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This Fashion Couple Got Married in New York City and Manila



This Fashion Couple Got Married in New York City and Manila

Janice Szeto and Jian DeLeon had two weddings in two different cities, each with a distinct vibe that allowed them to honor their culture and the people they love. Things kicked off in New York, where the couples lives, with a large party for all their friends held at Jean’s in downtown Manhattan. Three months later, they officially got married inside a church in the Philippines.

The New York party was centered on their social circle. Janice and Jian both lived in the city for over 10 years before meeting, but when they started dating, they realized that they had many mutual acquaintances in common. “Everyone says they had a great time at the New York party because it was an epic reunion,” says Jian, who is the men’s fashion director at Nordstrom. “A lot these people have been in our lives for 10-plus years. They have their own families and lives now, but to be able to have them together in one room was amazing for us.”

“That [wedding] clearly had different priorities,” adds Janice, who works for Uniqlo as a brand and product marketing manager. “We really wanted to focus on family for Manila, especially with our shared heritage.” Jian was born in the Philippines, while Janice has family there and visits every summer. “To have the Catholic ceremony with a traditional Chinese banquet and pay tribute to all of our family traditions was really important to us. We were able to do both somehow, and we’re super happy with how everything turned out.”

The Invitations

Anne Naig

The couple’s artist friend Naomi Otsu created the invites for both events. “They each have such a different tone and manner, because you’ll see there’s much more of a party vibe for New York, and then Manila is much more refined and serious, since there’s family involved,” Janice says.

The New York Inspiration

a group of women holding drinks

Sansho Scott/BFA

Janice and Jian have a lot of friends who work in hospitality and nightlife, so the planning of the New York event began by firing off text messages. They both knew several people from Jean’s who helped them reserve the basement for the night. “We did not have a planner at all—it was fully just us connecting with our friends, like a group project with everyone doing their respective parts. It was super personal. We didn’t outsource any decision-making to anyone we haven’t known for several years,” Janice says.

The New York Wardrobe

a man and woman kissing

Sansho Scott/BFA

The bride had three dresses set aside for the party, but ended up having so much fun that she didn’t stop to change into the third one.

“I found this amazing dress with feather sleeves from Mango for my first look,” Janice says. Her shoes were from Stuart Weitzman, and her bag was Simone Rocha. Her friend Bernard James helped with jewelry. “I’m super minimal in terms of jewelry. I don’t wear a ton of it, but his diamonds are so stunning. I just wanted a simple tennis bracelet with a matching necklace,” she says.

a person in a white dress

Sansho Scott/BFA

Next up was a Solace London minidress with a train. “I wore my hair up and felt really beautiful because I could accentuate some of what I consider to be my best features,” Janice says. She also loves Prada platforms she wore with it.

The ill-fated third dress was backless and a bit flirtier. “It was something a little bit more fun for when my parents left,” Janice explains. “Alas, I didn’t get to it because I didn’t want to be interrupted!”

Jian wore a custom tuxedo from Bode—designer Emily Adams Bode Aujla is a friend. For a personal touch, there was embroidery depicting a restaurant Janice’s family once owned called Sunluck.

“The matchbook [from the restaurant] is embroidered on the inside pocket. Some of the architecture from the postcards is also on the inside flap, and some of the inscriptions from the menu, too,” he says. Jian wore the tux in Manila as well.

The New York Party

a group of people dancing

Sansho Scott/BFA

“I don’t think we’ve ever been in a place where there are that many people that we want to be around all at the same time. When we made our entrance, it was really, really special,” Janice recalls.

a plate of food

Sansho Scott/BFA

The two created a very fun menu that included dumplings from Red Farm, heart-shaped pizzas from Williamsburg Pizza, and Jean’s chocolate chip cookies in lieu of wedding cake. “Instead of a proper meal, we served those options over the course of the night, and we timed it in waves, given that we knew that some of our friends would come later,” Jian says. “It ended up working out, because Jean’s has a certain capacity. We were able to fit around 300 by the end.”

a man playing a music instrument

Sansho Scott/BFA

People went crazy when “We Found Love in a Hopeless Place” started playing. It encompassed everything that Jian wanted from the wedding. “The nostalgia of the Rihanna song and the fact that it was in this nightclub setting with everybody all dressed up was the ultimate manifestation of what we wanted to accomplish, which is that energy that we had when we were younger, but now living our lives together as a married couple.”

The Ceremony

a man and woman posing for a picture


Janice and Jian hired a wedding planner who had worked with several of their friends. Putting together the New York party was relatively simple, but they needed help planning something overseas. “In Manila, it was definitely important to have someone there to vet and source and give as many options as possible so we could narrow them down,” Janice says. “We had a really wonderful planner, but also were able to lean on friends and family for their personal opinions as well.”

a large church with a large group of people sitting in the front

Anne Naig

The wedding took place at Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, a gated community in Makati. “The church in particular was important to Janice’s family, but also mine,” Jian says. “Growing up, that place was basically in our backyard. My parents were really excited that we were [getting married] there.”

a group of people cutting a cake

Anne Naig

“I remember being there for my cousins’ weddings, so to be there myself and have my own wedding there was really surreal,” Janice says.

The Manila Looks

a person in a white dress holding a glass of wine

Anne Naig

The couple flew into Manila a few days before the ceremony, and were able to avoid jet lag. Janice was introduced to the fashion designer Martin Bautista, who made three custom looks for her. She loved working with him and appreciated how comfortable he made her feel. “What I spent most of my time doing in that week before the wedding was going back and forth for different fittings and making tweaks to all three looks,” she says. “It was not stressful at all. He was very calm and very competent. He said I had enough to worry about so he would handle the rest. That was just the best thing to hear with such a big event coming up.”

a man and woman dancing

Anne Naig

Jian wore two tuxes, one from Thom Browne in a midnight blue inspired by JFK Jr.’s wedding, and the Bode one he wore in New York, and later changed into a custom Bode tuxedo jacket and denim trousers.

The Manila Reception

a table with flowers and candles

Anne Naig

“Shangri-La, where we had the reception, is a hotel that my family has been going to both as locals and overseas visitors,” Janice says. “This location was the newest. It felt really special, and a new iteration of experiences that we had growing up.” The dinner was a traditional Chinese buffet with 10 courses that was served family-style.

plates of food on a table

Anne Naig

The couple’s friends Cassie and Vinny Locsin, who are siblings, gave speeches. “I think people tend to select speakers from the bride side and then the groom side separately, and they tend to speak about the individual,” Janice says. “They were able to coordinate their speeches so each one had elements about both of us together.” Janice and Cassie initially met through work, and their deep friendship then extended to Jian and the Locsin family.

a group of people standing together

Anne Naig

The words reflected on Janice and Jian’s warm and welcoming nature. “They run at 10,000 miles per hour, socializing and engaging with seas of people and yet they still manage to cultivate so many authentic relationships. And these relationships aren’t just acquaintances, mind you, they are friendships, ties, and powerful bonds. Janice and Jian tend to these bonds like seeds. They check in regularly, they develop and grow them, they show them fierce loyalty,” Cassie said.

a group of women posing for a photo

Anne Naig

Next, Janice and Jian then changed outfits and headed to a new Japanese-inspired izakaya owned by a friend for the after-party. “I think we actually had more fun at the after-party,” Janice admits.


Adrienne Gaffney is a features editor at ELLE and previously worked at WSJ Magazine and Vanity Fair.

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