Island Romance: Braving the Storm for Gersam and Bianca’s Magical Malapascua Wedding

“It really was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever witnessed,” I thought to myself as I watched the peaceful water under the not-so starry evening sky while holding the first cocktail drink I’ve had in over two years. That moment felt so good.

A complete opposite of everything that happened just hours ago.

Credits to Air Balloon Project for all photos used in this post.

Almost 24 hours earlier: I remember still being up at 1:00AM. I had just put my adorable late sleeper of a baby to bed and my husband was out with his friends. He’s mostly a taong bahay so I really didn’t mind him coming home late. Although if I had to be completely honest, it was really because I was getting ready for an off-island overnight trip and that would mean he’d be with our little monster all alone for the first time ever, straight for 48 hours. Complexity level? Let’s just say our baby couldn’t sleep at night without me. In other words, poor daddy needed an advanced breather.

I was packing while putting on hair rollers. In two hours I would have to leave to catch the bus for Maya port,  where a pump boat will take me to the picturesque Malapascua. There, I’ll be witnessing the wedding my dear friend, Bianca and her college sweetheart, Gersam.

My plus one for the event was my ever spontaneous BFF Lovely. She willingly agreed to come with me since my husband needed to be with our son. Ironically, the last trip we had together was six years ago when she took me to her hometown Bohol, an equally captivating island, where we went on a tour amid a storm. This time, we were also braving an incredibly bad weather en route to the beach wedding.

Vague bus ride, broken boaties, delayed trips, irate passengers, and a lot of stomach-churning sea waves later, we arrived at Malapascua safe and sound. It was right before lunch time and only a few hours before the ceremony. My other friends were already waiting for us, they too had their share of “adventure” the night before when the wind was much more dreadful, which may or may not include hopping on a giant styrofoam to get on a boat. It was my second time to go to Malapascua, the first was really sunny so it was not as buwis-buhay” as we jokingly label.

It turned out to be a day of “I hope it stays sunny” to “I hope the rain would stop” to “Thank God it stopped!”

Bianca and Gersam however remained unfazed by the changing of weather. At least from our point of view, the two looked so divine and oh so in love!

In true island fashion, the newlywedsand the bridal party left the church and arrived at the reception venue via adorned pump boats.

Bianca was the type of bride who knew what she wanted, who had envisioned what her big day would look like, but was very open to suggestions here and there. The result was a stunning set-up at a cove with tall coconut trees hovering over charming Instagrammable pieces. It was a good balance of rustic and boho, while still highlighting the classy bride that Bianca was.

Tip: Separate tier cakes are easier to transport for destination weddings.

Despite the stormy sky the night before, enough stars shown bright for the evening’s celebration. It was a huge and fun gathering of family, relatives, and friends who traveled from different parts of the country and from across the globe to celebrate the couple who have found each other when they were only university students at UP Cebu.

Destination weddings are not easy to pull off but this couple made it look so easy, evident in the way they showcased their dance moves that night!

In the end, we could all agree that it was a worthwhile trip to a worthwhile sanctuary for a worthwhile couple.

Gersam X Bianca Wedding
Malapascua Island, Cebu
December 18, 2016
Photo: Air Balloon Project
Video: Franzarrogante Films (WATCH the couple’s SDE here!)
Styling : First of April
Coordination : Khendi Garcia-Ramirez | Wedding Errands Cebu
HMUA: Liz Cinco
Lights and sounds: iShow Cebu

And oh, here’s me doing my secondary sponsor duty!

Cheers to destination weddings! Cheers to windy celebrations! And cheers to all December couples!  ♥

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Wedding Inspiration: Greggy and Sunshine’s Boho Reggae Wedding

First of all, this is a total throwback.

By now, I must have made it clear how much I love weddings! And when friends ask me for tips on wedding planning, I always find myself having them watch a wedding video of a vibrant, do-it-yourself wedding that I know of.

It’s the wedding of my dear friend, Shine. I met her at work, where we were together in the same team, with another good friend who did my engagement shoot. It took me weeks before realizing that she was the Sunshine of a song I know from years back. The song, which was her namesake, was released by Bambu Spliff, where she played vocals alongside her husband, Gregory. If you’re a true blue Cebuano, you pretty much know this reggae band. Needless to say, music played an important role in Greggy and Shine’s love story.

Fast forward to 2012, the free-spirited sweethearts said their vows in a rustic, bohemian-reggae inspired wedding.

Upon learning of my engagement, Shine was quick to provide tips and share her own experience of the whole planning. She gave me the brilliant idea of having my own dress tailored at a lower price by buying my own fabric, as she did in her own wedding.

She was an avid DIY bride herself, doing her own make-up, making centerpieces through old wine bottles, and even creating her own floral arrangement! The bonbonnières were jars of jam with a whimsical tag, “Spread the Love. Thank you for JAMming with us!” See what they did there? One couldn’t really tell how much DIY or how budget-friendly the wedding was just by looking at it because it simply looked so fun and fascinating.

Official photos were taken by Erickson Herrera while the video was done by Tiano Evangelista, who’s bassist for Junior Kilat, also a prominent Cebu band. Both were good friends of the couple. It really was a celebration filled with loved ones, as Shine would recall.

And oh, the bride and groom sing an original composition in the video!

Now enjoy, get inspired as I did, and eat your heart out at how unforgettable the musical entertainment must have been on that magical night! ♥

10 Things I’ve Learned On My 10th Month of Marriage

Few weeks ago marked our 10th wedding monthsary. We did not celebrate it as DM and I are never the monthly kind of celebrators. The last wedding-related celebration we had was for our .5 anniversary months ago, when we had a lovely intimate dinner. Now we are hoping to finally have some alone time for our first anniversary come July.

Unlike a monthly tally, we both believe that years are worth celebrating. And as we celebrate a milestone in our young marriage, I look back at the times I exuberantly told my friends how well things are going whenever they ask about life after the wedding. At the same time, I realize how I tell the same people how exhausted I am with having to deal with another human being for the rest of eternity!

All smiles, but what’s life after the wedding? Photo by Airballoon Project.

It’s true what our wise elders say, marriage really is not a walk in the park. While there are a lot more experienced people whom you should listen to when it comes to golden words on how to strengthen a union, allow me to share my two cents on what marriage means for someone who’s new at it.

1. Marriage means learning to cook or at least attempting to. As young girls, we are taught that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and thus we are encouraged to be handy around the kitchen. But modern society has also empowered us not to be stereotyped. True and true. I agree with both but here’s my honest opinion: At the beginning of the relationship, your man must know you enough to realize if you do not cook and he must accept it. That’s the type of relationship I have with my husband. I know he understands. But at the same time, if this is the case, this also makes your effort of trying to cook for your better half even more appreciated. You see, boys (and girls) are raised by mothers who always cooked for them. So home-cooked meals will always be synonymous to comfort and love. DM is a food enthusiast who loves to cook but he always expresses gratitude whenever I try to prepare something for him, even the most basic fried meal!


2. Marriage means learning to be a good listener. Among other things you need to learn in marriage is being a good listener. I often find myself going on and on on just about anything, from my friend’s engagement to my work complaints while my husband patiently listens. But when it’s his turn to talk about how he’s feeling so stressed and exhausted lately, I shake him off by saying he’s only overthinking. I realized one day (only because he told me straight up) that this can turn into bottled up emotions which will eventually be toxic in your relationship. Let him talk. If he wants to talk about the Cavs and Warriors, then so be it. You’ll have your turn to talk about Riverdale later.

3. Marriage means giving your partner time for his/her hobbies. While we’re in the topic of NBA, always be reminded that boys will always be boys. My husband likes cars, video games, sports, the whole big boy package. I’m actually grateful that he has his interests and hobbies because I understand how men need some release just like how some women resort to pampering and shopping. Plus, I’d really rather have him stay at home playing PS4 all day than having  to wonder what time he’d be home after a beer night with friends. A happy wife is a happy life. But you know what can make a happy wife? A happy husband that wants to reciprocate his wife’s tolerance!


4. Marriage means never losing the intimacy. We’ve heard about this and it’s very true. There will be days that, with all the things that go through your mind while you’re busy #adulting, you will forget about your spouse. Don’t. Don’t forget to Continue reading

The Ultimate Bride Gift: The Day He Decided to Tell the World About Us

Something amazing happened today!

My husband surprised me this morning with a Facebook post on my wall, sharing a link to something I have not expected: a blog post of our wedding story in the Australian wedding blog, Modern Wedding.

I cannot say I did not have any idea about it at all. I like to claim that I kinda did. I knew he had something up his sleeve when he asked me or literally had me answer questions about our wedding randomly for 2 days. It felt like a joke but I honestly thought he was planning to make a scrap book or something, so as to impress me with his crafting.

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Instead, he got me this! The gesture was one thing, but reading his thoughts in print was another. It’s surreal, it’s sublime. It’s something only he can pull off!

So here it is, a glimpse at how my DIY preparation went and a look at the the day  I will forever treasure—the day I married the man who makes my dreams come true.

WEDDING YOUR WAY: QUEENIE AND MICHAEL’S CUTE DIY DAY
http://www.modernwedding.com.au/wedding-your-way-queenie-and-michaels-cute-diy-day/

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Also putting here our official SDE video by Glen Ducante!  ♥

 

Not Your Ordinary Bride: One Ceremony, Two Celebrations

Something beautiful happened around this time a year ago. I can’t believe it has been a year as the memory of Tara, one of my dearest friends, tying the knot with the love of her life, Jude, still feels so vivid to me.

I say it was beautiful for two reasons. First, being that theirs was an against-all-odds kind of love story that ended happily. And second because Tara was a total DIY bride whose wedding turned out just as she wanted it to be.

The couple opted for an unconventional wedding. It was a civil ceremony with two separate celebrations.

Karaoke Party

The ceremony was followed by an intimate lunch at Music One, a karaoke bar in the city. It made so much sense since the bride’s family was an ensemble of good singers and musicians.

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Naturally, Yoyi’s Pastries and Desserts provided the cake and other sweet treats at the gathering.

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Tara’s mom, a DIY apostle herself, made the elegant, vintage-y bouquet, personalized ring boxes, and the guest book.

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We got to take home the champagne glasses we used during the toast since they also served as the wedding giveaways for all the guests. Classy!

It was an honor not only to be one of the (reads: one of two, ehem) legal witnesses at Continue reading

I Do Duties: Everything You Need to Know When Planning a Church Wedding in Cebu

I would like to think that this has got to be my most useful and informative post to date!

Upon the start of my wedding planning, the one thing I wish I had more info on was how to go about with all the requirements. And I mean ALL. The church hunting was a fun task, but doing the paper work wasn’t.

I honestly debated on whether or not I will be having a church wedding, because a civil wedding would have been just as good. We put a lot of thought into it and eventually decided on a Catholic church wedding. We were wed at St. Therese Church. It was beautiful, peaceful, and strategically located. We had the preparation at Waterfront Hotel and the reception in Circa 1900, all three are in Lahug.

Here, I share a list I wish someone had given me six months ago. This is based on our experience so I may not be able to cover everything. But I truly hope this helps!

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Photo by Bianca Villares

THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN CHOOSING A CHURCH:

  1. Tentative date/dates. First of all, you need to decide on a target day. It’s easier to inquire for church availability when you already have dates in mind.

2. Budget. A no-brainer. Decide together how much you are willing to spend on the church. More than the merriment, the venue where you will have the sacred ceremony that will make everything binding is vital. Among the churches we’ve checked out were the following:

St. Therese Parish > 10000 (non-parishioner)
> 5000 (parishioner)
Redemptorist Church > 12000
Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod (SRP) > 40000
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral > 15,000.00 (non-aircon)
> 50,000.00 (with air-con)
Archbishop’s Palace > 8,500 (with aircon)
Shrine of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus > 8,500 (weekdays)
> 10,000 (Saturday)
> 25,000 (Sunday)
> 25,000 (aircon add-on)
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish > 5,000.00

4. Size of the area. Do you want to walk down a long aisle? Or do you want to see all the guests at one glance? Consider how intimate or big you want your church to be.

3. Consider your parish church. If you like that pretty church near your area, then better opt to have your ceremony there. It would save you a lot of cash and effort, being a parishioner.

5. Distance from the reception. Some people believe it’s wiser to book the church first and then the reception venue. I say, choose first whichever your heart desires! No really. We actually booked our reception venue first because we got married at a wedding season and it felt harder to find the perfect venue than the church. So once you have Continue reading

Bride at Work: Behind the Wedding DIY Details

Whenever I complained about the stress of wedding planning to my married friends, they would always smile and tell me how I should just embrace the whole experience as it will be something I’ll definitely miss when it’s done.

Almost a month after the wedding, I’m still not longing for that overwhelming pressure of just getting things over with and at the same time making sure it would turn out perfectly. While that is still the case, I’m now certain that the thing I’ll probably miss the most is being hands-on with the wedding details.

Aside from the bridesmaid tokens I made, I also got to enjoy preparing other items for the big day. You’ll see that the key was to be thrifty and resourceful. Here, I sum them up!

Invitation

Making sure that I abuse the groom’s design skills, our invitation was designed by him and printed with the help of my sister’s team over at Kaeratana, which also provided the lovely envelopes!

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We had to re-print the RSVPs at the last minute, so I used a simple MS Word for it.

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I couldn’t decide on a single design that I ended up ordering every possible design that fit our color motif!

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A week before copies of the invitation was due to arrive from Manila, we had to meet an important wedding guest. So we used our home printer and I made an envelope from scratch just so we can aleady give him his invitation. His schedule was hectic, you see.

Centerpieces

Made over almost a hundred of these and it took months of collecting bottles (wine, vinegar, beer, etc.) and baby food jars to come up with Continue reading