Tuesday, March 3, 2015

We DO! Married in Manila

wedding bands | We DO! Married in Manila
Wedding Day, 2013
He writes…

I’ve attended and have been a part of my fair share of weddings. All of them were magnificent events, and clear manifestations of the splendor and beauty that the bride and groom envisioned for their special day.

The selection of the gowns and tuxes, the flowers, the venues, the color schemes, and the reception programs over a lengthy period of planning and calling and scheduling all culminate into the few hours of bliss that mark a new beginning for two very lucky people.

Although these weddings that I’ve been to were all unique from each other, the one thing that was apparent for me was that every detail was intentional, with every aspect made and done by the bride and groom on their terms, and no one elses.

This intentionality is what Kira and I both wanted for our wedding. Elegance in simplicity. On our terms. Even if we had more time to plan, the outcome would have been the same. It was important for us to keep it simple and to start our lives together as quickly as possible, sharing the moment with whomever was able to join us, given the short timeframe.

In mid-2013, I had planned all the details in my head of how I was going to propose. I had this elaborate scheme to do it on the beach at sunset at a resort in Davao called Pearl Farm. The ring I found for her was stylish, sophisticated, and elicited a kind of grace that no other ring around it in the display case could match.

When preparing for my trip towards the end of 2013, the dress shirt, slacks, and shoes I packed for her niece’s baptism actually had an alternate purpose...to marry her right away during my trip if I could.

When I arrived in Manila for my trip, I was hoping that nothing would call attention to the engagement ring I was hiding from her. As super-attentive and keen as she is, I’m surprised that she never caught me fidgeting or acting strangely. I was nervous as hell when we went to Davao, so much so that I forgot my credit cards. Thankfully I had enough cash and my ID. I paid for the resort online, so that was taken care of.

Well, there wasn’t much of a beach at this resort, so I had to call an audible and shift to the lookout spot across from our hilltop room. She said yes, even though my garrulous self almost got the better of what was otherwise a perfect setting for such an important moment.

Once we realized the futility of waiting for some later date to exchange vows, we decided to get married within the two weeks following her birthday weekend. Mere mortals would cringe at the idea of accomplishing something so important within such a short period of time.

But Kira and I are planners. We execute. We get things done and make things happen. Even though this monumental event relegates all the book projects or maintenance projects that she and I have respectively done many times in the past (and could do in our sleep), our wedding would be no different in its execution.

Granted, planning things with someone is so much easier when you agree on virtually every aspect of the plan. I think the only speedbump we encountered was what kind of dining format we would employ at the reception.

It was quite a whirlwind of requirements to apply for our marriage license, up to securing a time with the Justice at the Supreme Court and making reservations for the reception, but we got everything done within the mandated timeframes, mostly because of the help we got from Auntie Norma and others.

Even the rings carried a significance in and of themselves...a meaningful gift from Auntie Norma, who understood us and inspired us like no one else could.

On a sunny Tuesday afternoon at the Supreme Court in Metro Manila, we exchanged vows while surrounded by our family and friends, and amid the thoughts of loved ones who kept us in mind from afar in the US.

We made it happen for us. A simple yet important ceremony. On our terms. Every detail selected with the sole intention of being both memorable and momentous. Like any project with a scope inversely proportional to its duration, we focused on the most important matters, and bypassed the marginal ones. Similarly, I surmise one would find oneself approaching matters in the same way later in life, which is why at this time in our respective lives, I think we understood why and when we met, so that moving quickly to such a major step in our relationship felt so natural.

She writes...

When Ray and I got married 15 months ago today, I remember our wedding day for its simplicity.

We neither consulted a feng shui expert for the wedding date nor followed the traditional lucky 8 dates. We adjusted the date to the availability of our license and to the convenience of Justice Lucas Bersamin, who officiated the wedding.

Months before the wedding, my brother Mark, his girlfriend Aly and I saw a white dress while shopping at Circle C. I haggled to have the price dropped from P500 ($11) to P350 ($8). I wore this dress to our civil ceremony.

My mother and I went shopping for shoes a day before the wedding because she insisted on a new pair. I would have been okay with one of the bridesmaid heels I acquired earlier that year.

Mark and Aly bought my bouquet as a gift while my Probe Team trained friends Daniel and Lucille agreed to take the photos free of charge.

Since moving back to QC in 2012, I've trusted Cindy, a transgender woman stylist with my hair. So a couple of days before the wedding, I asked her via SMS to please come to our unit and make me presentable on my wedding day.

We sent text and email messages to invite few family and friends. I am guessing this might have been offensive to some invitees who wanted a more special treatment of fragrant papers with boughs and a personal appearance to beg for their presence.

Ray's Auntie Norma reserved Hizon's for early dinner for 20 people after the wedding. Together with our guests, we just walked from the SC to the reception after the ceremony.

We booked Hotel H2O for our honeymoon more for its proximity to the SC and the breathtaking Manila Bay sunset than for any other reason.

The ceremony itself was short and sweet. I remember looking at Ray and not being afraid of a lifetime commitment and the promise of forever that came with a legal and binding contract.

Non-work-related public events make me uncomfortable, so nothing made me happier than marrying someone so wonderful in a very intimate ceremony. Here was someone I didn't mind growing old with because we could talk for centuries without getting bored. Here was someone I could reason with, make fun of, and love for eternity. #


  1. Dear Kira and Ray,

    I would to ask how to schedule a civil wedding ceremony in the Supreme Court in Quezon City and how much is the fee.


    1. Hey Alyl,

      We might not be of much help to you because in our case, we personally knew our wedding officiator so we coordinated with him and his office about the time and schedule of the wedding. We're not sure about how the process would have gone otherwise but perhaps you could call the SC public information office to inquire (http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/pio/directory/).

      Congratulations on your engagement and we wish you much happiness!