Y’all. We are on an international wedding roll this week. Today’s wedding is from The Philippines, and it will explode your pre-conceptions of Filipino weddings, in the most bad ass way possible. I mean, I’m not even sure where to start. It’s an indie-DIY-ice-cream cart-picnic-church wedding (I know, right?) But what really gets me about this wedding is Camyl’s deep respect for her husband, and her joy at the fact that he loved their wedding, and helped make it happen. You don’t hear that a lot in wedding media. Just sayn’. And finally, when she talks about her seriously ill mother and how she wanted to help with wedding planning, she breaks my heart. Because I’ve been there, and she is wise.
You have no idea how much APW has helped me deal with the insanity of wedding planning, even if i am so many miles away from all the other APW brides and graduates. Most of the ideas that my husband and I implemented at our wedding came from this site—while still putting our own brand of style on it. We got married in April this year, but even now, after attending several other weddings (all our friends seem to be settling down this year too), my husband still raves that ours remains the best he’s even been to. Of course he’s biased in a MAJOR way, but I realized that hearing him say that is all I ever wanted to hear while planning the event. No matter how many people I wanted to please or impress, his opinion was the one that mattered to me most (and I feel stupid for only realizing that belatedly). And I have you and all the other APW brides to thank for this, among others. So, here goes, my APW post from a little country in Southeast Asia.
Most weddings in our country still tend to go the traditional route—big church, reception at some hotel ballroom, restaurant, or one of those faux-garden or tent venues. Ryan and I definitely did not want to do things traditionally; in fact, at the very start of our planning, we decided to plan a wedding that would be: 1) unique, 2) totally un-extravagant, and 3) fun, casual, and relaxed.
We are not church-goers, but we come from families that are, and we respected their request that we have a church wedding instead of our original plan of having a garden ceremony. So to meet them halfway, we decided on holding the wedding mass at the high school chapel of our university, the Ateneo de Manila University. I spent four years as a Lit major in that school (this is where I also met my husband), but Ryan is the true-blue, die-hard Atenean: he went to Ateneo for elementary, high school, and college, and in fact has taught in the high school department for the past ten years. Having the wedding there was incredibly meaningful to us.
Keeping the “fun, casual, and relaxed” theme in our minds, we decided to forego the usual WIC suppliers that we thought offered products that were too cookie-cutter for us. I am a very OC person, so I sourced most of the materials we used myself. I went to various public markets, scoured the department stores, and tried my very best to look for stuff in places that brides don’t usually look into.
A lot of brides decide that they’d rather have someone else go through the trouble of making their weddings look nice enough for them. I totally respect that and I’ve never judged them for that decision (in fact, in the middle of wedding-prep stress, I understood all too clearly WHY there are professionals who do these things for you), but given who my hubby and I are, we sought out the materials ourselves, which really paid off in the end, hearing all the comments at and after the wedding like, “it was sooo you!”.
Both our parents shouldered the cost of the wedding, but we only spent half of the budget they had set aside for us (we spent the rest on our honeymoon in Hawaii—which was a smart move, because not once did we ever feel like we had to cut down on honeymoon spending!). Plus, we were lucky to have family who were willing to do stuff for free or within our budget. My eldest sister, who coordinates weddings for a living, agreed to be the lead day-of coordinator (and she did so with my friends and officemates as her team); my other sister and her husband have a catering company, and they provided the food and set up the decor (they executed our picnic wedding so beautifully that until now, we can’t stop ooohing and aaaahing over the photos); my husband’s aunt baked our wedding cake and cupcakes; seven of our friends agreed to take photographs for a minimal fee; and so on. All those volunteers helped us cut down on costs considerably.
Luckily, we have a very supportive family, friends, and most of all, I have a supportive fiance. Being the third and last daughter to marry in our family, my parents were more lax during planning, as compared to my sisters. To my sisters it seemed unfair, but I felt incredibly lucky that my parents gave me the room to do what I wanted to do, and even pitched in with whatever help they could give.
It was also meaningful to me, because my mother is actually very sick. On the months leading up to the wedding, she kept apologizing that she could not go with me on my buying trips, that she could not bring herself to finish my wedding thank-you gifts (she made pastel artworks for my entourage). But, she religiously woke up early (mornings are very bad for her) for my wedding dress fittings. We did not hire a designer, which is the accepted practice here, because I did not want to overspend on the dress. However, the first dressmaker that I visited did not execute the design I gave her very well, and because I did not know anything about the intricacies of dressmaking, my mother went out of her way to guide the second dressmaker into coming up with my wedding dress. The end result was even more than I expected, more so because I knew it took a LOT of effort for my mom to give her input during every fitting.
As for my fiance, well, he was the one who kept on reminding me that no matter what happened, no matter how badly things would go at the wedding, what mattered was that he loves me, and that we were going to spend the rest of our lives with each other.
I broke down several times, but he always always always succeeded in reminding me that the details don’t matter as much as the fact that we were going to be married in front of everyone we loved and cared for.
Pictures by friends as a wedding gift! Rory Rebustes of Citrusnap Photography, Keith Dador, Jic Horrilleno, Jonas Asistio and Jolo Santos of LomoManila, and Sunshine Selga-Funa