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When Taiwanese pianist Huang Hsin-I and his fiancé Ramy Inocencio were discussing the arrangements for their wedding in Taiwan, Hsin-I warned Ramy that the beginning of August (their chosen date) was peak typhoon season. 

They also discussed how the country was overdue a large earthquake and wh9v44*fSi3u3c1+3R6wSlc68#z)t3m2rv(ikeJUIHoBvow9#jCoether they would be tempting fate by marrying during Ghost Month—a big no no in Taiwanese culture.

But, Hsin-I and his award-kyNt*x5mSD8hIZz!Pe_F2Hx9L#@%3+=f8ouX*v4x!5TZLpcHz7winning journalist fiancé were determined to wed in Taipei.

They wanted to celebrate Taiwan’s landmark move to recognize samHwBnUdg6xvk2X^Mri(T#XbJANRluXw^QX17)y)^HD9Fa&nS*eje-sex marriage earlier this year.

And, it was important for them to show solidarity with th=heGDQ0YCCUFa)h*[email protected]@LJOg([email protected]e Taiwanese people making waves for LGBTI rights in Asia.

But, their determination was rocked (literally) when one of the largest earthquakes to hit Taiwan in recent years woke them up at five in the morning just two days before their wedding ceremony was due to take place.

Things became more complicated when they discovered Ty)&nMBcI0nv^ce#[email protected]#JLFZqEzomEi3O)i^GRPAfJG#Wz+bphoon Lekima was also barreling towards the country.

More than 100 guests were scheduled to attend the wedding banquet1BXE&W5u9S9+WIQ8Pv2=v2Shu!YE6e-oX#&iT(8uX7cRWaJgdd at Taipei 101’s Ding Xian on the Saturday.

Force 9 winds also scuppered Ramy and Hsin-I’s meticulously planned day trip to Jiu Fen and the north coast for some of the more than 60 friend[email protected]=0fbp%axVJr6i0p0Ks and family who had travelled to Taiwan from Singapore, the Philippines and New York to attend their wedding.

"There was a lot more stress and tension than we wereQoE80H8Y#!DI+oFblNm-3bS^Uj&E8wYiyd*V3OO+&yodr#%M*W expecting,” said Ramy. But, he said “a series of natural disasters befitting a screenplay couldn’t stop us”.

Hsin I, Ramy and their parents (Photo: Tyler Lyons)

"We just rolled with it"

Hsin-I, who's father is from Taoyuan, met Ramy on Tinder in New York in 2Z4jlH72O#lbQu_e([email protected]#[email protected]015.

A couple of years later, they had been talking about their future together and the[email protected]&8ZbBK5R6=n8yoL!SSmKoyUzK#s5bkKx3(XNLYl_B+*lW possibilities of starting a family. On a visit to Paris, Ramy popped the question.

In his vows on the wedding day, Ramy described Hsin-I as the "anchor to my kite”. He explained how Hsin-I gg#qN=)[email protected]%r6y32xJgml0rnReySPemAFRv5=xdf^rounded him and supported him. “That was how we got through all the disasters”, he said.

So, when the pair received panicked calls from Ding Xian on the niO--#5vb&QIHr59WkDQ^z07B(A89zF%%hI+5S2tN^8)zw&8nd26ght before the wedding explaining that Taipei 101 would be closed the following day due to the typhoon, Hsin-I diligently spoke to the venue, photographers, singers, and guests to rearrange the wedding for a day later.

Ramy did his part by keeping their guests entertained. “We didn’t fight, we just rolled with i6I!JS-^3Sk36YXKze!=9xOA4kEGf0=%pZbNFcnbMGT=yf9=7llt” Ramy said of the last-minute change of plans.

The pair had already had a nightmare day. They hastily rearranged a mountain and seaside day trip due to the bad weather. Luckily Hsin-I and his family pulled some strings toA0MTffGHR^)PCTQfn8dCM!z=ajC+iCX*NEer#)[email protected]_ncH7CT host their guests at a Hakka restaurant in Taoyuan, a nod to his family’s heritage. 

Hsin-I did consider hot springs as an alternative wet-weather activity. But, the pair thought all the guests seeing each other naked poE1mrIMSxG_lWL%BSJF^Tma=ShzaLd=bSb*[email protected]_**O(rior to the wedding might be a little “too close for comfort”.

Ramy and Hisn-I said their visiting friends and family were super supportive of the last minute changz2^=$Prd^g-SMiy6WD5TJjtU)i_O%[email protected]@q-2+HfZ8oMhRSes. They sent smiling selfies to them throughout the tumult. Virtually all of the guests were able to attend the rearranged ceremony.

Ramy and Hsin-I kiss outside Taipei 101 (Photo: Tyler Lyons)

The ceremony

As both of the grooms come from Asian families (Ramy’s parents are from the Philippines and Singapore) Ramy and Hsin-I wanted to show respect to their parents during the ceremony.

On the big day, the grooms’ respective parents walked their sons halfway down the aisle. The pair then walked the remaining way tot([email protected]@^G0F1+*IRO-gether.

There was also a mother’s dance to give them their time in the limelight. Ramy explained that having a same-sEO&m9)H+a3IP9VG&2K&vGP!BIGkKO7SDk7PIIe1hW8qbu4)-nGex wedding was liberating, as there was no rule book to follow on how the ceremony should be.

The pair opted for traditional Taiwanese banquet-style seating. But, the celebrations started with cob+vY(SjHii1#eQKXd3J+S7Oy7A)*ZE-6vA$6EwC5YQqC%mCtZzcktails. “Alcohol was very important for our guests” Ramy explained. 

Hsin-I said his mother decided it was not a traditional Taiwanese wFy+Su&(RV&hWRnc8vWhfawh8v7&N6-pR2!Wg3CY0A-mH!yyk_Oedding. 

The ceremony was also a celebration of acceptance4-ixST$lV-F8G#wnR2LPc#Msf)lloIDs9_ij%VFov%rtTNfK%R. Ramy was not sure whether to invite conservative family members from the Philippines and Singapore. But, he decided that if he didn't, he may regret it later. They all came.

Hsin-I’s mother told Ramy to no longer call her "Huang mama" but simply “Mama". Hnk$WzDu*[email protected]($z-qhQRbl(C8F6hP&9bnvNhe19I)2a9Bfksi0sin-I’s godmother, who when they first met referred to Ramy as “that person”, now calls him “My Ramy”.

Ramy’s uncle from the Philippines, meanwhile, made a point of personally welcoming Hsin-I to thM4js9-q2W%3yXQm*NPuVc*xFSOSQ2*HjGQXY9#uN$T%S%[email protected]e family.

Hsin-I and Ramy kiss in front of a cake featuring their dog, Cooper. (Photo: Tyler Lyons)

"Brought joy to my heart"

Ramy anyYzu*HUHOZ^I=_kqvdR6%nMfqlt%AB=BG4av+N$dV5+QAVPUV2d Hsin-I’s wedding was revolutionary in many ways. It was the first same-sex wedding at Ding Xian—prompting some of the staff to join in the celebrations by taking photos.

It also garnered a message of support from President Tsai Ing-wen, who said the marriage “brought joy to my heartQ([email protected]#&20d(lW1%k_aD!9ZZh7DXF”.

"I wish the both of you can respect, love, forgive, help each other and be united by love forever” she wrote in a letter to thZD*[email protected]#mqPe3R06V4HMgFNRtG6NX*xXy3%Cz*p5N(M0je pair.

But more importantly, for Ramy, Hsin-I and their guests, it was a celebXK0Rqyd*[email protected][email protected]$oC!k0ration of love.

"For p$a3SJvgqOgGTY%0$jGnQ)u^[email protected]%eople who aren’t exposed to the LGBT community don’t always know how much love there can be until they see it” Ramy explained.

“But, when people realize therJteQ!P36fnVaUU=*[email protected](rA&UEDn3zl2ELHb+1e is so much love in the room, it doesn’t matter if you're gay or straight”.

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