Despite the challenges, the couple had the wedding of their dreams
Oscar F. Gironella III and Jessica Tamondong had been planning the wedding of their dreams since their engagement in October 2018. They were set on the perfect date, December 12, 2020. However as their Tokyo prenup shoot approached in March 2020, the pandemic that rocked the world threw a wrench in their plans as well.
The couple had to rearrange all their plans, including their prenup shoot which was relocated to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan, and their big day. To top it off, their original wedding venue turned into a warehouse because the grocery next to it burned down, and the family that owned both businesses had no other choice. Rising Covid cases also made the couple anxious.
Their next option was a Baguio wedding, but their date of choice was already taken. So Oscar, Senior High Principal, event stylist, and businessman and Jessica, Baguio City makeup artist, even stylist, and business woman, decided to hold their wedding in their hometown, Calasiao, Pangasinan.
Below, Oscar shares in his own words the rollercoaster ride of planning their wedding and how they managed to pull off this grand wedding of their dreams:
How did you come to the decision of throwing your wedding at your hometown?
With all the restrictions happening, our last option was to get married at home with just our family members. Getting married is not so easy. With all the things to prepare, I realized it is a bit tiring and sometimes could get stressful. But it's 100% fun. Imagine slowly building your dreams into reality. That should sound exciting! Just like how we felt during our planning for our dream wedding. But in just one snap, everything seemed to be breaking piece by piece. There must be nothing else that could make planning a wedding any more difficult, tiring, and stressful because the fun in it has faded. The excitement turned into worries and sleepless nights of crying not knowing when your wedding is going to happen or not.
All that we dreamed of for our big day has to let go. We had to change everything only for the sake that our union may happen. As we plan for the intimate wedding at home or in a small venue, we also planned to get married again somewhere in April 2021 for a hope for the better days to come. That our dream wedding may happen. So all our wedding suppliers were put on hold for months until September came, and things were slowly getting better. Our hopes were slowly getting back. And we just had to believe again! Our planning resumed in September through online meetings. Since most of our wedding suppliers were from Manila.
When we had our prenup shoot in Bataan, things happened so fast and we could already see that better days were ahead us. Sure, there were still a lot of problems arising but is was the Lord who made everything possible for us to pursue on our dream wedding to happen on the date we wanted, on 12-12-2020. It wasn't the original place we planned to have our prenup shoot but we know and believe that there would be no other place that would be more beautiful than to where we had it.
Have you always wanted a big wedding?
Since Jessica was a kid, she has long dreamed of a fairytale life. She is a princess at heart. My love for her made me want to fulfill that fairytale life. Along with it is a fairytale-like wedding. Since we graduated from college, we opened a business to prepare and save for our future. And alongside it is to make our dream wedding come true. We entered into the event industry since 2016, we do styling for any occasion and most of the time it was always a wedding event. Since then, we never stopped dreaming for our own wedding. Together we both built our dream wedding. But it was always Oscar who wanted to have a big wedding since we started dreaming. I (Jessica) just wanted to have a fairytale-like wedding, whether it's big or not.
What was the reason you decided to push for a “big” wedding despite the pandemic?
Along the planning, we were hesitant to push through the big wedding. We had plans of just getting married in the same original date (just to save our date) with a simple and intimate one. Then push through the big one in April 2021. But then, we realized we might just be prolonging the agony of waiting. The reasons why we planned for a small wedding were, first, people might not accept a big wedding during this pandemic. They might only judge us and receive bashers. Second was all the people who are dear to us might not be able to attend the wedding. But what pushed us to go through our dream wedding was it was really the Lord God who allowed it. We realized that when we move the big wedding to 2021, the stress of knowing all the arising covid cases all throughout will just always affect us. So to stop all the heartbreaks, we planned to just stick to the original plan, which we strongly believe God has for us.
How did you ensure safety throughout the whole process?
We made sure everyone who would be on our wedding day would feel safe. So we hired a safety team to do that for us. We knew we needed experts to ensure the safety of everyone. We had doctors to assess the people. We had all the suppliers take a swab test before they start working and before they enter the venue, even during the production itself. The day before the wedding, we had every suppliers take the swab test again to ensure safety. We also provided safety kits for everyone. We strictly followed the safety procedures, like to wear mask all the time, and we had the team go around and spray disinfectant and alcohol for all the guests. We made sure the restrooms are also sanitized well for every person who goes in and out. The venue and all the rooms there were being sanitized too even days before the wedding.
We prepared labels for people to wear in the church up to the venue. It's a pin with three colors to choose from. We have red, yellow, and green. Red for people who prefer 6 feet apart from the guests and suppliers, yellow for people who are okay to talk to the guests but no touching, green is for people who are okay to talk to and to have a fistbump. We provided all the necessary things asked by our safety team to ensure safety and feel safe during the entire time.
What’s your advice for couples planning their wedding?
Pray, trust, and believe in our dear Lord. Pray and trust the process, then believe in His ways. We are forever in awe in God's work and goodness to us who believe in Him. He showed us miracles and how He could turn things around. You just really have to trust and believe Him.
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The Dream Team:
Planning and Direction by Teena Barretto | Photography by Benjie Tiongco | Video by Notion in Motion | Bridal Gown by Mak Tumang | Chord, Veil, face mask by Mak Tumang | Groom’s suit by Mak Tumang and Francis Libiran Bridal | Orchestra by Music of the Heart Pop Orchestra by Jun Lopez, Avant Music by Marcuz Calimquim Calachan | Production Design by Ronald King of TBE | Reception Event Styling by Teddy Manuel x Couple Minds Events Studio | Ceremony styling by Couple Minds Events Studio x Airene Estrada | Make up by Makeup by Theresa Padin | Grooming by Poshh Torres | Entourage Makeup by Mima Fernandez, Keanz Posadas Juan, Veejay Estaquio, Eff Alagadan Jr., Carlos Casiguran, Prince Alegria | Entourage Grooming by Ryan Callanta, Jojo Abrera | Catering by Jereko's Catering & Hagemu Sushi Ramen Bar Calasiao | Dessert by Grace Frando Eugenio | Cake by Jacqueline Tan-Cuason | Hosts: Jojo Hito Fernandez and Missy Ferrer | Technicals by Forscink Inc. Professional Lights and Sounds & Edwin Visperas (EAV) Bridesmaids Gown by Luchi Vicente | Groomsmen Suit by Varian Rodriguez | Father's Suit by Exclusively His Tailoring | Groomsmen Ties by Francis Libiran Bridal | Bridal Robe by Happy Andrada | Parents' Robe by La Tercera | Napkin Embroidery by BHOGS Tailoring | Safety Kits by Kathaco.ph | Souvenirs by Couple Minds Events Studio | Non-floral Bouquet by Kristine Abrahan Lee | Carpet by Glamlane Events | Entourage Robes by Luchi Vicente | Entourage Accessories by Jacatel | Entourage Hairdress by Akastudioph & Jacatel | Entourage Slippers by Pershella Collection | Shoes by Shoepatos Custom Made Shoes | Sintra Board and Stickers by Net At Las Morales | Choreographer: Brick Briefer Mayrina Dancers and PhilCST & MLLS Dance Troupe Usherettes | PhilCST & MLLS | Safety Kits by goodbagph | Pyromusical & Special Effects by Dragon Fireworks | Invitation by Couple Minds Invitation x Jhong Macaraeg Lopez | Cocktails by Panaderia Antonio Bakery and Restaurant | Coffee by 2400 Cold Brew | Bridal Car and Groom's Car by Charles Co Charles Rent-A-Car | Church: Sts. Peter & Paul Parish Church | Venue: Calasiao Sports Complex | Church Pews, kneeler, and Candle Holder by Betis Furniture by Mariane Castro Rilloraza | Prep Venue: The Monarch Hotel Philippines