On Saturday, June 8, Theodore Verburg and Margie Son Estaban vowed to love, honor, and cherish each other in the presence of many family and friends. A warm, windy day met with a flutter of excitement as guests filled the pews at Community Church in Roselawn, anxiously waiting to witness and share in the love between Ted and Margie.

The newlyweds connected through an online dating service geared toward international relationships. Thousands of online messages turned into a few hundred phone calls. Soon Ted was packing his bags to fly over eight thousands miles to the Philippines to meet Margie in person. Their relationship blossomed over a period of five and a half years.

Ted planned to propose to Margie during his second trip to the Philippines in February of 2018. Unfortunately, his plans were foiled by a helpful, albeit inquisitive, Margie. While unpacking his luggage, Margie found the ring. Adorably, she denied seeing such a thing. Margie was not surprised, overall, because the couple had been discussing marriage on multiple occasions.

The day of the event was marked with a lot of excitement as many family members came from afar for both the bride and groom, making the wedding a sweet reunion for many. The wedding itself was layered in personal touches for Ted and Margie. The overall planning and execution of the wedding was orchestrated by Ted’s daughter, Ashley Jones, and his sister, Connie Coffer.

After taking their seats, the guests were treated to live renditions of Franz Schubert and Frederick Chopin on the piano, performed by Ted’s nephew, Korey Coffer. Escorting the Matron of Honor, Grace Caibigan, was the Best Man and Ted’s son, Joe Verburg. Ted’s brothers, George and John Verburg, stood for Ted as groomsmen, escorting Margie’s cousins and bridesmaids, Joy Caibigan and Sevigny Inocando, down the aisle. Ted’s granddaughter, Aryanna Jones, performed the duties of flower girl, while his grandson, Levi Verburg, delivered the rings with some sass. Giving the bride away in marriage was a close loved one of Margie, Ms. Rose Son. As they walked down the aisle together, Korey, and his wife Erika, performed Beautiful in White on the piano, and flute, respectively.

Surprisingly, Pastor Busscher began the meditation on marital love by comparing Ted and Margie’s love for one another to their love for pizza, or the Cubs. Although it was a bit different, his point, after the chuckle from the crowd subsided, was that there are different types of love, and the love between a man and a woman is unlike any other: a love that must be cherished, honored, worked on and fought for, although, Ted and Margie share a deep love for steak, not pizza.

After exchanging vows, and rings, Ted and Margie lit a beautiful unity candle to the rendition of Shania Twain’s “From This Moment,” symbolizing the joining of two families as one. Pastor Busscher then presented Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Verburg to the pleasurable applause of the crowd.

At the reception, a lot of laughter and merriment floated along the hall as guests reunited in a more relaxed atmosphere while the bride and groom snapped their wedding photos outside. Children unleashed some pent-up energy on the playground outside before sitting down to a buffet style meal. Shortly after the couple cut the cake, the bride and her cousins enticed the crowd to join her in a time honored Filipino tradition of a ‘dollar dance.’ While the bride dances to a couple of songs, guests clip dollar bills to the brides dress for good luck and fortune.

Roger de Bussy-Rabutin once said, “absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it inflames the great.” Engaging in a long-distance relationship is more than difficult and not for the weak of heart, but for the right person, every day is worth the battle. Ted offers this advice for those that may find themselves in one: “Have lots of patience and trust, [and] communication is very important,” Once the couple has settled into their new home, they plan to embark on a honeymoon in Hawaii.

Congratulations, Ted and Margie. May you have a wonderful, blessed life together.