Filipino Tradition Meets Southern Style in a Gorgeous Garden Wedding

by Chelsea Sherman | May 29, 2018

Bride's Gown: Kleinfeld Bridal, New York; Groom's Tuxedo: Army Officer Uniform; 
Photography by Andrew & Tianna Photography

Who: Jessica Gonzales, Army Engineer Officer, and Travis Coffey, Army Armor Officer.

When: May 28, 2017.

Where: Norfolk Botanical Garden.

Guest List: 180 friends and family members traveled from Canada, the Philippines, California, New Jersey, North Carolina and Colorado.

Where They Met: The United States Military Academy (West Point).

The Engagement: The couple was spending the weekend in Boone, N.C with Travis’ family. Travis is one of six siblings, and the whole family was together at his grandparents’ house. He surprised Jessica by getting down on one knee in front of their loved ones and asking her to spend the rest of her life with him. “It was really intimate, simple and personal, which made it perfect,” Jessica says.

Wedding Wishes: The wedding theme was a hybrid of Southern and Filipino culture—which made for incredible food, gorgeous décor and lots of meaningful touches. Jessica handmade much of the décor, including the centerpieces, invitations and wedding favors. She even hand-etched the mason jars, which served as wedding favors and part of the seating chart. “It was nice to have my wedding so personal and for the details to be really meaningful,” Jessica says.

Next: Travis and Jessica are stationed in Colorado Springs for the next three years. They plan to go wherever the military takes them and to continue to grow their family.

Good Fortune: A gold basket filled with gold coins was presented to Jessica as part of Filipino tradition, symbolizing good fortune for the future.

Father/Daughter Photo: Jessica’s father passed away in 2014. “This was my way of getting a picture with my dad on my wedding day,” Jessica says.

Tattooed Tribute: Jessica’s tattoo references her father’s favorite Beatles song. Below the song title is his signature, which Jessica photocopied from a letter he wrote her while she was in basic training.

Family Matters: Jessica and Travis’ son, James, got be part of their big day. “He started walking about two months after the wedding, of course,” Jessica says. James got to travel in style down the aisle in a decorated Red Rider wagon.

Memories Stitched In: The patches inside Travis’ uniform jacket represent companies he was in at West Point.

Saber Arch: Several of Travis’ friends from the Army wrestling team participated in the traditional saber arch. “It was really cool for Travis to have his close friends there to be a part of that moment,” Jessica says.

Wedding Party: The groomsmen included Travis’ brothers, his cousin and a close friend. The bridesmaids were Jessica’s cousin and her dear friends she has known since childhood.

Confetti Cake: The cake was confetti cake—Travis’ favorite—with vanilla buttercream frosting. Guests could choose from s’mores, strawberry shortcake and almond cupcake flavors.

Handmade Beauty: Jessica created the centerpieces herself. “I like doing crafty things, so it was fun for me. I loved having so many personal touches in the wedding,” Jessica says.


Hair and Makeup: Darling and Dapper

Music: Astro Entertainment

Coordinator: Happy Hour Hostess

Flowers: Lasting Impressions Florist

Cake: Twisted Sisters

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