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REAL WEDDING November 2009
Vanessa Tulao & Antonio Pacheco
October 10th, 2009
Ceremony: Cathedral of St. Paul Catholic Church, Birmingham
Reception: Birmingham Museum of Art


In a true blending of cultures and worlds, Vanessa Tulao and Tony Pacheco brought families, friends and traditions from around the globe to their October 2009 wedding in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Back Story
Vanessa and Antonio (Tony) started as friends. Their families knew each other and over time, they became friends, too. They were always involved with other people in the early years of their friendship, but on a family holiday to Italy in 2006, that all changed. “The right time, the right place” probably describes how it happened---- neither was involved, they were in a romantic setting, and the time was right for a romance to bloom. During the next two years while Vanessa finished graduate school, the couple carried on a long distance relationship between Birmingham and Mobile. Eventually, they talked about a future together---when the time was right. Vanessa didn’t realize just how important the timing actually was. Tony is of Chinese heritage--- and dates and numbers are very important in Chinese culture. And a very significant date was approaching: August 8, 2008. was not only the opening day of the Olympic games in Beijing, but in Chinese numerology, the number 8 is associated with prosperity. The triple 8 of the date would indicate good luck, wealth, and prosperity. It only makes sense that is the day Tony chose to propose marriage to Vanessa.

The Proposal
As Vanessa tells it, they were at the beach on vacation on August 8, 2008. Vanessa planned to sleep in that morning but exactly at 8:08 AM, Tony woke her up saying he wanted her to watch the Olympics with him. It was then that Tony gave her a candy ring pop and asked her if she would marry him. He gave Vanessa a copy of a favorite book where he’d cut out a secret hiding place for her real engagement ring within the pages of the book--- beginning at page 88, of course.

Wedding & Reception Plans
It was important to the couple to blend both their religious and ethnic traditions into both the ceremony and reception. They took care to incorporate many details of Tony’s Chinese heritage and Vanessa’s Philippine customs. Since Vanessa was in school and had a demanding schedule, she called on Birmingham wedding planner Alene Gamel of I Do, I Do to help her organize the many special details the were planning.

Since many guests traveled great distances to be with the couple on their wedding day, Vanessa and Tony wanted to show their sincere gratitude and respect for the sacrifice their guests made by hosting a wedding with thoughtful and careful planning of every detail. And every detail had a special significance or meaning to the couple and their families.

The majestic setting for the ceremony was the Cathedral of St. Paul in Birmingham’s city center, a traditional basilica with a spectacular domed ceiling and a multitude of stained glass windows. The couple exchanged vows during a traditional Catholic wedding mass, incorporating many Philippine traditions. .

Vanessa’s lovely Anne Barge gown was perfectly fitted; the scalloped neckline and delicate cap sleeves gracefully edged her shoulders in traditional Alencon lace. A large satin sash in platinum accented her waistline in and formed an obi bow at the back of the gown. The bridesmaids wore a lovely iridescent purple gown with a plunging deep v-back detail.

The floral details of the wedding, designed by Mandy Majerik of Hot House Flowers, were also carefully selected to represent the rich gardens and rainforests found .throughout China and the Philippines. The lush, tropical orchids used in the floral décor throughout the church and reception have deep moral meaning in Chinese history as symbols of purity and loyalty.

There were also many Chinese symbols used throughout the reception at the Birmingham Museum of Art. For example, the traditional Chinese symbol representing “Double Happiness” was used as a central design element for the lighting gobos, the napkins, and guest placecards. No detail was overlooked. Multiple varieties of orchids and lilies transformed the Grand Atrium of the museum into a romantic garden paradise; sculptures of purple orchids were hung overhead and swags of platinum dramatic fabric draped the room. Kathy G & Company supplied the cuisine for the evening, including a spectacular raw seafood bar chilled in a stunning monogrammed ice sculpture.

Vanessa raved about wedding photographer Arden Ward stating “Arden became more like a friend than just my photographer. I felt immediately comfortable with her and will someday call on her for our family pictures as well.”

 As the guests danced into the evening, the couple was eventually whisked away from the festivities in an antique Rolls Royce. After a trip to the Cote d’Azur and stops in Nice, Monte Carlo, and Cannes, the couple is home in Mobile, Alabama and settling into married life.

Favorite items on their Bromberg’s Gift Registry included:
Formal China: Bernardaud Grace & Grenadiers
Formal China: Vera Wang Imperial Scroll
Formal Crystal: Waterford Lismore Essence
Beatriz Ball Soho Ice Bucket

Thank you, Vanessa and Antonio! We wish you all of the best for a long and happy life together. Thank you for sharing your wedding with us.