Gavin Maher and Genevieve Cruz
A chance meeting between Gavin and Genevieve saw a meeting of minds that quickly turned into a cross-country, cross-culture romance. Photo: Paul Vincent
Gavin John Maher and Genevieve Vergel Cruz
Central United Methodist Church, Manila, and the Makati Shangri-La Hotel
Just another day in the busy lives of Gavin and Genevieve became a day that would change the course of their lives.
Gavin, an avionics engineer happened to be in Manila for a job. One night he was out to dinner with friends, one of whom was Genevieve's best friend.
Genevieve, a doctor was also out to dinner, but at another restaurant. When her dinner finished unexpectedly early her best friend suggested she join their group for dessert.
After some prodding, she agreed.
At the restaurant she was, of course, introduced to Gavin and the chance meeting sparked a romance that would span countries and cultures. "If I didn't join my girlfriend for dessert, we would never have met," Genevieve says.
While Gavin had to return to Brisbane, they "both knew that this was the beginning of something special."
They Skyped and flew to each other until Genevieve eventually moved to Brisbane to do a Masters in Public Health. Despite the fact that these two come from two different countries with two very different cultures, which means "there are many daily quirky incidents ... we have never looked back."
"We are like-minded and very much matched personality-wise," Genevieve says. "The thought of forever with each other is a joy and a blessing."
Concerned that Genevieve might spot a bulging box in his pocket, Gavin carefully wrapped the ring in tissue paper, before setting out on a walk around Baguio City, which is in the Philippines .
As they sat on a bench marvelling at the local lake set at the base of a stunning mountain range, Gavin unravelled his tissue-paper package and asked the question.
The day fused their two cultures. The bouquets were fat with eucalyptus leaves while the ceremony included Filipino traditions such as the presentation of coins and a unity candle to symbolise the coming together of two individuals, and two families, as one.
Their 150 guests came from around the world and ensuring such a variety of people had a memorable, magical day "was a major feat," Genevieve exclaimed.
But, with a flow of food, drinking and dancing they managed to make it a cross-cultural success. In fact, everyone was having such fun the night only finished when the hotel eventually had to ask the guests to leave.
Genevieve wore a full ball-gown in winter white, with a sweetheart neckline, layered tulle skirt and a long train.
A five-layer chocolate cake with ribbon detail and white fondant icing.
The photographs were by Paul Vincent Photography
They travelled to Mactan island, in the Philippines, as well as Singapore and America