Back in 2002, two teenagers met at a restaurant in Fort Bonifacio where Claudia Squillantini fixed most of her attention on her Nokia 3310, much to the dismay of her seatmate, Gaston Perez de Tagle.
Fourteen years later, they got married.
Claudia and Gaston were blessed with something rare that most people search for at some point in their lives, hoping to get lucky: young love that will last a lifetime. Their relationship blossomed through high school, grew even through university in two different countries, and finally strengthened through law school together in Ateneo Law School. The two were a famous couple among their relatives and friends, their natural intelligence and high spirits sparking both lively disagreements and rollicking discussions.
Gaston planned to propose after both he and Claudia passed their bar examinations, launched into their careers as ambitious attorneys-at-law. Mindful of the importance Claudia placed on family, and wanting to be respectful, Gaston made sure to seek out his intended fiancée’s parents, Enzo and Alessandra Squillantini, and ask for their blessing. They were happy to give it to him, especially after fourteen years of knowing him.
The bride, adhering to the old wedding tradition, made sure her wedding outfit consisted of something old: an heirloom veil worn by her grandmother and mother at their weddings, something new: her dress, by LA-based Filipina designer Monique Lhuillier, something borrowed: a traditional payneta from Chloe Romulo Periquet and something blue: her jewelry.
The wedding itself took place in historic and newly-renovated Manila Cathedral on the 12th of January 2018. The 12th dawned bright and clear. It was a fitting setting to the gorgeous, carefully-planned ceremony, which was meticulously planned by wedding coordinator JP Montilla.
The bride entered to a perfectly-timed flourish of music through gauzy white curtains set up near the cathedral’s main entrance. Arianne Abela, who flew in from San Francisco for the occasion, sang the “Ave Maria” while her husband, Noah Horn, played the organ.
After the ceremony, the party headed to Blue Leaf Filipinas, located near Manila Bay. As a spectacular Manila sunset painted the sky red, the reception swung into life. Guests first mingled in the grassy outdoor courtyard, snacking on small, exquisite hors d’oeuvres and sipping cocktails.
Finally, guests were ushered into the reception hall, emerging into a fairyland garden magically created by stylist Jo Claraval. Soft white-gold lighting glowed through pale white clouds, illuminating the green-and-white-gold theme. The room was filled with greenery, with giant tree-sprigs mounted in glass. More sprigs were entwined with the crystal chandeliers, while gauzy white drapings hung from the ceiling, softening the look of the entire room. Mel Villena’s 18-piece AMP big band ensemble filled the air with jazzy tunes to complete the ambiance, including perennial favorites like “Sing Sing Sing” and “Sway”.
The event was catered by Chef Billy King, of Le Souffle and Truffles fame, head chef at the Camp John Hay Manor. A four-corner buffet was set up to satisfy guests’ appetites, with multiple stations scattered throughout the venue for guests’ easy access. A salad bar with crisp Baguio greens and an oyster bar full of fresh Palawan shellfish provided the starters. Then, their appetites whetted, guests moved onto a wide variety of main dishes, ranging from salmon to chicken to roast beef, with trays full of buttered vegetables and pasta stations for freshly-made plates. The dessert stations boasted fountains with cascade of luscious milk chocolate, and crystalline croque-en-bouche towers centering a full display of traditional French desserts, to finish the guests off with sweetness.
On top of wedding planning, the couple’s engagement period was also filled with wedding preparations spanning across the globe that involved both Gaston and Claudia’s far-flung and international community of friends and family from Hong Kong to Vancouver to Los Angeles to London.
After the moving speeches from the fathers of the bride and groom, the best man, and the maid of honor, it was time for everyone to hit the dance floor. With Claudia being an alumna of Steps and many of her fellow Steps alumni at the event, it was no wonder that the dancing was top notch with everyone dancing to the sound of 8Track’s disco hits. And in order to be able to move freely on the dance floor, the bride changed into a Madonna-inspired white pantsuit with a sparkly bustier by Mark Bumgarner.
And so, the happy couple launched into their new lives together with the best possible start, filled with the well-wishes and good intentions of their family and friends.
Church/Ceremony venue: Manila Cathedral | Reception venue: Blue Leaf Filipinas | Wedding coordinator: JP Montilla | Photographer: Caliber King | Videographer: For You Are Mine | Invitations: Write Impressions | Bridal gown designer: Monique Lhuillier | Reception Outfit: Mark Bumgarner | Entourage dress designer: Monique Lhuillier | Groom’s suit designer: Hampshire | Florist: Jo Claraval | Event stylist: Jo Claraval | Jewelry: Bijoux by Lori Hermoso | Church choir/music/band: Anima Choir, Mel Villena & AMP Big Band, 8 Track, DJ Javi & Toby Panlilio |Giveaways: Flipbook | Caterer: Billy King | Cake maker: Delightful Miss Joyce | Hairstylist: Jen & Ken of Elevation Salon | Makeup artist: Leo Posadas | Bridal shoe designer: Giuseppe Zanotti | Gift registry: Rustan’s and Pottery Barn | Hosts: Kristine Pasia & Ricky Mirani