pinas trip: the wedding of salme & gracie

The day of Salme and Gracie’s wedding finally arrived on the 23rd of May. Naturally, I was looking forward to this event the entire week because that was the sole reason of my quick vacation to the Philippines. The wedding ceremony was held at the St. Therese of the Child Jesus Shrine and the reception at L’Aquinum Garden in Antipolo. I had no idea where or how to get to those places, but fortunately, my uncle knew. Since I didn’t know anyone at the wedding (except for the bride-to-be), I asked my cousin to go with me. Unfortunately, he got held up with something and only told me 3 hours before we were supposed to leave that he couldn’t make it. Grrrr!!! So, I had no choice but to go alone. I told my uncle that he could join me, pero nahiya sya and opted to just wait, saying bahala na lang sya kung paano nya palilipasin ang oras. Haaay!

So anyway, I arrived 30 minutes early, giving me enough time to look around the church (it was simple but pretty), inform the coordinators that I was there to represent my mother (she was one of the Ninangs), introduce myself to the groom, and say a quick hello to Gracie and her mom who were waiting in the bridal car. Promptly at 3:30pm, the entourage started walking down the aisle. And, just like what I always do when I attend weddings, after watching the bride for a few seconds, my eyes turned to look at the groom’s expression as his future wife did her march. That and the exchange of personal vows are always my favourite part of weddings...these moments really capture how in love the couple really are with each other.

Salme had prepared his vows beforehand which he read shyly; afterwhich, Gracie confidently said her impromptu vows. Finally, the time came when the priest announced them husband and wife, and the newlyweds exchanged their first married kiss amidst our cheering and clapping. The picture-taking immediately followed during which the godparents were asked to sign the marriage contract, and then we all headed to the entrance of the church to wait for the couple and throw rose petals as they exchanged another kiss.

My uncle and I then headed to L’Aquinum Garden which was just nearby. Again I was one of the early birds, which was just as well because I didn’t have to wait in line too long to have my photo taken at the photobooth. Salme’s mother was standing just in front of me so I struck up a conversation with her.
As I settled myself in my assigned chair at one of the VIP Tables, I noticed that the people there were the parents and uncle and aunt (who were also Principal Sponsors) of the newlyweds. I didn’t care that there wasn’t anyone my age at the table; in fact, it made it easier for me to talk to them. Naturally, they asked if it was the groom or bride that I knew, and how I knew Gracie. Eventually their questions led to me explaining to them that I only went to the Philippines just for the wedding which made them so pleased and grateful...nakakataba ng puso when they all thanked me for my effort and even told whoever would pass by our table and introduce me to them.

The time came when the emcee called me to say a few words. Even though I was shocked and nervous when Gracie asked me a couple of nights earlier, I felt honoured at the same time. I just hope that my short speech entertained and inspired everyone who was listening that night.
Finally, the program ended. I was worried and embarrassed for having my uncle wait all this time, plus, it was pretty far back home, so after a quick picture-taking, I bid goodbye to Salme and Gracie, their parents, and relatives and slipped out of the Garden.

It was a simple, yet beautiful wedding...and despite everything she’s been through, I’m glad that finally, Gracie found true love and married her God’s Gift.
*photos taken from Gracie’s facebook account and my camera phone

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