Je t'aime, Magpakailanman
Our love story was brought together by chance, timing, and a serendipitous introduction a little over five years ago. We met on a spontaneous night out where fate decided to make the both of us bump into our cupid. What started as a series of curious exchanges turned into countless dates, out-of-town trips, and eventually a long-distance relationship. Coupled with a sense of adventure to explore the world—from bathing in an outdoor onsen in Hakone to hiking the magnificent Grand Canyon, distance did not stop our relationship to flourish into something extraordinary. On our first Christmas together in Winter 2019, Lorin proposed on one knee at the top of Männlichen mountain in the Swiss Alps and we sealed the promise to grow old together. At that moment, we instantly knew that a destination wedding was the choice that felt most like “us”. We ditched our trip to Italy to drive down to the south of France, found the perfect venue in Provence, and set our three-day wedding in September of 2020—catching the last days of the summer sun. From getting all the elements together to our guests booking tickets, everything seemed set. But with the outburst of COVID-19, our decision to say “I Do” in France became challenging and began to affect not only us, but all of our guests too. So plans changed and we focused on what is essential: our marriage. We decided to have a civil wedding first in Manila with our immediate family and best friends as witnesses. Luckily, given the event-centric nature of my job in hospitality paired with Lorin being a food chemist, it was easy for us to plan everything together in less than a month. There were challenges that came one after the other, but instead of stressing out, we focused on the upside and the things we can control. Fast forward to today, Lorin and I are finally married. We tied the knot at the Hall of Justice in Tagaytay on the 28th of October 2020. We enjoyed the privacy of the moment and how it was shared between us and our witnesses while our family threw us a surprise party in a rest house in Tagaytay. The day after, the sky cleared and the sun came out—we celebrated our civil union with a wedding blessing and a reception in Antonio’s Tagaytay. Having our civil wedding in the Philippines, we wanted a modern take on our tradition with hints of our favorite tropical elements. Antonio’s was the perfect venue given its colonial-style house that exudes quiet elegance. We let it speak for itself and kept the styling minimal with its existing sophisticated colour palette–black, white and forest green which set the theme for the rest of the wedding. I wore a tea-length Filipiniana gown and created my own natural bridal makeup while Lorin sported an embroidered pina coat barong with black trousers. The menu was bursting with both Filipino and French flavors infused with our shared fondness for fresh coconuts. On top of our two-tiered cake with pops of real coconuts and coconut matcha filled French macaron giveaways, we had a personalized concoction specially made for us by Antonio’s served in bacardi white rum, fresh mint, ripe yellow mango, topped with buko juice we fondly called “merci buco” (drink you very much!). Lorin and I shared a private moment as we exchanged our vows alone before joining everyone for cocktails at the dreamy lanai garden. Our first dance was to the tune of live musicians serenading us with the song of “Kahit Maputi Na Ang Buhok Ko”—reminding us both of the promise we made to grow old together. The romantic candle-lit reception followed at the main restaurant where our best friends shared touching speeches and satirical skits of our love story. Our afterparty at the glass cabana enveloped by lush greeneries featuring endlessly flowing drinks left our guests, our best man especially, knocked out for having an unforgettable time! More than anything, we are happy we didn’t let COVID-19 get in the way of our marriage. In spite of everything we went through, our civil wedding easily became our best day of 2020. Even just for a day, we and our loved ones forgot we were in the middle of a pandemic. It was as beautiful as it could be filled with endless raw emotions, tears, and laughter from beginning to end and it stayed focus on the true meaning of the celebration: our marriage. Right now, we are looking forward to our church wedding in France where we celebrate our new life together in true French fashion next with more of our loved ones. In the end, the pandemic gave us two weddings—granting us the gift to celebrate our love and marriage twice.