Amanda & Paolo: Wedding – San Diego, CA

“I’m engaged, Ate!” he said. (For anyone who doesn’t speak Tagalog, “Ate” pronounced Ah-teh, is how Filipinos address older sisters and older female cousins.)


“Ate? Hello? Say something!”

It had only been 2013 for about five days, and I was sitting in traffic on my way home from work when my cousin, PJ called to tell me the news. He was engaged…to someone I’d never met, because they’d only been dating a short while. Would “shock” be an appropriate word to describe how I felt when he told me? Sure, but I’d call it more of an understatement because I literally, in those five seconds after hearing his news, couldn’t talk.

I’d always thought of PJ as a little brother, and because each of us grew up as an only child for so many years (until my sister was born), it was an easy relationship to categorize. I worried like an older sister when he joined the air force, celebrated when he became a nurse, and now that he was engaged, the first thing I wanted to say was, “It’s too soon and you’re too young.” But I realized, eventually, that love has its own unique timeline for everyone and at 30, he wasn’t too young at all; just to me, who still saw him as a little boy.

The two months after that phone call whizzed by, because PJ and his fiancé, Amanda, didn’t feel it necessary to use an entire year to plan a huge wedding, when all they wanted was to be husband and wife, and have their family and friends there to celebrate. So on a beautiful March Friday in San Diego, PJ donned his air force uniform, Amanda wore a cute dress and skirt bottom from H&M (who knew they could dress a bride so beautifully?!) and my little cousin became someone’s husband.

The ceremony was held on the front lawn of the San Diego Downtown Courthouse, a hearty lunch was had at a nearby restaurant and a casual, fun-filled cocktail reception on the rooftop of the W Hotel concluded the celebration.

Happy Marriage Wishes, you two!!

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