A vacation was Edwin and Irene Manigo’s original plan to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary. Of course that became a challenge due to the pandemic so they proceeded instead to visit the church where they were first married 25 years ago to inquire about receiving a blessing. “But after seeing the church and talking to the church admin, everything changed,” says Edwin. An intimate wedding to renew their vows and celebrate their anniversary was decided on.
With the sudden change of plans, Edwin and Irene were left with 24 days to put everything together. The Manigos’ wedding anniversary is January 27 and their renewal of vows was held in St. Jerome Emiliani & Sta. Susana Parish in Alabang. They had a lot of work to do: the guest list, the bridal gown, the reception.
Below, Edwin and Irene walk us through their love story, how they planned their silver wedding anniversary in 24 days, and why it’s all worth it even at this time.
How did you two meet?
We met at Landmark when Mel, my now sister-in-law introduced Irene to me. Irene was then working as a beauty advisor for Lancome while I was working as an IT Specialist for Coca-Cola. At first sight, we both felt at ease and attracted with each other. I immediately asked her to grab a snack on her break time which she graciously entertained. We then started dating and seeing each other more frequently. After a couple of weeks, she accepted to be my girlfriend. After six months, we decided to tie the knot in a simple civil ceremony followed by a church wedding a year later.
Are you more alike or the “opposites attract” kind of couple?
What we learned over the years is that we do share a lot of things in common. Our favorite food (Italian, Japanese, etc), the love for the outdoors, and most especially our strong faith that has bonded us and minimized any conflicts in the marriage. If issues do happen, we made sure that they do not get out of hand and are resolved immediately. It also helps a lot that we respect one another and that we pray a lot to help us go through any challenges or trials. We also have mutual respect and care for our respective first families and they likewise appreciate that.
Were you planning on having a wedding again for your 25th anniversary?
The original plan over the years was to have a church wedding for our silver anniversary. And then the idea of doing travel was also considered. But because of the pandemic, both options were no longer possible. And so, we decided to have a simple blessing ceremony at the church where we wed and have intimate dinner with select family and friends. But after seeing the church and talking to church admin, everything changed. We ended up taking their special wedding package for renewal of vows and the admin told us that we can already treat it as a regular wedding with entourage and the like–the whole nine yards. That was January 3, giving us barely 24 days before the wedding day. After three days, we went ahead and booked our reception venue and scrambled to obtain the rest of wedding suppliers we need in so short a time.
What were the challenges you weathered?
Deciding who will be the guests for the event because Quidos, the reception venue, is only allowing 60 persons at that time (50% of venue capacity). Our immediate family and the entourage already add up to 30 and we can only accommodate 30 more. So we decided to invite others who were part of our journey as husband and wife, whom we regularly meet and who live nearby to minimize the risk.
Since we only have less than a month to prepare, we scrambled to find a decent dress and suit for our entourage and us. Most worrying was that we couldn’t have the bride’s wedding gown custom made as we already lack the time. Worst, most of the suppliers do not have ready made silver dress. Luckily, when Irene called up Simoun Andres, he simply told her to come over and he will try to help. Luckily, Irene found a nice gown that perfectly fit her which Sai sewed during the lockdown intended for a magazine collection.
Another challenge was finding a decent prep place because majority of the hotels were closed. Irene recalled that her friend’s sister had a decent resort in Muntinlupa and so we immediately visited the place. We booked it right away after seeing that the place can accommodate the entire entourage and still have room to observe social distancing.
How did you feel on your wedding day?
We felt so very blessed and more in-love (kilig!) during the day of the wedding. We are both thankful for the opportunity to celebrate our 25th anniversary milestone along with our family and friends despite the pandemic.
What are some of the lessons you learned as your planned the wedding?
No matter the size of the wedding whether small or big, it is important to have a wedding coordinator. We thought that since we are having a simple and small celebration that we can already take care of the coordination ourselves. It turns out otherwise. There were some things that did slip through the cracks during the event though nothing major. But nonetheless, such things could have been prevented if a coordinator was around.
In this time of pandemic, there is no need to be grand with the event. What is important is to receive God’s blessing. Enjoy the moment of getting married again devoid of any extravagant or fancy stuff. Guests will understand small inconveniences such as the lack of air conditioning at the church as it was the recommended approach during this time. We also made do without flowers in the church because the church itself was already stunning without decors.
Pray hard for protection and safety for the event and always implement health protocols from start to end of the event. Guests should always were masks and face shields. We bought extra masks and shields for those who forgot to bring one
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You can also watch Edwin and Irene's Love Wins Live Forum episode where they talk about their wedding here.
The Dream Team
Church: St. Jerome Emiliani and Sta. Susana Parish | Prep place: Jardin de Katrina Resort | Reception: Quidos Grill | Gown and suit: Simoun Andres | Photo video: Ralph Alejandrino Photography and Video Productions | Fabric Flowers: Jennifer Mendoza | White dress and mask: Abba Garcia | Entourage hair and makeup team: Irene Manigo: Professional Makeup Artist | Photo booth: SmileandPose Photobooth | Mobile bar (Soberclub): Ryan Dave Maagma | Emcee: Alvin Delos Reyes | Cake: Irene Manigo: Professional Makeup Artist | Giveaways: Cake Potions MNL