My 20-Person Wedding on New Year’s Eve

Snow white owls at our wedding

DATE:
I got married on the 31st of December 2016 to the guy who deserves the most beautifully positive superlatives in the world, Ray. The eve of new year is our anniversary as a dating couple (and it has been 5 years since), so I deliberately chose the same date for our wedding. Reasons? 1.) I have a volatile schedule as a freelancer. Thinking ahead, what indefensible crime would I commit if I miss future wedding anniversaries? The Yule is the surest season for me to be unoccupied from work. 2.) It´s brain-friendly.  😛 How many special occasions do we celebrate altogether? Apart from Christmases and New Years, there are birthdays, anniversaries, and what not — Oh, my poor memory! Of course I love my husband and I know I have a duty to remember these significant “dates” — but I have strong cases of being forgetful in the recent years. (I use post-its for work already. Boo!). To synchronize one obvious date from the calendar with another important event is one less activity for my mind. Moreso, in the future, I sure will look forward to a spontaneous romance — to freely select any day to celebrate with each other and exchange presents for whatever random reason, or simply none at all.

GUESTS:
I opted for a small wedding. It turned out to be a 20-person affair (including me and Ray). There were 16 guests plus Ray’s baby niece and our stellar one-man photographer, Kuya Mark Cantara. We would have wanted all our loved ones to be there, but when I think about it, at the end of the day, the ceremony is only a minute fraction compared to what is ahead of us — and hopefully, in that remaining bigger portion called lifetime is where I meet and actually connect with everyone we missed on our wedding day. It’s been a month, and I don’t feel anything less married because of this choice. In fact, I was in awe and downright grateful at how many willingly and sincerely extended their greetings, gifts, and love.

Newspaper-inspired wedding invitation
Newspaper-inspired wedding invitation

DRESS CODE: 
I could not imagine myself to behave properly in an elaborate dress (and in heels for that matter). Being silly, clumsy, and being easily disturbed by unusual outfits, I have fear of tripping, misbehaving, or acting too carefree. If you watch the video (photo montage), you could see how goofy I was — a sharp contrast to Ray who was all too behaved like he always does. So I decided to wear something simple and comfortable, and something I can wear for another special day. I requested the lady guests to wear white (except my sisters who I wanted to wear light blue.) Other than that, there were no other fancy requirements.

My Overly Simple Dress
Meeting Ray with a chill vibe in a chill dress.
Guests roaming around all dressed up nicely.
Guests roaming around all dressed up nicely.

VENUE:
I diligently scouted for a place where we can hold the ceremony and celebration on New Year’s Eve and would cater to our type of event. I was not particularly picky about the place at first and we could have held it somewhere else. However, Tagaytay was special for Ray and me as it happened to be a prime spot for us in a number of occasions. Mt. Binintiang Malaki (often mistakened as Mt. Taal) was a scenic backdrop during those times, and we were thankful for its presence on our most-awaited day. Thank heavens for the Internet and Facebook! Thank heavens for the provision! Thank heavens for La Finca Restaurant!

Inside La Finca Restaurant. Photo from La Finca Restaurant Facebook Page
Inside La Finca Restaurant. Photo from La Finca Restaurant Facebook Page

We (or maybe just I) preferred an outdoor wedding to relish the crisp Tagaytay breeze, but I was not completely adamant about the idea. What we really wanted was an alternative space in case it rains — which on that day, it did 😛 The veranda was carefully setup already during the wedding, but God poured out intermittent rain that day. Surprisingly, I was not frustrated nor a wee bit of sad. Instead, I took it as His manifestation of how well-taken cared of, well-provided for, and well-loved Ray and I were, the same way He has been faithful and loving to us all these years.

Other reasons why La Finca was perfect? Interiors, Guest Capacity vs. Space ratio, Taal View. Too big a space would require bulky decorations. Else, the the guests would be loosely flowing around (aalog-alog). On the other hand, a small space would be challenging to move around with. We didn´t want to look all too cramped up in the photos, did we? At least, we wished mostly for Instagrammable outputs 😆 La Finca was just perfect for our headcount. The space and interiors were all cozy, modern, elegant, and lovely. And the way Taal was framed from their spot? Believe me, breathtaking is an understatement.

Most importantly, they have the friendliest and most accommodating staff. Communicating our needs was swift and easy — absolutely no hullabaloos at all! In fact, they allowed us to extend another hour because of the delays the rain brought. 😀

FOOD:
Ray and I are palate explorers and would have been served any cuisine — however, we were afraid the guests weren´t. La Finca offered a menu that was familiar to the Filipino taste which all were impeccably monstrously gastronomically delicious. Hindi kami napahiya! My Mom loved the Romaine, Pear, Walnut Salad — the freshest, organic, high quality produce. Most of the guests’ favorite was the Roasted Pork Belly with Gravy. The mere look of it was enticingly delectable and mouthwatering. (Heh, kakagutom!) 🙂

La Finca Restaurant Event Menu
La Finca Restaurant Event Menu
Canapés at La Finca served before the ceremony.
Canapés at La Finca served before the ceremony.

OTHER DIYs:
I’m an avid DIY-er. Perhaps it’s one reason why I chose a small wedding because I get to manage all the tiny details (or just see a thoughtfully made item and event come to life). Truthfully, this is the part I enjoyed most.

Bouquet. My Ate Tina and Ate Leah crafted my bouquet, and it was the loveliest bunch of blooms I’ve seen! Kinilig ako when they handed it to me. It was pretty, classic, and not overly done. Just right — no, perfect for my taste!

Ate Tina deserved to keep my bouquet. After all, she and Ate Leah made it for me. Look, we even had matching bracelets! #friendship
Isn’t it lovely? As much as I would like to take it home, Ate Tina was the rightful keeper of it in the end. What an endearing friend! Look, we even (unintentionally) wore our matching bracelets! #friendship #SistersInChrist

Invitations: You see the newspaper-inspired invitation above? Yes, I designed it and printed it on grainy papers — because I’m a designer who designs for other people so why can’t I for my own wedding? 🙄 I wanted to do away with the watercolor and calligraphy bandwagon so I came up with this idea. 😉 I also made a glittery infinity symbol and glued it above the envelope flaps. Excuse me if I’m gushing over this tiny shimmering embellishment! I feel so proud. 😆

Invitation Infinity Symbol
Invitation Infinity Symbol

Favors. We gave away one of our favorite after-meal chocolates as our thank-you gift. These weren’t enough to thank our biological and spiritual families present with us that day but these were given out of love and gratitude. I wrapped them myself while Ray…. well, he was cheering for me. 😛

Wedding favors personally and thoughtfully wrapped and labelled.
Wedding favors personally and thoughtfully wrapped and labelled.

Mini-Band. We couldn’t do without music. The venue already has built-in speakers, but Ray still managed to pull off an acoustic duo setup. *Impressive husband. Round of applause, please!* I walked shortly to the song Everlasting by The Parachute Band, which was the theme of our wedding and the utmost purpose of that day 🙂

Food + Music
Food & Music

Indeed, this is only the beginning of a new journey that is ahead. I am happy to have shared a glimpse of that (what is at least to me and Ray a) beautiful day. As many have wished us well, we send the same to you. May your days be filled with happiness, love, and blessings yonder.

To Everlasting. Cheers!
To The Everlasting. Cheers!

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