The first quarter of 2020 hasn’t taken kindly to the wedding industry. From the Taal Volcano eruption last January to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing a global lockdown in the present, hundreds of couples have been unable to say “I do.”
It seems the same fate awaited Chari Trinidad and Marvin Mendoza. The road to the altar for this couple of three years has undoubtedly been rough from the get-go. The two originally had their hearts set for a ceremony at Antonio’s Tagaytay, but after finding the city buried in a blanket of ash due to the unprecedented volcanic eruption, they then had to relocate back to Manila. “We immediately changed venues to San Agustin Church and Shangri-la Fort,” Chari tells Preview.
However, in a sorry twist of fate, the COVID-19 virus followed suit and both Chari and Marvin were tagged as PUIs even before the community quarantine was put into effect. To ensure the safety of their friends and loved ones, the couple decided to postpone their nuptials once more. They opted for a civil ceremony instead, which had unfortunately been quickly struck down as well. “The sudden lockdown happened so no mayor or judge could assist us.”
At that point, it looked like all hope was lost. But if we’ve learned anything about two people more than ready to tie the knot, it’s that no amount of ashfall or global crisis can keep them from making a lifelong promise to each other. While Chari and Marvin rightfully kept their wedding on hold, they sought out a solemn blessing from the Catholic church, instead.
“Fr. Serg [from St. John Eudes House of Formation] was recommended by a relative and when we spoke to him he said he can only give a virtual blessing due to the lockdown. He also said that it doesn’t replace The Sacrament of Matrimony as it has to be in the church of God,” Chari explains. “Nonetheless, we were over the moon knowing the blessing can be done.”
The couple held the spiritual blessing the next day at Marvin’s house along with their immediate family, and Fr. Serg officiated the program through a television screen. Chari recounts the intimate moment for Preview: “[He] prepared a program prior and had us print it. Our parents were made to read prayers and our fathers blessed our rings with the holy water. It was surreal and truly meaningful." From then on, though not officially, Chari and Marvin were married in spirit. Given the current situation, it was more than enough to ease their hearts.
As for their plans for the future? “We’ll secure a civil wedding as soon as the lockdown is lifted. And we will push through with our church wedding hopefully by end of the year. We are hoping the world has healed by then…We are very lucky we get to marry each other thrice: online, civil, and in the Lord’s church. Through God, anything is possible.”