Weddings That Inspire

Mao and Ria - Classic City Wedding

‘Forget about what weddings are supposed to be. The most important thing is getting married’

Evenever Kwan and Ria Charmaine Gonzales were married on June 27, 2021 at the Shrine of St. Therese of Child Jesus Pasay after ten years of dating. “We knew we wanted to get married. It was just a question of when and how. Our engagement was a thoughtful and intentional discussion between the both of us,” recalls Ria. Their intimate wedding was followed by a reception at the Grand Ballroom of Marriott.

Below, Ria talks about why pushing through with their intimate wedding was one of the best decisions they made.

Can you tell us your love story? How did you meet and fall in love?

We met in college and were friends for three years before we got together. As time went on, we got along really well and spent our days talking. The more time, the more talking, the more shared experiences, and the closer we got. Thus the transition from friendship to relationship came naturally for us.

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Going through different stages in life together like school and work created irreplaceable memories and experiences that have shaped our relationship. After ten years of dating, we knew we wanted to get married. It was just a question of when and how. Our engagement was a thoughtful and intentional discussion between the both of us. To celebrate, we had a wonderful dinner with a beautiful view of Taipei. Even the ring was not a surprise but the moment was still magical.

Did you have a theme or motif for your wedding?

We didn’t really have a set theme for the wedding. We just wanted our entourage to wear classic colors so they’ll be able to wear them again and again.

Was this the original wedding plan? If no, what was the original plan? How is it different/what were the adjustments you made?

Our original plan was to get married on May 23, 2020 but as we all know, pandemic happened. We moved it to May 2, 2021 but due to spike in cases, we had to pick a new date again. Finally, our wedding pushed through last June 27, 2021. We also had to change venues since the chapel where we were supposed to get married was not yet allowed to hold weddings. 

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What were the challenges encountered during the wedding preparation?

The biggest challenge for us was picking a new wedding date based on the availability of both guests and suppliers while also considering updates in the government’s restrictions. Due to coronavirus, our wedding planning was all about making sure guests feel comfortable enough to show up in person for the ceremony. Health and safety of guests were the most important aspects of the plans.

How did you handle the challenges?

Although the prolonged planning period sometimes made it feel like we had no idea when we could actually get married, we are so glad that we made the decision to go ahead with the ceremony and reception. Some things were beyond our control so we just focused on the things we can change.

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How did you feel during the wedding?

Although not being able to have more friends or family was hard, we still had such a special day. We actually really enjoyed having a smaller wedding as it felt more intimate and less intense.

What were your most memorable moments from your wedding?

The unplanned moments and little wedding day surprises were some of the most cherished memories. I’m an emotional person most of the time but did not cry on our wedding day. I think pure bliss took over and kept tears at bay. We also had an impromptu program during the reception. It was short, sweet and heartfelt.

Do you have advice for other couples planning their wedding?

Forget about what weddings are supposed to be. The most important thing is getting married. No matter who is there or who is missing, the day will always be magical because you will be husband and wife by the end. Also, be prepared, follow the news closely, and maintain an open conversation with your suppliers and guests. Stay optimistic that your special day will come and you'll get to celebrate soon.

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The Dream Team

Church: Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus Pasay City | Reception venue: Marriott Grand Ballroom | Coordination by Canaan Celebrations by Jets & Rhona | Photography by Photography by Regina | Videography by Lucas & John Films | Makeup by Roge Bernaldez | Hair by Arvee Yadao | Bridal gown by That ONE Dress by NX | Groom’s suit by T.M. Lewin | Mother’s gowns by Marian Zara | Entourage gowns by Andrea Suarez Atelier | Bridal robe by Eve the Label | Bridal shoes by Nine West | Jewelry by Amy Dericks | Invitations by Print Divas | Bouquets by Shaz Events Styling and Production Co. | Music by Manila String Machine