Wedding Day at Loyola Marymount University Celebrates Filipino and Irish Ancestry

Real Wedding
To Be Loved Events planned an overgrown garden wedding for Heather and J.M. that was a tribute to their lasting romance and melding family cultures.
Written by
Emily Sweet

Heather and J.M. Florentino chose to wed at the exact location where they first met: the Sacred Heart Chapel at Loyola Marymount University. The duo found themselves on a service trip together back in their college years and were immediately enamored with each other, so much so the couple dove headfirst into a long-distance relationship and never looked back. During their time apart J.M. spent over two years in Ghana working with the Peace Corps, where he wrote Heather a love letter for each day he was there. In 2015 before he left for Ghana, J.M. gifted Heather with a locket engraved with the phrase "J ♡ H," which would become a symbol of their matrimonial union. Both Heather and J.M. offered support from thousands of miles away for each other as they continued to pursue their individual passions, something they attributed to the success of their relationship. After seven years of dating, J.M. popped the question at an intimate dinner with family and friends and presented Heather with a Tiffany & Co. engagement ring customized with an engraved "J ♡ H."

Their wedding day was planned by Samantha Kin of To Be Loved Events expertly with a keen focus on a lush and organic design. Samantha expanded on the details, "Embracing an overgrown garden theme, the design featured lush greenery, blooming florals, and a soft color palette of pale yellow, pops of mauve, and shades of cream. Custom signage and stationery, including watercolor depictions of the chapel and a wedding logo with intertwined initials and a four-leaf clover to honor J.M.’s Irish heritage, adding personal touches to every aspect." J.M. and his eight groomsmen wore custom-made traditional Filipino barongs by Heritage Barong, with the groom's featuring delicate hand-sewn embroidery. "J ♡ H" made a meaningful appearance on J.M.'s barong as a continued motif of their love. Heather opted for a Vera Wang gown with chantilly lace detailing and a head-turning silhouette. In a notable floral addition, bride Heather's bouquet featured a ribbon with her grandparents' names written in calligraphy. Paying homage to their Filipino roots was important for Heather and J.M., who aimed to meld not only their families but their rich cultural histories as well. Signage paid homage to Irish roots on J.M.'s side of the family with an elegant edge and modern interpretation of a four-leaf clover. One of the most darling additions to the wedding was paper goods by Matinae Design Studio, which were a vision of romance with watercolor recreations of the Sacred Heart Chapel. 

A key piece of décor was found at the bar, where drinks paid tribute to the legal careers of Heather and J.M. that blossomed during the pandemic. As Heather said, "The exam to be a licensed attorney is called 'the Bar' exam so we leaned into that theme. We both graduated law school and passed the bar exams during the pandemic and used our wedding to celebrate that since we weren't able to in 2020 and 2021. J.M. curated specialty cocktails that had a legal theme: a pink lemonade with vodka called the 'Elle Woods,' a gin mule called the 'Erin Brockovich,' and a revolver whiskey and coffee cocktail called the 'My Cousin Vinny.'" For the reception, Heather changed into a shortened and altered version of her mother's own wedding gown, another meaningful nod towards family that was a welcomed addition to a father-daughter dance. Lush greenery and blooming florals brought the overgrown garden ambiance into the reception with ease, and an extravagant floral arch was a focal point. The evening brought a night of dancing surrounded by friends and family that couldn't be stopped - after 10 p.m., the party turned into a silent disco and our newlyweds continued to dance into married life. 

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