Weddings of the year
In our annual feature, we take a peek inside the celebrations of four couples
A change of plans: After the civil ceremony, Steven and Pauline’s families pressed them to have a grander celebration. “They kinda teased us about having a big [wedding],” Steven says. “I have a big family and they wanted to be a part of it.” By December the couple was planning for not one wedding, but two. Steven’s family is Buddhist and Cambodian American, and Pauline’s Filipino family is Catholic. They decided to have back-to-back ceremonies over one weekend.
The Cambodian wedding: Steven’s parents hosted an abbreviated traditional Cambodian wedding at their house in Silver Spring on Saturday, July 20, 2019. There were 80 guests. The four-hour celebration kicked off in the morning with a parade through the neighborhood and into the house. Inside, Steven and his guests presented Pauline with various offerings, including fruit. A series of small ceremonies followed, including a haircutting ceremony, symbolizing the couple’s new life. (The two just pretended to get their hair cut.) Pauline and Steven each wore three different outfits over the course of the day. “At each outfit change, the outfits become more elaborate,” Pauline says. “The idea is that you first start out as a prince and become a king by the end of it.”
The Catholic wedding: On Sunday, Steven and Pauline were wed by a Catholic priest at Stone Manor Country Club in Middletown, Maryland. They had 184 guests. Pauline arrived at the ceremony in a horse-drawn carriage. Steven said it was his idea, and he cried at the sight of it. “I bawled out,” he says. “I did not expect to full-on cry.” The couple incorporated Filipino customs, including a “money dance” at the reception. During the dance, guests pinned money onto the bride and groom. “It’s like an extra gift from the guests,” Pauline says. “They would just pin small dollar bills, $5 bills on us.”
The honeymoon: The couple spent 12 days in Utah’s five national parks. They stayed in a rented Jeep with a rooftop tent. They spent their days hiking and, at night, cooked ramen, hot dogs and freeze-dried camping food. They stargazed at Canyonlands National Park. During a hike in a slot canyon at Grand Staircase-Escalante, they had to step over a rattlesnake to continue on the narrow path.
Vendors: Bridal gown, Renaissance Bridals & Prom; cake, Merry Poppins Cakes; Cambodian outfits, ChanKanha Khiev; carriage, Carriages of the Capital; catering, Carriage House Inn; DJ, Deej Alfaro; flowers, Petals by Emmanuel; hair and makeup, True Colors Beauty Co.; photographer, Jerome Rubio Photography.