Their love endured post-graduate studies, the bar and board exams, and now a pandemic
Dr. Jowi Tsidkenu P. Cruz and Atty. Monique Camille Z. Noa met as young university students who were just about to embark on further studies and grueling licensure exams. He was just Jowi and she was just Monique, two undergraduates who met at the Commercial Law Department. Little did these young adults know that nine years later, they would marry with an intimate wedding on 27 December 2020 at the Centennial Hall of The Manila Hotel.
“That was probably the biggest challenge then as a young couple, focusing on Law and Med studies while still trying to sustain the relationship and be there for each other,” Jowi says. “But the fact that we knew that we were both pursuing difficult studies helped us understand our situation, especially during times when we can’t make time for each other. Most of the time, our dates would be comprised of study dates or just resting in each other’s company. Lucky enough, we sustained, graduated, and conquered the Bar and Boards still a couple, stronger than ever.”
Dr. Jowi proposed in October 2020 and it came after another big step in the couple’s lives. Proposing was already in his mind before the pandemic. “With nine years of love at hand, popping the question has long been anticipated. But God had other plans, COVID-19 struck and it pushed the engagement and wedding plans to uncertainty,” he says. They were however, presented with the opportunity to invest in their own property.
“Practicality prevailed and we bought the land where our future home will rise. With this eating the bulk of our savings, we thought that an engagement and a wedding was not meant to happen any time soon. Days passed and it became clearer that COVID-19 is here to stay for longer than we imagined,” Dr. Jowi says. “However, I thought the delay in proposing is no longer worth it. So I finally decided to propose last October 2020 than just wait for the pandemic to end before getting married.”
The advantage of having just a few months to prepare, as we see in Dr. Jowi and Atty. Monique’s wedding, is that it made it easier for the bride and groom not to be too consumed with every single detail of the wedding. They let go of many things they knew were beyond their control and they kept their expectations low. In the end, with the help of their wedding suppliers, the Cruzes were able to fully enjoy their intimate wedding.
Below, Dr. Jowi shares more about how they planned their intimate wedding at Manila Hotel in just two months, the secret to letting of the details, and how they were able to choose who was invited to their celebration:
What were the challenges you encountered during wedding preparations?
The limited time in preparing was definitely a challenge. We only had two months to prepare. Keeping up with health protocols and IATF guidelines posed challenges in the wedding preparations as well. On the day of our wedding, it also rained heavily so we had to move our outdoor wedding ceremony venue at Sea Breeze to the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel.
How did you handle these challenges?
We tried to look at it with a positive attitude. Knowing we had limited time, we did not set too much expectations on our wedding. It was easier to let go of the things we don’t have control of. It also gave us no time to overthink and stress about every little detail of the wedding. We just went with the flow. It also helped that we had coordinators and suppliers to help us.
All in all, despite the challenges we faced and some mishaps, everything fell to its rightful place, and our wedding turned out to be beautiful and grand in its own unique way.
How did you feel during your wedding?
Mixed emotions! We just tried to enjoy every bit of the moment.
Do you have advice for other couples planning their intimate wedding?
We don’t really have much experience in planning a wedding since we only did it for two months. However, we realized that when planning a wedding, whether amidst a pandemic or not, you should know your negotiables and non-negotiables. For us, we prioritized the food, the reception venue, the bridal gown, and the hair and makeup artist. These are the things we believe we should splurge on more as it could either make or break the wedding. This we believe are also the elements that will be seen and remembered most by us and our guests.
What are your tips when it comes to styling? How did you manage to make it look great with very little preparation time?
You may also consider getting a venue/restaurant with a beautiful set-up/interiors in place already so as to minimize costs for styling/decoration. While a bare venue like a ballroom can be more flexible in terms of interior set-up, it would cost you more to have it styled/decorated. With this in mind, the Champagne Room of the Manila Hotel, with its exceptional interiors and food, was our first and only choice.
There are lot of suppliers to choose from. How did you choose yours?
For other suppliers, do not be afraid to give chance to young and budding suppliers. They can be just as good and creative as the more known ones but will entail lesser costs. This will also help you allocate more resources to your non-negotiables.
How did you finalize your guest list?
Be wise in choosing your guests especially at this time of the pandemic. Make sure that you only invite people who really matter to you.
(This article was a surprise of Dr. Jowi to his bride, Atty. Monique. We at Inspirations.ph are so kilig to be part of it! Surprise! –eds)
The Dream Team
Photography and videography by CM Digital | Ceremony venue: Centennial Hall, The Manila Hotel | Reception Venue: Champagne Room, The Manila Hotel | Bridal gown, bridesmaid dresses, groom’s suit, and groomsmen’s suits: Edward Teng Collections | Hairstylist and makeup artist: Makeup by Miss A | Event Stylist: The Events Authority | Band: Iconic Wedding & Events Musicians | Host: Jheck Capangpangan Baysa | Cake by Khrys Erielle's Pastries | Invitations by Print PALS
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