The newlyweds surprised the mother at their reception to show her "she was not alone in her cancer fight."
It wasn't the flowers or the decor, or even the bride's wedding gown that was most talked about when Jony Lee and Alistair tied the knot. It was, in fact, a special gesture of love and support to Jony's mother that left wedding guests holding back tears.
Not long after the couple became husband and wife, Jony and Alistair followed up their first dance with a surprise for Jony's mother, Luna Macapagal, who had been battling stage 4 ovarian cancer since 2018. The mother from Auckland, New Zealand had been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and also went through surgery in the months before Jony's wedding.
Before Luna passed away in January, 2021, she was able to not only see her daughter walk down the aisle, but also saw just how much her family really cared for her in a heartfelt gesture after the wedding ceremony.
As they took center stage at their reception on November 21, 2020, Jony and Alistair shaved each other's heads in front of all their wedding guests to show Luna that she was not alone in her journey with cancer. Some laughed and some cried as they saw Alistair first take a seat while his new wife shaved his hair off. Then, Jony followed while Alistair had his turn with the trimmer.
Talking about the idea, Jony revealed that Alistair came up with it to "show her mom that she was not alone in her cancer fight—and for her to know she would always have their support," as quoted by Inside Edition.
"When Alistair proposed to me he was like why don't we do it at the wedding," she told NZ Herald.
Jony added that "there was no anxiety or no bad thoughts" when they finally let go of all their hair as Luna and the other guests watched.
One tradition that's seen at Filipino weddings is of guests offering money to the couple as they share their first dance together. But at Jony and Alistair's wedding, they revealed that whatever money the guests would offer would be donated to the Cancer Society.
"You had the shaving of the head, you had mum crying in the background, you had all the relatives cheering, crying ruffling through their wallets to find money," said Photographer Anaru Church of Songbirds Photography. "There was emotion happening at every angle."
Following the response they received at the wedding, Jony Lee decided to set up a fundraising page on Givealittle and donate all the money to the Cancer Society.
A couple of months after Luna witnessed the show of solidarity, she passed away on January 12 2021, according to Mirror. After her death, Jony and Alistair decided to share their story to raise awareness for the life-threatening disease.
"We were so happy to see how happy and proud it made her. We didn't really know what to expect but we were so happy in the moment," Jony said. "The responses were very unexpected, everyone at the wedding was crying and telling us how proud they were. We have received donations from all around the world which was also very unexpected, and we are so grateful to those who have donated or offered words of support."