Daddy Marti's speech

Good evening! Maganda hapon! On this day 34 years ago I experienced one of God’s miracles, that is, the birth of my daughter, Karen. Karen was, as I remember, laughing and smiling most of the time. She was a very happy baby. I’m not surprised that she chose chocolate as her theme. Even as a small child she loved chocolate. She often wore more of it than she actually ate. Maybe that was the beginning of her aspirations to be a make up artist. Unfortunately, my time with her was cut short when she and her mother came back the PI before she was 2 years old.
In 1979 I received a picture of Karen when she was 4 years old and I kept that picture in my wallet for more than 20 years until it started to fall apart at which time I placed her picture on my refrigerator. Every morning as I prepared my breakfast I would say hello and ask her how she was doing. I would tell her I loved her. I worried about her health. I wondered about her education. I asked my self how she is making a living. Will I ever see her again? I wondered if she was married yet.
Then, on July 23, 2004, God must have determined that the time was right for me and gave me another chance. I received a phone call that changed my life. At first I thought I was being called by a telemarketer. “Hello, is this Martin W. Marek” ? Sabe ko, yes….. etc.
I finally got to see Karen when she came back to the States for another tour in September. When I first saw her my heart was pumping so fast that I thought it would explode. I couldn’t believe I was actually holding her in my arms again. What a joy to see how beautiful she really was. I couldn’t believe how humble and down to earth she was. Is this really my child?
For the next four years we talked on the phone, texted each other and spent a lot of time sending emails getting to know each other again. During this time she told me about her boyfriend, Ariel. In pictures that she sent to me in emails I could see that he was a good looking man and that they made a handsome couple. She also sent me pictures of him with the kids. It looked like he was really enjoying their company. But it wasn’t until I arrived here and finally met him that I could really determine whether he was right for Karen. It didn’t take long for me to see that they are really made for each other.
His love and respect for Karen is without a doubt. He is very much a gentleman. He treats Prince and Winona as if they were his children, with love and understanding. His soft spoken ways make it easy to see why Karen is so much in love with him. I have also had the opportunity to meet Karen and Ariel’s friends since I arrived. You can tell a lot about a person by the company he or she keeps. I would feel very lucky to have such good friends. I’ve also had the chance to meet with many of Karen’s closest relatives. You all have been so kind to me; it makes me feel good to know that I now have such a wonderful extended family.
Since Karen is my only child, it will great to have Ariel as my son-in-law. I don’t think I could have chosen a better person myself. He will like a son I never had. I am really going to enjoy my life even more now that he is a part of it. So, it is with great pleasure and no reservations that I gave my blessings to Karen and Ariel. I never thought that I would get the chance to walk Karen down the aisle but here I am. God is good. God is great. May God be with you always. Good luck in your lives together. I love you all very much!

Ariel's testimony

ARIEL'S TESTIMONY:I belong to a family of eight, comprising of 7 boys and 1 girl. For 10 years I was the “bunso”, but I never got any special attention/treatment especially from my father. At that time, I felt “sawa na siya sa boys” and I thought that my speech disability was an added reason why he never really showed any interest in me.
At an early age, I felt rejected by my Dad. This further hindered the development of my speech, and made me feel insecure. These greatly affected my self-worth.
Sports were the means by which I tried to cope with this. I engaged myself in various sports and always made sure I did my best. Fortunately, I excelled in volleyball and soon played for my school and the Philippine team. Because of the recognition I got from the sport, I earned my father’s respect and acceptance which made me work even harder. My achievements in this sport made me popular, accepted, and admired; however, it also paved the way to feed my pride and open doors to engage myself in immorality. It was also during that time when I was invited to become a ramp model, and this further inflated my ego. Women were all around me, and I got involved with most of them. This gave me temporary fulfillment and thought that it added value to my self-worth. Still wanting to improve my image, I joined a fraternity to give myself a more macho effect.
(At this point, I would like to ask for forgiveness from my brother, Kuya Von. Kuya, I am sorry for lying to you before when I denied joining a fraternity and for not submitting to your authority.)
Things suddenly changed, when at one time in my life, I was under surveillance.
For the first time I experienced the real and true sense of the word, “fear”. I realized that there were a lot of things beyond my control. I ran from one place to another trying to hide, but the threat of death was always so near. The hit man seemed to know every single move I made, what I wore, and where I went. It came to a point where I just could not trust anyone, not even my own shadow. I have reached a point of paranoia where in one of my sorties, everyone I met looked like hired gunmen. During one pictorial, I noticed a chopper hovering over us and I instantly hid at the back of my co-workers. Fear and death overwhelmed me; my surroundings grew dark and seemed as if it was closing in on me, and all I could think of doing was to run to my room and hide. Upon entering the room, for some reason, my vision was tunneled to the Bible at the corner of the room. When I opened it, the first verse I saw was John 3:16 which reads, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The words shall not perish struck me and never before had it been so real to me. It instantly calmed me down and brought light to my gloomy mind. It is so hard to explain the experience I encountered that day. Out of fear and desperation, I cried and bowed down before a God I never knew in such a personal way before. I found myself desperately calling out to Him for help.
After that incident, I called my girlfriend and told her about what happened. Looking back, I can see God’s strong hand in my life and that situation, because she told me that her doctor had invited her to join an event in CCF. I joined her and learned more about the verse that spoke to me in that most desperate moment in my life. I learned that Jesus died on the cross and paid for the penalty of my sins, that He rose again on the 3rd day, and that He gave His life up for me. I needed to pray and ask for His forgiveness, accept His grace & unconditional love, and make Jesus my Lord and Savior from that day forward.
After accepting Jesus Christ in my life, there has been an ongoing battle between my old and new self. He never promised that all my troubles would disappear, but I was sure that He was my fortress and strength in all the trials I faced and will face. Before my life with Christ, I was relying on my own strength and will to get past all the trials I encountered. But now, I can boldly face these problems because I have cast all my cares to Him and continue to trust only in God’s strength, power, and sovereignty over my life.
Our wedding has been another testimony of God’s perfect will and hand in our lives. We literally started from zero, but trusted that God will fulfill and be faithful to His promises to us. With each day that came as we planned this, God’s wonders and miracles unfolded. Karen and I could just stand in awe by how He has provided for us in every step of the way, and we can only give back all the glory and praise that is due to Him alone!

Jason De Guzman's photos (Imagine Nation)

From Jason:I had a different feeling about this one.

When I first saw the assignment on our worksheet, it didn't register immediately that the couple getting married was Ariel and Karen of Blushing Bride, one of our favorite wedding coordinators. To my mind, they've always been a couple. They're always sweet, even during the tense moments of a wedding, calling each other "Honey". When it did hit me, I felt both nervous and excited. They make such a beautiful couple, both being former models, and I knew this wasn't our typical wedding shoot.

Their supplier friends came in full force to help out too. The make-up was done by Cherry Pacheco-Uy, Threelogy provided their usual wacky antics and an awesome on-site video, catering by Josiah's, hosting by Monique Lopez, the list goes on and on. We were in venerable company.

What I didn't expect was how much I'd be blessed that day as I listened to Ariel and Karen share their life stories, both before and after they met. Aside from modeling, they share a common love for Jesus, and they shared how both their lives have been transformed as a result of knowing Him. I found myself near tears several times. I went home that day with a greater appreciation of just how much God blesses those who love Him. Wow!

To Ariel and Karen, we are truly blessed to have heard your story and witness the fulfillment of God's promise to both of you. May your life together be filled with more testimonies of just how good God is. Thank you for the friendship and the trust. 'Till our next wedding!

Shot with Jayjay Lucas and Riz Candazo for Imagine Nation

Jayjay Lucas' (Imagine Nation) photos

From Jayjay:
One of the most tear-jerking weddings I ever shot.. I was so blessed with the testimonies of these two! was kinda hard shooting with teary eyes.. hay with God indeed all things are possible.. If they look familiar to some of you, they are Ariel and Karen of Blushing Bride ( They finally got married and here are some snaps from their beautiful day. Although it rained before the ceremony started.. it was raining more inside Blue Leaf..I never shot so many teary eyed guests that day.. that’s how beautiful their story is.. and it’s God’s story. Wish can I get a copy of their testimony so I could share it here in my blog oh if you scroll down you may see some pips from That’s Entertainment..

Shot with Jason de Guzman and Riz Candazo for Imagine Nation Photography