by Aldo del Rosario, on the occasion of their 1st wedding anniversary
When I let God write my love story, it changed how I viewed the world. For me, it all began when I saw her. I first met Doreen back in December 2003 while she was preparing our college’s lantern for the annual UP Lantern Parade. The whole thing was rather serendipitous—what first started as a joke to humiliate me by introducing me to the one person that I could not stop looking at paved the way for me to eventually meet the one person who made going to school worthwhile. Doreen and I became friends pretty quickly and before long, I could picture our future together.
There are several details I left out, but that's basically how I met the mother of our future children. But before she could become my wife, we had to plan our wedding. But how do you plan a wedding with the bride a thousand miles away? At this point, Doreen was already living abroad and could only come home every three months or so. I always thought that I would be the type of groom who would just attend his wedding, with no worries about anything (except for the Couple’s First Dance, having been gifted with two left feet). Boy, was I dead wrong! What was traditionally a bride’s duty was now mine. I had to do most of the legwork to give my fiancé a beautiful wedding in 12 months. I had to think like my bride. I had to always think first if she would like the choices I would be making. As Doreen puts it, I was her eyes, her ears, her voice, and her taste buds.
One of the first things I did was choose a venue. After visiting three venues, I was still dissatisfied with the answers they were giving me as well as the actual place and amenities being offered. I felt like I was just another client. We were going to have a garden wedding and I decided to scout around the neighborhood and I found my way to The Mango Farm with the help of my college barkada. Without my fiancé‘s input, I had to rely on my friends’ impression of The Farm to make a crucial decision. Upon arriving there, I was amazed at its unpretentious charm. I had no intention of actually speaking to the management about rates since I thought that this was just one of the many places I would be visiting again when Doreen arrived. The place was so inviting and cozy we were able to wander around The Farm and take snapshots here and there. On our way back, we were greeted by Mike Santos who invited us into his office. He gave me a clearer picture of what The Farm had to offer. Mike was so accommodating and was able to answer all my questions. So right there and then I thought that this little patch of heaven called The Mango Farm would be the perfect place to get married.
When Doreen returned to the Philippines for a short holiday, I brought her to The Mango Farm not just to show the venue but to actually book them. She instantly loved the place. The people at The Farm made her feel so welcome that when I look back, I remember them not just a venue, but as a place filled with newfound friends who made our wedding so memorable. That day, she also met Dylan Gozum who later on became one of our wedding suppliers ( Vatel Manila). He would use The Farm as his canvas and transform the ceremony area into a beautiful work of art.
Most of our wedding suppliers came from countless hours of surfing various blogs of soon to be married and married couples plus websites like W@W and kasal.com. We read different reviews and my fiancé sent me long lists of possible suppliers and I tried my best to choose which ones I deemed “the best” by setting meetings with them and whenever I felt that feeling kick in where I felt that this person was one I could trust, that’s the person we eventually ended up hiring for the wedding.
As weeks turned into months, I entered places where no man would have dared to go. Armed with a folder and with the help of my best friend (who was also planning his own wedding with his bride in the US), we attended bridal fairs to gain more ideas and options. I visited a handful of photographers’ studios and was once again drawn to the one who not only gave me the best package, but the most straightforward and trustworthy answers. Of course, excellent reviews and recommendations from other couples were also an important factor. So we chose Henry Villanueva to capture this once-in-a-lifetime moment. The impossible labyrinths known as Divisoria and Dangwa were a revelation.
My floral vocabulary used to revolve around Mums and Santan, but before long, I was speaking Stargazers and Ecuadorian roses with the help of my fiancé and Mang Boy Mahusay. Prior to the assignment of my life, my color palette was just limited to the colors inside an 8 count box of Crayola. I had no idea that champagne is also a colour and not just a bubbly drink. That ecru is not flesh. And that matte gold can never be just metallic yellow. Coral is not, and will never be just pink.
The easiest part was choosing our caterer. All I had to do was attend and enjoy different food tasting sessions with the help of my friends with hard-to-please palates. From there, I decided that k. by cunanan was the best choice. My fiancé trusted me with this after discussing that we would choose which caterer could present the best taste, value for money, unique food choices, and style (Doreen loved Kaye’s minimalist yet very tasteful set-up). We also wanted to show our gratitude to our guests by filling their tummies with the best kinds of dishes.
A year after I proposed to her, I married the girl of my dreams on April 4, 2009. It was the most glorious day of our lives.
All our suppliers were amazing and did everything they promised, even some exceeded our expectations. And yes, there were also a few glitches like botched seating arrangements, our first dance CD that wouldn’t play, and a few more forgettable ones. But as they say, there are no perfect weddings; only people perfect for each other. At the end of it all, a wedding is but a day where you publicly promise your love to one another. After the last slice of cake has been eaten, after the photographers and musicians have packed up, after the guests have long gone home, after all the expensive flowers have wilted, it will be just the two of you standing next to each other. The question is, what will you do with the rest of your lives as husband and wife? Our wedding vows were personally written with a lifetime purpose. Even the best of marriages may never be squabble-free, and that we’ve come to know. All we have to do is look back at our vows to each other and we are once again humbled and reminded of how God wrote, and continues to write, our love story.
This article first appeared on the 2010 Edition of Weddings & Beyond Magazine.
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