Carla Abellana and Tom Rodriguez are finally husband and wife, just like they have often portrayed in their teleseryes through the years. The celebrity couple was married on October 23, 2021 at a Tagaytay church and officiated by Bishop Teodoro C. Bacani Jr. Carla walked down the aisle with her parents Rey “PJ” Abellana and Rea Reyes.
Tom wore a tux by Francis Libiran while Carla stunned in a custom strapless lace ballgown by Monique Lhuillier. On the day of her wedding, Carla shared some portraits by Pat Dy, who also covered their wedding, with the caption “Marrying my soulmate.”
Tom on the other hand, boasted about marrying Carla the day after their wedding: “Wala lang...flex ko lang na ikinasal ako kagabi sa isang napakagandang binibini. Officially, nabakuran ko na sa wakas!” He also continues the caption with the details of his suit, makeup artist, Lala Flores, and hairstylist Erlie Bentayao.
We will remember that Tom proposed to Carla in October 2020 and the couple made it public in March 2021. The couple has been quarantined together and have already begun to learn how to adjust to the every day moments of living together.
Below, you will see the dreamy photos of Pat Dy and Team Pat Dy. And while we love seeing TomCar’s portraits, we are most kilig seeing the raw and honest emotions of the actors–Tom’s reaction while he watches Carla walk down the aisle, the look of love during their first dance, and a laugh they share during their ceremony.
Best wishes, TomCar!
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Photos from @patdy11, @nelwinuyphoto, and @chissai.
What started out as a supervisor and team member relationship ended up at the altar for Mark Julian Cunanan and Lei Sison. The couple was married on April 25, 201 with a civil ceremony and on June 3, 2021, they celebrated with their family and friends. “It wasn’t the typical love at first sight. Our love was the kind that developed over time,” says Mark, a new media supervisor.
Lei, an account manager, shares that she was “really hands on with all the preparations”. Below, she shares with Inspirations.ph how they managed the stress of planning their wedding despite the changing guidelines and restrictions:
What was the theme or motif of your wedding?
Our theme is rustic with whites and greeneries. From the beginning, we knew that we wanted our wedding to be simple yet beautiful, and within a budget of 350-500K. I was really hands on with all the preparations–sourcing, researching, spreadsheets, bookings, and all.
Some of our must haves and non negotiable suppliers are our video team Bow & Arrow Films and Acsions Band. Most, if not all, of our suppliers were from a Facebook group and we had no regrets as everyone was really hard at work in making our wedding the best and most perfect day of our lives! And we were able to achieve and stay within budget for our 2 weddings (April and June)!
Was this the original wedding plan?
We were supposed to get married in Tagaytay last April 2021 but ECQ happened and so we needed to resched. However, we chose not to let go of our original wedding date and pushed for a civil wedding instead as it has a special, personal meaning to me and my family.
Last June 2021, we were finally able to celebrate our simple yet beautiful garden wedding in Tagaytay with our closest family and friends and some of our friends from work who have witnessed firsthand how our love started and flourished. It was indeed a great second wedding because we were given a bright and sunny day in spite of the rainy season.
What were the challenges encountered during the wedding preparation?
It was insane–physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting! We were supposed to be approaching an exciting buildup to our wedding, instead it has become full of anxiety and stress due to the very unpredictable and scary situation we were and still in.
How did you handle the challenges?
Despite the heartbreaks and stress we felt back then, Mark and I just reminded ourselves that we are still fortunate that we are healthy and safe as well as our families. We are also just thankful in knowing that our marriage started strong and ready to face more of life’s inevitable surprises and challenges.
How did you feel during the wedding?
Even the day before our wedding, we have been so stressed out because of the storm signal #2 that was declared in the area. In fact, I was not able to sleep until around 3 AM as I was really praying hard for the rain and thunderstorm to stop. Everything was perfect though during our wedding day, as we were given the best weather on our wedding day.
Despite everything that happened, still we were lucky that we were by each other’s side through it all and that we were able to enter into a marriage at a time the world was shut down. We were just so happy at that moment thinking that it’s finally happening and we got to celebrate it intimately with our closest family and friends.
Do you have advice for couple planning their wedding?
We know that it’s very easy to feel disappointed when things do not go as planned but just hold on to each other, to your love, and just trust that God will always be in the journey with you and that inspite of the uncertainties that this pandemic has brought, things will always work out for good in the end. It might be exhausting and extra challenging these times but when you finally get to marry the love of your life, all is surely worth it.
'We know that there are no perfect weddings so we let go of controlling every aspect and just let the day unfold'
Harley M. Tabinas and Precious Danielle Dalida serendipitously met as fresh graduates reviewing for their respective board exams but there were no sparks. But one friend request from Harley, years later, changed everything. On June 22, 2021, Harley and Prei were married at Don Bosco Chapel on the Hill after an engagement of almost a year.
Below, Prei shares how they managed to get married to get married on their original date–no postponements here–their favorite wedding detail, and their advice for couple planning their intimate wedding:
How did you meet?
Harley is from Bataan while I am from Quezon. We met seven years ago during our stay in the same dorm. We were fresh graduates reviewing for our board exams in Manila. Our group of friends instantly grew close because they were all nice. However, I was not particularly close with Harley. In fact, I do not remember much about him during those days. Except when we had a quick and casual conversation about our dogs.
That was the only time that we had the chance to talk. After we took the board exams, we went our separate ways and no communication happened between us. Fast forward to 2016 when we were already professionals, I remember Harley sent a friend request on Facebook and the rest is history.
What’s your most favorite detail about your wedding?
When Harley proposed last October 2020, the first thing we talked about was not when and where we were going to tie the knot but how our wedding invitation would look like. Since Harley is also an artist, we wanted our invitation to be personal rather than traditional so we conceptualized and he made cute illustrations of us. He was also the one who made our monogram! It is definitely our most favorite part of our wedding details.
Did you encounter any challenges?
We were really happy and grateful to our family and friends who came all the way from Bataan, Manila, Laguna, and Lucena and gave us their precious time to celebrate our most-awaited day. Limiting our guest list was so difficult since we come from big families and we want to be with everyone. Our total number of guests was more or less just 80 since as much as possible, we want it to be intimate for everyone’s safety given the current situation
What’s your most memorable moment from your wedding day?
The most memorable moment for us is the wedding ceremony itself. It was so solemn to be married in a small chapel with your closest family and friends and to exchange wedding vows in front of the Lord. Moreso, we had fun during our prep shoot with our bridesmaids, groomsmen, and family. It was so nice to see everybody dressed up so beautifully.
What’s your advice for other couples planning their intimate wedding?
Couples should enjoy the planning process as much as they can because it gets stressful as the wedding day approaches. Do not forget to have fun along the way. During our wedding day, Harley and I were both so chill as we were really present at the moment. We know that there are no perfect weddings so we let go of controlling every aspect and just let the day unfold as it is.
It is also important to choose reliable and trustworthy wedding suppliers since they are the ones who will do the work and we feel very fortunate because of them. Planning to get married during the pandemic is no easy thing with the restrictions changing every now and then. Always keep in mind to follow the guidelines for everyone's safety. We are eternally grateful to the Lord for granting us to get married on our original date.
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'Seeing all our loved ones, celebrating with us, it was the happiest'
Vyctor Kristoffer Rilloma and Anna Genilee Andal met as university students and it was Vyctor’s voice that caught Anna’s attention. Vyctor sang at a party and Anna says, “The kilig I felt that day when I watched him perform was the kilig I felt when we became husband and wife.”
After relocating their reception venue brought about by guideline changes, Anna says seeing all their hard work was “heartwarming”.
Read Anna’s account of their love story and pandemic intimate wedding planning:
How did you meet and fall in love?
My husband and I met back when we were in college at University of Batangas. We belong to the same department, I was a sophomore Information Systems student and he was a freshman with the same course. We were introduced by a common friend, little did they know that Vyctor already got my attention when he performed at their Acquaintance Party. He sang Lucky by Jason Mraz, I can still remember him wearing a floral dark brown polo while performing.
From then on, I had a secret crush on him but of course it was not a secret from my friends. The kilig I felt that day when I watched him perform was the same kilig I felt when we became husband and wife. We have been a couple since October 2010. He proposed on my birthday, November 3, 2017. It was a month long preparation by my family, my cousin who was the number one accomplice. Everyone in my family, and his, already knew that he was going to propose on my birthday. By the way, he was in Saudi when he planned it, he proposed through a long letter he wrote. The letter, a cake, a bouquet and the engagement ring which almost did not make it (it was shipped from abroad to the Philippines and was received three days before my birthday), it was all a surprise. It was definitely a “Yes” and it was the best decision I have ever made in my life. It was a ten years and eight months of being in a relationship before we got married, and true enough, it was all worth the wait.
What were your wedding plans?
Our wedding was supposed to be on September 20, 2020. But due to the pandemic, we decided to reschedule. We chose August 2021 but decided to have it on an earlier date due to some advice from our parents that August is considered “ghost month” and the finalized date was June 21, 2021. Having to move from one date to another was really stressful, having to inform and confirm the availability of the suppliers, editing of invitation inputs, it was really a challenge but then another challenge came, our original venue is located in Alfonso, Cavite, an eight minute drive from Chapel on the Hill. But Cavite was included in the NCR Bubble, so the venue had to limit the capacity to 30% inclusive of the suppliers. I broke down when I learned of this, but then we had to come up with a better idea for us to still be able to have our dream wedding with our loved ones.
So two months before our wedding we decided to change our venue. It was a big decision to make but I can say that it was the best decision. We decided to have our reception at Grand Terraza Event Center, a 45-minute drive from the chapel. It was quite far but it can accommodate our preferred guests and suppliers because of its big function hall. Luckily, we pulled it off with the help of our suppliers. After the many changes and challenges that we encountered on our wedding preparation, seeing the beautiful output, hearing all beautiful comments from our families, it was really heart warming.
What was your theme or motif?
Our motif was pink and rose gold. I am fond of the color pink so lucky me, my husband let me chose our motif. My robe was a customized robe by the same designer who made my gown. I ordered the robe online, but then my designer and I had a collaboration of ideas to make it fancier, the ruffles in my robe was my idea and the puff sleeve was my designer’s idea.
For my gown, I just told my designer that I want to feel like a princess on my wedding day, and he made me a princess ballgown which weighed almost 20 kilos. That’s what they call “tiis ganda”!
I think one of my most memorable moments on our wedding was when we were walking down the grand staircase of Grand Terraza for our entrance as husband and wife, while the song Forever was being played. It was really magical and romantic. Seeing all our loved ones who were there to celebrate with us, cheering for us, it was the happiest. I was very nervous that time because I’m not really used to being the center of attraction but that day, I just enjoyed and felt the warmth of love that we’re receiving.
What’s your advice for couples planning their wedding?
Our advice for other couples who are planning their wedding in the time of pandemic: just enjoy the process, it was really challenging but when you and your partner are able to enjoy the whole preparation, the result will also be successful.
Don’t focus so much on the small details.Always look at the bigger picture and at what you really want to on your wedding. It is good to listen to others’ advice but what really matters is you and your partner’s decision, because in the end, it is still your wedding, not anyone else’s.
How an LDR couple planned their intimate minimalist wedding
Despite being miles and timezones apart, Kevin Fernandez and Jamielee Princess Diamante was able to have their intimate wedding on August 21, 2021 at Caleruega Chapel of Transfiguration, Nasugbu, Batangas. It took almost two years from when they planned to marry, countless planning, postponements, and re-planning, and as Jamie says, “faith, courage, and willpower. We were adamant to push through with our wedding by hook or by crook.”
Jamie is an auditor-CPA based in UAE while Kevin is a business and technology integration consultant in the Philippines. Since they’ve been planning their wedding in 2019, Jamie calls herself “the brains” while Kevin is their runner. The travel ban was one of the biggest hurdles they had to get past. Thankfully once Jamie was able to book a flight home, Kevin and Jamie’s wedding would finally happen–even if it meant planning last minute details and legal requirements during her 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine.
Read below what they envisioned for their wedding and how this LDR couple pulled off wedding planning in a pandemic:
Did you have a theme for your wedding?
We have the same vision for our wedding. Since we are both low-key, we want our wedding to look classic, elegant and timeless—something that would still look beautiful when we look back on our golden anniversary. Our theme was minimalist greeneries and we opted for simple white flowers. We also want our attire to reflect our vision so he wore a tailored barong coat and I wore a minimalist terno. A must have for our wedding was the custom-made leather shoes for Kevin. It was a splurge but totally worth it—aside from our names and wedding date, it also had the inscription “Sa wakas” and “Hanggang Wakas” on the left and right shoe respectively.
What were the challenges encountered during the wedding preparation?
All the major suppliers were booked since March 2020 and we thought it was full steam ahead for our original January 2, 2021 wedding. But just a few days after booking them, WHO declared the COVID-19 as a global pandemic. We eventually decided to reschedule our wedding to August 21, 2021 with the hope that the pandemic will be under control by then.
The biggest challenge was getting stuck in UAE due to the travel ban imposed to travelers from UAE including returning Filipinos. I kept hopeful and adjusted my flight to July 17 but the travel ban kept getting extended. I was in a constant state of anxiety because the announcement of the travel ban comes every 15 days. When it was announced that the travel ban would include our wedding date, we gave up hope and messaged suppliers that our wedding date was indefinitely postponed.
Luckily, commercial flights for returning Filipinos were allowed again and I was able to book a flight but I was subjected to a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine. During the hotel quarantine, we were busy planning our wedding and booking minor suppliers and completing legal requirements.
How did you handle the challenges?
Love is a given but we needed these: faith, courage and willpower—we were adamant to push through with our wedding by hook or by crook because life is never assured so we needed to grab whatever chances are given to us. So even if we felt that some things were impossible, we just powered through it and prayed fervently. Eventually, everything aligned and we had the perfect wedding—perfect not because we planned it that way, but because it was the wedding God graciously blessed us with.
How did you feel during the wedding?
Kevin: We tried our best not to see each other–and each other’s attire–the night before the wedding. I even stayed at a different rental house to avoid seeing her so I was very excited and nervous while waiting for the ceremony to start. It did not help that Father Allen was late for a few minutes and the delay added to my nervous anticipation.
It was during the bridal march that I felt the funny tingly feeling creeping up from my toes to my chest. It was the first time I saw her in all her bridal glory. She was perfect–everything seemed perfect that time. The stress brought by all the challenges we faced melted away. Inevitably, I cried.
Jamie: Honestly, I felt calm the whole wedding day. Maybe because all the feelings and tears flowed before the wedding day—with the challenges and stress that we experienced, I was all cried out before the wedding. There was just an overwhelming gratitude in my heart to all the people involved, to the wedding suppliers, to the friends who were there from preparation to execution, to the families who gave their help and support, to my Kevin who was my perfect partner in all things, and most especially to God who really blessed us and made all things possible.
What were your most memorable moments from your wedding?
Jamie: The memorable moment for me was the ceremony itself. It was the culmination of all our planning and hoping and praying and we had a wonderfully personal ceremony and the homily really spoke to who we are as a couple and who we will be as husband and wife. Also, the moment when the church doors opened and I saw our families and friends, my mother and auntie, and Kevin was truly memorable. I savored that feeling and I made sure to look at each of them and commit to memory how they looked and how I felt at that particular moment. I gave a breath that was both of relief and thanksgiving and I said to myself, “this is it. Thank you, Lord.”
And finally, I will always remember our first dance. It was just Kevin and me in that moment and I loved getting lost in his eyes and feeling the song, the day and the moment.
Kevin: The most memorable for me would be the first time I saw her when the church doors opened. Being away with her the last night of preparations is really worth it. Next would be Father Allen’s homily and his own, unique addition to the usual Catholic Wedding ceremony.
What advice would you give other couples planning their wedding?
Jamie: “Laban lang, if God wills it, it will happen” This was my constant thought during the whole wedding preparation, specially during the last few weeks leading up to the wedding where we had the most roadblocks. During those days, it seemed that we had a new problem to face every day. Had we stumbled, doubted, and lost hope, certainly, there would not have been a wedding. So just remember that during the times when you struggle the most, just trust that God will lead you to the right people and proper solutions.
'We felt that God gave us wedding that was really "us"'
Manuel Valero and Stephanny Angeles share an 18-year partnership before making it official on July 26, 2021. The couple met as college freshman students in UST and together they conquered life milestones, from passing the board exams (they’re both architects), working in Singapore, and starting their own design and construction company.
Their journey to ‘I do’ was quite the adventure too. Coco and Steph were originally going to wed in March 2020 at Sofitel but had to cancel. They put their plan on hold for 10 months before trying again: a March 2021 wedding but in Shangri-la at The Fort because the previous venue could not accommodate key members of their family. A similar problem arose for their second try, plus contracting Covid-19. “So another set of plans just got cancelled and the planning was getting exhausting already. I even told Coco that it’s okay with me if we just got married at the City Hall and that we book a hotel’s private dining hall to celebrate. But he said to try one more time, this time, to focus our planning outside of Metro Manila as they seem to have less restrictions,” says Steph.
Below, Steph talks more about the three-day wedding festivities she and Coco had:
Did you have a theme for your wedding?
Even before the pandemic, we’ve always wanted an intimate wedding. Every time we would attend grand weddings, Coco and I would always tell ourselves: “we won’t do ours this way.” Or “this is not us”. Not that there’s anything wrong with grand weddings, but we know early on that it is not the wedding we wanted for ourselves.
We both aren’t too keen on spending so much on a single day, as we both don’t buy that: “minsan lang mangyayari sa buhay niyo ito” mindset most Filipinos have. While we both know that it’s of course a very special day in our lives, we also know that our marriage, which are all the days after the wedding is way more important than our wedding day. So we both agreed to keep everything simple, laid back, fun and heartwarming. I guess, that’s where the rustic and minimalist garden wedding stemmed from.
Church weddings seem to have so much more restrictions and that doesn’t really appeal to us so much. Our non-negotiable was really just to have a fun wedding, with a good photographer to capture those moments. Really grateful for Michelle of Circuit Studios for giving us all these memories we’d keep forever, and to our best friend, Shaan for making our wedding video.
What were your wedding plans?
After cancelling our wedding twice, we decided to get an entire Airbnb instead so there’s more flexibility and lesser restrictions. What a blessing to have found Mertola’s Farm in Airbnb. It was a simple, quaint, resort just 1.5 hrs from Manila, located at the edge of a ridge with an unobstructed view of Taal. We visited it right away, spoke to the owner, Vic Mertola, and booked it immediately. We had the whole place to ourselves for 3 days and got the staycation-wedding we have always wanted.
How did you handle the challenges you encountered?
Coco and I had this inside joke of making our wedding hashtag #forcemajeurpamore. Imagine having all these days before your third wedding attempt: a worsening pandemic, strong rains and winds from a typhoon that just won’t stop because of habagat, a looming volcanic eruption and an earthquake just a day before the wedding. It was crazy! But grateful for our friends for telling us that we should still push through and for giving us the “walang makakapigil satin” mindset.
The earlier cancellations of course, were a big challenge as refunds usually take 4-8 weeks. We opted for the two hotels as they had everything we need, and we thought everything would be simpler if we’ll just do everything in one place: the overnight stay the day before, pre-wedding preps, ceremony, reception and our stay the night after the wedding. No fuss wedding is all we wanted. Unfortunately, being in Manila, everything was unpredictable as restrictions change every two weeks. We tried to cope by managing our expectations: we simplified so much of the wedding, so much so that we even removed unnecessary traditions so we won’t need to stress ourselves over it.
Another big challenge is also how to oversimplify our guest list. We had to be very thorough and almost discreet about this as realistically, we really cannot invite everyone.
How did you feel during your wedding?
Although it was still very much flawed and a lot of things went wrong during the 3 days we were there: just like how the wind was going crazy during the actual ceremony and the curtain decors were flying to our faces, but all in all since we had so much fun along with 18 of our guests, looking back, those flaws actually added character and fun to the story of our wedding day. We felt that God gave us wedding that was really us. It was simple, unpretentious, laid back and fun. We were also glad that we were able to give our families and friends a break from the pandemic. Everyone was itching to go on a vacation after being on lockdown for more than a year. We’re glad to be able to give them a break from the pandemic even just for 3 days.
What were your most memorable moments from your wedding?
Funny things like dropping the wedding ring during the ceremony right before I could even give it to Coco. But it’s really mostly being able to spend a good three days with our closest families and friends, being able to bond just like how we do it pre-pandemic.
First night before the wedding, we finished drinking at 2AM, so everyone was really sleepy and tired during the actual wedding. Haha! We were able to have our siesta after our wedding reception, and continued the celebration on our second night where the drinking, singing and kwentuhan lasted until 5AM the next day! It was fun and exhausting, something all of us missed and haven’t done since the start of the pandemic.
Since there were only 20 of us, and most of the adults were already vaccinated, we were able to really celebrate anxiety-free. Thankfully, no one contracted Covid from our wedding. Looking back, we now know the reason why all those cancellations happened, it’s so that we could have this simple 3-day garden wedding we have always wanted, for the fraction of the cost of how it would have in those fancy hotels in Manila we previously booked for 1 day. Even turned out way better than the original wedding plan. The wedding very much reflected who we were as a couple, simple and laid back, true to self, which was why we were very satisfied with the outcome.
Do you have advice for couples planning their wedding?
Start first with knowing what you really want. Maybe it also comes with our age, being in our mid-30s already, we weren’t much into the big wedding trends nowadays. It’s really easy to get caught into the numerous wedding ads online, but if you know what you really want to happen during your wedding, you can really simplify it and still make it work. With us, we started with a small guest list and waited until most of the adults were fully vaccinated so we can do the celebration we want without so much anxiety. We also DIY-ed a lot of the things in the wedding, like the digital invitation, the decors for two nights we’ll be celebrating, and our best friends made the wedding video and hosted our reception.
DIY-ing your wedding is very doable for us given the nature of our work, but really not recommendable. Also, instead of getting a couturier, we opted to just rent out the gowns for the female guests and the suit for Coco. Had I found a wedding dress from a rental shop, I would have also rented out, but instead found a very good minimalist designer and only paid P7,000 for my wedding dress.
Also, since we’re small business owners ourselves, we also made sure to get small businesses as our suppliers to help them even in a small way this pandemic. Maybe this is something future couples could also consider doing.
Kris Bernal married her longtime boyfriend and business partner Perry Choi on September 25, 2021. The couple livestreamed their ceremony on Kris Bernal's YouTube and since tying the knot, the bride has shared bits and pieces of her wedding and planning and we're here for it! Below are five things we can't help but swoon over.
1. Her Mak Tumang wedding gown
The bride says it only took four visits to designer Mak Tumang to complete her wedding gown. “When he asked me about the design and style, I told him that he may take the lead because I trust his taste and expertise. I know that he will create a gown that would fit my personal style, my built, and aura. During my last fitting, he told me that the gown represents my personality as someone who’s playful and bubbly,” Kris writes in her Instagram post of her wedding gown.
We absolutely loved the hint of whimsy Mak injected into Kris’ gown with her ruffled sleeve. Paired with her hairstyle, the bride looked like a fairy princess.
Most brides prefer to keep it classic during their big day, whether in their fashion or beauty choices. Kris boldly donned a pop of blue on her lids, which turned out to be an ode to her favorite Disney princess. “While [the] sunflower is my top most favorite flower, Cinderella is my top favorite Disney Princess. She's gentle, brave, full of hope, and empowering. Above all, what really got me stoked to her is her kindness. She showed everyone kindness no matter what. No matter how cruel and harsh the people around her were.”
Kris adds, “ So, I asked my makeup artist, @carissacielomedved, to add hints of blue on my eyes so everytime I would check myself on the mirror, I'll be reminded of what really makes a person beautiful, his/her heart,” she writes on her Instagram post after the wedding. We love of course that it also ties in with wedding tradition to wear “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue”. Kris and makeup artist Carissa Cielo Medved prove that blue eyeshadow isn’t always dated, it can be classic too.
Kris says the sunflower is her favorite bloom because “It symbolizes unwavering faith and unconditional love. It reminds me of the face of the sun that sends pure joy and positive vibes to me.” She enlisted the help of Gideon Hermosa to bring in that positive energy from the sunflower to their ceremony venue, St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Parish. The bride says of Gideon’s work, “So much artwork and creativity were put into this flawless event setup! My wedding looked like sunshine in a sunflower field because of him!” We at Inspirations.ph love her unabashed love for color, so radiant and uplifting for these unprecedented times.
4. Their prenup shoot
Perry Choi met Kris Bernal when the latter was setting up food business Meat Kris. Perry’s family was Kris’ supplier and the two worked together to develop her business’ burger patties. So for their prenup shoot, also by Nice Print Photography, we see how their love story factored in their photos. Perry and Kris pose in a glommed up picnic for their engagement session.
RELATED: 4 Money Saving Hacks From Wedding Planners
5. Their themed dessert box
Audrey’s Pastries provided Mr. and Mrs. Choi’s gorgeous dessert box, which the pastry boutique says was initially planned as a dessert buffet. “…but due to the pandemic, we have to adjust and take precautionary measures,” writes Audrey’s Pastries’ Instagram account. It looks like Kris and Perry’s guests received a curated box of beautiful and yummy desserts, another idea pandemic couples can incorporate into their wedding.
Despite postponements and sickness, the couple focused on getting married and starting a family
By Joaquin Reloj
It was a remarkable moment in time when James Henry D. Hizon and Franzine Nicole M. Amponin celebrated their most awaited intimate wedding on July 31, 2021–just a few days before Metro Manila once again went into lockdown. The ceremony took place at Our Lady of Consolation Parish, Mira Nila Homes, in Quezon City. Then, followed by a small reception that took place in Groom’s Backyard Pavilion, graced with a gazebo beside a pool in the backyard garden.
Seven years ago, James and Nicole started out as strangers. They had a few casual encounters on some social scenes but haven’t had the chance to meet personally. When asked about their impressions of one another, Nicole recalled, “It was hard not to notice James since he was towering above everyone else, and he’s good looking of course, just wasn’t exactly my type at the time. It was just the end of 2014 when our common friend formally introduced us. I didn’t think much of this encounter, since to me, he was just the guy who I randomly saw in parties, and I had this premature impression that he was a bit of a playboy.”
James, on the other hand, has a different story to tell. “Well, as for me, she was really my type and I couldn’t let the chance pass to get to know her...I already had a crush on her before we were introduced. Then I persisted and was consistent in courting her because I really like her. I knew she was someone special and I wanted to be with her. May sound corny, but she really was the one.”
They say don’t let chances pass you by and Nicole and James seized theirs. Nicole continued, “One afternoon I got an iMessage from James (we did not exchange numbers at all), he just asked for my number from our common friend. He was bold enough to ask me out right away. He took a few attempts until I agreed to go on a date, and looking back, I’m so glad I did. Date after date, we really clicked and the rest was history.”
“That was seven years ago and our relationship was not without its challenges and trials. We held on, matured, grew together, and here we are, happily married.” The couple got engaged last February 2020, just a month before the first ever lockdown in the Philippines. With the uncertainty that the pandemic brought, they already set their expectations based on how long it would last.
“So even from the start, we were already playing it by ear and could not start any serious planning. We already solidified our thoughts of just doing a small wedding in the meantime while the big celebration would be to follow after the pandemic, and settled for March of 2021.”
The intimate wedding that James and Nicole planned for March was held back further as James tested positive for COVID-19 a few weeks before the agreed date. “He’s a pretty athletic guy, so we thought it would be like a common flu for him. But things took a turn for the worse, and let’s just say we thank God that his ordeal was over and he fully recovered.”
It was finally decided that the date of the intimate wedding will be on July 31, but certain circumstances were still out of their control. Nicole shared, “Another lockdown was looming, but we were almost sure it would happen by August, and our date would still make it. ECQ was announced to be implemented by August 6 and we were so glad we made the cut! However, on the week of July 31, GCQ was suddenly elevated with heightened restrictions, and that included only virtual mass gatherings. The Church called us a day before to say they have to cancel our wedding! We went into a panic, because everything was set, to the point that we were begging the priest to allow us to be blessed in the church even if we have no ceremony and no guests anymore. Fortunately, on that same day, the Church called again to confirm they can still hold our wedding but now limited to only 10 people. Better than another postponement!”
Planning for their July intimate wedding only took a few weeks since they just had to prepare for immediate families as guests. Most of the items on the checklist were already done. The documentations were taken care of as they have planned for a March wedding. Food preparations were handled by Hizon’s Catering, owned and operated by James’ family. “Planning the food and venue was an easy feat with the help of my mother-in-law, Octavia Hizon, together with my maid-of-honor and sister-in-law, Anne Hizon.” One of Nicole’s close friends also owned the events styling company Flourish and Frills, so together with her mother-in-law and the stylists at Hizon’s catering, glamming up the venue was a breeze for them.
“The chosen theme for the wedding was Tropical Boho.” On searching for inspirations, Nicole said, “I just searched for pegs on Pinterest to emulate. Since the wedding was held in my husband’s backyard, I wanted a warm and tropical feel to it, with lots of fairy lights encompassing the roof and draped on all sides of the pavilion.”
All of the work they had to do for the much-awaited celebration of their love paid off as it turned out to be a magical place to celebrate the couple’s union. “The venue looked romantic and dreamy. They pulled off a very elegant design. It was raining so hard the sun did not shine the entire week! But fortunately, it was warm and rain-free on the day of our wedding. God blessed us with a little bit of rain when we were already safe and cozy in the backyard venue.”
It was a stressful experience dealing with the challenges of the pandemic and lockdowns and despite the exhaustion, both Nicole and James felt happy to see everything they’ve prepared for come to life. They also had to grapple and adjust to all the pre-pandemic fads and trends of what an intimate wedding should be, but the couple was set on the one thing that matters: “...the essence of why you’re getting married in the first place. Pandemic weddings are a testament to that. Couples really decide and set a date no matter how challenging and volatile the situation is. And even if worse comes to worst, the couple would still push to get married even if it ends up to as a wedding with just the bride and groom. We almost came to that point. We just wanted to be blessed by the Church and then start a family.”
Their advice for those who are planning to get married in the midst of the pandemic: “Stay patient and resilient. Laugh off planning bumps, and focus on keeping your health and safety up at all times. You might really want to experience a big wedding party as soon as the gates open, but avoid taking risks or if need be, practice all necessary precautions even if it costs you, because it’s not worth having COVID-19 infections caused by your wedding, on your conscience.”
Through all the trials and tribulations, Nicole and James learned a few things throughout the time they’ve spent together. “Our relationship through the years was not all smooth sailing, our determination to stay together was tested time and time again. Like other couples, we’ve had really bad fights, we’ve had moments when we questioned if we were really compatible. But that was when love, maturity, and commitment came in. We knew at the end of the day, our values are aligned, there’s respect for our relationship, and we go back to the reasons why we chose each other in the first place. And each time we reconcile, we just feel our relationship growing deeper and more meaningful.”
When asked about the highlights of the entire process of planning and executing an intimate wedding, their answer was simple, “I think there were no highlights per se, as the journey of the day up until the very end, as short and no frills as it was, was special in its entirety.” For Nicole and James, it’s always been about never losing track of what’s important for the both of them and seizing every moment that we get to spend with the ones we hold closest to our hearts.
They didn’t let anything stop them from getting their dream wedding!
1. They went for their dream wedding–yes during the pandemic!
JC de Vera and Rikkah Cruz-de Vera were married three years ago via civil wedding and they pushed for their church wedding despite the pandemic. While most couples these days are doing the reverse, putting off their bigger, more grand celebration “when things are okay”, the De Veras went for their dream wedding! What an inspiration that love wins, no matter what. The couple was married in 2018.
2. They kept it private.
While the couple and their suppliers began sharing their wedding day on September 21, no one really knows their exact church wedding date. They were able to keep their church wedding private and offline, and it appears as if announcing their church wedding was agreed upon by the couple, their suppliers, and their guests. This is surely going to be the next trend in weddings, versus posting real-time events as we’ve done in the past. Don’t forget the key to such announcement: beautiful photos and videos as in the case of JC and Rikkah who worked with Nice Print Photography.
3. They enjoyed the big moments.
Most of the photos shared online and borrowed here below are the portraits of the couple. We haven’t seen photos of the ceremony or of the reception taking place. However, we do have photos of the bride’s dance with the father of the bride. We see that Rikkah could not help but shed tears during their dance and behind them the LED wall flashes photos of them. These are the tender moments we hope that most couples still continue to enjoy during your wedding celebrations, along with speeches, and the groom and Mother of the Groom’s dance. If you’re celebrating your reception, don’t forget to include these parts in the program!
4. They were dressed as a trio.
We see that JC and Rikkah’s daughter Lana, was dressed in a gown reminiscent of her mom’s bridal gown. Rikkah’s strapless ceremony gown was created by Francis Libiran. Lana’s gown has similar beadwork and ruffles. JC wore a white tux and black bowtie by Paul Cabral.
5. That heavenly styling!
The De Vera’s stylist Gideon Hermosa posted on his Facebook account, “Our kind of sparks and sparkles! The ones you see from above and the sparks coming from the eyes and hearts of our newlyweds.” Gideon went all out with the celestial theme for the couple’s reception. The ceiling treatment looked just like the Milky Way and other galaxies. The tablescape flowers were kept low, perhaps to give way to the lighting above. We’re sure that JC and Rikkah’s reception photos are going to make their way into vision boards of couples!
Which of these five details did you love about JC and Rikkah’s wedding? Share this story now and inspire more couples!
They were engaged and married on their month-long vacation!
Anika Leongson and Miguel Menchaca flew to the US in August for a month-long vacation and they came back as Mr. and Mrs. Menchaca. The wedding was not at all part of their itinerary, although proposing to Anika at that time was Chaca’s plan. It was upon the suggestion of Anika’s family, to get married while they were both in the US, when Chaca and Anika realized it was a legitimate option.
“Chaca and I laughed at the idea at first, but we quickly realized that it was something we both wanted to do… We knew it would be very difficult to plan a wedding back home,” Anika says. With a borrowed wedding dress and veil, Ring Pops from the Dollar Store, and a livestream for their family and friends in the Philippines, Chaca and Anika were married at their family’s backyard.
Below, Anika shares more about their 11-day engagement, what she learned from their shotgun wedding, and if she recommends it.
Can you quickly share the story behind your engagement turned wedding one-month US vacation?
Chaca and I (I’m sure like everyone else too!) have been wanting to go on vacation. We decided to fly to the US to visit my family in Chicago. My mom has two sisters who live there with their families, and growing up, we would always visit them every summer so I really wanted Chaca to visit them too. It’s funny because a huge portion of our trip happened by chance. We booked our flights to Chicago and told my family our dates. One of my mom’s sisters told us that they were going to Tulum, Mexico in the same dates and asked us if we wanted to join them! I quickly said yes because Tulum has always been a dream destination for me. Little did I know that was where Chaca was going to propose. With the help of my family, he proposed on August 5, 2021 at our resort in Tulum. What made it extra special was that the whole thing was recorded on Zoom so that our parents, siblings, and closest friends could be part of the special moment. We spent six days in magical Tulum and then flew back to Chicago on August 10.
We had dinner out with both my Tita’s on August 12, and that was a Thursday. One of them suggested that we get married while we were in Chicago, and both of our parents supported it as well. Chaca and I laughed at the idea at first, but we quickly realized that it was something we both wanted to do. Four of our closest friends were also arriving in Chicago from New York to visit and stay with us that weekend, so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
The very next day, we went to the local county with our passports in hand and applied for our marriage license. After we were able to secure it, we booked a Wedding Officiator, then mounted a DIY civil wedding and got married in my Aunt’s beautiful backyard on Monday, August 16, 2021. We only had three days to plan it and every single person from my family and friends in Chicago helped us make the shotgun civil wedding of our dreams happen.
What would be some lessons you learned from your experience?
1. We realized what was most important. Despite the very quick engagement and wedding, Chaca and I have been together for five years. It truly felt like the right time for us to be engaged and with the pandemic going on, we knew it would be very difficult for us to plan a wedding back home. So when the idea of having a civil wedding in the US came along, we jumped on it right away. There were still a few hurdles we had to go through such as securing the marriage license and booking the officiator, but everything worked out perfectly. And with our friends coming to Chicago at the right time, we both felt like everything was meant to happen the way it did.
As a young girl, you always envision how your wedding would be; what dress you’d wear, how long your veil will be, how many people you’d invite, and how your wedding bands would look like. But in that moment when we realized that we wanted to get married in Chicago, all of those ‘material’ dreams went away. Sure, I panicked because I didn’t have a dress, a veil, shoes, or even wedding bands, but our wedding became so much more than those dreams I had as a child. We knew that we wanted to be married to each other and that was all that mattered.
The next few days, we quickly put together a backyard DIY wedding for 18 guests. I borrowed this beautiful, white flowy dress from my Tita, which my friend Bianca sewed to help make it fit me better. We used my Tito’s projector stand to make our wedding arch and covered it with my cousin’s gorgeous wedding veil that she used in her wedding last year. We got our wedding cake from my Tita’s friend, Milette’s Cakes, who kindly accommodated our request in 2 days. My Tito Maui, who is a professional wedding photographer, happily volunteered to take our official wedding photos, and my cousins and friends helped me with my hair and makeup.
Everything in our wedding was perfectly crafted by all our friends and family, and that made it even more special. The only thing we bought were our rings–Ring Pops from The Dollar Store. Luckily, I already had my engagement ring!
2. It's about your people. Our trip to the US was only a month, so of course we had a timeline we had to work with. It was also important for us to have the wedding while our friends were there. We were instantly able to have a Best Man and Maid of Honor through our close friends Martin and Addie, and in line with the ‘shotgun’ theme of our wedding, they were able to give speeches for us even though we just asked them one day before the wedding.
3. Family matters. I wouldn’t have don’t anything differently. I really believe that everything worked out the way that it was meant to and everything felt so right despite our shortened engagement of only 11 days. The only thing that we both would have loved in our wedding was to have both of our parents there. However, thanks to modern technology, we were able to stream it live so that our parents could be there virtually if not physically. We even asked Chaca’s mom (my mom now, too! ) to lead and open the ceremony with a prayer.
Would you recommend “jumping the gun”? Why or why not?
I don’t know if I would recommend ‘jumping the gun,’ but what I would recommend to other couples who want to get married during the pandemic is to just do what feels right. I think that the beauty and magic of a wedding lies in the merging of two families and the union of two souls. In times like these, we really need to be flexible and be able to adjust to all the changes and uncontrollable factors that are happening around us. Even though our wedding was not what I imagined, it didn’t make it any less meaningful. It was a day filled with so much magic and love, and our special day that we are going to remember forever.
What do you love about married life so far? What’s next?
We are absolutely enjoying our post-engagement/post-wedding bliss. It has been the best and most meaningful trip for us and now it’s just so good to be back home and living together with our cat. We are planning to have a small and intimate Church wedding before the year ends, and hopefully we can plan a bigger beach wedding with all our friends and family in 2022 or 2023.