I got married.

It's heading into Fall of 2019, as I'm writing this. I personally feel it is all overdue... maybe that's a good thing as I have now had some time to reflect on all things related to married life. For myself, it is a life changing moment that's worth sharing and discussing.

I married Alexa this past summer on June 29, 2019. In this post, I'd like to share with you my experiences leading up to the day, the day itself, and finally life since that day.

For anyone needing a TL;DR, feel free to watch the highlight video. It's well worth the 5 minutes of your time. At least, that's my opinion. :)

I first met Alexa back in the summer of 2014. We decided to "officially" get together on September 6, 2014. In order to shape the overall context and emotion of this whole story, I'd like to spend a bit of time to explain about how we first met, and how we ended up closer with each other throughout the years.

Our first date was lunch at a local Thai restaurant. It was your typical "get to know each other" type of date. Nothing too interesting, except the fact that she actually helped me run some errands after lunch. 😊 After that day, we had seen each other several more times before deciding to get into a serious relationship.

I was working remotely at the time. This allowed my schedule to be flexible enough to hang out with Alexa. For those who don't really know me, I have a tendency to become engrossed at everything I do in which I find interest in. Programming happens to be one of those things. My nature is to work a lot as programming is a passion of mine. As a professional Software Engineer then, my past time is to grind away at code for fun. Of course, these naturally introverted interests don't exactly mix well with dating. In retrospect, I think the convenience of remote work made everything easier. My maturity at the time, along with my tendencies to get deep into projects and code would have not allowed me to see her as much as I should have had.

One of the common activities, and cheap ways we had spent time together was through exercising at a local gym. Almost every day after work, Alexa and I would meet up at the gym to catch up on what happened during our day. We also had a chance to stay in excellent physical shape together too!

Fast forward to the middle of 2015, about a year of dating, we decided to take the next step of our relationship, and moved to Idaho. We officially made our move in the early Fall. Alexa had taken up a job at the same company I was working at the time. I was no longer going to be working remotely for the chance to be with her in the office. We were officially going to be working at the same office in Eagle, Idaho!

We had packed up all our stuff into my little 2012 Honda Civic and drove 1000 miles up north to Boise, Idaho. At that time, I had never made such a long road trip with Alexa. We had done long trips prior (Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, San Jose), but nothing as unfamiliar as Idaho! Living together for the first time brought a lot of conversations we never had before.

These conversations consisted of the typical "important" conversations every relationship would have needed at some point. These very same conversation that takes an intimate relationship to the next level.

One thing we had start doing together was having conversations right before falling asleep. Most of the tough topics were addressed literally by "sleeping on it"!

  • Fundamental beliefs on gender roles
  • Individual beliefs in marriage
  • The idea of one day having kids
  • The importance of our careers individually, and as a couple.

Luckily, both of us had the same viewpoints with regards to gender roles. Fundamentally, we had the belief that both men, and women should be treated equally in society. Barring any physical limitations, the gender of the individual should not be a limiting factor of opportunities a person can be presented with.

I believe this made us feel more comfortable to distribute house-chores around. It also allowed ourselves to work to our greatest strengths. Alexa accepted that she could never scrub the bathtub as hard and as well as I could have due to differences in physical strength. I had to accept the fact that she was just better at keeping our household items organized, and was more inclined to voluntarily do spot cleaning. We were realistic as a couple. Accepting this made it easy to know what type of work should be done by me, and done by her.

We also knew that after moving with each other, we would want to get married one day. The topic was quite easy to bring up! At that point, we knew we had loved each other, and found that we were never really tired of seeing each other. 😇 Being Idaho, we didn't know many people, and all we had was each other.

There were periods of time where Alexa had begun to be home-sick. She had times were she was missing her family, and friends. However, being so far away from everyone, all she had was me. I did my best to be supportive, and not just be her "boyfriend", but her best friend. If there was anything she wanted to try out, such as calligraphy, or ceramics, I would be open to doing that activity with her. Afterall, all she had was just me. I'm not much a person to do those types of activities, but she made my world more diverse by letting me be open to them. We became best friends this way.

Because of all this, and by just getting closer with each other over time, the conversation of marriage just came up one night before bed. I had brought up the topic, and wanted to know her thoughts on where she eventually saw the relationship heading towards. For us, we both agreed that marriage would happen "one day".

The topic of having kids was bit more of a challenge. Initially, the topic was a bit awkward to present, but again, we were very open with each other. The answer from Alexa was originally something I was definitely not expecting. I was initially disappointed by her answer. I was hoping for more enthusiastic response when it came to the topic of having children one day. At first, Alexa wasn't sure about how she felt about having kids. I was already sure by then. I knew I wanted kids. For herself, she saw it as just another "checkbox" in life.

Being aware that something like this would not be something I would look past, I had decided to be honest about my expectations. I had made it clear that to me, that not having kids was a deal-breaker in a relationship. Instead of giving some sort of ultimatum as one would expect in dramatic movies, I decided to let the idea bake in her head for a while. To keep things short here, Alexa's opinion on kids turned a complete 180 over time. Now, we're both strong on the thought of having kids. I suppose it was just a matter of her getting used to being around with me longer! 😂

After spending about a year and half in Idaho, we decided to move back to California in the spring of 2017. At that point, I had taken a new job in Silicon Valley, and we were prepared to now go from living the hipster-lumberjack life to the "techy millenial" life. ðŸĪŠ

We packed our bags again, and drove another 1000 miles south within a SINGLE DAY from Idaho to California. We started our journey at 12:00 PM that day, and didn't get to our hotel in Santa Clara, CA by 12:30 AM.

To make things even more entertaining, Alexa had a job interview the very same morning at 9:30 AM! We took a few days to settle in our new apartment, and Alexa quickly found a job at a Commerical Construction company. Life was good, and things were going well for the both of us.

During the course of the year, we spent time getting to know the valley, learning about the tech culture, visiting some of the natural wonders of what the Bay Area had to offer, and got sunburnt one too many times! We also got to learn about the cultural differences between San Francisco, and the South Bay. Boy, they are entirely different, and now I'm sure I would get offended if I mixed in the stereotypes of San Francisco with the South Bay in conversations, or vice versa.

Our first year back in California together was an enriching experience. We matured a lot, not just individually, but with each other. At this point, we had begun to focus more intensely in developing our careers, and marriage became more of a frequent topic. We would spend our weekends at times studying, working and taking breaks by bouncing ideas off of each other. We had our desks slammed together so that no matter what, we'd always be working right next to each other.

I was usually the one to bring up the harder topics in the relationship, but by this point, Alexa had also become more comfortable in initiating discussions. One day, she had started a discussion on a timeline for marriage and kids. It was then when I found out that Alexa was now on the same platform as I was when it came to having kids. After finding this out, and after living with each other for a few years, and knowing that we were fundamentally similar on our views to lifestyle, I was ready. She was too.

Except, there was one problem. We knew nothing about getting married. 😅 Well, actually nothing with regards to how to actually get married aside from television.

As a I am a very straight-forward and direct person, I basically told Alexa that I wasn't the type to do an elaborate proposal and engagement. Her reaction? Well, this is why she is my dream girl: She felt the same way. Instead our engagement process went in the lines of:

  • Alexa finding a ring she liked on Blue Nile.
  • Me reviewing it with her.
  • Both of us like it? Okay, purchased.

We had bought the ring in early May 2018. The ring did not arrive until May 16, 2018.

I actually knew that the ring would arrive on May 16. I had decided to work from home that day to wait for the package. Funnily enough, it was that day where we had experienced a huge live incident at work, and I was on-call that day. So, as the ring came, I was in the middle of incident triage!

The proposal was rather simple. Once I had the ring with me, I waited for Alexa to come home from work. The first thing I did when she opened the door was a casual proposal. 😊 Of course, she said... YES!

We immediately started wedding planning. We had decided to book a venue which a friend of ours had her wedding there before in Malibu, CA. The date was quickly set: June 29, 2019.

Reflecting on the wedding now, it all seems to be a blur. As I'm writing this, I think it is actually a good thing I'm dumping out all my thoughts now, rather than later. Memories fade over time, no matter how strong we like to think they are within our minds.

Whether, or not the backstory helped with building up an understanding of our day, I would like to take some time to talk about the wedding planning process itself. I know there are probably a lot of questions relating to this... like:

  • Is a wedding worth planning? Shouldn't I just get a wedding planner?
  • Isn't a wedding expensive? Why would I want to spend money on something no one will probably ever remember?
  • Are all the extra things such as photography, videography, dance lessons, etc... worth it?

Of course, there are many more questions but I really would only like to touch upon the above as they are most important to me.

I believe it is worth wedding planning with your partner. You learn a lot of things about each other. It isn't about the wedding planning itself that is valuable. It is really the process that is experienced during the planning process!

Alexa and I learned even more about each other while planning out the wedding. One of the biggest takeaways was that we learned how to be more transparent with each other in our needs and wants. Additionally, we learned how to work together with regards to the financial aspects of it. We went through a lot of difficult moments together whenever we had disagreements on what should be done. I think at the end, it made us even closer. I don't think hiring a wedding planner would have brought the same experience.

Yes, weddings are expensive. I'm not going to sit here and type out to justify that they are not. Weddings are expensive, and if you cannot afford one, please don't drown you and your partner in debt by having an extravagant wedding. Alexa and I both knew what we wanted, and we were extremely disciplined to have stayed within a budget.

Should that money have gone elsewhere to benefit us? Such as a better, or longer honeymoon, or perhaps maybe a downpayment for a house? Sure, maybe. We shouldn't regret our decision, because ultimately we had the best night of our lives with all our friends and family. The experience was worth it. Whether or not anyone else will remember the night is not of my concern. Alexa still reminisces about our wedding night even 3 months after it. That alone for me, is totally worth the cost.

The best advice here for anyone doubting themselves on spending on a wedding in which I can give is: Don't regret on what you can afford. Spend on a wedding wisely, and don't feel the need to ever regret your decision because someone else did it another way. Do what makes you and your partner happy.

Finally, what about the "extras"? Is photography worth it? Yes. Is videography worth it? Heck yes. Did you NOT see that video?! How about dance lessons? Short answer: Yes. Again, I'm not going to try to convince that you should do all of these, but if you have the budget to have photography, videography, take dance lessons, etc -- I would recommend doing so.

Quick shout-outs while I am at it. Our photography was by Annie Hall Photography. Annie is a friend of ours, and is a professional photographer. If you haven't heard of her, or have never seen her work, go here! If you like all the photos on this page, they're obviously the work of the amazing Annie Hall. I'm not sure how else I can convince you go to her page and consider hiring her, because you should!

Videography was taken care of by Jason Vong and his crew at ESC Media. Just one statement: DID YOU NOT SEE THE VIDEO?!

Okay, okay enough of the ads. ðŸĪĢ Let's finally talk about the day.

Alexa and I drove down to see our family a couple of days before our wedding. We needed to run some errands before the big day, so it was best to use the time to make sure things were squared away before things got busy on the day of.

Alexa was busier than me in this regard. She had planned most of the wedding, so she knew exactly what needed to be done. I played the part of personal assistant, while she lead the path to success. In retrospect, I appreciate all the work she did and respect that she did not at any point in time during the whole process, lose her composure. 😎

June 29 came quickly. The morning of that day was absolutely beautiful. It was sunny, and warm. Of course this wasn't just my opinion. Unfortunately, everyone else also thought the same, and had declared it to be "beach day"!

Traffic was just terrible. Alexa and I did not have the opportunity to immediately make our way to the venue. Instead, we had decided to drive to Downtown Los Angeles to pick up all the flowers that would be used for the day of the wedding. After much strategizing on how to fit everything into the car, we started making our way to the venue.

We must have drank like 7 cups of coffee between the two of us. With lots and lots of caffeine pulsing through our veins, Alexa began driving us to the venue at Malibu. As soon as we got onto the 10-W freeway, we were experiencing lots of heavy traffic. What turned out to be an estimated 45-50 minute drive, morphed into an excruciating 1 hour and 40 minute journey to the venue at Malibu. We were late on arrival, and some of our vendors such as the make up artists had already arrived.

Thankfully, we had great friends. Alexa's bridesmaids had already arrived earlier than us, and had taken the responsibility to help the vendors get acclimated. I believe that since everyone had common interest in not wasting time, this made our experience much better. Although we were late, we stayed positive and kept our sprits up. Afterall, we were still a few hours away from the ceremony!

Roger and Alexa posing at the entrance
Okay, we were almost late because of traffic, but spirits were high!
Roger asking Alexa if anything is needed
Being patient and working together made the day much easier!

Go figure, the bride is much busier on the day of the wedding. Discovery of this era, right? The moment we stepped foot into the venue, Alexa and her girls immediately started getting ready. Since Alexa was occupied with getting her wedding make-up done, I tried to be as helpful as possible by making sure the vendors were clear on what was needed to be done to my wife-to-be's taste. Personally, for me, I wanted everything done right not just for the wedding, but for Alexa. She had spent the entire year planning this event, and I did not want things to sour because I did not do my best to help. Does that mean I was a "bride-zilla" on Alexa's behalf? 😅

Here is a tip to all you future Grooms out there: be very patient with your Bride on the day of your wedding. Ask her periodically if she would like for you to do anything. Ask her if she needs anything. When I say anything, I mean anything. Never raise your voice, keep calm, and always stay composed and energized. It helps not only in calming down yourself and your bride, but it maintains the ability to have a clear head and gives problem-solving ability you both already possess to get through the day.

I felt really lucky to never have felt frustrated at anyone during the time before the ceremony. I also saw that Alexa wasn't ever frustrated too, and she probably knew herself that in order to make things more pleasant, she too had to stay composed.

Sitting and thinking about it all now, I believe never raising our voices to each other is what has made our relationship so successful. For the both of us, we almost always try to think before reacting.

Most of the time, it ultimately ends up with us not even having to "react", and in fact, just talking through and elaborating our thoughts and feelings ultimately just leads to the frustration originally stemming from sort of miscommunication.

Rather than "react" and instead taking the time to talk through our problems, we have found that it always leads to a situation of something never being "my fault", or "her fault". What almost always happens, is that miscommunication had occurred because we had good intentions in doing something, but just didn't perform it within the expectations of one another. We always want the best for each other. When things go wrong, we have to maintain the mindset in that we just wanted the best for each other, but somehow made a mistake down the line.

Alexa getting makeup done
Getting some make-up done!
Roger getting makeup done
I can look good too!

We were very fortunate to have our closest friends with us as our bridesmaids and groomsmen. The day certainly could not have happened without all their help and support.

One thing that I noticed was that although most of our friends were acquainted with each other, they all got along as if they had known each other for quite some time. It was nice seeing that. For context, Alexa and I had attended the same University together. So did our friends, and it was actually a nice little reunion.

I really appreciated the fact that Alexa's bridesmaids were there for support too. My worry was that Alexa would be super stressed out without my support at times when I was off handling other wedding-related things elsewhere. They helped kept things under control! Thank you, ladies!

I am not unfamiliar when it comes to putting on some make up to hide my blemishes! Up to that day, I had already had make up applied onto me twice already in engagement and pre-wedding photo shoots. 😁

I'm always shocked at how having so much make up doesn't necessarily mean that one ends up looking like a clown. For myself, I felt like I had a lot of layers of make up on, but looking back at the photos, it looks like there was barely any of it applied onto my face!

For Alexa, she looked beautiful as always! I really appreciated the work put in by the make up artists to make us look as "natural" as possible. Alexa was inspired by Miss Universe, Pia Wurtzbach. I think the eyes are impeccably similar!

To me, Alexa is always beautiful, but even more so during this day when she put on that dress. To see her that happy made me feel more at ease and less nervous for the rest of the night.

Alexa with wedding dress on
Am I dreaming? Am I marrying this woman?
All friends together
It was nice seeing everyone together again.
Guys having fun
These guys are awesome!
Groomsmen and Roger
My groomsmen made me feel like a boss!
Bride and bridesmaids
The Princess of the day and the other beautiful ladies.

Our wedding cake was special, and it's why I want to take some time to write about it. 😎 Notice the wedding cake topper? It is us! Yes! Alexa and I love exercising, and fitness is important to us. We decided to have our cake topper be a "powerlifting" theme. Notice the barbell? I am showing off my strength by not only squatting the barbell, but squatting my bride! Oh, yeah and she's showing off her own core strength by effortlessly balancing on top of me!

We haven't missed a gym day in a very long time. We actually only tend to "reschedule" workouts to make up for any missed workouts due to other events that may come up. It's why Alexa is not only my wife now, but also my swolemate. Find someone cooler than that! Hah! I know, I'm showing off, but I am a proud husband. 😎

As for the cake itself, it was made by JaimeCakes. Only the top layer of the cake in which the topper sits on is real. The rest of the cake for our guests came from a sheet cake. The cake itself was actually vegan! Yes, Alexa had decided to go with a vegan cake to symbolize the importance of health, and being environmentally conscious to go with our fitness interest. You might disagree with us in that vegan doesn't necessarily mean health, but we do believe that moderation in animal protein helps not only our health, but the environment overall. (Yes shameless plug on our beliefs.)

Wedding cake
The cake.
Wedding cake topper
Our cake topper!

Time for the ceremony came a lot faster than expected. We had arrived to set up the venue a little after lunch time, and before we knew it, it was already 4:30 PM! Our wedding coordinator really helped us through the process here. Before the ceremony started, I had already started to feel the nerves. I was for sure not used to the spotlight, and something as big as a wedding isn't exactly the first thing one should do to get rid of stage fright.

As I walked down the aisle, I was so tempted to look around at all the guests, but I knew that turning my head left and right would really make me even more nervous knowing there were about 100 guests just staring at me. Coupled with the fact that the music being played in the background fit with almost every part of the ceremony and reception, it made me felt like I was in a dream.

Standing there, as one-by-one, the groomsmen, and then the bridesmaids all walked up the aisle, I had begun to think that I might just bawl my eyes out once I see Alexa walking up the aisle with her father. When it came time for just that, I tried so hard not to crack. She was beautiful, and I could not have imagined a better moment than this.

Standing there, in front of the officiant and facing Alexa, I put so much effort not to cry that I had started hearing the officiant's voice as one of those adults in the old Peanuts cartoons. You know, when the adults voices go "wah wah wah"... That's all I heard from the officiant because I was concentrating so hard not to cry. In hindsight though, I should've just let it all out.

Getting married
The ceremony
Celebrating after ceremony
We did it! We're married!
Transition to reception
Woohoo more celebration! Time for the reception!
Roger and Alexa with a big smile
I am feeling like a celebrity here. Smile for the camera!

And so, we put the rings on each other, kissed, and ceremoniously (is that a word?) became a married couple! Walking down the aisle was less nerve racking as now I just felt like a winner! You could really tell from the above photo I was definitely less nervous now. 😂

We walked down to the beach and took some extra photos. We even got one with the entire party at the balcony. I will cherish that photo forever. Everyone who we invited to our wedding was special to us in some way. To know that all these people made the effort to come and celebrate our marriage makes me feel a wide variety of positive emotions in which I can't really describe in words. For this post, I can only say that I really appreciate everyone coming, and I am very grateful to know such wonderful people. Where did I find all this luck?! Thank you.

Ceremony
The ceremony

Wahoo! One of the most exciting parts of the day, in my personal opinion was that Alexa and I got to show everyone our cool new dance moves that we had learned over the past year. 😉 For the both of us, learning how to dance was very difficult. I didn't care much for dancing, and honestly, I still don't. Alexa also hates dancing too. She jokes that she has no sense of music and coordination. I won't deny that. 😉

Ceremony is done
The ceremony is done!

All-in-all though, we had practiced very hard. We had practiced to the point where we were able to pull off an entire 4 minute song to Ray LaMontague's You are the Best Thing. We had some cool dips and lifts. Thank goodness we were in decent shape, because everything was much harder in a suit and dress!

Oh! Speaking of dress! Alexa's dress was very elaborate. Lots of lace and the train is quite long. In order to pull off the dance moves, we had to bustle her dress. The craziest part was that I was the only one who knew how to bustle her dress! And even then, prior to the day, even though I had practiced several times in bustling her dress, each time was a struggle in finding the hooks. I had eventually gotten my time down to about 5 minutes, but on the day of the wedding, I was only able to bustle her dress with 4 of the 5 hooks! It all took me over 20 minutes too! I think I was incredibly nervous, because I was getting really excited to do the first dance.

The crowd loved the dance. Alexa's mother had filmed the whole routine on her cell phone. I think I'll post it one day. It looks really good and impressive in the context of knowing it's Roger and Alexa dancing -- the two most musically illiterate and awkward people you will ever meet, haha. I know I need to stop self-depcrecating myself when it comes to this, but really, you have to trust what I say. So this dance meant a lot. It is the culmination of all our hard work together in preparation of the wedding.

The rest of the night went smoothly. After greeting everyone, and eating some food (yes, we were actually able to eat), the dance party started. Here's what's special to me... seeing our parents, and older relatives get on the floor and showing their moves. It was amazing to see and it made me really happy. Seeing my own dad dance with my step-mom was an eye-opener. Seeing Alexa's father bust out his moves too was even more shocking!

We all danced the night away, and enjoyed ourselves by chatting with all the guests. Catching up with some people who I had not spoken to in years made me feel how much I've neglected in keeping in touch with some, and that I should be a better friend. Honestly it is something I am working on for the rest of year, and into 2020. Keeping the people important to me closer, and showing them that I do think they are important to me.

Balcony group shot
The ceremony group shot.

The wedding ended nearly midnight. That was a good 7 and a half hours just whizzing by! I think we had so much fun we ended up not feeling too tired. We were able to clean up the venue, pack our stuff in a calm manner.

I decided to surprise Alexa after wedding. Although it was late, I suggested that we go to Denny's to share some pancakes and an ice cream sundae.

I remember doing this with my friends back in high school prom. :) It was super fun as a high school kid who had just went with a girl in the biggest dance of his high school career. I've always wanted to re-experience this with the right person. Of course, this was Alexa and the night was perfect to re-live it!

Conveniently, eating extremely bad food after prom was something Alexa never did. So, I decided to share that experience with her. We sat at Denny's that night just reflecting on the wedding. We didn't sleep until 2:30 AM. And of course, we ended up gettup at 5:30 AM the next day anyway to fly to France for our honeymoon. âĪïļ

We're both introverted. Looking back at these pictures, I have now realized how much less shy Alexa and I have become. We're more confident now, and I believe we can credit each other for improving on all aspects on ourselves. I don't think I would've ever danced in public, in front of my family and friends. I could have also never imagined Alexa partying it up five years ago --- movin' and groovin' to the music.

All this... all of it was worth it. The whole experience.

Where do Alexa and I go from here? We're married now, but I don't think life is any different than before. We've learned together, we've struggled together, we've loved each other and will continue to do so. Alexa is my Number 1, and have always been. Marriage doesn't change any of that.

Right now, we're focusing on our careers, and I'm in the process of making a few career changes myself. Alexa is continuing to learn about construction, and improving her expertise in the area of Project Management as a member of her team at work. Speaking for myself, without Alexa's support, I wouldn't be able to come up with half the programming projects I've done! She's provided support, and understanding on what is needed by me in order to achieve my goals. I want to do the same for her, and hope she feels that I am being of help in her goals!

Kids are in the future, and is now important for the both of us. We want to have a family some day. The one thing we're looking forward to is to teach our future kids to be capable in giving back to society in a positive manner.

We also have a few things we want to try out, which we have always have been curious about. For example, road-tripping around the United States, and camping at various spots is up on our to-do list, and we've been preparing for our first "starter trip" which is scheduled for this Fall. More on that in the future!

What I'm looking most forward to in our new life together is to just be there for her, experience new things together, and I leave everyone a special note I left for her... ;)

~

I vow that I will love you, be your partner, your equal, your husband, and most importantly -- let's not forget, the job I am most important for: being your personal E-Z reacher for all the times you need to grab something that is too high up for you. Yeah, you need me for that.

~