I remember standing at the mouth of a grove in Tagaytay and thinking: “This is it!”
It was a bright and sunny afternoon, just as we had hoped. A strong gust of wind blew past the ring of trees, drowning the murmurs and sending the curtains around the makeshift arch flapping violently around us. I felt my veil slip. But before I could catch it, it slipped out reach, flying straight into the trees. I felt my breath hitch. “Oh no,” I kept thinking, “not another mishap.” I had already been through so much.
I wanted to fight the pressure that brides endure as they try to become the star of their weddings. L.A. and I saw it differently. We wanted our wedding to be meaningful, personal, and intimate. We wanted our wedding to be a celebration of our love story and our gratitude to-wards the people who have helped us write it: those who prayed for us, sacrificed with us, gave us advice, grew up with us, and witnessed us overcome our greatest challenges.
We have had many challenges in the nine years that we had spent together, dancing an endless cycle of break-ups and makeups, until finally, on a quiet November evening in 2017, L.A. surrendered himself on one knee, and, in front of our families and our close friends, asked me to marry him.
We kept the numbers small and the details straightforward. I wasn’t trying to be purposely unconventional by adopting an allblack motif, but I wanted no fuss and thought black was a solid, unifying color—powerful, strong, sophisticated.
In a span of one year of wedding preparation, many things happened. We took our pre-nup to Scotland where L.A. had been due to go on business trip. It was our first time to travel together outside of Asia. That was something new for us.
I thought being “adventurous” meant doing extreme sports, being outgoing, and trying new activities. But I realized doing life with L.A. brought a whole new definition to the word. Adventurous meant choosing to dance in the rain, choosing to laugh after you missed the train, choosing to enjoy the moments together even when things don’t work out the way they were planned.
At some point while planning for the wedding, LA was invited to be the president of his leadership organization. He was initially hesitant because of the wedding. He didn’t think he could deal with the adjustments and obligations while planning the wedding with me. I certainly had no qualms about telling him to go for it. In my head, the experience would be beneficial for him.
With everything we’ve been through, I have learned to love him selflessly. I wanted him to be the best version of himself, not just to me, as my husband, but also in the different aspects of his life. So together, we both decided that he should go for it.
But the pressure of dealing with mounting wedding
RECEPTION Antonio’s Tagaytay
COORDINATION Teena Barretto
INVITATIONS Print Divas
EVENT STYLING Jo Claravall
VIDEOGRAPHY Bob Nicolas
GOWN Mara Chua
SUIT Edwin Tan
ROBES La Tercera
MAKEUP Mariah Santos
PREPVENUE Raffi’s Way
MUSIC Manila Philharmonic Orchestra
HOST JC Alelis
preparations and his new responsibilities turned into the biggest fight we’d ever had. In the heat of the moment, he blurted the most dreaded words a future bride can hear: “Maybe it’s best if we postpone the wedding.”
That hurt me deeply. I returned the ring. I let go of all preparations. I put on hold all wedding plans. The marriage is more important than the wedding, I thought to myself.
Suddenly, there was all this uncertainty. Unlike before, we couldn’t just kiss and make up after.
We recovered our bearings on the Day of the Lord. Not many words were uttered that morning in church. But when I saw my fiancé stand up and watched him re-surrender his life to God, I felt so humbled. I felt his eager heart trying to find the answers, wanting to fight for this relationship. I saw him broken before God. I saw how helpless he was. And I felt helpless too. That’s when I realized that we can’t do this marriage on our own. We needed God. We needed the support from our family, as we have always had.
We made up and resumed the wedding preparations. But days after the drama, I realized that I hadn’t had my period yet. I chalked it up to stress and felt the urge to wind down and pop a bottle of wine. But out of the blue, I thought: “What if? Surely, no.” But the two prominent lines on three pregnancy tests told me otherwise. L.A was in a meeting when I called him “Babe, there’s two lines!” In between tears, I told him, “I’m pregnant!”
On the day of my wedding, I stood veilless. I had already been through so much, and here was another thing to face. My phone was buzzing. It was L.A. Before I could even say anything, he said, “Don’t worry about the veil, babe. There’s a reason for everything. I love you so much! I can’t wait to marry you.”