Some couples release lanterns, plant trees or create an anniversary capsule for their unity ceremonies, brides Lisa Yang and Wek Hernandez on the other hand, completed three tandem deadlifts in their beautiful white gowns during their wedding ceremony.
The unconventional ceremony was uniquely designed for the couple, Hernandez told Women’s Health Magazine, “It was meant to not only be a symbol of unity but also a statement: ‘Individually, we are strong, capable women, but together we are stronger.'”
“We were joking about doing a tandem deadlift. At the time, it seemed ridiculous because we’re Olympic weightlifters, deadlift isn’t even our main sport. But a snatch or clean-and-jerk in dresses might be a bit dangerous, so we settled on three deadlifts.”
The couple took off their shoes, stepped onto a rug in front of all of their guests in the middle of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, and lifted the 253-pound barbell in unison not just once, but a total of three times. After their lifts, the brides returned to the altar to exchange rings.
Wedding photographer Eileen Meny told NBC News, “I’ve seen couples light candles, pour sand in a jar, and take shots of whiskey for unity ceremonies, but to do something so physical and unique to who they were as a duo was awesome.”
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The pair reportedly met online and have been together for five years. Hernandez, the owner of Good Reps Physical Therapy in Brooklyn, explained to NBC that fitness has always been a big part of their relationship, “We were runners actually, and we wanted to get stronger. Initially, I got her into CrossFit, and then she found her way into the weightlifting team.”
Since going viral, the couple expressed that they hope their Kodak moment could inspire others as well. Yang told Women’s Health, “People get really intimidated by barbells, but if they see tiny Asians in wedding dresses lifting weights, maybe they can start to believe that anything is possible.”
The newlyweds went to the Philippines for their honeymoon so they could visit Hernandez’s grandmother who was unable to attend the wedding in New York due to an illness.
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✨HONEYMOON SPECIAL✨ . . My back was hurting after long hours sitting in a bus. Lisa’s shoulder feels locked up. We knew it was time to move. . . No gym equipment? No problem. . . 4 rounds for time -20 forward lunges -15 squats -10 push ups . . Smile and flex! #move #maestroshowuptoblowup
“My mom posted our pictures, and I think people were more just confused,” Hernandez told NBC, “They were like, ‘Oh, it’s a double wedding.’”
Despite same-sex marriage still being illegal in the Philippines, Hernandez has said that her community there has been “really accepting.”