If anything remotely positive has come out from the current global pandemic, it’s that humanity has continuously proven that love, no matter the obstacle, will always find a way to overcome. From groups fostering the spirit of bayanihan in order to lend a helping hand throughout these trying times, to more personal demonstrations of love like weddings, we’ve all seen our fair share of much needed inspiring stories.
Newlyweds Luigi Rubiano and Vanessa Janine Bactad pose as yet another example. It was "like" at first sight for the pair, and surely no debilitating crisis could impede a seven year partnership so certain of what they have. “We couldn’t wait any longer! We wouldn’t let the virus stop us from pushing through,” Vanessa tells Preview.
Luigi popped the question early this year, and like most engaged couples, their wedding plans had already been set when the lockdown came along. Forced to rework their plans to something that would safely fit the current situation, Vanessa and Luigi opted for an intimate garden civil wedding instead. Though the extension of the lockdown posed as yet another hindrance to their planned small outdoor affair, the couple were lucky enough to have a team that would bring their envisioned sprawling greenery indoors instead, for their civil ceremony.
“We called up our organizer Ms. Kutchie [Zaldarriaga] to help us with everything. The ceremony was officiated in the living room with a beautiful background setup by Teddy Manuel, that made the house look as if we were in a garden,” reveals Vanessa. “We also had our dining table decorated with a floral centerpiece that made our dinner more special."
Instead of a long aisle, Vanessa marched down a winding staircase and said “I Do” to Luigi in the middle of their living room, while their friends and family witnessed their special day via Zoom. As Vanessa puts it perfectly "Getting married is not just about planning what to wear, where to get married, where to eat, who to invite. Marriage is something sacred that the couple decides on or commits to… The most important thing is that the both of you will love and respect each other for the rest of your lives.”
First of all, congratulations on your wedding! How long have you and Luigi been together, and how long have you been engaged?
"It was New Year's Eve of 2013 when we met. We actually liked each other from the very first day. After that, we were inseparable. It was whirlwind romance! We can’t remember the very first time we said I love you to each other, that’s why we decided that our anniversary would be on the day that we met. We got engaged early this year. The 7 years of waiting was all worth it!"
What were your original wedding plans?
"We planned to have a big wedding mid-May and everything was booked from the church, the reception venue, the event stylist, the hair, makeup, and the like. Unfortunately, the lockdown was extended and our plans could not push through. So, we decided to have a civil wedding instead."
Why did you decide to push through with a civil wedding?
"With the pandemic happening now and not being sure when will everything go back to normal, we decided to make it an intimate wedding. We couldn’t wait any longer! We wouldn’t let the virus stop us from pushing through."
What preparations did you make leading up to the big day?
"Our original plan was to have our civil wedding in a garden, but again, the lockdown was extended and hotels were still closed, so we decided to have it at the house. We called up our organizer Ms. Kutchie to help us with everything. The ceremony was officiated in the living room with a beautiful background setup by Teddy Manuel, that made the house look as if we were in a garden. We also had our dining table decorated with a floral centerpiece that made our dinner more special."
"And for my dress, I looked online and found Beyond White Weddings, luckily, they accepted my request even though it was short notice and it turned out very pretty. Luigi wasn’t able to have a suit made, but he had one that was recently tailor fitted."
Could you take us through the wedding itself? What was it like and how did you share it with your loved ones?
"We didn’t know what to expect on this day, because unlike other weddings that start preparations in hotel rooms, shoot in different locations, marry in churches, and celebrate receptions in ballrooms, we did all these under our own roof. Then we put up cellphones and a laptop so our other friends and families can view the day through Zoom. We were surprised that the link was passed to more people than we expected. We felt loved that they shared their time and effort to be able to watch and celebrate our special day together. Everything turned out amazing! And we thank our suppliers, friends and most especially our family for their love and support, because they made this day perfect!"
Any plans for a bigger wedding in the future?
"We will still be having our church wedding and reception in a bigger venue. Of course, we want to celebrate our special day with the presence of people that are dearest to us. Hopefully, next year when the situation will go back to normal."
What advice would you give to couples looking to pursue an intimate wedding as well during this time?
"Getting married is not just about planning what to wear, where to get married, where to eat, who to invite. Marriage is something sacred that the couple decides on or commits to. It doesn’t matter whether you’ll have a big wedding or a small wedding. The most important thing is that the both of you will love and respect each other for the rest of your lives. I could say that months or years before, we are both devoted to each other. It just so happens that on the day we planned to get married, we had to adjust to the situation and took advantage of the things that we are capable of."
"It doesn’t matter if you both decide to get married now or next year or whenever, because 'love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud… love never fails.' I always believed in the saying that 'God’s timing is always perfect.' And on the day of our wedding, everything was perfect."