'The highlight of our wedding was how God showed His plan was still better than ours'
By Joaquin Reloj
Amid the prolonged global pandemic, Raymond Christian Caballeros Kiok and Dinky Mary-Del Fernandez Jao surpassed the struggles of the current circumstances and celebrated their intimate wedding on June 7, 2021. The Hills at Silang was where both the ceremony and the reception were held surrounded by their closest loved ones, making the day all the more special.
The newlyweds first locked eyes five years ago surrounded by the scenic views of La Union. The couple came from very different backgrounds, but one thing that drew them closer together was their definite fondness for the beach—the sands, the waters, and everything in between. The shared penchant they had for the coasts would slowly, but surely, bring their love for each other into fruition.
Ironically enough, it wasn’t at a beach where their relationship developed but more so in the middle of the long drives on the way to their destination—wherever it may be. “Over the years, we learned more about each other during road trips (mostly to the beach) until we decided to take it to the next level after 2 years of dating,” the couple recalled affectionately.
In August 2020, Raymond popped the big question. Of course, he got down on one knee with Dinky’s family there to witness the occasion. It was definitely a grand gesture of his absolute love for Dinky, which ultimately paved the way to their very intimate wedding. More importantly, the couple says they owe their relationship to the plan that God has in store for them.
“We believe our relationship wouldn’t be possible if God hadn’t intervened and orchestrated everything,” explained the couple. Oftentimes, the things that seemingly fall perfectly into place—whether it’s the biggest or smallest of coincidences—are actually all according to the grand scheme of things. Just imagine, it only took a fairly simple mutual interest for two individuals from completely different backgrounds to grow a love that will now last a lifetime.
Raymond and Dinky had already planned to get married before the pandemic hit but they just didn’t have a definite timeline yet. When various restrictions from both the government and their suppliers came up, it made it more difficult for them to push through with their original plans. Still determined to tie the knot, the couple simply soldiered on and adapted to the changes that came their way.
The Kioks only had their immediate family along with a couple of their principal sponsors at the event. They obviously wanted to hold a beach wedding given the special place that the setting holds in their relationship. “Ideally, the venue for the ceremony and reception would be on a beach however due to the restrictions, we had to opt for a nearby out-of-town venue instead,” explained Raymond and Dinky.
March 30 was the original date for their wedding. Just a month before they were set to get married, however, they were forced to look for a new venue due to the restrictions on the capacity. They were successful in looking for a different venue, but their problems didn’t end there because this was when the regulations were in constant flux due to a surge.
“Once we found a new venue, a few weeks before our date, it was also announced that changes in restrictions wouldn’t allow us to push through on our target date. So after considering several new dates, we finally had our wedding two months after our original date on the 7th of June in The Hills at Silang,” said the newlyweds. It took them a total of nine months to plan their intimate wedding, including the postponement from their original plans.
While they weren’t able to have their dream beach wedding, their theme was definitely influenced by the environment that both of them loved. “Since we couldn’t have our beach wedding venue, we opted for a modern minimalist boho theme with mainly whites and neutrals with hints of rust and grays inspired by the beach.” If they couldn’t get to the beach, they simply went for the next best thing and manifested traces of it for their big day—from the looks to the overall vibe.
Aside from the constant changes in venues, dates, and restrictions, the newlyweds also stumbled across a few challenges during the big day.
“The rise of COVID19 cases also required us to take extra precautions including testing of suppliers on the day itself. Lastly, there was a sudden downpour of heavy rain 30 minutes prior to the wedding ceremony which forced us to move our ceremony from an outdoor garden venue to an indoor ceremony hall within a short span of time. The rain also affected the signal for the live stream which affected the viewership of those tuning in.”
Through all the stress they experienced in preparation for and during their wedding, their faith in God helped them weather through any adversity. Their family, friends, and spiritual group also played a vital role in making their wedding work.
“We put our full trust that He is in control of everything and we just hoped that the wedding would be a testament to His faithfulness. Even until the last minute when it started to rain, we were reminded that no matter how much we make plans, His plan is always better than ours. We decided that we would focus on the covenant we were about to make instead of the small hiccups we experienced and to simply experience the joy that God wanted to bless us on our wedding day.”
There were genuinely a lot of things going on during their wedding, but the couple felt a sense of inner peace and joy in the face of it all. They were eager, joyful, and grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate their intimate wedding with their closest loved ones. If they had to choose a focal point throughout their celebration, they believe “the highlight of our wedding was how God showed His plan was still better than ours.”
Deepening their understanding of each other as a couple and how they work and support one another, was one of the biggest takeaways they gained from planning their wedding. More importantly, they realized that they wouldn’t be able to achieve anything if God was not at the center of their relationship.
“We learned that God really works for the good of those who love him and through everything, though there were a lot of challenges, we learned that trusting in God’s plan always leads us to something much better than we had originally planned for.”
As for their advice for couples also planning to tie the knot during the pandemic: “ First, pray and ask God for His guidance and His will for your wedding. Then be ready to make a lot of adjustments along the way so be amenable to your plans and lastly, focus on the things that are truly important, the covenant you are about to make in front of your family, friends, and God. That is what is worth celebrating. Everything else is secondary.”
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The Intimate Wedding Dream Team
Coordination: Maxine Covar Events | Event Stylist: Moki Gray | Venue: The Hills at Silang | Caterer: K by Cunanan | Photo: Colove Studios | Video: Dream Real Cinema | Dress: Banggo Niu | Suit: Exclusively His Tailoring Alabang | HMUA: Jovan Maralit Make-up Artist | Lights and Sounds: JS Mina Soundsystem Rental | Tunnel Light: Tagaytay String Lights Rental | Grazing Table: Lady Marz | Livestream: iTarget Events