During a Christmas visit home to Chicago in 2002, Christopher felt it was the perfect time to propose. He took Liezel for a walk along the shore of Lake Michigan, got on one knee, and proposed. Liezel immediately said yes. When they looked up, two deer were gazing directly at them. "I knew it was a good sign," says Liezel.
Following Filipino tradition, wedding coins were carried in on a coin pillow, blessed by the priest, and passed to the groom, who then gave them to the bride in a ritual meant to symbolize the sharing of earthly possessions. This pillow's top is white silk shantung folded to resemble a lotus blossom.
For the centerpieces, wild bunches of flowers and foliage -- including peonies, clematis, hosta leaves, fuchsia, variegated honeysuckle, and begonias -- overflow from simple footed compotes. The aqua sequined mats underneath the arrangements mimic the glittering mosaic ceiling of the dining room.
The couple selected a grand four-tier cake by Vosges Haut-Chocolat. A cluster of peonies serves as the topper, and the tiers are draped in rolled ivory fondant and detailed with jewel-like swags and dots piped in royal icing. Fresh peonies, begonias, and fuchsia decorate the corners. Inside, the cake is a rich medley of flavors: Layers of white Tahitian vanilla-bean cake have rose petals baked right in them; the filling combines strawberries with a ganache made of white chocolate, pink Champagne, and rose water.