True Story | My Bride Story (Featuring the Bridal Team from Kapwa Studio and Bridal Robes from Niya Gabriela) Part 3

by Apr 29, 2017Blog, Hearty Living, Inspirations


Sssshhh… Here’s the rest of my story.

“…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)

I love Uncle Timothy (feeling close)! I felt really connected with him while my small group and I were studying his book, “The Meaning of Marriage”. We learned a lot of things not just about marriage but generally about life, purpose and relationships. It also helped me understand My Bride Story.

With the previous episodes that I shared, I also realized that our pain can actually be transformed to our gain. Admitting our brokenness could be a way for us to receive wholeness. Facing our fears could lead us to freedom. And what we can consider as an extreme loss, could be a significant way for us to find something of infinite value.

Now, you may be wondering about Guy (follow the story here: Part 1 & Part 2) and the different scenarios that could have been. Believe me I asked a hundred of questions and thought about a thousand of angles too.

“What if?”

“What if I was wrong?”


“Maybe if I just…”

These questions and thoughts assisted me to process things. But I realized that the more appropriate and important question to ask than the What-ifs and Maybes is,

“What now?”


The other bride during our bridal photo session, the lovely and sweet, Maan in her Niya Gabriela robe.

While the What-Ifs and Maybes takes us back to the past, the What Nows brings us to our progress and future. They lead us to be in the present and to moving forward.

The acceptance of my situation and the surrender of my decisions ushered me to a progress toward my healing and peace.

My mourning turned into a new morning of hope.


The lace details of this bridal robe is just so delicately beautiful. Loving my “mademoiselle” hair here too by Leslie Espinosa and my makeup by Dionne Taylor.


With the acceptance of my situation and the surrender of my decisions, I also found clarity and closure.

Accepting the truth about my mama’s situation, the need for me to be fully there and the way that I missed her on her last breath (I was a day late! You may read more about it here) resulted for me to learn that it’s okay to be weak and vulnerable. I was released from my pride, my fear of loss and death, and my comfort.

There’s also no doubt that for me to have met Guy halfway around the world and to be pursued by him could have been a very good love story.

Our relationship might not have progressed but meeting Guy was not in vain. Surrendering my decision about him showed me how Guy became instrumental in leading me to a bigger love story.

Being a daughter and a woman in such a season, Guy showed me how it was to be appreciated, valued and loved.

Accepting my situation lead me to a deeper understanding of God’s love and grace, and the infinite value of having a relationship with Him. And surrendering my decisions revealed more about God’s character that silenced most of my questions. It freed me from my fears and gave closure to my doubts.

All this time and through it all God’s been leading me to Him and His love as My Bride Story. He loves, comforts, cherishes and honors for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, in death and in life. He showed these to me through that season with mama and Guy.

“Marriage is so much like salvation and our relationship with Christ that Paul says you can’t understand marriage without looking at the gospel. So let’s do that. Salvation is a fresh start. Old things have passed away – behold, the new has come. And when through the gospel we enter into a marriage-like relationship with Jesus as our Divine Spouse, that means giving Christ the supremacy in your life (Colossians 1:15ff). In other words, Jesus asks for nothing that any spouse doesn’t ask for. “Put me first,” he says, “have no other pseudo-gods before me.” It is the same with marriage. Marriage won’t work unless you put your marriage and your spouse first, and you don’t turn good things, like parents, children, career, and hobbies, into pseudo-spouses.” – Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage (Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God) 


I love the romantic look and feel of this bridal robe in old rose.

After a year or so of bidding goodbye, I sent a message to Guy,


I apologized for the pain, I thanked him for every thing and I wished him well. He’s a great guy and I can’t imagine him being kept from having a better future.

Months after that conversation, he got married. Now, he is enjoying a life with his beautiful wife and kid.

Truly, God used my mom and Guy as instruments for me to be freed, humbled and made strong.

We all have our own versions of love and bride stories.

This is My Bride Story, to be fully known and truly loved (in spite of my weaknesses, fears, flaws and failures), and to be directed to an infinite kind of love and relationship.

I know that you might have been expecting a more romantic end to this story but we’ll never know, there might be another chapter in the making. 😉

(I also want to know about your own love or Bride story. Message me or leave a comment below.)

“Within the Christian vision of marriage, here’s what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of what God is creating, and to say, “I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!” – Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage (Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)


Until then… 🙂 (Special thanks to Kapwa Studio & Niya Gabriela. What an awesome bridal team and what a nice experience to be a bride for a day with them.)

On that special day, may we both see a glimpse of  what God’s been creating in and through us. 





Hair Stylist



“I grew up dancing ballet, tap, jazz, Polynesian, and Philippine Folk Dance.  Out of necessity I had to learn how to do my own hair and makeup up. I was a total studio kid.  If I wasn’t in school, I was at the studio! 

I also went to the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts in California. I danced at school while having my regular classes.  I loved the extracurricular choices every semester; it included everything from photography, to visual arts, and music.  Fast forward to college at San Diego State University, I started volunteering for the Theatre program and that was when I met my mentor, Peter Herman.  I never knew Hairstyling and Makeup Artistry could be a career. I have been practicing it for 17 years now.”

More about Leslie HERE.

Makeup Artist

Makeup Artist

DIONNE TAYLOR (Makeup Artist)

“I started as a makeup artist when I was studying Fine Art at Arts Institute in my hometown Bournemouth. So my background is primarily in painting. I was also working retail with a cosmetics company. I really loved the experience of marrying my love of painting and making people feel beautiful.

There’s a lot that inspires me, my fellow creatives, fashion and art. But I do what I do because the every day woman and her facets inspire me. The way she can change and express herself through makeup.

I don’t have a particular style but I have my favourite makeup artists: Alex Box, Isamaya French, Terry Barber, and Pat McGrath. I also love Drag Queen makeup. I think what they have is an art in itself and it’s amazing!”

Bridal Robes Designer

Bridal Robe Designer

NICOLE UY APARENTADO (Designer, Niya Gabriela)

Niya Gabriela started after many years of working in the wedding industry. Being with brides while they were getting ready for their big day, I could see that there was a need for more stylish options for them to wear since so many pictures are already taken during preps.

My designs don’t only flatter the figure but they’re also comfortable. Our brides and bridesmaids love the jersey robes. The robe drapes the body well. They’re super soft and they come personalized with modern calligraphy print. It’s something they can keep wearing every day.

There are big things happening for the brand, we’re still working on the details but will hopefully be able to iron everything out soon.”

Photographer / Videographer

Photographer / Videographer

EARL ROXAS (Photographer/ Videographer)

“With Photography, I started from a local street wear brand here in the Philippines. I’m a co-owner of a photo blog (, which is now the website ( That’s where I started with photography.

With videography, I’m an aspiring filmmaker who’s surrounded with filmmaker friends. I was also inspired by Supreme’s Skate videos, which made me start with videography. I also get inspiration from less fortunate people and the people that are close to me.”



ANDREI SULEIK (Photographer)

“When I was in high school, I used to borrow my schoolmate’s DSLR. I felt good taking photos so I kept on borrowing their cameras. I enjoyed taking portraits and landscapes randomly. When I entered college I did the same thing, I borrowed my friend’s camera and took pictures.

After that year, I transferred to another university, but my interest changed when I met people from the film industry. This time I was a production associate and I just purchased my own camera. I was still taking photos, behind the scenes for the film and portraits of the staff and the actors. There was a moment while filming when I felt that film was not for me. So I decided to take a break from it. I started doing a photo blog of people I see randomly on the streets (with their permission, of course) and post them at @visualbasick on Instagram.

I also like fashion and editorial-like shoots. I feel like I really started to become a photographer when I had bookings from magazines and personal clients. I love people. I love talking to them and building relationships. I take portraits and faces and by the end of the day, I try to give what they want and where they feel their best. As a photographer, I try to give my very best in every shoot. Being collaborative is also the greatest part.

I’m inspired with people who explore and are not stagnant. I’m always in awe when I see something new. It makes me think and explore, and learn from it too. I’m a work in progress and I don’t want to ever stop.”


(02) 8057948

Unit 5059-A P.Burgos St. Makati City



  1. cmgarrido

    “While the What-Ifs and Maybes takes us back to the past, the What Nows brings us to our progress and future. They lead us to be in the present and to moving forward.” — I so love this. Maybe it’s instinct that makes (me) ask ‘what if’ and speculate on the ‘maybes’. So what now, indeed.

    • Joanne-Marie

      That’s right! Those questions can sometimes lead us to doubts instead of the “what nows”, which could actually lead to us to hope. 🙂 Thanks for following this series!

      • cmgarrido

        It’s an interesting (and intriguing series) series. 😉

        • Joanne-Marie

          Thank you! Glad you find it interesting and intriguig (haha). I hope to write and share more worthwhile topics again soon (which will hopefully help, encourage or inspire others too). 🙂

          • cmgarrido

            If you write ‘My Bride Story’ on the title line and have it in three parts, it’s bound to be intriguing and hard not look forward to a ‘happy’ and romantic ending. But then again, what is a happy ending? I guess, it doesn’t have to be that the prince ends up with the princess and live happily ever after. A lot of princesses are capable of taking care of themselves and doesn’t need rescuing. Life is (after all) a journey of highs and lows… and as friend of mine always said, happiness is a state of mind.

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