While some betrothed couples plan for the "perfect" wedding, there are those who choose to make their weddings stand out from other ceremonies.
One Auckland couple decided on the latter by making a gesture that would have ruined anyone else's idea of a "perfect" wedding.
Jony Lee and her husband, Alistair, were unsure whether Jony's mother would make it to Jony's wedding day. After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer two years ago, Jony’s mother, Luna Macapagal, has had many ups and downs with her health.
When the couple, who have known each other since the age of 5, planned their wedding, they decided to push the date earlier to ensure Luna would be able to walk her daughter down the aisle.
But they also wanted to do something very special in her honor.
According to Jony, it was Alistair who came up with the idea to surprise everyone by shaving their heads during the wedding on Nov. 21.
She excitedly agreed. Recounting the big day, Jony said “there was no anxiety or bad thoughts” when it came time to shave their heads in front of all the wedding guests.
The moment came after the couple’s first dance. Guests, and even Jony’s parents, assumed the couple would perform a traditional Filipino money dance; but Jony and Alistair had other plans.
Instead, they made an announcement. After jokingly clarifying that she wasn’t pregnant, Jony told the guests they were doing something different instead of the usual dance where guests give money to the newlyweds.
Jony recounted, “I said, ‘Whatever money you were supposed to give us in the traditional Filipino dance we will be giving it to the cancer society,’ and then everybody was confused.”
But it soon became clear what they had in mind, as the wedding coordinator approached with a shaver.
"Then the wedding co-ordinator came up with the shaver,” Jony remembers, “and I was like, ‘Now we are going to shave our heads.’”
Then they sat down in front of the guests, with Alistair having his head shaved first.
Jony says the entire room was shocked, but Jony remembers feeling happy.
“Everyone was crying but I'm the kind of person to find the good out of what was happening,” she said.
According to The NZ Herald, Jony's parents were “very proud.”
The couple’s wedding photographer, Anaru, called it an “infectious atmosphere” full of emotion.
"You had the shaving of the head,” he said. “You had mom crying in the background, you had all the relatives cheering, crying, ruffling through their wallets to find money. There was emotion happening at every angle.”
He added that when it was over, the room was full of “joy,” and there was a “triumphant” feeling.
Astonishingly, the couple raised $1,400 for the Cancer Society during the wedding reception.
Jony added, “With my mom, everyone who has helped us with her journey has been so kind if they need more [money] to make the experience for future people or people now better. It's amazing that we were able to reach out to [the guests] and make them proud.”