Featured In Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Magazine Spring/Summer 2011 Issue
Ask Harly Savage about his first impression of Unyaraj Maranphal and he immediately begins to smile. “She caught my attention early on,” he describes of his P.F. Chang’s coworker, “but we were both in relationships, so we were just friends.”
They met in August of 2005 , but it was another two years before Harly made the first move after hearing that Unyaraj, known as Cee to her family and friends, was leaving the restaurant to begin teaching at a local high school. “I told her I’d better get her number or I might never see her again,” he recalls. One date later, and they have been together ever since.
The proposal came in four years later during a trip to New England to visit his family. Harly publicly popped the question during the fifth inning of a Boston Red Sox game as cheering fans witnessed the scoreboard proposal and applauded the “shocked” bride and her groom.
Once back home in California, the couple immediately started making plans knowing that two separate weddings would be the best way to include all of their family members and honor both of their cultures.
Harly envisioned a celebration by the water and The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, Calif., satisfied their every whim. They chose the Sunset Terrace, a scenic cliffside site overlooking the Pacific Ocean, to exchange their vows. Cee walked down the aisle in an elegant, custom-designed strapless gown featuring a flowing organza overlay and Harley donned a classic gray suit. Following their first kiss, Harly surprised his bride with a dove release.
Eighty guests mingled during the cocktail hour and then enjoyed a sophisticated five-course dinner. And dancing preceded a vibrant fireworks display that concluded the festivities making for a memorable evening. “We couldn’t have had a more perfect day,” says Harly. “I will always remember how stunning Cee looked.”
Four days later, Cee hopped on a plane to her homeland to complete plans for their Thai nuptials. Harly followed soon after. For Cee, delight was in the details of the Buddhist wedding traditions she witnessed growing up. “From the time I was little, I always knew I wanted to have a traditional Thai wedding ceremony,” she says, “just as my mother and father had when they married many years ago.”
Forty-one days after their wedding in the States, Harly and Cee married again during an elaborate ceremony steeped in centuries-old rituals. From the way she wore her hair to the monks in prayerful attendance, the day revealed an authentic Thai experience.
Among the most memorable moments was the water ceremony in which the elder of their 125 guests poured water over their hands to signify wishes of wellness and prosperity upon their marriage. “I treasured every moment,” says Cee. “At the end of it all, I had such a true sense of identity.”
Plans are underway for a European honeymoon in the spring of 2011, but for now, after going to Thailand and back, Cee and Harly are just enjoying being together.
> Written by Dina M. Cortez