Weddings That Inspire

Gio and Virg - Going the Distance

This couple moved up their wedding to get started on their forever as soon as possible

Jan-Oliver Villanueva and Virginia Banaag sweetly tied the knot in the same area where their love story began. On December 10, 2020, Gio and Virg held their intimate wedding at Shrine of Jesus, The Way, The Truth, and The Life followed by a reception at XO 46 Heritage Bistro S’Maison Conrad Hotel.

“We really pushed to have the ceremony and celebration in the area where we met,” Virg says. The couple met while working at Mall of Asia. The area witnessed many of their dates.

Gio proposed to Virg in October 2019 and though they first planned to wed in 2021, the couple moved up their wedding simply because they wanted to start their life together as soon as they could. So with just two months of planning, Gio and Virg put an ended to their “LDR” and instead got started with their forever.

Below, Virg talks about how they managed to pull off an intimate wedding with just two months of planning:

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What kind of wedding did you want to have?

What's interesting about our wedding is that we really pushed to have the ceremony and celebration in the area where we met. We met at work in Mall of Asia in 2015–a place where we also spent most of the getting-to-know-you dates so that place has been really significant for us.

I resigned and later on, he did also. That was when we could only meet during the weekend. We're happy that we survived given the distance (he lives in Parañaque, while I live in Pateros, which's 18KM apart). We always make sure to have vacation every year, so in October 2019 we flew to Hong Kong. Gio proposed to me in Central 9, Hong Kong, which was magical as I didn't expect it to happen!


We initially plan to have our wedding in 2021 but we decided to do it early because of the pandemic and the community quarantine. The distance has been a challenge, plus the ECQ, so we had a short LDR (as others for sure!). We only prepared our wedding in two months which really made it exciting and challenging at the same time.

Tell us about your wedding planning experience.

It was a great experience to plan our own wedding! I think it was quite easy since we only had a small wedding where we invited 25 people close to our hearts.

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Did you have a theme for your wedding?

No, we were really looking for a restaurant that wouldn't need many makeovers, and the veranda of XO Heritage restaurant in Conrad is a plus! 

What were the challenges encountered during the wedding preparation? 

The pressure and stress was more on the processing of documents. Really had to plan to be able to submit the requirements before the given deadline of the Church.

How did you handle the challenges? 

We really invested time in planning and going to different offices to complete the requirement. The value of teamwork really matters!

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How did you feel during your wedding?

Satisfied, grateful, and happy! We're thankful for the help and effort of our family to support us during that time. All pagod was worth it! And yes, we made our wedding memorable within our budget!

What were the highlights of the wedding? 

Us and the family who supported us! Plus the view of the venue!

What were the important things that you learned when planning for a wedding? 

It could be stressful but planning is the key! And it's okay if you do not hire coordinator as long as your family's there to help!

Advice for other couples who are planning to get married or will be getting in the time of a pandemic? 

Join Facebook groups for those who are planning to get married soon. The group or community will really help and will give you some tips to plan your dream wedding!

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The Dream Team

Church: Shrine of Jesus, The Way, The Truth, and The Life | Reception: XO 46 Heritage Bistro S’ Maison Conrad Hotel | Invitations by Invitations by Ten | Flowers by Accents & Petals | Photography by Story Snaps Studio | Jewelry by Avms.jewelry | Hotel: Selah Garden Hotel | Hair and makeup by Grace Delos Santos Makeup Artistry | Cake by Hearts and Bells

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