A night at the Opera

The Philippine Star - - FRONT PAGE - By DORIS JIMENEZ Pho­tos by CRISTALLE PITT, MICHAEL CINCO and JOEL SERRATO

The woman who made so many look and feel beau­ti­ful, mar­ried the man who made her feel most beau­ti­ful and de­sir­able, even on days when she felt at her ugli­est.

“When I was at my ugli­est, when I couldn’t even look at the mir­ror be­cause I was so ugly in my mind, I would look at my re­flec­tion in your eyes, and you would al­ways make me feel beau­ti­ful and de­sir­able,” Dr. Vicki Belo told her hus­band Dr. Hay­den Kho Jr. at their ex­change of vows at the Amer­i­can Church of Paris.

In many of her in­ter­views and speeches, the beauty doc­tor has not been shy to share her his­tory. Dr. Vicki Belo was adopted and was in fact bul­lied for it. While she was nur­tured in a very lov­ing fam­ily with her Daddy Ike (En­rique Belo) and Mommy Nena (Floren­cia Belo), the thought of be­ing given away left a deep scar on Vicki. She was made to be­lieve by those who bul­lied her that she was given away for adop­tion be­cause she was ugly and fat. This is why she de­cided to make ev­ery­one else beau­ti­ful so they will be loved.

So, you could just imag­ine how it felt for her when Dr. Hay­den Kho Jr. made just one prom­ise to his wife dur­ing his vow,

“Walang iwanan.” Hay­den was firm and kept re­peat­ing this phrase.

The most re­mark­able part of the wed­ding cel­e­bra­tion was the church cer­e­mony. Apart from the bride’s stun­ningly el­e­gant blush pink Michael Cinco gown, their vow to be to­gether in the pres­ence of God gave us all who were there a glimpse of eter­nally true love.

Their love af­fair is noth­ing short of a roller coaster ride. Mocked and cel­e­brated at the same time. In the end, their love and faith pre­vailed.

The wed­ding cel­e­bra­tion in Paris, while ex­trav­a­gant, was a tes­ta­ment to their grand faith in God and how He has trans­formed both their lives. They wanted to gather friends and fam­ily to cel­e­brate the hap­pi­ness and love they now feel be­cause they al­lowed Him to change them and they de­cided to fol­low His words.

The Paris Opera House was the ic­ing on the cake. Af­ter the guests wiped their tears from the solemn and heart­felt cer­e­mony at the Amer­i­can Church of Paris, their jaws dropped as they were shut­tled to the “Palais Garnier,” the most op­u­lent lo­ca­tion one can ever think for a wed­ding re­cep­tion. As guests stepped off the buses that brought them to the re­cep­tion from the church, one could see by­standers, lo­cals and tourists alike, who were awed at the pa­rade of per­son­al­i­ties that strut­ted the red car­pet on their way to the Opera.

The Opera was closed to tourists for two days, by the way, for the wed­ding prepa­ra­tions. The grand stair­case, which would nor­mally be closed to tourists, be­came the stage for the cou­ple’s first dance. They danced to their own singing voices of Take Me As I Am from Jekyll and

Hyde. The cou­ple pre-recorded and sang the song, which made it all the more so per­sonal and spe­cial. You could feel and see their emo­tions. All the guests were left speech­less and I per­son­ally thought, “What more can we ask for from these two on their wed­ding?”

The gen­eros­ity and sur­prise did not end there. Led by opera singers, the guests walked to the grand foyer where din­ner was served. Grandeur and class greeted guests, you felt you were trans­ported through time. I am still ac­tu­ally in awe over how beau­ti­ful the room was. Not that it needed more ac­cent but the ta­bles were adorned with the best avail­able flow­ers by master florist Robert Blan­caflor. Robert also pro­vided Vicki with her bridal bou­quet made of Lily of the Val­ley. The bou­quet was sim­ple that it did not take away the at­ten­tion from the bride.

The cou­ple were sur­rounded by peo­ple they value most. The room was filled with love. There were guests who flew in to Paris just to at­tend the cer­e­monies. Dubbed as the overnighters were BryanBoy Yam­bao, Jodi Sta. Maria, Pi­olo Pascual and Alden Richards. They were just among the many per­son­al­i­ties, fam­ily and friends who came all the way from dif­fer­ent parts of the world to be with the cou­ple.

Fes­tiv­i­ties went on till the wee hours of the morn­ing unto the af­ter-party. Just when the guests thought it was over and they could now just bask at how beau­ti­ful the event was, they were led to another room in the Opera where a live band played Love Never

Felt So Good and as a fi­nal treat, the cou­ple led the crowd to another dance num­ber. True to form, the cou­ple made sure their guests had as much a mem­o­rable time as they did.

Lav­ish. Self­less. Gen­er­ous. The cou­ple surely knew how to end the party on a high note. I think I left the venue with my heels in tow, walk­ing down the grand stair­case to my wait­ing coach, which I hoped had not turned into a pump­kin yet.

The Princess found her Prince Charm­ing and they lived hap­pily ever af­ter.

The new­ly­weds at the grand stair­case of the Paris Opera House.

The cou­ple’s op­u­lent wed­ding re­cep­tion at the Palais Garnier.

Doc­tors Hay­den Kho Jr. and Vicki Belo ex­change vows at the Amer­i­can Church of Paris.

Vicki with her chil­dren Cristalle Pitt and Quark Henares.

The new­ly­weds with (from left) Ju­liana Gomez, Leyte Rep. Lucy Tor­res-Gomez and Or­moc City Mayor Richard Gomez.

(From left) Cristalle Pitt, Rhian Ramos and Tim Yap with Pi­olo and Pat Pascual.

(From left) Lovi Poe, Jes­sica Wil­son, Is­abelle Daza, Dr. Vicki Belo, Ge­orgina Wil­son and Cristalle Pitt.

The cou­ple thank their guests at the re­cep­tion din­ner.

(From left) Rhian Ramos, the new­ly­weds, Jodi Sta. Maria, Tim Yap and Ge­or­celle Da­pat-Sy.

Mar­ian Rivera, Ding­dong Dantes and their daugh­ter Zia with Nate Al­casid. Zia was one of the flower girls while Nate was a ring bearer.

The cou­ple with Alden Richards, who ar­rived on the same day of the wed­ding.

Ogie Al­casid and Regine Ve­lasquez. Regine is the very first celebrity client of Vicki Belo.

Quark Henares and Bianca Yu­zon.

Joanne Vil­l­ablanca and Derek Ram­say.

Dyan Castillejo and Jin­kee Pac­quiao.

Robin Niev­era and Zia Quizon.

Zsa Zsa Padilla and Con­rad Onglao.

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