The journey of Triana and Jeff’s love story began at a Philadelphia cultural landmark, Pat’s Cheese Steaks, where the two were ending an evening out with their respective best friends. A very popular city stop, Triana and her friend found themselves without a table when Jeff asked them to join his friend and himself at their table. From that moment on for the next year and a half a friendship grew between them. A friendship that would eventually lead to romance and happily ever after as husband and wife…
Read all about Triana & Jeff’s love story, surprise proposal, and experiences in their emotional lakeside manor wedding.
Bride & Groom: Triana & Jeff
Wedding date: October 15, 2016
Wedding location: Lakeside Manor, Gibbsboro
Tell us how you met and all about the proposal. My husband, Jeff, and I met at Pat’s Cheese Steaks in Philly. He was out with his best friend and I was out with mine, and had ended our night there. Even though my friend and I were ahead of them in line, we were distracted by chatting and getting our toppings, and by the time I turned around to find a table he was in the middle of sitting down at the last one available. I glared at him as if he intentionally stole the table I called dibs on (in my mind), and he asked if we wanted to share the table. I paused for a moment to think about it and replied, “I guess” and sat down. From that moment we had a year and a half of friendship. I was in a relationship and the middle of graduate school, so even when my relationship ended I wasn’t looking to jump into another one just yet…
Fast forward four years into our relationship; I’m in grad school again, for my doctorate this time, and I’m living in north Jersey while he remained in south. We went out to a late dinner the night before my birthday near Times Square, NY. After fattening up on some delicious Italian food, he decides he wants to take pictures in the middle of Times Square. Jeff picked up photography a couple years prior so even though I wasn’t thrilled I wasn’t suspicious of anything fishy going on. I don’t know how I missed the engagement box in his hands but as I pulled my face away from his after we kissed, he got down on one knee with the box in his hand. Our good friend captured the entire moment in photographs and my sister recorded the moment on her phone. Out of the thousand pics he’s taken in our relationship, our proposal photo is still my favorite one.
What was wedding shopping like for you? The traditional white dress and groom looks were chosen by keeping the Fall season and outdoor ceremony in mind. I swore that I would never wear a strapless dress for my wedding day, yet that’s exactly what I ended up with and I absolutely loved the dress. It was strapless, with a silhouette that hugged my curves, and a big, poofy ruffled-out skirt. My maid of honor and I picked out the groom and groomsmen looks. I originally thought I wanted my husband in dark colors like a navy blue tux jacket, but after trying different looks realized that an ivory color looked better on his skin tone.
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding? Something that was important for us to do was wear traditional Cambodian wedding attire. Earlier in the year we went to Cambodia, it was my first time visiting. We had many memorable experiences and ate amazing food, but made sure that we went shopping for authentic, traditional clothes for our wedding. And thanks to my husband’s great uncle, and talented seamstress, we found the perfect pieces!
Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? My husband and I love the Fall season, so for our wedding we made sure to have it in October, and outdoors to be surrounded by Fall colors. Our color palette is inspired by the sunflower. When we first started dating he gifted me a beautiful big sunflower, instead of a typical bouquet of roses, and I fell in love with the flower as I did him. In regards to cultural/religious traditions, we had a number of things going on. I’m a Christian woman who’s family is from the Dominican Republic and my husband is a Buddhist man who is from Cambodia. Our DJ did an excellent job of seamlessly blending all the popular and classic music from each of our cultures, as well as all the current hits and great hip-hop party music we grew up dancing to.
What is your best memory from your wedding? The most anticipated moment of our wedding was seeing Jeff for our “first look.” I woke up that morning with some serious jitters and an upset stomach. When my mother and bridal party were at the venue decorating early in the morning, I spent 2 hours in prayer. I felt so renewed and at peace afterwards, all of my jitters melted away, and I became super excited to get on with the day. More importantly, I was eager to see and marry my best friend!
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples? The few months and weeks prior to your wedding day will be extremely stressful, especially if you’re not financially prepared as Jeff and I weren’t. We argued…A LOT. But we always made sure not to go to bed angry with each other and start the next day fresh. And we made sure to remember why we were marrying each other in the first place. All the stress and drama was completely worth it because we had a perfect day.The only regret of that day…we didn’t eat! Don’t forget to eat, people! Everyone wants to greet you and take selfies and there’s so many things going on in between that Jeff and I weren’t back in our seats after our salads. It’s a shame too because the food was so delicious, our guests went back for seconds. Fortunately there was a Wawa not too far from our hotel so we ended the night with some yummy hoagies!
Photographer: Serena Star Photography
Officiant: Minister Mike Dixon from The Perfecting Church
DJ/Band: DJ Lex
Floral Designer: Michael William Florist and Greenhouse
Wedding Gown Designer: Mori Lee purchased at The Cove Bridal and Dress Salon
Veil: The Cove Bridal and Dress Salon
Shoe Designer: INC International Concepts, Macy’s
Groom Attire: The Tuxedo Club
Bridesmaid Attire: Azazie
Hair Stylist: Decisions Beauty Salon
Makeup artist: Naloni Maya
Jeweler: Kay Jewelers