Weddings That Inspire

ECQ Laguna Wedding Was Not the Dream–Marriage Is

See how this couple dealt with a sudden announcement of ECQ after saving up for and preparing for their dream wedding

Paul Richmond Fernandez and Jessica Capusi have a modern love kind of story. The two met through Facebook, connected by a common friend. Mon was based in Dubai at that time while Jec was in the Philippines. The two made things official when Mon visited the Philippines and after two years, Jec followed Mon to Dubai.

Unfortunately the global pandemic caused them to both return to the Philippines. The couple was already set to marry early this year but they initially thought of doing a civil wedding first and a bigger celebration when restrictions ease up. Jec’s family recommended that the couple push through with a church wedding, no matter the state of the lockdown.

But another curve ball was thrown Mon and Jec’s way. Read below to know more about how the newlyweds surpassed their challenges in Jec’s own words.

How did you two meet?

Nagkakilala kami sa Facebook. May workmate ako sa previous job ko, sabi niya, “Jec, gusto mo siya na pala ang magiging husband ko. He was living in Dubai, UAE noong nasa getting-to-know stage kami. Almost one year din kami chatmates. ‘Pag uwi niya noong 2017, sinagot ko din naman siya. Noong 2019 ako sumunod sa kaniya sa Dubai at umuwi din kami year last year dahil pareho kami naapektuhan ng pandemic. Three years and six months kami bago nag-pakasal noong April 16, 2021.

RELATED: Ara Mina and Dave Almarinez’s Palawan Prenup Shoot

Did you have a theme or motif for your wedding?

The original motif was pastels with a touch of light gray, blush pink, olive and white. But unfortunately because of the MECQ, ‘yung lahat ng supplier ko hindi makaka-attend sa Laguna dahil sa protocols. Kinuha namin ‘yun All-in Wedding Package para wala nang hassle pero lahat sila from Cavite. All of a sudden, kung ano ‘yung available, ‘yon na ‘yung naging motif which was classic yellow.

What were the challenges you encountered in your planning?

Matinding challenge po talaga ‘yung IATF announcement at yung COVID. Settled na po talaga na March 25 ‘yung kasal namin since naka All-in Wedding Package naman kami, ’yung requirements na lang talaga sa simbahan ang kulang. Kaso po nag-declare ng ECQ until April 4, so until that time, waiting at praying pa kami baka sakali mag-GCQ na after April 4. Kaso na-extend ‘yung ECQ.

I talked to Mon kung pwede i-move na lang namin ang kasal kasi hindi makaka-attend pamilya niya at talagang bawal ang gatherings so hindi kami makakapag-invite ng mga tao gusto namin maka-witness ng kasal namin. Kaso gusto ng Lola ko ituloy sa April 16 ang kasal kahit 10 lang kami sa simbahan at sa bahay na lang ang reception kahit dalawang principal and secondary sponsor na lang ang a-attend. Wala ‘yung side ng husband ko at sabi din nila na okay lang ituloy kasi ang mahalaga, ‘yung basbas ng simbahan.

RELATED: Wedding Planners’ Pro Tips for Intimate Weddings

Ako lang po talaga yung gusto mag-palit ng date. Sobra po iyak ko kasi hindi ‘yun ang dream wedding ko. Nag-ipon kami para sa hindi magarbo, pero para sa maayos na kasal. ‘Yun naman po ang pangarap ng lahat ng couples. At ‘yung effort ko sa pag-aayos, pag meet ng supplier, parang lahat, nawala. ‘Yung naka-picture sa utak mo na possible mangyari sa kasal, hindi nangyari. Sobra akong disappointed sa lola ko noon kasi siya ‘yung ayaw magpapalit ng araw ng kasal. Wala naman problema sa nanay ko kung ano gusto namin. Ang Lola ko ang nagpalaki sa akin kaya sinunod ko na lang siya para di siya mag-tampo sa akin.

How did you handle the challenges?

Yung husband ko ang sobrang supportive sa gusto ko pero nire-remind niya din ako na may mga dapat i-consider sa decision namin. Una, acceptance na hindi lahat ng gusto mo, mangyari at matutupad. May mga bagay o pangyayari na beyond our control at ‘yun ang gusto mangyari ni God, so we just need to accept the fact kung wala na din way para baguhin. Sabi nga just go with the flow na lang. Second, you need to talk to everybody na involved sa planning. Like our family, the suppliers, our coordinator, and the venue. Uncontrollable kasi ‘yung pangyayari at settled na siya so yung mga cancellation ay may consequences, so we just need to talk, find alternatives, and then mag-settle sa decision.

RELATED: Simple and Romantic All-White ECQ Intimate Wedding

What are your tips?

1. Always follow protocols during this time of pandemic. Ayaw naman natin mag-violate ng Laws at most especially i-consider natin ‘yung mga attendees. After all, safety first. Minsan better pa nga ‘yung intimate wedding kaysa sa madaming bisita para ma-entertain mo din sila lahat at hindi sila ma-bore.

2. What is important in marriage is the presence of God. Mahalaga ang basbas ng ating Panginoon. At kahit subukin pa tayo ng matinding pagsubok, kapag gusto niyo magpakasal, ‘wag na magpatumpik-tumpik pa at magpakasal na! Sa may mga doubts naman, pakiramdaman niyo ang mga sarili niyo. Katulad ko, sobrang kontra ‘yung Lola ko na ibahin ko pa ang date ng kasal namin. Pero nagparaya ako. Oo masama ang loob ko pero sa mismo araw ng kasal namin, wala na sa puso ko ‘yung tampo. Importante din kasi masaya kayo para hindi maka-attract ng bad vibes.

Did you find this article inspiring? Share it now and inspire other couples!

The Dream Team:

Photography by JP Rodriguez | Church: Santa Rosa de Lima Parish Church | Bridal dress by Lucy Baylon | Makeup artist and hairstylist: Louriel Capusi | Bouquets by Corrine’s Flower Shop | Cake: Boulangerie22 | Catering: Virginia Capusi | Invitations and stationery by Jake Menard Capusi | Jewelry by Hani Gold Jewelry Dubai

Weddings That Inspire

Simple and Romantic All-White ECQ Intimate Wedding

'When we just surrendered everything to God, that was when things became clear'

Adrian Christian Uy and Micah Louisse Nepomuceno practically grew up around each other but oddly never met until they were young adults. They went from friends to an exclusive relationship, and on April 10, 2021, they became husband and wife. Their intimate wedding was held at Lucas Studios with just both of their immediate families present.

The biggest curveball of their wedding planning turned out to be what they loved most about their intimate wedding. Just a few weeks before their wedding date, Adrian and Micah learned that Metro Manila was placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine again which meant no mass gatherings were allowed. It was not a smooth ride for the couple, who was honest and admitted that they did not take things very well at first. But in the end, Micah says “We were so happy it was just us and our families!”

Below, Micah shares how she and Adrian planned their pandemic wedding, how they dealt with the sudden change of no mass gatherings, and why they decided to push through with their ECQ intimate wedding.

How did you meet?

We grew up in kids church together—our parents are good friends and we even have the same group of friends! But God didn’t allow us to meet until I was 19 and Adrian was 21 at a despedida for a friend. We started out in the most unexciting possible way for some—as friends. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our friendship, anchored in the Lord, is what strengthened our way to where we are today. The four years of getting to know and waiting for each other was all part of God’s plan to carry us to the beginning of our marriage.

What were your wedding plans?

It was a smooth start. A month in and we already booked all the vital suppliers needed to get the wedding running. I’m a very decisive bride and my groom trusted me with the planning as well. Although I didn’t have anything specific in mind coming into the prep season, it all just came together as I was looking.

RELATED: Modern Filipiniana Wedding in the City

Did you have a theme for your wedding? If yes, what was it?

No specific theme. I just wanted everything to be simple, clean, elegant, and romantic, and we got just that! Grateful that we were brought to suppliers who collaborated with us to further beautify the vision I had.

How did the second ECQ change your plans? How did you feel? How did you cope?

This was the biggest hurdle for sure. In the beginning, I had everything planned in my head after booking our suppliers. And just when I thought all was organized, a few days before the wedding, the government announced ECQ which shifted all our plans. It turns out I wasn’t as graceful as everyone thought I was throughout the prep season. This brought out all our worries and fears to the point that we almost decided to postpone and move the wedding to a much later date. But God had different plans as always. When we cleared our heads and hearts from all the anxieties and just surrendered everything to God, that was when the path to pushing through with our initial date became crystal clear.

RELATED: Coffee and Workout Date Themed Pre-Nup Shoot

What were the other challenges encountered during the wedding preparation/preparing for a pandemic wedding?

1. Having to limit the number of guests—from 30 to 10 to be exact.

2. Having to rearrange the whole concept for the styling days before the wedding due to the limiting of the number of guests.

3. Shift of contracts with the suppliers.

4. Curfew and city to city borders or check points.

5. The need to have multiple plans in case the government shifts the rules and protocols for gatherings again.

How did you handle the challenges?

We made sure to stay prepared through whatever uncertainties. Of course it’s easier said than done. Again, we didn’t take it too gracefully at first.

RELATED: They Won the Intimate Wedding of Their Dreams

How did you feel during the wedding?

We were so happy it was just us and our families! As much as it would have been lovely to have others there, what made everything so much more beautiful was the intimacy of the guest list. Of course all our other friends and relatives were also present via the livestream. It was perfect and we were and still are over the moon. We can’t thank God enough for truly that was a day He made.

What’s your advice for other couples who are planning to get married or will be getting in the time of a pandemic?

1. Pray about it! There’s no reason not to push through if God has put it in both of your hearts to get married.

2. Intimate weddings are beautiful!

3. Keep it in the budget to hire doctors to conduct antigen swab testing for all suppliers and guests. Better to do everything in your power to ensure everyone’s safety than have your wedding remembered as a breeding ground for the virus!

4. Expect a lot of changes and hassle. Be adaptive and willing to adjust accordingly.

5. At the end of the day, a wedding is a one time celebration for your marriage. It’s not an end goal, but a beginning. Be wise about where you spend what you have—either you splurge on your wedding or invest in your marriage.

Share this article and inspire other couples to plan their pandemic wedding!

The Dream Team

Wedding rings: Ceatella Fine Jewelry | Wedding gown: Casa Morales | Antigen test: First Step and Beyond | Invites: Make Art from the Heart x Omniprinters, Inc. | Venue: Lucas Studios | Styling and Catering: 128 Catering | On the day coordination: Events Simplified | Sounds: Nine2One Pro Lights and Sounds | Photography and videography: Taavi Films | Livestream: The Day We Stream | Hair and makeup: Amos Martin Nuñez | Accommodations: F + G Hostel | Bouquets: After Blooms PH and Casa La Vie

Weddings That Inspire

Modern Filipiniana Wedding in the City

'We knew deep down that our wedding would still happen and that our marriage would be blessed'

“We are not the youngest couple to marry,” says Lorrie Anne A. Pelaez. She and now husband Christopher Delfin L. Organo “swiped right” in 2015 after months of messaging which eventually turned to dates, and then to forever. “The Universe brought us to each other rather ‘late’, but we believe God is always on time,” Loren says. The two met in their late 30’s and after five years, they were set to tie the knot.

However their wedding date was just two weeks after the global pandemic was officially declared. But it seems that Chris and Loren’s belief in God’s timing would ring true even in their road to marriage. “We knew deep down that our wedding would still happen and that our marriage would be blessed.

Below, Loren shares their seven tips for planning a pandemic wedding, including being understanding of everyone involved, and the surefire secret to enjoying your wedding, hiring a coordinator. Read her interview below!

What was your original wedding plan?

Chris proposed in 2018, and our original wedding date was March 28, 2020 (right after the pandemic was declare). We had planned for 150-170 guests. Most of our immediate family, principal sponsors and entourage were all flying in from all over. We had to decide about 2 weeks before the wedding. When we finally locked in a new date (December 28, 2020), we had to strictly reduce our headcount to 50 due to Covid restrictions and safety reasons.

What were the challenges you encountered?

Pre-Covid, wedding preparations were actually going smoothly as we did our research, went to countless wedding fairs, and joined a very helpful online community. However, everything was at a standstill when the pandemic broke. Since we had to postpone the wedding, it felt as if we were back to square one. We needed to reach out to all the suppliers for a resolution, so be patient with yourself and with them. While all the invitations were sent and rings engraved, we did not redo them anymore, especially the latter, to remind us of our commitment to each other in making this wedding happen no matter what.

RELATED: Coffee and Workout Themed Pre-Nup Shoot

How did you handle the challenges?

As a couple, we had to surrender to God’s love and mercy. His plans are better than ours. We knew everything had a reason, and we know deep down that our wedding will still happen, and our marriage will still be blessed. Believe it or not, we managed to book all our original suppliers for the new wedding date (except for the HMUA I booked who already had an existing booking). It was a matter of also understanding the plight of other people not just our own, as this pandemic was unprecedented to say the least. Also, had to have resolve in managing all these moving pieces, and make sure we tracked our progress in this Wedding Checklist we prepared to keep us focused and grounded.

How did you feel on your wedding day?

While Chris and I felt very excited, we were also surprisingly calm. It was a general sense of relief that all hard work and planning will materialize. Our hashtag could not be more correct–#ChrisLorenFINALLLY. (P.S. Chris says other than those feelings, he was likewise scorching underneath his coat barong!)

What are your tips for soon-to-weds?

Pray and surrender. This might sound like cliché but you need to live and believe that God’s plans are way better than what you had ever anticipated. We can only imagine what the would-be married couples are going through right now. Our hearts got out to them for sure. That said, we are rooting for them all the date changes, supplier challenges, etc will be all worth it at the end. Also, count your blessings, and more will follow, usually in the most unexpected ways.

Talk to each other. This pandemic is taking a toll on everyone, and you do not have to be the bubbly bride or the confident groom all the time. As you plan for your big day, assess how you and your partner are growing in maturity as a couple, and take time to appreciate and comfort each other. Adversity will make you stronger together. Also, all this will make for a great story to reminisce with each other or tell your children/grandkids of ‘love in the time of Covid’.

RELATED: They Won the Intimate Wedding of Their Dreams

Get help. If you can set aside budget for even just an On-the-Day Coordinator team, go for it. You can thank us later. No amount of planning can make you thoroughly enjoy your big day if you do not relinquish control to your wedding coordinators or family members you trust. Remember, this day will be fleeting. It will go by so fast, and the last thing you would want is to worry and fuss about each detail.

Trust begets trust. Your suppliers will be right there with you and make them feel like you believe that they will execute as stated in your contract. Have positive talks and messages, and realize they are operating at such extraordinary times. We made sure to prepare meals and the ‘Survival Kit’ for all our suppliers (a nice eco bag with water, snacks, candy, etc) as we want them to also enjoy their work day. In turn, do not be surprised if they work with professionalism and ease.

Health 101. If you started a closed group or a group chat online, do overcommunicate to your expected attendees on the health protocols (i.e. wearing of masks/shield, social distancing). Encourage them to bring their own hand sanitizers and take extra precaution in finding ways to get to the church and venue. That said, we also planned for our wedding favors to be ‘pandemic-proof’ via BC Fragrances’ elegant and chic 3-bottle kit for hand sanitizer, hand soap and hand moisturizer (a hit with all our guests!).

RELATED: 5 Secrets to a Memorable Intimate Wedding

Take a breather. You will get fatigued and stressed out at some point planning for this pandemic wedding, so be kind to yourself. Take breaks and always involve your significant other. You are in this together!

Remember the bigger picture. Oprah said, “a wedding is just a day, but a marriage is a lifetime”. Your wedding day will be one of the most unforgettable moments, but always remember to look at the bigger picture and prepare to live out your vows in your union. Personally, when I saw my groom down the aisle shedding happy tears, I was all set. Everything else was just details.

Know of a couple who needs to read these tips? Share this article now!

The Dream Team

Church: Mary the Queen Parish | Venue: Sampaguita Gardens | Photography by Timoteo Photo | Videography by Supermac | Bridal gown by Bryan Peralta Designs | Groom's Coat Barong by Charito S. Alunan Embroideries | Glam Team: Bela Maraña Makeup | Coordination by Sweet Beginnings Event Management | Lights and Sounds by MicLink Lights and Sound Rental | Catering by Hizon's | Grazing Table by Cocktails Manila | Flowers by Dangwa Florist | Photobooth by PixlPop Photobooth | Souvenirs by BC Fragrance | Invitations by Neonovelties

Weddings That Inspire

They Won the Intimate Wedding of Their Dreams

This couple reallocated their budget and instead, got more than what they hoped for and imagined!

Mark Allan Aviso and Dana Marie Rosadiño got the intimate wedding of their dreams and more, one that was way beyond their imagination and expectation. But their budget and plans were for a simple civil wedding, because they reallocated their wedding budget to home renovations when the pandemic hit and wedding planning became a big challenge. On February 18, 2021, Mark and Dana were married at St. John Marie Vianney Parish in Cavite, a church they stumbled upon when they were planning their civil wedding and received as an affirmdation from God for their marriage. Their reception was held at the Aquila Crystal Palace Tagaytay Events Place.

What changed in Mark and Dana’s plans and how did they manage to enjoy a grand intimate wedding reception? Just a month before their intimate wedding date, the couple won the grand prize of Themes & Motifs’ raffle, and all-in wedding package from the coveted Aquila Crystal Palace. “We were overwhelmed at how grand the package was. We couldn't believe it,” Dana recalls.

Below, Dana shares how they saw God’s hand move despite the twists and turns of wedding planning amid a pandemic and their tips for planning on a budget.

Tell us about your wedding planning experience during these times. What is it like to plan for a pandemic wedding? 

Before the pandemic hit, we were supposed to have our church wedding in Baliuag, Bulacan, my home town on January 30, 2021. At that time we were active in participating in bridal fairs, including Themes & Motifs’ Bridal Fairs, we did some food tasting and met some suppliers. Also, we already made downpayments.

It wasn’t easy anymore to move around due to lockdown. And because we were both working in BGC and renting in the Metro, it was difficult to prepare for our wedding needs. Plus the fact that there’s a limit to people we can invite. We also considered the safety precautions we now need to take. Because of these, we both decided to cancel our church wedding and spend the budget we had for our wedding for the renovation of the house we will soon be moving into. Whatever budget we have left, we decided to use this for a civil wedding.

RELATED: This Couple Had Not One But Two Intimate Weddings

Fortunately for us, whilst preparing for a civil wedding we found a church in Cavite which we could afford. This led us to pursue a very intimate church wedding for 50 pax. We were happy because at that time, though the budget was tight, we felt that God led us to find this church. Maybe it was his way of saying, “You both can do this. You both can still pursue a church wedding.” We set our wedding date to January 14, 2021, which was also our third anniversary.

On December 12, 2020, we received the greatest news of our lives. Mark and I were picked via raffle draw by Themes & Motifs as its Grand Winner for an All-in Wedding package at Aquila Crystal Palace Tagaytay Events Place, sponsored by the CEO himself, Mr. Tei Endencia. We were very thrilled and in awe of the news. We were overwhelmed at how grand the package was. We couldn't believe it until we received the letter from Themes & Motifs and met Mr. Endencia in person at Aquila Crystal Palace Tagaytay Events Place to set our wedding.

We moved our date to February 18, 2021 to allow more time to prepare for the beautiful change in our wedding plans which God gave us through the help of these wonderful people. We were even more fortunate because the church and the reception were both available on our chosen date. 

What were the inclusions in the package?

The venue, Aquila Crystal Palace Tagaytay Events Place, with styling by Mr. Tei Endencia, 2 nights accommodation for 20pax at its Antinous Penthouse, lights & sounds, host, 3-layered cake, catering for 100 pax

On our wedding day, Mr. Tei was even more generous. He added an LED wall, upgraded our cake to cake mapping, and fireworks.

Not just that, before the program ended he gifted us with 300k worth of Baptismal Certificate at Aquila Crystal Palace! Wow! Can you believe that? We were overwhelmed with joy. It was all a dream come true. God is really great! Who would have thought that out of nowhere, He would send these lovely people to give a simple couple like us with this huge blessing. We will be forever grateful! 

RELATED: Sunset Shades for an Intramuros Intimate Wedding

What were the challenges encountered during the wedding preparation?

First, I was 4 months pregnant. So it wasn't easy to move around to meet people especially with the pandemic. Second, the budget. The budget was still tight and because there are other things we need to prepare and settle like the church, flowers, photographers, our clothes, makeup, etc. Third, our transportation since we didn't have our own car. 

How did the you handle the challenges? 

FIrst things first. We always asked God's guidance in whatever we did. You will be surprised by how smooth your wedding planning can be despite the changes you might encounter. Keep your focus on your goal. Despite the pandemic, you can still push through with your wedding plans.

Third, stick to your budget. Even if your budget is tight there will be good suppliers who can meet your wedding needs with what you can afford. You may also ask help from your friends or relatives because they might know somebody who can help or probably offer a discount. 

How did you feel during the wedding?

Dana: It was a mix of emotions. We were happy, we feel very blessed, overwhelmed, excited. We all couldn't even sleep the night before our wedding day.

Mark: We felt very grateful, most especially when Mr. Tei gave us never ending surprises. Naramdaman namin na para kaming artista/VIP during that night. We felt that day really was meant for us. 

RELATED: 5 Secrets to a Memorable Itimate Wedding

What were the important things that you’ve learned when planning for your wedding?

Be smart when planning your wedding most especially with your expenses if you are on a budget. Before you spend, think if it's necessary or not. They always say that your marriage is more important than your wedding day. 

Don't rush things. Plan ahead. Have a checklist and tracker of your expense. Maximize the time you have in looking for good suppliers and completing your wedding needs. 

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

Do not be dismayed or frustrated with what's happening around you. Focus on your goal as a couple. It might be quite of a challenge but there will always be a way. Just always seek God in whatever you both do and everything will fall into place.

Always be patient in terms of looking for suppliers especially when your budget is tight, join Facebook groups for wedding suppliers, join bridal fairs like what we did when we joined Themes and Motifs kasi meron at meron diyang mga suppliers na mami-meet 'yung budget niyo and malay niyo manalo rin kayo sa raffle like us. 

Share this article to inspire other couples!

The Dream Team:

Church: St. John Marie Vianney | Venue: Aquila Crystal Palace | Events Planner: Moments by Ruffa | Couturier: Jessa’s Bridal Gown | Photographer and videographer: Carera Pro Studios | Caterer: Spices & Herbs | Host: Randy Balaguer | Bridal car: El Momento Bridal Car | Hair and makeup: Touched by Jen | Entourage flowers: Edcille’s Flowers and Gifts | Venue Styling: Aquila Crystal Palace | Reception lights and sounds: RM Audio | Cake: Mapping and Cakes – MAC | Wedding rings: Oro Jewelry | Grazing Table: Victuals

Weddings That Inspire

This Couple Had Not One But Two Intimate Weddings

RG and Jacque went from planning a destination wedding to getting married "twice" during the pandemic

An intimate wedding in Sapporo, Japan, in winter with just 30 of their closest family and friends was what Rei Gill Medestomas and Jacqueline Noelle De Borja had planned. But on February 7, 2021, the two were married in a garden ceremony with twice the amount of guests and just one side of the family present. Despite the stark difference of their plan and their reality, RG and Jacque were at peace knowing that “God was working and what was happening was a part of his plan.”

RG and Jacque’s intimate wedding was held at Antonio’s Tagaytay. The couple chose the esteemed restaurant and wedding venue because of its food, elegance, and plus points, safety. After all the adjustments the couple had to make to pull off their big day, the newlyweds managed to accept the curve balls and make the most out of what they could. A week after their wedding, the Medestomases returned to their wedding venue with the bride’s family–who’s based in the US­–to recreate their wedding as a family and take photos together.

Below, Jacque shares their journey of hoping for their destination wedding, being at the mercy of travel ban announcements, and why inspite of the stress and the challenges, the couple remain joyful and grateful about their wedding.

RELATED: Sunset Shades for an Intramuros Intimate Wedding

Did you have a theme for the wedding?

RG already had plans in mind when he proposed. In fact, he already set a date and saved Instagram accounts which he presented to me an hour after he popped the question. Everything was approved and we agreed to have a small destination wedding in Japan with only our family and very few friends.

The first supplier we booked was our wedding photography team, Mango Red. Back when I was an intern for Preview Magazine, I was assigned to help with the Creative It List and that’s when I first encountered Mango Red. In 2009, I knew who my photography team would be and was overjoyed when RG said he wanted to book Mango Red as well. As in, I did not tell him anything prior! Anyway, without concrete plans, we booked our target date which was February 13, 2021, and said that we are eyeing Hokkaido as our destination.

Early on, we wanted a wedding set in a beautiful location, which means we didn’t have to dress it up anymore. We wanted to have a complete experience which is why we chose to have it abroad –a small vacation plus our wedding ceremony. We really just wanted the wedding to be simple, elegant, and of course, something that would reflect our personalities. But note that RG was the one in charge. Best ever!

Was this the original wedding plan pre-Covid? If no, what was the original plan and how is it different?

The original plan was to have a snow wedding in Moerenuma Park in Sapporo with 30 guests max. RG, who to be honest is the real taste maker between the two of us, chose this beautiful location designed by Isamu Noguchi. We contacted a lot of people and friends who spoke the language to help us talk to the team. Unfortunately, they were fully booked because of the Winter Festival. So our second option was Tadao Ando’s Church of Light or Chapel on the Water, and the list goes on. Our chosen wedding coordinator based in Japan gave us a few more suggestions and quite frankly, we were still doing Zoom meetings in the middle of the pandemic.

By August 2020, we canceled all of our plans and just put everything on hold. We started considering local locations and just kept browsing online. By October, we visited Antonio’s and decided that it would be our wedding location for both the ceremony and reception. The place is elegant, beautiful, and they have one of the best menus in the Philippines. One important thing for us was that the food needed to be super good. We chose this under the same criteria as the locations in Japan, we wanted a place that already looked beautiful.

RELATED: Jessy and Luis' Intimate Wedding in Batangas

What were the challenges encountered during the wedding preparation?

COVID-19 and the pandemic messed up our plans real bad. Before we were even able to finalize the date, we had to meet as a family and decide if it was feasible because my side of the family is based in the US. When we chose February 7, 2021, we thought we had enough time to plan. Good thing that all of our chosen suppliers were available on that date.

A month or so before the wedding, the government announced a travel ban and this was the start of our really stressful two to three weeks. At first, we didn’t worry because the ban didn’t directly affect my family’s travel plans. But since the changes were so sudden, the following announcements made it impossible for my family to come home in time with enough time to quarantine.

We were all so stressed, especially my mom and brother. We prayed and we prayed and we prayed, until finally, we had to decide to not book the February 1 flight home. Hours later, the government announced yet another change in quarantine protocol which we took as God’s answer to our dilemma.

A week before the wedding, we grieved, but believed that God is a God who restores so we pushed through with the wedding. We handled the challenges by praying and really talking to each other–it helped that each person was able to voice out their feelings and concerns which in the end helped us process the changes.

Eventually, my family made it to the Philippines a week after our wedding. After their quarantine, we all decided to recreate our wedding in Antonio’s. We arrived dressed up to have our photos in the garden (which thankfully was free on the only day we were available), then we had dinner and chose the items that were the most similar to our wedding menu. I saw how God moved during these times. The changes created a stronger bond between our families and I couldn’t thank my husband’s family enough for making them feel welcome. It was just amazing!

RELATED: Greenery Inspired Intimate Wedding in the City

How did you feel during your wedding day?

RG felt relieved that his plans are finally rolling out! He said that the reason he cried was because it’s actually happening despite obstacles. I felt at peace, I knew that God was working and just finally accepted that what was happening was a part of his plan. My friends and my cousin, acted as my family during the preps, ceremony, and reception.

RG and I decided to not have an entourage, so I was super happy that my friends were there to support me all the way. They were the ones who made sure to FaceTime my family during the preparation. RG’s family was super, super chill. They were helpful in every way and ever since made me feel like family, so the wedding was no different.

My mom who refused all sorts of live feed because she felt like she was gonna feel intense FOMO (fear of missing out), has my friend Joe Henson to thank because he was the one who made sure my mom was able to see me walk down the aisle, hear our vows, and so on.

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

Woooh! Well, include COVID-19 testing as part of your wedding budget. It took a huge chunk of our own budget, but it was for the safety of our guests and suppliers.

Choose a location that is already beautiful so you don’t have to spend so much it dressing it up. Also choose a location with good air circulation (aka open air) so that your guests (and you, as a couple) would feel at peace.

Get a wedding coordinator! RG and I are no strangers to production, but we both chose to get someone in charge of our wedding day so we don’t have to worry. Agnes Odulio from Empire Weddings is the BEST in the industry.

Get your hearts and minds ready as you go through this season of planning and actually getting married–enjoy it as much as you can too. There will be a lot of disappointments like changes in plans and family/friends not being able to go. But pray about it always and know that the important thing in all of this is your union with your husband/wife. If it honors God, then you are all set!

Choose your friends as suppliers. Really, it made a difference because they made the process even more fun and beautiful! The other suppliers are people we met through work and we’re both glad we were able to work with them as well.

Was this story inspiring? Share this article!

The Intimate Wedding Dream Team

Bride’s ensemble: Joey Samson | Shoes: Jacquemus | Groom’s ensemble: Paul Cabral | Shoes: Sapatero Manila | Cuff links: 13 Lucky Monkey | Makeup and grooming: Chuchie Ledesma | Hair: Rudolf Davalos | Hair and makeup for entourage: Dorothy Mamalio | Photography team: Mango Red Studios | Bouquet and event styling: Gathered Creative Co. | Wedding rings: Janina for Jul Dizon | Coordinator: Empire Weddings | Host: Joe Henson | Cake: Cakeshop by Sonja | Location: Antonio’s| Preps: Anya Resort | Music: Moira Dela Torre and Jason Hernandez with Sound Cinema | Giveaway: Saan Saan Candles | Film Cameras: Lomography | Invitations: The Invitation Co. | Lights and sound: RM Audio

Wedding Round 2 with the Bride's Family
Weddings That Inspire

Sunset Shades for an Intramuros Intimate Wedding

Ritz and Charisse: International Students Made the Perfect Match

Ritz Chu and Charisse Estipona started their year the right way as they celebrated their intimate wedding on January 21, 2021. The newlyweds held their wedding ceremony at San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila. The ceremony was followed by a small reception, which they hosted in their own home, to guarantee the safety of their guests. Despite the challenges they faced throughout the planning, their love and perseverance prevailed.

In 2015, Ritz returned from Hong Kong after finishing his MBA. Charisse was also about to come home after spending four years in Canada getting her second degree in Hospitality Management. Later that year, Ritz attended his friend’s wedding where he sat at the same table as Charisse’s best friend. This seemingly trivial event is what would eventually spark the start of their relationship.

At that time, Ritz was single and Charisse had also been single throughout the duration of her stay in Canada. It was customary in most weddings, for single men to be paired with other single ladies as well. Charisse’s best friend played the most important role of being their matchmaker. She thought that the two of them would be a good match, banking on their shared background of studying abroad.

RELATED: Jessy and Luis' Intimate Wedding in Batangas

“The way my best friend broached the subject was by showing facebook photos (swiping left and right) of guys and whoever replied to their message first, would be the guy they would introduce. Upon seeing Ritz’s photo, I immediately said no as he was not my type physically. Fortunately, or unfortunately, he was the first to reply.” Ritz has always been the one to make the first move.

On February 14, 2016, he sent Charisse a dozen red roses before they even had a chance to meet. After that bold statement, she simply thought that “this guy is just too breezy and confident”. But when they finally met for the first time, something in Charisse’s gut told her that it wouldn’t work out. Their personalities just weren’t in sync with one another.

“He was quiet, intellectual, and serious. Whereas I was loud, outgoing, and fun-loving. Suffice it to say, I would indirectly reject him multiple times over the course of the next few months. On one group trip out of town, I resolved to finally firmly ask him to stop the courtship as I felt it was already a waste of both our times.” Charisse was so sure of her decision until a single event turned it all around.

RELATED: Real Brides and Grooms' Tips on Staying Healthy

But one moment with him as we were watching the sunset while in the pool set the mood for a very meaningful conversation on life, dreams, and motivations. I felt I got to see who he was and the depth of his personality. Suddenly the resolve I had to stop the courtship, melted and I decided to give this guy another shot.” That was the start of their journey towards marriage.

They eventually became boyfriend and girlfriend a few months after and dated for four and a half years before finally tying the knot. Throughout their dating phase, they only saw each other twice a month since Charisse was from Bicol while Ritz lived in Manila. They spent more time apart as they were dating, but they made the most out of the time they had when they were together.

Ritz popped the big question in Kyoto at a kawadoko, which was a restaurant built right beside a waterfall. This was a hidden and quiet place in Japan that allowed them to savor their engagement. The entire scene felt like something straight out of a fairy tale. The couple immediately began planning their wedding in September 2019, but unfortunately, the pandemic happened followed by the lockdown in March 2020.

“By February 2020, we were done with bookings and were just waiting for the church requirements, program flow, and prenup photoshoots and fittings. The original plan was to hold the reception in Marriott Manila Ballroom with about 300-400 guests. The both of us studied abroad so we were looking forward to hosting our friends from overseas and having a good time.”

RELATED: Derek Ramsay and Ellen Adarna are Engaged

They had to downsize significantly and scramble to find new suppliers while adjusting to the changing rules. The couple kept their guest list to a minimum, only having a total of 12 participants, which turned it into a very intimate wedding. “For the intimate wedding ceremony, it took us less than 3 months to prepare. We started planning almost the end of October 2020 as we were also waiting for new rules and protocols for weddings.”

The couple faced a lot of challenges during the wedding preparation, especially within the context of the pandemic. They were forced to change venues, recalibrate their budget, and guarantee everyone’s safety. This included spending for the swab testing of all their guests and suppliers. Charisse’s mom also underwent a major surgery a few months prior, but they wanted her to be able to attend the wedding.

Despite all the difficulties, they were able to push through with their intimate wedding. They handled the challenges thanks to their wedding coordinators along with other important factors. “It was really faith, a lot of prayers, and the greater love we have for each other. It was also our families’ and friends’ support that helped us get through all the hurdles we had to endure during our pandemic wedding.

They decided on sunset to be the motif of their wedding coupled with serene scheme colors like antique blue, stone blue, pumpkin, and nutmeg. The newlyweds felt a mix of emotions during their ceremony. “The excitement of getting married, the anxiety of making sure everyone is safe, and also the pressure of making our wedding a memorable event despite not having all the people we love around us.”

Less rigidity and more flexibility are the main lessons that they learned when they were planning for their intimate wedding. “Sometimes just going with the flow will lead to more beautiful results. Appreciating the small moments with the family, we learned that those moments are super precious as it is not every day, there is a free pass to say I love you without the awkwardness.”

As for the other couples planning to get married in the time of a pandemic, Ritz and Charisse have three pieces of advice: First, be cautious and find beauty in the small moments. “In our case, we found that being in a more intimate wedding allowed us to interact with family more. Have more moments with them than we otherwise would have. We imagine that if it was a bigger wedding, we would have gone about things in a more transactional way to ensure that everything would go according to plan.”

Second, enjoy it: “It sounds cliche but that was what we put in our heads. Because we did not have the normal bells and whistles in our wedding. The intimate setting allowed us to focus on being present and enjoying each moment.”

And finally, release all the emotions: “This is the happiest moment of one’s life up to this point, but there are also pockets of other emotions like bittersweet feelings of not being with family 24/7 now, those complex emotions make that day so much more special.”

Share this article and help other couples be inspired while planning their intimate wedding!

The Intimate Wedding Dream Team

Event Preps: Makati Shangri-la | Church: San Agustin | Photo: Mayad (Mico Gonzales) | Video: Stellar Story | Live Streaming: NicePrint | Coordinator: Christine Ong-Te (COTE) | HMUA: Mark Qua, Aries Manal | Invitation: Papel et al. | Event Styling: Petal Swing Event Styling | Band: Sound Cinema | Bridal Gown: Rosenthal Tee | Bridal robe: La Rosa | Bridal Shoes: Dior | Groom Suit: Masanting Sastreria | Groom Shoes: Sapatero | Necktie and Pocket Square:Vanda Fine Clothing

Weddings That Inspire

Greenery Inspired Intimate Wedding in the City

'The important part of the wedding is our yes to each other. Everything else is confetti'

By Joaquin Reloj

On February 27, 2021, Doctors Enrik John T. Aguila and Marion Frances P. Causing were able to tie the knot which only goes to show that not even a global pandemic can come between two people in love. The newlyweds celebrated their intimate wedding at St. John Bosco Parish Makati followed by a wonderful little reception at The Blue Leaf Events Pavilion.

Unlike most love stories, Enrik and Marion’s relationship is far from what people would consider love-at-first-sight. Instead, their love for each other grew over time, 13 years to be exact. The couple has shared countless memorable experiences with one another from being in college, becoming mission volunteers, and attending medical school.

“Enrik and I have known each other for 13 years now and for us, it wasn’t actually love at first sight. We’ve met each other through a Catholic youth community as mission volunteers and we’ve been close friends way before we ever thought about getting together,” says Marion. 

“In fact, prior to getting together, Enrik had a Kuya attached to his name. We grew closer after college because we both went to the same medical school (Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health) and because we both juggled medicine and mission work.” It was Marion who first developed romantic feelings for Enrik, secretly crushing on him for about a year before he eventually showed intentions of courting her.

Related: Cityscape Relaxed Intimate Wedding

Their love also helped them conquer tough times. “After about 6 years of being friends, Enrik gathered up the courage. We were together for 7 years as boyfriend-girlfriend and for the both of us, it was our relationship that became our light in the grueling world of finishing medical school, going on hospital duties, taking board exams, and going through residency training in our own respective specialities as doctors.”

The couple made it a point to always have time for each other, even in the face of all the stress of medical school. “We had a formula to our relationship: we study out, we eat, we watch movies, we talk about our day, we listen to stories and we slip little adventures in every now and then.”

Oftentimes, it truly is the little things that create the biggest impacts. “In our relationship, we’ve learned that love is not necessarily about the big things but also about the day-to-day things that you choose to do and say to each other and for each other. It’s not necessarily all fireworks, most often, it’s like a billion street lights, emitting light that’s warm and bright just the same.”

It was in February 2020 when Enrik proposed to Marion, which was a month before quarantines and lockdowns were officially implemented in the Philippines. In spite of the looming restrictions, the couple was already set on celebrating their intimate wedding on February 27, 2021. They were more than sure that this was the date they wanted.

Related: The Lord of the Rings Intimate Wedding in Tagaytay

“Even then, we were planning to get married on February 27, 2021, with about 250 guests and actually already booked our church and reception venue with that in mind.” However, more unfortunate circumstances arose throughout the duration of the pandemic. As safety guidelines and regulations changed constantly, the couple had to make some crucial decisions.

“When the pandemic struck hard, it was becoming apparent that we would have to make a choice to either postpone the wedding to a later date so as to allow the number of guests that we wanted or to push through with the plan with a limited number of guests.” In the end, they chose to keep the date and trimmed their guest list down which turned into an even more intimate wedding celebration.

“It took us a year to plan the wedding. One of the major challenges for us was making the guest list since we had to cut it down to 80 guests. However, since we have a lot of loved ones that we wanted to celebrate the day with, we handled this challenge by making use of live streaming services of Youtube and Zoom.” Despite these changes, the couple found that the route they chose actually presented a favorable outcome.

It made their wedding more accessible to people who wouldn’t have been able to physically attend the celebration and reception with or without the threat of a global pandemic. “That was actually a good move because then even our relatives and friends from different parts of the world were able to celebrate with us up until the end of our reception.”

Related: Fine Dining Intimate Wedding in Tagaytay

Throughout their planning, they also experienced some extensive issues regarding venues. “Another major challenge we faced was that we had to move our reception venue twice during our preparation due to pandemic protocols of particular institutions. Our final reception venue was booked less than a month from the wedding, and that included booking a lot of new suppliers as well.”

Regardless, the newlyweds were more than happy with how their intimate wedding turned out. They were determined to tie the knot and no amount of challenges would change that. “In the end, however, things worked out for good and we were able to pull off what we wanted which was actually pretty simple.”

It was more important for the couple to make their guests feel the love and comfort that they’ve nurtured for so long. They wanted to radiate that same feeling with everyone else who witnessed their wedding. “What we really wanted was for our wedding to just show our story as raw as it came. We wanted our guests to feel the warmth of home that we’ve experienced with each other.”

“What we learned ultimately during the preparation for the wedding was that the important part of the wedding is our yes to each other. Everything else is confetti. Realizing what’s important to us a couple made letting go of certain things in the preparation easier.” Marion recalls as she looks back on how they managed to pull off their wedding ceremony and reception, even in the face of a global pandemic.

The couple was aware of how important flexibility and resiliency were during the planning. Being prepared for changes along the way is essential, especially in light of the current circumstances. “We learned to be fluid and to adjust. During the pandemic, we have to embrace uncertainties because we never know what happens next. In a way, it makes the experience more exciting.”

For couples hoping to have an intimate wedding of their own, Marion highlights the significance having confidence in your partner and getting the right suppliers. “Practical tips from a super chill bride: try to get the suppliers you can trust. This reduced the stress level for me by 40%, the other 40% reduced by a super hands-on groom.”

Found this article inspiring? Share it now!


The Intimate Wedding Dream Team

Planning and Coordination: Jhune Salud Events | Church: St. John Bosco Parish, Makati | Reception: The Blue Leaf Events Pavillion | Photo: COLOVE STUDIOS | Video: The Spark Series | Host: Edroy Lim | Prep Place: JnJ Guesthouse | Bridal Gown Designer: Teena Sabrina Tan | Bridal Prep Robe: La Rosa Bridal | Groom's Suit: Gardini Fashion Center  | Entourage Ties: Noveltie MNL  | Bridal HMUA: Mhoy Vistan Almazan  | Entourage HMUA: MAKE UP BY YVE GALANG  | GroomsmenGifts: Pinwheel | Bride Squad gifts: Lazada Wedding Artefacts  | Groom's Boutonniere Cabuchon: La Mia Gioia ph  | Rosary for Bouquet: Maria and I | Florist: Dangwa florist  | Bridal Car: HP Bridal  | Invites: Alikha | Lights and Sounds: Sound Level Production Equipment Rental | Styling: Ariel Rodriguez Penarroyo  | TPC Mervin Galang  | Food: Bizu Catering Studio  | Grazing boxes: Cocktails Manila  | Wine: Wine Specialist & Beyond Inc.  | Livestream: The Passion Box | Band: MusiKasal Singers  | Photobooth: Photoman | Crew Meals: The Food Station  | Cocina De Maceda

Weddings That Inspire

Cityscape Relaxed Intimate Wedding

I already had the mindset that if I was able to accept the fact my family can't come to the wedding, then the rest are all minor things and everything will be okay

Jose Antonio Alcantara and Sheena Caburog have a romcom-worthy love story that ends up at the altar with an intimate wedding. Anton and Sheena both specifically prayed for their lifetime partners and at the “perfect time”, their paths crossed “when neither of us expected,” Sheena says. Three years later, Anton proposed and of course Sheena said yes!

The couple initially wanted to do their wedding at Iloilo on March 20, 2021 but the travel restrictions and the pandemic made it too tall of an order to arrange. “Then we thought if it will no longer be a destination wedding, why wait?” Sheena says. So they moved up their intimate wedding to January 8, 2021 and it was held at Nuestra Señora de Gracia with an outdoor reception that boasts of the cityscape.

Unfortunately, a wedding in Metro Manila meant Sheena’s family could not attend the wedding. This was perhaps the biggest challenge the couple faced while planning their wedding, apart from managing the safety protocols. Despite this setback, Anton and Sheena say “We were just happy that the wedding happened and we were married.” 

Below, Sheena shares in her own words their journey from being God’s answered prayer, moving up their wedding date, and what it’s like not to have your family by your side on your wedding day.

Related: The Lord of the Rings Intimate Wedding in Tagaytay

Tell us your love story. How did you meet and when did you decide to get married?

Few years ago, I made a checklist of whom I wanted to end up with and wrote it on my novena book— his characteristics, every little detail of the man I’d want to spend the rest of my life with. How his eyes would look, probably his smile, too, and his stance, among others. On the other hand, Anton, apparently was also praying for the woman he can grow old with. Praying and praying, to end up exactly with someone like me. 

Years passed, we became intertwined in this thing called life: I became busy with all the hustle—being in the wedding industry, maintaining a start-up company (Mayad Studio); and Anton, in his businesses. Love was nowhere to happen.

But then God, in His very many amazing ways,  Anton and I met at that perfect time, when neither of us expected. He was exactly the guy written in my novena book as I met all his checklist of the girl he also prayed for. Meeting each other was God’s answered prayer, hence “GAP”, our term of endearment for each other, which literally meant God’s Answered Prayer.

After 3 years of being together, Anton popped the question. And of course, my only answer was a resounding yes! 

What was your idea for your wedding?

Initially we don't have an exact theme in mind, we just want to keep it simple, relaxed and intimate gathering of some of our closest friends. But when suppliers asked us, we just said we trust their creativity fully.

Originally we planned to have our big destination wedding in Iloilo on March 20, 2021. But due to Covid and fear of travel restrictions we decided to transfer it here in Metro Manila. Then we thought if it will no longer be a destination wedding, why wait? So we changed the date to and made it earlier since we both had the blessings of our families. Sadly my family was not able to fly because of health risks.

Related: Fine Dining Intimate Wedding in Tagaytay

What was the most difficult challenge?

Probably the thought of not having my family to join us in our wedding and of course some of our friends. We were very attentive to different protocols and changes as well, so being flexible with these changes.

How did you handle these difficulties?

Surprisingly everything just fell into place. We were very chill during the whole preparation. I already had the mindset that if I was able to accept the fact my family can't come to the wedding, then the rest are all minor things and everything will be ok.

Related: An Intimate Silver Wedding Anniversary Celebration

How did you feel during your wedding day?

It was an answered prayer. It was truly a happy day. Even if there was a time we thought it was going to rain and my reception venue was outdoors, we were still okay. We were just happy that the wedding happened and we were married. 

What’s your advice for couples planning their wedding?

Of course follow the protocols make sure you are always informed. But also during the prepartion, acceptance is the key. Be flexible enough to all the changes and keep in mind that the most important thing is that you are getting married to the person you love. Everything else will just take place. Get the suppliers that you trust most, it lessens the stress and burden since you know you are in the right hands. And of course just enjoy have fun. You deserve it. 

Did you find this article inspiring? Share it and help other couples plan their pandemic wedding!

The Dream Team:

Church: Nuestra Senora De Gracia | Photography: Bill of Mayad Studios | Video: Jed of Mayad Studios | Live stream: Mayad Live | Wedding Rings: J's Diamond | Coordination: MYD | Both bridal Gowns: Jo Rubio | Groom’s suit: Boy Kastner Santos | Make Up: Gery Penaso | Bridal Shoes: Jefferson Si | Bridal Essentials: Creative Peppers | Band: 3rd Avenue | Lights and Sounds: High Impact Events | Cake: Penk Ching | Church Stylist: Dave Sandoval | Reception Stylist, bridal bouquet, and entourage flowers: Teddy Manuel | Macarons Giveaway: Audrey's Pastry | Cocktails: Soul Food Truck | Wedding Car: A Perfect Day Wed Car Luxury Bridal Cars Manila | Calligraphy: Iana Cris Forbes | Invitation: Angelu Jane Santiago Lagazo | Wedding Site: Eric Barbosa | Online Photobooth: Pose and Print 


Photographers by: Mayad Studios
Wedding & Engagement Ring by: J's Diamond Jewellery
Weddings That Inspire

The Lord of the Rings Intimate Wedding in Tagaytay

Knowing the Lord's plan plus the right person is enough certainty in marriage for these uncertain times

Harry Rodriguez and Francesca Rosella Pagdilao met as students at the Conservatory of Music in UST and began their love story while they were making their way through young adulthood. The couple started a band while they were dating and after a few years together, they broke up “to figure some things apart”. But one fateful night in February 2018, Harry and Cucay were at the same place at the same time and they immediately got back together. “So it only felt right to have our wedding day three years after that night,” Cucay says.

Harry and Cucay’s intimate garden wedding was held at Le Jardin Rosella Events Place, Tagaytay on February 6, 2021. On that day Cucay says “We felt overjoyed and extremely grateful. We felt blessed beyond imagination. It was perfect and it felt as if from that day forward, only goodness and blessing will follow.”

Below, Cucay shares how she avoided the stress of planning their wedding (they only had a month and a half!) and how the bride and groom arranged a surprise for their families at the reception.

What was your wedding plan?

We were planning on 2022 but we moved it to earlier this year because we already wanted to begin building the future we envisioned together and start our own family. We both knew that we've already built a strong enough foundation through the years that we found no more reasons to delay. We felt ready both individually and as a couple and we just found it to be the perfect time. Another important reason is because we both wanted to celebrate our every milestone with our families and our loved ones. We originally planned a Christian wedding but because we lacked preparation time, what we did was that we incorporated the solemnity and blessing of a Christian wedding into our civil wedding. 

What did you find to be the most challenging part of wedding planning?

The most challenging was the uncertainty of the lockdown dates. First, because family members are from abroad, and second because it was a destination wedding in Tagaytay. We chose a date when the lockdown was lifted so that our families could make it, but unfortunately flights were suddenly cancelled again a week before the wedding. We missed some family members during our special day, but thanks to technology we were able to celebrate with them via pre-taped video messages and zoom. Another challenge was time because the wedding was only planned and prepared in barely a month. 

Related: Fine Dining Intimate Wedding in Tagaytay

How did you work around the challenges?

Two of my best friends (Natasha Kintanar and Crista Firme) decided that I shouldn't stress over my wedding day, so they convinced different barkadas of mine to surprise me with a lovely ceremony complete with setup and the flowers. They also orchestrated some designs and details in the reception to fit the theme that they knew I had always wanted for the wedding, which is The Lord of the Rings. They also helped work on table pegs, the fonts of the place cards to match that of Tolkien's elven and runic fonts, the hair jewels that I wore, the cake with the elven leaves... They even agreed to host the reception. They took a lot of the load in the planning that it felt like our only responsibility was to show up on our wedding day and have fun. We truly appreciate all the effort they put in making it such a special celebration.

Our respective businesses and backgrounds helped us plan our wedding day. Harry is in the catering and food concessionaire business while I am in the events and venue rental business. We are also both musicians. Because we have handled events together in the past, we already have a roster of suppliers and already knew who we wanted to contact for our big day.

Our wedding venue. Our venue Le Jardin Rosella Events Place made it very easy for us to plan because it offered the space we needed to hold every part our celebration there. With five gardens as well as accommodations all within the area, the place was maximized and communication was very easy for everyone involved in the celebration.

Related: An Intimate Silver Wedding Anniversary Celebration

Our reliable coordinator, Miss Vet Lauzon. With less than a month's preparation, we can only do so much and entrust the weaving together of all the day's details seamlessly with the help of a professional coordinator. She ensured that the program flow for both ceremony and reception went smoothly, she coordinated with our suppliers, she made me one comfortable and stress free bride from beginning to end.

God's guidance and direction! I think the most important thing that got us through was praying as a couple and asking God's wisdom for the direction we are taking and for every decision we are making together. The Stronger Marriage counselling we attended at Victory also prepared us for what's beyond the wedding day and made us remember to value the marriage more than the wedding.

Tell us about the gender reveal that you had at your reception, was it a surprise?

We held a surprise for both our families by having a gender reveal. No one suspected it so we knew it would be a fun addition to the celebration right before we ended the reception.  We waited for our parents to finish their speeches before we revealed the box by suspending it from the tent ceiling. Everyone was thrilled, we did a little guessing game and a countdown before the big reveal. We are having a girl! 

What’s your advice to couples planning their wedding?

Fight uncertainty with certainty. During a pandemic, almost everything is uncertain--our most thought out plans, the time we have with loved ones and friends, our finances, even our chosen wedding date is subject to the rules and implementations during a pandemic. It's hard to plan with all these uncertainties, but if you know the certainty of the Lord's promise and plan, and you are certain with the person that is to be your spouse, then you already have the perfect wedding right there, and everything else just becomes a bonus. So, fight the uncertainty with certainty and go for it–while observing necessary health protocols, of course!

Share this article to help more brides and grooms plan their intimate wedding!

The Dream Team

Venue: Le Jardin Rosella Events Place, Tagaytay | Coordination: Vet Lauzon | Sound System: Marvz Felix of High Fidelity Audio Solution | Catering: K by Cunanan | Music: Manila String Machine | Bride’s ceremony dress: Happy Andrada | Rings: Ty Po Huat Goldsmith | Flowers: La Portoflora Flowers | Hair and makeup: Edz Diomampo | Photographer: Christian de Leon | Videographer and SDE: Julius Rafanan of 24 Frames Wedding Films and Photography | Invitation: Aaron Pagdilao | Cake: The Noodle Bakes | Gender Reveal Box: Piñata ni Maya | Tents: Tent Master | Crew meals: Von Appetit Food House

Weddings That Inspire

Fine Dining Intimate Wedding in Tagaytay

Go for simple and stress free. At the end of the day, this is the perfect opportunity to really see the true essence of getting married

For Frederico Miguel Lorenzo Alegre and Kimberly Zulueta, their January 8, 2021 intimate wedding in Tagaytay was somewhat like a smaller version of what they had envisioned for their wedding. The couple was engaged in 2019 and they initially thought of a wedding for 200 guests scheduled on September 2020. Instead of a party, Miguel and Kim enjoyed “an intimate and meaningful lunch celebration” at Antonio’s Fine Dining Tagaytay.

Miguel and Kim were married at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Tagaytay and their reception venue is the couple’s  “favorite Manila date place” and where Miguel asked for Kim’s hand in marriage. The proposal also happened over lunch, so their wedding was like an ode to that special moment.

Related: PHOTOS - Empress Schuck's All White Garden Wedding

Because both the bride and the groom come from big families, safety was their biggest priority. Miguel and Kim decided to keep their wedding to just their immediate families and a pair of principal sponsors. They also did not hire too many wedding suppliers, prioritizing Kim’s makeup artist and their wedding photographer. Perhaps with a picturesque place like Antonio’s and its superb food, there was really not much else needed.

Below, Kim shares in her own words how they planned their wedding, how they felt adjusting their plans from a 200 pax wedding down to 20, and the secret to surviving pandemic wedding planning.

How did you two meet?

Miguel and I met on a night out back in September of 2012. We were then re-introduced at a friends party a week after that, and started dating since. We dated for seven years before he proposed to me last October 27, 2019 at our favorite Manila date place–Antonio’s Fine Dining Tagaytay. He asked me out for a lunch date, little did I know, he was going to propose in front of our families (who were all secretly hiding and watched as he knelt down one one knee and popped the question). 

Related: Sam Pinto and Anthony Semerard Intimate Wedding

What was your idea for your wedding?

The theme I was going for was minimal and chic. I always liked neutral colors as its not just appealing to the eyes but also very elegant and timeless. 

Was this your original wedding plan or did you have to adjust it?

In a way the wedding we had last January 2021 felt like an intimate version of the big wedding we were planning for that was supposed to happen last September 2020. An elaborate night long fete with 200 pax became an intimate and meaningful lunch celebration of 20 pax instead. Even if we changed our plan entirely, and we were not able to use the suppliers we have initially booked and have been looking forward to working with, the wedding we had still felt like how we’ve been imagining it to be. 

What were the challenges you had to go through?

Our main concern was the safety of our families and guests. Miguel and I both have big families. He comes from a family of 11 while I come from a family of seven. Given that our immediate families alone is already a crowd, we have decided to get married only with our parents and siblings. We also had just a pair of godparents and limited our suppliers to a makeup artist and a photographer.

What were some safety protocols you did for your wedding?

A few days before the wedding we also had to ask everyone to stay home to minimize contact and we also got everyone tested the day before the big day for safety. Despite having a very limited guest list, we felt very grateful to have been able to get married, in a church and in front of the people who truly mean the world to us. Everything was just perfect from beginning to end. 

What is your advice for couples planning their pandemic wedding?

For other couples looking to get married during the pandemic, go for simple and stress free. At the end of the day, this is the perfect opportunity to really see the true essence of getting married.

The Dream Team

Photographer: Jay Jay Lucas of Chestknots Studio | Gown: Martin Bautista | Suit: Bianca Cordero | Makeup: Memay Francisco | Bouquet and boutonnière: The Flowerman | Wedding bands: JMA Jewelry | Reception: Antonio’s Tagaytay