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.

RELATED: Thien and Alexandra - Sophisticated in All White

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. 

RELATED: Den and Ems - Dainty Tarlac Civil Wedding

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.

RELATED: BJ and Sophia - European Countryside Theme Wedding

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

Weddings That Inspire

Thien and Alexandra - Sophisticated in All White

‘Anything that was out of my control, I decided to ignore and just enjoy the present’

Thien Do and Alexandra Hoang spent the earlier years of their relationship in an LDR, only seeing each other every eight months. “Doing long distance is definitely not for everyone, but Thien and I always believed that if we were able to overcome this challenging chapter, we could tackle anything together,” Alexandra says.

Perhaps planning a wedding during a global pandemic could count as such. Thien, an senior IT consultant, and Alexandra, content creator and insurance advisor were married on November 6, 2021 at St. Olav Church followed by a reception at Ingierstrand Restaurant in Norway. The couple originally planned a three-day celebration at a castle in Sweden but adjusted their plans when Norway announced it was reopening. They only had a month to plan everything.

Below, Alexandra talks about their love story and how she dealt with wedding planning during the pandemic:

Tell us about your love story.

Thien and I met at a party and started out as friends before we started dating. After dating for a year and a half, I moved to Sydney, Australia for my bachelor’s degree. It was something I always wanted to do, even before I met Thien. And his support of my dream meant a lot to me. I was gone for three years and during that time we only saw each other once every eight months. Doing long distance is definitely not for everyone, but Thien and I always believed that if we were able to overcome this challenging chapter, we could tackle anything together.

We both value our independence and freedom and are each other’s biggest support system. We share the same sense of humor and ambitions. What I love about Thien is that he always supports my crazy and sudden ideas. He is not intimidated by my restlessness he finds solutions on how we can move forward and achieve our dreams together. We’ve been together for eight years now and I’m looking forward to our next chapter. We just invested in a new home that we will renovate and we will be parents to a shiba inu puppy.

RELATED: Den and Ems - Dainty Tarlac Civil Wedding

Did you have a theme or motif for your wedding?

White baby’s breath, white roses, decked out in white balloons, pearls in the cake, pearls in hairstyles, pearls in dresses. Elegant and sophisticated.

Did you have to adjust anything in your wedding plans?

Originally we were supposed to have a three-day celebration getting married at a castle in Sweden. Due to the pandemic we had to cancel. Did a civil ceremony instead and found a venue in Oslo.

RELATED: BJ and Sophia - European Countryside Theme Wedding

What were the challenges you faced while planning your intimate wedding?

Due to the uncertainties of the pandemic we didn’t have much time to plan but we wanted to get wed before year-end. When Norway announced it was reopening again we decided to plan a wedding in 30 days.

How did you handle the challenges?

Anything that was out of my control I decided to ignore and just enjoy the present.

How did you feel during the wedding?

The entire spectrum! I was nervous, emotional, happy, irritated, festive and full of energy!

RELATED: Brian and Didith - All White Tagaytay Wedding

What were your most memorable moments from your wedding?

The cultural lion dance, waving napkins over our heads doing the conga line dance, my brother’s emotional speech, an epic champagne tower, doing the lift to our first dance, surprising our guests with fireworks and dancing under the rain surrounded by sparkles.

What’s your advice for couples planning their intimate wedding?

Print out a wedding timeline or program!

Which details would you do at your wedding?

The Dream Team

Photography by Piil Photography | Ceremony dress by Vania Romoff | Reception dress by Eva Lendel | First dance dress by Rotate Birger Christensen | After-party dress by Shona Joy | Bridesmaids’ ao dai by Lecia Bridal | Bridesmaid dresses by Shona Joy | Hairstyle by Gevir | Makeup by Dior by Tsutsumi Hoang | Skincare and giveaways by Shiseido | Wedding rings by Thune Jewelry and Watches | Flower decorations and bouquets by Mellu | Tables by Table Tales | Stairs and church styling by Reyna Event & Styling | Balloons by Fest og Ballong | Dance routine by Danseløvene Danseskole | DJ: Ida Helene | Desserts by Sebastien Bruno | Spark machine and popcorn by 123lyd | Fireworks and sparklers by Engelsrud NFI Fyrverkeri

Weddings That Inspire

Den and Ems - Dainty Tarlac Civil Wedding

'The most important factor is not the guests and the celebration, but the two of you'

Adrian Dennis Vega and Emmy Lou Sicangco fell in love at their workplace, while working for the mayor of Tarlac. Almost like the script of a movie or TV show, Den and Ems’ officemates would matchmake the special projects consultant and chief human resource management officer respectively–including the mayor herself. “She eventually was the one who officiated our wedding.”

Den pursued Em for four years without wavering, something Em could not overlook. After two months of becoming official, Den proposed to Em and both knew that they years they had spent together was more than enough to confirm that they wanted the matchmaking to reach the altar.

On January 30, 2021, Den and Ems had an intimate garden civil wedding at Westwood Farm Tarlac with just 50 of their closest relatives and friends. Though it was a challenge to cut down their guest list, they now also enjoyed the beauty of an intimate wedding. “During our wedding, almost everyone got up to say something about us, since everyone knew us and played a part in our story,” Ems says.

Below Ems talks about how they planned their civil wedding.

Tell us about your love story.

We met at work. Den was one of our then new mayor’s trusted people, so he was designated to supervise one department where he requested to reassign me. After a few months, we became the subject of teasing, as Den was a known bachelor and I was known to have not had a boyfriend since birth. Even our boss, the mayor, joined in the matchmaking. She eventually was the one who officiated our wedding.

RELATED: BJ and Sophia - European Countryside Theme Wedding

Den pursued me for a really long time, despite several rejections. And I guess that’s what I admire most about him. Most of the suitors I had before easily gave up, but not Den. After almost four years of courtship, we became official, but we were only boyfriend and girlfriend for two months when he proposed for marriage, to which I said yes in a heartbeat, since the four years of courtship was enough for me—for us—to decide that it is in each other’s company we’d like to grow old with.

RELATED: Brian and Didith - All White Tagaytay Wedding

What was the theme or motif for your wedding?

There was no exact theme, but we wanted it to look classic, classy, and dainty. We wanted it to look clean, so we asked all our guests to wear white, which was easily achieved, since we only had 50 guests. We also wanted it to look like an intimate backyard dinner, so we pushed for a long table set-up with a lot of lights and a grandiose table arrangement.

Was this your original plan? Did you have to change your plans?

The original plan was to have a wedding at a beachfront venue. We were already talking to a couple of beachfront venues but opted to abandon the prospect, as the logistics would really be difficult because of quarantine restrictions and travel protocols at that time.

RELATED: Alex and Vannie - Minimalist Dusty Blue Wedding

What were the challenges you encountered?

The biggest challenge we had was how to trim down our guests to 50 people. That’s the most difficult part for us, as we have a lot of family and friends whom we thought had to be in our wedding, and it was sad for us not to have invited them, again because of the pandemic. But changing the wedding date was not an option for us, so we said we’ll have a church wedding when we can already hold big gatherings.

How did you feel during your wedding?

Mixed emotions, but more of happiness. The planning part up to the preps was stressful, but during the big day, the stress just went away as we saw everything unfold and perfectly fall into place. As for me, a lot of surprises happened leading to our wedding (surprise proposal party; surprise birthday party and send-off by our colleagues, thrown by non other than our boss, the mayor; surprise bridal shower organized by my mom; bridal shower thrown by friends) and more during the wedding (my brother arranged for one of my favorite singers, OJ Mariano, to sing one of my favorite songs, “Bless the Broken Road,” during the wedding, which led me and my friends to  tears).

The most memorable for me was my brother’s surprise. For Den, it was the bridal walk and the vows.

Do you have advice for couples planning their intimate wedding?

Our advice is to just push through with the wedding. The most important factor is not the guests and the celebration, but the two of you. Your love for each other and your desire to be with each other are what matter most, not the guests nor the celebration. Also, there is so much beauty in intimate wedding celebrations. You get to be with people who really know you and whom you really know and have become a part of your love story. During our wedding, almost everyone got up to say something about us, since everyone knew us and played a part in our story. An added bonus is that you can ensure what your guests would wear, since you only have a few people to talk to and remind. We even had the luxury of checking almost everyone’s outfit to make sure they follow our dress code.

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The Dream Team

Styling and full coordination by Bluemoon Feté | Photography by Mango Red Studios | Videography by Pinwheel Studios |  Venue: Westwood Farm Tarlac | Catering by Café Isabela Cuisines and Steaks | Bridal dress by Frederick Policarpio | Groom’s suit by Paolo Lazaro | Hair and makeup by Justified by Justin Patrick Salvador | Acoustic band: Kiro | Lights and sounds by Rajos Multimedia | Emcee: Guian Aiko Quita Bolarde of Bluemoon Feté 

*Special thanks to Guian Aiko Quita Bolarde for submitting this story

Weddings That Inspire

BJ and Sophia - European Countryside Theme Wedding

‘Don't let the changes keep you from getting married on your chosen date’

Twelve years ago, BJ Gotanci and Sophia Tillmann were just schoolmates. Perhaps no one would have guessed back then that the two would end up as Mr. and Mrs., even themselves. BJ and Sophia were married on September 9, 2021 at an intimate wedding at Antonio’s Tagaytay, and unlike many of today’s couples who understand that wedding planning in a pandemic comes with many curve balls, the couple never changed their wedding date.

Push through with your original wedding date and plan as long as it permits. This has always been our mindset,” says Sophia. With a clear vision, a European countryside themed garden wedding and a gastronomic experience, the Gotancis successfully pulled off their wedding planning with no rescheduling at all. “Seeing our loved ones have a good time and a good laugh was priceless, definitely something needed during these tough times,” says Sophia.

Below, Sophia shares how they met, their wedding planning, and tips on how to get through wedding preps:

Tell us your love story and how you met.

We went to the same school but it was not until our senior year in high school when BJ started courting me, we officially became a couple in college (September 9, 2009). After 11 years of being together, BJ finally popped the question during one of our beach trips and this year (on our twelfth year,) we got married.

RELATED: Brian and Didith - All White Tagaytay Wedding

As per BJ, the proposal was delayed for over a year (he initially planned to propose during our tenth year) due to death of relatives and the start of the pandemic. 

Did you have a theme or motif for your wedding?

The theme we went for was European countryside (classic romantic). Our non-negotiable was to hold our ceremony in a garden and to have a gastronomic dining experience, thus Antonio's was the perfect choice. 

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

The original wedding plan was to have the ceremony in the Garden just as we envisioned it. Unfortunately there was a typhoon a day before the wedding so the soil became muddy and we had to proceed with Plan B, a covered space, The Cabana. We also had to adjust our wedding timeline just a few days before the wedding because of curfew restrictions. Initial timeline was to have an afternoon ceremony followed by dinner reception, then an after party. We shifted to a morning ceremony instead followed by lunch reception so that time with guests wouldn't be cramped as they still had to travel back to Manila after. We also had to give up the after party with a DJ, since there's safety protocols that must be followed.

What were the challenges you encountered during the wedding preparation?

We faced quite a number of challenges during the last few weeks of preparation because this was also the peak of the Delta variant and ECQ was imposed. It was impossible to plan ahead and finalize with the preps ahead of time since we had to wait for quarantine classification before we could come up with decisions. 

RELATED: Alex and Vannie - Minimalist Dusty Blue Wedding

Some of our entourage were not able to join because of the challenges brought by the pandemic. (Some live abroad while others got sick a few days before; kids were also not yet allowed outside and we had a lot of kid family members.)

How did you handle the challenges?

We discussed what should be prioritized and what we could let go of. Safety of guests was our main concern and we let go of the little things that didn't go according to plan. We went out of our way to make our guests comfortable since these are people we truly care about. We gave the option of lunch packs to our guests who aren't comfortable to dine so they can take their meals in their respective cars and just go back for the program. 

Overall, it was adapting and being responsive to the current situation. 

How did you feel during the wedding?

BJ: It was awesome and magical. Things are finally happening and going according to plan.

What were your most memorable moments from your wedding?

The groom's surprise number (song and dance performance with his groomsmen to the music of F4). Seeing our loved ones have a good time and a good laugh was priceless, definitely something needed during these tough times. And exchanging of marriage vows just as we planned on our twelfth year anniversary (with no rescheduling done).

What advice would you give other couples planning their intimate wedding?    

Push through with your original wedding date and plan as long as it permits. This has always been our mindset. Don't let the changes in plan keep you from getting married on your chosen date. Always remember to enjoy the wedding planning, after all the most important thing is getting married and being happy.

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Also, hire good suppliers and give them your full trust. After all, they have the most experience and would only recommend what's best for your wedding.

And of course, get yourself a great partner who would be willing to go through all the challenges with you! Wedding planning is already a peek into your married life!

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The Dream Team

Photographs by Myio Okamoto | Videography by Forevermine Wedding Films | Styling by Ginger Event Styling | Venue and catering by Antonio’s Tagaytay | Gown by PS Officiel | Suit by Rod Francisco Designs & Tailoring | Groom’s shoes by Sapatero Manila | Lights and Sounds by Cybersound Lights and Sound | Host: Eri Neeman | Coordination by Rhed Sarmiento | Makeup by Marla Sabio | Music by Project M Acoustic | Preps venue: Twin Lakes Hotel | Entourage gowns by Cassie Montealegre | Chairs by Forrent | Dressing gowns by Micah Lacap

Weddings That Inspire

Brian and Didith - All White Tagaytay Wedding

From LDR to forever and always

Paris-based couple Brian Colorado and Edith Lontoc weren’t planning on tying the knot any time soon because they were waiting to migrate, till Brian realized he just couldn’t wait. “Ang tagal pa ng petition ko,” Brian said, since he was waiting for his petition to the US to come through. “Baka panot na ako kapag kinasal ako sayo. Let’s get married!” he told Didith. So on July 19, 2019, Brian and Didith were married at the city hall of Paris 16th district.

Both Brian and Didith also wanted a big church wedding back in the Philippines with just one non-negotiable, at least for Didith. “Gideon Hermosa,” she says. “We both love the works of Gids so we really made sure he is the one who will style our reception,” says Didith. Three wedding venues later, Brian and Didith had their intimate church wedding in Tagaytay on August 22, 2021.

Below, Didith details how they planned their all-white intimate wedding:

Tell us about your love story. How did you meet?

We started our relationship as LDR in 2014. After a year and a half, Brian decided to moved to Paris. A wedding was not in our plasn during the first and second year of our relationship because we want to move to the United States (his parents filed a petition for him).

RELATED: Alex and Vannie - Minimalist Dusty Blue Wedding

As we were enjoying our relationship here in Paris, one day Brian told me, “Ang tagal pa ng petition ko, baka panot na ako kapag kinasal ako sayo. Let’s get married!” Our families support our decision and they were very happy. On July 19, 2019 we got married at the city hall of Paris 16th district.

What were your wedding plans?

Our civil wedding was very simple and intimate. We planned to have a church wedding in the Philippines where all of our family and friends can attend. We really want a big church wedding. Brian often tells me “I want to give you a beautiful wedding.”

What were some things you wanted to make sure to have?

Isa lang answer ko—Gideon Hermosa. We both love the works of Gids so we really made sure he is the one who will style our reception. My dream is to have an all-white wedding. The original date was December 19,2020 at Marriott Hotel and the ceremony at St. Therese.

What were some of the challenges you encountered? How did you handle them?

Due to the pandemic we had to move the date and venue to August 21,2021. We moved our wedding to Tagaytay. Sobrang daming challenges–like having to choose a new date na available lahat ng suppliers. 

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Two weeks before the wedding, the local government of Tagaytay City announced that all hotels and venues are not allowed to operate. It was very stressful for us. But with the help of our family, close friends and of course our suppliers, we found yet another venue, The Observatory Tagaytay

Which were your most memorable moments?

The most memorable moment in our wedding is the time I was walking down the aisle, I could see Brian waiting for me at the altar with tears in his eyes. Everyone is very happy and emotional.

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The Dream Team

Church: San Antonio de Padua, Silang, Cavite | Reception venue: The Observatory Tagaytay | Makeup by Robin Medina of Styletech | Photography by Proudrad | Video by Forevermine Wedding Films | Coordination by Kiss the Girl Events | Styling by Gideon Hermosa | Lights and sounds by LX Events Pro | Catering by Juan Carlo the Caterer | Bridal gown by Khristelle Tan Bridal Couture | Bridal shoes by Christian Dior | Groom’s suit by JE&Co. | Groom’s shoes by Louis Vuitton | Band: Buildex | Church styling by Suzette Ramos | Flower wall by DC Paper Flowers Manila | Photo Booth by Candid Closet Photo Booth | Crew meals by Chiksniotit | Host: John Edrick Hipolito

Weddings That Inspire

Alex and Vannie - Minimalist Dusty Blue Wedding

‘Your wedding will be perfect when you truly remember what it's about’

Vanessa Joy de Castro made the first move on Alexander Michael Noveno–one that is now considered a classic. She “accidentally” sent him a message for someone else in order to start a conversation with him. "I would always cut my message and reply the next day so I could prolong our conversation,” she says. After a year of making moves, Vannie was ready to give up on Alex but that was when he finally formally asked her out on a date.

Alex proposed in June 2019 and the couple had to move their wedding date thrice, having to overcome the pandemic, a terminally ill relative, and Covid. On October 12, 2021, Alex and Vannie were wed in an intimate wedding at St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Parish followed by a reception at Blue Leaf Pavilion. The most memorable part of their day was when they read letters to each other before the ceremony without seeing each other. “Thinking of all the challenges that we've been through before this day–but we here we are, finally tying the knot,” Vannie says.

Below, Vannie talks about the highs and lows of their wedding planning journey:

Tell us your love story. How did you meet?

We first met at my friend's graduation party. When I first saw him, I already thought, "uy pwede to ah" but we never talked, just hi and hello. So when my friend told me to accompany her this time to his graduation party, I immediately said yes. We had a chance to have small talk and he started by pairing me with his other guy friend. I was a bit frustrated, but I made the first move by adding him on Facebook.

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Still, no move from him so what I did is I "accidentally" missent a message for us to start a conversation. I would always cut my message and reply the next day so I could prolong our conversation. That's how we initially started. I even try to do sneaky moves for us to have a double date. He would expect a group hangout but it was actually a double date. I did this diskarte for almost a year and I was still clueless if he likes me or not and I was already tired of initiating the moves to bring us together. Just when I was about to end my silly game, he asked me out formally for a date, just the two of us and the rest is history. It was long process of getting to know each other but really worth the wait. 

Did you have a theme or motif for your wedding?

Our wedding turned out to be a classic, minimalist celebration with a dusty blue color motif. Flowers were mostly white with green leafy accents. To brush off the formal vibe, I made my female entourage wear tailored pants instead of the usual long flowy dresses.The final guest count for the reception was trimmed down to 50 pax. Some guests who are still not comfortable to dine with other guests opted to drive by the ceremony venue so we can still take pictures with them. Also, for our families and friends overseas and those who cannot make it to our wedding, we hired a live streaming service so they can still witness our big day.

Was this your original wedding plan?               

Our original plan was a big family reunion, with all our relatives coming home from the US plus all our friends summing up to a minimum of 200 guests. After our engagement in June 2019, we set our big day on January 8, 2021 to give us ample time to prepare. But we moved it to a second date, July 3, 2021 to accommodate my sister's schedule since she's coming from the States.

RELATED: Geoff and Bev - LDR Couple Weds in Manila Luxury

Unfortunately came our lockdown in March 2020. Even after that, we were still optimistic that the pandemic will be over by the time of our wedding. Obviously, it didn't happened and pandemic lasted longer than expected. 

To follow the new protocols for gatherings we were forced to trim down our guests in half, not to mention the fact that our relatives abroad including my sister can't travel anymore. But we set our new date, July 3 with just our immediate family and closest friends.

On May 2021, with just a couple of months before the wedding, my mother was diagnosed of chronic kidney disease. She was confined in the hospital and I was in the hospital with her. The new protocol requires only one companion and that companion was not allowed to go out as well. My niece/maid of Honor took my place for a week so I could go to my gown fitting. As a result, our preparation slowed down plus the emotional and psychological turmoil of my mom being critically ill. Thankfully, my mom was discharged a month after, June 2021. With a little time left and both of us mentally exhausted, we decided to move the date to October 12, 2021, for the third time.

What were the challenges encountered during your wedding preparation?

Just when we thought moving our date for the third time will fall into the right place, we got hit by Covid three weeks prior to our wedding. We were so tempted to move again our date but we realized that the situation will never get better, we were thinking “it’s now or never”. After our quarantine, we only have one week to organize everything and do the final planning and meet other suppliers.

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I was really half-hearted with pushing thru since my brother was critical and was still in the hospital by at that time. I was literally asking God what to do and I began to doubt, was this a sign not to get married? I was really on the brink of sanity, with all kinds of thoughts going through my head.

Sadly, my brother passed away last October 23, 2021.

How did you handle the challenges?

Since this was the third time we moved our wedding date, we decided to push through and just deal with all the circumstances even if it's hard. I am so thankful to have a hands on partner who helped me all through out the wedding planning. I couldn't have done it without my husband. He was the one who organized the last minute plan when I couldn't think straight anymore like the change of venue and caterer a week before the wedding due to the ever changing quarantine classifications and the IATF protocols and guidelines that comes along with it. The change of design for styling since we decided to give it to our caterer instead last minute. Also, our entourage gave us a helping hand to take over the little details for our wedding to lessen our worries. 

How did you feel during the wedding?

I was really nervous and anxious. I don't know what's going to happen. I felt sad since my brother and his family couldn't attend anymore. My mom wasn't feeling well the day before the wedding because of her scheduled dialysis. I have no idea if she could attend my big day. So the moment she came to my preps room, I felt that I can own this day because she's the most important person to see me walk down the aisle.

What were your most memorable moments from your wedding?

Hubby and I felt that the most memorable moment from our wedding was reading our letters before going to the church. The moment we held our hands while reading our letters for each other made us emotional.. Thinking of all the challenges that we've been through before this day–but we here we are, finally tying the knot. It felt surreal to do that and we will always treasure that fleeting moment.

What’s your advice for other couples planning their intimate wedding?

To all the couples out there, you are not alone. We might have different experiences during wedding planning but the thing is, not everything we wanted or dreamed of for our wedding will always go as planned. Sometimes, those challenges were really given for you to overcome. At the end of the day, what matters most will always be your love for each other and the blessing of the sacrament. Everything else is just a bonus.

As they say, there is no perfect wedding. Your wedding will be perfect when you truly remember what it's about and why you're all there together whether the details are all straighten out.

Did you enjoy this story? Share it now!

The Dream Team

Bridal gown, entourage gowns and bridal robe by Adora Couture | Groom’s suit by Arvox Tailoring | Videography by Amady Manila | Photography by Myio Okamoto | Coordination by Kiss the Girl Events | Host: Giru Mercado | Music by MuzikQlass | Catering by K by Cunanan | Hair and makeup by Makeup by Trina C | Flowers by Dentelle Manila | Invitations by RDCD Printhouse | Calligraphy by Diane Oliver | Bridal shoes by Nine West | Church: St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Parish | Reception venue: Blue Leaf Pavilion

Weddings That Inspire

Geoff and Bev - LDR Couple Weds in Manila Luxury

‘God has His way of surprising us’

Geoff Firmin Khu and Beverly Ann Mateo endured a long-distance relationship for years before Bev said yes to Geoff. “We made it work with non-stop video calls and communication,” says Geoff. Bev was working in Qatar but the two met before relocating.

Apart from the natural challenges of being in a long-distance relationship, they also endured planning an intimate wedding while apart. “Planning for a wedding was a difficult feat as one of us was based abroad, and added with the uncertainty of Covid restrictions,” says Bev, an optometrist. Geoff and Bev’s wedding was scheduled for 2022 but they had to move up their wedding due to a family situation.

RELATED: Aaron and Mickey - All White Canberra Elopement

But that wasn’t the only curveball–during Bev’s quarantine after flying home for the wedding, the bride tested positive and it added another set of hurdles to get through. But Geoff and Bev triumphed over them all and they were married at San Agustin Church on October 2021. A reception at Nobu Restaurant, City of Dreams.

Below, Geoff and Bev share in detail how they got through the challenges of planning an intimate wedding during Covid times and while in a long-distance relationship:

Tell us how you met and your love story.

Geoff: We first met in a company sales rally and built our friendship with a series of get togethers with mutual friends. A few months after, Bev got accepted to work in Qatar. It was during her stay in Qatar when our friendship grew deeper. A year after, she returned to the Philippines for a vacation. It was then we took a trip together to Japan and solidified our relationship. It was a long distance relationship but we made it work with non-stop video calls and communication. A year later, on her second vacation while working in Qatar, I planned the proposal and we got engaged.

What was your experience like planning for your intimate wedding?

Geoff and Bev: Planning for a wedding was a difficult feat as one of us was based abroad, and added with the uncertainty of Covid restrictions. We originally planned to get married in 2022, but due to the death of a close relative we had to move the wedding date within a 100 days from the death. We had to find a suitable wedding date where most of the suppliers were available.

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After settling on a date, we had to scramble in completing all our documentary requirements for the wedding. A month before the wedding, Bev was scheduled to return to the Philippines to give ample time to process our other requirements for the wedding. During Bev’s quarantine period, she tested positive for Covid and fortunately she was asymptomatic, but the extension of her isolation made our schedule for the requirements tight.

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A lot of our plans were altered, overflowing frustrations here and there, expectations were already set to minimum, but truly, God has His own ways of surprising us. He made our day more striking and memorable, more than we could’ve hoped for. It was immensely beautiful and breath-taking.

Do you have advice for couples planning their wedding?

Make a list of your non-negotiables. Visualize your dream wedding first. Research before booking a supplier to know their strength. Original plan was to have a big wedding but we realized it doesn't always have to be that way, making it intimate made it more memorable and fun because you get to spend time with your guests. 

Did you find this story helpful? Share it now!

The Dream Team

Preparation: Hyatt Regency Hotel, City of Dreams Manila | Ceremony venue: San Agustin Church Intramuros Manila | Reception venue: Nobu Restaurant City of Dreams Manila | Photography by Polk Studios | Hair and makeup by Ann Santiago Makeup Artistry | Bridal Gown by Rosa Clará Couture Collection | Groom's Suit by Ian Manila | Entourage Gowns by Tin Tamayo | Wedding Rings by Sep Vergara Fine Jewelry | Bridal Car by Bridal Car Philippines | Lights and Sound by LIVE LEVELS Pro Audio and Lights Services | Stage Decor by Amante Fleurs Event Styling | Florist and Photowall by Dangwa Flowers by Clint Carl | Neonlights by King M Graphics Design and Printing Services | Cake by PhoebeCakes | Wedding Coordinator: Camy Events | Wedding Host: Camil Escaño of Camy Events

Weddings That Inspire

Aaron and Mickey - All White Canberra Elopement

'Our day was so casual and it was really just a day to celebrate us'

Aaron Ricabo met Mickey Sulit were classmates in the same university, but neither of them new they were in the same class till they met at a church gathering held at Mickey’s home. “From day one, I saw Aaron as a friend but Aaron viewed our relationship differently,” says Mickey. “He pursued and courted me for seven months and I kept rejecting him until one day, God told me to give him a chance.”

That chance turned into four years of dating and of course, a proposal. Aaron, a digital communications officer, and Mickey, a social media officer, were planning for a wedding by the mountains with 100 guests. “Unfortunately, due to the sudden re-introduction of COVID restrictions, we had to strip down our wedding to just 12 people. We didn’t want to wait any longer so we just decided to push through with an intimate celebration,” Mickey says.

On September 30, 2021, Aaron and Mickey were married in Canberra, Australia, and by 7pm, the Ricabos were in their Airbnb, dressed in their pajamas, enjoying burgers because the restrictions meant they could not have a reception. “How good is that?!? If we had a normal reception, we would have to worry about going around and mingling with family and friends,” says Mickey.

Below, Mickey talks more about the decision they made to push through with their elopement and why “it was perfect the way it was”.

Did you have a theme or motif for your wedding? 

Yes, the theme was timeless and classic so all of the guests had to wear white.

Why did you choose to elope?

The original plan was to have an outdoor ceremony and reception by the mountains with 100 guests. Unfortunately, due to the sudden re-introduction of COVID restrictions, we had to strip down our wedding to just 12 people. We didn’t want to wait any longer especially after the whole engagement situation so we just decided to push through with an intimate celebration.

RELATED: Overseas LDR Couple Pays Homage to Roots

The intimate wedding turned out to be so beautiful and simple and we wouldn't want it any other way! We highly recommend it because there was no stress with guests, family politics, and the logistics of the day. Our day was so casual and it was really just a day to celebrate us–and that's what a wedding should really be about.

Would you do anything differently, in hindsight?

If we waited a few more weeks, we would've been able to invite a few more guests but honestly, it was perfect the way it was.

What were the challenges encountered during the wedding preparation?

COVID was a big factor. Having to take into account our guests' safety was our number one priority. Second was the guest list. We had to stick to a budget so we had to be very wise with the guest list. Lastly, family traditions. There were certain things we didn't want to do but somehow we had to meet some of family members' expectations.

RELATED: Yvahn and Khristelle - Ethereal City Wedding

How did you handle the challenges?

Lots of prayer. We always had to step back and reflect and choose our battles. We had to remind ourselves that planning a wedding shouldn't cause division but rather unite us. Planning a wedding should be an exciting time and not a stressful one.

How did you feel during the wedding?

We were both very nervous but we were more excited. After everything we've been through, we were just excited to be with each other!

What were your most memorable moments from your wedding?

The most memorable moment was when we were driving to our Airbnb straight after our simple wedding ceremony. It was just us two in the car and it was sinking in that, that was officially the beginning of our new life together. Since we didn't (and we couldn't) have a reception, we just had burgers delivered to our Airbnb for dinner. It was just us two having a simple dinner at 7pm in our pajamas on our wedding night–how good is that?!? If we had a normal reception, we would have to worry about going around and mingling with family and friends.

RELATED: Mark and Karen - Modern Rustic Tagaytay Wedding

The best part was that we got to enjoy each others company as husband and wife on our wedding day without being too tired and without having to meet our guests' expectations. (Watch Aaron and Mickey's elopement video here.)

Do you have advice for couples planning their pandemic wedding?

Our advice is to focus on each other–nothing else matters! Don't be afraid to break tradition, do whatever you want. It's your big day and you only get to do it once so do it right.

Think about your guests. Their safety is important so don't do something that would make your guests feel uncomfortable. 

Would you elope? Share this story now!

The Dream Team

Ceremony venue: HQ Thirty Four, Canberra, Australia | Hair and makeup by Katrina Sulit | Jewelry by Ayla and Oak | Dress by Stillwhite | Shoes by Billini | Photography by Jenny Wu | Celebrant: Gabrielle | Videography by Say Hello to Forever

Weddings That Inspire

Yvahn and Khristelle - Ethereal City Wedding

'He would tell me that he'd marry me anytime, anywhere, and under any circumstance'

Charlyne Khristelle Tan has been to hundreds of weddings but when it was her turn to walk down the aisle towards Yvahn Ahana Sy, she felt “clueless of what was about to happen,” just like any other bride about to change her life. Of course its her experience as the bridal designer of Khristelle Tan Bridal Couture which has given Khristelle the insider’s knowledge on brides and weddings. And as such, a bridal designer getting married has a precise and detailed vision of her wedding, her gown, and her entourage wear. She already knew what her bridal gown would look like when she was just a teenager!

Perhaps it was also because it was in those years when Khristelle met Yvahn. “The first time my husband saw me, I was in my PE uniform, disheveled and full of sweat from volleyball,” she recalls. And as we know now, such a sight could lead to a lifetime of love as in the case of Yvahn, a graphic artist, and Khristelle, much like the romcoms and K-dramas we swoon over these days. On September 26, 2021, Yvahn and Khristelle had an intimate wedding at Christ the King church followed by a reception at Gloria Maris CCP.

Below, Khristelle shares in detail what it’s like for a wedding industry insider to get married (hint: she decided one dress was not enough for her wedding just days before the event) and how they handled the biggest curveball of their planning–their church announced it would have to undergo quarantine days before their wedding day because of a positive case. Read on to know more!

How did you meet and fall in love?

The first time my husband saw me, I was in my PE uniform, disheveled and full of sweat from volleyball, but in spite of the state I was in, he fell in love at first sight and waited a year to finally get an opportunity to introduce himself. He borrowed my phone to get my number, and after four months of courtship and dating, I said yes to being his girlfriend. We've been each other's best friend, and support ever since. He was my first ever boyfriend and although we had fights, there was never a time we gave up on each other, and even after being together almost everyday for nine years, we never seem to get tired of each other. The day before we got married was actually our ninth anniversary.

Did you have a theme or motif for your wedding?

I chose blue, white and gold colors for our wedding to keep everything soft and light. My wedding gown had a nude lining so it blended perfectly but still stood out from the entourage dresses, and because I made my own gown, I made sure I could fulfill all my wants and dreams!

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Ever since my teen years, I've always dreamt of wearing a one-shoulder serpentine gown for my wedding. Something about it just seems so polished but delicate. My team and I took around six months to finish all the gowns, from the mother's dresses, entourage and flower girls. Every detail was carefully hand-sewn and beaded, even when I suddenly decided to make another gown for a second look just three days before the wedding! I finished my second dress and bridal robe just a day before the actual wedding. I wore the serpentine gown for the ceremony and an a-line dress for the reception.

Did you have to make adjustments to your wedding plans? 

Our original guest list number was at 100pax but as the wedding drew closer and the Covid cases were at an all-time high, more and more of our guests had to tell us that they will not be able to come to our wedding. I also made flower girl dresses and prepared suits for our ring bearers but because of the circumstances, no kids were allowed in the church, and we also didn't want to risk the health of our niece and nephews, so we decided let the kids stay at home instead.

What were the challenges encountered during the wedding preparation? 

As a gown designer, I felt so pressured when I was designing my own gown, the entourage dresses, and the overall look of the wedding. Yvahn had to calm me down and tell me to not think of what others would comment but to just focus on what I wanted.

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The biggest challenge we had to go through was actually waiting for the announcement of COVID protocols and news from our church. Our church suddenly had to be quarantined because one of them was positive, and this was just days before our wedding date. It was hard not knowing if we should postpone the wedding already or if it was ok to push through. In fact, we already messaged all our suppliers that we would be postponing the wedding five days before the wedding. Thankfully the announcement came in time and we were able to go through with everything as planned. Our family played a big role helping us with the planning and preparations too! We only had the confidence to go through with the wedding when our parents assured us that everything would be okay.

Another challenge was looking for a preparation venue that would be safe and private for our family. Hotels and airbnbs weren't an option for us because we had babies and elderly in our households, so we actually had our preparations in my office since it was private, and we also asked for my sister and brother-in-law's permission to use their house as our prep venue too since it was just one floor above my office. Everything worked out perfectly fine in the end.

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How did you handle the challenges?

I would say we handled it with love, patience and respect for each other. I am so thankful that my husband was so calm and collected throughout our wedding planning. He would tell me that he'd marry me anytime, anywhere, and under any circumstance and I would calm down for a while then bug him again with the same questions an hour later. Funny but that was our daily routine during wedding planning. Our entourage was also ready to help us with all our problems and worries so we really felt like we could handle anything that came our way.

How did you feel during the wedding? 

It was surreal that after experiencing hundreds of wedding preparations from brides I've made dresses for, it was finally my own wedding happening! I felt nervous, giddy and emotional throughout the day, it was as if all my experience was wiped out and I was just a normal bride, clueless of everything that was about to happen on our wedding. It was a good experience because I now know how most brides feel during their wedding day and I feel like I would be able to help my future brides feel more at ease on their wedding.

What were your most memorable moments from your wedding? 

It was such a perfect day! Every part of it was such a precious memory for us. According to my husband, it was when I was walking down the aisle because he realized that finally after nine years he gets to marry the girl of his dreams and start a new life with her. For me, it was when we were saying our vows to each other after our wedding ceremony. It was such a solemn and heartfelt moment for us because it was just the two of us in private, pouring out our love for each other. 

Any advice for couples planning their intimate wedding?

Because of the pandemic and unpredictable circumstances, accept that there are things that you would be forced to change and let go of, but as long as you compromise and work it out together, things will fall into place. Communicate with your fiancé/fiancee about your worries and reservations, never suppress them because your fiancé needs to know what's happening for them to be able to help you. 

Did this story make you feel kilig? Share it now!

The Dream Team

Bridal gown, entourage and bridal robe by Khristelle Tan Bridal Couture | Videography by Digital Elements | Photography by Photography by Regina | Coordination by Kiss the Girl Events | Bridal hair and makeup by Lindsay Co-Alog | Entourage hair and makeup by Glam Hour by MJ Sazon | Reception styling and flowers by The Party Room | Invitations by Neonovelties | Bridal shoes by Waltz Manila | Jewelry by Diamonds with Love | Church: Christ the King Green Meadows | Reception: Gloria Maris CCP

Weddings That Inspire

Mark and Karen - Modern Rustic Tagaytay Wedding

'Your wedding will be beautiful no matter what happens because it’s about your love for each other'

Mark Benedict Feliciano and Karen Kimberly Lunar met at a party where Marbie, a business analyst, was called “Kuya” by his future bride, Karen. They reconnected months after the party and their relationship turned into romance. “We both love to travel, to eat out, to drink and hang out with our friends. We’re partners in everything,” says Karen, a marketing manager. “Seven years of being together, we had our ups and downs. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies there are rainy days, storms but we know that as long as we’re together everything will be alright. Our love is much stronger than any challenges.

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After rescheduling their wedding twice, Marbie and Karen finally tied the knot in a intimate wedding on October 23, 2021 at Tent Chapel at Caleruega, followed by a reception at Ville Sommet. Below, Karen shares their experience of planning their wedding and facing the challenges of rescheduling their intimate garden wedding:

Did you have a theme or motif for your wedding?

I always dreamed of having a garden wedding but because we are Catholics, and we both know that it’s not allowed to have a garden Catholic wedding we opted to choose a chapel with a stunning view of luscious greens, pine trees. That’s why we decided to have a modern rustic theme because we just wanted to have a simple, natural, wooden accent and greenery with a modern touch kind of wedding. We made sure that every detail from the ceremony and reception was aligned to our theme. We even did a lot of DIY because we were very hands-on with the planning. Our non-negotiable suppliers were catering, photographer, and videographer. 

Did you have to adjust anything in your wedding planning?

The original plan was to be held at Chapel on the Hill in Don Bosco Batulao but because we moved our wedding date twice, they are no longer available on our final date so we had to let them go since most of our suppliers were available with our final date. Luckily we found Caleruega Tent Chapel which is also in the same area. Our original guest count was 220 but because of the restrictions and guidelines we had to cut it down to 80 pax with our close family and friends. 

What were the challenges you encountered during the wedding preparation?

Our first ever challenge during the preparation was rescheduling our wedding to a later date. Three months before our original date, which was June 2020, the first ECQ happened and we don’t have any idea what will happen next and how long it would last. It was very hard to announce on our event page and writing it down really breaks my heart. We rescheduled it for December 2020 but we felt that it’s not safe yet so after careful discussions we decided to move it to October 2021. Come 2021, there’s Delta virus and restrictions have been stricter. But we said to ourselves and to our families that whatever happens, we will push through with our wedding because what matters most is our union and the blessing of the sacrament. 

How did you handle the challenges?

We are a very chill couple, we just made sure that we are up to date to all the guidelines. We would check three LGU guidelines from time to time. It is very important that you communicate with each other, you have the same goal. Be open to all possibilities and make sure to support each other’s decision.

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It’s also important that you communicate well with your suppliers and ask them for their professional advice. We were very lucky to have talented and understanding suppliers, they really assisted us in every step of the way. 

How did you feel during your wedding day?

Happy, excited with a little bit of anxiety. It was a rollercoaster kind of emotions all throughout the day. A lot of happy tears because after all the delays, the long wait is over. We are finally getting married. 

What were your most memorable moments from your wedding?

Our whole wedding day was indeed a memorable one. We love that we pushed through with an intimate ceremony, we really felt the love and support of our closest friends and family. It rained on our wedding day, at first I was a bit worried because it’s a garden-type outdoor ceremony, and the original plan was to walk from the arc outside the chapel but because of the rain, it did not go as planned. But during my bridal walk I just enjoyed and cherished every moment of it and for me the rain was a shower of blessings.

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The ceremony was really my favorite because it’s where we express our vows in the eyes of God and our loved ones. And I was surprised because during our personal vows, Marbie surprised me and everyone else by singing My Universe by Coldplay featuring BTS during the last part of his vow. I didn’t see it coming because the day before our wedding day, he kept on telling me that he hasn’t prepared his vow yet.

Do you have advice for other couple planning their intimate wedding?

Enjoy and cherish every part of the planning up until your wedding day. Things may not go as planned but always remember that marriage is about the two of you. Always pray and trust God’s will. I always keep this Bible verse in my heart and my mind, “When the time is right, I the Lord will make it happen” (Isaiah 60:22). Your wedding will be beautiful no matter what happens because it’s about your love for each other. Have fun but don’t compromise the safety of everyone. Always have a back up plan. Allot a budget for Covid testing, we know it’s another cost, but you won’t regret it. Everyone can enjoy your day, especially the after party with peace of mind. 

Share this story now!

 

The Dream Team

Prep area: Escala Hotel Tagaytay | Ceremony: Caleruega Tent Chapel | Reception: Ville Sommet | Photography by Colove Studios | Videography by Forevermine Wedding Films | On the day coordination by Eventist Manila | Catering by Passion Cooks | Makeup by Nicole Ceballos | Hairstyling by Arci Barcenas | Bridal gown by Khristelle Tan Bridal Couture | Groom’s suit by Arvox Tailoring | Wedding Bands by Sep Vergara Fine Jewelry | Bridal earrings by Jacatel | Bridesmaid and Mother of the Bride Gowns by Desino Dulce | Entourage hair and makeup by Shy San Diego | Grazing Table by Blessings from God | Host: Marco Borromeo | Invitations by Cumbidado | Flowers by Arlene Calditaran Ayen Designs | Entourage mask and neckties by Queen Mia Ribbonhouse | Band: String Colours Ensemble Wedding Musicians | Lights and sounds: Artuz 101 Professional Lights and Sounds