Filipina Raquel Padilla Narraway, tied the knot in a simple, yet memorable ceremony July 4th in Canada. For the couple, preparing for the wedding wasn't really a walk in the park because they both wanted their special day to be different and not just be another wedding.
"We ended up with something personal," said James.
Realizing how expensive it is to get married in Canada, Raquel and James decided to take matters into their own hands, literally.
Weeks leading up to the big day, the couple worked hard in painting the signs and decorations for the reception. They got the venue for free, including the tables and chairs.
"The owner of the venue is a big supporter of Salvation Army," Racz said. So, in lieu of gifts, the couple placed a donation box at the reception and the proceeds all went to charity.
Racz, as she is fondly called by friends, hand-stitched her own wedding gown, from the veil down to the train. The gown's train and skirt are detachable. The fabric, which she bought on sale for $35, was too delicate to be machine-sewed, she said.
As for flowers for table centerpieces, Racz arranged them too, and she also did her own bouquet.
On the day of the wedding, she did her own make-up, her mother's, plus two bridesmaids.
They only spent a lot on the photographer and the rings. The rest of the money saved from doing almost everything themselves went to the down payment for a house.
Racz's family lived in poverty in the Philippines. When her father died of cancer, her mother took on odd jobs just to keep the family together.
Racz's first overseas job was as a tutor in Morroco in 2006. Four years later, she moved to Canada to work as caregiver. Now a permanent resident, Racz is currently employed as an office administrator for a recruitment agency.
Being the family's breadwinner, Racz's life as an overseas worker was not easy. But she was determined to succeed and persevere.