Weddings That Inspire

Den and Ems - Dainty Tarlac Civil Wedding

'The most important factor is not the guests and the celebration, but the two of you'

Adrian Dennis Vega and Emmy Lou Sicangco fell in love at their workplace, while working for the mayor of Tarlac. Almost like the script of a movie or TV show, Den and Ems’ officemates would matchmake the special projects consultant and chief human resource management officer respectively–including the mayor herself. “She eventually was the one who officiated our wedding.”

Den pursued Em for four years without wavering, something Em could not overlook. After two months of becoming official, Den proposed to Em and both knew that they years they had spent together was more than enough to confirm that they wanted the matchmaking to reach the altar.

On January 30, 2021, Den and Ems had an intimate garden civil wedding at Westwood Farm Tarlac with just 50 of their closest relatives and friends. Though it was a challenge to cut down their guest list, they now also enjoyed the beauty of an intimate wedding. “During our wedding, almost everyone got up to say something about us, since everyone knew us and played a part in our story,” Ems says.

Below Ems talks about how they planned their civil wedding.

Tell us about your love story.

We met at work. Den was one of our then new mayor’s trusted people, so he was designated to supervise one department where he requested to reassign me. After a few months, we became the subject of teasing, as Den was a known bachelor and I was known to have not had a boyfriend since birth. Even our boss, the mayor, joined in the matchmaking. She eventually was the one who officiated our wedding.

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Den pursued me for a really long time, despite several rejections. And I guess that’s what I admire most about him. Most of the suitors I had before easily gave up, but not Den. After almost four years of courtship, we became official, but we were only boyfriend and girlfriend for two months when he proposed for marriage, to which I said yes in a heartbeat, since the four years of courtship was enough for me—for us—to decide that it is in each other’s company we’d like to grow old with.

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What was the theme or motif for your wedding?

There was no exact theme, but we wanted it to look classic, classy, and dainty. We wanted it to look clean, so we asked all our guests to wear white, which was easily achieved, since we only had 50 guests. We also wanted it to look like an intimate backyard dinner, so we pushed for a long table set-up with a lot of lights and a grandiose table arrangement.

Was this your original plan? Did you have to change your plans?

The original plan was to have a wedding at a beachfront venue. We were already talking to a couple of beachfront venues but opted to abandon the prospect, as the logistics would really be difficult because of quarantine restrictions and travel protocols at that time.

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What were the challenges you encountered?

The biggest challenge we had was how to trim down our guests to 50 people. That’s the most difficult part for us, as we have a lot of family and friends whom we thought had to be in our wedding, and it was sad for us not to have invited them, again because of the pandemic. But changing the wedding date was not an option for us, so we said we’ll have a church wedding when we can already hold big gatherings.

How did you feel during your wedding?

Mixed emotions, but more of happiness. The planning part up to the preps was stressful, but during the big day, the stress just went away as we saw everything unfold and perfectly fall into place. As for me, a lot of surprises happened leading to our wedding (surprise proposal party; surprise birthday party and send-off by our colleagues, thrown by non other than our boss, the mayor; surprise bridal shower organized by my mom; bridal shower thrown by friends) and more during the wedding (my brother arranged for one of my favorite singers, OJ Mariano, to sing one of my favorite songs, “Bless the Broken Road,” during the wedding, which led me and my friends to  tears).

The most memorable for me was my brother’s surprise. For Den, it was the bridal walk and the vows.

Do you have advice for couples planning their intimate wedding?

Our advice is to just push through with the wedding. The most important factor is not the guests and the celebration, but the two of you. Your love for each other and your desire to be with each other are what matter most, not the guests nor the celebration. Also, there is so much beauty in intimate wedding celebrations. You get to be with people who really know you and whom you really know and have become a part of your love story. During our wedding, almost everyone got up to say something about us, since everyone knew us and played a part in our story. An added bonus is that you can ensure what your guests would wear, since you only have a few people to talk to and remind. We even had the luxury of checking almost everyone’s outfit to make sure they follow our dress code.

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The Dream Team

Styling and full coordination by Bluemoon Feté | Photography by Mango Red Studios | Videography by Pinwheel Studios |  Venue: Westwood Farm Tarlac | Catering by Café Isabela Cuisines and Steaks | Bridal dress by Frederick Policarpio | Groom’s suit by Paolo Lazaro | Hair and makeup by Justified by Justin Patrick Salvador | Acoustic band: Kiro | Lights and sounds by Rajos Multimedia | Emcee: Guian Aiko Quita Bolarde of Bluemoon Feté 

*Special thanks to Guian Aiko Quita Bolarde for submitting this story