There’s always been a negative connotation with the idea of a couple eloping together. Prying ears tend to jump the gun, assuming an unhealthy situation or environment for the involved pair even if, more often than not, this simply isn’t the case for most couples who do go through with it. As for Candymag Editor-in-Chief Ysab Yuzon and her fiancé Juls Rodriguez the decision hinged on their shared desire to skip all the fanfare. “While we love being wedding guests (aka drinking and dancing with loved ones), we never really imagined ourselves throwing one,” Ysab tells Preview.
Instead of a big church wedding, the couple of seven years had first planned on tying the knot abroad in the summer of 2020. Ysab elaborates “We were going to come home and tell our family and figured we'd eventually have a small party to celebrate.” They soon agreed upon New York to hold their nuptials-for-two, but eventually had to cancel their trip due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet despite this monumental roadblock, the pair still found another time and place to say “I Do.”
With just two witnesses in attendance Ysab and Juls had their nuptials at their officiant’s home office in Makati last June 4. But before anything else, the two upheld the intimate spirit of their dream wedding and opted to first exchange their vows at home for only the two of them to hear. And let’s be real here, there’s nothing more romantic than that.
As for her advice for couples looking to do the same? “I say go and elope if it feels right for you and your partner. We all have different values and traditions that we want to honor, but what's important is you don't let other people dictate what those are. If we followed convention, our wedding wouldn't have pushed through and we would have been left feeling defeated all because we wanted to please other people.”
Below, we talk more to Ysab about their full elopement story, and her tips for engaged couples.
First of all, congratulations again on your wedding! How’s life so far as newlyweds?
“All things considered, we're doing great. We've been staying home with our cats, and getting married really helped boost our mental and emotional health by giving us something to celebrate and look forward to while in quarantine.”
Why did you decide to elope together? Was this always the plan from the beginning of your relationship?
“We're both the youngest in our families and both sides had already thrown big weddings for our older siblings, so we figured we could get away with a super low-key one. While we love being wedding guests (aka drinking and dancing with loved ones), we never really imagined ourselves throwing one. We also knew for sure we didn't want a church wedding, so we looked for a destination with a beautiful city hall and minimal requirements. Originally we were supposed to just go to Hong Kong but the protests happened, so we ended up choosing New York (pre-COVID, of course).”
What were your original plans before the quarantine?
“We were supposed to go to New York City and elope in Manhattan, then drive upstate for our honeymoon in Ithaca and Watkins Glen. We were going to come home and tell our family and figured we'd eventually have a small party to celebrate.”
“Tip: If getting married abroad, I found it really helps to check vlogs and forums for first-hand experiences of couples (a lot of them talk about little details like the waiting time, possible hurdles, and even potential suppliers).”
“When the quarantine happened, we had to cancel our trip, so we started looking for ways to do it locally. Luckily, we found out that because we've been living together for over five years, we qualified for a marriage license exemption. The only other requirement left was an affidavit of cohabitation, which we had notarized a week before our wedding date.”
Can you take us through the day of your wedding? What was the process like?
“Our ceremony was scheduled at 11.30 a.m. in the solemnizing officer's home office in Makati. We started getting ready around 8 because we agreed to exchange vows before leaving the house. (We didn't want to do it in front of other people.) Afterwards, we headed out and arrived 10 minutes late because we got lost on the way.”
“Our ceremony lasted a total of 17 minutes and we were wearing face masks the entire time. We took a few photos afterwards and since we couldn't eat out with our two witnesses, we just gave them a thank you gift and parted ways.”
“On the way home, we passed by Galileo Enoteca in Mandaluyong to pick up our order of cold cuts, cheese, risotto, etc. We also passed by Cab Cafe to pick up a few mini cakes. We spent the rest of the day eating and drinking at home and fell asleep by 8 p.m. Best day ever.”
May we ask what you and Juls wore for the big day?
“Trizha Dimayuga was supposed to make me a black dress but the quarantine meant we couldn't do fittings so I scoured Instagram for alternatives. (Still looking forward to wearing that dress one day, though!)”
“I found local and sustainable brand LAYÀ and fell in love with their Dolores dress because of the Filipiniana touch. They were also the only store that could deliver within three days so it all worked out. Juls wore a blue Zara jacket his cousin gave him a few years back, and a pair of Jordans.”
What’s your advice for couples looking to elope as well?
“My advice is to be open to change and prepare for things not to go as planned, especially since we are in a crisis. At the end of the day, these little bumps just become part of the story. For instance, I had to cancel my makeup artist because our building didn't allow non-residents at the time (shoutout to hair and makeup artist Jopie Sanchez for still giving me tips, though!). My handmade bridal bouquet from Alaya Paper Blooms in Pampanga arrived a few days late due to shipping issues (luckily it's made of paper so I keep it on display at home). We didn't bother hiring a photographer because we wanted to keep the attendees to a minimum so we really just had our witnesses present (they took pics and videos for us).”
“More importantly, if you're not sure about eloping because you're worried about what other people will think, I say go and elope if it feels right for you and your partner. We all have different values and traditions that we want to honor, but what's important is you don't let other people dictate what those are. If we followed convention, our wedding wouldn't have pushed through and we would have been left feeling defeated all because we wanted to please other people. You have a lifetime to shower your friends and family with love and appreciation, so as long as you stay honest and open with them, you did your part.”
“Also, something we didn't expect that also made it incredibly meaningful was the chance to tell our close friends and family one by one before posting our “official” status change on Facebook. We really got to sit down and talk to the people we treasure about the experience, which I feel doesn't happen enough in big receptions. Either way, each couple is different, and if there's anything this pandemic taught us, it's to limit things to what's essential.”