Monday, April 02, 2007


“I take this man to be my wedded husband…to love and to cherish…”

Three months before Maren Rae was born, Reiner and I had our civil wedding. My family and some of our friends were the witness to this legal union. I was so impressed with how Reiner struggled back-and-forth to Quezon City Hall in between his classes in U.P. beating the long line of applicants like him.

I was wearing a white, maternity silk dress which I borrowed from my cousin. Reiner looked dignified in his dark blue long sleeves with the Betan seal on one of the pockets. I looked at him and told myself, “There is no turning back now”.

The marriage ceremony was simply very special.

I couldn’t control my tears then. Everyone thought those were tears of joy. Little do they know that I cried because I was uncertain of what was going to be my future with Reiner. Our future was hazy during those times.

Then I thought of my dream grand wedding and a banquet full of guests right after the ceremony. Not a Jollibee reception. I gave out a big sigh.

After four years, Reiner and I triumphed over disasters.

Through the years, we still desired for the blessing of the church. Though we were not living in cohabitation at all, for us it was still immoral to live together without the sanctity of a church wedding. But we knew it would be too impractical considering how expensive my dream wedding would be.

And I would reiterate to him over and over how I envisioned myself walking down the aisle wearing a scintillating silver gown and him in an elegant navy blue suit enveloped above by the bright full moon under the sparkling skies in a yacht at the middle of the bay.

Finally one night before we went to sleep, we talked about it again. This time he positively reacted to it. I was deliriously ecstatic!

We started planning right then and there on how he was going to do the research about the cost of the church, the reception, the flowers, my bridal gown, and the other needs…and of course the yacht. Beaming with joy and happiness I was imagining while we were discussing the details.
When Reiner and I originally sat down to comprise our guest list, we kept it to family only. I did not think that we could afford a big reception. We discussed having a small reception in our suite at the hotel after the ceremony. But our guest list quickly grew from about 60 to over 150 of our family, co-workers and friends! Of course, our baby, Maren Rae, who was then in her “terrible two’s” was one of our flower girls.

That weekend, we invited our parents for dinner in one of our favorite fancy restaurants. It was funny how Reiner’s mom thought that we were going to do a business presentation to them. They were also excited after we told them our wedding plan! The date was set to be very close to our civil wedding so we would only have one wedding anniversary celebration- Feb. 8, 2001.

We shopped for weeks for my gown. Then, finally, one day, I tried on a dress at a Cinderella boutique in Ayala, Makati. I immediately knew it was the dress for me. It wasn’t really a scintillating silver wedding dress but I fell in love with it. The white gown was fairly simple - but elegant - it had a sweetheart neckline and a low back. It was beaded with crystals around the chest, shoulders and front. It had a satin sheath bodice and was ankle-length. It was adorable! I borrowed my head-piece from my sister-in-law and it matched the dress perfectly.

The first thing Reiner did was to scout for an available yacht for rent at the Manila Bay. He found some, but the cheapest would be half a million pesos! We opted for a chapel.

We had seven stressful months of preparation. The two of us basically did almost everything to cut down on expenses. I designed the souvenir candles, and made the thank you cards (I did a good job!). I was the wedding planner and organizer too. Reiner asked one of his cousin-in-laws to be the church commentator and reception host.

We checked in the hotel the night before the wedding. Maren Rae agreed to stay with her Lolo and Oma in Pag-asa. Reiner and I woke up early the day of the wedding. We showered and went to breakfast. I forced myself to eat. I am, by nature, a very emotional person; I was very anxious about everything going smoothly and felt sick-to-my-stomach all day long.

Aside from the stress caused by a last minute run to the mall because Maren Rae’s socks were forgotten at home, my husband was very calm. I had my nails done early that morning and my Mom, sisters and I all had our hair done later that afternoon in our hotel suite. Mama brought a personal hairdresser from the province.

Our ceremony took place at 3 PM. Outside the Paco Church, before the ceremony, I saw a lot of our relatives and friends waving and smiling at me. Then the bridal march song began... I stopped crying just long enough to walk into the chapel with Reiner, only to start again as soon as priest started speaking. We had a few professional pictures taken of our family in the chapel.

The guests convoyed with us from the Paco Church to the reception hotel at the Manila Midtown Hotel. There was a guest book table, gift table, the cake table (which had a beautiful spotlight on the cake) and then 10 round tables for the guests. The tables all had name tags (for families and friends to sit together) and gorgeous bouquets in the centers with flowers similar to those in my bouquet.

Reiner and I visited with everyone after we listened to our string quartet play our well selected wedding songs, and then dinner was served. We had a salad served first with dinner rolls and then lemon chicken with potatoes and vegetables. The food was fantastic! But I barely ate because the moment was too emotional for me. Reiner dedicated to me the song “All I Ask of You” from the Phantom of the Opera. He sung it excellently! I cried again, with tears of joy this time.

After our guests left our hotel room at around 12:00 midnight, we changed to our “night-out” clothes. We went to a bar in Malate, had a few drinks, and bought a wine which we consumed in our suite. We had our honeymoon in the same hotel room.

Our entire ceremony only cost about P160, 000.00 and that included the chapel, officiate, my bouquet (which, by the way, was beautiful), a videotape of our wedding, limo-ride, a "special" wedding certificate and a picture package. We paid a little extra as we exceeded 50 plates during the reception, ordered extra flowers (for our parents and attendants) and pictures - but I felt the cost of the ceremony was extremely reasonable.

Reiner and I paid it all from our savings, another reason for us to be proud of our church wedding. This was definitely the best substitute to my dream yacht wedding!

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