Love brings people together

Mano and Lelet, pictured with wedding guest, were married in the Beaudesert High multi purpose hall.
Mano and Lelet, pictured with wedding guest, were married in the Beaudesert High multi purpose hall.

Beaudesert welcomed hundreds of people from Queensland’s Filipino community when Leonila ‘Lelet’ Gadiane and Evangelos ‘Mano’ Kouklinos were married at the local high school hall.

Lelet and Mano, who are both in their 70s, met at the Beaudesert home of Lelet’s daughter Yen and son in law Karl Muller in early 2020 and immediately formed a connection.

In a spectacular Filipino and Greek style wedding on 8 October, the pair celebrated their love for one another in Beaudesert where it all started.

About 200 people, most of them Filipino, came from the Beaudesert area and further afield, from different part of Queensland.

The Beaudesert High multipurpose hall came to life with vibrant shades of blue satin and silk, taffeta and tulle. The hall was also filled with lush potted greenery in a nod to Lelet and Mano’s shared love of nature and gardening.

Celebrant Mimi Carbery presented the ‘Love is patient; love is kind’ bible reading from 1 Corinthians 13 and Lelet’s Filipino culture shone through traditional dance performances.

Guests shared an abundance of traditional food, including two whole roast pigs, known as ‘lechon’ in Filipino, and there was no shortage of special Filipino desserts.

In a display of how tight-knit and generous the Filipino community is, much of the wedding was sponsored by friends from near and far.

This included (but was not limited to) a pig sponsored by a friend from Logan, a limousine (Gold Coast friend), bridal makeup (Yarrabilba friend), photography (Cedar Vale friend), bridal cake and decorations (Beaudesert friend), fresh flowers (Tamborine friend), venue hire (Melbourne friend) and relaxing massage (Canungra friend).

Reflecting on her love for Mano, Lelet – who came over from the Philippines after her husband of nearly 50 years passed away – said it was possible to find love again.

“It seems my late husband Demetrio is giving me his blessing to find someone when he is gone,” she wrote.

“I never thought about it, but it happened when I first saw my loving and caring darling Evangelos, that it is possible for me to fall in love again.”

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