. Seriously. It means this one is now 21 years older than when we lived together and gets to behave like a lethargic old man more frequently. Whatever. He’ll always be our flower Bo, even if he veered into the crowd instead of walking down the aisle.

Three years ago, I was in Texas finishing up my tour with LiNK. Whenever I get to thinking about decisions I’ve made or cool opportunities I’ve had that I’m extremely grateful for, LiNK is always one of the ones to first come to mind.

Not only did that little experience take me to some cool places for a really good cause, but it allowed me to get to meet and know some of the coolest individuals.

Sometimes I get bummed I don’t get to see all my friends that often, but I also remember that it’s because so many of them are doing awesome things.

Chi and Greg played some of our favorite songs at our wedding ceremony. We had some tough requests but they nailed it.

Now they’ve moved to New York to take on music full time, renamed themselves as Heartland Nomads and taken on my buddy Andrew as a third member. Super proud of them.

Our wedding was so chock full of toasts. We had two best men and a maid and matron of honor. Deanna’s dad made everybody cry, Jihyun’s stand up routine made everybody laugh, and Deanna and I also gave toasts. And we let our nephew Simon have the mic for a bit. It was like the Lollapalooza of wedding toasts.

Somehow, all of them managed to stand out in their own way. Shelly had a fantastic speech, which seemed to be many years in the making thanks to Deanna’s own maid-of-honor speech at her wedding. Many years before I entered the picture.

Let the record show, I married way, way, up!

That day we exchanged these bands, since I deposited wedding band 1.0 in the ocean when we got engaged. Actually, I’m more happy with these simpler rings that match and that we’ll always trace back to a white bearded vendor at the Lane County Farmer’s Market. Also, I kinda love the fact that these wedding rings are a 2.0- an unintended symbol of second chances, you could say.

This is one of my favorite shots from the wedding and everything a candid shot should be. Our wedding was a celebration, not just of Deanna and I getting married, but of all the hard work and Love that went into us becoming two people who could Love each other.

I doubt they knew they were being photographed and I doubt that mattered much to them right here. I don’t know for sure but I’m guessing there’s 25 years worth of intense and incredible memories shared in the unspoken moments of a sweet dance.

A huge thanks to our friend Lei for being an incredible videographer for us… we know you’ve worked hard on editing your shots and it shows! I had a harder time than I thought finding someone to tape our wedding, so we were so thrilled when we found out you’d be willing to come all the way from Georgia to shoot our day.

To Deanna – You are my very best friend for sure. I couldn’t have married anybody better and I love getting to start and end each day right beside you. Your entire life is astounding, and I love it so much that I’m glad I get to be big piece of it.

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

– Raymond Carver

June 27th was the most fun and spectacular day of our lives, and we wouldn’t have changed a single detail.

Like I said on my wedding day, of the words that exist, the closest fit is the word thankful. Thankful for the start of our marriage. For the most fun evening spent chatting, dancing, and roasting s’mores with the most incredible people. For the spectacular view behind me at our ceremony that didn’t compare to the one in front, walking towards me. For Mrs. Deanna Lazaro.

The earliest days of our marriage went by fast. And I loved them. Our honeymoon went by in a frenzy before giving way to a newlywed calmness. That calm allowed me to see all the more clearly how much I enjoy being married. That togetherness we get to experience at the beginning and end of each day is my favorite part.

Also, a big thanks to Becky Davis Photography for brilliantly capturing the best day of our lives. Becky did an amazing job and when we saw our photos a month later, we spent hours going through each one and reliving our favorite day.

I’ll always remember the day I surprised Deanna with a pop-up restaurant and asked her to join me on the adventure of marriage. I didn’t necessarily mean our married life would look like Indiana Jones all the time but that committing to fully know and Love each other would be a bigger adventure than any backpack could hold or any amount of miles traveled could find. That said, we still value those kinds of adventures, so we made a list of a hundred of them that we want to accomplish by March 28, 2018. Why the date? That’ll be our 1,000 day anniversary!

Today we’re several months into being married. I’m not sure exactly when this went from “man, this is kinda weird, it feels so new,” to “wow, can’t believe how different our lives were just three months ago,” but that’s happened somewhere along the way.

Still sure I made the best decision ever on this one. Looking forward to our first batch of holidays together, getting to see a season change together, and everything we’ve still got ahead of us.

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