Lea Salonga & Robert Chien

January 10, 2004 /// Los Angeles, CA /// Photographed by Andy Tecson

A Melody Of Love

From the day they met, a shared passion for music and song lead to the romance and marriage of Lea Salonga and Robert Chien. The two were introduced by Robert’s cousin, Christine, who Lea was performing with in “Flower Drum Song” at the Mark Taper Forum. After meeting a couple of more times, Lea and Robert finally got to know each other better and when their first official date included singing along to the car radio, it seems that romance was set in motion. Robert asked for Lea’s hand in marriage in July of 2002, with a proposal straight from a movie scene, complete with candlelight, flower petals, twinkling lights and even a pillow for Robert to kneel on.

Lea and Robert were engaged for a year and a half, which allowed them ample time to secure the locations they desired, hire top wedding professionals who totally understood their personalities and peruse dozens of wedding magazines for ideas. The couple chose the event sites based in part on their proximity to the music center where they first met: Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral for the ceremony and The Millennium Biltmore Hotel for the reception.

Fitting with her vibrant personality, Lea chose a color scheme of deep cranberry and ivory with subtle gold accents for the elegant winter wedding. To the couple’s delight, the florist executed Lea’s vision perfectly, and created a dramatic, elegant scene filled with a huge number of Black Beauty and Black Magic roses. The glorious setting would demand an equally breathtaking wedding dress, and Lea enlisted Monique Lhuillier to design the gown of her dreams. Lea had admired Monique’s creations and loved the fact that she had the shared experience of growing up in the Philippines. Lea’s ivory Alencon lace gown was a unique blend of traditional romance with a modern twist, just like the wedding itself. The bridesmaids complemented Lea with cranberry hued dresses while the groomsmen sported deep red ties.

The afternoon ceremony, though traditional, featured personal touches such as Lea surprising Robert by serenading him just before reciting her vows, and several of Lea’s friends participating in the service by singing Filipino songs during communion as well as having her brother and his fiancée as accompanying vocalists in several songs. The couple also incorporated the Filipino Candle, Veil and Cord traditions, in which each item represents unity. Many of the day’s most sentimental moments occurred during the ceremony, such as Lea embracing her mother and brother one last time as a single woman when they reached the end of the aisle, and also the tear the Robert shed as he watched his bride walk towards him.

Following the ceremony, Lea and Robert’s guests arrived at The Millennium Biltmore Hotel around five o’clock for cocktails and the formal dinner reception. The wedding banquet featured savory fare such as butternut squash soup, pear and walnut salad, an entrée choice of fresh sea bass or filet mignon and citrus cheesecake for dessert. The magnificent wedding cake was Hansen’s specialty “French Baskets” cake, with four different flavored layers: chocolate with Kahlua chips, chocolate with chocolate chips, chocolate with chocolate cream, and carrot cake with cream cheese filling. The cake was covered with traditional buttercream frosting and decorated with beautiful sugar roses. The wedding guests enjoyed entertainment by husband and wife DJ team Chase Kelly as well as by the newlyweds themselves when the couple sang together to “With You I’m Born Again” instead of performing a traditional first dance. Lea and Robert, realizing that they day would fly by in an instant, made every effort to live in the moment and really drink in every detail so that the wedding would not end up being a blurry memory.

In honor of the couple’s shared love of music, one of the favors that they presented to each wedding guest was a custom made CD of their favorite songs, including a duet that they recorded and a song written especially for the wedding day. The one-of-a–kind CD is the perfect memento of a song-filled wedding, and one that is sure to be sung along to for many years to come.

Aimee Manis