Weddings That Inspire

Arvin and Kathy - The Road to Marriage

From a script-worthy love story to a cinematic wedding

A long and winding road from friendship to courtship meant a relatively short dating and engagement period just made sense for John Arvin Bautista and Katherine Joanne Cua. Their cultural differences stood in the way for many years, but eventually the uphill climb turned around and “We knew God was moving,” Arvin recalls. Less than a year after that fateful day, Arvin proposed to Kathy and they began to plan their intimate wedding.

The Bautistas were married on 17 January 2021 at Villa Milagros with just 40 of their family and friends physically present. The couple initially wanted to get married in a venue with a view but because it might be too much trouble for their guests, they chose one where their ceremony and reception could be held at the same property.

Arvin and Kathy share below how hiring professionals experienced in pandemic weddings and the power of technology made their wedding magical.

Related: Chester and Honeylet - Focus on What Matters

Did you encounter challenges when planning your wedding?

Our first challenge was to get our Marriage License during a pandemic. The number of appointments for marriage license processing was very limited­­–the earliest availability for us was in a month. Fortunately, the City of Taguig granted our plea for immediate booking a week after writing to them a Letter of Request for Appointment. We were very fortunate to be scheduled on our preferred date and our Marriage License was released a few days after that.

Next was identifying the the guest list. There have been suggestions from family members on who we should invite; and we have also friends and relatives whom we’d love to celebrate with us on our big day. But the risk of government restrictions shifting at any time caused us to decide on the number of guests that we are comfortable with. We also invested in a live-stream supplier in order for us to still share the joy with our loved ones in spite of the distance. This, we could say, is one of the best decisions we made for our wedding! Our friends and relatives–both in the Philippines and abroad­–were able to celebrate with us! And the cinematic live stream video provided for us by Treehouse Story was so clear and well put together as if they themselves were with us during the wedding!

Third was balancing wedding planning with preparing our new home which we moved into right after our wedding.

Related: Benny and Sherry - Proposal Delivered

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

- When building your guest list, keep it to the most essential people that you would want to witness your wedding. Don’t feel pressured to invite everyone in your family or circle of friends. With venue limitations, and the uncertainty that comes with the pandemic, the safety of everyone in your wedding should come first. With technology, there are ways to celebrate with them!

- Have the mindset to be flexible in case your venue needs to change, a supplier becomes unavailable, or a guest backs out last minute. There will be adjustments that you and your partner will have navigate, the most important thing is that you and your partner face it together.

- Choose suppliers who are experienced and trust that they know how to follow the right safety protocols. This lifted a lot of burden from us knowing that we hired professionals who have navigated through weddings during a pandemic. On top of the detailing, have conversations with them about their safety protocols and allow them to execute.

- Most of all–Enjoy! Enjoy the preparation, and enjoy your big day!

The Dream Team

Photography by Randolf Evan | Videography and livestream by Treehouse Story | Venue: Villa Milagros | Bridal Gown and Groom’s Suit by Christine Lam | Catering by Madriaga Catering | Coordinator and bridal bouquet: One Love Events MNL | Host: i-Host Events | Engagement ring by Radical Jewelry by CF Ramirez | Wedding Bands by Karat Gold | Hair and makeup by Faces by Kathreen Diane | Invitation printing by Lucia Artisañia, layout and design by the bride and her sister

Weddings That Inspire

Chester and Honeylet - Focus on What Matters

With just two months to plan, this couple breezed through planning by letting go of the details

Chester Chan and Honeylet Lim met during their grade school years but it was only when they were young professionals working abroad when a romance sparked. Chester was working in Singapore while Honeylet was in Taiwan but decided to move to Singapore. “That’s when our love story started. We date for five years before we got married,” says Honeylet.

The couple got engaged on November 2020 and just a week later, they had already decided on their auspicious wedding date. It left Chester and Honey with about two months to prepare for their intimate wedding. “It helped that I wasn’t so picky about things. I let go of the things I can’t control and just let our coordinator handle it,” Honeylet says.

Below, Honeylet shares how she planned a wedding for 60 guests in just two months, why taking care of your health is just as important as planning your pandemic wedding, the key suppliers you should have.

Related: Benny and Sherry – Proposal Delivered

What were the challenges you faced in wedding planning?
I wanted a getaway wedding but because of the pandemic, it wasn't possible. Also the styling of the venue, Chester and I didn't want to spend on flowers because it will just die the day after. It was hard to find a good but affordable stylist.

What are your tips for couples planning their intimate wedding?

- Have your ceremony and reception at one venue, it saves time and money. It will be easy on the guests as well.

- You don't have to spend a lot or get all the top notch suppliers! Get those who are good and just starting out and give them a chance. You won't regret it.

- Sleep and drink your vitamins months prior to the wedding.

- Get a good makeup artist. Look at his/her bio and see if they know how to work with your facial features.

- Get a good coordinator, someone you can trust even with money.

Related: Ernest and Kat – Love is a Decision

How could you let go of the details?

More than the suppliers and other details, the most important thing is that you guys will be married and that's only it. Let go of things that are temporary.

Found this blog to be helpful? Share it with another couple planning their wedding!

 

The Dream Team

Photography by Visual Folks | Video by Bow & Arrow Films | Coordination by Events Republic | Bridal Gown by White Label | Hair and makeup by Make up Artistry by Nybie Ng | Venue: Light of Love Events Place | Catering by Eloquente Catering | Styling by Amaranthus | Flowers by Clint Carl

 

Weddings That Inspire

Ernest and Kat - Love is a Decision

‘Our wedding was the finish line to the race we started years ago. Now, we’re in a new race’

It started with an ROTC Corps Commander who ordered his subordinates to ask for a college freshman’s number. Atty. Ernest Levanza was instantly smitten by Maria Katrina Corpuz. Both were students at the same university. Texting led to first run of their relationship, which unfortunately ended. The second run again started with a simple text from Ernest, “Dinner?”

Kat was scheduled to study in Australia by this time and although both were not big believers of LDR (long-distance relationships), they knew that they were worth the shot. Ernest and Kat made it work, with Ernest visiting Kat frequently. When the pandemic hit, Kat flew home and finished her studies online. Ernest proposed in August 2020 the two began to plan their “simple wedding”. The couple’s intimate wedding was held at Holy Family Parish GMA and the reception at Mango Grove.

Related: Jam and Nat - We Just Knew

Ernest reveals that they were mistaken–a pandemic wedding isn’t necessarily simple to plan. The changing government restrictions alone was enough to make the planning a challenge. Below, Ernest and Kat shares how they overcame changing venues and suppliers just three days before their wedding day:

Why did you have to change your plans just three days before the wedding?

A week prior to the wedding, we had everything finalized. However, the government issued certain restrictions. It classified weddings as a “non-essential event” and then prohibited non-essential events in hotels and restaurants in areas under GCQ. We were supposed to have our reception at a restaurant in Quezon City. So change of plans, but we decided that no matter what, we will get married on our day. We transferred to Cavite, an MGCQ area. So we had to change most of our suppliers considering that all of them have out of town charges. Sometimes, equivalent to the rate of their service. We had three days to plan the wedding.

How did you manage that?

Mrs. Sheena Corpuz, matron of honor, contacted all the suppliers and possible venues for the church and reception. She gave us the options with prices. We didn’t have the benefit of time, so there are decisions that were made with a “what the heck” mentality. We handled the challenges by realizing our limitations and being decisive on matters. Lessen the factors you take into consideration such as what other people will think. Should we talk about the suppliers who didn’t want to refund? Nevermind. Refund was a challenge.

How did you feel on your wedding day?

The wedding was our finish line of the race we started years ago. Now, we’re in a new race.

What are your tips for couples planning their weddings?

Be updated with government regulations. Minimize risk right from the very start. Be decisive. Take into consideration our recommended suppliers.

Share this story with a couple planning their wedding!

The Dream Team:

Photography and videography: Wally Gonzales | Stylist: Tipping Point Collective | Entertainment: Madz and Dzhei | Hair and makeup: Ella Tamayo | Florist: Bezalels Floral Design | Grazing table: Lady Marz | Church: Holy Family Parish GMA| Reception: Mango Grove | Invitations: Invitations by Ten | Bridal Gown by Studio Miranda | Groom’s Suit: Suit it Up MNL | Guest Souvenirs: Noah’s Garden of Succulents and Cacti | Principal Sponsors Souvenirs: Mi Casa | Cake: Flour and Bake PH

Weddings That Inspire

Jam and Nat - We Just Knew

'We simply had to adapt to the changes. It really was not easy but it proved to be worth the hassle in the end'

By Joaquin Reloj

Jose Antonio Miguel Lopez and Natasha Grace Holganza celebrated their intimate wedding on November 17, 2020. The ceremony was held at Archbishop’s Palace followed by a reception at Chateau By The Sea.

The newlyweds first met on what Jam describes as a “random Saturday night.” Just as he was about to call it a day, tucked in and ready for bed, Jam received a phone call from one of his constant drinking buddies. His friend persuaded him to come out for a few drinks. He was convinced they would end earlier than usual. Little did he know that this was the same night he would be introduced to his future wife.

“We just ordered a bottle of whiskey when another friend and his wife called us inviting us to a different venue. We decided to keep the bottle and move venues. When we got to the venue, my friend stepped out to have a smoke and after a few minutes of being away, I got a call telling me to go across the room ASAP. When I got there, I saw a group of gorgeous ladies, probably on a girls’ night out, then was introduced to the most beautiful woman I’ve seen in my entire life.”

Related: Mark and Charlene - Worth the Wait

Nat, on the other hand, describes their relationship as a “whirlwind romance.” She never really had any serious love interests prior to Jam. Being a jet-setting flight attendant for almost 10 years, it’s understandable how difficult it would be to keep romantic relationships. The night she met Jam, it was like a switch flipped; she just genuinely knew.

“I was single for most of my life and when I came home for good, just after 2 months, I met my future husband. We have so many common friends and yet we’ve never crossed paths before. What are the odds! It was the biggest plot twist and the timing was impeccable. My first and my forever. God does write the best love stories.”

The Beginning of Forever

The outbreak of the pandemic, particularly the government restrictions, truly put their relationship to the test. They ultimately learned to take the good with the bad, until one fateful morning came. Jam recalls, “when I woke up, I had this tingling feeling deep down inside and I realized that this is the lady I would like to spend the rest of my life with.”

He remembers going on the internet to research everything he could about diamonds and jewelry. When he had the perfect ring, he decided to take Nat on a date to the mountains. Unfortunately, all the scenic views he took her to were no longer as private as they used to be. After a quick coffee stopover, they drove back to their village and Jam decided to make an unsuspecting detour to the old clubhouse.

Related: Congratulations to Vin Abrenica and Sophie Albert!

“We went down from the car and I told her ‘Don't you like the view?’ and she replied ‘There really is nothing to see here’ as there were trees blocking the view. As she turned around, there I was, down on one knee holding the ring and I finally got to ask the question 'Love, will you marry me?' A few seconds passed and a few drops of cold sweat and finally, she said yes.”

Planning the Wedding

When it came to the wedding preparations, Jam took the role of the main coordinator. They were already set on inviting their immediate families only given the COVID restrictions. But a few weeks before the big day, they suddenly decided to add very close extended family and a couple of friends to their guest list. As a result, they had to adjust their plans on-the-fly.

“A lot of our suppliers we hired very last minute. Quarantine restrictions were constantly changing, and so were our plans. We simply had to adapt to the changes. It really was not easy planning a COVID wedding, but it proved to be worth the hassle in the end.

Related: Mico and Edz - Sunny Hues and Pinoy Craftmanship

The newlyweds originally planned to have a destination wedding with all their friends and family around. Nat would’ve also wanted to try on different dresses and pick the perfect one for herself, but the pandemic hindered the experience. Regardless, she still loved the wedding dress she wore. A bigger wedding entourage was also part of their original plans.

The Big Day

Being both groom and wedding coordinator, covid protocols and quarantine restrictions were the biggest challenges that Jam had to face. “On the day before the wedding, there was a new executive order limiting movement in and out of Cebu City so we had to secure special passes for all our guests and suppliers.” He managed all of these problems through loads of prayers, patience, and positivity.

Nat was more concerned about the unpredictable weather, especially since they were going to have an outdoor reception. “It rained days before and after, but on our wedding day, the weather was perfect. By God’s grace!”

When asked how he felt during the wedding, Jam said he was “Calm, excited, blessed knowing that no pandemic can stop our love for each other and that we've proven to ourselves and the world in front of the altar that indeed love wins.”

Patience, understanding, teamwork, budgeting, discernment, and enjoying the process. These are the main pieces of advice Jam and Nat would want couples, who are also planning a pandemic wedding, to focus on.

Jam wants to remind couples to “Listen to each other's needs and wants and don't forget that the real essence of a wedding is sealing your commitment and love for each other in front of the altar and the celebration is just a bonus.

While Nat emphasizes that “A lot of people will give you unsolicited advice, but always heed the opinion of those who matter. Don’t forget to pray for guidance and last but not least, enjoy the journey! Love each other no matter how stressful wedding planning gets, it’s a good practice for marriage. There are many decisions to be made but never forget that your initial decision was to marry each other. Don’t lose track of what matters.

 

The Dream Team:

Photography by Leftfielder Photography | Videography by Cebu Orange Films | Flowers and styling by First of April | Bridal Gown by Philipp Tampus | Groom’s Suit by Edwin Ao | Mother of the groom, sisters of the groom and sister of the bride’s gown by Roni Yu | Makeup artist by Raisa Bercede | Catering by Chateau de Busay | Cocktails by Carl’s Catering | Cake by Cake Couture by Trina | Balloons by Party Hat Cebu | Tables by T&C Rental | Lights and Sounds by George Tagalog | LED by RRB Video Services | Band: Glynis Kars Band | Host: Drew Sarmiento | DJ: Gnoevee | Violinist: Joseph Patrick Balo | On the day coordination by Andrew Alcantara | Full coordination by Jam Lopez

Weddings That Inspire

Mark and Charlene - Worth the Wait

There’s no point in postponing such a beautiful culmination of love as long as everyone’s safety is prioritized

By Joaquin Reloj

Mark Anthony Ynoc and Charlene Kay Arenajo first locked eyes in the summer of 2014 when Kay was still in the process of studying for her board exams. A businessman and a doctor respectively, the couple met through a common friend. Immediately after their first meeting, Mark wasted no time in looking Kay up on social media.

Coming from drastically different worlds and lines-of-work, it was easy for their schedules to not fall in sync. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. The couple found countless ways to make things work, allocating enough time for their relationship. 

Mark proposed in 2014, the year they met. Unfortunately, that was also the same year Kay was beginning to take up her three-year pediatric residency which was quite hectic. Finally, after dating for 6 years, the couple was able to tie the knot making the wait all the more worthwhile.

Related: Mico and Edz - Sunny Hues and Pinoy Craftsmanship

The couple held their intimate wedding ceremony on December 12, 2020, at the Sacred Heart Parish Church. This was immediately followed by their rustic, outdoor-themed wedding at Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa.

After 10 months of planning, they originally wanted to have the wedding on March 21, 2020. However, this was also around the same time when the lockdown was starting to be implemented, forcing them to postpone. The second option was to hold it on October 31, but government protocols were still strict at the time.

With their plans being delayed twice, of course, they took into consideration and complied with all the health and safety protocols to guarantee the well-being of their guests. 

Related: Timmy and Tina - From Online Dating to the Altar

Aside from finalizing the date, the couple also ran into some trouble during their preparations. Refunds, limiting the guest list, and venue changes were some of the biggest hurdles they had to overcome. 

The biggest challenge was the refunds coming from the existing suppliers. Either it took them so long to extend the refund or they closed for good due to the pandemic,” the couple says. Initially, they had 500 names on their guest list, eventually trimming it down to just 50. They also went through three church venue changes along the way. 

On the day of their wedding, the couple’s biggest worry was the weather since it was an outdoor event. Fortunately, the elements were cooperative and gave them sunshine all throughout. They also highlighted the role that their organizers, suppliers, and family members played in exerting so much effort to ensure the seamless and smooth operation of their big day.

Related: 5 Covid Wedding Giveaways Your Guests Will Love

Mark and Kay wanted to emphasize three things for couples who are planning to get married during these trying times: intimacy, coordination with suppliers, and enjoying the day itself. 

It is better to hold a small and intimate wedding rather than wait for the pandemic to ease down. Hold as many important meetings with your suppliers as necessary. Be very careful with the safety protocols especially when there are seniors attending. And the main advice is ‘Enjoy your day as much as you can with the people who matter most in your lives.’" Because really, there’s no point in postponing such a beautiful culmination of love as long as everyone’s safety is prioritized.

The Dream Team

Coordinator: Snoogie Mata | Photographer: Marky Cantalejo of The Left Fielder | Videographer: Franz Arrogante | Groom and bride's attire: Francis Libiran | Entourage gowns: Jun Escario and Rei Escario | Florist: Debbie Huang of Simple Wishes | Makeup: Eunice Enrera | Lights and Sounds: Anthony Dy | Fireworks: Dragon Fireworks

Weddings That Inspire

Mico and Edz - Sunny Hues and Pinoy Craftsmanship

Miguel Enrico S. Villena and Edna Patricia P. Mendoza fatefully met because of a common and found a host of similarities in each other. Both are self-confessed nerds and STEM (Science, Technology, and Engineering and Mathematics) graduates. Edz is a project officer for DOST under the Office of the Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change while Mico is a facilities engineer and project manager at the Philippine Geothermal Production Company. The couple’s intimate wedding was held at Jesus the Divine Healer Parish followed by a reception at The Hilton Manila.

Mico and Edz originally envisioned a wedding of 100 pax in January 2021, either at the church where Mico’s parents were wed or Edz’s, to allow for Mico’s family to return home for the holidays and the wedding. But due to the travel restrictions, the couple moved up their wedding to October 31, 2020 since they were no longer waiting for family.

The couple made sure to inject their personality and passions into their wedding, and as they say “the pandemic did not stop us from instilling happiness, meaning, and a showcase of Filipino craftsmanship.” Below, Mico and Edz talk about how they made their wedding unique, a few “imperfect” moments they had on their big day, and why they continued to enjoy their wedding inspite of everything.

Related: Timmy and Tina - From Online Dating to the Altar

Your wedding details are so unique. Tell us more about the showcasing of Filipino craftsmanship.

MV: We co-designed our shoes ourselves and had it made by Marikina’s own Zapateria; my Barong was made of pinya fabric with Mother of Pearl buttons care of Tesoro’s and put together by Cornell’s Tailoring; the bride’s reception dress featured Binakol and Bungsamana hand-woven fabrics care of Anthill; and the bride’s bib necklace made of upcycled weaves and sustainable materials put together by Tropic Beatknik incorporates many elements and icons representing Edz’s adventures and loves in life.

Related: Filipiniana Flavor

What were some of the challenges as you planned your wedding?

MV: Time, budget, and coordination were definitely the most challenging during the preparations. We both have a sense of balance when it came to spending. Some aspects of the wedding ceremony had to be kept low in cost, but other aspects were more important and deserved splurging and shelling out more. Of course, with less cost comes some compromise in quality. We opted not to get a coordinator, so we had to prepare all the requirements, coordinate all the details and arrangements with all the suppliers, and manage the day’s whole program flow on their own. This led to some stressful moments throughout the ceremony: the wrong music being played, the program not going as planned, and many others.

Without a coordinator, time and coordination came to be compromised next. We had many sleepless nights on the days leading to the wedding. We both have critical roles in at work, which meant escaping responsibilities from the office was difficult and close to impossible. Edz was only free the day before the wedding. Of course with the pandemic, coordination and communication with all the suppliers was not ideal. Though the ceremony as a whole was beautiful, happy, and memorable, it was not by any means perfect and without faults.

How did you handle these challenges?

Teamwork, and lots of understanding and patience. Wedding preparations became a pet project for us and we assigned roles and tasks to each other, helping each other out when tasks became too difficult to do.

We also knew the benefits of maximizing the presence of family members and two friends to help in the preparations and on-the-day coordination. With a couple of friends and the couple’s respective sisters available to help, we had our coordinators.

More than anything, we felt grateful, content, happy, and blissful. We knew that that would be the day when we would be joined forever in holy Matrimony in front of the Lord and in front of family and friends. Nothing could take away the happiness that the we felt with them, now as husband and wife, not even the mistakes that occurred during the ceremony.

Related: Miko Raval and Kaira Dimatulac Weds in a Garden

What’s your advice to other couples planning their wedding?

  • Don’t be shy and look to friends and family when it comes to tasks and aspects of the wedding. If family and friends can give you what you need, maximize them.
  • No work a week before the wedding as much as you can help it. Take your leave if you must. Maximize work-from-home if the option is available. Have enough time for the last-minute errands, tasks, and preparations. Last thing you want is coordinating and making, taking calls on your wedding day.
  • Mistakes will happen. Be ready to let go of perfection.
  •  The most important above all other things is you are getting married. Enjoy the day and be happy knowing that you’ll be spending the rest of your life with the love of your life. Be happy, be grateful, be content, and be at peace.

 

The Dream Team

Venue: Hilton Manila | Church: Jesus the Divine Healer | Flowers by Armand Escaso | Photography and videography: Paul Vincent Photography | Livestream: Experience Live! | Hair and makeup: Twinkle Bernardo Hair and Make-up Artistry | Wedding bands by Via’s Handcrafted Jewelry | Engagement Ring by Royal Gem | Groom’s Barong by Tesoro’s and Cornell’s Tailoring | Bridal gown by Jesus Sindayen | Bride’s reception dress by Anthill Fabric Gallery | Alterations by Fatima Beltran | Shoes by Zapateria | Bouquet by Milo’s Flowers | Principal sponsors’ gifts and invitations by Printsonalities | Souvenirs by The Paper Lover Handmade Cards and Tatiana’s Dress Shop | Choir: Voices in Praise Choir | Host: Andrew Sumang | Wedding invitation design and monogram: Nicole de Leon

Weddings That Inspire

Timmy and Tina - From Online Dating to the Altar

'Savor every second of your wedding day and cherish each moment'

It was an online dating platform that declared Jose Timoteo del Rosario II and Cristina Victoria Morales, who held their intimate wedding on January 15, 2021, to be 98% compatible. Timmy was instantly drawn to Tina because all their interests and values matched. “Also, her picture was so cute.  So I sent a message first. It was probably more than just one message…” he says. Tina didn’t entertain the first few messages because back in 2018,  she was based in Quezon City and he was based in Parañaque. Luckily, boredom gave Timmy a chance when Tina finally replied to his message “for the heck of it. Buti nalang I replied. Thank you boredom for leading me to the love of my life!” Tina says.

Timmy and Tina were engaged on December 15, 2019 and began to plan their Tagaytay wedding with a 200 pax guest list. Tina says they were planning a big party with lots of dancing–one of the first suppliers they booked was a live band. But since the pandemic, the couple revisited their plans and decided on inviting just 30 guests, even doing away with physically inviting some of their closest friends and family for safety. They’ve had to let go of their initial deposits to their first set of suppliers, “but we’re glad we changed plans because what we ended up with was much better than our initial plans. The wedding was intimate, heartfelt, and so much more beautiful than what I could’ve thought possible,” says Tina.

Below, Timmy and Tina talk about how they handled the challenge of planning their wedding amid the reality of the pandemic and why allowing your family to help you out might be the best decision you make for your wedding.

Related: Miko Raval and Kaira Dimatulac Weds in a Garden

What were the challenges encountered during the wedding preparation?

Timmy: The pandemic really made things challenging because of the ever-changing quarantine regulations. We had a really hard time deciding on the most basic aspects of the wedding because of the uncertainty. Another thing that we had to consider was safety. Majority of my anxiety was over COVID more than the actual wedding planning itself. 

How did you handle the challenges?

Tina: There were a lot of tears, not gonna lie. It was frustrating not knowing how to proceed, but we made sure to focus on keeping the wedding as safe as possible. I personally found comfort in doing wedding-related things that made me happy: curating our playlists, embroidering our ring pillow, and painting our cake toppers.

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

Tina: Let your loved ones pitch in, because they’ll definitely jump at the chance to do so. Our venue was a private farm owned by Timmy’s relatives, who fast-tracked the construction of their events space especially for our wedding. My in-laws sourced the giveaways themselves. My family also DIYed quite a few of the wedding elements: my sister designed the invitations, my mom made the bouquets and boutonnieres, and my dad oversaw the construction of the arch. My sister and brother-in-law ended up emceeing the reception. My brother, brother-in-law, and dad even gave us surprise song numbers during the reception! The whole wedding was a labor of love, and we’re so grateful.

Related: Yes. Dream About Your Wedding Despite the Pandemic

Timmy: Get a competent on-the-day coordinator. Even with our small-ish guestlist, having a coordinator organize every single portion of the wedding (including handling suppliers, making sure that we adhered to safety protocols, and just handling us and our families) was a huge help.

Start a Facebook group! We posted something every day on the week of our wedding for our friends and families to get to know us, since we weren’t able to make introductions when we were engaged because of the pandemic. It made us feel more connected to our loved ones who were only watching the wedding online, and a lot of our friends and families appreciated that.

Also, put up an online gift registry. Yes, asking for cash these days is common and relatively easy now, but having an online registry made it so easy for our friends and family who prefer to give us actual presents. We found a website that let us easily do this for free, and it even had an online guestbook where virtual guests could sign and record a short video.

Related: 7 Wedding Safety Protocol Reminders for Your Party

Get a good livestream supplier. It was especially great to hear from our virtual guests that they were really impressed with the livestream and that they loved watching the ceremony. 

My final piece of advice is something our pastor said to us during our couples counseling sessions. “The moment the wedding march music plays, stop planning your wedding.” Enjoy the wedding, savor every second of it, cherish every moment you and your spouse will have during that amazing and lovely day. Nothing else matters except that you two get married. Period.

Scroll down to see Timmy and Tina’s wedding photos!

Found this helpful? Share this with a couple planning their garden wedding.

The Dream Team

Photography: Amilon Ignacio Photography | Videography & Livestream: Mark Melano Films | Coordination: Weddings Are Blessings Coordinator & Events Management | Catering & Decor: K. by Cunanan | Hair & Makeup: Beauty & the Bee by Boombee | Gown & Bridal Robe: White Label Bridal | Bride’s Shoes: Ked’s x Kate Spade | Groom’s Suit: Tieline | Groom’s Shoes: Eaglery PH | Venue: Kinaiya | Lights & Sounds: Tagaytay String Lights | Rings: A.Bernardo’s Jewelry | Cake: Cake Studio

Weddings That Inspire

Miko Raval and Kaira Dimatulac Weds in a Garden

‘All the worries and stress before the wedding went away once the ceremony started’

From college sweethearts to Mr. and Mrs., Kevin Michael Raval wed Kaira Nicole Dimatulac last February 1, 2021 at an intimate wedding at Our Lady of Ephesus Chapel in Silang, Cavite. It was followed by a garden reception at Bella Rosa Gardens with just 60 of their closest family and friends.

The couple met back when Miko and Kaira were in college and and were about to be featured together in a magazine back in 2009. “We didn’t start dating until 2011. We were also classmates in some subjects so we practically spent majority of the week together,” Kaira recalls.

Miko, who is best known for his work in ABS-CBN's The Killer Bride, proposed at Wondae-ri Birch Forest, South Korea in December 30, 2019. A month later, the couple had reserved their wedding venue for a 200 pax wedding. Yes, they too were one of the soon-to-weds whose wedding was thrown off course by the global pandemic and the Taal eruption.

After months of waiting it out to see how the pandemic would unfold, Miko and Kaira resumed planning their wedding when Metro Manila was placed under GCQ status. They chose an outdoor reception and cut down their guest list to 60.

Below, Kaira Dimatulac-Raval answers what it was like to plan their wedding.

What were the challenges you encountered?
The biggest challenge would have to be the uncertainty because COVID is still around and we were planning to have a mass gathering. So we were afraid of having someone bring it in and infect people during the event. To handle the fear of COVID, we chose to set up a swab testing session for everyone. We did it 48 hours prior to the wedding and we asked every single one of our guests to stay home (or to be in a bubble) after taking the test and getting negative results to ensure everyone’s safety. 

RELATED: Yes, Dream About Your Wedding in a Pandemic

How did you feel during the wedding?
We were very happy and relaxed the entire time. All the worries and stress before the wedding went away once the ceremony started. The reception that followed after made us even more happy, seeing everyone having fun and having a great time with everyone else. It was just feelings of gratitude, love, and happiness at the same time.

What are your tips for planning a covid wedding?

  1. A seasoned event coordinator is highly recommended for an event as big and as important as a wedding. They will really help you out plan every little detail that you might miss out on. If you hire a professional wedding coordinator, you won’t have to worry about anything during the entire course of the wedding.
  2. Find the right suppliers. Ask your venue if they can provide most of the things needed in a wedding so that you wouldn't need to talk to so many suppliers.
  3. Invite only people that are your closest. Doing this will make your wedding extra special.
  4. Set a budget. Doing this will make sure you will not overspend and it will make you really think of what's important and what's not.
  5. Get a professional and reputable Photo/Video Team. Your wedding is one of the most important events in your life and you will want to make sure that it is captured perfectly on pictures and on video. This will be the thing that you can keep forever to relive the very special night of your life.
  6. Get a Live Stream provider so that you can share your big day to loved ones who will not be able to physically celebrate with you.

Scroll down below to see the photos of Miko and Kaira’s wedding by Nice Print Photography!

Share this with a couple planning their wedding!

The Dream Team

Wedding Coordination: Themes and Motifs | Photo and Video: Nice Print Photography | Suit: Randy Ortiz | Gown: Hey Heleyna | Make Up and Hairstyling: Iya Gueco | Music: Bernie Pasamba Music Consultancy | Venue: Bella Rosa Gardens | Rings: Denovo Diamonds | Grazing Table: Angelos Grazing | Lights and Sounds: Artuz 101 | Cake: Tricia Romey | Host: Paolo Von Muhlfeld

The newlyweds with the Themes & Motifs Wedding Coordination Team
Entertainment by: Bernie Pasamba and the Music Masters
Photo & Video Company by: Nice Print Photography
Weddings That Inspire

Yes. Dream About Your Wedding Despite the Pandemic

Don’t be embarrassed to dream about your wedding –Vern

Blogger and vlogger Vern Enciso married Cebuano entreprenur Ben Lim on January 30, 2021 at Shangrila’s Mactan Resort and Spa. The ceremony was held at the resort’s iconic  Ocean Pavilion, styled by Gideon Hermosa, followed by an garden dinner reception. The bride wore a dress by Mark Bumgarner and inspired by her style icon’s civil wedding dress, Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw.

Ben and Vern revealed their engagement in September and Ben proposed in July. Based on Vern’s Instagram account, the couple prepared a three day celebration. The bride’s sister and Maid of Honor, Verniece Enciso, also surprised the couple with an intimate yacht party before the wedding day.

Related: 7 Wedding Safety Protocol Reminders for Your Party

Vern reflects on getting married during a pandemic on her Instagram account:

“I’m getting emotional because I get reminded every single day that not only am I getting an amazing husband to be but we are surrounded by family and friends who go above and beyond to make us feel special given the unfortunate circumstances. Being a bride during a pandemic is not easy... it may sound shallow to some but we don’t get the usuals.. however, what I really got at the end was so much more than what I dreamed of since I was 16.

To all girls who are single or not yet engaged, don’t be embarrassed to dream about your wedding. Manifest it to the universe and pray about it because all of it will come true in the right time.”

Scroll below to see photos from their wedding plus their pre-wedding photoshoot by Metrophoto Cebu.

Found this story inspiring? Share it and inspire other couples, brides-to-be, and ladies dreaming of their wedding!

The Dream Team

Photos by: @paolonierves @mymetrophoto and @mymetrophoto.cebu | Make-up: @memayfrancisco | Hairstyling: @viennueva | Gown: @markbumgarner | Planning: @stanzcatalan @stanzweddings | Video: @jasonmagbanua | Flowers and Styling: @gideonhermosa

Photo from @mymetrophoto.cebu
Photo from @mymetrophoto.cebu
Photo from @gideonhermosa
Photo from @gideonhermosa
Photo from and bridal bouquet by @gideonhermosa
Photo from @paolonierves
Photo from @mymetrophoto.cebu
Photo from @mymetrophoto
Photo from @vernenciso
Photo from @vernieceenciso
Photo from @zion_productions
Cake and photo by @cakecouturebytrina
Photo from @mymetrophoto
Photo from @mymetrophoto
Photo from @mymetrophoto
Photo from @mymetrophoto
Photo from @mymetrophoto
Bride & Groom's Wear by: Mark Bumgarner Manila
Florist & Event Stylist by: House of Hermosa
Weddings That Inspire

Emerald Green and White Themed Civil Wedding

I always reminded myself what the day was about: getting married to the love of my life –Pres

Carmelo S. Guino-o and Precious Mae M. Tacolod met at work, selling condominiums as real estate brokers. Pres remembers how their relationship grew deeper as they both worked hard, trying to close deals, and passing licensure exams. “It really makes a difference if you undergo challenges together. These make your relationship stronger. In all of my adversities and down moments, Carlo stood by me. He did not leave me behind. He’s given me everything, including his own happiness. That’s why I held on to him and valued him even more,” Pres says.

Of course planning a wedding during a pandemic seems to be yet another challenge Carlo and Pres overcame as a team. The Guino-os planned for a church wedding with 300 guests and had already purchased the bridal gown and groom’s suit when they revisited their plans and shifted to a civil wedding with only 25 guests. They also had to rearrange their beachside prenup shoot from Siargao to Davao Oriental. Carlo and Pres were married on December 2, 2020 at the Benjarong Restaurant of Dusit Thani Davao.

Below, Pres talks about how their choice of a civil wedding was just as exciting and beautiful as the church wedding they were hoping to have.

RELATED: 3 Things We Loved About Alex Gonzaga's Wedding

How did you feel during your wedding?

Even if it was a civil wedding, I felt very excited and nervous because I really wanted to settle down with Carlo. I was very happy because it was an intimate gathering of my family and closest friends.

Are you still planning on another wedding?

Yes, when it’s already safe to conduct big weddings. I still wish to wear my wedding gown which I bought pre-pandemic days. If everything goes well, we plan to do it in Lubi Plantation Resort, Davao.

What are your tips for planning a pandemic wedding?

Planning a wedding is stressful, even more so during a pandemic. There’s going to be a lot of changes, stress, and disappointments. Everything is really uncertain.

However, just be reminded that there are really some things which we cannot control. We just have to place our efforts on the things that really matter and eventually let go of our frustrations. Use this time to grow closer to your spouse-to-be, through the big decisions you’ll both make. Never forget as well that you have your family and friends who will always support you in every step.

That being said, I always reminded myself what the day was about: getting married to the love of my life. The most important detail is the union between you and your partner. What we should prepare for most is our life as husband and wife.

Things may never go the way we planned it, but the best things in life happen unexpectedly.

Planning a civil wedding? Share this article to help other couples!

The Dream Team

Photography by Kent Lazarraga of Orange Studios | Coordination by Vern Events Coordination | Decor by Decoratives by Janna & Hercs | Makeup by Mj Mac Beauty Studio | Hairstyle by Xenon Orellanida | Cake by Osvaldo's Cakes | Bridal Robe by Amore Bridal PH | Wedding  giveaways by Annie Paz Lim