Weddings That Inspire

Inno and Sheena - Focused on Getting Started

Three things they kept their eyes on: the sacrament, vows, and beginning anew

We could almost imagine it as a plot of a romcom–two young politicians meeting for the first time ever through elections, falling in love, getting hitched. Such is the story of Congresswoman Sheena P. Tan and Congressman Faustino Dy V. Even if Inno and Sheena had practically grown up in neighboring hometowns, fate never brought the two together until they were both preparing for the 2019 elections.

“I remember being asked about Into in wakes and events I attended, only to be tongue-tied and out of words because I really did not know anything about him beyond our work,” Congresswoman Sheena says. The rumors preceded their actual love story, but in the end, the two did fall in love. “Inno proposed in November 2020. We started our preparations right away and got married on March 28, 2021.”

Because of the frequently changing travel restrictions, Congressman Inno and Congresswoman Sheena decided a mere three days before their big day to hold their intimate wedding at their hometown, Isabela. Below, Congresswoman Sheena shares with us in her own words what their inspiration was for their wedding.

RELATED: JJ and Mela - Keeping it Simple

Tell us about your love story.

We first got acquainted in December 2018 during the preparations for the 2019 election. We were both running for a position in the House of Representatives–I was to represent 4th District of Isabela, and Inno for the 6th District. 4th and 6th were neighboring districts, with Inno’s hometown in Echague being only 15 minutes away from my hometown in Santiago. Though we were both from Isabela, we never really met until December of 2018.

We both never really entertained romantic pursuits at this time as our campaign schedules were quite hectic. And while there were already rumors that we were already a couple at this time or at the very least dating, the truth is we really kept our relationship on a professional level. We would talk once in a while, but it would mainly revolve around coordination in events that we both had to attend. I remember being asked about Inno in wakes and events I attended only to be tongue-tied and out of words because I really did not know anything about him beyond our work.

I only got to know him on a deeper and more personal level after we took our oath as representatives of our respective districts. Since we were spending so much time together in the workplace and even at social events, love and admiration blossomed naturally and the rest, as they say, was history.

Inno proposed a year and a half later in November 2020. We started our preparations right away and got married on March 28, 2021.

RELATED: Angelo and Jasmine - King and Queen of Their Story

Did you have a theme for your wedding?

Simple and minimalist. We wanted the solemnity of the cathedral to be the focal point. We also wanted cool pastel colors to dominate in the entourage dresses, suits, and the decors because it was almost the peak of summer.

What were the challenges encountered during the wedding preparation? 

We initially prepared for an out of town wedding, but subsequent developments prevented us from pushing through with it. As the wedding day got closer, we focused on what was essential–to receive the sacrament of marriage, say our vows before God and our family, and start our life together. Inno really did everything to give me the best wedding despite the circumstances. He was surprisingly very involved in the wedding preparations, from the color and fabric of his entourage suits to the appetizer to be served before the reception proper. I could not be more thankful that our teamwork flourished during this stressful time.

We had to finally decide on having the wedding in Isabela just three days before the big day because of the ever changing guidelines for gatherings during the pandemic and of course, the safety and convenience of our family and friends. Our suppliers were more than willing to travel to Isabela despite the short notice and we really cannot thank them enough. While it would have been great to go out-of-town with family and friends, there's really nothing like a hometown wedding- the warmth and comfort of home.

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How did the you handle the challenges? 

We shifted our focus on what’s most important, receiving the sacrament of marriage, the presence of our family, and starting our life together. Nothing else mattered that much than these three.

How did you feel during the wedding? 

Very calm and happy that finally after many bumps in the road, the Lord protected our families and blessed us with a wonderful day and amazing people to make our wedding possible.

What were your highlights of your wedding? 

Sheena: Teary-eyed Into as I walked down the aisle. My mom hugging Inno very tight and my dad holding my hand very tight before he gave me away.

Inno: When the doors of the cathedral opened and the first ray of light entered the hall. I was standing at the center of the altar and I could see everything happening. My parents and siblings were standing beside me and they were constantly checking on me to see if I was already crying.

What were the important things that you learned while planning your intimate wedding? 

Communication is key. It’s such an awesome experience to share and savor with your future partner. What better way to test your teamwork. Think of the wedding preps as pre-game for the real life problems you will face as husband and wife.

Advice for other couples who are planning to get married or will be getting in the time of a pandemic?

Pray hard about your decision to get married and just get on with the wedding.

Did you find this story inspiring? Share it now!

The Dream Team:

Ceremony Venue: Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel (Gamu, Isabela) | Reception Venue: Casa de Madera (Cauayan, Isabela) | Ceremony Gown: Mak Tumang | Reception Gown: Martin Bautista | Bridal robe and Father of the Bride suit: Emerie Studio | Bridal shoes: Jefferson Si | Groom and Entourage Suits: JE and Co | Mother of the Bride gown: Joe San Antonio | Band: 3rd Avenue | Emcee: JC Alelis | Photography: Toto Villaruel | Videography: Jason Magbanua | Coordination: Christine Ong-Te Events | Event Stylist: Gideon Hermosa | Makeup: Mickey See | Hairstyling: Renz Pangilinan | Entourage gowns: Kariz Polintan Atelier | Food: Chef Cocoy Ventura and Mix Cuisine (Cauayan, Isabela) | Cake: Love Cakes by Ann and Gan | Pastries: Ellie Banellie Pastries

Weddings That Inspire

JJ and Mela - Keeping It Simple

When you have what you need, you can do away with fuss

By Misha Fabian

Sometimes, chance encounters can lead to something much bigger. Such was the case for Carmela Regina Villacorta and John Jacob Kaufman, who initially met during Mela’s high school fair. JJ, who was then a college freshman, was tasked with hosting the school fair, while Mela, who was then a high school senior, was one of the fair’s main organizers. JJ had asked Mela to stay with him backstage to troubleshoot any potential problems with the fair. Thankfully, there were none, and the two parted ways.

However, fate wasn’t done with them yet. Although the two didn’t keep in touch, they saw each other in Boracay that summer and ended up talking. From talking, they transitioned to dating, and they eventually ended up going to the same university. 10 years later, on their anniversary as boyfriend and girlfriend, the couple tied the knot.

RELATED: Angelo and Jasmine - King and Queen of Their Story

While the pandemic became the season for small, intimate weddings, Mela and JJ already knew that was what they wanted before the coronavirus was even a thing. JJ proposed in Boracay where they first hung out, and they immediately realized that this season was the best time for them to get married. Despite the uncertainty, they knew that they wanted to marry on June 4, their anniversary as boyfriend and girlfriend. With only three months to go, they got straight to planning.

While planning their wedding was a fun and fulfilling experience for the pair, they encountered a few challenges along the way. According to the couple, it was easy to get distracted with how others were executing their wedding celebrations, and they sometimes couldn’t help comparing and second-guessing their own plans. Additionally, they struggled with picking out who to invite. Their final guest list had a grand total of 16 people, and they felt guilty for not inviting some people who were very important to them.

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However, Mela and JJ handled it in stride. Their advice is to remember to stick to their original plan and their preferences. The wedding was to celebrate their union, after all. As long as they both had what they needed and wanted the most, things didn’t need to be complicated. That’s why when the wedding came along, they felt nothing but bliss and excitement. Even during on-the-day preparations were exciting, and there was no pressure whatsoever to get everything perfect. They felt at ease, and they felt like they could be themselves-- which made the day even more beautiful.

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Mela and JJ still plan to have an intimate ceremony and reception with the rest of their friends and family members. They’re targeting to have about 50 guests in Amorita, Bohol by January 2022. As for their advice for other couples getting married in the time of a pandemic: Keep it as simple as possible! Make a list of necessities and non-negotiables and always have an open mindset to whatever is thrown at you. It's your day as a couple and it goes by so quickly. Enjoy everything from the planning to the reception onwards.

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The Dream Team

Bridal dress by Ditta Sandico | Groom’s Barong by Exclusively His | Church Flowers: Flower Farm | Bride and MOH Bouquet: Flower Lovers | Photography by Matt Lee | Reception: Hapag MNL | Cake by Tilde Bakery | Makeup: Iya Gueco | Hair: Renzo Lusterio | Rings by La Elegancia Jewellery

Weddings That Inspire

Raymond and Dinky - Modern Minimalist Wedding

'The highlight of our wedding was how God showed His plan was still better than ours'

By Joaquin Reloj

Amid the prolonged global pandemic, Raymond Christian Caballeros Kiok and Dinky Mary-Del Fernandez Jao surpassed the struggles of the current circumstances and celebrated their intimate wedding on June 7, 2021. The Hills at Silang was where both the ceremony and the reception were held surrounded by their closest loved ones, making the day all the more special.

The newlyweds first locked eyes five years ago surrounded by the scenic views of La Union. The couple came from very different backgrounds, but one thing that drew them closer together was their definite fondness for the beach—the sands, the waters, and everything in between. The shared penchant they had for the coasts would slowly, but surely, bring their love for each other into fruition.

Ironically enough, it wasn’t at a beach where their relationship developed but more so in the middle of the long drives on the way to their destination—wherever it may be. “Over the years, we learned more about each other during road trips (mostly to the beach) until we decided to take it to the next level after 2 years of dating,” the couple recalled affectionately.

In August 2020, Raymond popped the big question. Of course, he got down on one knee with Dinky’s family there to witness the occasion. It was definitely a grand gesture of his absolute love for Dinky, which ultimately paved the way to their very intimate wedding. More importantly, the couple says they owe their relationship to the plan that God has in store for them.

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“We believe our relationship wouldn’t be possible if God hadn’t intervened and orchestrated everything,” explained the couple. Oftentimes, the things that seemingly fall perfectly into place—whether it’s the biggest or smallest of coincidences—are actually all according to the grand scheme of things. Just imagine, it only took a fairly simple mutual interest for two individuals from completely different backgrounds to grow a love that will now last a lifetime.

Raymond and Dinky had already planned to get married before the pandemic hit but they just didn’t have a definite timeline yet. When various restrictions from both the government and their suppliers came up, it made it more difficult for them to push through with their original plans. Still determined to tie the knot, the couple simply soldiered on and adapted to the changes that came their way.

The Kioks only had their immediate family along with a couple of their principal sponsors at the event. They obviously wanted to hold a beach wedding given the special place that the setting holds in their relationship. “Ideally, the venue for the ceremony and reception would be on a beach however due to the restrictions, we had to opt for a nearby out-of-town venue instead,” explained Raymond and Dinky.

March 30 was the original date for their wedding. Just a month before they were set to get married, however, they were forced to look for a new venue due to the restrictions on the capacity. They were successful in looking for a different venue, but their problems didn’t end there because this was when the regulations were in constant flux due to a surge.

“Once we found a new venue, a few weeks before our date, it was also announced that changes in restrictions wouldn’t allow us to push through on our target date. So after considering several new dates, we finally had our wedding two months after our original date on the 7th of June in The Hills at Silang,” said the newlyweds. It took them a total of nine months to plan their intimate wedding, including the postponement from their original plans.

RELATED: Juju and Mindy - Fuss-Free Civil Wedding

While they weren’t able to have their dream beach wedding, their theme was definitely influenced by the environment that both of them loved. “Since we couldn’t have our beach wedding venue, we opted for a modern minimalist boho theme with mainly whites and neutrals with hints of rust and grays inspired by the beach.” If they couldn’t get to the beach, they simply went for the next best thing and manifested traces of it for their big day—from the looks to the overall vibe.

Aside from the constant changes in venues, dates, and restrictions, the newlyweds also stumbled across a few challenges during the big day.

“The rise of COVID19 cases also required us to take extra precautions including testing of suppliers on the day itself. Lastly, there was a sudden downpour of heavy rain 30 minutes prior to the wedding ceremony which forced us to move our ceremony from an outdoor garden venue to an indoor ceremony hall within a short span of time. The rain also affected the signal for the live stream which affected the viewership of those tuning in.”

Through all the stress they experienced in preparation for and during their wedding, their faith in God helped them weather through any adversity. Their family, friends, and spiritual group also played a vital role in making their wedding work.

“We put our full trust that He is in control of everything and we just hoped that the wedding would be a testament to His faithfulness. Even until the last minute when it started to rain, we were reminded that no matter how much we make plans, His plan is always better than ours. We decided that we would focus on the covenant we were about to make instead of the small hiccups we experienced and to simply experience the joy that God wanted to bless us on our wedding day.”

There were genuinely a lot of things going on during their wedding, but the couple felt a sense of inner peace and joy in the face of it all. They were eager, joyful, and grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate their intimate wedding with their closest loved ones. If they had to choose a focal point throughout their celebration, they believe “the highlight of our wedding was how God showed His plan was still better than ours.”

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Deepening their understanding of each other as a couple and how they work and support one another, was one of the biggest takeaways they gained from planning their wedding. More importantly, they realized that they wouldn’t be able to achieve anything if God was not at the center of their relationship.

“We learned that God really works for the good of those who love him and through everything, though there were a lot of challenges, we learned that trusting in God’s plan always leads us to something much better than we had originally planned for.”

As for their advice for couples also planning to tie the knot during the pandemic: “ First, pray and ask God for His guidance and His will for your wedding. Then be ready to make a lot of adjustments along the way so be amenable to your plans and lastly, focus on the things that are truly important, the covenant you are about to make in front of your family, friends, and God. That is what is worth celebrating. Everything else is secondary.”

Did you find this story inspiring? Share it now!

The Intimate Wedding Dream Team

Coordination: Maxine Covar Events | Event Stylist: Moki Gray | Venue: The Hills at Silang | Caterer: K by Cunanan | Photo: Colove Studios | Video: Dream Real Cinema | Dress: Banggo Niu | Suit: Exclusively His Tailoring Alabang | HMUA: Jovan Maralit Make-up Artist | Lights and Sounds: JS Mina Soundsystem Rental | Tunnel Light: Tagaytay String Lights Rental | Grazing Table: Lady Marz | Livestream: iTarget Events

Weddings That Inspire

Juju and Mindy - Fuss-Free Civil Wedding

‘Keep your eyes on whatever goal you have for the wedding you want’

By Misha Fabian

The digital space has evolved exponentially over the last few decades. With various platforms and apps popping up, you can find virtually anything you need. Nowadays, you can even use the Internet to meet friends and find love. You can also plan your entire wedding online, which is exactly what Josiah Escareal Gosingtian Jr. and Mindy Sharmane Molina did.

How Juju Met Mindy

Five years ago, a slightly nervous Juju headed over to the Curator in Makati to meet a similarly antsy Mindy for coffee. The two of them had met on Tinder, and it was their first meeting after exchanging messages for a while. Little did they know that they would eventually end up tying the knot. Coffee then turned into an acoustic gig, and their first date eventually led to a second, then a third, then a fourth, until it became too many to count. Before they knew it, they were already spending a lot of time together.


Soon, Mindy also began spending a lot of time with Juju’s family. This was particularly special for her because most of her immediate family lives in the US, and Juju and his family helped lessen her solitude in Manila. After a while, it became apparent to Mindy that Juju would be the one she would marry someday, and she even took him to meet her family in the US back in 2017. Fast forward to 2021, when Mindy made plans to visit her family in Los Angeles, she decided to bring Juju with her.

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Since the two were planning a trip to Los Angeles, Mindy very casually asked Juju if he wanted to get married there. Without missing a beat, Juju said yes, and they were engaged. They didn’t have rings at the time, so to prepare for their wedding, Juju read up on engagement and wedding rings and decided to have them ready before their trip.

The Surprise Wedding

When Mindy and Juju arrived in LA, wedding preparations were in full swing. Mindy’s sister had found a service called “1-Hour Marriage” on Yelp, and they signed up for that after reading the many good reviews. The pandemic had made it difficult for many couples to get married because of heightened restrictions, and a lot of the slots for weddings were being taken by other couples who wanted to tie the knot. Luckily for Mindy and Juju, the package included a marriage license, a simple civil ceremony, and a certified copy of the marriage certificate, which made it incredibly convenient for them to get married. Their goal was to make the wedding as fuss-free and inexpensive as possible but ensure that it was still meaningful.

While their planning process may have been quick, Juju and Mindy still took great pains in ensuring that their day was picture perfect. Juju recalls never having owned a proper watch before his wedding, and he decided that the wedding was the perfect time for him to get one. He found one online that would be shipped just before they tied the knot, and it came just in time. Juju wore a dark, navy blue suit and a matching vest, which he had bought initially for a cosplay project. Mindy, on the other hand, wore a dress that she had ordered online–a white, strapless dress with a mullet skirt.

RELATED: Raffy and Van – In Love with Vintage

When all of the details were locked in, planning the rest of the intimate wedding became a breeze. Mindy’s sister, Sarah, took charge of the food and decorations. Mindy and Juju spent one whole day travelling from Target, Walmart, and Trader Joe’s to buy everything they needed. Mindy even picked out her own flowers from Trader Joe’s and arranged them herself the night before the wedding. On the day itself, Mindy did her own makeup and completed her look with a tiara she had ordered from Etsy. Her crafty, DIY bouquet turned out beautiful and it brought her bridal attire together.

Intimate DIY Wedding

On the day of their intimate wedding, both Mindy and Juju were very relaxed. While it is tradition for the groom and bride not to see each other before the wedding, there wasn’t much they could do about it considering Mindy was the one who was driving them to the wedding venue. However, even that was part of what made the wedding truly special. They had planned everything according to their tastes, and all that was left to do was tie the knot.

The couple didn’t have a pre-Covid wedding plan in place. Juju hadn’t even proposed before the pandemic began. However, Mindy always thought that she would get married in the Philippines. In her plan, her family would fly in, all her friends would be there, and Juju’s family would be present. They didn’t predict that they would be married in 2021, and they certainly didn’t predict the pandemic. However, things turned out for the better, and they were still glad that their wedding happened the way it did.

In fact, Mindy got the wedding that she really wanted. She had been dismayed at times by brides who would talk about their weddings like it was something that they had to get out of the way, and she felt that having a bigger wedding may have brought more stress and more challenges along their way. By having an intimate celebration, they were able to lessen the stress and keep the occasion special. The two also credit one another as each other’s support system, with Juju saying: “I just had to make sure I was there for her, and that I was flexible. I didn’t want to be a stressor, and if I could relieve any of her stress, that was a win.”

Mindy and Juju say that they would have a Church wedding in the future with their friends and other family members. However, what matters most is that they’re already married, and they will be celebrating their life together as much as they can.

As for their advice for other couples getting married during a pandemic, this is what they had to say:

Juju: Spend on what’s important, then appreciate and celebrate the little things you’re able to achieve. You don’t have to be obsessed with perfection and suffer on the way. I’d rather be happy on the way to something that’s good enough, because that will always have the potential to be better. The wedding is just a single day, a drop in a bucket of the rest of your lives together. Use it to set the tone, then let the waves carry you to your new future. But before you get married, make sure you share as many values as possible. Whether you actually get married or not, it’s the best foundation to start with.”

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Mindy: “Logistically speaking, if you want a small wedding, but are shy to give out a very short invite list during this time, don’t be. People are highly understanding of circumstances, and would still be there for you in many ways (social media greetings, Zoom, etc). Keep your eyes on whatever goal you have for the wedding you want (for it to be meaningful, for it to be happy, for it to be full of love), and make it a point not to forget the goal and lose sight of it because of the nitty-gritty of the planning. No matter how the wedding day goes, the point of it is to celebrate the marriage ahead, which is what ultimately matters.”

Mindy and Juju’s wedding story is testament to how love surpasses all obstacles. Despite the pandemic, the couple was able to focus on their wedding and their love for each other, and those two things were what carried them through despite such a trying time.

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The Dream Team:

Officiant: 1-Hour-Marriage | Rings: JMA Jewelry | Groom’s suit: H&M | Groom’s shoes: Pedro | Groom’s Watch: Avail | Dress: David’s Bridal | Tiara: Allure Wedding Jewelry on Etsy | Bridal shoes: Senso | Bouquet: Trader Joe’s | Venue: Almansor Park

Weddings That Inspire

Raffy and Van - In Love with Vintage

Look at all the photos from this stylish Antipolo wedding

Rafael Sto. Domingo Jr. and Vanessa Manumbale wanted to have a unique wedding. “Gusto namin hindi common na kasal,” she says. So the couple, who both sell ukay-ukay items took inspiration from their interests. “Parehas kami nagbebenta ng ukay-ukay kaya vintage ‘yung naisip namin na theme,” says Van.

On June 16, 2020, Raffy and Van were married at San Pedro Calungsod Antipolo with an intimate wedding. Their reception was held at Purple Avenue Events. Though intimate weddings became the norm because of the pandemic, it was what Raffy and Van had always envisioned for their own wedding.

RELATED: Harmon and Alex – From Young Love to the Altar

Juggling their day jobs, businesses, and planning a wedding was the most challenging thing the couple encountered. “Ang hirap lang kasi employed tapos may business din kami,” says Van. But of course on the day of the wedding, the couple felt nothing but pure joy. “Sobrang saya!” Van says that seeing her parents happy was what she remembers most about their day.

Their advice for couples planning a wedding is just as unique as their wedding theme­–it is not about the planning or execution per se, nor is it about safety protocols. Instead, it is about considering your guest list carefully. “Piliin niyo ‘yung mga taong makakasama niyo sa araw ng kasal niyo. Kahit pamilya ‘yan, ‘pag toxic siya, ‘wag niyong isama.”

Scroll down below to see this styling vintage-inspired wedding! Do not forget to share this article to inspire other couples.

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The Dream Team

Event Coordinator: Events Republic | Photographer: Pompeyphoto | HMUA: Sabrina Mauricio Paul Aaron | Bridal Bouquet & Boutonniere: Milo’s Flower Shop | Groom Suit: Lai Balderrama | Reception, Catering, Hotel: Purple Avenue Events | Bridal & Entourage Robe: Kwynss.mnl


Weddings That Inspire

Harmon and Alex - From Young Love to the Altar

After rescheduling three times, the bride says 'Safety first pa rin, makakaraos din tayo'

Harmon Cantillan and Alexandra Basbas’ love story begins with a bottle of iced tea and a bag of chips. Back in 2011, Harmon gave Alex these snacks to profess his feelings for the young Alex who was unfortunately unavailable then. A year later, when she was single, he courted her and even chose the same university so he could continue to pursue her.

Sobrang saya ng college life namin, sobrang daming selosan, awayan, at iba pa,” Alex says in jest. Seven years later, the couple broke up. But Harmon could not accept the news of Alex entertaining suitors after their break up. So he returns to Alex, and courts her and her family again, promising to marry her two years after.

Harmon proposed to Alex on July 2020 and the couple was married on June 11, 2021 at Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Bel-Air, but not without the complications of planning a pandemic intimate wedding. Below, Alex tells us how she dealt with multiple reschedules of their wedding and the hardest news they had to deal with just three days before their wedding.

Read our interview below and see their photos!

What was the theme of your wedding?

Rustic theme. Simple only, slightly vintage and natural. What we made sure to have is our motif, na ma-achieve yung mga colors na rust.

What were the challenges you encountered?

April 10, 2021 was our original wedding date. But due to quarantine and government restrictions, we need to reschedule our wedding so many times–not once, but thrice. Sobra kaming na-challenge lalo na ako kasi nung first na na-resched ‘yung wedding namin, nakarinig ako ng “kasi sabi ko sayo huwag mong isukat yung wedding gown mo “. Kinagabihan nalungkot ako at umiyak but naisip ko nalang din na hindi ‘yun totoo dahil hindi lang naman kami ‘yung affected sa ganitong situation. Madami din namang na-reschedule na wedding at hindi lang ako.

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Every time na nalulungkot ako sa madaming reschedule ng wedding namin, Covid situation nalang iniisip ko at ang kaligtasan ng lahat. Kagulo na kami sa pag a-arrange ng mga suppliers namin. Kasi all of my photo video team ay pinili ko pa kasi sila ‘yung idol ko and gusto ko talga na sila mag-shoot for my wedding. But conflict na halos 50%, that’s why kailangan na makahanap ng kapalit.

How did you handle the challenges?

Nothing, because we don’t have any choice when it comes to the government’s announcement. The hotel announcement (from 100 PAX to 50 PAX) was also hard because all of our suppliers were not available anymore when the hotel finally gave us the signal that they are accepting events already. We decided to do the wedding immediately with a week of preparation only, because baka after a week mag-MECQ na naman. Kaya ‘yung ibang suppliers namin, we are lucky nakahanap kami ng replacement. I’m thankful also na ginawa nilang maganda at masaya ‘yung dream wedding namin.

How did you feel during the wedding?

We were very emotional and happy because finally, our wedding is already real. No more worries of rescheduling! Makakahina na kami finally ng maluwag.

RELATED: Ara Mina and Dave Almarinez’s Grand Baguio Wedding

What were the most memorable moments of your wedding?

Incomplete families for both sides. Nakakalungkot lang kasi kung kailan malapit na ‘yung wedding namin, nagkaroon pa ng problem sa side ko (bride). My parents and our bunso, hindi sila naka-attend ng wedding kasi na-expose sila sa Covid-positive three days before the wedding.

Super stressed and sobra akong malungkot. Iyak ng iyak ako kasi isa ‘yun sa part ng dream ko ‘pag kinasal ako, ‘yung ihahatid ako ng mga magulang ko sa harap ng altar, sa Diyos at sa pakakasalan ko. But we decided to continue our wedding kahit wala sila, kaysa ma-reschedule na naman. Sobrang madami na ang nag-sacrifice at that time. Mahirap naman na kahit hindi sila positive, tapos magkaroon ng symptoms after our wedding at mas madami pa ang maapaktuhan. Thank God, they were negative and there were no symptoms during and after their quarantine.

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But the most memorable talaga is ‘yung walang naging stress and masaya lahat ng guest and kami overall. When we watched our wedding SDE and onsite photo that day, sobrang feeling namin ang perfect, even the weather was good that day.

What’s your advice for couples who are planning to get married in this time of pandemic? And what are your tips for a safe celebration?

Still follow all government protocols. Safety first pa rin, makakaraos din tayo. Like us, kahit hindi naka-attend ibang member of our family dahil mas pinili namin kaligtasan ng marami kaysa mag-take ng risk na magkaron sila sypmtoms after our wedding. Sana ganun din ‘yung iba, maging honest lang sa kung sino man nakasalamuha at nararamdam nila para hindi na mag-spread pa ang virus. At makapag wedding ang couples ng masaya at walang worries.

Did this article inspire you? Share it now!

The Dream Team:

Photography by South Collab | Videography by Story of the Year Films | Coordination by Cherry Cayro | Hair and makeup by Bela Maraña Makeup | Wedding gown and suit by SheChelle Bridal House | Bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen bowties by Perfectfit | Florist: Marimar Flower Shop | Host: Jerome Antiporda Caparas

Weddings That Inspire

DIY Intimate Wedding Focuses on the Sacrament

Enzo and Julia found 'God's best'

Lorenzo Mari Bonoan and Ramona Julia Sucgang both studied at Ateneo de Manila University but never met on campus. Enzo was a batch higher and was already finished with school when he met Julia, who was in her final year in college, at a photoshoot in the University of the Philippines in September 2015. After the photoshoot, Enzo offered to give Julia a ride back to Ateneo where her car was parked. When it was time to get off, Julia said "God bless," as she said goodbye and this struck a chord within Enzo. At that moment, he knew that she had a personal relationship with God which was something that he was looking for in a girl.

Months passed and eventually, Enzo decided to take his shot on Christmas, when he expressed his attraction toward Julia and wished to take her out on a date.

Five years later, they've grown and matured together and as individuals. Though the relationship was far from perfect, they worked on progressing, communicating, and growing closer to the Lord.

RELATED: Ara Mina and Dave Almarinez’s Grand Baguio Wedding

They have discussed marriage and how it would look like but the pandemic really showed them that they just really wanted to be together. That is why Enzo proposed on December 30, 2020 with the help of a bunch of their closest friends at the exact same spot they met in 2015.

The couple tied the knot on June 19, 2021 at Nuestra Señora de Gracia and had their reception at Made Nice by Mamou.

Below, the couple talks about how they planned their intimate wedding.

Did you have a theme for your wedding?

Rustic minimalist. We wanted it as plain as possible yet elegant, in order to highlight more of the beauty of the sacrament.

Was this the wedding you had in mind?

Originally, my husband wanted a big wedding whereas I've always wanted a small and intimate one. Unfortunate as we all have been to be in the midst of a pandemic, there is beauty behind these unprecedented times. We are reminded of what truly matters: not the material things, but growing and building relationships. With this in mind, we wanted the wedding to highlight the beauty of the sacrament while still appreciating the simplicity of each aspect of the wedding.

RELATED: The Gastls Wedding Weekend in Coron Palawan

What were the challenges you encountered during the wedding preparation?

We had six months to prepare for the wedding. As I, Julia, am the type who plans ahead, I was able to tick off a lot of boxes before March 2021 from the marriage seminars, pencil-booking the venues, speaking with suppliers, and getting quotations for expenses. As we DIY-ed our decorations and gifts for sponsors and guests, we ordered the materials we needed at the start of 2021 to have them all sent out before our wedding. The two main challenges that we encountered was having to trim down our guest list from an initial 100 to only 15 people due to the ECQ that took place in April. Another would be moving into our new place the week before the wedding.

How did you handle the challenges?

Given the limit as to how many people were allowed in the church and reception, we immediately called for ZOOM meetings with our sponsors and guests to invite them to join the live stream viewing instead of having to be physically present in the wedding. Thankfully, they really appreciated how we looked after their safety while giving them access to what seemed like a cinematic view of our wedding.

RELATED: The Latest in Wedding Gowns – Hints of Drama

As we decided to move to our new home a week before the wedding, we made sure to have everything settled with all suppliers ahead of time. During these times of uncertainties, it's really best to plan things ahead of time to give extra leeway for possible changes in plans.

How did you feel during the wedding?

The best way to describe how we felt was Spirit-filled. There was this unexplainable joy we felt knowing that whatever we had planned prior to the wedding didn't matter anymore, as God had now taken over and made and curated this day for us. It was difficult holding back tears of joy as we both felt overwhelmed by God's presence present in every person, every word spoken in the mass, every song that was sung, and  every vow made. 

What were your most memorable moments from your wedding?

The two most memorable moments would be how it started and how it ended. As the doors flung open, a strong breeze swept my (Julia’s) veil to the side, making my entrance seem more dramatic. Enzo and I sobbed as we drew closer to each other, knowing that this act of "coming together" is one that is blessed, intended and approved by God. Out of billions of people on earth, we found our "God's Bests." How it ended as nothing short of spectacular and magical. Of all times to cry in a wedding, Enzo cried right before we were about to kiss. He wanted to savor the moment as there would no other moment like it ever again. Him crying made me tear up as well and the kiss instantly became one of my favorite memories with Enzo.

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

As we live in the world of social media, we can easily feel pressured by society's expectations of what a wedding should be like. Despite living in what they call the "New Normal," we also have the freedom to create our own definition of "New Normal" for our wedding. In our case, we went with what we felt was right and practical to do rather than what others expected us to do. 

Share this article and inspire other couples!

The Dream Team:

Photography and videography: Nice Print Photography & Exige Weddings | Hair and nails: Freshaire Salon | Makeup artist: Patricia Remoquillo | Bridal gown: Heleyna Bridal | Church: Nuestra Señora de Gracia Parish | Reception: Made Nice by Mamou | Designs for Invitations: Gena De Veyra-Sucgang (Blue Banana Designs) | Invitations printing: Art Angel Printshop | Bridal car: Bridal Car Philippines | Boutounnieres: Art Therapy PH | Bouquets: Felix Flower Shop | Entourage dresses: Li Couture Atelier | Bridal robe: Tunica Bridal Robes | Wedding consultant: Paul Regin Noble Roque | Wedding Cake: Yeppeo Yum Cakes

Weddings That Inspire

Ara Mina and Dave Almarinez's Grand Baguio Wedding

5 Details We Spotted at the Wedding

Actress, singer, and host Ara Mina finally tied the knot with business man Dave Almarinez on June 30, 2021 at Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges. Here’s what we know so far about their wedding!

1. Short engagement

The couple was engaged earlier this year and right before we could officially say we’ve entered the second half of the year, Ara and Dave were wed! Short enagements are definitely the new norm together with intimate weddings. The feat, however, and based on the photos and videos we have seen so far, is the size of their intimate wedding. It was wonderful to see Ara and Dave be surrounded by their families and dearest friends on their big day, in person! To pull this off, make sure you work with an experienced wedding planner and coordinator. Ara and Dave have been working with COTEvents by Christine Ong Te, from the proposal, to their engagement shoot, and of course, to their big day.

RELATED: The Gastls Wedding Weekend in Coron Palawan

2. Family first

A quick view of Ara and Dave’s same day edit video by Nice Print Photography shows that the bride and groom, who are also mom and dad, made sure to put their families first. Ara’s daughter Mandy was dressed almost identical to her mom, both wearing ballgown skirts. The similarity in the details of their gowns by Leo Almodal were undeniable. Dave’s daughter Kristen on the other hand was dressed in the sage green for the entourage and the video shows how emotional she became during the bridal march and as Ara met her dad Dave at the altar. We love how this modern family is coming together beautifully!

3. Muted color palette

Stylist Gideon Hermosa used an all white color palette for both the ceremony and the reception, which made the bridal march appear like heavenly. It also looks as if the couple worked with the shades of nature, perhaps inspired by their location the city of Pines, where no bold colors popped out. The entourage were dressed in sage and all the blooms, event styling, and tablescapes were in the same color family. Just one look at their photos at the reception venue and one will see where the couple took inspiration from: royal balls! It was absolutely fitting for Ara and Dave’s look.

RELATED: The Latest in Wedding Gowns - Hints of Drama

4. Princess bride

The bride wore two gowns, the ceremony gown designed by Leo Almodal, who says in his Instagram post about the gown that it “is intricately handcrafted and fully crystallized to perfection; from the elaborate neckpiece, bodice, sleeves to the hem! Baroque Rocco inspired princess ball dress. Corseted and cinched to emphasize her tiny waistline of 23”! A true fairytale and a royal wedding indeed!” For the reception, Ara switched to a sleeker gown by Francis Libiran, who also created Dave’s reception and ceremony suits. Her reception look was a little more Hollywood glam, also just as fitting for the actress.

RELATED: Kim and Pochai - London Lockdown Proposal

5. Destination wedding

We predicted it in a previous story and Ara and Dave’s wedding looks like it’s a confirmation: destination weddings are now a realistic option once again for brides and grooms. We love that this choice is helping our economy as a local destination wedding is likely what couples will choose if they desire the mix of a getaway and having their loved ones present at the event. Remember that when you are preparing for a destination wedding, keep yourselves abreast with travel restrictions and both national and local government guidelines.

Which of these five details would you do at your wedding? Share this article now and inspire other couples!

The Dream Team:

Photography and videography: Nice Print Photography and Exige Weddings | Venue: Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges | Styling: Gideon Hermosa | Catering: Juan Carlo the Caterer | Planning and coordination: COTEvents by Christine Ong Te | Bridal gowns by Leo Almodal and Francis Libiran | Groom’s suits by Francis Libiran | Fashion styling by Cath Sobrevega | Makeup by Albert Kurniawan | Hairstyling by Buknoy Mateo | Grooming by Eduardo Barnillo of Team Albert Kurniawan

From @niceprintphoto
From @albertkurniawan
From @niceprintphoto
From @niceprintphoto
From @niceprintphoto
From @niceprintphoto
From @niceprintphoto
From @niceprintphoto
From @niceprintphoto
From @niceprintphoto
Weddings That Inspire

The Gastls Wedding Weekend in Coron Palawan

5 Things We Loved About Jess Wilson and Moritz Gastl's Wedding

Sunnies co-founder Jess Wilson married Moritz Gastl on June 26, 2021 in Coron, Palawan. The couple held their civil ceremony by the shore, styled by Gideon Hermosa who covered the aisle in pure gypsophilia. However we see from Nelwin Uy’s photos that their big day was an extravaganza, starting with a sunset cruise on June 25, Friday. Here's what we at loved about this wedding!

1. It was a four-day affair!

Pulling off a wedding that lasts for a few hours is quite the feat these days, given the pandemic, so to see that a four-day wedding weekend is possible? So much happy vibes! We feel that this kind of celebration is going to be a realistic option for couples these days especially because intimate weddings is now the norm. The Gastls wedding weekend was from June 25 to 28, 2021. Such affairs will also be an option for couple who will be throwing a…

2. Destination wedding

Oh how we missed seeing destination weddings! Sure the beach weddings did not stop for couples who had access to the shore, nor did the mountainside for those who reside near ranges. But for most couples, the city and gardens in the city seemed like the only option for the past year. Jess and Moritz were married at the Sunlight Ecotourism Island Resort. (Here's what the resort looks like from an engagement shoot point of view!)

RELATED: Kim and Pochai - London Lockdown Proposal

Perhaps it is also everyone’s collective wanderlust that has made a destination wedding all the more special these days. Now that packing your bags and going anywhere is a lot more complicated, it is only logical to extend the festivities if you are hosting a destination wedding. First, everyone is itching to getaway. Second, you already bothered with all the safety protocls and precautions, you may as well make the most of it! Guests who agree to be part of your wedding will surely enjoy a quick vacay.

3. The Filipiniana elements

The bride wore a terno with a detachable column skirt designed by Vania Romoff while the groom wore a barong. We spotted a few other Filipino-inspired details married with some British touches, a great homage to the couples’ families.

RELATED: The Latest in Wedding Gowns - Hints of Drama

4. Celebrity baby entourage

Of course to us they are the children of celebrities, but to the bride and groom they are family. We loved seeing photos and video footage of Dahlia Amelie Heussaff, Thylane Bolzico, and her nephews and niece, Archie, Alfie, and Charlotte Burnand. It was also cute to see the erstwhile stylish brides and grooms, whose weddings continue to inspire couples today, become doting parents trying their best to capture their little ones walk down the aisle.

5. They let love win!

Jess Wilson reveals in one of her first Instagram posts about their wedding that like most couples, they also had to reschedule their weddings–twice! She writes: 

“after 2 delayed weddings, a pandemic and a few new family babies born in between, what felt like forever away when planning has now crept up on us out of nowhere and and it’s finally our turn to get married @ritzo

we planned this earlier in the year with the help of some of the best people in the industry (@eventsbyamandatirol!!) and decided to do our civil wedding together with a small group of loved ones in Palawan

so excited to finally be able to see this day come.

missing our family and friends that can’t make it today, we’ll see you in Salzburg for #thegastls part 2 next year.”

We can’t wait to see that wedding!

RELATED: Mountainside Pre-Nup Shoot in Pantabangan

The Dream Team

Photography by Pat Dy and Team Pat Dy, and Nelwin Uy | Videography by Jason Magbanua | Coordination by Events by Amanda Tirol | Bridal gown by Vania Romoff | Event Styling by Gideon Hermosa | Makeup by Robbie Piñera | Hairstyling by Paul Nebres | Music by The Naughty Pandas | Cake by Naked Patisserie | Invitations by Kasali

Scroll down to see photos from their big wedding weekend! Share this article and inspire others.

From @jesswilson
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Weddings That Inspire

This Pandemic Fairytale Wedding is Fit for Royalty

Despite the challenges, the couple had the wedding of their dreams 

Oscar F. Gironella III and Jessica Tamondong had been planning the wedding of their dreams since their engagement in October 2018. They were set on the perfect date, December 12, 2020. However as their Tokyo prenup shoot approached in March 2020, the pandemic that rocked the world threw a wrench in their plans as well.

The couple had to rearrange all their plans, including their prenup shoot which was relocated to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan, and their big day. To top it off, their original wedding venue turned into a warehouse because the grocery next to it burned down, and the family that owned both businesses had no other choice. Rising Covid cases also made the couple anxious.

Their next option was a Baguio wedding, but their date of choice was already taken. So Oscar, Senior High Principal, event stylist, and businessman and Jessica, Baguio City makeup artist, even stylist, and business woman, decided to hold their wedding in their hometown, Calasiao, Pangasinan.

Below, Oscar shares in his own words the rollercoaster ride of planning their wedding and how they managed to pull off this grand wedding of their dreams:

RELATED: ‘Nothing is Certain’ Mindset Made it Easy to Plan

How did you come to the decision of throwing your wedding at your hometown?

With all the restrictions happening, our last option was to get married at home with just our family members. Getting married is not so easy. With all the things to prepare, I realized it is a bit tiring and sometimes could get stressful. But it's 100% fun. Imagine slowly building your dreams into reality. That should sound exciting! Just like how we felt during our planning for our dream wedding. But in just one snap, everything seemed to be breaking piece by piece. There must be nothing else that could make planning a wedding any more difficult, tiring, and stressful because the fun in it has faded. The excitement turned into worries and sleepless nights of crying not knowing when your wedding is going to happen or not.

All that we dreamed of for our big day has to let go. We had to change everything only for the sake that our union may happen. As we plan for the intimate wedding at home or in a small venue, we also planned to get married again somewhere in April 2021 for a hope for the better days to come. That our dream wedding may happen. So all our wedding suppliers were put on hold for months until September came, and things were slowly getting better. Our hopes were slowly getting back. And we just had to believe again! Our planning resumed in September through online meetings. Since most of our wedding suppliers were from Manila.

When we had our prenup shoot in Bataan, things happened so fast and we could already see that better days were ahead us. Sure, there were still a lot of problems arising but is was the Lord who made everything possible for us to pursue on our dream wedding to happen on the date we wanted, on 12-12-2020. It wasn't the original place we planned to have our prenup shoot but we know and believe that there would be no other place that would be more beautiful than to where we had it.

RELATED: 5 Things We Predict Will Remain in Weddings

Have you always wanted a big wedding?

Since Jessica was a kid, she has long dreamed of a fairytale life. She is a princess at heart. My love for her made me want to fulfill that fairytale life. Along with it is a fairytale-like wedding. Since we graduated from college, we opened a business to prepare and save for our future. And alongside it is to make our dream wedding come true. We entered into the event industry since 2016, we do styling for any occasion and most of the time it was always a wedding event. Since then, we never stopped dreaming for our own wedding. Together we both built our dream wedding. But it was always Oscar who wanted to have a big wedding since we started dreaming. I (Jessica) just wanted to have a fairytale-like wedding, whether it's big or not.

What was the reason you decided to push for a “big” wedding despite the pandemic?

Along the planning, we were hesitant to push through the big wedding. We had plans of just getting married in the same original date (just to save our date) with a simple and intimate one. Then push through the big one in April 2021. But then, we realized we might just be prolonging the agony of waiting. The reasons why we planned for a small wedding were, first, people might not accept a big wedding during this pandemic. They might only judge us and receive bashers. Second was all the people who are dear to us might not be able to attend the wedding. But what pushed us to go through our dream wedding was it was really the Lord God who allowed it. We realized that when we move the big wedding to 2021, the stress of knowing all the arising covid cases all throughout will just always affect us. So to stop all the heartbreaks, we planned to just stick to the original plan, which we strongly believe God has for us.

RELATED: Dreamy Pre-Debut Portraits Shot in Cebu

How did you ensure safety throughout the whole process?

We made sure everyone who would be on our wedding day would feel safe. So we hired a safety team to do that for us. We knew we needed experts to ensure the safety of everyone. We had doctors to assess the people. We had all the suppliers take a swab test before they start working and before they enter the venue, even during the production itself. The day before the wedding, we had every suppliers take the swab test again to ensure safety. We also provided safety kits for everyone. We strictly followed the safety procedures, like to wear mask all the time, and we had the team go around and spray disinfectant and alcohol for all the guests. We made sure the restrooms are also sanitized well for every person who goes in and out. The venue and all the rooms there were being sanitized too even days before the wedding.

We prepared labels for people to wear in the church up to the venue. It's a pin with three colors to choose from. We have red, yellow, and green. Red for people who prefer 6 feet apart from the guests and suppliers, yellow for people who are okay to talk to the guests but no touching, green is for people who are okay to talk to and to have a fistbump. We provided all the necessary things asked by our safety team to ensure safety and feel safe during the entire time.

What’s your advice for couples planning their wedding?

Pray, trust, and believe in our dear Lord. Pray and trust the process, then believe in His ways. We are forever in awe in God's work and goodness to us who believe in Him. He showed us miracles and how He could turn things around. You just really have to trust and believe Him.

Did this article inspire you? Share it now!

The Dream Team:

Planning and Direction by Teena Barretto | Photography by Benjie Tiongco | Video by Notion in Motion | Bridal Gown by Mak Tumang | Chord, Veil, face mask by Mak Tumang | Groom’s suit by Mak Tumang and Francis Libiran Bridal | Orchestra by Music of the Heart Pop Orchestra by Jun Lopez, Avant Music by Marcuz Calimquim Calachan | Production Design by Ronald King of TBE | Reception Event Styling by Teddy Manuel x Couple Minds Events Studio | Ceremony styling by Couple Minds Events Studio x Airene Estrada | Make up by Makeup by Theresa Padin | Grooming by Poshh Torres | Entourage Makeup by Mima Fernandez, Keanz Posadas Juan, Veejay Estaquio, Eff Alagadan Jr., Carlos Casiguran, Prince Alegria | Entourage Grooming by Ryan Callanta, Jojo Abrera | Catering by Jereko's Catering & Hagemu Sushi Ramen Bar Calasiao | Dessert by Grace Frando Eugenio | Cake by Jacqueline Tan-Cuason | Hosts: Jojo Hito Fernandez and Missy Ferrer | Technicals by Forscink Inc. Professional Lights and Sounds & Edwin Visperas (EAV) Bridesmaids Gown by Luchi Vicente | Groomsmen Suit by Varian Rodriguez | Father's Suit by Exclusively His Tailoring | Groomsmen Ties by Francis Libiran Bridal | Bridal Robe by Happy Andrada | Parents' Robe by La Tercera | Napkin Embroidery by BHOGS Tailoring | Safety Kits by | Souvenirs by Couple Minds Events Studio | Non-floral Bouquet by Kristine Abrahan Lee | Carpet by Glamlane Events | Entourage Robes by Luchi Vicente | Entourage Accessories by Jacatel | Entourage Hairdress by Akastudioph & Jacatel | Entourage Slippers by Pershella Collection | Shoes by Shoepatos Custom Made Shoes | Sintra Board and Stickers by Net At Las Morales  | Choreographer: Brick Briefer Mayrina Dancers and PhilCST & MLLS Dance Troupe Usherettes | PhilCST & MLLS | Safety Kits by goodbagph | Pyromusical & Special Effects by Dragon Fireworks | Invitation by Couple Minds Invitation x Jhong Macaraeg Lopez | Cocktails by Panaderia Antonio Bakery and Restaurant | Coffee by 2400 Cold Brew | Bridal Car and Groom's Car by Charles Co Charles Rent-A-Car | Church: Sts. Peter & Paul Parish Church | Venue: Calasiao Sports Complex | Church Pews, kneeler, and Candle Holder by Betis Furniture by Mariane Castro Rilloraza | Prep Venue: The Monarch Hotel Philippines