What matters most
We are two people from different parts of the world, Shaan is from Spain while I am from the Philippines. We met in Hong Kong in 2017 while attending an optical conference, and our paths crossed one of those evenings on a night out with mutual friends. And this is how our relationship began. The close proximity between Hong Kong and Manila made our long-distance relationship a breeze, and it felt like traveling on a quick flight every weekend. Our relationship steadily blossomed into a serious one.
Then, the pandemic happened, following a full year of not seeing each other, due to the many lockdowns, just made our relationship stronger. A year later, we made Dubai our destination, braving the traveling and quarantine requirements every three months.
Planning the wedding during the pandemic was not an easy task. I even got Covid-19 in the same month that we were getting married. Covid-19 cases were also going up. Shaan and I would ask each other, should we continue this January 23? We decided to just have 13 of our immediate family members attend. Traveling wasn’t just a risk, it was deemed outrageous at that point. I was relieved that the wedding was going to happen despite the challenges as you have to roll with the punches and start your life together. Our wedding was made memorable with just our closest family members—able to spend quality time with them, chat for hours, not be worried about organizing the wedding or stressing about things that may occur. It’s soaking in every moment..
We wanted a peaceful and tranquil wedding to take us back to the days where Covid-19 didn’t exist, with memories built within our fouryear relationship. At an Indian wedding, there are so many meaningful occasions that our generation only appreciates when experienced. What made it unique was turning all traditional rituals into our own modern take on an Indian wedding. From 10 occasions down to three, we chose the ones that meant something to us meaningfully. From traditional red outfits to our modern blush colored outfits, symbolizing freshness, and a lightness in life. From supposed 600 persons down to 13 persons due to unforeseen challenges. We took matters into our hands, with the blessings of our family and turned a traditional wedding into a modern wedding that represented who we truly are.
We started our first day with a Saagri and Misri occasion. Saagri is a ritual involving the formal introduction of the bride to the groom’s family, offering their best wishes and gifts. She is also showered with flower
petals by the groom’s relatives. It’s a symbolic ritual to formally introduce both sides of the family to each other. For myself, it was the first time meeting some of Shaan’s family. When the door opened and I saw Shaan’s face walking in with his family behind him, I felt a mix of emotion of happiness and excitement that the wedding was not far away.
The next event is Misri which is a formal engagement between the couple, sharing rings to signify their bond as a couple. A prayer is performed by our priest with Misri or cubes of sugar are fed to the bride and groom signifying a sweet and fruitful life ahead. I was overwhelmed with happiness at this point. My mother-in-law just finished the Saagri occasion, I felt so blessed having my family around me who showered us with love, gifts and blessings. I remember looking at Shaan and saying “Here’s the start to our forever.” Cheesy, I know, but that was really the start of our life as a couple together.
We all headed to dinner and drinks, and let loose and partied until sunrise. Our families, who actually just met in real life for the first time, danced to “Dancing Queen” by Abba to songs by Swedish House Mafia and Madonna. It felt like our family knew each other for years—dancing, hugging, crying, talking. I hugged my dad to the song “My Girl,” cried while we held a long hug swaying side to side, singing on top of our lungs, tearing, laughing. Then, my father-in-law joined us and put his hand around my shoulder. My two dads and this magical moment. Priceless. When all stress, sadness, worry goes away and you’re dancing with the people you love the most, thinking about your new life with your new family— what more can you ask for!
The highlight and the moment I’ve dreamed of was walking down the aisle and seeing my family as I walked towards Shaan. It still gives me chills thinking about that very moment. My dad whispered in my ears “you’ll always be my sweetheart, so proud of you.” Holding my tears back, I couldn’t help but smile ear to ear as I walked towards Shaan and his family.
Our theme was ethereal, light, dreamy and elegant. It reflected so much more than a theme, it reflected the emotion I wanted my guests to feel. I wanted to break tradition and what would make me feel comfortable on this day? Calm and serene come to mind, which is why I picked the colors white and green. It reflects our couple’s journey post marriage, and I do believe in starting your journey off the right way and will continue on in the future. Similar to new years, they say what you do in new years may continue. I took that somewhat to heart and realized we are starting a beautiful journey off with a sense of calmness, happiness, and serenity. And the theme captured that, and brought not only all those emotions but memories to last forever.