From uni friends to a lakeside wedding – this May saw lifestyle influencers Kimi Juan and Thomas Caja tie the knot in an intimate garden ceremony in the Philippines, their home country. And while we were obviously keen to hear all about the big day, we first wanted to know how these two met, first dates, and, of course, the proposal story.
Here, we sit down with the couple to take a little peek into their relationship his and her-story…
How did you first meet?
Thomas: We met at university way back in 2012/13. We were studying photography and became friends.
Kimi: It’s so funny because we both had our own crushes – he liked someone and I liked someone – and we were always together and pushing each other to those people. In the end, those people didn’t like us back and we realised that we’d been spending a lot of time together…
So how did it go from being friends to a relationship?
Thomas: First it was friends and then we became best friends and started hanging out everyday…
Kimi: Then all of sudden we’d go on dates and we’d be like: ‘Oh, I think this Is something!’ And then we were like: ‘Okay, I guess we’ll do this!’
How long was it between being friends to first dates?
Kimi: One year. We’d even been traveling together already because I’d be like, ‘Hey, come with me, let’s hike’ or ‘Let’s go to the beach’… but just as friends. He’d take pictures of me – it was the same thing as now, but now we’re married!
Can you talk me through your first date?
Thomas: It was up in the mountains in the Philippines. I asked if she’d like to go out with me and then I took her to this nice restaurant.
Kimi: It had an intimate candlelight theme. We took selfies and posted them, and then apparently everyone was like “Finally!! We just thought you guys weren’t going to move on!” Apparently everyone was waiting for us to just get together.
Okay, so that was your first date – can you now talk me through your favourite date?
Thomas: Every date…
Kimi: Every date is wonderful because we always do different things. Sometimes it could be that we’re hiking on this mountain or going to this beach or going to the movies, it’s always just different – which is what I like about what me and Thomas do. There’s no favourite thing because we always create different memories together – it’s what’s special about our whole relationship.
I know you recently got married, but can you quickly tell me about your engagement?
Thomas: We got engaged last April, I proposed to her in front of her house.
Kimi: It was 3am in the morning and we were going to fly to Batan – which is an island in the Philippines. I was so groggy. He picked me up from my house and I’m like: “Come on, let’s go! What are you doing, you’re so slow…” I was so mean! And then he was just being sweet and saying, “Babe, I love you”, and I was like: “Can we just do this later!” But then he gets down on one knee and I say: “Can you stop joking around!” And then he brings out the box, which kind of gets stuck in his pocket, and I’m like: “Can you really stop joking around, I’m just not in the mood for jokes”. I really was so mean! And then he opens the box and I completely change my expression and I’m like: “Oh my God!” and start crying.
Thomas: She’s really good at catching me if I’m going to surprise her – so I made it something that she’d never expect!
So you weren’t expecting it at all?
Kimi: No, because he put it in my head that it wouldn’t happen for two years from now.
Thomas: Always “two years from now, two years from now!”
Kimi: So I was expecting two years from now, and then all of a sudden he hits me with the “Will you marry me!”
Thomas: She didn’t know I had the ring made for a few months.
Kimi: I had no idea.
I love that engagement story! So on to the wedding… can you tell me a bit about it?
Kimi: It was pretty chill. Apparently my planner called me Bridechilla rather than Bridezilla because she’d be like: “Hey do you want this?” and I’d just be like “Okay”. I was planning last minute – 2 months before the wedding I was like, “Okay, I’m going to start planning now!”
We only had 115 people – close family and friends – which is small in the Philippines. In the Philippines, a big wedding would be 800 people and a really small wedding would be 100 people, but that’s what I liked about it. I just had people I knew, close friends and family – it was very intimate. It was outdoors in a garden by a lake and it was like a barbecue. We had string lights and everyone was just casual. Great music and great food – it was really good.
It sounds perfect. Lastly for each of you, what are the characteristics that made you fall in love with each other?
Thomas: Which ones! I know her personality trait that first struck me was how passionate she was about what she was doing. She would not hold back – she would really go for it without stopping. I think the passion in her eyes was what really struck me. She’s a strong girl that really goes for it.
And you, Kimi?
Kimi: He’s really kind and a real family man – which is what I think complements my personality. He’s really understanding and very patient with me. He’s really the opposite of me – which is what I need. Our personalities don’t clash – whatever I don’t have, he has… like patience!
Thomas: A lot of patience!