July 23rd, 2016
Joy—who serves in the United States Army Reserves and works in the maritime industry as a Production Operations Analyst at General Dynamics NASSCO—met Penina five and a half years ago at Beach Club in Oceanside, Ca. Says Joy, “This is a straight bar, so I was not expecting to meet anyone, and frankly I wasn’t trying to meet anyone.” The universe had other plans, and late in the evening a guy approached Joy and said, “My friend thinks you’re really cute.” The ladies awkwardly met as Joy tried to find Penina near the bathroom, and then Joy’s friend dragged them together on the dance floor. When the evening ended the two tried to exchange numbers but Joy’s phone was broken, so the next day she found Penina on Facebook and they began talking every day. Two months later at Long Beach Pride Joy wore a shirt that said, “Will you be my girl, and make my world?”
Says Joy, “I wore a button-up over it and had friend pour beer on me, then when I started to unbutton, voila! She saw the shirt and said yes. We have been together ever since.”
Because Penina had never left the country, Joy surprised her for Christmas 2014 with a full package experience to the 2015 USA Women’s World Cup in Canada. Joy proposed during the trip with an elaborate plan that included recorded directions, chalkboards on trees and a soccer ball with a ring.
The couple spent about a year planning their dream wedding at Leo Carrillo Historic Ranch in Carlsbad. Say the brides, “The wedding was filled with support from both of our families, and we had people travel long distances to celebrate our wedding.” Both brides walked down the aisle. Joy went first, escorted by her mom, followed by Penina and her parents.
Wedding Song: “LUV” by Tory Lanez
The brides wanted something a little different, which is how they chose this upbeat song, to which they performed a choreographed dance.
Penina’s Favorite Moment: “Taking our pictures together and expressing our love through our vows.”
Joy’s Favorite Moment: “Our first look and vows. I absolutely loved hearing Penina’s vows to me.”
Say the brides, “The Samoan money dance and the Samoan culture inspiration was amazing. We had Hawaiian and Polynesian dancers come to perform and they did such a great job!” The brides also had personalized mason jars for every guest, a custom cake topper and Joy says that watching Penina dance the traditional Samoan Siva was “an experience of a lifetime.”
Asked if there’s anything they would change about their wedding the brides say, “Nothing.”
Highlights from their dreamy day, captured by Honey Photographs, below.