Forever Samir with Santi and Mireille
Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp
I’ve always been an avid reader, and one of the genres I would devour to this day is Chick-lit. I would imagine how my “meet-cute” with my future husband would be— would it be like a Sophie Kinsella novel where we randomly become seatmates on a plane and end up hitting it off? Or would it be like Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, where we’d initially be turned off by each other’s personality? Alas, ours proved to be a mix of both as we chanced upon each other one Labor Day celebration in Boracay, where we both happened to be on the same boat ride, shuttle and hotel, as we unknowingly exchanged text messages with our common friend. After finally being introduced and (several) happy hour drinks later, we both learned that we would be in London at the same time. Though I was hesitant to date Santi at first due to his party boy reputation, he bowled me over with his irresistible charm and humor. The rest, as they say, is history. People say that we are total opposites, and while that may be true, as the years went on, I actually disagree. We both like the same TV shows and movies, are dog lovers, and enjoy peaceful nights in (with the occasional party here and there). As we both progressed in our careers, we also grew up together, combining the best of both worlds. And so, seven years after that fateful meet-cute in Boracay, Santi decided to make both our worlds officially collide by proposing in the middle of a global pandemic. Being the comedian that he is, he first showed me a plastic ring before revealing the real one—of course, I would have said yes regardless! Just like our personalities, we wanted our wedding to be fuss-free and fun. As our main priority was building a house, we wanted to make sure that we only spent on the right elements: a picturesque yet accessible venue, a sumptuous feast and a memorable party. I was lucky that my mom, one of the Philippines’ pioneers in the wedding planning industry, helped in ensuring that we worked with the best in the biz. Growing up, I would attend her meetings, join her at high profile events and eventually help out. Because of this, I was exposed to the best of the best suppliers, so when my day finally came, we were lucky enough to have them agree to do our wedding! When the day finally came, I was actually quite calm, having an early night in and even squeezing in a workout. In fact, my glam team (John Pagaduan and Ogie Rayel) said I was by far the most relaxed bride they’ve ever had; my only request was that I would be properly fed as I know my next meal would be far away yet. Everything was going smoothly until we arrived at the Church. I was suddenly feeling the wedding jitters as I know everyone will be staring at me once the doors open. I eventually asked my mom and dad if they could both give me away, remembering how long the aisle was! As the doors opened however, all I could see was Santi with the biggest grin on his face; all my nerves went away as I inched closer to the altar, thankful that my best friend would be waiting for me. He did not, however, cry but instead laughed at the faces staring up at him as I was walking down the aisle. It was the opposite for me as the waterworks kicked in upon seeing the pride and happy tears I saw on the faces of both my Mother and Father-in-law. At that moment, I knew I made the right decision, officially joining their family. As these things usually go, everything went by in a blink of an eye: we were getting pulled left and right for photos, getting retouched and greeting our guests. I was glad that we decided to do away with having our own stage, opting to sit with our entourage instead. We also opted to keep the program simple: a welcoming speech given by both our fathers, the usual cake cutting and bouquet throwing. After the heartwarming speeches given by our Best Men (Ian Umali and Toby Benjamin) and Maids of Honor (Leya Castillo and Saira Mendoza), we were serenaded by my cousin, Carlos De Guzman, who also invited our parents to join us on the dance floor for our first dance. This prompted the entrance of the Powerhouse band, signaling the start of the party, which went on ‘til midnight with DJ Niño Belza at the helm. Throughout the day, Santi and I would catch ourselves looking at each other, happy with the fact that this is the start of our happily ever after.