Weddings That Inspire

The Lord of the Rings Intimate Wedding in Tagaytay

Knowing the Lord's plan plus the right person is enough certainty in marriage for these uncertain times

Harry Rodriguez and Francesca Rosella Pagdilao met as students at the Conservatory of Music in UST and began their love story while they were making their way through young adulthood. The couple started a band while they were dating and after a few years together, they broke up “to figure some things apart”. But one fateful night in February 2018, Harry and Cucay were at the same place at the same time and they immediately got back together. “So it only felt right to have our wedding day three years after that night,” Cucay says.

Harry and Cucay’s intimate garden wedding was held at Le Jardin Rosella Events Place, Tagaytay on February 6, 2021. On that day Cucay says “We felt overjoyed and extremely grateful. We felt blessed beyond imagination. It was perfect and it felt as if from that day forward, only goodness and blessing will follow.”

Below, Cucay shares how she avoided the stress of planning their wedding (they only had a month and a half!) and how the bride and groom arranged a surprise for their families at the reception.

What was your wedding plan?

We were planning on 2022 but we moved it to earlier this year because we already wanted to begin building the future we envisioned together and start our own family. We both knew that we've already built a strong enough foundation through the years that we found no more reasons to delay. We felt ready both individually and as a couple and we just found it to be the perfect time. Another important reason is because we both wanted to celebrate our every milestone with our families and our loved ones. We originally planned a Christian wedding but because we lacked preparation time, what we did was that we incorporated the solemnity and blessing of a Christian wedding into our civil wedding. 

What did you find to be the most challenging part of wedding planning?

The most challenging was the uncertainty of the lockdown dates. First, because family members are from abroad, and second because it was a destination wedding in Tagaytay. We chose a date when the lockdown was lifted so that our families could make it, but unfortunately flights were suddenly cancelled again a week before the wedding. We missed some family members during our special day, but thanks to technology we were able to celebrate with them via pre-taped video messages and zoom. Another challenge was time because the wedding was only planned and prepared in barely a month. 

Related: Fine Dining Intimate Wedding in Tagaytay

How did you work around the challenges?

Two of my best friends (Natasha Kintanar and Crista Firme) decided that I shouldn't stress over my wedding day, so they convinced different barkadas of mine to surprise me with a lovely ceremony complete with setup and the flowers. They also orchestrated some designs and details in the reception to fit the theme that they knew I had always wanted for the wedding, which is The Lord of the Rings. They also helped work on table pegs, the fonts of the place cards to match that of Tolkien's elven and runic fonts, the hair jewels that I wore, the cake with the elven leaves... They even agreed to host the reception. They took a lot of the load in the planning that it felt like our only responsibility was to show up on our wedding day and have fun. We truly appreciate all the effort they put in making it such a special celebration.

Our respective businesses and backgrounds helped us plan our wedding day. Harry is in the catering and food concessionaire business while I am in the events and venue rental business. We are also both musicians. Because we have handled events together in the past, we already have a roster of suppliers and already knew who we wanted to contact for our big day.

Our wedding venue. Our venue Le Jardin Rosella Events Place made it very easy for us to plan because it offered the space we needed to hold every part our celebration there. With five gardens as well as accommodations all within the area, the place was maximized and communication was very easy for everyone involved in the celebration.

Related: An Intimate Silver Wedding Anniversary Celebration

Our reliable coordinator, Miss Vet Lauzon. With less than a month's preparation, we can only do so much and entrust the weaving together of all the day's details seamlessly with the help of a professional coordinator. She ensured that the program flow for both ceremony and reception went smoothly, she coordinated with our suppliers, she made me one comfortable and stress free bride from beginning to end.

God's guidance and direction! I think the most important thing that got us through was praying as a couple and asking God's wisdom for the direction we are taking and for every decision we are making together. The Stronger Marriage counselling we attended at Victory also prepared us for what's beyond the wedding day and made us remember to value the marriage more than the wedding.

Tell us about the gender reveal that you had at your reception, was it a surprise?

We held a surprise for both our families by having a gender reveal. No one suspected it so we knew it would be a fun addition to the celebration right before we ended the reception.  We waited for our parents to finish their speeches before we revealed the box by suspending it from the tent ceiling. Everyone was thrilled, we did a little guessing game and a countdown before the big reveal. We are having a girl! 

What’s your advice to couples planning their wedding?

Fight uncertainty with certainty. During a pandemic, almost everything is uncertain--our most thought out plans, the time we have with loved ones and friends, our finances, even our chosen wedding date is subject to the rules and implementations during a pandemic. It's hard to plan with all these uncertainties, but if you know the certainty of the Lord's promise and plan, and you are certain with the person that is to be your spouse, then you already have the perfect wedding right there, and everything else just becomes a bonus. So, fight the uncertainty with certainty and go for it–while observing necessary health protocols, of course!

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The Dream Team

Venue: Le Jardin Rosella Events Place, Tagaytay | Coordination: Vet Lauzon | Sound System: Marvz Felix of High Fidelity Audio Solution | Catering: K by Cunanan | Music: Manila String Machine | Bride’s ceremony dress: Happy Andrada | Rings: Ty Po Huat Goldsmith | Flowers: La Portoflora Flowers | Hair and makeup: Edz Diomampo | Photographer: Christian de Leon | Videographer and SDE: Julius Rafanan of 24 Frames Wedding Films and Photography | Invitation: Aaron Pagdilao | Cake: The Noodle Bakes | Gender Reveal Box: Piñata ni Maya | Tents: Tent Master | Crew meals: Von Appetit Food House