Ceremonies are part of our lives. Every hour of everyday, everywhere in the world, ceremonies are being held. I realized this as we went around the little paradise of an island called Bali. All the planning, the decorations, the rituals and the symbols make a ceremony beautiful. But it is the people that make it truly wonderful and special.
Of course, every ceremony happens at a particular time and place. Our wedding began at 6:30 in the morning in a place called The Mango Farm.
This is the view of the aisle leading to the altar. Thanks to Dylan and his efficient staff, the setting was very beautiful indeed.
The Musical Prelude marks the beginning of the program. Da Capo plays Pachelbel's Canon in D and Air on the G String, Wilhelmj's adaptation of Bach's masterpiece.
Anthony and Jean, the stars in the Lighting of the Candles, are the first to walk the red carpet. Anthony is my brother, born after Jerry and before Jonathan. Jean is Joanne's sister, the second of four children.
Anthony lights one of the candles as soon as he gets to the altar...
as Jean lights the other one.
Pastor Dave is next in line.
My brother Jerry, the Best Man, quickly follows.
And so does the other Best Man, Odelon. He opted for a Chinese collar barong, saying this suits him better.
My parents walk to the middle of the aisle and wait for me there. I follow them shortly.
My dad was very handsome that day and my mom, gorgeous.
Together, we walk to the front.
With sure, steady steps, Atty. Lourdes Florentino makes her way there too.
Behind her is Ms. Nina Cruz.
Last but not the least of the godmothers is Ms. Nathalia Maniclang.
Jonathan and Angela are next after the godparents. Jonathan is Mel's youngest brother while Angela is my youngest sister.
Xavier and Ezra follow them closely behind. Xave is my only brother. The pretty lady is my cousin.
The delightful treat of watching the little boys and girls march down the aisle begins. Keith, the coin bearer, is first.
Dean, the Bible bearer is up next.
Sean Halili, the ring bearer, turns serious when it was his turn to walk the aisle.
The first of the flower girls is Chloé Yao.
MJ is next.
Lovelier the second time around, Jean is also Matron of Honor.
As I approach the aisle, I leave all my troubles behind, having laid them at God's feet. I looked forward to meeting my future, the love of my life, joyfully.
I thought I was already on the aisle so I was walking a bit too slowly when Marlon told me, in his own subtle way, that I can still walk fast. I tried but I didn't make much progress because the gown was heavy.
My brother Xave and my mother, Delia, start to walk the red carpet. My mom looks so vibrant. She didn't need to use the oxygen tank we brought along.
As I reach the beginning of the aisle, white petals are showered before me.
"We didn't hire a singer from Da Capo, who's that?!?", I said this to myself as I hear someone singing.
I realized it was my groom when I saw him, singing a lovely yet unfamiliar song. I felt like crying but I held back the tears. It was too soon to shed tears and I didn't want my eyebags to be revealed.
I burst into a laugh because I keep stepping on my gown. Yin, our wonderful wedding planner, helps me with it. I notice she chose to wear a striking yellow dress that day.
My heart leaps when I see my bride walking down the aisle. I fumble for the mic and began to sing the song I made for her. Behind me are my two best men, my brother Jerry and Odie, who give their moral support.
Wearing a blue barong beside me is Josh, my guardian angel. He was there to make sure I didn't forget the lyrics and that I stayed true to the tune. He's the one singing in the MP3. Thanks to him and Pastor Jups of Musicworx for polishing the melody and putting the music to complete the song.
I reach the middle of the aisle, where my brother and mother are waiting to escort me to the front.
Xave, Mama and I are holding each other as we approach the front.
"Ay, si Mel pala yung kumakanta, 'kala ko radio.", my mother tells me when she sees my groom. Oh, it's Mel singing. I thought it was the radio.
I eagerly anticipate to receive my bride from Xave and Tita Del. Pastor Dave had a few things to say before this happened.
"Who gives away the bride?", asks Pastor Dave.
"We do?!?!", replies Xave in a tone that almost sounded like a question.
But that's not before mama says "Anong sasabihin ko?!". What am I supposed to say?
I shake Xave's hand when the go-signal was given.
Mano po! I touch my forehead to Joanne's mother, Tita Del, as a sign of respect.
My Lovey and I approach the altar. He assists me so I don't stumble while my sister, my Matron of Honor, helps me with my long veil.
We take our seats on the altar, conscious that all eyes are on us.
"Did you come here in your own free will?"
"Yes, I did."
"So did I."
Doc Ayedee reads from the Scriptures. I was under Ayedee for some time in GMA NMI. He's also a good friend.
Xave and Ma give their full attention to God's Word.
My parents listen attentively too.
Our pretty, demure flower girls, MJ and Chloé stand up along with the rest. MJ is the daughter of my cousin, Dingdong Naredo. Chloé is the sister of Keith, the coin bearer.
Our handsome bearers, Keith, Dean and Sean were well-behaved.
Our handsome pastor delivers his wonderful message...
and we listen intently to what he's saying.
What were we talking about here again? I can't remember.
Pastor Dave had my full attention but I guess something caught Joanne's. Just look at her eyes.
I was making a signal to my sis to get my bag where I had kept my written vow. I'm not good at memorizing and even if I do retain the words, I may not be able to recall them because of the jitters.
"I vow to honor, respect and love you until I draw my last breath."
"To love you... To make our journey of life as meaningful as possible."
Sean approaches the altar eagerly. Notice the smiles of the people in the background.
I can best describe Sean as precocious, being good with numbers when he could barely talk, learning to read at an early age and spelling difficult words before he could even speak clearly. I've also heard he likes schedules to be followed and so we had to let him know that 6:30 a.m. was our official start and not 6 a.m. as stated in our invitation. Now I hear he's into stuff that require instructions to be followed such as cookbooks and assembly toys.
"This ring symbolizes..."
"Wear this ring as a symbol of my love..."
Our Bible bearer, Dean, gets ready to be on the move. Dean, my godson, is the son of our friend, Jake (Ma. Jessica is her real name). I reserve the right to be his manager when he's ready to become part of the Kapuso Artist Center. ;)
The Bible Ceremony. "The Word of God is the supreme foundation and absolute authority in the life of the couple..."
Keith, our coin bearer, approaches the altar and waits for the go-signal to leave. Keith is the brother of Chloé, our flower girl. Keith and I share something in common -- we're both Lourdesians. Their dad and mom, Dave and Carol, are our friends.
The Coin Ceremony. "What is mine is yours..."
My brother, Xave and my cousin, Ezra, doing their thing with the veil.
Angela and Jonathan symbolically bind us with the cord.
I sign the contact that Odie hands me. Odie is the other best man. We have known each other since 1999 when we were colleagues in Net Curricula, Inc. We not only make a formidable team at work, we're very good friends as well.
I got the idea of having two best men from Dingdong and Aya's wedding in 2005. Dingdong made his brother and our boss, Judd, his best men. I was glad to see Dingdong, Aya and their daughter, Ashley attend our wedding.
These are our godparents or female primary sponsors, as they're often called. On the left is Ms. Naty, my high school teacher. Ms. Nina, my former boss, stands in the middle. On the right is Atty. Lourdes, Mel's lawyer, confidante and friend.
This is the bouquet held by the primary sponsors, a mix of butter yellow and white Gerberas.
The Candle Ceremony. Joanne tries to light the candle three times before finally giving up. The wind was just too strong. I succeed on my second try using three matchsticks in one shot.
The Sand Ceremony. Yin brought up this idea early on, said she saw it in the Weddingstar magazine. We liked it very much. We proceeded to get Pastor Dave's approval so we could include it as part of the ceremony. As Pastor Dave said, the pouring of the sand signified our union with Christ.
We bow our heads and hold hands as Pastor Dave says a prayer for us.
We hold our tiny gifts for the people who have brought us into this world as Pastor Dave announces the part where we honor our parents.
Ma reads her message for us. I didn't tell her to prepare one but I was very happy to see she did anyway. It was even a nice message.
I felt happy to be welcomed to the family.
My mom delivers her message and gives us their blessing.
Thank you, Ma for welcoming me to your family.
"You may now kiss the bride."
And so we kiss. Our first as husband and wife.
We pose for the camera. Is someone tugging at your veil? Was it supposed to look like it was floating in the wind?
Neil of Director's Cut instructs us to wave goodbye to the jimmy jib, or the camera on crane. He made this shot a part of the SDE (same day editing) video that he showed during the reception.
The photographers take a shot of us with our dear parents. Xave stands in for my dad.
Then they take a shot of us with Mel's parents, now also my own.
Now my immediate family. Jean, on the left, is a nurse in the U.S. Angela, on Mel's right, is an architect. Capt. Xavier is a pilot.
They also take a shot of us with my immediate family. All of my brothers, Jonathan, Jerry and Anthony (left to right, at the back) are taller than I.
Now with my relatives. The serious shot comes first.
Then the wacky shot follows.
With my relatives... the serious shot first.
And the wacky, next.
Why do you still appear so serious, my love?
I guess the camera clicked a few milliseconds too early!
The bulb flashes for us with our dear sponsors, Ms. Nina, Ms. Naty, Atty. Lourdes and Mr. Noel (whom we call Mojics). Two were absent, Capt. Meynard Halili and Engr. Rodolfo Lozada.
We smile for the camera with the bride's maids and flower girls.
And also with the groom's men and the boys.
Last but not the lastest, we pose for the classic tug-of-war scene with the bride's maids and the groom's men.
Marlon, Yin's husband, was calling our friends for more shots. But we noticed that it was beginning to get warm and a few of our guests were already under direct sunlight so we decided to continue the photo ops during the reception.
They shower us with petals as we walk together during the Recessional.
I was a bit surprised when we were asked to hold the doves; I think I forgot about this part.
But, with my lovey dovey's struggle to keep her dove from flying before the go-signal and her reaction when she finally let's go, I won't ever forget this part. I couldn't help but give a good laugh!
To our dear guests, thanks for coming in early. To our flower girls, ring bearer, coin bearer and Bible bearer, and your parents, thanks for waking up very early just for us.
To Yin Valientes, her husband, Marlon, and the rest of their team, thanks for the superb planning and the coordination!
All of you people made this day more special.
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