‘Keep your eyes on whatever goal you have for the wedding you want’
By Misha Fabian
The digital space has evolved exponentially over the last few decades. With various platforms and apps popping up, you can find virtually anything you need. Nowadays, you can even use the Internet to meet friends and find love. You can also plan your entire wedding online, which is exactly what Josiah Escareal Gosingtian Jr. and Mindy Sharmane Molina did.
How Juju Met Mindy
Five years ago, a slightly nervous Juju headed over to the Curator in Makati to meet a similarly antsy Mindy for coffee. The two of them had met on Tinder, and it was their first meeting after exchanging messages for a while. Little did they know that they would eventually end up tying the knot. Coffee then turned into an acoustic gig, and their first date eventually led to a second, then a third, then a fourth, until it became too many to count. Before they knew it, they were already spending a lot of time together.
Soon, Mindy also began spending a lot of time with Juju’s family. This was particularly special for her because most of her immediate family lives in the US, and Juju and his family helped lessen her solitude in Manila. After a while, it became apparent to Mindy that Juju would be the one she would marry someday, and she even took him to meet her family in the US back in 2017. Fast forward to 2021, when Mindy made plans to visit her family in Los Angeles, she decided to bring Juju with her.
Since the two were planning a trip to Los Angeles, Mindy very casually asked Juju if he wanted to get married there. Without missing a beat, Juju said yes, and they were engaged. They didn’t have rings at the time, so to prepare for their wedding, Juju read up on engagement and wedding rings and decided to have them ready before their trip.
The Surprise Wedding
When Mindy and Juju arrived in LA, wedding preparations were in full swing. Mindy’s sister had found a service called “1-Hour Marriage” on Yelp, and they signed up for that after reading the many good reviews. The pandemic had made it difficult for many couples to get married because of heightened restrictions, and a lot of the slots for weddings were being taken by other couples who wanted to tie the knot. Luckily for Mindy and Juju, the package included a marriage license, a simple civil ceremony, and a certified copy of the marriage certificate, which made it incredibly convenient for them to get married. Their goal was to make the wedding as fuss-free and inexpensive as possible but ensure that it was still meaningful.
While their planning process may have been quick, Juju and Mindy still took great pains in ensuring that their day was picture perfect. Juju recalls never having owned a proper watch before his wedding, and he decided that the wedding was the perfect time for him to get one. He found one online that would be shipped just before they tied the knot, and it came just in time. Juju wore a dark, navy blue suit and a matching vest, which he had bought initially for a cosplay project. Mindy, on the other hand, wore a dress that she had ordered online–a white, strapless dress with a mullet skirt.
When all of the details were locked in, planning the rest of the intimate wedding became a breeze. Mindy’s sister, Sarah, took charge of the food and decorations. Mindy and Juju spent one whole day travelling from Target, Walmart, and Trader Joe’s to buy everything they needed. Mindy even picked out her own flowers from Trader Joe’s and arranged them herself the night before the wedding. On the day itself, Mindy did her own makeup and completed her look with a tiara she had ordered from Etsy. Her crafty, DIY bouquet turned out beautiful and it brought her bridal attire together.
Intimate DIY Wedding
On the day of their intimate wedding, both Mindy and Juju were very relaxed. While it is tradition for the groom and bride not to see each other before the wedding, there wasn’t much they could do about it considering Mindy was the one who was driving them to the wedding venue. However, even that was part of what made the wedding truly special. They had planned everything according to their tastes, and all that was left to do was tie the knot.
The couple didn’t have a pre-Covid wedding plan in place. Juju hadn’t even proposed before the pandemic began. However, Mindy always thought that she would get married in the Philippines. In her plan, her family would fly in, all her friends would be there, and Juju’s family would be present. They didn’t predict that they would be married in 2021, and they certainly didn’t predict the pandemic. However, things turned out for the better, and they were still glad that their wedding happened the way it did.
In fact, Mindy got the wedding that she really wanted. She had been dismayed at times by brides who would talk about their weddings like it was something that they had to get out of the way, and she felt that having a bigger wedding may have brought more stress and more challenges along their way. By having an intimate celebration, they were able to lessen the stress and keep the occasion special. The two also credit one another as each other’s support system, with Juju saying: “I just had to make sure I was there for her, and that I was flexible. I didn’t want to be a stressor, and if I could relieve any of her stress, that was a win.”
Mindy and Juju say that they would have a Church wedding in the future with their friends and other family members. However, what matters most is that they’re already married, and they will be celebrating their life together as much as they can.
As for their advice for other couples getting married during a pandemic, this is what they had to say:
Juju: Spend on what’s important, then appreciate and celebrate the little things you’re able to achieve. You don’t have to be obsessed with perfection and suffer on the way. I’d rather be happy on the way to something that’s good enough, because that will always have the potential to be better. The wedding is just a single day, a drop in a bucket of the rest of your lives together. Use it to set the tone, then let the waves carry you to your new future. But before you get married, make sure you share as many values as possible. Whether you actually get married or not, it’s the best foundation to start with.”
Mindy: “Logistically speaking, if you want a small wedding, but are shy to give out a very short invite list during this time, don’t be. People are highly understanding of circumstances, and would still be there for you in many ways (social media greetings, Zoom, etc). Keep your eyes on whatever goal you have for the wedding you want (for it to be meaningful, for it to be happy, for it to be full of love), and make it a point not to forget the goal and lose sight of it because of the nitty-gritty of the planning. No matter how the wedding day goes, the point of it is to celebrate the marriage ahead, which is what ultimately matters.”
Mindy and Juju’s wedding story is testament to how love surpasses all obstacles. Despite the pandemic, the couple was able to focus on their wedding and their love for each other, and those two things were what carried them through despite such a trying time.
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The Dream Team:
Officiant: 1-Hour-Marriage | Rings: JMA Jewelry | Groom’s suit: H&M | Groom’s shoes: Pedro | Groom’s Watch: Avail | Dress: David’s Bridal | Tiara: Allure Wedding Jewelry on Etsy | Bridal shoes: Senso | Bouquet: Trader Joe’s | Venue: Almansor Park