Nayj and Nessa: The Ceremony

Kuya Shad asked if I was okay. I said of course I was. At that moment, I was excited but nervous. I kept singing “Perfect” by One Direction on my mind and when I was left alone in the bridal car when we reached the church. I wanted to keep calm but I knew deep inside that I am already very nervous. When the car was about to park, I saw Nayj outside the church and he went back inside the moment he saw Hatchi.

The rain hasn’t stopped but I see my closest friends and family arrive one by one in Ellinwood Malate Church. I felt happy considering they still prefer to go to my wedding given the bad weather. They were on their umbrellas, protecting their beautiful dresses and shiny shoes, each of them taking a few glances on the bridal car and thinking if I was inside. (Hi guys, yes I’m here but I can’t go out yet. Haha.) I was also thankful to the people around the church helping the guests get out of their car while enduring the challenge of the pouring rain.

After waiting, I saw my two bridal assistants on the way back to the bridal car. I think that was my queue. It’s my turn to walk down the aisle.

I grew up in this church. It has been my dream to walk in its long aisle and get married. Right when they were assisting me before they opened the door, I kind of panicked because one of the small doors were open and I see  few guests already peeking in. I also hear my bridal march song being played (You and I by John Legend), almost into its chorus and I haven’t even walked yet! I have to keep calm, I reminded myself. Before they opened the door, I took a long breath, closed my eyes, shared a little prayer with God and then I knew I was ready.

When they opened the door, I saw my parents at the middle of the aisle waiting for me. I think my father looked okay, he wasn’t crying and my mom fixed her eyes on me. All guests all stood and watched as I slowly walked.

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I was walking slow, savoring the moment as I know this is the first and last time I would ever walk in this church as a bride. Is this how it was on movies, I thought. I saw familiar faces inside the church saying hi to me as I walked past by them. I kept my gaze to my groom waiting for me, I saw Nayj looking handsome in his suit. And then I started to tear up. I can’t control my tears. I’m not crying because I was lonely but I was extremely happy as it was finally happening. I am finally getting married to the love of my life.

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I saw my guests taking a picture on their seats. They were very obedient, I thought, giving space to the photographers to take shots of a very special moment. When they saw me tear up, they kept telling me to smile. (Oh shoot, right, I should smile because a lot of people were taking photos.) I had to stop for a few minutes, take a deep breath, contain myself and then I started to walk again. Wow, this isn’t easy. A nervous walk, but a good kind of nervous.

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When I saw Nayj at the end of the aisle, I saw him tear up. And then OMG, my tears are starting to fall again. This is really happening. And then when I looked to my right, my father was crying again. And then everyone in the church were crying. According to my friends, hindi lang daw sa labas bumaha. Pati rin daw sa loob.

Nayj told me that the reason why he cried was because he was touched on how he was accepted in our family ever since I brought him home and introduced him to my parents. He was so thankful to my parents as they have always been there and accepted him as their own son even if we weren’t married yet. It was a very touching moment I would never forget.

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When we finally reached the altar, Pastor Gane Deslate took over and got us married.

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At the end, Pastor Gane was like, “Anu pang hinihintay niyo? You may kiss the bride.”

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After the ceremony and the photos with family and friends in the church, we had one last stop. That is to release the doves inside the church. So while we were holding the doves, we listened very carefully to the directions being told by the photographers. They said, “Kiss the doves, then release after.”

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So what we did was, we kissed the doves themselves, NOT kiss them to each other. Every remaining guests in the church laughed at us. We had no idea what we did wrong. We understood the directions differently. Halatang walang alam sa kasal. And funny thing was, hindi kami nag-usap. We did the same thing at the same time. Kung hindi pa naman ba ako maniniwala na para kami sa isa’t isa, ewan ko nalang. One of the cutest highlights of our booboos.

It was rain on our wedding day. Look at us!

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Nayj and Nessa: The Preparations

When I woke up that morning, my cousins were still asleep. I think the cold air-conditioning made it harder to wake up in the morning.When we went down the lobby to City Garden Suites Manila’s breakfast buffet, my parents were already their having breakfast. Of course I saw my groom and his groomsmen. Pamahiins of not seeing each other on the day of the wedding is harder when you’re sharing the same hotel. After having breakfast, we went up again on the bridal suite and prepared for the wedding.

Truth is, when I went back to my room, I can’t wait for all the preps to start. It only started around 10AM and I was like ready for everything by 8AM. Then when my make-up artist, Pinky Miguel, arrived, everything just went by in a whirlwind. Little did I know, I was all made up, and Joch Studio has been shooting me everywhere.

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Truth is, I didn’t know how tiring it is to post for pictures until I had my wedding. I never had a photoshoot in my life, I never had a bigger event than this given that I never had an 18th birthday celebration. I was kind of having colds that morning too and my mom has been giving me Neozep which made me feel drowsy. The photographers thought I was not okay, but truth is, I was sleepy. I had to constantly keep my eyes bright during the photos.

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You might be wondering where I had my bridal robe made. It was made by Nina Ricci Geffe and it was only 500 pesos. Yup! The last few remaining fabrics of my MOH’s gown was used for this. You want another secret? We used the lining of the gown. How convenient! And how cheap that was considering bridal robes online costs an outstanding 3,000 pesos. Nope, not for me. So I was happy with my blush bridal gown which looked amazing on my preps photoshoot.

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I never really thought about something blue, something borrowed and something new for usual wedding traditions but I had my mom choose my earrings for the wedding. This gold drop earrings was her own and I think it was vintage as I’ve seen this for a long time in her jewelry box.

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I had to pose numerous times to get the perfect shot but all were worth it. Can you see how drowsy I was? Nope, me too. Joch Studio and Pinky Miguel did a good job on making me look radiant and beautiful. Not to mention, I was actually having a pimple breakout a week before the wedding and the marks were nowhere in sight.

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I was excited to put on my wedding gown. I wanted to really feel how it was, to finally wear it. It took me like 3 hours of photoshoots before I put it on, which made me more anxious and excited. I like how the tulle dropped right below my knees. I love how it sparkled in photos. I love how the lace felt like it was patched on my skin. Everything felt perfect.

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The reason why I chose a serpentina silhouette was because I will only be this skinny in my entire life. I’m not sure if I would go back to the same body after I get pregnant and give birth. I wanted to emphasize my figure and of course, my favorite part of my body – my shoulders. Which worked, I think. I also loved how my makeup was not over the top. I glowed and it was a natural looking makeup which was what I was aiming for when I envisioned my wedding at the top of my head.

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I didn’t go for a long train as I know it would be hard to walk in them. I’d rather walk harder in heels than having to always carry a train so that I could walk. Speaking of shoes…

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My gold shoes was not customized nor have I ever wanted them customized. I wanted a pair of shoes that I can use on my wedding and I can also use again after. I’ve always wanted it gold, can be glittered, can be not, as long as its gold. After months of looking, I finally did saw it on Zara, the last pair on my size actually. (Meant to be!)

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If I was an RTW bride, my bridesmaids were too! These long-sleeve laced gown were bought in Miss Selfridge last June 2015. Yes, there were off the rack. I was just window shopping when I saw these dresses on sale. Given that my bridesmaids were all slim, I didn’t had a hard time. I think only Olive (farther left) had her dress altered as it was a few sizes big for her. The rest were made perfectly for them.

For Joan (the pretty girl in the middle), since she’s my MoH, I wanted her to stand out. I bought a few fabrics in Divisoria. I wanted her to wear a shimmery blush gown with any style to her liking. We had it made at Nina Ricci Geffe in Imus, Cavite. Since we bought the fabrics beforehand, we only have to pay the labor which costs only 2,000 pesos. Little did I know that glittered fabric are harder to sew.

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Olive, Joan, Me, Joyce and Sivan and Myelene (sitted).

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My mother’s gown was also made by Nina Ricci Geffe. The fabrics and lace were also brought from Divisoria. I think our Divisoria session was back in April or May 2015. My mom looked beautiful.

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For my father and my two brothers, I didn’t have to worry about what they want to wear. All I asked them is to come in black suits and my mom bought gold ties for them. Both of them looked dapper and handsome! I didn’t ask my two sisters in law to have their gown made. As long as they are in long gowns in blush pink, I’m fine with it and they both looked beautiful. And hello to the youngest boy in the family, Giuseppe Salvatore, who looked cute in his pink bowtie!

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And right after all the photoshoots in the bridal suite, we are off to church. I didn’t know that there was another bride in the hotel. Nayj told me that when they went down, they saw a bride and asked his best man, Daryl, to check if it was me. Funny thing was, when I went down the elevator, people has to stop me because the groom’s family’s van hasn’t left yet and they might see me. Joan and I had to go hide again before the room was clear. Hahaha.

There were a group of tourists in the hotel and when they saw me, they clapped and were all cheering. It was cute and a funny sight. Kuya Shad did me an honor of driving Hatchi for me as our bridal car. It was raining hard that day and I was worried that the area around the church and the hotel were flooded. Actually, it was gutter-flooded but flood wasn’t the least of my worry. I wanted to arrive to the church on time to reach to my groom.

 

Nayj and Nessa: The Day Before

December 18, 2015

I woke up early and prepared all the things I need a day before the wedding. A night before, I personally arranged and signed all envelopes for the cash payments for the remaining payments for my suppliers. I wanted to be organized and I don’t want my wedding coordinator to be stressed about the payments. I prepared all the DIY I did like the table names and the wrapped gifts for my entourage. Our Fortuner were full of paper bags and suits and dresses. It was kind of a chaos but a good kind of chaos.

After lunch, we went to Manila to pick-up my wedding dress. My wedding gown was from White Label Bridal. It was an RTW gown that I picked last January 2015. It was one of five gowns that I fitted and it was kind of love at first sight.

Here are some of the fittings I had throughout the year. On the day when I was choosing my dress, I was with two of my maid of honors and one of my bridesmaids – Joan, Kristine and Joyce. I didn’t really expect to find the perfect dress on my first day of looking for IT, but I actually did.

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I was kind of hesitant to buy an RTW dress because I am not sure if I would still like it after a year. I was looking for a dress in January and I am getting married in December. How are the odds that I would change my mind and find another more recent style? But I trusted my gut.

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What I liked about the fitting of RTW wedding dress was, it made me see what silhouette fits me best. I tried a ball gown, I tried a nude dress, a serpentina dress with sleeves and all of them didn’t work for me. I had to try this dress twice to make sure that I really did fall in love when I put it on. And I actually did. The good thing is, what you see is what you get. I don’t have to worry if the sketched wedding gown would look good once its made. What I fit in the atelier is what it would look like when I wear it on my wedding day. I didn’t expect myself signing a contract on that day as well.

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Gaile from White Label Bridal has been very accommodating since Day 1. She was able to answer a lot of my questions and was very patient when I wanted a few customization with my wedding gown.

White Label Bridal offers at least 20 dresses in their showroom. Their shop isn’t as big as those we see on wedding dress shops on TV but its good because for me, it’s more private and intimate. They only allow fittings by appointments so you are sure that you are the only one in their shop and you can have all the time you need. You avoid the overwhelming number of wedding gowns and strangers looking at you when fitting. And a tip? Only bring a few people on your fittings. Trust me, you only want few opinions from girls you trust on your wedding dress. Opinions that really do matter.

It took six months before the gown of my size arrived on their shop from Hong Kong. It was their usual lead time. I had my first fitting on July, had the second one on October and the last one on November. On my last fitting, I bought my parents, my wedding coordinator/sister-in-law, my brother and their 2 year old boy which was also my ring bearer. My mother kept telling me that it was beautiful and it was all that matters. I knew I chose the right dress and I am still in love with it.

So this was the huge box that came with it when we received the dress from their atelier in Belton Place Condominium in Makati. We didn’t know how we arranged all the stuff in our car to fit the big box but it actually worked. It was heavy but it felt good carrying it up to my bridal suite in City Garden Suites Manila.

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When we arrived at the hotel, I shared my bridal suite with my cousins – Joan, my MOH and Mylene, one of my bridesmaids.

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After a mani/pedi sesh at Robinsons Place Manila, we went back to the hotel to have dinner with the rest of Nayj’s family and called it a night. It was good that I shared a room with these two as they made me sleep right on time for my needed beauty rest.

 

The Challenge of Personal Success vs Professional Success

I recently saw a video of how a teacher asked her students what they want to be when they grow up. A bunch of her students mentioned various professions like a doctor, a nurse, accountant, architect, engineer, etc. And then one of her students answered differently. He said, “I want to be happy.” And then the teacher told him that he may have understood her question. And his reply was, “I think you misunderstood life.”

Ever since I started working, I always wanted to stood out and be recognized. Of course as a young professional, I’ve always dreamed of promotions and various commendations and reaching my dream position in a company. Seeing how successful my managers were, how they have acquired a car with just a few years of working, of how much they traveled, of how much they can afford what they have – these have always been my idea of a professional success and there’s always that thought that I wanted to be like them. I’ve always worked hard because I wanted to reach the top and be them.

When I got married, I saw a lot of things in my area of work that will be a challenge when I become a working mom. Right now, Nayj and I both work and we still have no kids yet so I don’t see any challenge. However, I realized that shifting schedules, working weekends and important holidays would be hard. I’ve seen my married colleagues juggle all that and now I realized how hard it is. And of course, I also need to think about my health considering I’m planning to have a baby.

For me, personal success is the ability to have a constant time with my husband and our soon-to-be family of our own. To have time to see them and be with them at home, to cook for them every morning or plan trips with them during the holidays. But I know I won’t have the means and capacity to do that if I don’t work because work will allow me to provide for my family. Even if Nayj also works, me working is a huge help on our daily expenses.

I want my family to achieve happiness while I achieve both success. It may be hard but if I work hard at work, I will work harder and be more responsible for my family. This is how I see my married colleagues and right now, my idea of success has changed. From the idea of success as always being on the top and being able to afford everything in life to the idea of providing for my family, being with them and seeing them happy.

Yeah, such random deep thoughts weeks before my 29th birthday. Who would have thought?!

Things That Your Parents Taught You That You Understood After Marriage

So after nearly three months of adjustment period in our marriage, I realized that I start to apply the things that my parents taught me when I was a kid. And shocker, I even do things that they do that used to annoy me before.

Limiting the items in your grocery cart. Now that everything would come off of our own money, trip to the groceries are not like what I was used to. Before, I buy what I like and what I crave because the parents pay for it. Now, we only buy only what we need because those small snacks that you crave for, even if they’re just below 100 pesos, would add a significant amount in total in the cash register. Making a list helps and after you’re done with the list, you should head to the cashier asap.

Having a notebook for bills and groceries. I bought a notebook when we moved. Nothing beats the old school ways of jotting down your bills every month, the amount to pay, the deadline and the status if already paid or not. Nayj prefers the digital Excel spreadsheet but I still list down the bills and groceries on paper. And yes, my pen is pink.

Avoid ironing clothes just when the need arise, set aside a day of ironing. Not only does it lessen the electric bill, but it lessens the amount of time you have the carry the ironing board and putting it back on the shelf. Sunday night is ironing clothes day for us. And I mostly iron just Nayj’s clothes because all his office wear needs it. It also saves you an amount of time getting ready in the morning when your clothes are already ironed out.

Wash the dishes after every meal. Nothing looks untidy than a pile of dishes in the sink. It also looks like no one has been living in your house for a day. An empty and clean sink is a best practice in the house, especially when you are rhe one who prepare food. Less dishes means more room to prepare your ingredients for cooking. And of course, it’s also very hygeinic. 

You have to finish left-over food in the fridge. I don’t like left-over foods. Before, I don’t like to eat the same food after two meals, I think that was my limit. But when you are the one who prepares the food and you know how much you spent on groceries, you limit the cooking and make sure that no food goes to waste. You eat even the last meat or the last drop of that soup. 

Bringing packed lunch. I am not used to bringing packed lunch since high school. I usually buy my food out and I have been that way for a while. I don’t mind the amount of money I spend on my food because my motto was, “magtipid na lahat wag lang sa pagkain.” But when I experienced bringing packed lunch for a week, I realized, “grabe ang laki ng natipid ko.” Less food on eating out, more food for groceries.

Going out is magastos. When you’re still going out as boyfriend and girlfriend, having  a date weekly is a must because that’s your only quality time together. Eating out, watching movies or getting a coffee. You don’t mind how much you spent because well, you have to spend something to be together. But after living together and realizing how much each date costs, we seldom go out anymore. We only watch movies in the cinemas for blockbuster movies (last one we watched was Dead Pool) and go out during days when I crave for a non-3-in-1 coffee. I am not complaining, it’s nice to have a date night once in a while but it is expensive and the costs can be added to more important things. Besides, there’s always quality time at home.

Cleanliness is a must. Aside from the dishes in the sink, you’ll want everything in your house clean. If you see hair in the floor, hair in the sink, dust on your furnitures or any trash lying around, the next thing you’ll do is clean it and not wait for someone to do it for you. Not because no one will do it for you, but because its your own house and you become OC about everything. On your free time, all you’ll do is clean. Truth is, feeling ko talaga mas naging masipag ako when I get married.

I still can think of a lot but these are the major things. Everything changes when you get married, your outlook, your priorities and your character. Some of those would be influenced by your partner while some have been influenced by how you were raised by your parents when growing up. The funny thing is, you won’t realize it until you are actually doing it. Or when your partner asks, “saan mo natutunan yan?” And your answer would always me: “My parents taught me how.”