Weddings That Inspire

JJ and Mela - Keeping It Simple

When you have what you need, you can do away with fuss

By Misha Fabian

Sometimes, chance encounters can lead to something much bigger. Such was the case for Carmela Regina Villacorta and John Jacob Kaufman, who initially met during Mela’s high school fair. JJ, who was then a college freshman, was tasked with hosting the school fair, while Mela, who was then a high school senior, was one of the fair’s main organizers. JJ had asked Mela to stay with him backstage to troubleshoot any potential problems with the fair. Thankfully, there were none, and the two parted ways.

However, fate wasn’t done with them yet. Although the two didn’t keep in touch, they saw each other in Boracay that summer and ended up talking. From talking, they transitioned to dating, and they eventually ended up going to the same university. 10 years later, on their anniversary as boyfriend and girlfriend, the couple tied the knot.

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While the pandemic became the season for small, intimate weddings, Mela and JJ already knew that was what they wanted before the coronavirus was even a thing. JJ proposed in Boracay where they first hung out, and they immediately realized that this season was the best time for them to get married. Despite the uncertainty, they knew that they wanted to marry on June 4, their anniversary as boyfriend and girlfriend. With only three months to go, they got straight to planning.

While planning their wedding was a fun and fulfilling experience for the pair, they encountered a few challenges along the way. According to the couple, it was easy to get distracted with how others were executing their wedding celebrations, and they sometimes couldn’t help comparing and second-guessing their own plans. Additionally, they struggled with picking out who to invite. Their final guest list had a grand total of 16 people, and they felt guilty for not inviting some people who were very important to them.

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However, Mela and JJ handled it in stride. Their advice is to remember to stick to their original plan and their preferences. The wedding was to celebrate their union, after all. As long as they both had what they needed and wanted the most, things didn’t need to be complicated. That’s why when the wedding came along, they felt nothing but bliss and excitement. Even during on-the-day preparations were exciting, and there was no pressure whatsoever to get everything perfect. They felt at ease, and they felt like they could be themselves-- which made the day even more beautiful.

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Mela and JJ still plan to have an intimate ceremony and reception with the rest of their friends and family members. They’re targeting to have about 50 guests in Amorita, Bohol by January 2022. As for their advice for other couples getting married in the time of a pandemic: Keep it as simple as possible! Make a list of necessities and non-negotiables and always have an open mindset to whatever is thrown at you. It's your day as a couple and it goes by so quickly. Enjoy everything from the planning to the reception onwards.

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The Dream Team

Bridal dress by Ditta Sandico | Groom’s Barong by Exclusively His | Church Flowers: Flower Farm | Bride and MOH Bouquet: Flower Lovers | Photography by Matt Lee | Reception: Hapag MNL | Cake by Tilde Bakery | Makeup: Iya Gueco | Hair: Renzo Lusterio | Rings by La Elegancia Jewellery