'The happy part was the dream every little girl has: find the perfect man and marry him' –Sab
By Joaquin Reloj
On September 22, 2020, Virgilio Clark Ignacio III and Sara Elizabeth Balid held their rustic-themed wedding ceremony and reception at Be Hotels and Resorts Mactan. They were able to celebrate the culmination of their love in the midst of a pandemic while taking all the necessary precautions.
“Serendipity. I knew it from the moment I saw you, when my day was meant to start out one way but ended up leading me to you. I believe that the universe pushes two people together, draws you to the other half of yourself.” These were Sab’s words as she shared the narrative of her love story with Clark.
The newlyweds first met in the summer of 2018 when Sab took her holiday trip to Cebu with her colleagues, and to take some time to catch up with her cousin. They were never formally introduced to each other really. Rather, they met by chance in a crowded and uncompromising bar one night.
“We briefly engaged in small talk as my friends and I were already calling it a night, we were leaving for Bantayan Island the next morning. I didn’t expect anything from him but boy was I smitten.” Sab confessed, wishing she could’ve gotten to know the tall, shy, and soft-spoken moreno guy more that night.
Fortunately, Sab found out that Clark was a friend of her cousin. Through him, Sab and Clark were able to connect and become friends on social media where they communicated constantly. When Sab came back from Bantayan Island and had a flight to Manila, Clark wasted no time and asked her to go out on a date sometime. Sab, without hesitation, agreed.
“There was just something different about this guy, and I had a strange feeling he would be sticking around for a long time. I know it sounds cliche, I know it’s the kind of thing you hear in romantic movies and novels, but it was the truest thing I’ve ever known.”
After weeks of talking, Clark took a flight to Manila to visit and that’s when they made their relationship official. The long-distance relationship was never an issue for the couple since Clark would always find the time to visit Sab every now and then.
“It’s been two years since that first date. Love finds you when you least expect it. Saying yes to him is still one of the best decisions I have ever made in my entire life. He’s my best friend and support system, constantly guiding me with his patience and strength. I absolutely have no clue what I would do without him. At the end of the day, we just know that as long as we have each other everything is somehow going to be okay.”
Their wedding was far from the original plan they had envisioned pre-COVID on the long shores of Panglao, Bohol, surrounded by white sand and crystal clear waters. Nonetheless, the couple was still very happy despite the little struggles they experienced while preparing for their wedding.
“The happy part was the dream every little girl has: find the perfect man and marry him; designing your own wedding is a dream come true. I was also excited to see family and a select group of friends I was not able to see since the pandemic started. The struggling aspect of planning a wedding during this time was the selections and hands-on experience. There was not a lot of selections and choices.”
The couple had to do everything online which took out the experience of personally making sure that everything was perfect for their wedding. They also would have preferred having the traditional pre-wedding festivities such as a bachelorette party and rehearsal dinner, but they decided against it due to the pandemic.
The biggest challenge they faced was the limited source of suppliers as well as finding the perfect venue since most of the hotels and restaurants in Cebu were closed. But, despite all of this, the couple pushed through, trusted the process, and thought positive for the best outcome.
During their wedding ceremony, they felt both excitement and nervous energy. But, more than that, they were also hoping and praying for everyone’s safety. When asked whether they were planning to have a bigger wedding celebration in the future, Sab provided this answer:
“An intimate wedding is definitely my preference. Would love to renew my vows to my husband in 10 to 20 years just the way we did it the first time. Just to show we still have that amazing spark.”
For the other couples who are also planning to get married during the pandemic, the newlyweds suggest that they focus more on practicality and safety for themselves and their guests. “The intimacy set up for a wedding, especially with the immediate family and closest friends as guests, is the most practical way to hold a wedding ceremony during this pandemic. With this, we are able to follow the most necessary health protocols without sacrificing the blissfulness of marriage. I would say it’s okay to get married at this time.”
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The Dream Team
Photography: Wildfolks Studios | Videography: RR Films | HMUA: Jay R Abella | Styling: StylelikeAi | Venue Stylist: Lord Aljas | Emcee: Romel Abella | Invitations and menu cards: FairPrints Design