Good mornings and new beginnings, with Ronnie and Trish

I love weddings!

Since the pandemic started, I’ve attended two weddings via Zoom. I was so glad that when my dear friend Trish got married, Oneal and I (and Lucas too!) were able to attend in person.

To begin with, weddings are not easy to plan. There are ten million details to decide, a bajillion suppliers to book, and the guest list to argue about. Who gets to be bridesmaid, groomsman, best man, maid of honor? How many courses for the reception? String quartet or DJ? Big bash or intimate celebration?

Photo by Terje Sollie on Pexels.com
Oneal and Lucas watching the live stream from the car.

The pandemic made Trish and Ronnie’s wedding planning even more complicated. From Trish’s stories, it was hard to predict what alert level Metro Manila will be on the day of the wedding, and that made it harder to figure out how many guests they could have at the church and at the reception, if their deposits would be refunded pending stricter restrictions. Maybe you should just have a civil wedding, I suggested. Even that was iffy, as courts were not always in session, and it would be hard to find a judge who could perform the rite. It was hard to figure out suppliers because they couldn’t pin down a head count.

All the restrictions and complications just meant Trish and Ronnie had to prioritize. No reception, just a family lunch in the hotel they wanted to book. All guests had to be fully vaccinated. Even the head count and seating arrangements in the church had to be carefully managed. For guests at the church, a breakfast box and coffee. For everyone else, a live feed over Facebook.

Fortunately, the church they chose was nearby, and Oneal and I were both fully vaccinated. We figured, even if only I could attend the wedding, and Lucas and Oneal had to stay in the car, we could go.

I’m so glad we did!

The wedding was at 8:30 AM on a Friday. We got up early and went straight to the church. The wedding coordinator advised us that children were not allowed inside, so we agreed that Lucas and Oneal would stay in the car during the ceremony.

When I went to the church, there was a table with a guest list, and I showed them my name and my vaccination card. They took my temperature and sprayed my hands with alcohol, then I was able to walk in.

In the church, all the pews were carefully marked so that everyone could maintain a safe distance from one another. All the windows were open and many electric fans were turned on for proper ventilation. All guests kept their masks on. There were many thirty people inside the church.

In Filipino weddings, pictorials after the ceremony are usually a riot. Bride’s family, groom’s family, where’s so and so, OMG congratulations guys!!! Wait move here. Stand there. Okay everyone smile!

While there was definitely some of that, the crowds gathering for the photos were noticeably smaller than the giant clans that are typical at Filipino weddings. While the crowd lacked in numbers, they certainly made up for it with enthusiasm, and you could see that every soul was truly thrilled to be there. Even Trish’s dog got a picture with the newlyweds!

Perhaps the funniest was when the pictures with the immediate family and the relatives and the entourage were done, and the wedding coordinator called for a picture with friends. It was just me! “You’re the one friend who made it!” Trish laughed. When Oneal and Lucas entered the church, Trish and Ronnie laughed, because Lucas was the only child among all the guests.

Instead of a reception, there was breakfast in the parking lot of the church. Oneal said it was probably one of the most relaxed and fun wedding celebrations he’s seen.

Each guest was given a little stamp card, and a giant paper bag. There were four booths: one for coffee, one for a souvenir plant, one for cake, and one for the breakfast box. The souvenir plants were set up at a little garden booth, right outside the church. The food booths were set up in the backs of cars, with cute little signs and lights. Everything had the same adorable flowers and lettering from the wedding invitations, designed by Trish’s sister.

It was so nice, with guests hopping from booth to booth, getting their drinks and their food. Ronnie and Trish were just wandering around, sipping their coffee and greeting guests, taking pictures with everyone.

And I need to say: not only was everything pretty, but everything also tasted so good.

I’m so glad we were able to go to the wedding, and to celebrate with Ronnie and Trish.

This last set of photos is from the official photographer.

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