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What Happens When Groomzilla Plans Your Wedding

Expect to sit back, relax, and enjoy the chaos.

by Janey Aniban Rivera | Feb 14, 2018

I looked on at how he meticulously arranged and planned the biggest day of our lives, it gave me a glimpse of our future together: Groomzilla will always find a way to make things happen.

They say you get to know your partner better during the wedding prep, and I can tell you in my case that was 100% true.


A little background on my (ahem) husband, Alec Rivera. He's an Executive Producer-slash-Account Director at ManilaMan Visual House (an advertising production house), and that means he’s in charge of most of the projects that come their way. He manages everything from the team working on the project down to the budget, so wedding planning (not to mention bossing people around) was definitely up his alley. Aside from his insane organizational skills, he’s also a fashion boy.

How so? In college, everyone would make fun of his short shorts and tight pants. Fast-forward to two years later and the same people laughing at his too-short shorts were seen folding their hems to match his. He’s always been a little different in the fashion department. No one bats an eye when he shows up sporting a trench coat over his oxford button-down and spray-on skinny jeans (and it’s not even raining). Plus, he’s completely comfortable going through my closet to steal a pair of leather joggers to make him look “more Kanye.” In short, when it comes to fashion, he always puts his own twist.



Right off the bat, the only thing we were sure of was the location. We knew we wanted to get married close to the ocean, preferably somewhere we could surf while on our mini-honeymoon. But most surf towns are tiny, not to mention unequipped to handle a large wedding (our guest list was a little over 150!) Flying was also out of the question (unless we wanted to ditch our grannies, which we didn’t), so we decided on La Union.

Then came the actual planning part. I divvied up the responsibilities based on interest (mine, primarily): I was in charge of planning the look of the wedding (decor for the church and reception, outfit assignments, flowers) and Alec was left to care for the rest. I quickly learned things wouldn’t turn out as simple as I initially planned.  


Alec, as expected, was thorough with planning and his Excel sheets can attest to that. He was also very good at pestering me with my deadlines (every day). As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, the planning process revealed a lot about my soon-to-be partner, and the biggest takeaway was his inability to rest until every last detail was secured. He single-handedly handpicked our wedding team so we could be confident with leaving the event in their hands. While I looked on (in slight horror) at how he meticulously arranged and planned the biggest day of our lives, it gave me a glimpse of our future together: Groomzilla will ALWAYS find a way to make things happen.


But that doesn’t mean we (he) were organized 'til the very end. Don’t be silly, this is real life, people. We would always find out that in our hastiness (some of our trips to La Union took a single day), a seemingly minor detail would be left out but would later leave us face palming at our negligence. Our conversations would go like this:

Him: “Did you write down the allowed voltage? We need to inform the event stylist so we know if our dangling lights idea is possible. Do you remember if we can throw petals in the church? How many pews do we have to decorate? Did you note the name of our priest?”

Me: “Um. What?”

(cue the face palm)

We visited the reception venue a total of four times, more than any other couple before us did, according to the venue coordinator. We said it was an excuse to spend more time surfing on the weekends, but, really, the lesson here is to bring a notebook and write notes during wedding meetings.


We both approached Arnold Galang, a designer we’ve been working with for years. We knew that we could trust him with our vision and execute it to our quirky specifications. But arriving at that special outfit proved to be a challenge for the both of us.


Brides tend to choose the same details for their wedding dress. I can’t tell you how many times I saw the same iteration of lace, beading, and poufy, princessy realness during my wedding dress research. None of it appealed to me and the wedding date was fast approaching.

Four months before the big day, I finally decided on a design I liked. I knew I wanted my wedding dress to be white. I also knew I didn’t want to look like my wedding cake. So I asked Arnold to make the tulle dress of my dreams. Since both the church and reception venue had no air conditioning, I decided to be my hubadera self and went for a bodysuit with an ever-so-slightly sheer skirt. (It is a family event, after all.)

But I was stuck on how to make my dress different from the rest. I went back and forth, my Pinterest board rife with images of minimalist dresses, ruffles, metallic threads, feathers, even toying with the idea of wearing a jumpsuit instead. It came to me one day as I was going through my closet. I came across an old Preview Ball outfit Arnold made for me. It was a simple, strapless top in the front, but when viewed from behind, revealed a single loop knotted at the back finished with a sweeping tail to trail behind me.


In that moment, I knew exactly what I wanted: dramatic bows on my shoulders that looked good from the back (since that’s what people would be looking at during the ceremony) and provided an interesting detail in case we took silhouette shots during sunset.   

The rest came to me pretty easily. Once the gown was almost complete, I decided on my veil. I’m pretty claustrophobic, even more so when there’s heat involved, so I chose a shoulder length net veil mainly for the ventilation and did not regret it. No one talks about how stifling a veil can be, especially when your veil sponsors have to put yet another layer on your head.  


My shoes, on the other hand, were a last minute purchase made a day before we left for La Union. Days before the wedding I realized I didn’t plan for my footwear, so I scoured the malls two days before leaving for the beach in search of the perfect flat shoe. I had looked in three different malls, but always ended up empty-handed. Tired and hungry, I was browsing in mall number four when I chanced upon them. There they were, sitting prettily on the store’s shelf, calling out to me. They were simple enough, flat and subtly encrusted with tiny rhinestones. I picked up the almost-nude shoes immediately and tried them on. They were possibly the only obviously bridal accessory I had that day, but when I tried them on I had a triumphant hallelujah feeling wash over me. “Won’t be a barefoot wedding after all,” I mused as I forked over my credit card to the cashier.


My groom, on the other hand, kept his look a secret from me throughout the whole planning process. I told him not to tell me so we could both be surprised when we saw each other at the altar. This was his first time having an outfit made without my supervision (not that he ever needed it), and he was so careful in choosing every detail of his suit. I would even catch him looking at infographics on shirt collars and lapel shapes. 

One last minute addition, as I later found out, was his tropical-themed suit lining. Since his suit was relatively plain, he later thought of adding a pop of print via the lining of his suit and a matching pocket square.


It was a subtle detail that said so much of his fashion sense—always something different, but in a very understated way.  

Unlike me, he knew what shoes he wanted to get married in and had them made by Valentino, a Marikina-based shoe brand. Inspired by the then-ubiquitous Gucci mules, he asked for tassel loafers with a woven panel, something he could easily sport after the wedding.

I was a bridesmaid once and I tell you, I never found an occasion to use my dress again (save for the time one of my friends borrowed it for another wedding.) I was perusing Pinterest once again for ideas when I came across the idea of separates. I chose a beige and white combo for my bridesmaids and, to ensure wearability, asked them to pick out their own design as long as it incorporated some form of ruffle. My maid of honor (or male of honor as I fondly called her), wore the same white button-down and gray trouser combo as the groomsmen.


For the groomsmen, we wanted to make sure they could use the separates again and again, so we asked Arnold to make them trousers in a uniform gray shade.

I suppose no wedding would be complete without an outfit change. A little over a week before the wedding, during an ocular at our grassy reception venue, I realized that I did not want to navigate through the small garden with yards of fabric trailing at my feet. Although I didn’t want a completely new outfit (the bows were too pretty to wear just once), I asked Arnold to make me a shorter skirt I could change into for the reception. Good thing, too, because I got too close to nature during our post-nup shoot.


Imaging climbing over a sandy hill dotted with knee-high spots of grass in a huge dress. Now imagine the slew of tiny creatures and dried grass that found their way in between the layers of tulle I was carrying. By the time I made it back to our hotel room to change, the shorter hem was a welcome respite from the mini zoo I managed to acquire.

Groomzilla, on the other hand, wasn’t planning on changing his outfit. But bodily functions got the best of him, and his shirt was soaked from our brilliant choice in opting for a non-air conditioned venue. Good thing he always comes prepared with options. Before the wedding he asked Arnold to make him a short-sleeved tropical print button-down to wear for our wedding cocktails, but he fell in love with the cloth options he was presented with and had two made. Voila! Instant outfit change! 



Trust me when I say that nothing was unintentional with Groomzilla’s look that day. A year before the wedding, he started growing out his hair. Possibly to match the whole surf town, beach wedding vibe we were going for. He would ask me for hair growing tips, and I told him I heard that taking biotin supplements would help his strands grow stronger and maybe even faster. After that, we were taking trips to Healthy Options every three months to buy the said vitamins.

Then things got a little messy. Or, mullet-y to be frank. As I scoured the interwebs for articles on How to Grow Out Your Hair Gracefully, one of the tips I gleaned from my research was to keep trimming the back section of your hair since that’s the part that grows out the fastest. We stuck to that, scheduling trims every two to three months to keep things from going into funky ‘80s territory. Ladies, if your man wants to grow his hair and look good while doing it, do not let him go without trims!


As for myself, I vowed to get my skin in the best shape possible. My goal was to wear the least amount of makeup I could get away with, and so I got to work. That meant sheet masks every other day, laser toning every other month, and a few beauty experiments that I, thankfully, did not regret in the end. I brilliantly thought it was the best time to try new beauty procedures. (I don’t regret it, but I don’t recommend it, either.) First I had my eyebrows microbladed, then I tried out beauty drips, all with pleasant results, but the hardest thing I did in the name of vanity was giving up refined sugar so I could have better skin for the wedding.    

Perhaps the funniest thing about my beauty prep was what happened to my nails. A few days before leaving for the beach my family and friends were sending pictures of themselves getting their nails done in preparation for the wedding. And I, busy with last minute prep, totally forgot people would be taking pictures of my hands. The night before I left, I rifled through my sister’s nail polish collection and found a denim blue shade of nail polish (Chanel’s Boy Blue, to be exact). I packed the polish and said to myself that it was the perfect finishing touch to tick off all my bridal requirements. I didn’t plan for my something old, new, and blue. My dress was obviously new so that was a no-brainer, and I assigned the polish as my something blue and something old because the bottle was well over five years old, maybe around 90 in nail polish years. (I know, I know, I am cringing inside, too.) On the day of the wedding, while I was having my hair done, I painted my nails myself and hoped for the best.



The hours leading up to the wedding were blissfully chill. My makeup artist even commented on how relaxed everyone was. My groom, I heard, was his usual busy self, sticking to the timetable and hurrying people along. When I finally left for the church in our bridal car with my maid of honor, we realized we forgot one essential part of my look—the bouquet. When we reached the church she rushed back to our hotel and scooped it up before anyone knew anything was wrong.

The ceremony went along with only a few minor hiccups. Not an eye was wet that afternoon (too much sweat on their brows, anyway), and I was giggling through the ceremony because I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. Nearing the end of it, I noticed my groomzilla’s newly-agitated state. During the final blessing, I’d notice him motioning with his hands for the priest to hurry up behind his back. I swatted his hands and dismissed his impatience, but I hadn’t noticed the time. It was nearing 4:30pm, and with the short pictorial right after the ceremony, we were losing daylight for our post-nup shoot. (#Priorities)


We skipped saying our vows and went straight to taking pictures with our families and friends. Right after the last group picture was taken, groomzilla all but rushed out of the church and into our bridal van to chase the sunset.


By the end of it all, while everyone was wined out and enjoying the festivities, Alec and I sat back and watched the scene unfold before us. When he proposed to me I initially suggested that we elope and have a quiet ceremony with just our families, but the idea was quickly shot down. After that, our wedding planning circus began. But in that instance, as we were reveling in the moment of quiet that didn’t have us at the center of attention, we turned to each other and finally breathed a sigh of relief. I said, “You did it, you successfully planned your first wedding. Now what?” To which he replied, “Now we drink.” And that was that.