True Story | My Bride Story (Featuring the Bridal Team from Kapwa Studio and Bridal Robes from Niya Gabriela) Part 2

by Apr 28, 2017Blog, Hearty Living, Inspirations


Sssshhh… it’s coming together…

What’s not to like?

Thick jet-black hair, medium built, fair-skinned, kind eyes. He wasn’t someone that you would go “woah!” when you see him for the first time but he’s definitely someone that you would go “aaaahhh…” as you get to look at him more. He has this special aura that was interesting and a quiet spirit that was appealing.

Knowing what we find “attractive” here in the Philippines, he could undoubtedly pass as a T.V. personality with his Eurasian looks and could probably be a DJ or a host with his love for music, manly voice and charming accent (think “sosyal na bisaya” English accent, lol).

final touches before teh shoot

Final touches before our Bridal Shoot.

And what’s not to admire?

He was consistent and persistent. One of those few guys who was courageous to pursue me. He was clear about what he wanted.

He was a gentleman and cheeky at the same time. He could be serious and he could be funny.

He was thoughtful and sweet. (Imagine someone leaving a pile of letters for you to read every day and someone who plans surprises while they were away.)

He honors and values the people around him. And more importantly, he loves God and he loves to care for people.

So our chats would involve sharing about our day, our hopes and dreams, some Bible verses, our prayers for each other and for other people.

We would also casually talk and have Q&A’s about the future. What kind of wedding do you want to have? How many people are you going to invite? What’s your dream honeymoon destination? How many kids are you willing to have?

These of course didn’t involve any serious planning but were just interesting questions to ask and answer as we got to know each other more. But yes, you can say that the thought was there.


Our bridal photo shoot at Kapwa Studio brought me to so many realizations about being a bride.


This was the question that a friend/ mentor asked me when I told her about Guy’s arrival and our growing connection.

I paused and answered, “YES”. And slowly swallowed after my response. I definitely like him and won’t let him pursue me without the intention of getting to know him more and the possibility of being committed solely to him. But honestly, my heart was willing but my head was questioning things.

And so the time came. He arrived in Manila and met my family and friends. It was something new and strange for me. For a few days that we got to see each other, I saw how special he was. So I know my heart was willing but my head was still doubting. He wasn’t the problem but me.

“I look forward to continuing to build our relationship with the goal of committing solely to each other in the future and beyond.”

 This is what he said after our rendezvous in Manila.


Two brides for the Bridal shoot at Kapwa Studio. Wearing some gorgeous bridal robes from Niya Gabriela.


Am I capable of loving and committing to someone who was so certain about us while I question a lot of things?

I know that,


Am I willing for my heart to open and grow so I can reach out to him, love him, and give my whole self to him?


The beautiful Maan, the other bride for this shoot. Makeup by Dionne Taylor, Hair by Leslie Espinosa and Photography by Andrei Suleik.


I know that I’m capable and willing of loving…


While someone is capable and willing to build something special and lasting with me, I was also slowly feeling broken…

Exactly a year before I met Guy in Australia (same month and a year apart), a painful news was revealed to me and my family. The closest person in my life, my best friend, my mom has only a few months to live. That was her doctor’s surprising report. Mama was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. And this immediately broke my heart and spirit.

As I was beginning to have strong feelings for someone, I was beginning to feel tender and weak for another…

I was getting to know someone new while I was losing someone that I know and love so deeply well. I was getting extremely vulnerable.

Something’s been slowly wasting away while someone’s filling my heart with something new…

She’s been progressively getting weak while his feelings and our connection’s been developing and getting strong.

I was in two conflicting extremities.


“Could it be just the time and season?” One of my favorite Bridal Robes from the new collection of Niya Gabriela.


It was 2 years before I was about to turn 30. And there was someone. Clearly, it could be the perfect time for my plan to get married (before 30) to become a reality. I’m this close in fulfilling My Bride Story.

This could be the perfect time, right?

“But then, again, while a new love was steadily growing, a well-known love, my comfort place was gradually parting…”


And I can’t be fully present to both.

Every morning I have to decide between chores or chat, between care or cultivate and between my present or my future.

I have to make a decision…

I can’t make someone be lead to a possibility of full commitment while I become broken and incapable of fully committing myself to someone who’s really been good.

I decided to fully be there in my present and to rest my future in God’s hands.

It took faith and courage for me to let go. I said goodbye to Guy.

Either way, it was going to be painful.

Maybe it’s just a matter of time? Or maybe of season?


For sure a lot of people wondered about my “stupid” decision. He was a great guy! “HALLER, GIRL?! FOR REAL?”

It might be senseless for others, but for me it was the best thing to do during that time. My desire to be fully present for my mama was stronger than my personal desire for what I wanted, my bride story.

I wanted to be fully present for my mama until the end.

But then again, God has his own ways…

I wasn’t there when mama took her last breath. 

Maybe God knows that I’m not good with goodbyes?

How can my bride story end like this?

My bride story turned into a moment of mourning…

My Bride Story… could this be the end? 

Maybe it was just a matter of time and season?

I need clarity. I need closure.

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” – Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage (Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)

THE FINALITY…. (tomorrow)

{Main photos taken by Andrei Suleik & BTS shots by Earl Roxas}



  1. Cecilia Belda

    I was wondering, why didn’t he wait for you JM? 🤔

    • Joanne-Marie

      That’s a good and valid question, Cecilia. I think that’s something that only he and He could answer. But I think it has a lot to do with how I responded during that time and how I made him feel? There are lots of “maybe’s”…

  2. cmgarrido

    Lovely writing and inspiring words… as always. Perhaps the wounds never truly heal. But we live on and make new memories that fill the little gaps in our lives… and maybe our hearts.

    (Can’t wait for the next part of this story.)

    • Joanne-Marie

      Appreciate your kind words. Thank you for that. You’re right… it’s important for us to move forward even through moments of pain, disappointments and other realities in life. Next part…Tomorrow.


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