After getting engaged in Japan with a view of Mt. Fuji during the cherry blossom season, Vann Ryan Calimbahin and Bea Carla Redoblado were inspired to transport that magical spring feeling to their Manila wedding to share with their loved ones. To achieve this, the pair opted for a sakura theme, with a color palette primarily composed of lavender and pink. Their love, like the cherry blossoms, is meant to be celebrated in full bloom.
Richard Ivan Nicolas and Fredizwinda Perez wanted their sweet celebration to be a mix of solemnity and relaxation. After all, love stays true through the serious moments and the calm ones. The sweethearts’ garden wedding achieved its ideal serenity with easy-on-the-eyes blush tones. The soft shades added a warmth to the occasion that emphasized the warm fuzzies of the bride and groom’s amour. —Marielle Ong
'A wedding is not just about our love for each other but God's love for both of us'
By Misha Fabian
June 27, 2020marked the beginning of a new chapter in Lyn Dela Luna and Matt Imbong’s life together as they celebrated their very intimate wedding ceremony at St. John Bosco Church, Makati. A reception was then held at Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati.
The Love Story
The couple first met at a three-day single’s retreat in Tagaytay. They were unable to talk at first since there were around a hundred people in their group. Matt recounts the journey of their relationship.
“One day, on one of our batch activities, she was all flustered and worried… she apparently got her phone snatched from her on the way to our meeting place. So there I was trying to console her and was doing what I could to help her out. A week after the incident she was able to get a new device. I thought of sending her a message and asked how she was doing, we started chatting which then led to us talking over the phone,” Matt says.
It is truly incredible how such an inspiring romance can bloom from one unfortunate event. To put it succinctly, “God will give you what you ask for when you are ready to receive it,” Matt says.
“During our conversations, I came to realize that I really liked talking to her and I felt that we had a deep connection, so after talking for hours on end every day I decided to ask her out. A few months of dating passed, I finally asked the question, she said yes and we became a couple!” says Matt.
Originally, the couple planned for 150 guests in St. John Bosco Church and an Elegant Chic themed reception at Dusit Thani to be held on June 20. But, with the implementation of quarantine guidelines, they had to make significant changes to their preparations.
“Except for the groom's suit, the wedding gown, attire for the entourage, and for those of our parents were also on its way to completion. We even had our rings made with our names and date already engraved. With the restrictions during quarantine though, we had to let go of some of our suppliers even though we already placed reservation fees for them,” Matt says.
With their parents being away from Manila coupled with the strict travel restrictions, it would have been impossible for their loved ones to attend their ceremony. They were torn whether to push through with starting their lives together or to wait it out.
Matt says, “When the ECQ was lifted in June and we got our marriage license, we prayed for guidance. After carefully thinking it over, and with our parents' blessings, we decided to go ahead and push through a week after the originally scheduled date. We renegotiated new terms with the venue and with the floral arrangements in consideration of the new setup we were having.”
Pushing Through with Plans
When asked how the couple handled the challenges that came with planning a wedding during a pandemic, here’s what they had to say:
Matt: Aside from our original photo/video service, we opted to set up a live-streaming video service for our parents, relatives, and friends who wanted to witness the event live but could not attend for safety reasons and imposed limitations at that time. For the actual reception, we had to move to a smaller function room just enough to fit 15-20 people. We gave out face masks & eyeshields. Social distancing was imposed in both church and the hotel so as to keep everyone safe.
Lyn: I was supposed to have my pampering session before the wedding but since that was not possible, my sister instead bought me a multi massager & she had my nails & hair done. My friends from the Legion of Mary organization in St. John Bosco volunteered to help in setting up the legion altar, wedding signage, and other errands in the church since we didn't proceed with hiring a wedding coordinator.
Although their wedding turned out differently than what they had planned pre-COVID, the newlyweds still felt blessed and found that the celebration exceeded their expectations.
“As what our officiating priest told us a wedding is not just about our love for each other but God's love for both of us. Just when I thought that things couldn't get any better, our dinner turned out to be a night full of love as everyone put their hearts out as they shared their personal experiences with us. We ended the night with our hearts full of love,” the couple says.
The Imbongs are also planning to arrange another celebration with their closest friends and relatives since many, including their parents, were unable to attend.
“Just a simple celebration and gathering with our loved ones. Unfortunately, Lyn's dad passed away just 2 months after the wedding while working abroad. Though we were deeply saddened by this news. We were somehow consoled by the thought that we made the right decision to push through with the wedding. At least he was able to witness his daughter tie the knot before his passing on,” Matt says.
“When you are faced with difficult decisions and emotional distress, go in prayer, and ask for guidance before you get into a discussion. This pandemic has revealed our differences but it also made us patient and understanding of each other,” says the couple.
They also stress the importance of communication and letting others know of your challenges, especially during these trying times.
“It would also help if you can share your challenges with your family and closest friends as they will do everything to make your day easier and stress-free. Talk and negotiate with your suppliers, you will not know how flexible they just might be to help you out,” he says.
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Raymond Galano and Jhoanna Vasquez planned to get married in Rome on May 2020 but in March, they knew that their dream wedding and a year’s worth of planning would no longer be a possibility. The couple instead created Plan B, an intimate wedding on August 8, 2020 at St. James the Great Parish in Ayala Alabang with only a handful of guests. The reception was help in a private residence. Now Mr. and Mrs. Galano, Raymond and Jhoanna share their journey to the altar and what got them through. “...because of prayer, we never lost hope,” Jhoanna says.
Scroll down to see their wedding photos and to read their account.
What were your wedding plans?
Raymond Galano (RG): I proposed to Jhoanna in Hong Kong Disneyland in June 2019. We started planning our wedding and decided we want to hold it in Rome, Italy on May 2020. Nearing the date, the pandemic struck. We had no choice but to abandon the original plan. Given the government regulations at the time, we held an intimate celebration with only a handful of guests. Despite this, we have beaten the odds. Thus, I can confidently say, when you are with the right one, love always prevails.
Jhoanna Vasquez-Galano (JVG): We planned to wed in Italy because that's where Raymond's parents renewed their vows. Our guest list was at 50. Despite the overseas arrangement, we had no issues planning the wedding since my in laws have contacts in Italy which helped a great deal. When the pandemic struck, it was apparent that we had to postpone. We were both very emotional. Anxiety kicked in. But because of prayer, we never lost hope.
When the pandemic was declared, what did you do?
JVG: We realized that the current global situation will not permit us to push through with a wedding in Italy. That's when we decided to have it here in our home country. Because of social distancing, we trimmed down our guest list from 50 to 15. I could no longer wear my ballgown wedding dress. Instead, I opted for a lace mini dress, which suited our intimate wedding. We couldn't book a hotel for the wedding reception. We rented a private residence that has the capacity to hold a reception for 15 guests instead.
JVG: We realized that we don't need an extravagant wedding. Ultimately, what we need is each other and the people who matter to us. During the celebration, we felt very comfortable and relaxed around each other and our guests. It was an emotional event. There were tears of joy. There was laughter in the air. And so, with much love and gratitude, we can both say, we finally made it.
Are you still planning for another wedding?
JVG: We still want to celebrate in Italy once the pandemic is over, but since we're already married, it will be a renewal of vows instead. It will also double as a family reunion, and it's also an opportunity to share the love with our friends and family who were not able to attend the wedding. For now, we are thankful and blessed to say, finally, we are one.
What’s your advice for couples planning their wedding?
JVG: Plan for a simple wedding--as simple as possible. Always remember that everyone's health and safety comes first. As hard as it may be, let go of the mindset that you have to have a big wedding celebration to make it special. Focus on what matters, and realize that what makes a wedding special is your love for each other and the people who truly matter to you.
“Be positive and grateful, and keep on looking forward”
By Misha Fabian
Iñigo Ramos and Sheena Que seem to have run in the same circles all their lives. Iñigo had gone to PAREF Southridge for grade school, while Sheena went to PAREF Woodrose. However, it wasn't until they were in college that they met--when they joined the same carpool. They instantly became friends and soon found themselves belonging to the same barkada. They were both even part of the same closer inner circle. The two were good friends throughout college and stayed in touch even after graduation.
Romance only blossomed between them seven years later. Sheena was a practicing tax attorney at Reyes, Tacandong, and Co., while Iñigo was starting his own trading business following his stint at Deutsche Bank Malaysia. Iñigo requested Sheena to prepare and notarize a legal document for his business and when he came to pick it up, he noticed what a beautiful, professional woman she’d become. That was when sparks began to fly.
Their feelings heightened when they both attended a common friend’s wedding in Baguio. After all those years of being "just friends", Iñigo finally asked Sheena out. They decided to give their relationship a try, and the rest is history! The pair dated for four years.
The key to their rock-solid relationship? Friendship! Both Iñigo and Sheena take pride in their solid friendship, which they believe was the foundation of their amazing relationship. It also helped that they were well-loved by each other’s families. Finally, Iñigo proposed last November 2019.
The couple had originally planned to have an intimate ceremony on the July 11, 2020, at Don Bosco Chapel on the Hill, followed by a reception at Antonio's Tagaytay. They wanted to celebrate at Antonio’s because it was the place where they celebrated many of their milestones as a couple. However, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in their plans and they had to improvise.
The couple still tied the knot on their initially planned date, and it was an intimate celebration in which they made the most of the situation. Iñigo’s parents and siblings were unable to fly in from the US and Singapore because of the travel restrictions. They attended the ceremony and reception virtually.
Despite the challenges they faced, Iñigo and Sheena were both very excited to get married despite these trying and unpredictable times.They still followed wedding traditions--they did not see each other the day before the wedding, had something new, something borrowed, and something blue!
While the couple is saddened that Iñigo's parents and siblings could not physically be with them on their special day, they made the most of their situation and did their best to include Iñigo’s family in the planning and preparation of their wedding.
So, what was their biggest challenge in planning their wedding? Ensuring everyone’s safety. They needed to develop and devise a system that would allow for the least amount of physical contact possible, while still allowing the guests have a great time celebrating their union. To overcome their hurdle, the couple researched all the ways they could reduce contact. They distributed masks, face shields, and bottles of alcohol to every single attendee.
The couple wants to have a grander wedding celebration in the future to renew their vows, and they hope to have all their loved ones with them when they do. The celebration would also be a thanksgiving party of sorts to express their gratitude for having been kept safe, healthy, and comfortable amid the pandemic.
Love truly knows no bounds. Sheena and Iñigo were determined to get married, and with their love for each other, they were able to overcome the obstacles thrown their way by the pandemic.
This is their advice to couples who are planning to get married or are getting married during these trying times: “Be positive and grateful, and keep on looking forward.” While they were unable to have the “wedding of their dreams” and execute it as they had initially planned, they are still ecstatic that they were able to get married and have a beautiful and meaningful ceremony.
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This couple managed to honor traditions and tie the knot safely after adjusting their wedding plans four times
For Dex Ong and Joy Co, almost a year's worth of planning was thrown off course. But it was two big events that they needed to figure out: their tinghun ceremony and their wedding day. Traditionally, these two celebrations should not be set on the same day. But because these are different times, their families thought it best and wise that the couple schedule it in one day to lessen everyone's exposure.
Interestingly it was Dex who was on top of readjusting their plans--especially when the couple was forced into plan D so to speak. "It was like preparing for three weddings!" he jokes. After all the couples rescheduling and rebooking, the Ongs look back at their two-in-one day with pride. "A grand wedding of course is the dream wedding but it is not necessarily a perfect wedding. We’re proud to say that our wedding was a perfect intimate wedding."
Scroll down to see more of Dex and Joy's tinghun ceremony and wedding, and find out how they managed to pull both events of beautifully in their own words.
Photos courtesy of Joy Co-Ong and by Toto Villaruel
"Listening to Fourth's vow melted my heart" --Grizelle
Fourth Solomon and Grizelle Gratela spent only two months to put together their Pinterest-worthy city wedding in lieu of the Boracay wedding. The couple decided that being together as soon as possible was what they wanted more than the big celebration--that can wait. Starting married life ASAP? The Solomons just could not wait!
Scroll down to see the Solomon's gorgeous wedding photos and how they planned their stylish intimate city wedding as told by Grizelle.
What was your initial wedding plan?
Our plan was a Boracay wedding on March 2021 but the pandemic happened and we're not sure how long this will be so we instead planned for a city wedding in two months. We realized that we can't wait much longer for everything to get better, so we put together a simple intimate wedding with our closest loved ones. We were supposed to get married on our anniversary on August 13 but Metro Manila was suddenly put on Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) so we had to reschedule and the nearest available date for everyone was August 27.
How did you come to the decision to plan your wedding in this way?
We will still push through with our Christian wedding in Boracay, maybe in 2022 or when everything is settled. Our city wedding was a civil wedding with 30 guest. I really wanted to make it memorable since it's going to be our first official wedding and I wanted everything to be Pinterest-worthy, so that when we take photos it will be memorable and not just something plain.
What were some of the things you made sure to have for your wedding
We already booked Nice Print Photography for our Boracay wedding and we're happy they were available on our civil wedding. We're so happy with how our photos turned out! I also want to acknowledge Ginger Event Styling, my events stylist for really bringing my mood pegs into life! She gave me more than I expected and she really made the wedding breathtaking!
What are some of your favorite moments of the day?
When I heard Fourth's vow, and listening to how much he loves and appreciates me just melted my heart.
What was your and your outlook on having a quarantine wedding? How were you able to make it a positive and memorable experience?
Most of the people might get scared to really celebrate during pandemic, I personally was scared so I did not invite my parents who are senior citizens because they are high risk. It's sad but we have to put safety and precautionary protocols first. For everyone who attended our wedding, we made sure that they were really careful, that they follow all the safety guidelines, and that they are not sick. I'm happy that Las Casas Quezon City and my coordinator Maxine Covar really made sure the wedding was safe, they made everyone more at ease and happy during the wedding.
What are your tips for planning a pandemic wedding?
Kristofferson Austria and Jaymee Manrique didn't realize right away that their dream wedding in May hardly had a chance of pushing through. It was only when a month was left before their original wedding date, May 1, when the couple understood that they needed to adjust their plans.
Jaymee, who's very close to her family says she wasn't excited to walk down the aisle without her immediate family, a reality she needed to come to terms with because of the mass gathering guidelines. "I wasn't really excited to walk down the aisle without my parents beside me and my siblings not inside the church to witness it. I am very close to my family and I just couldn't imagine my wedding without them," she says. But when more lax guidelines were announced in July, Kris and Jaymee saw their chance to have a bit more people at their wedding ceremony.
"With all of the things stripped down to the basics because of the limitations, the actual wedding rites stood out for us. Receiving God's blessings and saying our vows at the altar is what's important after all," Jaymee says.
She adds, "Once we accepted that this was something beyond our control already and we opened our hearts to God's plan, it made it easier to adjust."
Scroll down to see more of Kris and Jaymee's wedding photos and to read what their journey to the altar was like, in Jaymee's own words.
John Kevin Mejia Tud and Maria Beatriz Fojas were married in August 17, 2020 at the Manila Cathedral after three failed attempts at booking a reception venue and forfeited reservation fees. However through their year-long journey to the altar, Kevin and Bea realized what was truly essential for starting their married life. "We were reminded about the most important things. In your life, there are people who will love and support you always, no matter the situation."
Because Bea's family is based in Cavite, the couple was able to hold their wedding preps by the sea. They took family photos before heading off to Manila for their ceremony sans most of their immediate family as only a limited number is allowed inside the church. Kevin and Bea walked around Intramuros for their potraits and though they had no reception planned anymore, their workmates surprised them with a simple celebration at the office. Kevin says, "My best man, our ninong and ninang, and my brothers really made us understand that it wasn't about the guests or anything superficial, it was about celebrating our love in front of God."
Scroll below to see more of Kevin and Bea's wedding photos and what they have to say about their big day in their own words!
They sent food to 160 homes as part of their zoom party
Plans for Jose and Angie Tuazon’s silver wedding anniversary began in 2019 and much like most wedding and grand celebrations of 2020, theirs took quite a turn. But two hiccups didn’t stop the couple and their three children, Djoshua Gian Jairus, Seidji Gianthoni, and Djoanne Giannelli from putting together a memorable event that included a photoshoot at Angie’s alma mater where their love story began, sending food to 160 guests and having them join a zoom party while the Tuazons enjoyed dinner at a yacht.
“Choose to be happy and safe,” Angie says about their celebration. Read below her tips on throwing a livestreamed celebration.
Was this your original renewal of vows plan before the pandemic? What did you have to adjust? And why did you decide to push through—some might not have done so because “it’s just a renewal” and not a weeding?
Angeli Tuazon (AT): Originally, we planned to have our renewal of vows in Jerusalem and have a wedding at Cana with our children and friends as witnesses. We wanted to show and inspire our children that marriage with love is resilient and filled with constant happiness. However, due to Israel's situation, it was no longer feasible to travel there. So, our family made plans to celebrate locally by reserving a venue where we could host at least 35 tables of friends and families to witness their renewal of vows. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, we had to cancel all the plans we’ve made since 2019.
It was harrowing for us to have global events get in the way of our celebration twice. Despite all this, we kept our faith in God and were blessed. General Community Quarantine gave us a shot at being able to create a simple but memorable 25th anniversary celebration.
How did you make your zoom party special for your guests?
AT: Since large gatherings are not allowed during GCQ, only our immediate family was with us. We made a virtual party for some of family and closest friends. To make it more special, we wanted them to wine and dine with us even in a simple way. So we thought of a Spanish concept with grazing gourmandise and wine sent to their homes. We added empanadas and cupcakes from our wedding cake delivered to all 160 guests and their families. The logistics was very complicated since we have to get the help of several delivery and logistics teams in vans and motorcycles who distributed the delicate food in time for the Zoom party at 6pm.
Our party was hosted by my youngest sister, Kathie Sobremonte, who has the most livestreaming experience hosting parties and webinars as a CPA. Without Kathie, we would have had trouble handling the zoom session and recording the details of the party.
The program was simple, showing the wedding, photoshoot in UST, lunch at Las Casas Filipinas Acuzar and another photoshoot in the same venue. We had games for the guests with cash prizes sent via GCash, greetings from guests were shown, chat messages amongst friends in the party were also going on. There was a kiss and a toast by the couple and they ate the food delivered to them together virtually with our family having a four-course dinner and Terry's Bistro food and wine in the lantern-lit yacht. The same day edit video was shown the same night through Facebook for all friends to see.
What were some of your favorite and most memorable moments of your anniversary celebration?
AT: The solemn Renewal of Vows inside the church was the most memorable moment. Putting on our new rings blessed by Fr. Jeff Aytona was truly unforgettable as we sealed the moment with a kiss.
What is your advice for couples or celebrants planning weddings and events amid the pandemic?
Choose to be happy, wise, and safe in selecting suppliers and be content with however you choose to celebrate. Work with a budget and ask for help when needed, surround yourselves with important people who would be truly happy and support you in whatever you do. There will always be smart choices to make in planning and throwing a celebration with substitutes to your original pick.
One of the most important things is to make sure to get a good photo-videographer to capture precious moments and a great host for the party.Sometimes things don’t work out the way we want it to be, but we have to learn to accept the changes and move forward with a positive mindset to succeed. Make sure to trust reputable suppliers that would take the stress away from you when you do not have a party coordinator.
We chose Las Casas Quezon City because the food there is delicious and their beautiful interior and exterior spanish decor is perfect for a photoshoot after the wedding and eating lunch. They ensured our safety with their implemented social distancing and hygiene protocols, which allowed for the family to celebrate without a worry.
This is the new norm on having a memorable event via virtual parties with friends and family amidst the pandemic and strict safety protocols.