Wedding in the Philippines is a bit tricky. They are full of different traditions. These small details I think are what makes every wedding unique, and let me share with you, our own experience.

Artsy Nanay Wedding 1

 

I will never forget the exact feeling I felt while reciting my vows. In a few words, itwas a mixture of hunger, nerves, disbelief, and nausea. Taking all the romance out, that was exactly it. I was hungry (I wasn’t able to eat a single bite before and hours after our wedding). I felt really nervous (I wasn’t able to stop my jitters that I, or Justin, or someone from the hundred other people attending our special day might screw something up that could make our every-minute’s-video-recorded-wedding unforgettable for the worse). I was in utter disbelief. I just can’t take in the moment that our wedding’s happening, that I wasn’t dreaming, that all the planning that we’ve been doing for the past year has led to this momentous and sacred moment, and that it will only last for a few minutes. And I felt sick. I was scared that I might throw up right then and there. I can’t speak for other brides, but this was my experience. A lot of things, thoughts, and feelings were converging all at the same time that I felt like last Monday’s dinner might just break through.

I was in utter disbelief. I just can’t take in the moment that our wedding’s happening, that I wasn’t dreaming, that all the planning that we’ve been doing for the past year has led to this momentous and sacred moment, and that it will only last for a few minutes. And I felt sick. I was scared that I might throw up right then and there. I can’t speak for other brides, but this was my experience. A lot of things, thoughts, and feelings were converging all at the same time that I felt like last Monday’s dinner might just break through.

The night before…

I was at Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall, still looking for the last few touches for our Filipiniana-themed wedding. What I was looking for: 2 coconut husks to put the rings and coins on, and a bottle of Lambanog for our wine toast. What I ended up with: 2 small basket boxes and a bottle of calamansi-flavored Lambanog. Feeling a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to find the coco bowls that I initially wanted, Justin and his best man, Diego picked me up at closing time. It was time for us to check in.

At home…

I found my mother preparing everything that we’re going to need for the big day – the gown, the barong, the shoes, the rings, the coins, the props – everything! We even brought the printer for last second printing of the reception script – which I haven’t written yet.

At the hotel…

We arrived at UP Hotel at around 10:OO in the evening only to find out that a 50% deposit was needed to check-in, and to our horror, we had no cash! The good thing that came out of this: I forgot to record a childhood video of mine that I planned to show at the reception party. This was a chance to go home and retrieve the video while we get money.

Again at the hotel…

It’s already 12:OO midnight. I started working on the AV presentation and the script, while Justin and Diego drank red wine  – their definition of a Stag Party. We went to sleep at 3:OO in the morning.

The morning of the wedding…

We woke up to the knock of Justin’s aunt at 5:OO in the morning. It’s make-up time. The photo and video people arrived an hour after, with both of our family and closest friends arriving shortly after. It was DIY make-up time (which was no biggie because Justin’s aunt and sister were both make-up artists, “HMUA” was the more political correct term they say). It was in the moment of watching my still-sleepy self transform into a blushing and blooming bride, with the help of my make-up, did I start to feel a bit touchy.

The groom’s sister who was doing my make-up snapped at me that it was the worst time for crying because the eyeliner that she was using on me wasn’t water-proof. I had two realizations: Apparently for the bride to be snapped at, at such a touching moment, meant that I wasn’t the only who’s stressed out. And second, it should be against the law for make-up artists, oops sorry, HMUAs to use nonwater-proof make-up on people who are about to get married. I didn’t cry for the rest of the day. I cried a year after – while watching the video. Haha.

Inside the car…

I peered into the church through our car’s window. I saw my groom in a state of panic trying to get the entourage lined up. I smiled to myself, I already reached a state of calm – or so I thought. I gently touched the linen at the back seat of our car. The scent of our own car gave me the reassuring feeling that I was in the perfect place, in that perfect day, until I stepped out and to my horror, my veil fell off! I hastily put on the veil, and shortly after I realized another horror: I can’t see anything with the veil on. Yes, I strode to the altar in a zigzag (Justin recalls it as looking like a drunk gal walking, haha). Good thing my walk did not ruin Justin’s teary-eyed moment.

 

Artsy Nanay Wedding 2

During the wedding…

I was often surprised when people don’t remember who was inside the church when they get married, until I was the bride. I don’t know if it was my veil, but counting people and trying to look at who made it and who didn’t just didn’t slip my mind. I was able to think of that at the reception – and even then I didn’t really care. I was happy with the people around me, my closest family and friends that other people didn’t really matter as much.

I remember my bestest friends congratulating us every time they go onto the altar to do entourage stuff: putting on the cord, lighting the candles, etc. I remember Justin looking really handsome and all teary-eyed. I remember some of the people looking at us, teary-eyed as well. I remember our officiating priest (a personal friend of mine) making witty remarks about how I was a UPean and that I would be a tough wife to handle. I remember Justin and I looking into each other’s eyes, exchanging rings. I remember feeling really nervous, as what I have already shared above, before falling into a state of complete happiness and contentment.

Artsy Nanay Wedding 3

At the reception…

It was a sad thing that we weren’t able to enjoy the food. Being a married couple at their own wedding reception is no easy feat! We were really busy going around tables, taking pictures, kissing every time we hear glasses clinking. In the end, we were both exhausted that when the wine drinking came, I almost spit out the Lambanog because I didn’t realize it was too strong for me until only after I already heartily drank a big gulp.

After the reception…

The reception program was really long and it was all my fault. In the panic that I could miss something that I wanted to include, I “might” have included things that were too time-consuming. But it was worth it. I wouldn’t go into the details anymore since obviously this post is already getting unbelievably long.

There was a lot of confusion for me after the reception. There was a lot of money pinned to my gown that I need to remove. There were a lot of envelopes, inconveniently crammed into different places: my dress, my purse, my seat, even under my plate! Everyone was just handing me stuff that I didn’t know where else to put! But thank you guys, your gifts were a great help in paying the reception which we only settled in full only after the reception that same day. Only Justin, me, and my cousin John were left to take care of everything after because my parents already had to rush home because there were after-party preparations to attend to. I remember a deep feeling of dread when we finally closed the hotel room. I just can’t shake off the feeling that we forgot something – with all the boxes (there were 6 big ones and a bunch of small ones) and other things that we were bringing home.

And much to my surprise, there were people waiting for us outside the hotel – the photo and video crew! I forgot to pay them their on-the-day fee.

At the after party…

I must say, I was happier with the after party at home, just because I knew everyone. I had a lot of family members and friends who only attended the after party and not the wedding reception because we ran out of seats (there were more people from the groom’s side who attended – no biggie because I still had an after party). If there was one thing I was proud of with my new husband was that he was really game to socialize with everyone! I had the experience of attending after parties where only the bride or the groom was socializing, depending on whose side the party was for, with the other one either left out or just tagging along. But Justin really went out there and reserved a few minutes of his time to visit and mingle with EVERY group or table.

After the after party.

I can truly say that writing this post took me back to the experience. I can even feel some of the exhaustion right now. So what was my point in writing this post? It’s this one: weddings are tricky business. Even the dreamiest of weddings are chaotic internally – not unless you have the money to shell out for an (expensive) wedding organizer – and even then you’ll still stress out. I think I would have even stressed out a bit more WITH an organizer just because I’m not on top of things. I didn’t want to write a dreamy post because I wanted to show the reality: the stress, the tension, the love, the complete package. And I hope I delivered.

I lay in our bed alone (because Justin was still drinking with my cousins) with a heavy body but with a light fluttering heart. I had, I think, a really funny and weird smile on my face. I was married. I wasn’t alone anymore. I am going to start building my own family with another person who’ll be with me no matter what for the rest of our lives –someone whom I will love not with the rest of his life, but with the rest of mine. And then I fell into a 14-hour sleep.

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