'We knew deep down that our wedding would still happen and that our marriage would be blessed'
“We are not the youngest couple to marry,” says Lorrie Anne A. Pelaez. She and now husband Christopher Delfin L. Organo “swiped right” in 2015 after months of messaging which eventually turned to dates, and then to forever. “The Universe brought us to each other rather ‘late’, but we believe God is always on time,” Loren says. The two met in their late 30’s and after five years, they were set to tie the knot.
However their wedding date was just two weeks after the global pandemic was officially declared. But it seems that Chris and Loren’s belief in God’s timing would ring true even in their road to marriage. “We knew deep down that our wedding would still happen and that our marriage would be blessed.”
Below, Loren shares their seven tips for planning a pandemic wedding, including being understanding of everyone involved, and the surefire secret to enjoying your wedding, hiring a coordinator. Read her interview below!
What was your original wedding plan?
Chris proposed in 2018, and our original wedding date was March 28, 2020 (right after the pandemic was declare). We had planned for 150-170 guests. Most of our immediate family, principal sponsors and entourage were all flying in from all over. We had to decide about 2 weeks before the wedding. When we finally locked in a new date (December 28, 2020), we had to strictly reduce our headcount to 50 due to Covid restrictions and safety reasons.
What were the challenges you encountered?
Pre-Covid, wedding preparations were actually going smoothly as we did our research, went to countless wedding fairs, and joined a very helpful online community. However, everything was at a standstill when the pandemic broke. Since we had to postpone the wedding, it felt as if we were back to square one. We needed to reach out to all the suppliers for a resolution, so be patient with yourself and with them. While all the invitations were sent and rings engraved, we did not redo them anymore, especially the latter, to remind us of our commitment to each other in making this wedding happen no matter what.
How did you handle the challenges?
As a couple, we had to surrender to God’s love and mercy. His plans are better than ours. We knew everything had a reason, and we know deep down that our wedding will still happen, and our marriage will still be blessed. Believe it or not, we managed to book all our original suppliers for the new wedding date (except for the HMUA I booked who already had an existing booking). It was a matter of also understanding the plight of other people not just our own, as this pandemic was unprecedented to say the least. Also, had to have resolve in managing all these moving pieces, and make sure we tracked our progress in this Wedding Checklist we prepared to keep us focused and grounded.
How did you feel on your wedding day?
While Chris and I felt very excited, we were also surprisingly calm. It was a general sense of relief that all hard work and planning will materialize. Our hashtag could not be more correct–#ChrisLorenFINALLLY. (P.S. Chris says other than those feelings, he was likewise scorching underneath his coat barong!)
What are your tips for soon-to-weds?
Pray and surrender. This might sound like cliché but you need to live and believe that God’s plans are way better than what you had ever anticipated. We can only imagine what the would-be married couples are going through right now. Our hearts got out to them for sure. That said, we are rooting for them all the date changes, supplier challenges, etc will be all worth it at the end. Also, count your blessings, and more will follow, usually in the most unexpected ways.
Talk to each other. This pandemic is taking a toll on everyone, and you do not have to be the bubbly bride or the confident groom all the time. As you plan for your big day, assess how you and your partner are growing in maturity as a couple, and take time to appreciate and comfort each other. Adversity will make you stronger together. Also, all this will make for a great story to reminisce with each other or tell your children/grandkids of ‘love in the time of Covid’.
Get help. If you can set aside budget for even just an On-the-Day Coordinator team, go for it. You can thank us later. No amount of planning can make you thoroughly enjoy your big day if you do not relinquish control to your wedding coordinators or family members you trust. Remember, this day will be fleeting. It will go by so fast, and the last thing you would want is to worry and fuss about each detail.
Trust begets trust. Your suppliers will be right there with you and make them feel like you believe that they will execute as stated in your contract. Have positive talks and messages, and realize they are operating at such extraordinary times. We made sure to prepare meals and the ‘Survival Kit’ for all our suppliers (a nice eco bag with water, snacks, candy, etc) as we want them to also enjoy their work day. In turn, do not be surprised if they work with professionalism and ease.
Health 101. If you started a closed group or a group chat online, do overcommunicate to your expected attendees on the health protocols (i.e. wearing of masks/shield, social distancing). Encourage them to bring their own hand sanitizers and take extra precaution in finding ways to get to the church and venue. That said, we also planned for our wedding favors to be ‘pandemic-proof’ via BC Fragrances’ elegant and chic 3-bottle kit for hand sanitizer, hand soap and hand moisturizer (a hit with all our guests!).
Take a breather. You will get fatigued and stressed out at some point planning for this pandemic wedding, so be kind to yourself. Take breaks and always involve your significant other. You are in this together!
Remember the bigger picture. Oprah said, “a wedding is just a day, but a marriage is a lifetime”. Your wedding day will be one of the most unforgettable moments, but always remember to look at the bigger picture and prepare to live out your vows in your union. Personally, when I saw my groom down the aisle shedding happy tears, I was all set. Everything else was just details.
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The Dream Team
Church: Mary the Queen Parish | Venue: Sampaguita Gardens | Photography by Timoteo Photo | Videography by Supermac | Bridal gown by Bryan Peralta Designs | Groom's Coat Barong by Charito S. Alunan Embroideries | Glam Team: Bela Maraña Makeup | Coordination by Sweet Beginnings Event Management | Lights and Sounds by MicLink Lights and Sound Rental | Catering by Hizon's | Grazing Table by Cocktails Manila | Flowers by Dangwa Florist | Photobooth by PixlPop Photobooth | Souvenirs by BC Fragrance | Invitations by Neonovelties