John + Beng's Smithfield Plantation Wedding

John and Beng were married back in May. The ceremony was originally planned out in the open, but due to threats of rain all weekend long, we were forced under the timber-frame shelter at Smithfield Plantation (the rain ended up holding off until during the reception dinner and we had plenty of time to get some beautiful photos). The food and cake was provided by Mikie’s 7th and it was SO amazing! I will keep my part of this blog post short and sweet as the couple provided a longer love story that is shared below. I hope you enjoyed these Smithfield Plantation wedding photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Blacksburg, VA Wedding Photographer: Holly Cromer
Venue: Smithfield Plantation
Cake and Catering: Mikie’s 7th
Wedding Dress: Saks Fifth Avenue

My new favorite thing is having the bride and groom write up their “love story” to include in the blog post when I feature their wedding. Here is John and Beng’s love story:

John and Beng’s story is proof that travel enhances one’s life and love transcends distance.

They live in opposite sides of the world. John is based in Washington DC while Beng has lived all her life in the Philippines. They met in Portugal, almost four years ago, drawn by the joy and adventure of travel.

There they bonded and talked for hours, over Sagres beer, cold gazpacho soup, fiery peri peri chicken, and a special trip to a Sao Gabriel restaurant where they discovered a common love for, of all things, Thai food.  They stayed for long hours in museums, explored old churches, combed souvenir stores for gifts for their loved ones back home, all the while taking tons of pictures with their respective DSLRs. John, being the adventurer, climbed fortresses, towers, and rocky cliffs. Beng stayed below and captured John’s adventures via photos. She also shared with John the joy and photographic skill of doing “jump shots” and got him to try his first. They said goodbye In Portugal, knowing that it will be hard but that they were willing to work on a long distance relationship. John was now nicknamed “Pepe”, as he wanted a more exotic name. Beng was nicknamed “Principessa.”

The three and a half years after the Portugal trip was a series of travels, first to visit each other, and then to stay with each other for longer periods of time.

Beng visited John several times here in the US. They continued their love for travel by exploring the Smithsonian museums in DC, the quaint wineries of the Virginia state, the campuses of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and University of Virginia in Charlottesville (which figured a lot in John’s life), the historical areas of Boston and Bedford Inn, and the Carribean island of St. Croix. They also checked out the Thai restaurants in John’s Old Town Alexandria “hood,” always on the lookout for the best Pad Thai and Yellow Curry Chicken.

John also visited Beng several times in the Philippines, and they took time out to go island hopping in the Philippines. John got to swim with whale sharks in Donsol and little “Nemos” in El Nido. They also got to trek two volcanoes, Taal and Pinatubo, and marvel at two others from a distance, Mayon Volcano in Bicol and Mount Kanlaon in Bacolod. In Manila, they discovered a new Thai restaurant, People’s Palace, which helped them satiate their craving for shrimp pomelo salad and shrimp rolls.

John was also interested in Asia, having chosen it as his focus for his MBA. Together with Beng, he marveled at the efficiency of Singapore and got their hands messy, eating black pepper crab in one of its harbor restaurants. They searched for the proboscis monkeys in the jungles of Kota Kinabalu and savored chicken satay barbecue in the city roadsides. They trekked the verdant green rice fields of Bali and had nasi goreng for breakfast.

In 2011, John, pursuing a life with Beng, worked in Manila, where he learned more about the language and the culture, suffered through the maddening traffic and pollution, enjoyed ice with his beer, worked his way through large office parties and family gatherings, and mustered enough courage to sing a song or two whenever there was a karaoke party.

At the start of 2013, Beng in turn pursuing a life with John, joined him here in DC. They continued their quest for adventure, with treks up Cascade Falls in Virginia, daily walks along the banks of the Potomac river, and biking and driving lessons for Beng. They added to their Thai restaurant options but kept ordering the classic Pad Thai and chicken curry.

Last April 2, John proposed to Beng at the Goodstone Inn, a bed and breakfast place in the hear of the Virginia horse country. Amidst cows and a meandering river, John asked Beng to continue to travel and pursue adventures with him, forever.

By June, John and Beng are off to a new adventure in Basel, Switzerland, as John was recently offered a job at the Swiss Institute of Tropical Medicine. So they are now looking forward to savoring fondues… and wondering whether they will find pad thai and chicken curry in the heart of Basel.