Weddings That Inspire

Dex and Joy: Tinghun and Wedding in One Day

This couple managed to honor traditions and tie the knot safely after adjusting their wedding plans four times

For Dex Ong and Joy Co, almost a year's worth of planning was thrown off course. But it was two big events that they needed to figure out: their tinghun ceremony and their wedding day. Traditionally, these two celebrations should not be set on the same day. But because these are different times, their families thought it best and wise that the couple schedule it in one day to lessen everyone's exposure.

Interestingly it was Dex who was on top of readjusting their plans--especially when the couple was forced into plan D so to speak. "It was like preparing for three weddings!" he jokes. After all the couples rescheduling and rebooking, the Ongs look back at their two-in-one day with pride. "A grand wedding of course is the dream wedding but it is not necessarily a perfect wedding. We’re proud to say that our wedding was a perfect intimate wedding."

Scroll down to see more of Dex and Joy's tinghun ceremony and wedding, and find out how they managed to pull both events of beautifully in their own words.

Photos courtesy of Joy Co-Ong and by Toto Villaruel

The Dream Team:

Makeup artist: Lindsay Co-Alog | Grooming: Iya Gueco | Gown: Vee Tan |
Suit: Bianca Cordero | Bride’s Shoes: Shoepatos by Doreen Odvina | Groom’s Shoes: Bristol Shoes | Photographer: Toto Villaruel | Videographer: Project Mayo 7 | Styling: Majic Touch Event | Bouquet: Gary Dacanay | Coordinator: Dex Ong, Tris with Love, and Christine Ong Te Events

Do you know a couple planning their tinghun ceremony and wedding? Send them this story!

Related: Fourth and Grizelle: We Just Can't Wait!

Our original plan was to get married in June 2020. We also had a separate tinghun ceremony which was supposed to be held on March 2020. But then, the pandemic happened and there was a wave of ECQs which were announced every fifteen days. We initially moved our tinghun to May, however, the ECQ got extended, so we decided to go with a two-in-one ceremony on 27 June 2020. Again, things did not go according to plan because our documents were still not ready, so we finally settled with 8 August 2020. It was all set to be held at China Blue, Conrad Hotel so we were actually quite excited when President Duterte initially announced that Metro Manila will be under GCQ for August 1-15, 2020. But then, on the evening of 2 August 2020, the President announced that Metro Manila will revert back to MECQ from August 4-18. We were crushed. Good thing Dex stepped up his game. We decided to push through with August 8 moving the whole event in his house.
Our main objective was to execute both events as safely as possible. Since we had to follow some traditions, we asked for a little leeway from our parents. Usually, a tinghun and a wedding should not be celebrated in one day. However, we had to adjust so that our exposure will be minimized. Luckily, our parents agreed to the idea of celebrating the two events in one day.
There were quite a number of pros in having a 2-in-1 celebration. The most important part of course was our safety. Instead of going out twice, our exposure was cut down to just one day. Second, it was definitely cheaper. We just had to handle one set of suppliers instead of two. Third, since we had to cut down on the number of people present, the events were really intimate and more personal, something that a grand wedding usually lacks. As for the cons, the only con that we can think of was we weren’t able to share this milestone with our relatives and friends. However, Dex was able to arrange a livestream with some of our relatives and close friends on Zoom and Facebook.
Dex: It was like preparing for 3 weddings! Before the pandemic came, we started preparing for our March 2020 tinghun and June 2020 wedding last July 2019. We had the luxury of time to prepare for everything so we didn’t really had a hard time coming up with concepts and ideas. When the first ECQ was announced, we were still quite hopeful that the June wedding will still push through and that the tinghun could still push through by May. However, when it was announced that the ECQ/MECQ would be extended until end of May, we had no choice but to postpone both tinghun and wedding alike.
We had an extra hard time in moving the events because we had to consult a feng shui master whether the next date would be auspicious. Moreover, we also weren’t sure whether all our booked suppliers would be available on the next date. This was actually the hardest part of rescheduling both celebrations. Luckily, all our suppliers were available on our next chosen date.
I only had 5 days to prepare everything again. Luckily, I know quite a number of friends who do catering and so I was able to pick one for our date. Fortunately, all our suppliers were still willing to push through despite the MECQ. Since it was all moved to our place already, we just had to do some extra sanitation procedures (wearing of face masks and shields, using UV light and air purifier to disinfect the whole house) to be sure that the venue is safe for everyone.
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We followed all the traditions being done in a tinghun. Giving out juice and candies, bride walking backwards, exchanging of gifts, etc were all done. It was all prepared by our tinghun coordinator, Tinghun Tris, who incidentally is also Dex’s friend. The only thing we didn’t follow was to invite elders since seniors were not allowed to go out. We were only 10, consisting of our immediate family as “guests” for both celebrations.
We had a civil wedding at home. The documents were prepared last June when NCR was placed under GCQ. Our original coordinator, Christine Ong Te Events, helped us in securing the necessary documents.
As for the day flow of the events on the said date, Dex was the one who designed everything. Dex was in cahoots with Joy’s best friend who told her that she won’t able to come but surprised her with her attendance. The setup of the wedding was also a surprise for Joy since she only knew that we will “recycle” the backdrop of the tinghun ceremony. Joy didn’t know about the livestream either. She was surprised when someone Dex hired, approached her and mentioned that her colleagues and close friends were watching over Zoom and Facebook. Lastly, Dex was able to have one of their favorite aritists, Moira dela Torre, sing a few lines from Ikaw at Ako as the couple danced to their first dance as a married couple.
Joy: My best friend suddenly arrived out of nowhere while the videographer was filming my preparations was memorable. I cried my heart out because I really wanted her to be present on my wedding day. The exchanging of vows was also memorable because we cried at every sentence we uttered.
Dex: The exchanging of vows was really memorable for me. The content was really moving and we cried continuously for maybe 10 minutes. Of course, I was really content knowing that she really liked my surprises.
Just stick with the basics. We can’t emphasize this enough. A grand wedding of course is the dream wedding but it is not necessarily a perfect wedding. We’re proud to say that our wedding was a perfect intimate wedding. We actually recommend having an intimate wedding because it is more personal and practical. In all honesty, the presence of your partner, respective families, and closest friends are enough.
There is no need for an extravagant wedding. What you need to prepare for is the marriage. The wedding is just one day while the marriage is for the rest of your lives. There will be disagreements about preparations because there are expectations from both families and friends, but what’s important is the decision of the couple. Set aside what other people will think, because you can’t please everyone. Just focus on each other’s feelings. Your love for each other is the most important thing and it should always prevail.